Dear Lord Mandelson
I am writing to you regarding the troubling suggestions this weekend that the appointment of Lord Paul to the Privy Council, above Lord Brabazon, Chairman of Committees, may have been related to his close financial relationship to the Prime Minister. In particular, attention has been drawn to his promise to provide substantial financial support to Labour’s General Election campaign.
In order to put any suggestion of impropriety beyond doubt, I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions in your capacity as Lord President of the Council.
1. Membership of the Privy Council is normally only given to Cabinet and other senior ministers, senior politicians from the Opposition party, members of the Royal Family, senior judges, and British Ambassadors. On what basis therefore was Lord Paul made a Privy Counsellor? 10 Downing Street has claimed he was appointed because he was the first deputy speaker of the Lords from an ethnic minority. However, Keith Vaz was only became a Privy Counsellor in 2006 – seven years after he was made Britain’s first Asian minster.
2. Was the matter of Lord Paul’s donations to the Prime Minister raised during the process of appointing him to the Privy Council?
3. Similarly, was Lord Paul’s promise to donate ‘whatever I can afford’ to Labour’s General Election campaign raised during the appointment process?
4. Shortly before he was sworn in to the Privy Council, it was alleged that Lord Paul had misused his Parliamentary allowances. He has since temporarily stepped down from his post in the House of Lords while an investigation into this matter is completed. Was this subject discussed between the allegations being made and the swearing in of Lord Paul?
I believe these questions are in the public interest, I would therefore be grateful if you could give them your immediate attention.
Graham Stuart MP
Lord Paul appears to be Gordon Brown’s favourite ‘non-dom’. He has been made a Privy Councillor despite having never held any ministerial position or senior office. It’s worth listing in full all the ties between Gordon Brown and his favourite ‘non-dom’:
- Lord Paul’s Caparo gave £45,000 to Brown’s Leadership campaign
- Caparo Industries, a company in the Caparo Group chaired by Lord Paul, gave donations of £25,000 and £20,000 to Gordon Brown’s leadership campaign (Electoral Commission).
- Pledged to bankroll Labour’s election campaign
- In August 2007, Lord Paul said to Channel 4 News: ‘all I know is that if there is an election and the money is wanted, whatever I can pay, I will pay...I am a believer in Gordon Brown and his leadership.’
- When he was asked how much he would be ready to give Labour, he said: ‘As much as I can afford.’ (Lord Paul, reported in The Daily Mail, 22 August 2007)
According to The Mail on Sunday, Lord Paul funded Gordon Brown’s private office in opposition: ‘Lord Paul, whose fortune is estimated at £450million, funded Mr Brown's private office in opposition and has pledged to “give whatever he can afford” to help ensure Labour is re-elected.’ (Mail on Sunday, 9 September 2007)
A news story on the Caparo Website reveals that Sarah Brown presented Angad Paul, Lord Paul’s son, with a prize in September 2007:
‘Angad Paul, Caparo Group chief executive officer has received the GG2 Leadership and Diversity award for Entrepreneur of the Year in recognition of his dynamic role in the expansion of the group. ‘Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, presented the award to Angad, in a ceremony attended by over 800 dignitaries at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel in London on September 10th.’
(Caparo Website, 11 September 2007;)
- Lord Paul bought 6,000 copies of Gordon Brown’s book Courage to distribute to secondary schools (The Times, 25 August 2007).
- Caparo Group donated £15,700 to Keith Vaz between 1993 and 1997. However, Vaz failed to declare one of these payments which totalled £3,000 (The Daily Telegraph, 22 April 2001; )