Chris Leslie and Anna Soubry's partners have been appointed to key roles
The Change UK political party has appointed its MPs’ romantic partners to two important roles.
The party has made Anna Soubry’s partner Neil Davidson its treasurer and Chris Leslie’s wife Nicola Murphy its nominating officer.
Neil Davidson is a former CEO in the milk industry who now sits on the board of the supermarket Morissons and is the chair of a health supplement company.
As treasurer, he will be responsible for checking, recording and reporting donations and loans. The treasurer must also authorise and record campaign spending.
Nicola Murphy is a former junior aide to Gordon Brown who failed to be selected as Labour’s candidate for Wakefield in 2005 and left government to become a lobbyist.
In 2007, after joining the Hanover lobbying company, she was mentioned in Parliament by Liberal Democrat MP Paul Rowen who asked the head of the civil service:
“Turning to the example of Nicola Murphy and Hanover and the fact that a former political adviser to Gordon Brown was reputedly charging £181,000 for a PR package and more than £5,000 for a Brown photocall.”
“Do you not think, in the same way as you put in regulations to do with political memoirs et cetera, that there ought to be some rules which stipulate what not just ex-civil servants but also ex-political advisers ought to be able to do in the period once they have ceased working for government?”
After working for Hanover, her LinkedIn page says she was a lobbyist for US private healthcare company Humana before founding an anti-Corbyn group called Labour Tommorow in 2016.
Labour Tommorow received tens of thousands of pounds from donors like hedge fund manager Martin Taylor, banker Paul Myners and a lobbyist for Peter Mandelson’s company called Benjamin Wegg-Prosser.
One of the nominating officer’s jobs is to authorise candidates. Change UK plans to stand candidates in every region in the European Parliament elections on 23 May.
Its leader Heidi Allen has said that they have received thousands of applications from people wanting to be candidates.
Both the Green Party of England and Wales and the Liberal Democrats have criticised Change UK and ruled out an electoral ‘Remain Alliance’.
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley accused them of “vapid centrism” while a Liberal Democrat source told Left Foot Forward said they were just a “hashtag and a collection of branded lanyards”.
Joe Lo is a freelance journalist and a reporter for Left Foot Forward
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