I have been touched by several good suggestions for the response to the important letter from Penny Maws about the Irish loan. However, as it has come into my possession I thought you might like to see the original.
Dear Mrs Maws,
Dame Lucy has asked me to reply to your letter. She wishes you to know that she intends to treat it as a draft, and suggests that on reflection you withdraw it. She was not pleased to be troubled over a week-end with such a pointless intervention.
Dame Lucy pointed out that no Minister has raised any issue concerning the legality of the monies they have agreed to spend, so there is no need to produce any further briefing on this issue. The Chancellor himself has said that the previous Chancellor did commit the UK to acting in this way.
She thinks it obvious that “exceptional occurrences” is a deliberately wide ranging phrase, different from natural disasters. It is more than adequate for the purposes in question.
She was particularly dismissive of your lack of understanding of how the European Union works. She points out as further reassurance that any case would ultimately fall to the European Court for decision. Who, she says, would be foolish enough to raise this matter of authority in such a forum at such a time?
She suggest that in future you should think before assuming that these important matters had not been thought through by your boss, Dr Roy Spendlove, and herself. At a time of considerable financial tension it is important to show solidarity to the common endeavour.
She accepts this may come up in Parliament, which is exactly why UK Parliamentary approval will also be sought.
I will not file your incoming draft and look forward to your telephone confirmation that you wish to withdraw it.
Assistant to Dame Lucy Doolittle