Top Cameron aide scolded by Acoba
Government body expresses 'concern' over new lobbying shop in letter to civil service chief.
One of David Cameron’s top advisers has been sternly rebuked by the government body responsible for policing the so-called revolving door between politics and business.
Ameet Gill is accused of breaking the rules on lobbying by setting up a firm and securing clients without getting the green light from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba).
The committee has expressed its concern about his behaviour in a damning letter to civil service chief John Manzoni, seen by PAN.
Gill left Downing Street in the summer after nine years at Cameron’s side. Most recently, he served as Cameron’s director of strategy in Number 10 and he was awarded an OBE last year.
It emerged earlier this year that Gill was linking up with another former Tory special adviser, Paul Stephenson, to set up his new shop, Hanbury Strategy.
His actions prompted committee secretariat Nicola Richardson to hit out in a letter to Manzoni, who is chief executive of the civil service and permanent secretary for the Cabinet Office.
“I would like to register the Committee’s concern that Mr Gill’s consultancy and the fact that it had already secured clients was announced before the Committee had had the opportunity to offer its advice,” states the letter.
“The business appointment rules for former crown servants specify that retrospective applications will not normally be accepted. To fulfil the remit given to it by Government the Committee needs to be able to consider an application fully and freely before offering its advice. It is impossible to do this in a way that will command public confidence if an appointment has already been announced and/or taken up.”
However the committee has no power to prevent Gill from working on the clients that he did not disclose. Instead it has told the former Number 10 aide that he must seek advice for each of his new clients before doing any work for them “as is standard practice for former Crown servants who have set up consultancies following the correct process”.
A spokesperson for Hanbury Strategy said: "Ameet has always been clear that he will comply with all the standards set out by the Cabinet Office, and will continue to do so."