Geoffrey Norris

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Geoffrey Norris is a former government adviser who was seen as one of the most crucial advocates of nuclear power, with an ear to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was Blair's special adviser on energy and industry and has an association with Labour that goes back to the 1980s.

Norris is now a senior adviser at Global Counsel, the 'strategic advisory' firm set up by Peter Mandelson and Benjamin Wegg-Prosser in late 2010. [1]


From 1992 to November 1994 Norris advised Robin Cook, MP as Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary and before that he advised Cook on Health policy. He then moved to become Industry Policy adviser to Tony Blair when Blair was still leader of the Opposition.

In May 1997 Norris was appointed Blair's Special Adviser responsible for Trade, Industry, Energy, Employment, and Planning. He has stayed close to Blair ever since.[2]

A key architect of Britain and Europe's approach to energy policy and climate change

On the Global Counsel website Norris describes himself as an expert in energy and industrial policy, who "has been at the heart of business policy-making in the UK for the last decade" and "was one of the key architects of Britain and Europe’s current approach to energy policy and climate change". [1]

Most recently he was a special adviser at the UK Department of Business in Whitehall. [1]

Closeness to Blair

Even for Blair's special advisers, Norris was considered extremely close to Blair. The closeness rankled John Prescott who when once asked by the BBC about Norris said: "Who's (Geoffrey) Norris? Mr Norris is an official in the department. We sometimes call them teenyboppers. You know what I mean?"[3]


Norris was said to have pressed the nuclear case extremely hard and along with the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King, persuaded Blair to back the need for nuclear.

In March 2005, the Independent on Sunday reported how "Within government, Geoffrey Norris, Tony Blair's special adviser on industry and business, is pressing the nuclear case. It is understood that he was instrumental in the creation of the DTI's Future for Nuclear team." One Whitehall source told the paper: "Norris has fought hard to keep nuclear on the agenda."[4]

Secret meetings with nuclear energy bosses

In 2008 it was revealed that Norris and his colleagues had held at least nine secret meetings at Downing Street with the bosses of nuclear energy companies while the government was formulating controversial plans for nuclear new build. The Independent on Sunday reported that "no official records were kept of the discussions with the companies, which stand to profit from Gordon Brown's announcement last Thursday that he was approving a new generation of nuclear power plants".

The Government initially tried to block details of the meetings requested under the Freedom of Information Act. However, last week it revealed that Geoffrey Norris, Gordon Brown's energy adviser, met bosses from EDF, British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), E.ON and British Energy at a crucial phase in the Government's deliberations. Confirmation that there are no official records of the meetings adds to concern that certain advisers can operate outside the rules of government accountability. [5]


  • Global Counsel - senior adviser, May 2011. Approved by ACOBA "subject to the conditions that, for 12 months from his last day of service, Mr Norris should not undertake any work which involves providing advice to any company or organisation on the terms of any bid or contract relating directly to the work of any UK Government Department or Agency, or draw on any privileged information which was available to him as a Special Adviser for the particular benefit of his new employer or any of its clients, and that, for 2 years from the same date, he should not become personally involved in lobbying UK Government Ministers or Crown servants, including Special Advisers, on behalf of his new employer or any of its clients".[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 About Us, Global Counsel website, accessed 10 September 2012
  2. The Industry Forum, Geoffrey Norris Biography
  3. N. Watt, "Prescott Scathing Over Car Criticism", The Times, May 4, 1998.
  4. Clayton Hirst, "Secret DTI Team Gives Green Light For 10 New Nuclear Plants, Independent on Sunday, March 27, 2005.
  5. Andy Rowell and Richard Cookson, Secret nuclear talks held at No 10, The Independent on Sunday, 13 January 2008, acc 10 Sept 2012
  6. Twelfth Report 2010-2011 Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, accessed 10 December 2014