Institute of Economic Affairs

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IEA is a free-market think-tank, established in 1955 by admirers of the free-market economist Friedrich HayekWikipedia-W.svg. Its mission involves "analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems".[3]

The IEA calls for the removal of tariffs, and advocates deregulation in the financial sector. It also calls for opening all services to competition, including the National Health Service, as well as scrapping many of the EU regulations on Data protection, Pharmaceuticals and Food safety and Chemicals, and reducing taxes. It suggests civil servants could be replaced by politically-appointed trade negotiators.[4]

Darren Grimes, formerly of BeLeave, is now working for the IEA as their "Digital Manager" - a reward for a job well done?[5]

The IEA did not take a corporate view on Brexit, although current Director General Mark Littlewood was a vociferous advocate for Leave (a long way from his days as press officer for the pro-EU Conservative Party). But over the years the IEA has regularly been a vehicle for the publication of a variety of pro-Brexit material, such as the 1996 paper "Better Off Out?", culminating in its organisation in 2013 of the €100,000 Brexit Prize, which attracted more than 100 entrants submitting blueprints of how Britain’s future could look outside of the EU. [6]

Experts in Distorting Public Debate

The IEA has regularly received substantial amounts of money from Tobacco companies, and may continue to do so. It has consistently spoken out against tighter tobacco regulations, claiming that introducing tobacco display bans could lead to "a deterioration in public health".[7]


None disclosed, nix, nada, zilch. The IEA is registered as an educational charity, and therefore does not have to declare its donors; however, it is widely known to have been backed by Tobacco, Alcohol and Oil companies, amongst others.

International Trade and Competition Unit

The ITCU was established to present independent nonpartisan advice on the challenges and opportunities the UK faces as it negotiates its departure from the EU and seeks to establish new trade relationships with other partners. Members of the Advisory Board act in an advisory capacity to the IEA and serve in their individual capacity.[8]



