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Welcome to Boris Johnson’s government of all the lobbyists

The prime minister’s new team has strong links to leading corporate lobbyists – they are representing the ultra-rich who want to shape  Brexit.

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Welcome to Boris Johnson's government of all the lobbyists.

The prime minister's new team has strong links to leading corporate lobbyists - they are representing the ultra-rich who want to shape Brexit.

The lobbyists are taking control. The firms which ensure that the rich and powerful have more of a say in our politics than the typical British citizen are now at the heart of the cabinet. Do the representatives of these firms leave their personal interests at the door as they become ministers and senior advisers? That ideal is looking ever more laughable.

Let's just take a look at the details.

Boris Johnson's campaign manager was the former Tory MP James Wharton. Wharton is an employee of the lobbying giant Hume Brophy, a firm which has talked up its ability to shape Brexit on behalf of big business, and whose clients have included the hedge fund industry, sugar giant Tate and Lyle, and Meat and Livestock Australia: all industries that have much to gain from the deregulation that Brexit will permit.

We asked both Wharton and Hume Brophy to comment on these points, but neither has responded.

This is now a government of all the lobbyists

C T Group is the company which ran Johnson's campaign. Most famously associated with its co-founder, the Australian public relations guru Lynton Crosby, the firm was until recently working for coal mining giant Glencore to undermine renewable energy and environmental activists.

Days after the Brexit vote, C T Group set up an office in Washington DC - with a website bragging about its access to British politicians and ability to shape Brexit for US corporations. Crosby's firm, CTF, has not responded to openDemocracy's request for comment.

Now that Johnson has appointed his cabinet, we can see it's not just the prime minister who has close connections to those who lobby for the rich and powerful: from the new home secretary to the secretary of state for housing, this is now a government of all the lobbyists. People who used to work for some of the most significant firms that sell our democracy to the highest bidder now have their hands on the steering wheel of state.

David Cameron once said that lobbyists would produce the next big scandal. He was wrong: they have provided the new cabinet.

Read the full article on openDemocracy here.

Adam Ramsay

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