LLM Communications

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LLM Communications was a UK lobbying firm, formed in 1997 by former Labour Party aides. It was at the centre of the 1998 LobbyGate "Cash for access" scandal, which rocked the relatively new New Labour administration[1]. It had approximately 20 employees and 30 clients. In 2003 Neal Lawson sold his shares in the company which completed a Management Buy Out.[2] In July 2005 LLM was acquired by financial PR group Financial Dynamics.

People

LLM was set up by Neal Lawson, Ben Lucas and Jon Mendelsohn.

  • Neal Lawson is a former adviser to Gordon Brown and was a strategist for Tony Blair during the 1997 election. He is the Managing Editor of the Blairite Renewal magazine and the founder of Nexus, a Blairite internet discussion forum. He has boasted of helping GTech, the discredited Lottery company, to win their Lottery contract.
  • Ben Lucas is a former adviser to Jack Straw and was part of Tony Blair's political briefing unit during the 1997 election.
  • Jon Mendlesohn advised Tony Blair on business relations from 1995-7. He used to handle Blair's business links and retains close links with Jonathon Powell, the chief-of-staff at 10 Downing Street and Lord Levy.

All three used to work at the consultancy firm Lowe Bell, founded by Sir Tim Bell (Margaret thatcher's favourite PR man). They were loaned to the Labour Party during the 1997 election.

Lobbygate

LLM became notorious in July 1998 when they were caught up in the 'Lobbygate' controversy. Working as an undercover reporter for The Observer, Greg Palast, posing as a US businessman with ties to Enron, caught on tape two Labour party insiders, Derek Draper and LLM's Mendelsohn, boasting about how they could sell access to government ministers, obtain advance copies of sensitive reports, and create tax breaks for their clients. For example, it was revealed that Ben Lucas claimed he had given away details of one of Gordon Brown's speeches to a client before the speech was made and knew details of public spending announcements in advance. LLM said that they were a conduit from the Labour Government to business (as well as the other way round), procuring a steady stream of executives to feed the Labour Party's appetite for business contacts. This process included News International, where Ben Lucas said that the Government had sought out business, rather than business asking the lobbying firm for Government contacts.[3]

LLM also spent more than £5,000 on 'Tickets for Dinners' for their clients to attend Labour Party functions in 1998. Their clients include Rupert Murdoch's News International, Tesco, Orange and KPMG (consultants with a large number of Government contracts).

Selected clients

Rupert Murdoch's Union-busting News International hired LLM in 1998. They wanted advice on getting the Government to change the Fairness At Work legislation that allowed Unions to ballot for workplace recognition. Ben Lucas suggested that News International should base their strategy on 'selecting aspects of the Bill which can be argued are unworkable.' Ben Lucas was the Head of research for building worker's Union UCATT for 5 years until 1992. Now he is advising Rupert Murdoch on how to beat the Unions! When he was asked how he could square such seemingly conflicting interests he said 'It's like in the movie, The Godfather. We tell them, its just business.'

When the Government proposed a tax on supermarket car parking spaces, which would have cost Tesco millions, they brought in LLM who advised Tesco to change their approach (by playing off a contribution to community transport against paying the tax) and sponsor the Dome. The tax was dropped in July 1998, in circumstances that The Observer's undercover journalist Greg Palast described as 'they were able to get out of [the] tax by a fix that LLM made, which saved them £40 million a year.'[4]

Finally, LLM was paid by its client The Town and Country Finance Issues Group (TACFIG) to do research and preparation for Town and Country APPG meetings.

LLM also counted the following as clients:

Ownership

Previous names of LLM Communications inlcude Ibis (351) Ltd and Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn Ltd.

Steve Rubin, the multi-millionaire businessman who once owned Reebok, is the main backer behind LLM. He put the initial money into LLM which allowed them to buy prestigious offices in Soho.

According to Tory MP John Redwood, LLM is 40 per cent owned by Robert Stevens Holdings, which in turn is owned by trustees in Jersey, Bedell and Cristin. Bedell and Cristin Trustees is owned by Premier Circle Ltd. and Second Circle Ltd., which is owned by Premier Circle Ltd. and Third Circle Ltd., which is owned by Premier Circle Ltd. and Second Circle Ltd.[5]

Address

LLM Communications Ltd 21A Noel Street London W1V 3PD

Private Limited Company, company no 03314777.

Resources

External links

References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Brown's Fixer Explains How It's Done: Jon Mendelsohn and the Secret Tape, Greg Palast, accessed Feb 2009
  4. Brown's Fixer Explains How It's Done: Jon Mendelsohn and the Secret Tape, Greg Palast, accessed Feb 2009
  5. [3]

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