Revolving Door

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It is called the revolving door (aka corruption). You award contracts or bring in policies to help big business and then you get a job for life. This is not going to change until we ban politicians from non-public association or communication with the private sector e.g. Mayfair clubs and ban alll people in public office from private sector directorships or adviser roles. It annoys me people compare a salary to that of the prime minister which is about £120,000. This salary is irrelevant because being an ex-prime minister means becoming a multi-millionaire when you leave thanks to the friends in the city as Tony Blair well knows.

The Govt

  • 2016: Revolving Doors: Public Servants, Private Paydays. How ministers and mandarins make life after government pay. Post-Brexit, it’s all change at the top. A bunch of ministers are out of a job and advisers and top offcials might find it’s time to move on, too. But fret not. A well-trodden path from the public to private sector ensures ministers and mandarins looking to profit from their time in government are all but guaranteed a job in business, usually in an area over which they have exerted great influence. Richard Brooks, Solomon Hughes, Private Eye.

See also Ian Fraser's Twitter thread on Sajid Javid - an excellent example.

The Financial Industry

  • Dec.15.2018: Anger as regulator takes job with scandal-hit bank. David de Souza, a City regulator who played a key role at the Financial Conduct Authority, and dealt with a scandal involving Royal Bank of Scotland, has taken a job at RBS in a move that has angered small business owners. Mr De Souza is now a manager in “corporate and regulatory affairs” at RBS. Mr De Souza was hired by RBS in April, having spent seven years at the FCA. Nikki Turner, director of SME Alliance, said that business owners who had shared information in good faith with the FCA would be dismayed to learn that Mr De Souza was now in an important regulatory role at the bank. The appointment follows a series of gamekeeper-turned-poacher moves by senior FCA officials. For example, Tracey McDermott, former acting FCA chief executive, joined Standard Chartered last year. James Hurley, The Guardian.

