The Swamp UK-style: David Davis – 6 days work a year for a pal – £34,000 and help to cancel a £450,000 fine

David Davis backed a City high-flyer’s appeal against a huge fine for insider dealing a month after accepting a lucrative position at one of his companies, the Observer has established.

The Brexit secretary has been a staunch ally of star banker Ian Hannam for many years. Both men were members of 21 SAS Reserve Regiment and Hannam donated £2,000 to Davis’s Tory leadership campaign in 2005. But their relationship deepened in 2012 when Davis criticised the Financial Services Authority in its pursuit of the City’s leading dealmaker, who was forced to leave his job with JP Morgan after being found guilty of “market abuse”.

The £450,000 fine imposed by the FSA (replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority or FCA in 2013) was one of the largest handed down to an individual and was considered a major coup for the authority. But Davis described its action as “unBritish”. He said at the time: “This is an incredible extension of what constitutes insider trading by the FSA. It’s quite an astounding pattern of behaviour by the FSA.”

Ian Hannam, former global chairman of equity capital markets at JP Morgan, was fined £450,000 by what was then the Financial Services Authority.
Ian Hannam, former global chairman of equity capital markets at JP Morgan, was fined £450,000 by what was then the Financial Services Authority.

When the authority first brought the case against Hannam, Davis had no financial relationship with his friend, who was considered one of the most powerful people in the Square Mile for his ability to make deals happen. But this was to change a year later when Davis was appointed to the supervisory board of a German company, Mansfelder Kupfer und Messing (MKM), which describes itself as the “leading European manufacturer of primary and semi-finished products made of copper and copper alloy”.

Davis listed his position – for which he “anticipated remuneration of approximately £34,000 per annum” – in the register of MPs’ interests on 10 June 2013 and disclosed that the role was for six days work a year. The disclosure was made a month after Hannam bought MKM via a company called Copper 1909. MKM confirms on its website that it is owned by Hannam & Partners.

In further updates to the register of interests, Davis acknowledged that he received a series of payments from Copper 1909 – each for around £7,000 – until he stood down from the company on becoming Brexit secretary last year. The Observer estimates that he may have earned more than £100,000 from the arrangement, based on his anticipated remuneration of £34,000 a year.

In July 2013, a month after he accepted the position at MKM, Davis made a very public show of support for Hannam when the banker sought to have the FSA’s decision overturned. The former shadow home secretary sat behind his friend, formerly JP Morgan’s global co-head of UK capital markets, when his appeal was heard. The FSA’s decision to fine Hannam was upheld in 2014 by the upper tribunal, the ultimate arbiter of authority decisions. There was no suggestion that Hannam was acting for private gain and he was granted a licence to continue operating in the Square Mile after the decision was handed down.

The FSA’s case against Hannam was based on two emails in which he revealed that his client, Heritage Oil, had struck oil before the discovery had been announced publicly, and that it was a potential bid target.

Commenting after the appeal was dismissed, Tracey McDermott, then director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA, said: “This has been a long and complex case but the tribunal’s substantial judgment is a landmark. It should leave market participants in no doubt that casual and uncontrolled distribution of inside information is not acceptable in today’s markets. Controlling the flow of inside information is a key way of preventing market abuse and we would urge all market participants to pay close attention to the judgment.”

Davis was one of several people Hannam thanked for their support after the tribunal’s ruling.

The Observer put a series of questions to Davis, including requests for him to confirm how much he had been paid by Hannam’s company, what the work entailed and whether he believed the position had opened him up to any conflicts of interest. Davis declined to comment. However, his friends said he has made no attempt to hide his friendship with Hannam and that all his appointments, and income received, have been declared in accordance with MPs’ rules.

The Observer approached the Committee on Standards in Public Life. A spokeswoman said it would not comment on individual cases but confirmed that the committee was exercised by the issue of MPs holding second jobs.

The spokeswoman said: “We are currently collecting evidence and will feed our findings into the review of the MPs’ code of conduct in due course.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/12/david-davis-linked-to-city-trader-fined-for-insider-dealing

Lung cancer rates among non-smokers doubles – ? pollution

It rather fits in with ex-Vice-President and environmental campaigner Al Gore’s description of the skies above us as “vast outdoor open sewers”.

“Lung cancer rates among non-smokers have doubled over the past decade amid concerns that high levels of air pollution lie behind the rise, a study shows.

