Zac: Too close relationship between Heathrow & Government borders on corrupt – recent examples
Former Tory MP Zac Goldsmith has accused the Government and Heathrow Airport of having a relationship that “borders on the corrupt”. He said the closeness of the interaction between the airport and Whitehall was “rotten”. Examples recently of this are that the Chairman of Heathrow since March 2016 (succeeding Sir Nigel Rudd) is Lord Paul Deighton. Between 2013 and 2015 he held the position of Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, some of the roles of which are described as “infrastructure policy, including working with Infrastructure and Projects Authority and National Infrastructure Commission” and “working with the rest of government to promote the UK as a destination for foreign direct investment.” Another recent revolve of the door is Vickie Sherriff, who has since September 2015 been the Head of Communications at Heathrow, having earlier worked for the Prime Minister, in 2013, with a dual role as official deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister and head of news at Number 10. She went to the DfT and then Diageo in 2014. Then there is Simon Baugh, who in March 2015 because the group director of communications at the DfT, having previously been the director of PR at Heathrow. And Nigel Milton. And there are many earlier cases too. Zac commented: “And that’s why you’ve always had this default position in favour of Heathrow.” The DfT naturally rejected any suggestion of corruption.
Relationship between Heathrow and Government borders on corrupt, says Goldsmith
3.11.2016 (|Belfast Telegraph)
Former Tory MP Zac Goldsmith has accused the Government and Heathrow Airport of having a relationship that “borders on the corrupt”.
Mr Goldsmith, who resigned last week as an MP in protest at the Government’s Heathrow expansion plans, forcing a by-election which he is fighting on a campaign of opposition to the move, said the interaction between the airport and Whitehall was “rotten”.
He told LBC: “I think the relationship between Heathrow and Government is bordering on the corrupt.
“And I’ll put it into context.
“A year ago I was lobbying the infrastructure minister Lord Deighton, and I was lobbying him on this issue of Heathrow expansion, and he responded very politely and took a few notes. [Lord Deighton’s page on the government website].
“A few months later he was the chairman of Heathrow.
“And that is true all the way through.
“You’ve got the former head of comms at Number 10, now the head of comms at Heathrow. [Vickie Sherriff, details below].
“Former head of comms at Heathrow now the head of comms at the Department for Transport, [Simon Baugh, details below] and I could spend an hour giving you other examples.
“I think there is a problem. It’s not a Conservative Party problem. This was true under Gordon Brown, and the Tony Blair government before that. The relationship between the two is rotten.
“The revolving door is spinning wildly, and sometimes it is hard to know where Heathrow ends and Government begins.
“And that’s why you’ve always had this default position in favour of Heathrow.
“Why is it that we have this institutional obsession with a solution that is a non-solution and can’t be delivered? It’s very hard to explain, except through the lens of corrupted relationships.”
Asked about Mr Goldsmith’s allegation of corruption, a Downing Street spokesman said: “We reject that entirely.”
The Number 10 spokesman added: “The Airports Commission was absolutely clear that Heathrow is the best option for airport expansion in the South East.
“We took our time to look at that report, we commissioned extra work to go alongside that.
“That has been very carefully scrutinised and we are absolutely of the opinion that Heathrow is the place where airport expansion should take place.”
A spokeswoman for Heathrow Airport said: “This is absolutely untrue.
“The Government’s decision follows the most in-depth study of aviation expansion in a generation, the independent experts of the Airports Commission unanimously and unambiguously supported Heathrow’s plans for expansion.
“After two-and-a-half years, and a £20 million study, the Airports Commission confirmed that expanding Heathrow would have the biggest economic benefits for the UK and can be done while reducing noise for local communities and in accordance with EU air quality law.”
More about him from the Government website:
Lord Deighton took up the post of in January 2013.
