Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley:

    My Lords, is it not important to recognise that Ministers have no power to select, reward, promote or demote officials working for them? Likewise, officials should not have the power effectively to dismiss Ministers for whom they work, least of all by making anonymous complaints against them. I was very fortunate, like the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, that my officials were a joy to work with throughout, but some Ministers have perceived some officials to be reluctant to implement their policies and have had to try to find ways of dealing with that, and some officials have perceived Ministers’ responses trying to get them to do that too abrasive, demanding and rude. I sympathise with those who had to duck telephones thrown by Gordon Brown or to deal with Richard Crossman, who said in his diaries that when he found officials reluctant to do his will:

    “I bullied them and made a fool of them in front of others, quite often their subordinates”.

    I suspect such an approach was counterproductive. Does the Minister agree that it is up to the electorate or elected superiors to get rid of Ministers who cannot deliver, not officials?

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe:

    Ministers are of course part of the process of democratic election. I agree with much of what my noble friend said.