Greens raise alarm about creation of parallel government machinery

The Green Party has raised serious concerns over Michael Gove’s appointment of four new non-execs to the Cabinet Office. [1]

It has been announced this week that Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, has appointed Lord Hogan-Howe, Baroness Finn, Henry de Zoete and the Rt Hon Gisela Stuart as Non-Executive Board Members to the Cabinet Office, extending the role of non-accountable appointees at the heart of the government.

The news follows the revelation that a senior Home Office counter-terrorism official, who is expected to become the next director general of MI6 next year, has been appoointed to take charge of the government’s new biosecurity centre, which will decide on the UK’s coronavirus threat levels. [2]

Green Peer Jenny Jones has called on the government to clarify how these appointments were made and who they are accountable to.

Baroness Jones said:

“The Government has serious questions to answer over how powerful positions can be given to unelected officials, a process that strikes at the heart of democratic processes.

“Boris Johnson has given the power to decide when people are able to leave their homes to a school-friend with no medical expertise, while Michael Gove has been able to appoint four people, three of whom have previously worked for him, to positions of great influence with very little oversight.

“Our political system relies on clear accountability and power being held with those who are elected, while the advice of civil servants has to be independent and used as the basis for political decisions.

“Without these conditions, we are quite simply not living in a democracy.”