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Of Draper, McBride and so forth

Rather late in the day, MPs are asking questions. Or perhaps, they are finally getting answers:

"Mr. Hands: To ask the Prime Minister whether Mr. Derek Draper has a security pass to No. 10 Downing Street.

The Prime Minister: No.


And McBride:

Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister to whom Damian McBride reported in the post he occupied before his recent resignation; what performance reporting procedures applied to him; what his job description was; what (a) pay band and (b) pay range he was in; and if he will make a statement.

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what the (a) job title, (b) main responsibilities and (c) annual salary of Damian McBride was at the time of his resignation;

(2) whether the post formerly occupied by Damian McBride was advertised externally prior to Mr. McBride’s appointment to it;

(3) whether there are plans to make an appointment to fill the post left vacant by the resignation of Damian McBride.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Prime Minister on what date Damian McBride was appointed as a special adviser; what criteria were used in the selection procedures to fill the post; what reasons Mr. McBride provided for his resignation; and if he will make a statement.

Whenever Baker opens his mouth or tables a question there is a high risk of narcolepsy, but the PM managed to stay awake. Not that he gave much of an answer:

The Prime Minister: Special advisers are appointed under terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers. Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the names and overall cost of special advisers and the number in each pay band. Updated information will be published in the usual way.

Away from advisers and so forth, the Downing St e-mail system:

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will install Pretty Good Privacy encryption software and an associated email address to enable members of the public to correspond with Downing Street securely; [270293]

(2) for what reason the redesigned Downing Street website does not have a functioning contact email address or contact form; [269893]

(3) for how long the email Number 10 facility on the Downing Street website has been unavailable.
The e-mail set up is famously either off line or utterly useless, so how does Brown characterise what has been going on?

"The Prime Minister: Enhancements have been made to the No. 10 email facility and an updated version is now available. The systems comply with the Government security requirements".
Shades of 'it's not a bug, it's a feature'.


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