London mayoral hopeful ​Tessa Jowell criticised for taking role at donor's firm

The London mayoral hopeful Tessa Jowell is facing criticism after she took a senior position with a group of firms whose chairman is helping fund her campaign.

Jowell accepted a £10,000 donation from her former government colleague and Chime Communications chairman, Mervyn Davies, after talks about her joining the firm began.

Two months after the donation, she was appointed a non-executive chair of a Chime-owned firm.

Electoral Commission records show Lord Davies is the largest single donor to the former Labour MP’s mayoral campaign to date, with only one other person giving £5,000.

Tamasin Cave, a director of the lobbying transparency group Spinwatch, said she felt Jowell’s appointment was inappropriate. “The job, on the back of a large donation, underlines the closeness of Jowell’s ties with Chime. I don’t begrudge her a job, but the relationship clearly has the potential to benefit Chime and its clients,” Cave told the Guardian.

“It also inevitably leads to speculation about whether she shares the views of Chime’s chair, Mervyn Davies. As well as being a city figure and champion of the financial sector, Davies has recently lobbied for large infrastructure projects, such as Crossrail 2, and the proposed, privately owned garden bridge.

“Is his assessment of the needs of London shared by the vast majority of Londoners? Probably not.”

Jowell’s spokesman defended the appointment, saying: “All donations to the campaign are recorded and published in accordance with the rules of the Electoral Commission.”

A spokesman for Chime said: “The approach and discussions with Dame Tessa Jowell were made by Chime’s chief executive, Chris Satterthwaite, beginning a few years ago through a shared interest in businesses involved in the community.”

The company has also said Jowell’s role “will be entirely separate of any activity relating to the mayor of London 2016 candidacy”.

Davies did not respond to a request for comment.

Powered by article was written by Kevin Rawlinson, for on Monday 27th July 2015 14.22 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010