Another aide of David Cameron gets into hot water over lobbying rules

Written by David Singleton on 12 October 2016 in Diary

Ameet Gill has been rebuked by the Whitehall committee policing the 'revolving door' between politics and business.

David Cameron famously spoke out on lobbying back in 2010, calling it “the next big scandal waiting to happen”.

He also said he wanted to shine “the light of transparency” on lobbying so that politics “comes clean about who is buying power and influence”.

But evidence is mounting that the memo never got through to some of his closest advisers.

Ameet Gill left Downing Street in the summer after nine years at Cameron’s side. Latterly, he served as Cameron’s director of strategy in Number 10 and he was awarded an OBE last year.

Earlier this year he set up a new firm, Hanbury Strategy. And now he has been sternly rebuked by the government body responsible for policing the so-called revolving door between politics and business.

Gill is accused of breaking the rules on lobbying by setting up his firm and securing clients without getting the green light from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba).

The committee expressed its concern about his behaviour in a damning letter to civil service chief John Manzoni. 

“I would like to register the Committee’s concern that Mr Gill’s consultancy and the fact that it had already secured clients was announced before the Committee had had the opportunity to offer its advice,” stated the letter, seen by Public Affairs News.

A spokesperson for Hanbury Strategy said: "Ameet has always been clear that he will comply with all the standards set out by the Cabinet Office, and will continue to do so."

But it is not the first time that a top Cameron aide has fallen foul of the rules on lobbying.

Cameron’s former policy director James O'Shaughnessy faced similar charges in 2012 after he took a role with Portland Communications.

It was reported at the time that O'Shaughnessy failed to inform Acoba that he was joining the lobbying company Portland as its chief policy adviser.

The former chairman of the Committee of Standards in Public Life said it was a "serious error of judgement" but O'Shaughnessy said he believed he had followed the spirit of the rules.




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