Sources: Trustees

Advisory Council

  • Robin Edwards, Chairman. Maxim Fund Management Ltd. Chairman of Latis Homes Ltd, agenda is to increase the speed and quality of home construction.
  • Former-UK-HoL.svg
    Lord Jamie Borwick, HoL in 2013, Conservative. Was chief executive of Manganese Bronze Holdings plc which manufactures black cabs. Founder + owner of Coventry electric truck producer Modec, ex-chairman of Route2Mobility Ltd, which funded wheelchairs and scooters for disabled people. Ex-chairman of Countryside Properties (Bicester) Ltd, MD of Love Lane Investments Ltd, chairman of Federated Trust Corporation Ltd. Was non-executive Director of Hansa Trust plc. Was a trustee of the British Lung Foundation and the Royal Brompton and Harefield Charity, deputy chairman on the board of the British Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership.
  • Former-UK-HoC.svg
    Alex Deane, MD in the Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting. He is part of the Public Affairs practice, and its Corporate Communications practice in EMEA. Practiced as a barrister for several years; founding Director of Big Brother Watch. Member of the Conservative party since 1995; served as Chief of Staff to David Cameron and Tim Collins during their respective periods as Shadow Secretaries of State for Education in opposition. In 2007, served as an adviser to the Liberal Party’s campaign for re-election at the federal polls under John Howard. Was an elected Common Councilman in the City of London.
  • Linda Edwards, practiced mergers and acquisitions law at Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles. Has had a long relationship with the Cato Institute. Supports the Reason Foundation, the Atlas Network, the Instituto Bruno Leoni, and other groups that promote Classical Liberal ideas.
  • Former-UK-HoL.svg
    Lord Howard Flight, Chairman of Flight + Partners, Aurora (investment trust), Downing Four. Director of Investec Asset Management. Director of Metro Bank. Commissioner (Board Member) of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. Director of Skill Ports + Logistics. Consultant to Duff + Phelps. Chairman of Enterprise Investment Scheme Association. Consultant to The Investment and Savings Association. Appointed to the HoL by David Cameron in 2010. Was MP for Arundel 1997-2005. Was Shadow Chief Secretary to HM Treasury. Was a member of the Conservative Shadow Cabinet. In the HoL he is part of the Conservative working Peers' teams covering Europe, Treasury Affairs, Financial Regulation and Pensions. Was a member of the Lords' EU Economic and Financial Affairs Committee until GE-2017. Now a member of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee.
  • Tom Harris, MD of the Investment Companies Team at Jefferies International in London. Trustee of the Nigel Vinson Charitable Trust; takes a close interest in strengthening the strong links between the IEA and Buckingham University via the construction and development of the Vinson Centre for the Study of the Economic and Constitutional Foundations of a Free Society at Buckingham. Conservative candidate for Richmond Park in GE-2001.
  • Tessa Keswick, Deputy Chairman of the Centre for Policy Studies. Was a SpAd to Kenneth Clarke QC MP. Was Director of the CPS, contributed, commissioned + published 100+ public policy pamphlets on the European Union, the Constitution, law and order, education, health, tax and regulatory affairs and women’s issues.
  • John Longworth, Co-Chair of Leave means Leave. Was Chairman of the Vote Leave Business Council for the duration of the referendum campaign having resigned as Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce in Mar.2016 after ~5 years. Has had Executive Board positions at Asda Group and Tesco. Founded a science, technology + professional services business, SVA Ltd in 2009; exited in 2015. Various Non-Executive Director positions. Panel member of the Competition Commission. Council Member of the World Chambers Federation. Board member of the UK India Business Council. Chairman of the Paris-based CIES Trade and International Product Standards Committee.
  • Christian May, Editor-in-Chief of City AM. Was Head of Communications and Campaigns at the Institute of Directors; took a leading role in shaping policy on areas including EU reform, immigration, infrastructure, innovation and tax reform; appeared regularly across the broadcast media and in the national press. Freeman of the City of London. Fellow of the British-American Project. Advisory board member of the International Business and Diplomatic Exchange.
  • Jon Moynihan OBE, former CEO + Executive Chairman of PA Consulting. Worked at Track Records, War on Want, Save the Children, Roche Products Ltd, McKinsey, Strategic Planning Associates, First Manhattan Consulting Group. Co-Principal at Ipex Capital. Chairman of Plaquetec Ltd. Chairman of Semblant Ltd. On the Board of Aegate Ltd (founded all 4 of them) Was Chair of the Campaign Committee + Chair of the Finance Committee of Vote Leave.
  • Neil Record, Chairman of the IEA Board. Chairman of Record plc, a specialist currency asset manager; founded Record in 1983. Was an economist at the Bank of England. Member of the Investment Committee.
  • Alexander Temerko, was engineer for capital construction on the USSR State Committee for Environment Preservation, was director of the Forestry Ministry's Environment Preservation Branch. Appointed junior minister to Boris Yeltsin’s cabinet in 1991. Headed a corporation that produced armaments for the Russian military. Appointed deputy chairman to the board of directors of Yukos Oil Company in 2000. Became director and deputy chairman of Newcastle-based OGN Group in 2008; OGN delivers a full range of oil and gas platforms for operations in the North Sea and is active in the development of wind farms, assembling foundations for offshore turbines. A director of Aquind Ltd, a company in charge of building and operating a major power transmission line between the UK and France. Became a British citizen in 2011, prominent member of the Conservative Party. Member of the Leader's Group, VC of the Cities of London + Westminster Conservative Association.
  • Lord Nigel Vinson, was Chairman IEA. Founded Plastic Business. Was Director Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal. Was Chairman Rural Development Commission. Board Director Barclays Bank, Deputy Chairman Electra Investment Trust, Chairman Fleming Income & Growth, appointed HoL for public service.
  • Linda Whetstone, Chairman of Network for a Free Society, board member of the IEA, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation USA, the Mont Pelerin Society, the Istanbul Network for Liberty and British Dressage. Runs a small business in Sussex with her husband. She is the daughter of IEA founder, Sir Antony Fisher.

