While funding for a controversial anti-extremism body was explored by Newsnight as a proxy for tensions between Michael Gove and Theresa May last week, what has drawn less scrutiny is Gove’s role in securing a £120,000 bail out for a think tank whose advisory board he had sat on until he entered government.
The Quilliam Foundation had its ‘preventing extremism’ funding drawn down by the Home Office in 2011, after which the Department for Education stepped in. If Gove was personally involved with the decision, the intervention to rescue the enterprise would be analogous to the scandal of Nick Clegg helping to direct funds to a charity linked with his wife.
That the money was handed over in the middle of 2011 runs counter to apparently grossly misleading statements from the group’s chairman Maajid Nawaz — who is also the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn. Scrapbook picks up where blogger John Sergeant left off last week:
Here is what Nawaz said about government funding to journalists (VIDEO) and people goading him as an ‘establishment stooge’:
As Scrapbook readers may recall, Nawaz was then forced to, errr, nuance his position, after unexpected freedom of information requests revealed that government funding had actually continued into financial year 2011-12.
No one had bothered to FOI the department for education, however, which was why it was news last week that Quilliam had been awarded a £120,000 bail out from DfE in May 2011. Cue more goalpost moving:
Oh,HT, for your information:Since December 2010 Quilliam no longer receives UK Home Office or FCO grants. I wonder how we survive? : )
— Maajid Nawaz (@MaajidNawaz) June 23, 2011
With funding from the Department for Education, of course!