The Energy Industry

  • May.09.2018: Mapped: Revolving Doors between UK Government and the Energy Industry. After days of discussions at the climate talks in Bonn, negotiators failed to agree on a conflict of interest policy that would exclude fossil fuel companies from getting involved in the process. Jesse Bragg, a spokesman for NGO Corporate Accountability, said this was “a small step in the right direction given the overwhelming obstruction from the global north”. But in a new report, the Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA), a political group in the European Parliament, argue the EU’s historic opposition to a strong conflict of interest policy is because of the cosy relationship between European governments and private companies with a vested interest in weak climate policies. This is highlighted by the extent of the revolving doors between European governmental bodies, the public sector and private fossil fuel companies. Andy Rowell, a campaigner at Oil Change International and co-author of the report, argues that the UK in particular has “an endemic revolving door problem that exists at all levels of government”, involving ministers, political advisors and senior and middle-ranking civil servants. DeSmog UK has mapped the connections between former govt officials and the fossil fuel and other energy companies where they have taken up jobs. Former CEO of BP Lord Browne was appointed lead non-executive director of the Cabinet Office by then Prime Minister David Cameron. At the time, Browne was also chair of fracking company Cuadrilla. Former head of energy markets and infrastructure strategy at the then Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Patrick Erwin first joined fracking company INEOS on secondment from his civil servant job before taking on the role of business development director full time. The report points to Browne and Erwin’s “pivotal roles” in the formation of the burgeoning shale gas industry in the UK at a time when scientists warned most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves have to be kept in the ground in order to limit global temperature rise in line with the Paris Agreement. In 2016, Erwin also joined the electricity supply company Northern Powergrid, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. That company’s CEO, globally renowned investor and one of the world’s richest people, Warren Buffett, has deep rooted ties with coal-fired-power-plants and the oil industry. A spokeswoman for Northern Powergrid confirmed Erwin was recruited from his previous INEOS role to join its “regultraed business as an UK electrity distribution network operator”. Then there is Matt Hinde, former head of EU strategy for DECC. In 2015, he left the civil service and took on a role as director and senior vice president for energy for the lobbying giant FleishmanHillard, which lists clients including Total, Shell, ExxonMobil, Statoil, Eni and BP. According to the report, at least 3 former ministers with energy and/or climate change portfolios went on to hold key roles at energy companies. One was former energy minister and Tory MP Charles Hendry, who took 4 lucrative jobs in the oil industry after being part of David Cameron’s supposed “greenest govt ever”. However, Hendry also later became a director for Atlantic Superconnection, the company which plans to build an undersea cable from Iceland to the UK to import electricity from hydroelectric and geothermal energy sources – a deal which he signed as minister the previous year. Other ministers have taken on roles in energy companies with a focus on renewables or cleaner energy sources, in contrast to those that enter the fossil fuel industry. Lord Greg Barker was the Conservative minister for climate change between 2010 and 2014 and has been a key figures in pushing the Tories to take climate action seriously. He has since worked as an adviser for several renewable and solar energy companies, including BP-owned Lightsource Renewable. Barker has ties to the Russian energy industry. He worked for oil company Sibneft, which was owned by Roman Abramovitch – the billionaire owner of Chelsea football club – later bought by Gazprom. Last year, he became chair of EN+, a Russian aluminium and hydropower producer controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska. At the time, Barker said EN+ was “at the vanguard of green industrial innovation as it transforms its huge clean energy resources to green metal and supplies it to fast-growing international markets”. EN+’s listing on the London Stock Exchange prompted criticism from MI6 after the US imposed sanctions on Deripaska and his firms accusing him of being linked to organised crime and of “directly or indirectly” working for the Kremlin. Lib Dem MP Sir Ed Davey has taken on consultancy roles following his ministerial responsibilities as the energy secretary under the coalition govt. This included advisory roles at Engie UK as well as law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, lobbying firm MHP and Macquarie Bank, which list BP, EDF and leading fracking company INEOS among their clients. However, Davey told DeSmog UK his consultancy work “focused entirely on renewables” and that he “has not worked at all for BP, EDF or INEOS”. He added having oined ENGIE UK because “they are one of the top energy companies who is changing their strategy to divest themselves of fossil fuel interests and go into renewables”, he undertook one small solar project for Macquarie Bank and worked for MHP's renewable clients on tidal and wave energy projects. Davey is also the chairman of Fit for the Future, a network of more than 80 organisations working to make their organisations climate-friendly. Since regaining his seat in parliament last year, Davey said he had kept only 3 commissions amounting to less than two days work a month on renewable projects. Hendry, Barker and Hinde did not respond to DeSmog UK's request for comment in time for publication. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACBA) is the independent UK regulator charged with advising ministers and civil servants on whether there is a conflict of interest risk by taking on a new job after serving the govt. But the ACBA only has an advisory role and has been previously described as “the committee which never says no”. Report author Rowell said the ACBA was a “toothless regulator” which was “not fit for purpose” and oversaw a system “riddled with loopholes which have exacerbated the problem”. A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said the govt was confident the ACBA rules were fit for purpose and that the process was “the most transparent ever”. Chloe Farand, DeSmog UK.
  • Oct.17.2017: Time to fix the revolving door rules for special advisers. Meg Powell-Chandler, former special adviser to UK business and energy secretary Greg Clark, quietly slipped into a new job at heavyweight lobbyists Burson Marsteller (B-M). The agency’s clients include INEOS, the £36bn firm spearheading fracking in the UK, which months earlier had led a lobbying effort to use Brexit as a way to exempt the chemicals sector from climate policy costs. Theresa May’s former energy adviser, Georgia Berry – an ex-Centrica spin-doctor who’d spent just 8 months working in Downing Street - joined Ovo Energy as a top adviser in September. The Sunday Times recently exposed how the government had released only half the required general transparency disclosures since Theresa May became PM last year. Special advisers (‘spads’) departing government previously had to ask the semi-independent, albeit toothless, Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) for permission to take up new jobs in the private sector. This was meant to help avoid possible (and perceived) conflicts of interest, particularly given their status as political appointees. But then the Coalition relaxed these exit rules in October 2014, and only the most senior aides at director general level (SCS3) needed Acoba approval. All others had to go through their departments, and of these, only those approvals above a certain senior paygrade [SCS1] had to be published. The move has since shielded a raft of ex-spads and other officials turned corporate lobbyists from the public gaze. Lengthy delays by departments in releasing what little data they must publish have also ensured that light-touch restrictions for some high-profile spads, like Sue Beeby who worked for cabinet ministers Jeremy Hunt and George Osborne, escape scrutiny until long after their new jobs have begun. Beeby’s inexplicably short 6-month lobbying ban only emerged in the govt’s pre-Xmas transparency data dump last year, despite her joining Lexington Communications after the summer break. Then there’s ex-Cameron chief whip Alistair Masser who joined Newgate Communications (lobbyists for fracking trade lobbyists UKOOG and Third Energy) as an associate partner in January. The Cabinet Office waited till Jul.04 – 6 months after he had started - to publish details of his new job and conditions – by which time he had actually left. He’s now at Legatum Institute, run by high-profile Tory ex-spad, Phillipa Stroud. ... What’s indisputable is how incredibly useful these ex-political insiders are to commercial lobbyists like B-M, Newgate and Lexington and their deep-pocketed corporate paymasters. "Meg’s insights and experience from working in the heart of govt will be an invaluable asset to our clients", said B-M boss Stephen Day, himself a former Tory spad. Newgate chief Gavin Devine, another ex-Westminster insider similarly extols Davies’s talents. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing exactly which businesses Davies, Powell-Chandler or Beeby now all represent as paid lobbyists; the UK govt's abysmal lobbying register only compels agencies to name clients who have had contact with (un-named) ministers or permanent secretaries, and not their own staff approaching them or any other govt insiders. ...INEOS director Tom Crotty’s latest extra role as head of a new Brexit-focused CBI manufacturing council. Crotty also leads the Chemistry Growth Partnership, the very lobbying group mentioned earlier, that pushed ministers for climate costs exemptions. Melissa Jones, SpinWatch.
  • Jan.15.2017: 'Meet the Frackers’: a Spinwatch lobbying tour. When Theresa May took over as prime minister in July 2016 she vowed her govt would represent the concerns of ordinary people over big vested interests. Yet, within 3 months, her communities secretary, Sajid Javid, used powers created under David Cameron’s administration to override Lancashire county council’s refusal of plans for fracking test wells in the Fylde near Blackpool. Theresa May is backing fracking, and the well-oiled revolving door between her govt and the energy and lobbying industry is in free flow. One stark example of the fracking industry and govt interests aligning is the case of Patrick Erwin, a former top civil servant in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Three years ago, Erwin was seconded to work at Ineos, the petrochemical giant. His move coincided with the firm’s foray into fracking. As Ineos Upstream’s new commercial director, he was central to the development of its shale gas plans, helping it secure over one million acres in govt licences to become Britain’s biggest onshore oil and gas operator. Erwin was Ineos' point-man for its ‘relationship with govt and industry’. Documents released to Spinwatch under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal how in 2014 he organised meetings for Ineos’ billionaire owner, Jim Ratcliffe, with permanent secretary Stephen Lovegrove and other DECC top brass, ahead of the company’s final decision to enter the shale gas market. A regular on the shale gas conference circuit, Erwin has argued that fracking is vital for the country’s future. In a speech in summer 2015 he warned that without shale gas the UK risked becoming an environmental ‘theme park'; a strategy he called ‘massively irresponsible’. At the same event Erwin acknowledged the importance of talking to and 'standing up in front of communities' in potential shale gas areas. Yet less than a year later he and two other senior Ineos directors held a series of closed private meetings with parish councillors to discuss plans for Ineos license blocks in Cheshire, Derbyshire and North Yorkshire. Despite FOIA requests, DECC refused to publicly name Erwin as the govt’s man seconded to Ineos. Erwin only declared the secondment on his LinkedIn profile after it had ended in 2016. Last month he joined Northern Powergrid as its policy and markets director. Melissa Jones, SpinWatch.

