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Civil servant recalled to Commons committee following 'unsatisfactory' evidence

Published 13/04/2016

Keith Vaz excused Oliver Robbins from his appearance in front of the committee because he said his evidence was
Keith Vaz excused Oliver Robbins from his appearance in front of the committee because he said his evidence was "unsatisfactory"

A top Whitehall mandarin is being hauled back before a powerful Commons committee after defying its MPs.

Oliver Robbins was kicked out of a Home Affairs hearing on Tuesday because the answers he gave were "unsatisfactory".

The second permanent secretary at the Home Office was told to contact MPs with the information they wanted by 6pm but failed to do so.

Labour's Keith Vaz has written to the senior civil servant calling for him to give evidence again next Tuesday.

The committee chairman grew increasingly frustrated with Mr Robbins during his brief appearance to discuss the work of his department.

After the official sidestepped a string of questions about whether the head of the Border Force, Sir Charles Montgomery, had been told what his budget for the year was, Mr Vaz threatened to hold him in contempt.

Labour has previously claimed the Home Office is trying to hide cuts to its finances.

Mr Robbins insisted it was "not easy to answer it in a simple yes or no".

Just 20 minutes into his rocky appearance, the civil servant was told to leave.

Mr Vaz said: "I'm going to excuse you from this committee because I think your evidence so far has been unsatisfactory."

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