Stephen Twigg writes to DfE Permanent Secretary over @Toryeducation “extortion” claims

February 11, 2013 4:52 pm

The questions rage on about the behaviour of Tory Spads and the now infamous @Toryeducation Twitter account. The latest development is a letter from Stephen Twigg to the DfE Permanent Secretary, regarding “a very serious allegation – of extortion – against someone who I understand is still working at the Department.” The letter is published below in full:

 

Chris Wormald

Permanent Secretary

Department for Education

Sanctuary Buildings

Great Smith Street

London SW1P 3BT

11 February 2013

Dear Chris,

You will be aware of a report in The Observer this weekend regarding claims of intimidation by Dominic Cummings, Special Adviser to the Secretary of State and James Frayne, the former Director of Communications at the Department for Education which resulted in a payout of £25,000 to the claimant.

The Education Secretary was asked by Ian Mearns MP during an evidence session of the Education Select Committee on 23 January 2013, if he was aware of “allegations of SpAds acting inappropriately to civil servants within the Department”. He denied any knowledge.

Could I ask you to confirm who took responsibility in the Department for the £25,000 payout and that the Secretary of State was not informed of the case?

The twitter account named @toryeducation has continued to make personal attacks, including about this case. It has been claimed that this twitter feed is updated by Dominic Cummings.

The account appears to know details of the case, which were not been made public in the Observer report, specifically that the case allegedly involved a woman. On 9 February at 9:11pm, it tweeted:

“Pop quiz Mulholland: do u think Cummings said ‘pay her off secretly’ or ‘fight the case publicly’?”

The account tweeted at 6:54am yesterday, that the bullying case was a “shakedown” following redundancies in the department:

“One of them brings standard shakedown legal case v DfE”

That is a very serious allegation – of extortion – against someone who I understand is still working at the Department.

Have you investigated who is responsible for updating the @toryeducation account?

You will be aware that both special advisers and civil servants are bound by a code of conduct, which precludes them from making personal attacks.

Three weeks ago I wrote suggesting that you to launch an investigation into the briefing against Tim Loughton. I am yet to receive a reply to this request. Can I ask what action has been taken to date?

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Twigg MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Education

Latest

  • Comment Labour’s new way forward for higher education

    Labour’s new way forward for higher education

    At 3.50pm on Friday 16 October 1964, Harold Wilson’s office took the call from the Queen’s Private Secretary, who politely asked if it would be convenient for Mr Wilson to come and see Her Majesty. That Friday afternoon, Labour became the first opposition since 1906 to evict a sitting Conservative government and while Labour’s win was narrow and our victory was the triumph for the bold and optimistic story we told about how Britain could face the future and master […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour suspends Bedfordshire PCC

    Labour suspends Bedfordshire PCC

    The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Bedfordshire has been suspended from the Labour Party. Not to be confused with the resignation of South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright from the Labour Party in light of the child abuse scandal in Rotherham, Olly Martins was suspended from the party yesterday. This decision comes after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) yesterday released the results of an investigation into allegations that Martins discussed confidential information about the death of Leon Briggs – […]

    Read more →
  • Featured PCC Shaun Wright resigns from Labour over Rotherham abuse scandal

    PCC Shaun Wright resigns from Labour over Rotherham abuse scandal

    Shaun Wright, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) accused of failing to act on the mounting evidence of child abuse in Rotherham, has resigned from the Labour Party. However, he has not left his post as commissioner. Wright, who was responsible for child services on Rotherham Council, faced calls from Labour to leave his post and the Party was expected to suspend him as a member today if he still remained. There is no process in place to […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured The left must be concerned with the state of the state

    The left must be concerned with the state of the state

    The appalling conclusions coming out of the report into child sexual abuse in Rotherham should concern us all. On an individual level at least 1,400 people have had their lives shattered. These people were some of the most powerless and often the most reliant on the services provided for them by the state. They have been let down and let down badly. So too were many of the front line workers within the state apparatus who tried to support them […]

    Read more →
  • Comment It’s morally wrong to make patients pay for hospital parking

    It’s morally wrong to make patients pay for hospital parking

    Over the Bank Holiday weekend the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was trumpeting his new ‘ground rules’ to address rip-off hospital car parking. Any action to curb extortionate car parking prices at hospitals should be welcomed. However, reading these new ‘principles’ it appears they are not enforceable. My assumption was confirmed when the Department of Health answered a tweet from me by stating that ‘NHS Trusts will be held accountable to local people and organisations that represent them e.g. HealthWatch’. This […]

    Read more →