Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Rory Stewart and Le Cercle

Here's an interesting clip from Ash Sarkar's interview with Rory Stewart for Novara Media.

Stewart's membership of this shadowy foreign policy forum Le Cercle, or rather his failure to declare it as a minister, was briefly the subject of controversy in 2019.

PoliticsHome reported then:

Two senior Conservatives are facing questions over their links to a secretive foreign affairs group.

Rory Stewart and Nadhim Zahawi did not declare their chairmanship of transatlantic body 'Le Cercle' despite also sitting on several related Commons select committees, PoliticsHome can reveal.

The group organises gatherings of powerful figures from politics, business and the intelligence services to discuss foreign affairs.

But despite the nature of the meetings, neither Mr Stewart or Mr Zahawi declared their involvement with the group during their time as members of the powerful Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

Both senior Tory MPs confirmed to PoliticsHome they had held the chairmanship of Le Cercle, with Mr Stewart's tenure as chair lasting from 2013 until 2014, while Mr Zahawi held the top post from 2015 until his appointment as Children's Minister in early 2018.

And the report went on to say:

Sir Alistair Graham, the former Chair of the Commission for Standards in Public Life, said he was concerned by the apparent omission.

“It is disturbing that two experienced members of Parliament did not see fit to declare their active membership of Le Cercle at the time they were a member of a key select committee, the functions of which clearly overlapped with the discussions of Le Cercle, which is a shadowy body which concerns itself with foreign affairs.

“Transparency is a central issue in British politics and I would have expected these two MPs to have shown greater leadership in letting the public and their constituents know their important links with Le Cercle.”

The article also quoted the responses from Stewart and Zahawi. There is more about Le Cercle in a disapproving piece on the Declassified UK site.

Rory Stewart's interview with Ash Sarkar is a notably interesting one and you can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

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