No.10 Not Keen on Tina | Hancock Forced Through Controversial Charities Appointment

Penny Mourdant is getting tough on the charity sector today, telling a London summit “now is the time for action” in the wake of the sex abuse scandal. There’s talk of a creating new body to oversee the sector. Before splashing any more cash on a new watchdog, the government should take a look at the current regulator…

Last week former Tory minister Tina Stowell was unveiled as the new chair of the Charity Commission. Her appointment was controversial: MPs across the House voiced concern about her inexperience and lack of political neutrality. Tory MP Rebecca Pow asked “do you not think a little more experience would be more helpful?” The DCMS committee unanimously voted not to back the appointment, with chairman Damian Collins saying:

“This is the first time that this Committee has not supported the government’s candidate, and it is not a decision that we have taken lightly.”

Charity sources point to the timetable for selecting the chair. On December 5 last year the government said an announcement was “imminent”. Then the announcement was put back to January, before again being delayed until last week. What took so long?

Number 10 are publicly backing Stowell: “She has the full backing. We have no doubt she’s the right person for the job and nothing in the letter from the committee changes our view”. But Guido hears the delay was because her candidature met with reticence inside Number 10 – not least because Stowell has previously slagged off the PM, writing: “It’s safe to say that Theresa May will not be remembered as a brilliant politician”. Her appointment was pushed through by Matt Hancock. If Number 10, MPs and the DCMS committee don’t think Stowell is the best woman for the job, is she really the right person to overseeing a sector in crisis?

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