Revealed: Charity boss' pro-Lottery blog after Olympics freebie from Camelot

Sir Stephen Bubb accepted hospitality from National Lottery operator

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The Independent Online

Charity boss Sir Stephen Bubb wrote a blog extolling the virtues of the National Lottery just weeks after accepting lavish Olympics hospitality from its operator, Camelot Group, The Independent has learnt.

The chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), posted an article titled “Defending the National Lottery” just over a fortnight after seeing Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes take gold in the team sprint at Camelot’s expense.

Sir Stephen, who also chaired the Government’s NHS listening exercise, accepted hospitality from Camelot between 1 and 2 August last year, staying at plush Le Meridien hotel in Piccadilly before heading to the velodrome.

Writing on his “Bubb’s blog” on 3 August, he said: “That was certainly a good day to see the Olympics. Nothing like a good gold win for team GB (and a few world records) to raise the spirits...”

Writing on the same blog on 22 August, in a post called “Defending the National Lottery”, he said: “How ironic, given our Olympic success, if the amount that the National Lottery gave to staging the Olympics and to developing sports generally was to be damaged in the future by allowing competition that means organisers give less money to good causes and take more in profit.

“The National Lottery has raised £28bn for good causes since it was set up. Good causes across the board for charities up and down the country. It is worth defending.”

Sir Stephen argued vociferously against the lobbying bill on the same site yesterday, in a post entitled: “The Lobbying Bill; the threat”, saying its effect on charities’ ability to influence Government were “sinister”.

Sir Stephen has been one of the leading figures defending six-figure pay for charity bosses. It emerged earlier this month that he had used his organisation, which is funded by fees from the UK’s charities, to help pay for his 60th birthday party in the House of Lords.

Sir Stephen declined to respond, but a spokeswoman for ACEVO said: “ACEVO does not comment on the specifics of partner or stakeholder relationships. However, we do connect with hundreds of organisations in order to do our job of engaging and representing the third sector.”

Robert Barrington, executive director of Transparency International, said: “Accepting hospitality is a classic area for conflict of interest and, at worst, bribery. One would expect that senior executives accepting hospitality have clear conflict-of-interest guidance in their organisations and generally stick to them.”