Monday, May 17, 2010

Could this become a conflict of interest issue?

Following on from Guido's observation of Caroline Spelman's outside interests, her position as Secretary of State, and Cameron's own words that,
"It is the next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money."
Perhaps there are a few other new ministers who now have positions in Government which might be seen to conflict with outside positions they've held before they got into Whitehall?

Tim Loughton MP, newly appointed at the Department of Education as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families is, according to the last published Register of Members Interests and current Companies House listing, the Chairman/Director of Classwatch - a company that sells "classroom CCTV" services to schools - that's schools spending money from the very same overall budget of the department within which he is now a junior minister.

Now, it's true to say that he's not directly in charge of schools, but, the department he works for as a minister is, so shouldn't he really be stepping down from such a position to avoid any accusations of potential conflicts of interest? Perhaps he already has and the records have not updated yet?

Personally, when you have a look at the "outside of Parliament" work that many Tory shadow Cabinet members and Tory shadow ministers were doing, I expect they will be many stories in the coming months about people who once had links with X suddenly working in Government areas that X may have an interest in.

"Scandal" thrives on such things after all!

See here for more on Classroom CCTV.

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