The number of lung cancer deaths among people who have never smoked will overtake deaths from smoking- related cancer within a decade if the trend continues, according to the UK’s largest cancer surgery centre.

Researchers worry that this shift would make the condition, which is the deadliest form of cancer, even harder to diagnose and treat in time. There are 46,400 new cases and 36,000 associated deaths in Britain each year, and only one in 20 patients survives for more than ten years.

Lung cancer has overwhelmingly been linked to cigarettes, which caused about nine out of ten cases. As smoking rates have fallen to a record low, however, specialists at the Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield NHS Trust in London have seen a substantial increase in the number of operations they are performing on non-smokers.

Other researchers said they had yet to see any sign of the trend, and there is little rigorous national data on whether lung cancer patients ever smoked. However, a similar rise was recently identified by three big hospitals in America. Eric Lim, a consultant thoracic surgeon, said he was confident that his team had identified a new and troubling phenomenon.

Between 2008 and 2014 the number of lung cancer patients treated at the centre remained constant at about 310 a year, but the proportion of people who had never smoked climbed steadily from 13 to 28 per cent, rising from fewer than 50 never-smokers to nearly 100 a year, 67 per cent of whom were women.

Mr Lim said that the reasons for this change were unclear but air pollution was a strong candidate. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified fine particles such as soot as a carcinogen, and Cancer Research UK estimates that pollution accounts for 3,500 cases of lung cancer each year. Another possible explanation is better detection of tumours through scans for other diseases.

Mr Lim said the rise of lung cancer in people who had never smoked could lead to a higher death rate because it was harder for doctors to spot the disease early without the red flag of a cigarette habit. Even now only 21 per cent of cases are diagnosed by GPs, compared with the 35 per cent that are discovered at accident and emergency wards.

The Royal Brompton group plans to launch the first clinical trials of a “liquid biopsy” blood test next year that could catch fragments of DNA shed by lung cancer months or years before the most serious symptoms appeared.

Some experts argue that the study, which involved 2,170 patients and is published in the European Journal of Cancer, is too small to be truly reliable.

Stephen Spiro, a former head of respiratory medicine at University College Hospital and an honorary adviser to the British Lung Foundation, said: “There is no good evidence that lung cancer is becoming commoner in never-smokers.” He added: “Lung cancer will become more frequent in never-smokers as a proportion, as smoking cancers begin to decline.”

Mr Lim stood by his findings, saying that Britain was not good enough at monitoring lung cancer rates to have spotted the trend.”

Source: The Times, pay wall

“Conduct of health committee members investigated by Devon council” – Diviani and Randall-Johnson heavily criticised for behaviour

“Devon County Council has confirmed it is looking into the conduct of members of one of its committees following a debate and vote not to refer a decision to close 72 community hospital beds in Devon to the secretary of state for health.

The matter was debated by the health and adult care scrutiny committee meeting at Exeter’s County Hall on July 25.

Among those who have expressed their concerns is Val Ranger, East Devon District Council ward councillor for Newton Poppleford and Harpford.

She says that at a meeting of East Devon District full council meeting on July 26, Cllr Paul Diviani, who sits on the committee as a representative of district councils, admitted he had not asked the opinion of other district councils about whether they wished to refer the decision to close local hospital beds to the secretary of state, and could offer no evidence on that basis that he was representing their views.

At the meeting Cllr Diviani was among those who voted not to refer the decision to the secretary of state.

Cllr Ranger said: “He said he voted not to because it was unlikely that the secretary of state would overturn the decision.

This seems duplicitous on two count. The first for failing to adequately represent the views of the district councils.

“Secondly for assuming the role of the secretary of state by stating there was no point in referring the matter to him as he was unlikely to overturn the decision.

“At the EDDC scrutiny committee on June 22, EDDC’s views and recommendations were very clear; Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has failed to provide the evidence needed to support their plans.

“However, Cllr Diviani failed to represent those views or the views of other district councils as he did not seek them. He has admitted he voted independently of both EDDC and other district councils, rendering his vote as entirely without integrity in his role at the DCC meeting.

“The vote is an entirely unsafe and undemocratic way of conducting business and brings both EDDC and DCC into disrepute.”

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “We have received a number of comments, representations and complaints about the health and adult care scrutiny committee held last week and about the conduct of members at that meeting.

