Security fears as top Cabinet Office official quits to work for UAE

Security fears as top Cabinet Office official quits to work for UAE

MPs raise concerns over Alex Aiken’s move to role advising Abu Dhabi’s foreign ministry on communications.

The Government’s executive director of communications, who has been involved in sensitive discussions on national security, is to take a job at the United Arab Emirates’s foreign ministry.

Alex Aiken, who in recent years has sat in on security meetings including Cobra, will move to the country to advise Abu Dhabi on communications.

Despite the defection being made public on Wednesday, Mr Aiken intends to remain in his position in the Cabinet Office until April.

Conservative MPs questioned if that was appropriate, noting that even in the private sector employees have to step back after announcing joining a rival company.

The UK Government’s ties with the UAE have come under scrutiny in recent months as ministers decide whether to approve an Abu Dhabi-backed takeover of The Telegraph.

RedBird IMI, a US-based group that is 75 per cent funded by the UAE, is attempting to take control of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator magazine.

MPs from across the political divide have sounded the alarm, with some warning that effective UAE ownership of a British newspaper would undermine free speech and democracy.

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