Of course conflicts of interest will go undiscovered if this Tory plan is put into action – that’s the whole point.
While Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour actually campaigns for transparency and to put power in the hands of ordinary people, Theresa May’s Tories are trying to cover up their own corruption.
Companies House keeps a publicly accessible database on every UK firm, with details of accounts, directors and shareholders – and there are plans to cut the time that details of dissolved companies are kept from 20 years to just six, leading to the potential loss of 2.5 million records.
Police, journalists and bank compliance teams all make use of the data.
According to the Independent, “If implemented, the plans would see records relating to 24 current ministers’ involvement with dissolved companies wiped or soon wiped, including Mr Hammond’s links to real estate firms.
“Ms Rudd’s connection to a management consultancy dissolved in 2010 would be wiped. Mr Hunt’s links to manufacturing and publishing firms would also soon be unavailable for public viewing.
“Boris Johnson’s involvement in the now dissolved London Climate Change Agency, connected to his time as Mayor of London, would also be wiped.
“Records relating to former Barings banker Andrew Fraser, who donated £2.5m to the party during Mr Cameron’s premiership, would also be wiped.
“There was outrage earlier this month when political opponents attacked Mr Cameron’s resignation honours list, claiming the former Prime Minister had handed rewards to friends and political connections including Mr Fraser.
“Other donors who could have records cleared include Michael Spencer, who gave £5m to the party, and Lord Michael Farmer, who donated about £8.5m.”
The plan is to stop ordinary people being able to check MPs’ previous business records, to see if they have undeclared interests in matters before Parliament.
Clearly, this opens up Parliament to new possibilities of corruption – which seems precisely the intention.
The business dealings of Cabinet ministers and donors who pumped £27m into the Tory party could be wiped from official records under plans being considered by a Government agency.
Chancellor Philip Hammond, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt are among ministers whose former business interests could be obscured from public view.
Donors who bolstered Tory coffers, including one promised a Lords seat in David Cameron’s tainted resignation honours list, could also see their records wiped.
The move threatens to cut off a key source of information on public figures’ past, provoking concern that it may mean conflicts of interest go undiscovered.
The Government said a consultation would be held before any decision is taken, but Labour demanded the move be blocked.
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