Conservative donor made junior schools minister
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 10 January 2013
A Conservative Party donor and venture capitalist whose charity funds two academy schools was appointed an education minister today.
Labour raised questions about a possible conflict of interest after John Nash was named as the successor to Lord Hill of Oareford, who was promoted to Leader of the Lords on Monday following the surprise resignation of Lord Strathclyde.
Mr Nash, his family and companies have donated about £300,000 to the Conservatives since the mid-1980s. The charity he founded, Future, sponsors the Pimlico Academy and Millbank Primary Academy in London. He is a former chairman of the British Venture Capital Association.
Michael Dugher, Labour’s vice-chairman, said: “This looks like jobs for the boys from an out of touch Prime Minister. Nice work if you can get it.”
The Department for Education said Mr Nash would step away from all relevant business interests while he serves as a junior schools minister, and that it would put arrangements in place to ensure no conflict of interest arises.
Downing Street said: “He will not take any general policy decisions in which Future the charity are referred to, may be involved or are perceived to be involved.”
Mr Nash, who will be made a peer but not draw a ministerial salary, said: “I believe that every child and young person should have the right to a really good education and that education is the key to the future success of our country.”
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