Why Theresa May must ensure transparency between top politicians and big business during Brexit negotiations

Theresa and Philip May

Theresa and Philip May: Pic Credit: ITV


Tonight Theresa May and her husband Philip May appeared on the BBC One Show together – providing a major personal boost for the PM during the General Election campaign.

Last month Byline carried a story about the Cabinet Office being asked to investigate an issue that is very close to home to both of them – whether there could be any conflict of interest between her role as Prime Minister and his role as a senior investment manager of the Capital Group, which moves billions of pounds every day in the money markets.

The question is important – not because there is any evidence that either Theresa or Philip May  have abused that relationship to make money – but because the Whitehall rules are still pretty lax in ensuring that there is full transparency despite fine words in the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

As it says :“Ministers must ensure that no conflict arise, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests.”

I raise this because last month the Cabinet Office insisted that there was no investigation into this and that  “The Prime Minister has declared in full her interests and the interests of her husband.”

That reply covers a multitude of sins because the same code allows nothing to be declared by Theresa May if she puts her investments in a ” blind trust” and leaves it to the trustees to invest. Similarly her husband Philip need only declare very basic information because  such details “would involve unjustifiable intrusion into the private affairs not only of Ministers, but of their close family.”

I also raise it because the Cabinet Office seemed unduly sensitive about this inquiry. I am told by another media source that it privately briefed that not only was there no investigation but there was no email correspondence about such a complaint or response from the Cabinet Office about it.

I have double checked my sources and indeed discovered a civil servant from the Cabinet Office did acknowledge the complaint and promised to examine the issue  after it was pointed out that billions if not hundreds of millions of pounds are involved in currency movements depending on speculation on Brexit.  I won’t embarrass the civil servant by naming the person on this site as I know the source won’t want to be identified.

This leads me to one conclusion. If the Conservatives do win the election, for the next two years the money markets will be desperate to know the state of Brexit negotiations – as there are hundreds of millions if not billions of pounds to be made by having an ” inside track “.

Therefore I think declarations by ministers and their close relatives – given the close connections between the City and prominent Tories – should be made much more transparent. This is one for Lord Bew and the Committee on Standards in Public Life but it needs to be sorted quickly.



4 thoughts on “Why Theresa May must ensure transparency between top politicians and big business during Brexit negotiations

  1. Anyone that thinks the state didn’t get exactly what it either wanted, or had an alternative plan already in place for, after the Brexit result, is delusional. It’s all part of the plan folks, and someone somewhere is making BILLIONS on the back of the current uncertainty. It’s win win for the rich that have run this country for centuries. Whoever wins the general election, the state is still in charge and will get what it wants either way.


  2. They seriously don’t care. Let us eat cake, or old bones, or dirt from the rich man’s table. At least she doesn’t play golf and charge the security escort for the use of their golf carts, as is the custom at Royal Trumpworth. Is the Cabinet Office Secretary the Brexit equivalent of the White House ethics counsellor?


  3. Money markets understand why they cannot be informed, as that is the way they do their own negotiations. The EU and the UK have entered into a game of poker, which is how these negotiations are done. Each side bluffing, but not revealing their cards.

    The UK has the best cards, one of them being fishing. The fishing associations from coastal European countries met in Brussels to form an alliance ahead of Brexit talks, with all agreeing that access to fish in UK waters was a “priority”.

    EU countries rely heavily on access to UK seas, with some vessels catching up to 80 percent of their fish there. Some UK fishing groups and politicians have demanded that Britain removes foreign vessels after Brexit to improve catches for UK fishermen. Fishing is important to the EU as the large hospitality sections rely on fish and shellfish from British Territorial waters, and millions of EU jobs depend on this.

    There are other cards that the UK has, and cards that the EU have. Bluff, and double bluff will be seen for the next year or so. If you learn to play poker you will better understand what is happening.


  4. UK voted to leave the EU — and the trawlerman from Boulogne-sur-Mer on the other side of the Channel is regretting his decision.

    “If I’d known Brexit would happen, I never would have signed,” he says, gesturing towards the British coastline just 50km away. “It could crush us.”

    His fears are shared across Boulogne, where fishermen worry that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU could spell the expulsion of foreign boats from British waters and the demise of France’s largest fishing port.

    Their concern highlights how even a relatively small industry may prove to be a large sticking point in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

    It also demonstrates what Britain hopes could be one of its biggest points of leverage in talks, with so many EU countries reliant on access to UK waters.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.