Ministerial clarification

January 21, 2010

You kindly reported my comment that ministers should have the discretion to choose and replace their own advisers ("We 'just don't like them' is adequate reason to dismiss advisers, claims shadow science minister", www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, 15 January).

May I clarify that my remarks do not imply that I believe advisers should be dismissed contrary to the terms of their engagement or best practice. Ministers must carry the can with the electorate for these and other decisions they make in office, and the Conservative Party supports the Sense About Science principles on independent scientific advice as a good basis for a new framework governing the provision of independent scientific advice in government.

While it may be right that a minister has the power to dismiss for any reason they see fit - within the guidelines and subject to the law - I certainly would not advocate it.

Adam Afriyie MP, Shadow Minister for Science and Innovation.

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