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Cabinet Committees

Volume 511: debated on Wednesday 9 June 2010

11. What recent assessment he has made of the contribution of Cabinet Committees, Sub-Committees and working groups to the work of his Department. (1351)

I am very conscious of your admonition to be brief, Mr Speaker, so I shall just say to the hon. Gentleman that we have a rather more modest ambition, which is not to ask what the Cabinet can do for our Department, but what our Department can do for the Cabinet.

I appreciate that the Government have to find something for their official bag carrier to the Prime Minister to do, but will the Minister confirm that for every new Committee and working group established an existing one will be abolished?

I am happy to tell the hon. Gentleman that I am actually the unofficial bag carrier to the Prime Minister; I do not even qualify as the official one. We have organised ourselves in a way that means that we have cut to the bare minimum the number of groups that we operate. We have a far tighter Cabinet Committee system than that which was operated under the previous Government, because, as I said to the hon. Member for Luton North (Kelvin Hopkins), who asked an earlier question, we are absolutely determined that our Cabinet Committees be genuine decision-making bodies, not merely a dignified part of the constitution.