Dan has quizzed the government and the country's leading civil servant over the vetting of Lord Ashcroft.
Ashcroft, who ploughed millions of pounds into the Conservative Party’s 2010 election campaign, was rewarded by David Cameron and Liam Fox with a job leading the review of UK military bases in Cyprus.
Speaking this morning, Jarvis explained, “I am deeply concerned that no one, either at the Ministry of Defence or Number 10, has so far been prepared to outline the vetting procedure that Lord Ashcroft went through. I understand this is a difficult time for the Prime Minister, and there is a lot of scrutiny on his vetting procedures, but given the sensitive nature of this position, the person tasked with conducting the review should have been properly vetted.”
He continued, “Both the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence and myself have asked Liam Fox to explain what security clearance Lord Ashcroft has received in order to allow him to be privy to sensitive information that leading the review will require him to consider. So far, Dr Fox has only answered by suggesting, ‘Lord Ashcroft has been given the appropriate security clearance.’”
“In light of the allegations that Andy Coulson was not properly vetted despite being privy to some of the most security sensitive meetings anyone in the country will ever have, I want the government to be transparent and explain what security clearance Ashcroft has. After they have provided the public with this information, I want them to properly explain why he is the best man to undertake this extremely complex job.”
Mr Jarvis has written to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, asking him to outline whether he was satisfied with the clearance Lord Ashcroft was granted.