Sir Cover-Up, Sir Craig and the Curious Case of His Memoirs

The rules for a former Special Adviser wanting to write a book on their time in government are very clear: Sir Jeremy Heywood must give his personal approval. As the Code of Conduct for SpAds states: “The permission of the Cabinet Secretary must be sought before publishing, or entering into a contractual commitment to publish such memoirs”. Sir Craig Oliver’s memoirs, then, must have secured Heywood’s approval before the book deal was signed. Yet a year-long Freedom of Information campaign raises questions as to whether the rules were followed…

Sir Craig’s book is full of privileged information. It discusses the contents of a phone call between David Cameron and Barack Obama (pages 62-63). It discusses the contents of various Cabinet meetings (pages 95-96, pages 376-379). It discusses the contents of a meeting between Obama and the Cabinet (pages 196-197). Now, it has consistently been government policy, championed by Heywood, not to release details of conversations between the PM and US Presidents, or to release details of Cabinet discussions. A co-conspirator tested this by sending a very specific FoI request seeking the exact same information published in Sir Craig’s book. The Cabinet Office refused to disclose it on grounds of “prejudicing relations between the UK and any other State” and protecting Cabinet privacy.

So the Cabinet Office is on record that releasing this specific information could prejudice relations with the US. Why, then, was Sir Craig allowed to publish it?

Guido’s co-conspirator has spent the last year trying to find out. On 3 November 2016, in response to another FoI request, the Cabinet Office said Sir Craig “followed the process for publishing personal memoirs as set out in the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers”. In other words, nothing to see here.

Yet eight months later, in response to an internal review of the FoI response, on 27 July 2017 the Cabinet Office was forced to admit it “does not hold any recorded information to show there was a discussion prior to Mr Oliver signing a contract with a publisher”.

Hang on a minute. If there is no record in the Cabinet Office of any discussion prior to Sir Craig signing his book deal, how can he have possibly “followed the process” which requires “the permission of the Cabinet Secretary” before “entering into a contractual commitment”Uh oh…

The Cabinet Office say Sir Craig did submit his manuscript before publication, meaning Heywood could have prevented the release of restricted information but chose not to do so. This all raises several questions. First, Sir Craig could be in big trouble if the rules on securing permission before signing a book deal were not followed, as the Cabinet Office appeared to admit. Indeed the government has seized the profits of books which breached the rules before – an outcome which definitely wouldn’t be hilarious. Secondly, if Heywood did sign the book off prior to publication, why did he sanction the release of privileged information that the Cabinet Office says “prejudices relations” between the UK and US? It is hard to see how Sir Craig and Sir Cover-Up can both have kept to the rules. This could unleash some demons…




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Boris Johnson was shown a trophy monkey head as he toured a room of illegally-poached animals seized by Scotland Yard. He said:

“What’s this poor chap here? Faint air of a … Labour backbencher.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
BBC Still Ignoring Agent COB Story BBC Still Ignoring Agent COB Story
Moscow’s Man in Westminster Moscow’s Man in Westminster
Waterson New Guardian Media Editor Waterson New Guardian Media Editor
Tories Demand Agent COB Faces Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tories Demand Agent COB Faces Foreign Affairs Select Committee
Vaz Reported to National Crime Agency Over His Finances Vaz Reported to National Crime Agency Over His Finances
Bolton Sacked Bolton Sacked
Agent COB Was ‘Paid Informant’ Alleges Czech Spy Agent COB Was ‘Paid Informant’ Alleges Czech Spy
Sunday Show Highlights Sunday Show Highlights
No Facebook Engagement Drop Off Seen Here No Facebook Engagement Drop Off Seen Here
Adonis Tipped to Set Up Centrist Party and Be “British Macron” Adonis Tipped to Set Up Centrist Party and Be “British Macron”
Corbyn’s New Anti-Racism Campaign Star Sent N-Word, “Jew” and Hitler Tweets Corbyn’s New Anti-Racism Campaign Star Sent N-Word, “Jew” and Hitler Tweets
Corbynistas Openly Using McDonnell’s IRA Nickname Corbynistas Openly Using McDonnell’s IRA Nickname
Standard Deliveroo Love-In Standard Deliveroo Love-In
Gotcha! Commie Corbyn Gotcha! Commie Corbyn
Oxfam Failed to Ban Staff Using Prostitutes Because of “Civil Liberties” Oxfam Failed to Ban Staff Using Prostitutes Because of “Civil Liberties”
Labour MP to Voter: “P*ss Off” Labour MP to Voter: “P*ss Off”
EXCLUSIVE: May’s Chief of Staff in Late Night Porn Shocker EXCLUSIVE: May’s Chief of Staff in Late Night Porn Shocker
Equalities Commission Slams Labour… Again Equalities Commission Slams Labour… Again
Tory MP Plans to (Le)Go Big Online Tory MP Plans to (Le)Go Big Online
Terror Cops Probe White Powder Sent to Parliament Terror Cops Probe White Powder Sent to Parliament