Labour has been making much of the issue of lobbying since the Greensill scandal broke last month, with Rachel Reeves calling for a ‘proper’ investigation ‘to rein in the lobbyists and lift standards in this great democracy.’ But attention has now turned to the opposition’s own frontbenchers– particularly in the House of Lords where both Charlie Falconer and Sue Hayman have been revealed as having ties to lobbying firms. Falconer is a partner at US law company Gibson Dunn which offers ‘political lobbying’ advice in the UK while Hayman is a board member of London outfit Grayling.
Now Steerpike can reveal a third frontbencher on the red benches moonlighting as a lobbyist – the party’s Treasury spokesman in the Lords Neil Davidson QC. Davidson is a director of Ensis Strategic which specialises in the Chinese market and was co-founded in 2017 with former Foreign Office diplomat Kate Westgarth. The firm boasted £436,137 in total equity in its most recent financial statements and was referenced last year in the book ‘Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is reshaping the world’ in which he was described as ‘Beijing’s most effect advocate’ for the internationalisation of its currency which he has championed in the Lords.
Davidson has been involved in a number of events organised by the Chinese government including taking part in a symposium in Tibet in August 2014 aimed at promoting the Chinese presence in the region. He also lists in his register of interests being a member of the advisory board of the International Monetary Institute, a Chinese think-tank headed by Pan Gongsheng, the former number two of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China .