Hammond's security links queried

Hinduja Inquiry
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Indy Politics

Sir Anthony Hammond, the former Treasury solicitor who reopened his official inquiry into the Hinduja passports affair this week, has a salaried position at an intelligence company with links to MI6.

Sir Anthony is the official legal adviser to Hakluyt, a strategic intelligence firm, many of whose directors were formerly senior figures in the foreign intelligence service.

The post, which he took up in February last year, was approved "unconditionally" by the Government, which has the power to vet jobs taken by senior civil servants within two years of leaving the Whitehall.

Sir Anthony is understood to give legal advice to the intelligence firm on contracts it signs and provide occasional advice on whether their practices are legal, ethical and legitimate.

But the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who asked the original question about Mr Mandelson's link to the Hinduja affair, queried whether the post was appropriate.

Mr Baker is planning to ask official questions in Parliament about whether Sir Anthony's link to Hakluyt – which is not listed in his Who's Who entry – was known about when he was asked to launch the inquiry into the Hinduja affair.

"This clearly shows that Sir Anthony Hammond is even more entrenched in the establishment than we first thought," Mr Baker said.

Hakluyt provides strategic intelligence advice to blue-chip firms. It has no official links with MI6 now, but supporters admit its staff use skills developed while working for British intelligence. Sir Anthony was not available for comment.