Yesterday two provocative decisions were announced by Matt Hancock, the Tory Minister for the DCMS Department (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport). The first was the decision to scrap part two of the Levenson enquiry despite promises by David Cameron in 2011 to examine relationships between the media and the police, including the ways in which journalists acquired confidential information. The second decision was to ignore the comments from the Government DCMS select Committee regarding their opposition to the appointment of Tina Stowell as the Chair of the Charity Commission. Sadly the DCMS press release makes no reference to the charity experience that Tina has, even though one of the reasons given by the select committee for their objections was her lack of experience working with charities.
It is of course relatively easy to find other examples of how the Government seem willing to stick two fingers up to our nation. The close relationship between Ministers such as Boris Johnson and Liam Fox and the national press barons such as Rupert Murdoch is one such example. Then there are the lies told by three Ministers about the connection between Jeremy Corbyn and a foreign spy or the lie told by Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg. None of these things are easy to ignore, yet the Government continues on as if such decisions are small details. They of course make a case for shelving Levenson pointing out that it will take an inordinate amount of time and it will cost a sizeable sum of money. All these things will continue with many in our nation not interested in anything that takes place in Parliament and another large number of people solely focused on the plans for us to leave the EU. However despite this it is clearly time for someone in the House of Commons to stand up and demand a more credible Government. As some people argued, the decision to ignore the select Committee over Tina Stowell, should lead to a Parliamentary debate. Equally the decision to end Levenson part way through also deserves a debate and a proper sense of scrutiny. Far better for the Government to bring these matters to Parliament than for them to wait for one of the opposition parties or indeed one of their own backbenchers to bring the matter to centre stage!