Grayling signs up ‘hard Brexit svengali’ to serve as senior adviser
Shanker Singham has been described by Michael Gove as probably the UK’s 'leading expert on trade deals'.
Grayling is beefing up its Brexit offer to clients by enlisting the help of one of the country’s most influential and controversial Brexit policy specialists.
The PR and lobbying firm is set to weaponise leading trade and competition lawyer Shanker Singham in the fight to win clients seeking advice on how to navigate the post-Brexit landscape.
Singham has been signed up by Grayling’s parent firm Huntsworth as a senior advisor with a brief to develop the group’s Brexit and trade offer to clients. He will also assist Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Quiller.
The 48-year-old lawyer is currently director of the international trade and competition unit at the right wing think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs. He also sits on the five-member “committee of experts” set up by international trade secretary Liam Fox to advise on trade and investment and has been described by top Tory Michael Gove as probably the UK’s “leading expert on trade deals”.
Singham previously built close links to Eurosceptic Tories during his time as director of economic policy at the Legatum Institute and in 2017 the Mail on Sunday accused him of being the “third man” in an alleged plot by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson to steer 10 Downing Street into a hard Brexit.
Data compiled by openDemocracy and published this week also shows that since the Brexit vote in June 2016, Singham has also had dozens of meetings with British government ministers including Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox.
“It beggars belief that ministers and officials are spending hour after hour with Hard Brexit svengali, Shanker Singham,” said Labour MP Liam Byrne in response to the findings.
In a statement on the new signing, Grayling chairman Richard Jukes said: “We’re delighted that Shanker is joining us at Grayling and the wider Group. Brexit and trade are knotty areas, and there is no one better placed than Shanker to help our clients cut throught the noise and articulate a considered position that stands up to scrutiny. He is an outstanding addition to Grayling’s award-winning Brexit and trade offer that extends from London to Brussels and across Europe.”
Singham stated: "I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Grayling to work with them and their sister agencies across Huntworth’s portfolio. There is a strong mix of truly impressive people and clients within the Huntsworth PR Group, and I very much look forward to collaborating with them and providing counsel to clients in navigating these complicated times.”