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury 2013 to 2015
- Press release
And there is more at https://www.gov.uk/government/people/paul-deighton
Responsibilities of the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury:
The Commercial Secretary is responsible for:
- UK productivity
- City devolution, including Northern Powerhouse
- infrastructure policy, including working with Infrastructure and Projects Authority and National Infrastructure Commission
- corporate finance, including public corporations, public private partnerships, PFI, and sales of government assets
- better regulation and competition policy
- industrial strategy
- working with the rest of government to promote the UK as a destination for foreign direct investment
- housing and planning
- The Royal Mint
- Crown Estate and the Royal Household
Heathrow announces Lord Deighton as new Chairman
8.3.2016 (Heathrow press release)
Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd has today announced that Lord Paul Deighton will succeed Sir Nigel Rudd as Chairman of the Board when he steps down later this year.
Lord Deighton’s breadth of experience in funding and delivering major projects is unrivalled. He is widely respected in the financial, infrastructure and political communities. Under Sir Nigel Rudd’s leadership, Heathrow has been transformed into one of the great airports of the world. Lord Deighton will guide Heathrow through its next phase of development, supporting Heathrow’s vision of giving passengers the best airport service in the world and preparing for the Government’s decision on airport expansion.
Following a very successful career at Goldman Sachs, Lord Deighton delivered the 2012 London Olympic Games to international acclaim as CEO of LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games), enhancing the UK’s reputation for infrastructure service delivery and generating national pride. Recently, as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton was responsible for the UK’s National Infrastructure Plan, focussing on getting major projects built, benefits captured , attracting capital into the UK from across the world and creating the right environment for continued infrastructure investment.
…. and it continues ….
I am responsible for communications strategy, campaigns, media relations, digital, stakeholder engagement and corporate communications at the UK Department for Transport, and accountable for communications strategy, spend and professional standards across its agencies.
I was a communications director at the UK’s largest airport company (formerly BAA) with specific responsibility for group media relations, corporate and financial communications, consumer PR, filming and location management, communications planning and crisis management.
I led the airport’s campaign for new runway capacity and its communications planning for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
I was communications director with specific responsibility for internal, digital and brand communications. I was also a member of Heathrow’s Operations and HR leadership teams.
I helped secure planning permission for Heathrow’s new Terminal 2. I was also communications lead on the Crisis Management Team during high-profile events such as the 2006 liquid bomb plot and opening of Terminal 5.
DfT hires Heathrow PR director Simon Baugh – to start briefing ministers etc on runways after 30th September
Simon Baugh, who is currently director of PR at Heathrow Airport, is moving to the DfT to take up the role of group director of comms. He takes up the new job on 30th March. Baugh said: “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be joining the team or to be promoting the role that transport plays in driving UK economic growth.” He has been overseeing PR at Heathrow, which included the launch in late 2013 of Back Heathrow, a ‘grassroots’ (astroturfing – deeply controversial) campaign. On 20th February Zac Goldsmith put a written question in Parliament: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recruitment process was used when hiring Simon Baugh, Group Director of Communications for his Department; and what role Mr Baugh will have in his Department after the Airports Commission has made its recommendation on airport expansion in the South East.” Reply by DfT spokesperson: “As Mr Baugh was previously employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd, he will not be involved in advising Ministers on issues relating to the work of the Airports Commission for the 6 months following his appointment, which starts on 30 March 2015.” ie. the Commission may report at the end of June, and Simon Baugh can start briefing etc by 30th September.
Revolving door revolves again: Vickie Sheriff (used to work at 10 Downing Street) to be Heathrow head of comms
There have for a long time been concerns about the “revolving door”, by which people switch between working high up in the aviation industry, and working high up in Government. The concern is that they may bring too much influence, from their earlier employer. Now it is announced that Vickie Sheriff it to become head of communications for Heathrow airport. Earlier she had worked for the Prime Minister, in 2013, with a dual role as official deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister and head of news at Number 10. She went to the DfT and then Diageo in 2014. Heathrow’s director of PR, Simon Baugh, left earlier this year to work at the Department for Transport to take the role of head of communications. This is the job that was previously held by Vickie Sheriff. (Simon Baugh was not actually meant to be advising ministers on the new runway issue till 1st September 2015 when he had been at the DfT for 6 months). Heathrow also appointed a new consumer PR agency in the summer. There have been several other high profile examples of the “revolving door” in the past, including Tom Kelly in 2009, who had worked for Tony Blair and then went to BAA as head of comms.
