Please see below the text as taken from Hansard of Sir Chris's Question to The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in the House of Commons Towns Fund Debate:
May I ask my right hon. Friend to comment on the element of the Public Accounts Committee report that says his Department misrepresented the National Audit Office by falsely asserting that it had concluded that the selection process had been robust? I ask that because it is important, surely, that the Government respect the work of the National Audit Office—now more than ever, when we are in an enormous public expenditure crisis. Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that he and other Ministers will respect the work of the National Audit Office?
As a former member of the Public Accounts Committee and a former Treasury Minister, I hold our colleagues at the National Audit Office in the highest esteem. They prepared a report that informed the hearing that was held by the Public Accounts Committee. At the Committee hearing, the permanent secretary of my Department gave evidence, answered questions and made it very clear that, in his opinion, a robust procedure had been followed. In my opinion, it was disappointing that the Chair of the Committee chose to give comments even before she had held that hearing, as that rather suggested that her approach was more partisan than one would expect from the Chair of that Committee.
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