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Tuesday 1st May 2012 | 10:41
Under what circumstances should a Minister resign? When I was studying A-Level Politics a classic case was the Crichel-Down Affair when Agriculture Minister Sir Thomas Dugdale, resigned because of failings by his civil servants.
Lord Carrington similarly sacrificed himself over the failures that led to the invasion of the Falkland Islands. More recently Ministers have left office when there has been no major failing of their Departments but there has been a loud press cry. Liam Fox’s resignation was in this category as was the second resignation of Peter, now Lord, Mandelson.
Alastair Campbell is credited with the rule that Ministers had to go after a certain number of days on the front page. This has been bad for politics as it has led to a rapid turnover of Ministers. It is unrealistic to expect people to be able to do their job well if they are only in post for a year or two. In business, executives usually have five years or more before they move on.
This leads on to the Jeremy Hunt affair. He is currently under pressure because of an inquiry into the power of the media which illustrates the very power that is being investigated. As yet the evidence of wrongdoing is trivial but it has not provided good publicity for the Government.
Nonetheless, if we are to be well-governed we need Ministers who are secure in their jobs and hold them for most of a Parliament. The merry-go-round helps nobody. Resignations ought to be rare and when the error is grievous.
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