Cabinet Secretary considers Booth's remarks over Tories

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, is this week expected to decide whether Sir Clive Booth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, breached rules governing non-departmental public bodies when he criticised the Conservative Party's attitude towards the National Lottery.

Last month shadow culture minister Jeremy Hunt made a formal complaint to O’Donnell over Booth’s claim that the Tories were “hostile to the voluntary sector” and needed a “lesson in elementary arithmetic” (Third Sector Online, 8 February).

The Tories described Booth’s comments, which were made in an interview with Third Sector, as “wholly inappropriate” for a public servant who is supposed to be politically neutral. Booth has conceded that he might have been “too graphic” in his language but has repeatedly refused to apologise or retract his criticisms.

Booth was formally appointed as BLF chair in December 2006. A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media & Sport confirmed that he is contracted to remain in post until 30 November 2010.

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