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Tonje Brenna, Control and Constitution Committee

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Tonje Brenna, Control and Constitution Committee

Manager This is a leader. The editor expresses the newspaper’s position.

The Control and Constitution Committee has insisted that Tonje Brenna (Ap) should receive “criticism” in connection with the disqualification case when she was minister of knowledge. The decision is made against a minority proposal to the Conservative Party and FRP, which believed that Brenna should receive “strong criticism”.

The proposal did not receive support from other parties when the proposal was drawn up. But now

both Krf and MDG have announced that they are turning. They, too, will vote for Brenna to receive “strong criticism”, not just criticism.

The reason why MDG and Krf sharpened their criticism in the case is that a few hours after the committee came up with its recommendation, new information emerged regarding Brenna’s competence as Minister of Knowledge.

Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported on 28 February that Tonje Brenna already in May 2022 received relevant internal notes from the civil service in the Ministry of Education.

These notes are exempt from public disclosure, and were not submitted to the control and constitution committee.

Through these internal notes, Brenna was informed that the Wergelandsenteret and Utøya AS collaborated on a school project, for which the Wergelandsenteret applied for several million kroner in support.

The center got it, through the state budget. According to a summary in DN, Brenna granted five million for the school project in 2023. Of this, NOK 2.1 million went to Utøya as.

This means that the deputy leader of Ap can already in 2022 have shown that the millions the government distributed benefited Utøya AS.

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Brenna’s ex-partner, with whom she has two children, sits on the board of Utøya AS, as well as two of Brenna’s friends. Only in June 2023 did Brenna admit that she should have assessed her competence in this matter earlier.

Brenna believes that nothing significant new appears in these internal documents that DN mentions. But it is completely impossible for the Storting to know, all the while they have not seen the documents themselves.

The problem here is that even the Storting’s control body, which is supposed to ensure that trust in our ministers is intact, has not had access to important documentation in this case.

The so-called internal documents are not available to the public, nor to the control and constitutional committee.

Strong criticism does not entail immediate consequences for either the government or the minister. This can only happen through a vote of no confidence, which means that a minister must resign.

Tonje Brenna is currently Minister for Employment and Inclusion, in addition to being deputy leader of Ap. It is unlikely that this will change. She enjoys the full confidence of Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Ap).

But it is a strong signal that MDG and Krf want to intensify their criticism of Brenna, even if they do not form a majority in the committee.

It will not bring her down, but it may mean that the civil service and ministers take more care in the future.

It is unheard of that the civil service does not present the full information in such serious cases to the Storting’s Control and Constitution Committee.

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