Magazine article Public Finance

Memoirs Spark New Gagging Orders

Magazine article Public Finance

Memoirs Spark New Gagging Orders

Article excerpt

Senior civil servants will shortly be asked to sign a confidentiality declaration and assign copyright to the Crown for information relating to their work, under plans to prevent the publication of sensitive Whitehall memoirs.

Cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell last week became the first civil servant to sign an amended version of the civil service management code.

This makes the disclosure of sensitive information relating to the conduct of Whitehall business difficult without government or Cabinet Office consent.

O'Donnell acted amid growing concern about memoirs, such as those published by Sir Christopher Meyer, the UK's former ambassador to the United States, which revealed details of the UK's discussions with its international allies before the war in Iraq.

Ministers, O'Donnell and other senior Whitehall staff were also unhappy about the serialisation of Meyer's memoirs, which contained personal comments about ministers, in a national newspaper. …

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