The Arms Trade

  • Jan-Mar.2018: How the Arms Trade Influences Government. Former CAAT researcher Joe Lo uncovers how arms companies work behind the scenes to influence decision-makers: Perks, Groupthink, the Revolving Door, and Don't Rock the Boat. CAAT News, CAAT. Original archived on May.15.2019.
  • The Companies Map shows all European manufacturers in the Arms & Security sectors, and where they are located. As of Dec.2020, there were 407 manufacturers in the UK.
  • Former-UK-Parliament.svg
    The Political Influence Browser shows the links between the Govt and the Arms & Security Industries. Meetings between public servants and the Arms & Security sectors are documented, as are which former ministers, civil servants and military chiefs have gone on to work for weapons manufacturers, military service companies, and the security industry.


  • Jul.10.2018: Moonlighting in Brussels: side jobs and ethics concerns in the European Parliament. The common justification for second jobs is that they allow elected officials to stay in touch with their profession and to return to a previous job when they leave office. Others say it allows them to keep links to the realities of their electorate. But having an outside job on top of a full-time activity as an elected member of parliament can also create conflicts of interests or prevent MEPs from devoting sufficient time and attention to their roles as elected representatives. For eg., {{w[l|Nirj Deva}} has earned between €168.000–779,000. Outside incomes can potentially be used to channel payments to members in return for insider information or legislative action; in 2011 three MEPs were caught by undercover journalists accepting payments to table amendments. Transparency International.
  • Mar.12.2015: A penny for your thoughts: MEPs and the revolving door. Losing your seat in the elections can be a devastating blow for an MEP, but there can be a silver lining, especially if you were a member of a prominent parliamentary committee. During the 2009-14 European parliamentary term, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) scrutinised numerous pieces of technical legislation aimed at restoring faith in the EU’s ability to regulate the finance, investment, pension, and insurance industries in the wake of the economic and banking crises. ... Vicky Cann, Corporate Europe Observatory, EURactiv. Also see Peter Skinner, Sharon Bowles, Arlene McCarthy,