Liddell Grainger attacks choice of Lord Lieutenant
Ian Liddell-Grainger has publicly criticised the selection process for Somerset’s new Lord Lieutenant today. As we reported last month, Mohammed Saddiq, a director of Wessex Water has been selected to replace Annie Maw. Mr Sadiq would be the first person of colour to be appointed as Lord Lieutenant.
Speaking in the House of Commons during Business Questions in the House he said: “there was no public consultation whatsoever.” As someone who is directly descended from Queen Victoria should know, the problem here is a typical British compromise. The role of Lord Lieutenant is officially to represent the monarch in the shires. It is the monarch’s choosing. It has nothing to do, technically at least, with what local people want.
It is perhaps a little like giving the royal assent. Technically the monarch does not have to approve any legislation she/he doesn’t like. They could simply refuse to sign it off. In reality, the monarch for the past century has, by unwritten understanding, always given their assent.
So now we are here, in the same place, with Lord Lieutenants. The compromise seems to be that instead of the monarch making the appointment, it falls to the Cabinet Office. And they do undertake a sort of consultation. It is far from being a public consultation. But more in the manner of what we might call “putting out soundings”. In short the whole, process is a bit of a muddle and perhaps could do with being modernised.
So Mr Liddell Grainger goes on to say: “Somerset’s MPs were only invited to give their views about the priorities for the
county. They were never told the identity of the favoured candidate.” This The Leveller understands is normal procedure. However the MP has clearly taken against the appointment of Mr Saddiq.
Mr Liddell-Grainger went on to tell the House: “His day job is Operations Director of Wessex Water, a company guilty of
pumping thousands of gallons of human filth into Somerset’s rivers. Last year he received £422,000 including a huge bonus for, believe it or not, ‘protecting the environment’!”
The MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset also criticised Mr Saddiq’s work at Wessex Water. he suggested that it was
incompatible with the ceremonial responsibilities of being Lord Lieutenant. The post has traditionally been reserved for people who are not in full time employment. Liddell Grainger went on: “There is a fundamental conflict of interest. He can be Lord Lieutenant and protect our county or one of the bosses of Wessex Water and pollute us. But he
should not be allowed to do both.”