Fellows and Academic Advisors

  • Fellows
  • Dr Amarendra Swarup, IEA Finance Fellow
  • Dr Andrew Lilico, IEA Economics Fellow. Also Chairman of the IEA/Sunday Times Monetary Policy Committee; Executive Director + Principal of Europe Economics. Frequent contributor in UK + International media on economic and financial matters. Article by Lilico, Us
  • Prof. (FH) Dr. Armin J Kammel, IEA Law and Economics Fellow
  • Dr Cento Veljanovski, IEA Law and Economics Fellow
  • Dalibor Rohac, IEA Economics Fellow
  • Dr Elaine Sternberg, IEA Philosophy and Corporate Governance Fellow
  • Dr Robert L Bradley, IEA Energy and Climate Change Fellow
  • James Bartholomew, IEA Social Policy Fellow
  • James Croft, IEA Education Research Fellow
  • Keith Boyfield, IEA Regulation Fellow
  • Kristian Niemietz, IEA Poverty Research Fellow
  • Nick Silver, IEA Pensions Fellow
  • Professor J R Shackleton, IEA Economics Fellow
  • Professor John Bourn, IEA Economics Fellow
  • Professor Mark Pennington, IEA Political Economy Fellow
  • Richard D North, IEA Media Fellow
  • Ruth Lea, IEA Regulation Fellow
  • Terry Arthur, IEA Pensions and Financial Regulation Fellow
  • Professor Tim Congdon CBE, IEA Economics Fellow
  • Dr Vladimir Krulj, IEA Economics Fellow
  • Honorary Fellows
  • Professor Basil S Yamey CBE
  • Professor Chiaki Nishiyama
  • Professor David Laidler
  • Professor Deirdre McCloskey
  • Professor Michael Beenstock
  • Professor Richard A Epstein
  • Professor Vernon L Smith
  • Sir Samuel Brittan
  • Academic Advisory Council
  • Professor Martin Ricketts, Chairman
  • Julian Morris
  • Dr Anja Merz
  • Dr Cento Veljanovski
  • Dr Eileen Marshall CBE
  • Dr Elaine Sternberg
  • Dr Ingrid A Gregg
  • Dr Jerry L Jordan
  • Dr John Meadowcroft
  • Dr Lynne Kiesling
  • Dr Razeen Sally
  • Dr Roger Bate
  • Dr Samuel Gregg
  • Dr Andrew Lilico
  • Dr Mark Koyama
  • Graham Bannock
  • Jane S Shaw
  • Prof. Alan Morrison
  • Prof. Alberto Benegas-Lynch, Jr
  • Prof. Antonio Martino
  • Prof. Chandran Kukathas
  • Prof. Christian Bjornskov
  • Prof. Christopher Coyne
  • Prof. Colin Robinson
  • Prof. D.R. Myddelton
  • Prof. Daniel B Klein
  • Prof. David de Meza
  • Prof. David Henderson
  • Prof. David Parker
  • Prof. Donald J Boudreaux
  • Prof. Forrest Capie
  • Prof. Geoffrey E Wood
  • Prof. J R Shackleton
  • Prof. James Tooley
  • Prof. John Burton
  • Prof. Keith Hartley
  • Prof. Kevin Dowd
  • Prof. Lawrence H White
  • Prof. N F R Crafts
  • Prof. Nicola Tynan
  • Prof. Pascal Salin
  • Prof. Paul Ormerod
  • Prof. Pedro Schwartz
  • Prof. Peter M Jackson
  • Prof. Roland Vaubel
  • Prof. Sir David Greenaway
  • Prof. Stephen C Littlechild
  • Prof. Steve H Hanke
  • Prof. Steven N S Cheung
  • Prof. Theodore Roosevelt Malloch
  • Prof. Tim Congdon CBE
  • Prof. Victoria Curzon-Price
  • Prof. W Stanley Siebert
  • Prof. Walter E Williams
  • Walter E Grinder


