Spottiswoode faces grilling over gas job

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The Independent Online
MPs last night demanded publication of a secret Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) inquiry into the appointment of Clare Spottiswoode, the controversial director-general of Ofgas, the gas consumer watchdog, writes Mary Fagan.

The call came after the DTI said it had held an inquiry and found no grounds for further action over Ms Spottiswoode's appointment to the pounds 70,000-a-year job.

Ms Spottiswoode is due to appear before a House of Commons select committee this afternoon and is likely to face harsh questioning from MPs, particularly on her close relationship with the DTI and British Gas.

She said when she took up her job last year that she went to a head-hunter who told her of her suitability for the post of director-general of gas supply. She acknowledged that she was not a senior industrialist, which the Government had wanted, but said that her experience in business and at the Treasury, where she worked for three years, qualified her for the post.

She caused a furore on her appearance before the committee in March by saying her predecessor, Sir James McKinnon, had acted illegally and exceeded his powers in allowing the cost of energy saving schemes to be passed on to gas consumers. She later retracted her comments.