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Ivan Lewis MP, Labour's Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, has written to Gus O'Donnell requesting transparency about the process through which Andy Coulson was appointed at No 10.

The full text of the letter is below:

Sir Gus O’Donnell
Cabinet Secretary
Cabinet Office
70 Whitehall
London
SW1A 2AS
 
11 July 2011
 
Dear Gus,
 
The decision to bring Andy Coulson into government and employ him as a special adviser was the Prime Minister’s and one which many people have questioned.
 
However, the process through which Mr Coulson was appointed to No 10 is handled by civil servants and, in order to have confidence in that process in the future, needs to be transparent.
 
With that in mind, I would request that you, as Head of the Civil Service, make public the answers to the following questions.

  • Did the Prime Minister or any of his advisers tell you or other civil servants about any warnings they had received about Mr Coulson’s prior conduct?
  • Will you now ensure that all records across government, including emails, that are communications from, to or about Andy Coulson are retained and can be examined by the inquiry?
  • Did the Deputy Prime Minister raise any concerns about Mr Coulson with you or other officials?
  • Did any officials receive warnings about Mr Coulson themselves or raise their own concerns with you?
  • Did the Prime Minister or any of his advisers provide you any background checks they had done?
  • Do you now feel that the vetting process was sufficiently robust and that no one provided false information to it?


For too long, there has been insufficient transparency on these issues and, given the public interest, I am releasing this correspondence to the press.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Ivan Lewis MP
Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary

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