Civil servants 'doctored Hansard'
A minister instructed civil servants to "doctor" Hansard to remove objectionable comments, the House of Commons heard today.
Luciana Berger told MPs debating the business of the House that junior Communities Minister Andrew Stunell had persuaded officers in his department to change the record of a Westminster Hall debate. She said: "I was in the unfortunate situation on Tuesday in my Housing Market Renewal Westminster Hall debate of having before me a minister who wasn't adequately able to answer the debate. He was clearly out of his depth, and referred to very serious issues experienced by my constituents as 'sob stories'."
She said those at the debate asked the minister to withdraw his comments but he did not. She added: "Realising he had made a mistake he got his civil servants to doctor the record which two days later has still not been corrected."
The corrected Hansard currently refers to Mr Stunell as saying "we all bring different stories and different perspectives to the debate", while the video of the debate shows the minister saying: "We all bring different sob stories and different perspectives to this."
Sir George replied that "it is not so far as I am aware, possible to doctor the record. The Hansard report reports faithfully that which is said."
A spokesman for the Communities and Local Government department said: "These claims are incorrect. Hansard accurately reflects what the Minister said and there has been absolutely no attempt to change it."