Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has a large number of deeply worrying questions to answer over his former Communications Director Will Walden, who it appears has become a lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch.
According to the Register of Members Staff Interests dated 22nd of December Mr Johnson provides a Parliamentary Staff pass to Will Walden with unfettered access to the parliamentary estate.
WriteYou Insight has confirmed that these are updated every 6 weeks, so maybe out of date, but Boris needs to immediately say whether Mr Walden still has a pass.
In December it was reported that Mr Walden had been appointed Managing Director of Public Affairs for the international lobbying company Edelman. The Register of Members Staff Interests was updated after the announcement, but Mr Walden's listing was not, meaning that the appointment was not declared.
Mr Walden details his close links to Johnson on his Linkedin page.
Edelman’s client list includes News UK (a subsidiary of News Corp and owned by Rupert Murdoch), the Government of Japan, TATA Steel, Shell, the S & D Group and CVC Capital partners.
They list that they operate in 28 countries globally and represent companies significantly impacted by foreign policy decisions. CVC Capital Partners for example has massive global interests.
It appears Mr Walden avoided going through ACOBA process for former crown servants, probably because he worked in an unpaid capacity for Mr Johnson whilst in a power struggle with Theresa May’s advisors.
Mr Johnson has a number of immediate questions to answer.
- Does Will Walden still have a Parliamentary Pass?
- If so why? Does he think it’s acceptable for someone to have a pass who could potentially profit from this?
- Why isn’t his Edelman position declared in the Register of Members Staff interests?
- Why did Mr Walden continue to have a pass after the announcement of the Edelman position?
- When did Mr Johnson last speak with Mr Walden?
- Has Mr Walden requested meetings with Mr Johnson for any of his clients?
- What access did Mr Walden have at the Foreign Office and has he shared any of this with Edelman clients?
- Has there been any ACOBA scrutiny? If not is it right that he has avoided ACOBA scrutiny?
On the face of it appears that the Foreign Secretary’s closest advisor still has a Parliamentary Pass provided by him and is working for companies with significant interests in Government decisions. If Mr Walden has returned his pass there are still many questions that need to be answered.
These questions must be answered immediately.
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