Robin Walker

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Twenty-pound-notes.jpg This article is part of the Lobbying Portal, a sunlight project from Spinwatch.

Robin Walker is the parliamentary under secretary of state for Exiting the European Union and a former PR and lobbyist at heavyweight firm Finsbury.

Walker was first elected in the May 2010 general election as the British Conservative Party MP for Worcester. [1] Walker's father Peter Walker was also Worcester MP between 1961 and 1992 and a member of the Margaret Thatcher's cabinet.[2]

Biography

Robin Walker was born in 1978 and attended Oxford. Finsbury, a PR and lobbying firm, was his employer from 2003-2010 where he became a partner. His website mentions some of the companies he represented "Pilkington plc, a number of major listings on the London Stock Exchange and the successful defence of Rio Tinto from a takeover by BHP Billiton, one of the largest hostile transactions in history." [3]

Before standing for Parliament himself Walker worked on election campaigns for Stephen Dorrell MP in 1997, Richard Adams in 2001 and worked for Oliver Letwin when he was shadow chancellor in 2005. [4]

Walker continued to work for Finsbury on a part-time basis. [5] He has declared 'Clients of Finsbury Limited advised by me':

  • Tomkins plc, East Putney House 84 Upper Richmond Road London DW15, 2ST, diversified engineering company.
  • Morgan Crucible plc, The Morgan Crucible Company plc Quadrant 55-5 High St Windsor Berkshire SL4 1LP, specialist materials company
  • Rio Tinto plc, 2 Eastbourne Terrace London W2 6LG, diversified mining company
  • Vedanta Resources plc, 16 Berkeley Street London W1J 8DZ, diversified mining company
  • African Barrick Gold plc, c/o Shearman and Sterling (London LLP, Broadgate West 9 Appold Street London EC2A 2AP, gold mining company
  • Hochschild Mining plc, 46 Albemarle Street London W1S 4JL, precious metals mining company
  • CRH plc, Belgard Castle Clondalkin Dublin 22 Ireland, building materials company
  • NSG Pilkington Ltd, Alexandra Business Park Prescott Road St Helens Merseyside London WA10 3TT, building materials company
  • Trigon Agri A/S, Trigon Agri A/S Viru Valjack 2 Tallin Estonia, agribusiness (until

31 July 2010). [6]


From May 2015 Walker was parliamentary private secretary to the Conservative education minister Nicky Morgan.[7]In the 2015 general election Walker was re-elected with a majority of 5,646. [8]

Controversies

Alcohol badge.jpg This article is part of the Spinwatch public health oriented Alcohol Portal project.
In October 2011 a joint investigation by The Times and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism discovered that Robin Walker continues to receive £2500 a month form Finsbury where he continues to work. Finsbury represent alcohol industry clients Carlsberg and Mitchells and Butlers. As an MP Walker was lobbying the chancellor George Osborne to ask for a reduction on the duty paid on pints of beer. [9] Walker denies any impropriety he claimed to have been asking the question as part of his work supporting pubs through the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group and denied working on the Carlsberg or Mitchells and Butlers. Finsbury agreed with his account.[10]

Furthermore according to the investigation "In February 2011, Walker also tabled an amendment that watered down a backbench bill which proposed imposing a cap on the cost of taking out an unsecured loan. Two months later Finsbury started working on behalf of Wonga, an online lender that charges interest rates of more than 2,600% a year". [11]

Walker defended his behaviour to the Worcester News, "I never dealt with anyone in the brewery side or the financial side. As soon as I became an MP I went to the parliamentary standards people and asked them ‘should I put forward Finsbury’s whole client list?"...“They were very clear it should only be the companies I dealt with directly.” He went on to claim that with respect to amendments to the bill on capping the cost of unsecured loans that he said "If we amended the wording, it was the only way to get it through" and he said it was "crazy" to suggest this was connected to Wonga's contract with Finsbury.[12]

In his 2010 election campaign Robin Walker was forced to defend his decision to continue working for Finsbury if elected. He told local press that he would only be working for the lobbying firm for 10 hours a month and that this second job would mean he didn't have to claim for expenses, however he did not rule out claiming expenses in the future. Adding "It is something I am comfortable with. If there was any danger there would be a conflict of interest then I would have to give it up" [13]

According to Walker's entry in the House of Commons Register of Interests Finsbury pay him £2500 each month regardless of whether he works ten hours or not. In April 2011 Walker did not work for the lobbyists at all and still received full payment, in October 2010 Walker earned the £2500 for one hour of work, and even managed to receive a bonus of £500 in December 2010, apparently for work done over the year although he worked no extra hours. [14]

According to The Independent reporting during Walker's 2010 election campaign, Finsbury has a "progressive policy of has a progressive policy of allowing employees time off for civic and political purposes, he (Robin Walker) has not only been able to take his sabbatical during the campaign but has been able to come to Worcester every Friday since he became the candidate" [15]

Membership of All Party Groups

Ministerial meetings

References

  1. Robin Walker Robin Walker MP, Member of Parliament for Worcester accessed 11th October 2011
  2. Melanie Newman, raised over MPs’ conflicts of interests The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism, 1st October 2011, accessed 11th October 2011
  3. Robin Walker, Robin Walker MP, Member of Parliament for Worcester accessed 11th October 2011
  4. Robin Walker, Robin Walker MP, Member of Parliament for Worcester accessed 11th October 2011
  5. Melanie Newman, raised over MPs’ conflicts of interests The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism, 1st October 2011, accessed 11th October 2011
  6. House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, Formal Minutes of the Committee, Session 2013-14, interests declared by Robin Walker, p.8
  7. Guido Fawkes PPS reshuffle in full, 29 May 2015, accessed 1 June 2015.
  8. Robin Walker Express, accessed 19 May 2015
  9. Melanie Newman, raised over MPs’ conflicts of interests The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism, 1st October 2011, accessed 11th October 2011
  10. Melanie Newman, raised over MPs’ conflicts of interests The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism, 1st October 2011, accessed 11th October 2011
  11. Melanie Newman, raised over MPs’ conflicts of interests The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism, 1st October 2011, accessed 11th October 2011
  12. Sarah Davies, Walker hits back in beer tax row Worcester News 4th October 2011, accessed 11th October 2011
  13. David Paine, Tory candidate denies ‘part-time MP’ claims Worcester News 28th April 2010, accessed 11th October 2011
  14. House of Commons, The Register of Members' Financial Interests: Part 1 as at 28th September 2011 Robin Walker accessed 11th October 2011
  15. Donald Macintyre, Cameron is at home in the spotlight. Voters are still in the dark The Independent 4th May 2010, accessed 11th October 2011
  16. House of Commons Register of All Party Groups 8 September 2011, accessed 12th October 2011
  17. China APPG, www.parliament.uk', accessed 23 November 2015
]]Walker, Robin