Barker-watch: yet more updates on the latest lobbying scandal
Author: Zoe Stavri
Published on Sep 14, 2012
Yet more is emerging in the scandal surrounding climate change minister Greg Barker and his controversial relationship with his adviser Miriam Maes, who is also an energy consultant. The extent of the privileged access granted to Maes’s clients and associates is becoming more clear each day.
In one email to his adviser, Barker paid Maes the high compliment of being “more helpful by miles than anyone at the Decc [Department of Energy and Climate Change]”, which may explain why he preferred to have her accompany him to meetings rather than civil servants.
A partner of Maes’s company, Salix, received a £5million contract from the Decc. As the contract was being approved, Maes was copied into the emails, despite her insistence that there was no commercial relationship between her energy consultancy and Salix.
Meanwhile, more has emerged on Barker’s relationship with Air Products, a client of Maes’s (pictured above is Barker aboard an Air Products motorbike). Barker met with Air Products before a meeting with the Environment Agency. Maes had forwarded him some “meeting objectives” from Air Products, including their “highlights of the Tees Valley project”. At the subsequent Environment Agency meeting, Barker asked about a permit application Air Products needed to build a renewable energy plant at Teeside. Maes denied that she had asked Barker to raise this issue.
Through the emails available, it is possible to piece together a picture of what might have happened, and it looks like a scandalous story of privileged access.
These shady relationships between lobbyists and government need to end. We need this information to be available to the public as a matter of course so these matters can be dealt with as they happen. A robust register of lobbyists can help open up lobbying and expose the patterns.
We wrote to new lobbying minister Chloe Smith demanding a register of lobbyists that is the best it can be as a matter of urgency. So far, almost 3000 people have co-signed. Help us open up lobbying and prevent scandals like this from happening again. Co-sign our letter today.