By Steven Robson
The secretary of state for Scotland has revoked claims he is to be reported to the Commons procedure committee for failing to respond to written letters from MPs.
Michael Moore MP was heavily criticised in an article in a Scottish national newspaper. The report claimed that Moore is to face the committee for failing to reply to to written letters. The article stated: “He is meant to be Scotland’s voice in the Cabinet, but he has also come under scrutiny over what he is doing in office.”
Moore, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk has since denied these claims. A Scotland Office spokesman said: “The procedure committee, as of this morning, has not received any complaint about Scotland Office questions.” He added: “In September, we answered 100% of [parliamentary questions] within five sitting days.”
This claim was backed up by the clerk of the procedure committee, who said: “There is no truth in this story, no complaints have been submitted.” The Clerk confirmed, “An enquiry looking into how MPs respond to written letters will take place in the next few weeks, however, no MPs have been reported at this time.”
Many MPs have been particularly vocal on this issue, with shadow Scottish Secretary, Ann McKechin MP expressing numerous doubts over Michael Moore’s position. East Lothian Labour MP Fiona O’Donnell added: “If he is Scotland’s voice in the Cabinet, it is clearly a whisper not a roar.”Neither Members of Parliament were available to comment at this time.
Cabinet Office guidance on parliamentary questions states departments should “endeavour to respond to questions for ordinary written within a working week of tabling”. This is different for named day questions, where departments must provide an answer on the day named by the MP.