Blog article07th September 2011
PM aide at centre of employment law row
One of David Cameron's aides was condemned as a "renegade" on Tuesday after it emerged he was trying to derail new employment rights for temporary workers, the Evening Standard reports. Downing Street director of strategy Steve Hilton was criticised for undermining a policy approved by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, adding to tensions inside the Cabinet. The row broke out after it was revealed Mr Hilton secretly employed a barrister to challenge Mr Cable's policies, with the aide apparently worried about the effects of red tape on businesses. It has been estimated the policy will cost firms about £2 billion a year.
Officials in number 10 said Mr Cameron was not aware of the legal challenge, as they tried to avoid worsening divisions inside Cabinet. "Vince makes the decisions on this policy area, not Steve Hilton," a source in the business department told the Evening Standard. "He is not in a position to act unilaterally." Another Lib Dem figure said: "Hilton is just a renegade." The European Union's agency workers directive will take effect next month, and see temporary workers get the same rights as full-time staff to pay, holiday and maternity leave.