Charity Commission Retracts Official Warning to the IEA

The Charity Commission has sheepishly withdrawn the warning it had issued to the Institute of Economic Affairs in February after accepting that their initial response was disproportionate. The warning had been issued earlier this year over the launch of a Brexit-related trade paper, Plan A+. Funnily enough they haven’t given the retraction as much of a media push as they did when they issued it…

The IEA say they are “delighted that the Charity Commission has decided to withdraw the Official Warning with immediate effect”, despite this Guido can still see the warning on the Charity Commission website this morning. Think tank charities publish policy proposals the whole time without the Charity Commission getting involved. Their original decision to take such aggressive action solely against the IEA smelled heavily of political interference…

UPDATE: The Charity Commission have now issued a statement:

“We can confirm that the Official Warning against IEA has been withdrawn with immediate effect. A report published by the charity in September 2018 crossed the line and represented a breach of charity law. In light of steps the charity has taken since the breach was brought to its attention, we have now withdrawn that warning. The charity has made commitments to cooperate with us, and we welcome that.”

This is some heavy spin from the Charity Commission. In their letter to the IEA informing them of their decision to withdraw the warning, the Commission both accepted that the IEA had taken “immediate steps” to implement the “remedial actions” they requested – several months prior to the issuing of the official warning – and admitted that their decision to subsequently issue the warning anyway:

“did not deal fully with certain aspects relating to procedure, fairness, and proportionality and aspects of the reasons for the warning.”

These are significant admissions from the Charity Commission about the deficiencies in their own procedures. Airbrushing them entirely from their statement given their clear relevance to the decision is a pretty shameless cover-up…

UPDATE: David Davis comments:

“Glad to hear the Charity Commission has withdrawn the official warning against the IEA. It was a wholly inappropriate case against them and would have resulted in a chilling effect on the entire thinktank sector, hindering bold thinking and the creation of new ideas.”


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The Daily Mirror has heard that at the shadow cabinet meeting, Nick Brown lost his train of thought so John McDonnell handed over a piece of paper to help out.

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