openDemocracyUK

Mapped – hard Brexit guru Singham's 'unparalleled' access to government

As Shanker Singham steps down from advising the Brexit trade department following openDemocracy's revelations of a potential conflict of interest, we reveal the full extent of his government access.

Peter Geoghegan Jenna Corderoy
Peter Geoghegan Jenna Corderoy
25 June 2018
Shanker Singham
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Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

Last week, openDemocracy broke the news that Shanker Singham had begun advising PR and lobbying firm Grayling about Brexit. The appointment raised eyebrows: the former Washington lobbyist, who rose to prominence at the controversial think tank Legatum, was also a member of Brexit minister Liam Fox's trade advisory team. Singham insisted there was "no conflict" between the two roles. Transparency campaigners said there was a "glaring conflict of interest".

Today news has broken that Singham, who also heads a trade unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, has stood down from the "committee of experts" advising the Department for International trade. Singham, who has been described as the "hard Brexit Svengali", has emerged as one of the most influential voices in Brexiter circles.

Data compiled by openDemocracy also shows that since the Brexit vote in June 2016, Singham has also had dozens of meetings with British government ministers including Boris Johnson, David Davis and Steve Baker, as well as Fox. The meetings and events were either unminuted or information relating to them was withheld by government departments. Singham also had undeclared meetings with Brexit ministers, according to Buzzfeed reports.

Here, for the first time, is the full extent and details of Singham's connections with government ministers and officials. There is no allegation of any wrong-doing in these meetings.

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As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Layla Moran Liberal Democrat MP (TBC)

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

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