I unashamedly share this press release from the Good Law Project as the issue is so important. Liberal democracy is at risk:
For immediate release, Thursday 28 October 2021
Nadine Dorries refuses to back down on Charity Commission appointment
Good Law Project launches full legal proceedings
Good Law Project has just launched full proceedings against the Secretary of State for Culture, Nadine Dorries, over ministerial interference in the Chair of the Charity Commission hiring process.
The legal non-profit is seeking an order that the recruitment be re-run without political direction from Government, and has asked the High Court for an expedited hearing so that the case can be heard before the interim Chair’s term expires on 26 December this year.
Two days before interviews began for the new chair of the Charity Commission, the Government published an article on the Gov.uk website and in the Sunday Telegraph announcing they would hire someone to “rebalance” charities away from their so-called “woke” agenda.
The article compromised the independence of the interview process - and threatens the way of life of the UK’s charities.
The organisation’s lawyers sent a pre-action letter to Ms Dorries asking her to hand over the list of questions that were put to interviewees, and to reply to concerns that ministerial involvement in the hiring process had breached the Charities Act 2011, which says that the Commission should not be subject to control or direction by the Government, and the Governance Code for Public Appointments, which says that all public appointments must be made transparently and on merit.
Ms Dorries claimed, in short, that her predecessor Oliver Dowden MP’s demands for an “anti-woke” Chair didn’t matter because they weren’t repeated in the formal job specification.
She has also refused to disclose the details we asked for in order to “retain the integrity” of the interview process - which had already concluded.
It was reported earlier this week that the Government’s preferred candidate for the role has been chosen, but not yet named.
Rachel Smethers, Head of Communications at Good Law Project, said:
“Both the applicants and interviewers were given an emphatic steer as to the expected outcome of the hiring process - it fatally compromised the independence of the process. If Ministers thought their words would be ignored, why did they bother publishing them?
“It’s not the Charity Commission’s job to ‘cancel’ charities that don't line up behind the Government's agenda. We think this is unlawful - the appointment process must be re-run if it’s to have any integrity”.