• Tory minister Lord Nash failed to declare £50,000 investment in energy industry startup
  • Firm lobbied UK government, a competition inquiry and the European Commission to act against its competitors
  • Company claims credit for select committee inquiry and clampdown by regulator
  • Peer voted on three different pieces of energy-related legislation

John Nash Baron Nash

A government minister failed to declare shares worth £50,000 in a company lobbying government, a competition inquiry, a select committee and the European Commission. Private equity mogul and Tory donor Lord Nash also voted on several pieces of energy-related legislation while holding the shares.

The House of Lords code of conduct obligates members to declare shareholdings “exceeding £50,000 in value” in the chamber’s register of interests. In what some view as a highly evasive move, Nash bought £49,998.60 in energy switching company This Is The Big Deal Ltd — just £1.60 below the threshold under Category 4 of the rules, meaning a single additional share would have pushed him over the limit.

Lord John Nash shares This Is The Big Deal Ltd

But Nash is likely to face accusations that he should still have declared the shares as a “miscellaneous financial interest” given his role as a top angel investor in the firm — and it’s extensive lobbying activities.

Looking to capture a share in the £100 million-per-annum market in consumer energy switching commissions, The Big Deal has been critical of anti-competitive practices of its competitors — including in written and oral evidence to the Competition and Markets Authority inquiry into the energy industry.

The company has also written to a swathe of different individuals and bodies across government, calling on them to act against its rivals. Recipients of an ‘open letter’ include:

  • The EU Competition Commission
  • David Cameron
  • Ed Miliband (then opposition leader)
  • Ed Davey (then energy secretary)
  • Caroline Flint (then shadow energy secretary)
  • The Energy and Climate Change Committee

The Department for Education has refused to reveal whether Lord Nash had declared the shares to civil servants under the ministerial code. A spokesman told Scrapbook:

“Lord Nash has met all of the disclosure obligations and requirements with regards to this shareholding. This is not a conflict of interest in his role as an education minister.”

The Big Deal said in a statement:

“We are proud to have exposed comparison sites for hiding the cheapest deals from consumers, prompting an investigation by the Energy Select Committee and a clampdown by energy regulator Ofgem on this poor behaviour.”

All very noble — but this hardly helps Nash. To re-phrase that statement:

‘Company in which government minister failed to declare £50,000 shareholding successfully lobbied regulator to crackdown on its competitors’.

SEE ALSO: Lord Nash poaches top departmental official … to work for his own academy chain

  1. Never mind ‘losing his position’! This is corruption, deception, fraud and gross misuse of a trusted position in public office!
    He should have the full force of the law brought down on him, including large fines, custodial sentence, loss of position and total loss of ministerial pension! These should be severe enough to match the crimes and deter others who do the same! Perhaps the fines could go some way towards stopping the cuts to disablement benefits!

  2. Surely he’ll be in actual breach of the regulations the moment his shares rise to become worth more than £50,000?

  3. This is just a small chunk of the iceberg. Massive donations by him and his family to the Tories, his time at Care UK, schools minister involved in academies – it’s a never-ending list.

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