Top Number 10 aide to join Peter Mandelson’s secretive agency

Written by David Singleton on 8 January 2019 in News

Alex Dawson is the second Tory operator to sign for Global Counsel in recent months.

One of Theresa May’s most senior advisers in Number 10 is said to be quitting to join Global Counsel, the secretive political consultancy led by New Labour architect Peter Mandelson.

It emerged this morning that Alex Dawson is set to leave his post as the prime minister’s director of research and messaging next month. According to POLITICO, he will join Global Counsel as lead for UK politics and policy.

Dawson started out as a Conservative party political adviser in 2007 and went on to be one of  May’s special advisers in the Home Office. Before taking up his current role in 2017, he was political director in Number 10.

Global Counsel was set up in 2010 by Mandelson and his former aide Benjamin Wegg-Prosser. It does not publish a client list and in 2012 it was reported that Mandelson had sidestepped a requirement for peers to disclose certain business clients after exploiting a loophole in the system.

Dawson becomes the second well-known Tory operator to sign for the agency in the last nine months after PAN revealed in 2018 that former Tory MP Nicola Blackwood was joining as a senior adviser.  She spent a year as a junior health minister before losing her Oxford West and Abingdon seat in the 2017 general election. 

Last year, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments was urged to take a tougher stance with secretive lobbying agencies after giving Blackwood the green light to join Global Counsel. In a letter to the body’s chair Baroness Browning, transparency campaigner Richard Heller wrote that “the case raises some public concern, since Global Counsel has always been highly secretive about its clients and the work it does for them”.

Global Counsel’s few known clients have included global oil giant BP and Asia Pulp and Paper, a highly controversial logging firm which has been accused by Greenpeace of illegally chopping down rainforests in Indonesia. In 2014, the Daily Mail reported that Global Counsel also has "links to an extraordinary array of wealthy oligarchs and Putin cronies".


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