  • Director General's Office
  • Mark Littlewood, Director General, advocate of free market economics. Conservative Home, Iain Dale, Oct.2016
  • Claire Talbot, Executive Assistant to the Director General
  • Sam Collins, Policy Advisor to Mark Littlewood
  • Academic and Research Department
  • Dr Jamie Whyte, Research Director
  • Dr Richard Wellings, Deputy Research Director & Head of Transport
  • Dr Stephen Davies, Head of Education
  • Julian Jessop, Chief Economist
  • Dr Kristian Niemietz, Head of Health and Welfare
  • Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics
  • Diego Zuluaga, Head of Financial Services and Tech Policy Director, EPICENTER
  • Terry Barnes, Lifestyle Economics Fellow
  • Professor Philip Booth, Senior Academic Fellow
  • Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow
  • Communications Department
  • Stephanie Lis, Director of Communications
  • Nerissa Chesterfield, Communications Officer, Media
  • Programmes Department
  • Christiana Stewart-Lockhart, Director of Programmes
  • Adam Bartha, European Outreach Manager
  • Sophie Sandor, Programmes Manager
  • Creative, Marketing and Development Department
  • ... ...

Publications & Talks

  • Apr.14.2019: Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme to the UK. A UK-wide deposit return scheme would inccrease recycling rates by ~15%, but at a disproportionate cost of over £1bn in its 1st year, and £814m per annum thereafter. The govt’s impact assessment figures were "highly questionable". There seems to be no economic case for a DRS; and it would inconvenience consumers. Christopher Snowdon, Institute of Economic Affairs.
  • Sept.24.2018: Plan A+: Creating a prosperous post-Brexit UK. The report calls on the govt to cut EU environmental regulations to secure free-trade deals with the USA, China and India after Brexit. It singles out environmental protection rules as “frequently disguised methods of protectionism” and one of the areas where EU regulation is “moving in an anti-competitive direction”. The report was roundly criticised for its methodology, and has since vanished from the IEA's website. Shanker Singham, Dr Radomir Tylecote, Institute of Economic Affairs. Original archived on Sept.24.2018.
  • Jan.23.2012: How to abolish the NHS. The National Health Service enjoys strong support among the public, making it almost impossible to introduce radical reforms. Rather than focusing on the gradual introduction of ‘market reforms’ and public-private partnerships within the NHS system, an alternative strategy would seek to bypass the NHS by liberating the private healthcare sector such that the NHS became less and less relevant as more and more people opted out of state provision to avoid long waiting lists and substandard care. This option has the potential to create a virtuous circle – by reducing burdens on the NHS, taxes could be cut, wealth created, and more people would be able to afford private healthcare, reducing the NHS burden still further and gradually undermining its political base. Richard Wellings,


