With ministers under fire for stuffing both departments and arms-length bodies with Tories, Scrapbook has previously quoted Conservative strategist Matthew Elliot, who singled out the appointment of William Shawcross to the Charity Commission as “very good” for right-wingers.
The public appointments commissioner obligates ministers — in this case Francis Maude — to publish details of political activity undertaken by new quango bosses. So, errrr, why did the Cabinet Office try to imply that William Shawcross is some form of dormant Labour supporter?
“William Shawcross has declared that he is not a member of any political party, although he had in the past been a Labour Party supporter and has canvassed on behalf of various political parties.”
“When I was young I was, as my father was, a member of the Labour Party for a very short period … When I was a very young person in the 1960s.”
Shawcross has spent the last 40 years making amends for youthful socialist indiscretions. With a daughter who advises George Osborne and a Conservative peer for a son-in-law, before the general election hs accused the Labour Party of “authoritarianism” and claimed that:
“Only a vote for the Conservatives offers any hope of drawing back from the abyss”
At his appointment hearing, Shawcross vehemently denied the suggestion that he was “someone who is going to do the political hatchet job that Maude is doing elsewhere”.
But that is precisely what happened last summer — when he backed the Tories in their co-ordinated attack on the charity sector as the Lobbying Bill was launched.