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Civil Service (Conditions Of Employment)

Volume 175: debated on Monday 2 July 1990

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To ask the Minister for the Civil Service when he next expects to meet the civil service trade unions to discuss changes to the civil service conditions of employment.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave earlier to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher).

The next time the right hon. Gentleman sees the civil service trade union leaders, will he tell them that to get rid of the double standards regarding civil servants and Ministers taking jobs in outside industries top civil servants will be stopped from taking such jobs? That is the best around the problem and would be appreciated by the millions outside this place. A ban on such appointments should not apply for two years only, and Cabinet Ministers should be treated in the same way. It would also not be a bad idea if every Member of Parliament had one job, and one job only. The moonlighting should be stopped.

We are talking about people who have retired from the civil service or retired Ministers. The hon. Gentleman does not do justice to the fact that many of them have talents to offer the country. Just as many Labour ex-Ministers—[Interruption.] I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman agrees, but Lord Glenamara, Lord Robens, Lord Marsh and many others, whose talents were available, have served in the private and public sector. So long as propriety is maintained—that is the rule with the civil service—those talents should be available to the private sector.