Now Boris Johnson’s own ethics watchdog is accused of failing to declare important business interests

  • Lord Geidt accused by union of university of ‘at least three serious, financial… conflicts of interest’
  • It is not yet clear whether any of the allegations that have been made have merit
  • Geidt could be called on by the Prime Minister to investigate Cabinet members over business dealings

Boris Johnson’s own ethics watchdog was accused last night of failing to declare important business interests.

Lord Geidt, an ex-Private Secretary to the Queen, has been accused by the union of a top university of ‘at least three serious, financial… conflicts of interest’.

It is not yet clear whether the allegations have merit but the row threatens to undermine his position as independent adviser on ministers’ interests. He could be called upon by the Prime Minister to investigate members of the Cabinet over their business dealings in the growing storm over MPs’ second jobs.

Lord Geidt, an ex-Private Secretary to the Queen, has been accused by the union of a top university of ‘at least three serious, financial… conflicts of interest’

Lord Geidt, 60, who was appointed in April, is now facing accusations from staff at King’s College London, whose governing council he chairs, that he never disclosed what they say was his role as adviser to the Sultan of Oman. Staff describe Oman – which Lord Geidt visited with the Queen in 2010 – as a ‘dictatorship that systematically violates human rights and engages in torture’, whose institutions ‘have multiple partnerships with the college’.

According to a letter sent to the head of King’s by its branch of the University and College Union, Lord Geidt’s alleged advisory role in Oman has been ‘wholly undisclosed’ to the college – and does not appear in his parliamentary register of interests.

It is also claimed he has failed to declare what they describe as paid roles for two firms that the union says King’s has invested in – arms dealer BAE Systems and asset management firm Schroders. 

The letter, sent to President Professor Shitij Kapur, demands a ‘full account of all potential conflicting interests’ and an ‘account of profit’ from Lord Geidt’s roles, concluding that he should be suspended pending a review.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner (pictured) said: ‘Lord Geidt clearly has questions to answer’

Lord Geidt stepped down from his role at BAE Systems before becoming Mr Johnson’s ethics watchdog.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: ‘Lord Geidt clearly has questions to answer.’

A King’s College London spokesman insisted: ‘These claims of conflicts of interest are simply untrue, as we have robust processes to ensure that investment management decisions are made entirely independently…

‘The university does not have any investments in BAE systems…

‘We strongly reject the unfounded allegations that Lord Geidt has used his personal position at King’s for his own benefit.’

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