Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The RTZ connection

Guido has an accusatory posting about the business interests of Sir Robert Smith, the LibDem MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, who has taken on the interim chairmanship of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. A new chairman has to be found because Sir Tim Yeo's conflicts of interest finally proved too much. (I don't suppose we have seen the last of Sir Tim; he has bounced back from scandal in the past.)

Sir Robert's declaration of business interests includes not only shares in Shell but also, I note, Rio Tinto Zinc stock. This continues an old Liberal connection. Former Liberal MP Frank Byers was a director of RTZ, and I have a vague recollection that Clement Davies, the party leader from the end of the war until Jo Grimond took over, was also a board member. Richard Holme (Lord Holme of Cheltenham) certainly was invited to join the board.

Tom Burke, who has been a parliamentary candidate for both the Liberal Democrats and before that the SDP, is Environmental Policy Advisor to Rio Tinto - and a contributor to The Green Book.

Are all these coincidences, or is there a chain going back to the mid-20th century here?

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