Business Secretary’s absence from EAC’s “important” session criticised

Kwasi Kwarteng informed the committee he was not able to attend a few hours before the session starts

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has slammed the Business Secretary’s last-minute decision to pull out of one session held yesterday.

On Wednesday morning, the Business Secretary wrote a letter to inform the EAC that he was not able to attend the evidence session which was in the afternoon.

The EAC said: “In Britain’s energy price crisis since the 1970s, Kwasi Kwarteng writes to pull out of today’s important evidence session, having agreed to it on 13th June.

“He gives no explanation, nor apology. This is not the way for senior ministers to treat scrutiny.”

Kwasi Kwarteng was expected to take questions from the EAC on the government’s policies and programmes in accelerating the transition from fossil fuels.

In his letter, Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Parliamentary scrutiny of government is a key principle for our political system and one I personally hold as critically important to the effective and transparent functioning of our democracy.

“Given the importance of the topic, I have asked my private office and parliamentary teams to work with your clerks to find a time at your earliest convenience once the House returns in September.”

A BEIS spokesperson told ELN: “Ministerial diaries are always subject to change and unforeseen urgent issues. We have asked the committee to find an alternative time at its earliest convenience once the House returns.

“Since becoming a BEIS minister, the Secretary of State has appeared before parliamentary committees on 16 occasions, including twice before the EAC.”

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