  • Jul.31.2018: How Hard-Brexit Thinktank the Institute for Economic Affairs Helps Climate Science Deniers Push a Deregulation Agenda. The IEA has been helping climate science deniers push their agenda on govt ministers via lobbying activities for a UK-USA free trade deal, which could see the UK import products such as genetically modified beef and chlorinated chicken. Unearthed's investigation and the IEA's response also reveals details of how climate science deniers, including Tory peer and coal baron Matt Ridley and DUP MP Sammy Wilson, advocate for deregulation — including on food and environmental standards — as part of the IEA’s push for a hard-Brexit and stronger trans-Atlantic commercial links. A proposal for the report suggets that Matt Ridley — an advisor to climate science denier group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, run by former chancellor Nigel Lawson — would be the author. Mark Littlewood said Ridley had discussed the report with Michael Gove, who he said was enthusiastic about getting the ideas into the “bloodstream of Defra”. He also suggested the funder would be able to attend a private dinner with its author Ridley and potentially with Gove, the environment secretary, or another minister. A Times columnist, Ridley has used the issue of agricultural policy post-Brexit to push his agenda of environmental deregulation — one which he shares with the IEA. In its responses to UnEarthed, the IEA says it has long adopted the view that “precautionary principle can be counterproductive and environmentally harmful” and that Ridley has repeatedly argued that it “stifled innovation that could have reduced pesticide use”. The IEA’s push for weaker environmental regulations to enable free trade with the US comes as a report by NGO Global Witness found that, in 2017, agribusiness has overtaken mining as the industry most associated with attacks against environmental activists around the world. Responding to the Unearthed investigation, the thinktank boasted of working with “groups and individuals from across the political spectrum” and named DUP MP Sammy Wilson as a speaker at a recent IEA event. Wilson is one of the DUP’s most controversial figure when it comes to climate change. He has previously said that human caused climate change is a “gigantic con” and an “hysterical semi-religion”, and welcomed US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of “the totally flawed and pointless” Paris Agreement. The Unearthed investigation said US lobbyist Shanker Singham arranged for members of a US thinktank with an interest in reducing regulations around chlorinated chicken to meet UK politicians. Previous reports have suggested Singham has unprecedented access to UK ministers including environment secretary Michael Gove, international trade secretary Liam Fox and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson. The Unearthed investigation adds further evidence of this. Unearthed have recordings of IEA director Littlewood claiming Singham and his team speak with Gove “every three or four days, along with David Davis, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox”. It claims Singham organised for Michael Carnuccio, CEO of the E Foundation, an Oklahoma-based thinktank, to meet former Brexit minister Steve Baker and other members of the influential alliance of Euro-skeptic Tory MPs, the European Research Group, including Jacob Rees-Mogg. Unearthed also revealed that the IEA — which is famously secretive about its funders — takes money from fossil fuel companies and gambling firms ref. Unearthed claims that BP lobbyists attend more than half of the IEA dinners and events and were using them “to raise commercial issues with ministers including environmental standards, safety standards and tax”. The IEA is now facing two investigations: One into its charitable status, and another into whether it should register as a lobbyist. ref Chloe Farand, DeSmog UK.
  • Jul.31.2018: Revealed: how the UK’s powerful right-wing think tanks and Conservative MPs work together. The Institute of Economic Affairs, accused of offering US donors access to govt ministers, is among right-wing think tanks meeting monthly. Conservative MPs have attended, too. The regular think tank meetings are chaired jointly by staff from the pro-Brexit website Brexit Central and low-tax campaigners the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA). Conservative MP Chris Skidmore, chair of the Tories’ policy commission, recently tweeted his thanks to both Brexit Central editor Jonathan Isaby and TPA campaign manager James Price “for their invitation to speak at Tuesday meeting of think tanks”. The think tank meetings have taken place at 55 Tufton Street, home to numerous think tanks and lobbying outfits. Among them are the TPA, until 2015 the pro-Brexit group Business for Britain, and the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which denies the overwhelming scientific consensus around humans causing climate change. Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, is also one of the IEA’s most vocal supporters, crediting its founders with inspiring deregulations, union reforms and business tax cuts that “saved Britain”. The Greenpeace/Guardian investigation revealed for the first time that the IEA has long received funding from the oil company BP. openDemocracy can reveal today that the group also receives regular funding from British American Tobacco. In a letter to the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, which holds shares in the company, BAT confirmed that it contributed “circa £40,000” to the think tank in each of 2015, 2016 and 2017, and expected to do so again in 2018. The websiteTobacco Tactics has previously revealed donations from British American Tobacco up to 2016, and that the think tank has worked with Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International within the last 5 years. The current status of these relationships is unknown. Many of the groups involved in the monthly think tank meetings had strong links with the Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum. Former Vote Leave boss Matthew Elliott founded the TPA and is ‘editor at large’ at Brexit Central. Vote Leave's treasurer #Jon Moynihan was appointed to the IEA’s board earlier this year. The think tank also hired #Darren Grimes as its digital manager. Grimes, whose BeLeave campaign received more than £600,000 from Vote Leave in the final weeks of the referendum, had previously worked for Brexit Central. Grimes was recently fined £20,000 by the Electoral Commission for breaking electoral law over donations to BeLeave, the campaign that he headed. Peter Geoghegan, Adam Ramsay, openDemocracy.
