11 thoughts on “British government-Big Business revolving door

  1. Saturday 25th March 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    by Felicity Collier

    A SLEAZE watchdog will probe MPs taking on second jobs following former chancellor George Osborne’s controversial appointment as editor of the Evening Standard.

    The Commons committee on standards announced yesterday that it would look again at its 2009 guidance that second jobs are acceptable as long as voters are informed about them at the time of the election.

    It will consider the “reasonable limit” that could be applied to an MP’s outside interests.

    Lord Bew of the committee told Radio 4’s Today programme: “The question for us — and it’s not just a function of the recent case — is has that compromise been working properly?

    “Do we need to look again at what the reasonable limit might be for an MP’s outside interests?

    “We will make a further submission on ‘reasonable limits’ for outside interests to the Commons committee on standards’s ongoing inquiry into the Code of Conduct for MPs.

    “We will be holding a short review to inform our submission.”

    The public are invited to make submissions to the review.

    The chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life insisted that the review was not prompted purely by the Osborne case, insisting it had been under consideration for some time.



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  4. Friday 4th August 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    By Solomon Hughes

    In 2010 David Cameron gave a speech in which he outlined “the next big scandal waiting to happen.”

    Cameron said: “I’m talking about lobbying — and we all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisers for hire, helping big business find the right way to get its way.”

    Since then Cameron’s ex-ministers and ex-advisers have shown they took Cameron’s speech not as a warning, but as advice. They are queuing up to be “for hire” to “big business.” James Chapman is the latest in the queue.

    For the last year Chapman has been a special adviser to Brexit Secretary David Davis. Before that he was director for communications for then-chancellor (now Evening Standard editor) George Osborne.

    In July he became a “partner” in the “political practice” of lobbyists Bell Pottinger. The company has a long history of scandal.

    In 2011, undercover reporters from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism spoke to the company, claiming to be representatives of the government of Uzbekistan trying to get a better image. The journalists picked Uzbekistan because of its terrible record on human rights and child labour.

    Bell Pottinger was happy to take the meeting, and suggested it had an inside track to the Tory leadership. Its boss, Tim Collins, told the undercover reporters: “I’ve been working with people like Steve Hilton [Cameron’s close adviser], David Cameron, George Osborne for 20 years-plus. There is not a problem getting the messages through.”

    His colleague suggested Bell Pottinger could “facilitate” a meeting between then-prime minister Cameron and then-Uzbek president Islam Karimov.

    So Bell Pottinger seems to perfectly fit Cameron’s complaints of “money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest.”

    The advisory committee on business appointments (ACOBA), the weak-jawed watchdog which is supposed to police the “revolving door” between business and politics, approved Chapman’s new job. It said he should not “lobby” the government for clients.

    According to ACOBA: “Mr Chapman said that there could be very occasional, informal contact with special advisers or government ministers, such as if a client was invited to a stakeholder event organised by a government department.

    “He made clear to the committee that any such contact would not involve lobbying government, but rather ‘straightforward exchanges of information’.”

    ACOBA accepted Chapman’s argument — which shows that there is no real policing of lobbying.

    Chapman is free to meet ministers and special advisers, because he has given his word he will be “straightforward” when working for Bell Pottinger.



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