“We will be looking at all the points raised by Cllr Ranger and others under our normal procedures to see if there are any issues to be addressed.”

However, Cllr Diviani is confident the investigation by DCC will conclude there has been no wrong doing.

He said: “I take this predictable and entirely politically motivated complaint against me by people who contribute little or nothing positive to the debate at face value, and feel sure that DCC will dismiss the allegations as unfounded.

“I have neither seen or heard anything from Ms Ranger on how her party would address the huge challenges facing the NEW Devon CCG and the NHS.

“As the web cam at County Hall malfunctioned and didn’t record properly, the gist of what I said is as below. I did also explain that my position on that scrutiny committee is by virtue of my being elected by the other leaders of all the Devon districts to represent the county-wide views of the district councils, not just East Devon, and is a function I perform regularly both locally and in London through the District Councils Network where I represent the South West.

“There is a tendency to assume that everything is fine as it is, when it quite clearly is not, and that the government will keep throwing money at the NHS as they always have in the past.

“What that underestimates are the social care costs which are massive, but if tackled correctly will reduce the acute care costs, as evidenced by the Kings Fund report. We will still need our hospital buildings which in Honiton are already being used differently, for example, for kidney or chemotherapy treatments. Staffing is still a problem but that is not building dependent.

“Many of us have made a positive decision to live and indeed work in the countryside and a direct result of that decision is a diminution of accessible services we can reasonably expect the state to provide. When able, it is a price we gladly pay for the quality of life afforded.

“In straightened times, we need to cut the cloth accordingly. As is well documented, the largely under funded cost of adult social care is a significant factor in the problems besetting the NHS where the acute care service is the treatment of last resort, and very good it is too, but with the budget sliced off to the top tier local authority.

“As the truly excellent Kings Fund Report from 2016 made exceedingly clear, sorting adult social care comes first and if we tackle that with the help of the district councils the benefits will flow. The NHS cost pressures will diminish and the money can best be spent where most needed.

“In East Devon we have enormous and justifiable pride in our local hospitals and all our existing towns were well endowed. Costs are, however, never static and will always rise without innovation.

“But here we are talking service industry which is always people dependent and where low wages do not necessarily translate into low cost. Simply put, if one person falls, it will take two people to rectify the situation, and if not rectified speedily, the condition and costs multiply exponentially.

“And speedily must mean access to care, quickly. Our travel times are well known and until they are resolved, we will always need staging posts to either stop people occupying the acute provision when unnecessary or to maintain them in a degree of comfort until they can reach the comfort and safety of their own living space.

“The major flaw appears to me to be the ever present ‘one size fits all’. Flexibility is key and our response should be the start.

“Attempting to browbeat the secretary of state with a demand to overturn his own policies is counter intuitive. I prefer to ask him to rural proof our rural situation before allowing any further reductions in service which we on the ground can see will be detrimental, but our transformers would discount. But that is a local decision which should be made locally.”

Also among those who have raised concerns over the debate and vote at the scrutiny meeting is Claire Wright, Devon County Councillor for Otter Valley Ward.

She has said how she was “disappointed” by the behaviour of scrutiny committee chair Sara Randall Johnson who “appeared to do her utmost” to prevent any referral.

She said: “I am also disappointed with the attitude of the majority of the Conservative group who used a variety of ill-informed views and remarks to justify their determination not to refer, refusing to hear or see any member of the public’s distress, frustration and disbelief at the proceedings.

“The chair’s attitude made me angry and led to a protracted row where I repeatedly asked her why she had allowed a proposal to be made and seconded at the very start of the meeting by her conservative colleague, Rufus Gilbert, not to refer to the secretary of state for health, when I already had a proposal that I had lodged with her and the two officers, before the meeting.”

She added: “When they did what they did at the health scrutiny meeting, the Conservatives betrayed thousands of local people.”

The close vote whether to refer the decision was six votes to seven, with two abstentions. All those who voted with Cllr Gilbert’s motion were Conservative’s.

Cllr Wright, who is seeking advice on what happened at the meeting, concluded: “I am quite certain that with a different approach by the chair the outcome would have been different, and local peoples views would have been respected and acted upon.”

http://m.devonlive.com/conduct-of-health-committee-members-investigated-by-devon-council/story-30478465-detail/story.html