After news broke this morning that Carillion has gone into liquidation, a couple of astonishing ironies have emerged.
The collapse of the construction giant has put jobs, pensions and major public contracts at risk.
The Government has also had to start paying the wages of some Carillion staff to ensure public services run by the company continue.
And yet Carillion’s chairman, Philip N Green (pictured above), was apparently the best candidate available to advise Downing Street on corporate responsibility.
He was appointed to the role in 2011 by then PM David Cameron and remained in post until December 2016.
Cameron also gave Green a CBE in 2014 for “services to business” – some two years after Carillion had admitted illegally blacklisting workers.
Green met Theresa May in 2016 to discuss continuing to provide advice on “responsible business” but Number 10 has confirmed he was not re-appointed to the role he held under Cameron.
Her government certainly could have used some advice on responsibility though, as it handed £2 billion worth of public sector contracts AFTER the company issued a profits warnings.
The second incredible detail of this story concerns job losses predicted by Green.
In 2015, the Carillion chairman was among 100 big business chiefs who who signed a letter to the Telegraph which said:
“We believe this Conservative-led Government has been good for business and has pursued policies which have supported investment and job creation…
“…We believe a change in course will threaten jobs and deter investment.”
The Telgraph turned it into a front page attack on the Labour party:
The irony won’t be lost on the 20,000 Carillion workers whose livelihoods now hang in the balance…