What is the point of having an independent adviser on the Ministerial Code if he or she is never consulted?
When it came to Liam Fox and his friend Adam Werritty, Sir Philip Mawer's services were not required. Neither does the Prime Minister deem those of his replacement, Sir Alex Allan, necessary now, despite the admission of "inappropriate" contact between Jeremy Hunt's office and News Corp even as the Culture Secretary was charged with ruling on the company's bid to take over BSkyB. David Cameron said again yesterday that he was waiting for Mr Hunt to give evidence under oath to the Leveson Inquiry, later this month, to avoid duplication. Nothing Sir Alex could do would be so robust, he claimed.
But Mr Cameron can only be playing for time. When the issue in the balance is so grave, there is no defensible cause for dragging the matter out. Sir Alex must be called, and fast.