Cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill to be questioned by MPs about work of government and Priti Patel – live news | Politics

Good morning. House of Commons select committees finally started sitting last week, and this morning much of Westminster will be focused on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC), where Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, is giving evidence.

Sedwill is the most powerful civil servant in Whitehall and even in quiet times his job is fascinating. More recently, for a host of reasons, he has found himself at the centre of the news agenda. This is what the committee is saying about the hearing.


Following the resignation of Sir Philip Rutnam, formerly permanent secretary to the Home Office, and his allegation of constructive dismissal and bullying against the home secretary, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, the committee will examine the working relationships between government ministers and officials. This is likely to include the role of the cabinet secretary in resolving disputes and the provisions of the ministerial code.

The wide-ranging session will also investigate other topical issues, including the appointment, terms of employment and accountability of special advisers (SPADs); changes to the machinery of government and to the constitution; and preparations for the 2021 census. The committee will also ask about the work of the Cabinet Office more broadly.

In theory the hearing should be gripping. But in practice – well, maybe not. Cabinet secretaries are a bit like the Queen; they may know everything, but they have also perfected the art of speaking at length in public without giving anything much away. We will find out soon whether PACAC has enough guile to tempt Sedwill into making news.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.45am: Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, gives evidence to the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee.

11.30am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, takes questions in the Commons.

After 12.30pm: MPs begin debating the remaining stages of the telecommunications infrastructure (leasehold property) bill. As my colleague Kate Proctor reports, Tory rebels wants to force a vote on an amendment that would force the government to remove Huawei from the UK’s 5G network by the end of 2022.

3.15pm: John Bercow, the former Commons Speaker, speaks at a conference on Parliament and Brexit.

As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary when I wrap up.

I will be covering some Westminster coronavirus developments, but our main coronavirus coverage is here, on our special live blog.

You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here. Here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.

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