Successive Governments have preserved the ability for officials to provide advice to Ministers in confidence. It would therefore not be appropriate for me to comment specifically on any advice in the ministerial appointments process. Ministers are required to declare all relevant interests and matters of concern.
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman is aware that I am not satisfied with his answer. It has been reported that the Prime Minister was given an informal warning about the tax affairs of the former Conservative party chair, and yet he still decided to appoint him to his Cabinet. If true, it means the Prime Minister’s promise of integrity is completely meaningless. Can the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster confirm whether the Prime Minister was given an informal warning?
Lib Dem Members, and indeed other Opposition Members, continually say that the Government need to appoint an independent adviser. We appointed an independent adviser, who looked into all the facts of this case and produced an excellent report, and the Prime Minister took action. That is the way government should be conducted, and was conducted in these circumstances.