The full letter:
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17 Smith Square
Sent by fax and post to: 0207 238 6118
Dear Ms. Ghosh,
I am writing to bring to your attention a possible conflict of interesting regarding the newly appointed Secretary of State for your department, the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP.
As you should already be aware, until last year the Secretary of State for your department co-owned Spelman, Cormack & Associates, a food and biotechnology lobbying firm she set up in 1989 with her husband, Mr Mark Spelman, using her maiden name, Cormack. Less than a year ago she transferred her shares in the firm to her husband and resigned her directorship in May 2009. According to Companies House records the company’s registered office was in the Secretary of State’s constituency home until May last year. Her husband, Mark Spelman, remains a director of the company still trading under the Secretary of State’s name in sectors closely related to issues for which she is responsible. Given that the company is still using her maiden name to trade, a name by which she would have been known when active in farming politics in the 1980s, this is clearly of public interest.
The Secretary of State is in charge of negotiating subsidies, quotas and tariff barriers at the EU Agricultural Council, giving rise to a clear conflict of interest between this official role and her close links to a company which has in the past lobbied or may be intending to lobby over such matters. The Secretary of State is also responsible for Genetically Modified food regulations at the same time as her husband’s firm deals with bio-tech industry clients. Ms. Spelman therefore remains linked to a farming and food lobbying firm that she set up, held shares in for ten years, and for which her husband is still using her name and home address for commercially.
In view of this information we ask you to clarify the following:
You get the picture!