Opposition claims justice minister has conflict of interest over stake in Lloyd’s business
Cabinet secretary Gus O’Donnell has been urged to investigate allegations that justice minister Jonathan Djanogly faces conflicts of interest stemming from a stake in his family’s Lloyd’s business.
Labour shadow justice spokesman Andrew Slaughter has written to O’Donnell asking him to explore whether Djanogly, who is piloting changes to the ‘no win, no fee’ system through Parliament, has breached the ministerial code.
According to the House of Commons register of members interests, Djanogly is a minority partner in The Djanogly Family Limited Liability Partnership, which is a member of Lloyd’s.
Slaughter argues that Djanogly’s assertion that his financial interests are in “blind trust/blind management arrangement” does not bear scrutiny as the “minister’s holdings are concentrated into financial services companies with exposure to the insurance market and the Djanogly Family LLP is explicitly set up to act in the insurance and reinsurance market”.
Slaughter writes that as Djanogly “did not resign from the LLP and dispose of his interests, [he has a] fiduciary duty to promote the interests of the Djanogly Family LLP”, which he says is in conflict with “his duty as a minister to promote the public interest”.
Slaughter says that Djanogly’s shareholdings are “incompatible” with his position as a minister.
“Given the sums of money involved, the multiple ways in which the minister would benefit from this legislation, this would appear to be a severe breach of the code.”
The ministerial code states that “ministers must scrupulously avoid any danger of an actual or perceived conflict of interest between their ministerial position and their private financial interests”. It advises ministers to dispose of interests or excuse themselves from discussions and policy if there could be even a perception of a conflict of interest.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “As Mr Djanogly made clear on Friday, his financial interests are a matter of public record, in declarations made both as a minister and as an MP. The government’s reforms to the no-win, no-fee system are based on an independent review by Sir Rupert Jackson.”