Top UK officials had undeclared meetings with UAE ambassador at private parties hosted by billionaire Tory donor Michael Hintze, according to an Insight investigation by The Sunday Times.
Hintze, a British-Australian hedge fund manager worth £1.7 billion, has given over £4 million to the Conservative party and founded the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate change denial think tank, according to bigissue.com.
In November 2021, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and 5 other ministers attended an exclusive shooting weekend at Hintze’s £30 million Gloucestershire estate along with the UAE ambassador to the UK and a close associate of the Saudi ambassador.
Cleverly, then Middle East minister, arrived without staff for the lavish trip where guests enjoyed butler service, spa access and shot over 300 pheasants worth £15,000. The ministerial code requires declaring hospitality received in an official capacity. House of Commons rules also mandate declaring benefits related to political activities. Experts said the event was clearly political given the attendees.
A UAE representative later suggested Hintze pitch managing part of their £10 billion UK investment fund. Hintze’s lawyers denied this occurred or that he benefited from the event. The UAE embassy also denied any investment.
Other ministers defended attending a subsequent private party at the estate as friends of Hintze. Oliver Dowden, Thérèse Coffey and Sajid Javid were spotted dancing in a conga line. Hintze’s lawyers said the events were unrelated to business and he properly sought investments. The UAE embassy would not comment on discussions, when asked by The Sunday Times.
Hintze co-founded the GWPF which spreads misinformation about climate change according to leading scientists like James Hansen. The charity commission is investigating them for accepting oil and gas money. Hintze seemed to indicate funding them in leaked correspondence and has donated to sceptic MPs like Andrew Lewer who urged expanding fossil fuels.
Boris Johnson will make Hintze a Lord despite his funding “the destruction of the planet” said+ Green MP Caroline Lucas. She and others demand investigating the appointment for hypocrisy after Johnson’s COP26 pledge. Big Futures also calls for policies ensuring future generations have a fair chance given issues like the housing crisis, low pay and climate change.
Speaking to DeSmog, Green MP Caroline Lucas called it an “insult to democracy” to fill the Lords with billionaire donors. The Lords Commission must “urgently investigate” appointing someone funding “the destruction of our planet,” she said.
Hintze’s impending peerage shows “utter hypocrisy” from Johnson’s climate rhetoric, said Lucas. Johnson claimed at COP26 we were at “one minute to midnight” to avoid crisis so Hintze’s role is unacceptable, she argued.
Written by Eagle
Photo: Jacob Diehl, unsplash.com