A lovely spat is developing in Westminster as the government tries desperately to add another quango to its bonfire.
The dispute started with the Ministry of Justice declaring it wanted rid of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council, which monitors legal tribunals and ombudsman rulings, to save around £700,000. However ministers hadn’t reckoned with the Commons justice select committee. It questioned the claimed savings and doubted the capacity of the MoJ to take over its functions.
The response from justice minister Helen Grant? In a letter dated 15 April, she said she was ‘disappointed’ that committee members remained unconvinced by evidence but that her intention ‘remains to proceed with abolition’. An obviously disgruntled committee responded in turn that it had not received Grant’s letter directly, an omission it described as ‘seriously discourteous’.
It continued: ‘We draw to the attention of both houses the reservations expressed in our original report, none of which are addressed in the government’s very brief response.’
Minister, we believe it’s your turn.