  • Jul.30.2018: Thinktank faces double investigation after 'cash for access' claims. Cases opened over concerns about Institute of Economic Affairs’ political independence. The Charity Commission opened a regulatory compliance case; Whitehall’s lobbying tsar, Alison White, also said she will examine whether the free market thinktank should be registered as a lobbyist. Robert Booth, The Guardian.
  • Jul.30.2018: Revealed: BP and gambling interests fund secretive free market think tank. Oil giant BP is funding an influential free-market think tank that facilitates access to cabinet ministers behind closed doors, an investigation by Unearthed has found. IEA director Mark Littlewood told an undercover reporter that the oil company uses this access to press ministers on issues ranging from environmental and safety standards to British tax rates. He suggested the closed-door events organised by the IEA offered its corporate donors an “off the record” forum in which they could discuss their interests with ministers and other senior politicians. In addition to BP, the investigation found the IEA raises money from gambling companies and US donors that support its push for a hard Brexit and a deregulatory US-UK trade deal. the IEA has set up a secret channel for donations from US sources to help fund its controversial trade team, with donors including US agribusiness interests that are keen to see an end to EU-style food regulations which limit sales of US produce in the UK. The group also claimed it would approach alcohol companies to support its work. The IEA stated that it has received donations from BP every year since 1967. A spokesman for BP said: “We have a long-standing relationship with the IEA, a respected free-market think tank, as we do with others including the Centre for European Reform and the Green Alliance." IEA trade expert Shanker Singham explained that the think tank only works on projects that fit with its libertarian ideology, but suggested they are were open to being commissioned to carry out research that agreed with their world view. National Casino Forum. Lawrence Carter, Alice Ross, Unearthed@openDemocracy.
  • Jul.30.2018: The Brexit-influencing game: how IEA got involved with a US rancher. Tucker Link is an influential US business figure who appears to have taken a keen interest in the UK’s departure from the EU. Link has global interests in chemicals, technology and property. Undercover investigations by Greenpeace have now shown how Link and other agriculture and energy investors are working with a leading thinktank in Westminster to promote their cause. The IEA has been seeking donations from US agribusiness and has not been shy about touting what it says it can offer in return. The thinktank boasted it had regular access, as often as every three or four days, to ministers. It mentioned the environment secretary, Michael Gove, and the trade secretary, Liam Fox. Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, is also one of the IEA’s most vocal supporters, crediting its founders with inspiring deregulations, union reforms and business tax cuts that “saved Britain”. They are potentially important contacts for the Oklahoman farmers who export beef and chicken. Tthe Charity Commission has been asked to review whether the thinktank repeatedly made “one-sided and controversial contributions aimed at reducing the role of the state”. The man who raised the issue should know the rules inside out. Andrew Purkis was, until 2010, on the board of the commission, and has previously raised concerns about the IEA, which the regulator has dismissed. Earlier this year, the Charity Commission concluded a report Shanker Singham had co-written on the benefits of Brexit had “failed to met the required standards of balance and neutrality”, published by Legatum. In an effort to find out more about how it is attempting to influence the debate on Brexit, and the people who fund it, a Greenpeace investigator posed as a lobbyist contracted by investors in US agriculture seeking to open up UK markets. Damian Kahya, the editor of Unearthed, an investigations unit set up by Greenpeace, said the decision to go undercover was not one “we would ever have taken lightly”. “Our initial research and reporting indicated that secretly funded thinktanks have been working behind the scenes and alongside UK ministers to use Brexit to lower environmental standards.” ... the E Foundation was planning to pour cash into the IEA, including through a US membership organisation that channels money from US donors anonymously. Carnuccio explained how he and Link had come to the UK in May, and Shanker Singham had taken them to meet a senior official in the Department for International Trade (DIT), where they agreed on the need for a MoU between the state of Oklahoma and the UK. The IEA director Mark Littlewood also boasted that Singham had been “writing Michael Gove and Boris Johnson’s script” on the subject of the UK leaving the customs union. (IEA profile) Robert Booth, Damian Carrington, The Guardian. See original article here: A leading think tank brokered access to ministers for US donors looking to influence Brexit
  • Jul.30.2018: How the IEA teamed up with US donors to push for environmental deregulation post-Brexit. The IEA's partnership with an Oklahoma think tank includes fundraising from agribusiness clients who want to see the UK drop EU-level food restrictions on products such as hormone-reared beef. The IEA’s trade unit, led by controversial trade expert Shanker Singham, has established itself at the heart of the campaign for a hard Brexit, advising senior Brexiteer ministers and developing close links with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s powerful European Research Group (ERG), a faction of backbench MPs. Singham advocates dropping the EU’s precautionary principle, which underlies many rules on food and the environment. Alice Ross, Lawrence Carter, Unearthed.
