Thursday, August 07, 2008

Smith Institute Collapses

The Smith Institute, nicknamed the "Sith institute" by bloggers in allusion to the bad guys from the "Star Wars" Universe, has been a think tank which is extremely close to Gordon Brown.

Last month the Charity Commission published a report which was extremely critical of the Smith Institute and whether it was operating in ways which were appropriate for a registered charity.

Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale report today that Lord Haskel, chairman of the Smith Institute, has resigned, as has Director Wilf Stevenson, and that it the organisation has left its offices at the New Statesman.

Chris Grayling has just issued a press statement:

“There have been a number of serious allegations made about the relationship between Gordon Brown and the Smith Institute. The fact that two of its most senior figures have resigned in the wake of the Charity Commission report suggests something was seriously amiss. There’s already been a complaint to the Electoral Commission about the Prime Minister’s links with the Institute. That complaint now needs to be fairly investigated.”


Chris Paul said...

Chris Grayling is on a slippery slope towards becoming a complete muppet. What a non-story.

Neither Stevenson nor Haskell is vital to this enterprise. The former belongs in the film/cinema/arts world and will probably surface PDQ in an arts role. Possibly lined up for a good long time. He's been there for a good long time. And who is Haskell anyway?

Meanwhile the Director of Policy Exchange - the Tory established (Boles/Gove) Anthony Browne has become Boris's primary policy advisor and will presumably have to resign from the think tank if he hasn't already.

Boles who was behind the Lewis appointment is now advising Cameron and Dale (another former PEx Trustee) is blogger by appointment to CCHQ.

So Gove, Boles, Dale and Browne all off from PEX - so why is that one not deceased?

Chris Whiteside said...

If anyone here is "in danger of looking like a complete muppet" it is not Chris Grayling.

Pointing out that some people will have to move on from one think tank because they have been appointed to other jobs is not the same as the situation where a think tank moves its offices and loses its two most important offices just after being seriously criticised by the Charity Commission.