Tory MP's business partner lashes out over lobbying story
Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Scully co-founded an agency called Nudge Factory.
The business partner of Conservative MP Paul Scully has issued a furious rebuttal of a newspaper story which he claims "insinuates impropriety".
This weekend, the Mail on Sunday rounded up serving MPs and members of the House of Lords working for public affairs firms.
It quoted APPC chair Paul Bristow saying: “'If you are a lawmaker you should not be working for a lobbying company, whether that is in a paid role or on the board. It doesn't pass the sniff test – it stinks.”
The actions of most of the featured parliamentarians – such as Labour MP Barry Sheerman, Conservative MPs Bob Neill and James Duddridge, and Conservative peer Baroness Fall – were previously reported on by Public Affairs News.
But the article also referred to a little-known lobbying firm called Nudge Factory Ltd set up in 2011 by Tory MP Paul Scully, who entered the Common in 2015. The firm’s website states: "We use our experience to assist our clients to influence policy and opinion."
The article stated that Scully remained a non-executive director of Nudge Factory and referred to a question he had table in Parliament last year.
In an angry response on the firm’s website, Nudge Factory co-founder Ahzaz Chowdhury claimed to be exploring a legal challenge.
He said: "You might have seen a story in the Mail on Sunday which mentions Nudge Factory and insinuates impropriety. We are currently taking advice in relation to the wording of the article as I do not believe that the Daily Mail and its journalists have abided by their own industry’s code of conduct in the writing of this article."
Chowdhury fumed that the Mail on Sunday had not published all of the information he provided to the paper and then hit out at the "complete and utter non-story".
Laying out the facts, he added: "Paul Scully and I founded Nudge Factory together as Directors in April 2011. The company was founded on doing things differently, with a focus on helping businesses to understand the communities in which they operate.
"Paul stopped working for Nudge Factory as an employee until February 2015 and took his final salary shortly after… After his election in 2015, we made a decision that as a founder of a company he had spent four years of his life building up that he maintain his shareholding of Nudge Factory and change his directorship to non-executive status."
He went on: "Nudge Factory has never asked Paul to table any questions, nor have I or any of my team asked any intermediaries to do so. This is not something we would ever do. Paul has also confirmed to the Daily Mail that he has never asked any parliamentary questions prompted by the company or its clients."