….. and there are more older instances of the revolving door ….. with details at
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, HEATHROW AIRPORT
Nigel leads Heathrow Airports Ltd’s Public Affairs and Community Relations teams. His responsibilities include managing Heathrow’s relations with politicians, government officials, business groups and the community around Heathrow. He represents Heathrow on a wide range of trade associations and lobbying groups.
Nigel joined Heathrow from Virgin Atlantic in March 2010 where he had spent six years in the External Affairs department. Prior to this Nigel worked for the Department for Transport (DfT) where he had been Assistant Director for International Aviation since October 2000. Prior to this post, Nigel was Private Secretary to the UK Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Transport, John Prescott, between 1998 and 2000.
Nigel has a law degree from Oxford University and a Masters degree in Transport Planning and Management from the University of Westminster.
“In politics, the “revolving door” is a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation.[note 1]
“In some cases the roles are performed in sequence but in certain circumstances may be performed at the same time. Political analysts claim that an unhealthy relationship can develop between the private sector and government, based on the granting of reciprocated privileges to the detriment of the nation and can lead to regulatory capture.
“The “revolving door” between the DfT and the aviation industry is well known, and the movement of staff between the two has been going on for years.”
The quote below is from Wikipedia:
“The aviation sector has close links with political decision makers which many players moving between roles through the controversial ‘revolving door‘. For example: Joe Irvin was advisor to John Prescott from 1996 and 2001 (Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions as well as Deputy Prime Minister) before working for various element of the aviation lobby and becoming head of corporate affairs at BAA in 2006 before he became ‘Special Advisor’ to Gordon Brown in 2007 when he became prime minister. He was succeeded at BAA by Tom Kelly who took the title ‘group director of corporate and public affairs’; Kelly had previously been the official spokesman for Tony Blair when he was prime minister.
Freedom to Fly was formed during the preparation phase of the “Future of Aviation white paper 2003” by BAA and others It was ‘fronted’ by Joe Irvin, a former political adviser to John Prescott who subsequently became Director of Public Affairs at BAA LimitedTheir director, Dan Hodges, is the son of Glenda Jackson, Labour MP and former Aviation Minister.“
Maria Eagle (Labour’s then Shadow Transport Secretary) said of the DfT in 2011:
“….I am sorry that the government has not learnt from our own mistake – and I do believe it was a big mistake – to see the Department for Transport as a revolving door department. It’s bad for the sector. It’s bad for good governance.”
Other examples of the “revolving door” between government and the aviation industry:
February 2008. Plane Stupid wrote:
“Labour/industry revolving door: Trade minister Sir Digby Jones is the former
CBI boss who became chair of the new aviation industry lobby group, Flying Matters.
The group was recently formed to take on environmentalists over airport expansion.
Gordon Brown also appointed Joe Irvin, formerly a director of the aviation lobby
group Freedom to Fly, to become one of his inner circle of advisors too. Freedom
to Fly was the brainchild of Steve Hardwick – another of Labour’s key Millbank
apparatchiks – while the organisation was previously chaired by Labour peer Brenda
Dean and directed by Dan Hodges, the son of Glenda Jackson who was Labour’s first
aviation minister. Dan Hodge’s wife, Michelle De Leo, is the new director of Flying
“The chancellor, Alistair Darling, the bete noir of climate campaigners, is far
from a stranger to BAA either. In fact, he was the guest of honour who officially
launched a group called Future Heathrow, who are lobbying for a third runway and
a sixth terminal at the airport. Future Heathrow, is headed up by another Labour
peer, Lord Soley, who works out of a BAA office in West London. BAA’s new communications chief is former Downing Street spin doctor Tom Kelly.” Link
BAA hire Blair’s former spin doctor – Tom Kelly
25.10.2007 (UK Airport News)
BAA has hired Tony Blair’s former spokesman Tom Kelly. He who spent six years in Downing Street, most recently as the top PR man for the former prime minister. He becomes the UK airport operator’s Group Director of Corporate and Public Affairs.