  • Jul.10.2018: Dominic Raab: is he the IEA’s man in government? The new Brexit secretary has always hunted with a pack: specifically, with a controversial right-wing think tank called the Institute of Economic Affairs, and what is effectively its parliamentary wing, the Free Enterprise Group. The free-market think tank’s influence runs through a significant portion of the Conservative party, too. In 2016, new health minister Matt Hancock was heavily criticised after accepting a £4,000 donation from the IEA’s chairman just weeks after announcing a clampdown on charities lobbying advocated by the think tank. The policy was later dropped. [[[Dominic Raab]] seems particularly enamoured by the IEA. In 2009, before he was an MP, Raab wrote a book "The Assault on Liberty: What went wrong with rights"... In 2012, as an MP, he and his colleagues wanted “to take on this ludicrous, debilitating, anti-austerity, anti-capitalist narrative put out there by the egalitarian left in this country”. They penned a book together, "Britannia Unchained"... Raab said, “it was the IEA which supported us in waging the war of ideas and launching that book.” Funding (tobacco)... The group also accepts funding from the USA through the American Friends of the IEA, which was set up to allow US-based corporations and individuals to donate to the IEA. The American Friends of the IEA has donated more than $500,000 since 2010 according to documents filed in the US. The IEA has also received more than $500,000 from the US-based Templeton Foundation to conduct research in recent years. In 2014, the group received a grant of $155,000 to “seek alternatives” to “public, pay-as-you-go financed systems of pensions, disability insurance, healthcare and long-term care”, and promote privatisation of each of these areas, according to the Templeton Foundation's website. The IEA was founded in 1955 as the UK’s original neoliberal think tank, and has been described in Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain as "undoubtedly the most influential think tank in modern British history". The MPs who wrote "Britania Unchained" were all members of the "Free Enterprise Group", a faction of Conservatives most of whom were first elected in 2010. In many ways, the Free Enterprise Group operated as the IEA's parliamentary wing, with the two groups organising events and media briefings together, calling on the govt, for example, to make it easier for bosses to sack workers and “reducing regulation and red tape” – which is usually code for abolishing basic rights at work, as well as protections for the environment and consumers. Raab’s views have been widely circulated since his appointment as new Brexit secretary yesterday. Feminists, he says, are "now among the most obnoxious bigots". "The typical user of a food bank," he thinks, "is not someone who’s languishing in poverty, it’s someone who has a cashflow problem episodically". It’s important to see that these are the views of a politician who has been nurtured and promoted by a radical think tank, which refuses to reveal where it gets its money from. Adam Ramsay, Peter Geoghegan, openDemocracy.
  • Jun.21.2018: Liam Fox caught in fresh “lobbyists as advisers” scandal. Transparency campaigners have accused international trade minister Liam Fox of “having trouble again seeing the line between adviser and privately-backed lobbyist”. Shanker Singham, former Washington lobbyist, is also a director of the International Trade and Competition Unit at the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), a position he took after he left the controversial think tank Legatum earlier this year. Grayling is one of the UK’s leading PR and lobbying firms. The client it lists most regularly in its entry in the official register of lobbyists is the National Casino Forum, and the company also represents a number of major sugar manufacturers, and has previously worked for the arms companies BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin. Speaking to openDemocracy, Singham said that he was advising Grayling itself, rather than any of its clients. Singham will also assist Grayling’s stablemates #Citigate Dewe Rogerson and #Quiller, reports said. Quiller’s past clients include the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Last week, openDemocracy revealed the extent of Singham’s access to govt ministers since the Brexit vote, showing that he has held dozens of meetings with figures including foreign secretary Boris Johnson, Brexit minister David Davis, as well as Liam Fox. Singham also had undeclared meetings with another Brexit minister, Steve Baker. Tamasin Cave: "Grayling is employing Singham for his insider knowledge and the fact that he has a seat at the table steering the direction of Brexit. Of course their corporate clients are going to benefit from this hire. That's how the commercial lobbying business operates". Singham also leads the trade team at the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA). Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: "The Institute for Economic Affairs has long acted as a paid lobbying agency for the tobacco industry. It's very worrying to see one of their staff playing such a key role in shaping Britain's trade deals as we leave the EU." Other than Singham, the trade ministry’s committee of experts comprises prominent Brexit-supporting economist Ruth Lea, who is an adviser to the Institute for Economic Affairs; Sunday Telegraph columnist and Brexit supporter Liam Halligan, Xavier Rolet, former CEO of the London Stock Exchange, and the former Tory MP and Brexit supporter Peter Lilley. Adam Ramsay, Peter Geoghegan, openDemocracy.
  • Nov.08.2017: We can't ignore Priti Patel's background in lobbying. Britain's now former international development minister sits in the centre of the UK's dark money-funded think tank-lobbying industrial complex. Having been caught holding secret meetings with the Israeli government, it looks like Britain's Brexit-backing International Development Secretary is in a pickle. Key context is missing from much of the coverage: Patel’s vital role in 'thinktankistan': Britain’s dark-money funded nexus of think tanks, corporate PR, and lobbying. And in particular, the lobbying and business group links relevant to her controversial trip to Israel this summer. Before being elected an MP in 2010, Patel worked for the PR company Weber Shandwick. Two years ago, Jamie Doward at the Observer revealed that one of her clients in this period was British American Tobacco. British American Tobacco have long been main funders of Britain’s nexus of right wing, mostly Brexit-backing, think tanks. Tobacco Tactics have revealed both the Institute for Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute – perhaps the two most important right-wing ‘think tanks’ in the UK – have received regular funding from British American Tobacco over decades. ... Israel, Bahrain, Gulf. Rimon Cohen, Promoseven ... Patel's "family holiday" to Israel this summer: the meetings were arranged by Stuart Polak, the honourary president and former director of Conservative Friends of Israel. In 2009, Peter Oborne wrote a comprehensive report on the extensive power that CFI exerts within the Tory party. It’s worth reading in full. Adam Ramsay, openDemocracy.
  • Dec.04.1998: The wonks are coming of age. Rarely have think-tanks had such an opportunity to influence policy. Over on the right, the Institute of Economic Affairs is equally dismissive of all this talk of repositioning. "We never position ourselves according to what the govt is doing," explained David Green, the director of the health and welfare unit. "We want to encourage discussion about liberty and the market economy. We keep ploughing that furrow." Caroline Daniel, New Statesman.


