Attacked by Guido – a political rite of passage?

This morning I had the dubious privilege of being ‘done over’ by the Guido Fawkes political blog Some friends have suggested that I should wear it as a badge of honour, almost a rite of passage in my political career.

I’m generally an admirer of the Guido blog, indeed I link to it directly from this site as it generally ventures where other media fear to tread and raises questions which often legitimately require answers. It can however, sometimes, be prone to exaggerate or misstate things for political effect. And sometimes it just gets things wrong.

In this morning’s piece about me it made a number of entirely inaccurate and misleading statements, which I am now inviting Guido to correct:

Lord was done over by the Indy in 2011 for his involvement in a deal to lobby for alleged Rwandan war criminals.

This is simply untrue. I was a bit part player in a far bigger sting by the now discredited ‘Bureau of Investigative Journalism’ examining the work of a number of lobbying companies. In my own case I attended a meeting with my friend Mark Pursey of BTP Advisers who thought that he was seeing a legitimate potential client who turned out to be reporters posing as representatives of a company with links to Uzbekistan, not Rwanda. I have never worked for BTP Advisers and was present only as moral support to Mark as the other members of his small staff were on leave. The only mention of me in the Independent article was “Also at the meeting was Edward Lord, a member of the City of London Corporation, who attended at Mr Pursey’s request.”

These days Lord is the Deputy Chairman of the European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS)

Again this is untrue. I ceased being Deputy Chairman of the European Azerbaijan Society’s Advisory Board in November 2011, having advised the Society on setting up the Board and produced an options appraisal on the Society’s future direction. In any event, I have no difficulty in proudly stating my relationship with the Republic of Azerbaijan, which remains a vital trading partner with the United Kingdom and which continues to grow economically and politically. Like many fledgling democracies it has challenges and its human rights record could be better, but they are improving and I believe the interaction with the UK and the rest of Europe through trade, educational and cultural exchange encouraged by organisations like TEAS will only help. 

In his City of London register of interests he also confirms he lobbies on behalf of four other organisations

Again, untrue. None of the clients of my sole practitioner Edward Lord Consultants listed in the very out of date Register of Interests to which Guido refers were lobbying clients. They were CF Appointments (a firm of headhunters for whom I did occasional work), City and Islington College (for whom I provided some marketing advice), TEAS (see above), Malvern College (for whom I had conducted a fundraising and alumni relations review), and the former Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (for whom I acted as a peer assessor).

Lord declares no less than thirteen links to“bodies whose principal purposes includes the influence of public opinion or policy”

Yes, it’s true. I declared my membership of my political party, some think tanks, and such dangerous bodies as Liberty, Stonewall and the Fawcett Society. None of whom I have ever done paid work for as a lobbyist or in any other capacity.

A lobbyist pure and simple, given access to the corridors of power by a peer.

It is absolutely true that Crossbencher Lord Kilclooney, an old friend with whom I have worked for over twenty years, including his time as an MP, has kindly allowed me to have a pass for the parliamentary estate in his name. This allows me to work pro bono with him and with other MPs and Peers on issues of mutual concern. I have never used my access to Parliament for personal profit nor have I undertaken any professional lobbying on the Parliamentary Estate.

I hope that Guido will correct his blog piece attacking me.

The question does remain though, why did he attack me and why now? Perhaps some of my political opponents in the City of London who are close to a member of Guido’s staff will know the answer.

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