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Yesterday, shadow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude wrote this letter to Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell asking a number of questions raised by the Damian McBride "Smear-gate" affair.

I am seeking a full text of the letter. The full text of the scanned letter is at the bottom of this post, but fails to give direct answers to a number of the questions posed by Francis Maude. I imagine there is still mileage in pursuing answers through parliamentary questions and FoI requests.

The BBC has reported some excerpts:

Former Downing Street adviser Damian McBride's
actions were a "clear and serious breach" of Whitehall rules, the head
of the civil service has said.

Sir Gus O'Donnell said "strengthened" guidance had been issued to department heads on codes of conduct on Wednesday. Special advisers caught "disseminating inappropriate material" are to be automatically sacked under new rules… In a letter to shadow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, Sir Gus said such behaviour "cannot and has not been tolerated".

Sir Gus wrote: "Mr McBride is no longer employed as a
special adviser. His resignation was accepted immediately and had
immediate effect. He has not received severance pay."

He
said Mr [Tom] Watson had "made his own position clear" and the prime minister
had made clear "that he has been assured that no minister or political
adviser other than Damian McBride had any knowledge of, or involvement
in, the e-mails".

The Evening Standard is also reporting that there is unlikely to be a formal inquiry into the affair.

Jonathan Isaby

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48 comments for: The Cabinet Secretary replies to Francis Maude’s letter on “Smear-gate”

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