Boris Johnson’s former top aide Lord Eddie Lister has been accused of lobbying for a £187m taxpayer-funded loan for a company he worked for while in Number 10.
Stefan Boscia www.msn.com
Lister, who suddenly left Number 10 last month, had a paid role at luxury property developer Delancey while simultaneously working for Johnson and as chairman for Homes England.
The Sunday Times revealed today that Lister attended a meeting at Homes England, a government body, that was being held to deliberate on a £187m loan application for a Delancey-run project.
The loan was approved.
At the time, Lister told other people at the Homes England meeting that he had “previously undertaken advisory work for Delancey”.
The minutes of the meeting say: “The committee were content that this did not constitute a conflict of interest.”
However, this was revealed to be untrue as he was still being paid by Delancey for consultancy work.
In his register of interests at the time Lister said he was working for Dream Ltd – a reference to Delancey Real Estate Asset Management.
Whitehall sources told the Times that some civil servants were concerned that Delancey were receiving preferential treatment.
One said they had been under “enormous pressure” to rubber stamp the loan.
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said: “The sleazy, grubby, double-dealing Conservatives have rotten government to its core.”
Lister apologised for not fully disclosing his links with Delancey to Homes England and insisted “there was never any intent to gain any unfair advantage for the company”.
“On the board, I had no substantive involvement in matters relating to Delancey, recognising the potential for a conflict of interest,” he said.
“I do accept that it would have been better to fully recuse myself at the meeting where the Get Living consortium was discussed, given my separate role with the Delancey group of companies.”
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