Oliver Dowden, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, is giving evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee this morning, specifically on the work of the Cabinet Office.
He was repeatedly asked by William Wragg, the Tory chairman of the committee, about the process by which ministers are vetted before they are appointed to roles – a point of interest in Westminster amid the row over Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs.
Mr Dowden said he could not be drawn on questions seemingly related to the appointment of Mr Zahawi as Tory chairman.
Mr Wragg had said: “If the issue had been resolved previously under a different administration there is no reason why that issue would be flagged to a future prime minister, it would be solely dependent on a voluntary disclosure from that minister to the prime minister for them to have any knowledge of it at all?”
Mr Dowden replied: “Mr Wragg, as you know, I am trying to hold this careful line which is that I don’t want to in any way speculate on the facts of a case that is before the independent adviser. I think as a matter of abstract principle, that would be correct, but I think I’ll have to leave it at that.”