Bunhill: No risks

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The Independent Online
SIR JOHN WHEELER, the man lifting the poisoned chalice from the lips of Michael Mates, is clearly not taking any chances. No sooner was he appointed to his new job as Minister of State for Northern Ireland than he sundered his relationship with City PR man Christopher Bosanquet's firm, where he has been a director for the past six years.

Bosanquet points out this decision has nothing to do with his client list - which includes such paragons as the Association of British Insurers, J P Morgan, and Dun & Bradstreet. Definitely no Polly Pecks.

'We have never worked for a watch company either,' says Bosanquet, who recalls first meeting and striking up a friendship with Wheeler when they were both on an ad hoc Home Office committee investigating domestic burglary.

'He joined the board as a friend, entirely to advise me on the running of the business,' observed Bosanquet. 'We agreed from the start that he should not be involved in any form of lobbying or political work. He has never lobbied or been in contact with our clients.'

Wheeler has also taken the precaution of stepping down from the boards of Hunterprint, the ailing print group, and three companies belonging to the Victor Green group.

No word yet however on his Lloyd's membership. There is no obligation on the new minister to step down from the insurance market, so presumably he is staying on.