Mr. Kelly, a former BBC journalist, left Downing Street with Mr Blair in June and takes up his new post on November 5. He replaces Ian Hargreaves, who left BAA more than a year ago in the first wave of resignations after BAA was taken over last year by the Spanish construction firm Ferrovial.
His first order of business will be to help shape the response to an inquiry, announced last week, from the Transport Select Committee into ‘The Future of BAA’. The inquiry will include a televised grilling of company executives, including chief executive Stephen Nelson. BAA has started providing evidence before two days of hearings set for 21 and 25 November.
Other issues for Mr. Kelly to tackle include the Civil Aviation Authority decision on profits and landing fees at Gatwick and Heathrow, which look like being set much lower than BAA had been lobbying for. The Competition Commission, meanwhile, is trying to decide whether the introduction of more competition through a break-up of BAA, which controls Gatwick and Stansted airports, would improve service for travellers.
Then there is the Stansted planning inquiry, which closed last week, and a public consultation on maximising the use of Heathrow runways (the so called ‘mixed mode’) and a third runway expected to be launched next month. In addition, he will need to turn around the criticism of BAA over the ramshackle infrastructure that greets travellers at Heathrow, the world’s busiest international airport.
Also appointed by BAA yesterday was Fiona Rodford as Human Resources Director. She joins from Alliance & Leicester, where she had been for four years, having previously worked for House of Fraser, Whitbread, Booker and Thomas Cook.
Stephen Nelson said the new recruits would ‘bring considerable strengths to the new BAA management team at one of the most important points in the company’s development.’
The aviation sector has close links with political decision makers which many players moving between roles through the controversial ‘revolving door‘. For example: Joe Irvinwas advisor to John Prescott from 1996 and 2001 (Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions as well as Deputy Prime Minister) before working for various element of the aviation lobby and becoming head of corporate affairs at BAA in 2006 before he became ‘Special Advisor’ to Gordon Brown in 2007 when he became prime minister. He was succeeded at BAA by Tom Kelly who took the title ‘group director of corporate and public affairs’; Kelly had previously been the official spokesman for Tony Blair when he was prime minister.
Freedom to Fly was formed during the preparation phase of the “Future of Aviation white paper 2003” by BAA and others It was ‘fronted’ by Joe Irvin, a former political adviser to John Prescott who subsequently became Director of Public Affairs at BAA LimitedTheir director, Dan Hodges, is the son ofGlenda Jackson, Labour MP and former Aviation Minister.
Sir Roy McNulty is now non-executive director of Gatwick airport, but he has been Chairman of NATS and Chairman of the CAA in the past.
Now Air Quality Science Policy Advisor at Defra
– Present (2 years 3 months) London, United Kingdom
Lead on UK air quality monitoring of black carbon, particle numbers and concentrations, and air pollution emissions from transport.
Air Quality and Noise Policy Manager at Heathrow
– (6 years 4 months)
Wrote Air Quality Strategy for Heathrow Airport and implemented policies to reduce emissions and help improve the local environment. I managed the collection of key data to measure the effectiveness of airport policies as well as the delivery of emissions inventories and dispersion modelling.
– (8 years 4 months)
Principal author of the London Air Quality Strategy and managed key actions to help improve London’s environment. These included a best practice guide for construction, GLA Environment Policy, providing specialist advice to the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade on cleaner vehicles and supporting TfL in their goal for low emission buses.
Also at PwC, which did analysis for the Airports Commission on Heathrow
David Edwards, Current Assistant Director – Corporate Finance – Infrastructure PwC
June 2006 – Present (10 years 6 months) London,
Previous – Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom, Corporate Finance Advisor
2015 – 2015 (less than a year)
Before that – Mott MacDonald
Andrew Sentance, is Senior Economic Adviser to PwC. He joined the firm in November 2011 after serving as an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England.
After studying at Cambridge and the LSE, Andrew started his career as a business economist at the Confederation of British Industry in the mid-1980s before moving to the London Business School in 1994. While at the CBI, he was a founder member of the Treasury’s Panel of Independent Forecasters – also known as the “seven wise men”. Immediately before joining the Bank of England, Andrew was Chief Economist at British Airways, where he also worked on business strategy and planning, airport policy, airport regulation and environmental affairs.