Diary - taking oral evidence from two secretaries of state

Up to London to attend our Defence Select Committee. Over the airwaves came welcome news from the PM. A spending boost of £5 billion will see investment in homes and infrastructure. Mr Johnson added that plans set out in the Tory election manifesto would be speeded up and "intensified." At 1400, I was seated in the Boothroyd Room to take oral evidence from three distinguished guests. We thought it was the first time we'd had two Secretaries of State giving evidence at the same time. The first was Ben Wallace,, who was appointed Secretary of State for Defence on 24 July 2019. Prior to this role Mr Wallace was Minister of State for Security at the Home Office from July 2016, making him the UK’s longest serving Security Minister. He has also served as a whip, Northern Ireland Minister and as a Parliamentary Private Secretary. Mr Wallace first entered politics as a Member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. He
was elected to the UK House of Parliament in 2005 as the MP for Lancaster and Wyre. In 2008, he was awarded ‘Campaigner of the Year’ by The Spectator. Before entering politics, the Secretary of State worked as a ski instructor in Austria before commissioning as an Officer into the Scots Guards. During the 1990s he saw service in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Central America. He was mentioned in dispatches in 1992. Wallace became a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, as a list MSP for North East Scotland. From 2003 to 2005 he was overseas director of the aerospace company QinetiQ. Our second guest was Oliver Dowden CBE, who was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 13 February 2020. He was previously Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office from 24 July 2019 to 13 February 2020, and Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office from 9 January 2018 to 24 July 2019. He was elected Conservative MP for Hertsmere in May 2015. He  was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Dissolution Honours List on 27 August 2015. The third contributor was Ciaran Martin , the first CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre. Having been appointed as head of cyber security at GCHQ in December 2013, he recommended the establishment of a National Cyber Security Centre within the intelligence and security agency. Prior to joining GCHQ, Ciaran was Constitution Director at the Cabinet Office from 2011, helping to agree the framework for the Scottish independence referendum. From 2008-11 he was Director of Security and Intelligence at the Cabinet Office. His public service career has also included a series of roles in elsewhere in the Cabinet Office and in HM Treasury and the National Audit Office. He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to international and global cyber security. The lengthy session can be found on Hansard, but our questions concentrated on the future of 5G, the threat from high-risk vendors such as Huawei and diversifying the network. Meanwhile, the Immigration Bill was being debated in the Chamber. At 1800, there were five votes. Outside the Westminster bubble, more bad news for the economy. The aerospace giant, Airbus, said it planned to cut 15,000 jobs as it dealt with the effects of the coronavirus crisis. It will cut 1,700 jobs in the UK, along with thousands more in Germany, Spain and elsewhere.