Boris Johnson’s ‘fixer’ Eddie Lister is once again in the headlines, making the splash of today’s Daily Mail for being ‘on the case’ of the attempted Saudi takeover of Newcastle United. It comes two days after a piece in The Times reported that former Lister was considering combining his current role as the prime minister’s special envoy to the Gulf with a six-figure advisory gig for lobbying firm Finsbury Glover Hering – an approach he only rejected after being approached by the newspaper.
Finsbury of course is chaired by Roland Rudd, the smooth talking, uber networker best known for heading up the unsuccessful People’s Vote campaign and for being one of Tony Blair’s ‘Four Wise Men’ who advised him after leaving office. Records from Johnson’s time as London Mayor show him gratefully accepting the offer of flights and transfers to the 2009 Davos summit on board a private plane provided by ‘Roland Rudd, Finsbury PR’. No such hospitality was evidently forthcoming the following year when Johnson had to slum it in economy while Peter Mandelson sat up front in first class on the same flight – an ignominy he bemoaned in his Daily Telegraph column.
With Johnson opting to take a hard line on the antics of lobbyists here, there and everywhere, could his previous behaviour be about to come back to haunt him?