  1. ^ Transparency Comparison Table. Who Funds You?. Accessed Aug.2018.
  2. ^ How Has Think Tank Transparency Evolved in 2018? Transparify, Jul.16.2018.
  3. ^ Institute of Economic Affairs. IEA main objectives are the promotion of an extreme free-market approach to fiscal funding of essential public services and the removal of all workers' rights. The strongest theme in IEA literature and policy is support for the destruction of the NHS. Neil Record, Mark Littlewood, Kristian Niemietz, Kate Andrews. DuckSoap, Dec.18.2018.
  4. ^ Plan A+: Creating a prosperous post-Brexit U.K. The report calls for the adoption of a 4-pillared trade policy strategy, taking unilateral, bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral action to deliver a more competitive and thriving UK economy. IEAname=Shanker Singham, Dr Radomir Tylecote, Sept.24.2018.
  5. ^ A firewall to protect EU citizens from the Big Four accountancy firms and the tax avoidance lobby. The Tax Justice Network’s podcast, "Taxcast"; see @ 13:25". Naomi Fowler, Tax Justice Network, Jul.2.4.2018.
  6. ^ The 50 Groups Behind Brexit. Jonathan Isaby, Matthew Elliott, BrexitCentral, Mar.18.2017.
  7. ^ Think Tanks in the UK 2017: Transparency, Lobbying and Fake News in Brexit Britain. Page 10, Transparify, Feb.08.2017.
  8. ^ John M. Weekes. Bennett Jones LLP. Accessed Sept.03.2020.