Why Mark Malloch Brown quit…

The Sunday Times has a piece today on Mark Malloch Brown’s reasons for standing down as a Foreign Office minister – based on detailed quotes from a “colleague”.  Excerpts:

“Mark said that the goldfish bowl nature of Westminster and the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle meant there wasa lack of strategic thinking in British politics – on both sides of the political divide.  [He] felt there was a contrast between the professionalism and long-term planning that happened in the countries where he acted as a consultant [such as Chile and the Philippines] and the chaotic nature of Whitehall.”

Also this:

Behind the scenes Malloch-Brown tried to lobby Brown to uphold his promise to hold a “comprehensive” inquiry into the Iraq war. However, when last month Brown announced the investigation was to be carried out in secret, Malloch-Brown was furious.

“Mark was incandescent. This was not what why he signed up to being a minister,” said a colleague. “He tried to contact the prime minister, but he was away travelling. In the end he spoke to Gus O’Donnell [the cabinet secretary] and told him what he thought.”

Within days of the prime minister’s original statement, the government executed a U-turn and said that some hearings would after all be held in public. “Mark was satisfied with the final outcome,” said a colleague. “But I think the incident left a sour taste.”

Full article here.