Gummer & The World Future Council–Latest News
By Paul Homewood
I reported last month how Lord Deben, formerly Environment Secretary John Gummer, has, for over a year, been a policy making Council Member for the World Future Council, or WFC, until finally resigning his position in December 2012. (Details here.)
Just to recap, the WFC are an extremist, radical outfit whose policies include rationing of “common goods” under UN auspices, nuclear disarmament, ending of subsidies for nuclear power and massive redistribution of wealth to developing countries. More detail on their manifesto is here.
His membership since December 2011 creates two issues.
Parliamentary Register of Interest
As a Member of the House of Lords, Gummer is obliged to “register in the Register of Lords’ Interests all relevant interests, in order to make clear what are the interests that might reasonably be thought to influence their parliamentary actions”.
According to the Parliamentary Code of Conduct “The test of relevant interest is therefore not whether a Member’s actions in Parliament will be influenced by the interest, but whether a reasonable member of the public might think that this might be the case. Relevant interests include both financial and non-financial interests.”
“Members are responsible for ensuring that their registered interests are accurate and up-to-date. They should register any change in their relevant interests within one month of the change”.
Gummer was appointed by the WFC in December 2011, but has failed to register this interest. The policies of the WFC are so wide ranging and would have such an impact on public policy in the UK, that it is inconceivable that Gummer’s membership of the WFC would not potentially influence his actions.
Yet, over a year later, Gummer has not declared this interest.
Following a written complaint by me, the Commissioner for Standards at the House of Lords has now instigated a formal investigation and has written accordingly to Gummer.
Chairmanship of the Committee on Climate Change.
In September 2012, Gummer was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, a hugely influential group set up to advise the government on all matters relating to climate change. The appointment was made by the Department of Energy & Climate Change, or DECC.
WFC policies, in a number of areas, would clearly impact on UK policy on energy and climate change, yet the DECC, when making the appointment, made no mention of Gummer’s links to the WFC, or any potential conflict of interest.
I therefore asked, under FOI, the DECC exactly what they knew about these links. They have now replied, and told me that they were not aware of Gummer’s membership. (They also suggested I write to the Commissioner for Standards!)
It appears that the DECC now have serious questions to answer themselves, such as why they failed to uncover this information during the vetting process, and how they can justify allowing Gummer to remain as Chairman.
There is a lot more to come out of this affair yet. His resignation really changes nothing. It is reasonable to assume that Gummer still believes in the policies that the WFC espouses, and as such is not the right person to be in charge of the CCC.