Andrew Mitchell raises concerns about the treatment of whistleblowers.
The right hon. Gentleman and I have both worked on the general issue of whistleblowing. I pay tribute to his leadership on the matter, along with that of my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling (Stephen Kerr), who I hope will catch your eye later, Mr Deputy Speaker.
The right hon. Gentleman is making some very good points, and we know two things. First, we know there is strong concern across the country about how whistleblowers are being treated. We see it in the west midlands, and he is articulating the point. Secondly, we know whistleblowers help to ensure proper accountability and transparency. In my view, the work that he and others are doing on whistleblowing has not received anything like the amplification it requires.
May I take my hon. Friend back to the last comment made by the right hon. Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb)? He talked about the importance of an office for the whistleblower and addressed the critical problem of the lack of effective high-level co-ordinating leadership, and in my view a national office for the whistleblower would be the answer. Does my hon. Friend agree that the creation of a national office for the whistleblower—to protect, advise and support whistleblowers by overseeing, co-ordinating, setting standards and holding to account the regulators and employers—is the right way to proceed? The vital point is that it would not investigate cases of whistleblowing; it would ensure that cases are properly investigated by existing bodies, identify failings and successes, and propose systemic improvements that would help to get us out of this very difficult situation.