Prince of Darkness Exploits Lords Loophole to Keep His Dark Money Undeclared

With all the focus Sky News / Tortoise is putting on their collating of MPs declarations it is easy to forget the other half of the legislature – the Lords – is often the scene of even murkier activity. Going by his register of interests, you might think 2022 had been a quiet year for Peter Mandelson – the Prince of Darkness registered no speaking events, nor foreign trips. Yet one co-conspirator has been quick to point out that this picture isn’t quite complete. In March 2022 Mandelson took a leaf from the New Labour relic’s playbook and schmoozed an authoritarian regime. He spoke at the Doha summit in Qatar, alongside David Beckham, which must have been convenient considering his consultancy has recently opened an office there. Just don’t tell Sir Keir.

Mandy then took a much-needed break from the stresses of Westminster politics for a visit to the Milken Summit in Singapore. That’s the same Milken indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud and then pardoned by President Trump. Of course, these could well be above board – assuming they were paid by Mandy himself or his consultancy – it’s just not exactly transparent. It doesn’t take a master of the dark arts to work out why Mandy might want to keep the trips on the down-low…

mdi-timer 12 January 2023 @ 14:24 12 Jan 2023 @ 14:24 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Wrecking Peers In Pay of Universities

At least 20 peers who tried to derail the government’s Higher Education Bill last week are in the pay of universities, Guido can reveal. Jo Johnson’s Bill aims to encourage competition by allowing new high-quality higher education providers to call themselves universities. Naturally existing universities oppose the extra competition and want to block the Bill. Last week it reached committee stage in the Lords, where peers voted for a wrecking amendment to derail it. Guido can reveal a stunning conflict of interest: 20 of the Lords who voted to frustrate the Bill are in the pay of universities. They are:

  1. Lord Alton of Liverpool, Director and Professor of Citizenship, Liverpool John Moores University Foundation for Citizenship (Paid until Sept 2016)
  2. Lord Blunkett, Holder of a personal Chair of Politics in Practice, University of Sheffield (Paid)
  3. Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Vice Chancellor, Aston University (Paid)
  4. Lord Elystan-Morgan, Independent Chairman of a Forwarding Group Committee established by the following Higher Education Institutions, namely, University of Wales; University of Wales Trinity/St Davids; University of Swansea Metropolitan; to consider ways of bringing about the amalgamation of these institutions; (Paid – “fees paid on an ad hoc sittings basis”)
  5. Lord Hain, Visiting Professor, University of South Wales (Paid)
  6. Viscount Hanworth, Professor of Econometrics and Computational Statistics, University of Leicester (Paid)
  7. Baroness Hayman, Chair, Cambridge University Health Partners (Paid)
  8. Baroness Hughes of Stretford, Chair of Council, University of Salford (Paid)
  9. Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, Master of Mansfield College, Oxford (Paid)
  10. Baroness Kidron, Visiting Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University (Paid in kind – Member’s expenses are reimbursed and accommodation is provided)
  11. Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale, Professorial Fellow, University of Stirling, Scotland (Paid)
  12. Lord Mair, Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cambridge (Paid)
  13. Lord Morgan, “Retired Academic” (Paid)
  14. Baroness Quin, Member of the Court of Newcastle University; Council Member, University College, Durham (Paid)
  15. Lord Reid of Cardowan, Chairman, Institute for Security and Resilience Studies, University College, London (Paid)
  16. Lord Smith of Finsbury, Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge (Paid)
  17. Baroness Smith of Newnham, Senior University Lecturer in International Relations, University of Cambridge; Graduate Tutor and Director of Studies/Fellow in Politics, Robinson College, University of Cambridge; (Paid)
  18. Lord Tomlinson, Higher Education College, in partnership with a number of UK State Universities; Chairman, Advisory Panel, London School of Commerce (also, of its two associated Schools: School of Technology & Management; and School of Business & Law) (Paid)
  19. Lord Winston, Professor, Science and Society, Imperial College London (Paid)
  20. Baroness Wolf of Dulwich, Professor of Public Sector Management, King’s College, University of London (Paid)

These conflicted ermine-clad boffins voted against the reforms while taking money from universities who want to block them. They essentially form a paid up self-interested “Universities Party” in the House of Lords, with no one there to represent students’ interests. If all those with a personal interest in higher education had recused themselves from last week’s vote, the wrecking amendment would have failed. Imagine the outcry if such a conflict of interest existed over a vote on any other industry…

UPDATE: Baroness Brown of Cambridge is no longer in the remunerated employment of Aston University.

mdi-timer 18 January 2017 @ 15:14 18 Jan 2017 @ 15:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments