Top Boris Johnson aide is dragged into lobbying row
Top Boris Johnson aide is dragged into lobbying row as it emerges she ‘owns a third’ of firm set up by ex-Cabinet minister Lord Maude to advise on public sector reform
- Baroness Finn is said to have retained a 35 per cent stake in a consultancy firm
- Lady Finn resigned as a director before she became PM’s deputy chief of staff
- Francis Maude Associates set up by Lady Finn and ex-minister Francis Maude
A key aide to Boris Johnson is facing accusations of a potential conflict of interest after it was claimed she still owns 35 per cent of a consultancy firm which advises governments on public sector reform.
Baroness Finn, the Prime Minister’s deputy chief of staff, co-founded Francis Maude Associates (FMAP) with the ex-Cabinet Office minister Lord Maude.
The Times reported that while Lady Finn resigned as a director at FMAP before joining Number 10 she does still own a third of the firm.
Meanwhile, ITV reported that her shareholding is worth between 25 and 50 per cent.
It came amid a growing row over outside earnings in Whitehall which has been triggered by the David Cameron Greensill lobbying scandal.
Baroness Finn, the Prime Minister’s deputy chief of staff, is facing accusations of a potential conflict of interest after it was claimed she still owns 35 per cent of a consultancy firm
Baroness Finn, co-founded Francis Maude Associates (FMAP) with the ex-Cabinet Office minister Lord Maude
Lord Maude served as minister for the Cabinet Office during the years of the Coalition Government between 2010 and 2015.
FMAP states on its website that ‘Francis Maude and Simone Finn founded FMA to work with governments to help them save money, improve services and build lasting capability’.
The firm states it has ‘worked with the federal governments in Canada and Australia, the government of NSW and a number of governments in Asia and the Middle East’.
‘Our focus is on the implementation of fiscal, economic and public sector reform,’ it adds.
The firm currently employs former chancellor Philip Hammond and former ministers Nick Boles and Nick Hurd as senior advisers.
A friend of Lady Finn told The Times: ‘Simone no longer has any involvement in or association with this company.’
A spokesman for FMAP denied any conflict of interest, telling the newspaper: ‘It was not feasible to relinquish her shareholding as it is an illiquid holding.
‘Her shareholding is declared in the House of Lords register of interests and internally. She is not involved with FMAP in any way.’
But Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, raised concerns.
He said: ‘While working for the prime minister there is a risk she is looking over her shoulder at how her company is prospering.
‘You cannot stop yourself being influenced by the interests of a company of which you are a significant owner.’
Lord Maude told ITV that his company has done no work for the UK government and has not sought any work and ‘nor will we’.
A Government spokesman said: ‘Baroness Finn has declared all her relevant interests to the House of Lords, and in addition, complied with the Cabinet Office requirements for special advisers to declare outside interests.
‘The Cabinet Office has a formal process to avoid conflicts of interest arising from such declared interests.’
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