Hard Brexit guru plays down new job at Grayling after conflict row
Shanker Singham was signed up by the lobbying firm last week.
The man branded a ‘hard Brexit Svengali” has been forced to quit a government advisory post after taking a job with Grayling.
Leading trade and competition lawyer Shanker Singham has also tried to downplay the significance of his new post at the lobbying firm, calling it a “a small part-time role in an advisory capacity only”.
Singham has been signed up by Grayling’s parent firm Huntsworth as a senior advisor with a brief to develop the group’s Brexit and trade offer to clients, PAN reported last week.
The 48-year-old lawyer is currently director of the international trade and competition unit at the right wing think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs. At the time of joining Grayling, he also sat on the five-member “committee of experts” set up by international trade secretary Liam Fox to advise on trade and investment.
However, he has now quit the committee following a backlash by campaigners for transparency, prompting officials to decide that there was a “potential conflict of interest”. The Department for International Trade confirmed that he had now stood down.
The development is unfortunate for Grayling which had trumpeted its new signing last week, with chairman Richard Jukes stressing Singham’s credentials on Brexit.
“We’re delighted that Shanker is joining us at Grayling and the wider Group. Brexit and trade are knotty areas, and there is no one better placed than Shanker to help our clients cut throught the noise and articulate a considered position that stands up to scrutiny,” he said.
But Singham subsequently told The Times: “I am not lobbying for Grayling. It is a small part-time role in an advisory capacity only.”