Michael Gove and a number of his advisers are being investigated after evidence emerged that suggested they attempted to make e-mailed discussions unavailable to freedom of information requests from the public.
E-mails sent between Mr Gove and his advisers appear to show government business was conducted using private, not official e-mail addresses, meaning they could not be scrutinised by anyone through use of the Freedom of Information Act. The Information Commissioner is said to be investigating the claims after being contacted by the Financial Times, which has seen the correspondence.
In one e-mail, Domonic Cummings, Mr Gove's chief political aide, wrote to colleagues saying that he "will not answer further emails to my official DfE account or from conservatives.com – i will only answer things that come from gmail account from people who i know who they are".
It continues: "i suggest that you do the same in general but thats obv up to you guys – i can explain in person the reason for this." The e-mail was sent to one other adviser, a former special adviser and four Conservative Party officials. Shadow Education Secretary, Andy Burnham, said: "Mr Gove must make an urgent statement to clarify whether, at all times, his department has followed the letter of the law."