Jim Pickard Mandelson sidesteps Lords disclosure rules

I wrote in this morning’s FT about how Lord Mandelson has sidestepped a new requirement for peers to disclose certain business clients after exploiting a loophole in the system. As I wrote:

He had been expected to be among a wave of peers to publish a full list of their clients under new rules voted through the House of Lords last November.

But the former Labour business secretary has avoided any need to do so after simply moving his advisory firm, Global Counsel, from one category to another on the Lords register.

The company was previously registered under Mandelson’s name under “category one”, indicating a directorship.

But by shifting Global Counsel to “category 2”, which covers “remunerated employment”, Lord Mandelson no longer strictly has to provide this information. This is because category 2 only insists on the naming of clients for businesses that are public affairs consultancies. The Labour peer’s business is by contrast defined as a “strategic advice consultancy”.

You can see the amendments on this page of the Lords register, which I’ve reproduced below.

MANDELSON, Lord

Category 1: Directorships

Interest amended 20/01/2012:
Director, Willbury Limited (trading entity for Member’s public speaking/writing)

Category 2: Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.

Interest deleted 01/10/2010:
Author; book of memoirs from which royalties are received; such royalties assigned to Willbury Ltd (see category 1)

Interest deleted 31/12/2010:
In receipt of EC transitional allowance

Interest added 21/01/2011:
Senior Adviser, Lazard Ltd (international financial advisory firm)

Interest added 20/01/2012:
In receipt of royalties for various books, including a book of memoirs “The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour” (HarperPress); royalties are paid to Willbury Limited (see category 1)

Interest added 28/01/2012:
Speaking engagement, 15 November 2011, Barclays Capital (fee paid to Willbury Limited (see category 1))

Interest amended 28/01/2012:
Chairman, Global Counsel LLP (strategic advice consultancy)

According to Companies House, General Counsel is a limited liability partnership (LLP) with two ‘LLP Designated Members’, Mr Benjamin Wegg-Prosser and WPP Group (UK) Ltd.  Lord Mandelson is registered as an ‘LLP Member’.  The Lords register lists him as Chairman of the company.