From the Chemistry Club website:
- The Chemistry Club is an independent, commercial organisation bringing people together at networking events usually held in London. We also run networking skills master classes, provide coaching and organise special technology briefings.
'Cash for access'
On the 24 January 2012 The Guardian revealed that members of the government had attended invitation-only events organised by the Chemistry Club. The Guardian reported:
- Companies have been paying up to £1,800 a head to meet ministers, senior government advisers and MPs at a series of networking events previously banned by the Cabinet Office.
- The chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, policing minister, Nick Herbert, and climate change minister, Lord Taylor, have all addressed the exclusive invite-only events, organised by a networking business called the Chemistry Club, and usually hosted at the high-end Sartoria restaurant in Mayfair, London.
- Senior MPs from backbench committees have also attended the events, as have senior civil servants and special advisers from the Treasury, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Department of Energy and Climate Change and other key departments.
At an event in October 2011, Danny Alexander, along with civil servants from the Department of Health, the Ministry of Defence and Department of Energy and Climate Change, met with representatives of energy companies EDF and Gazprom, defence manufacturer EADS and communications giants Vodafone and Google.
The Cabinet Office had previously issued guidance to departments back in August 2010 informing civil servants not to attend Chemistry Club events. However, The Guardian revealed that public figures from governmental departments and public bodies, including the Metropolitan Police and GCHQ, had attended Chemistry Club events as soon as one month after the guidance had been given. Following discussions with the Chemistry Club the Cabinet Office subsequently overturned its previous ruling and civil servants were once more allowed to attend events organised by the networking company.
Labour's Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Jon Trickett MP, said " "These revelations leave serious questions for David Cameron to answer if he is to avoid the suspicion that lobbyists believe they can buy influence with his government."
Past speakers at the Chemistry Club's IT Forum include:
- Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, President, Association of Chief Police Officers
- Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Information Advisor, HM Government
- Sir Ian Andrews, Chairman, SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency)
- Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
- The Rt. Hon Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General
The Bruton Group - they share the same staff
Address:28 Bruton St, London W1J 6QW Telephone: 020 7659 5500 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.thechemistry.com/
- 'The Chemistry Club FAQ', The Chemistry Club website.
- Leo Hickman and James Ball, 'Companies paid £1,800 to meet ministers at networking events', The Guardian, 24 January 2012.
- Matthew Holehouse, Cash for access' questions over £1,800 a head networking events', The Telegraph, 25 January 2012.
- James Ball, 'Chemistry Club networking events: the full list of attendees', The Guardian, 24 January 2012.
- Oliver Wright, 'Companies pay £1,800 a head to meet ministers', The Independent, 25 January 2012.
- 'IT Forum - Speakers', The Chemistry Club website.