MP attacks choice of Somerset Lord Lieutenant
The new prime Minister has a lot on his plate. What with choosing a Cabinet from party big shots who have been in a state of civil war for 6 months. Then there’s choosing the second tier of junior ministers of yes and the small matter of a budget to sort out too. At least market volatility appears to have calmed down. Even mortgage rates showed some sign of falling yesterday.
Now on top of everything else in his in tray, Bridgwater & West Somerset MP, Ian Liddell Grainger has been in touch. Mr Liddell Grainger does not like the choice of the new Lord Lieutenant of Somerset. This is the person who represents the King in Somerset. Though at the time of his appointment, Mohammed Saddiq was chosen to represent the late Queen. the death of the monarch does not lead to reappointment, the role carries on with the new monarch.
Aside from being a Somerset MP, Mr Liddell Grainger also happens to be a direct descendent of Queen Victoria. Spo he can, perhaps, have a double claim on interest in the subject. However he does not agree with the appointment. The full text of his letter follows and explains all:
A new Lord Lieutenant for Somerset is now in place. By all accounts the chosen candidate is a charming individual but his selection, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary, raises serious issues about the honesty of the process.
Mr Mohammed Saddiq’s voluntary and charitable credentials may be considerable. He also ticks one significant box in being the first ever Muslim to fulfil a Lieutenancy. But his professional career – most recently as Executive Director of Operations at Wessex Water – should have stopped this appointment dead in its tracks.
Wessex Water has an appalling record for dumping raw sewage into Somerset’s rivers. The company did it 14,000 times last year alone. Phosphate pollution has now halted many major housing projects and councils are spending millions tackling problems they did not cause.
Last year Mr Saddiq received £165,000 as a bonus on top of his handsome Wessex Water salary for “environmental performance”. His job presents an obvious conflict of interest and should have rung loud alarm bells throughout the appointments system – a system which operates in the Prime Minister’s name.
Mr Saddiq has, at last, resigned his directorship of Wessex Water but only did so after I raised the probity of his selection in the House. My criticism of the appointment system remains. This system claims to “consult” local MPs and leading councillors in advance. But the identity of this candidate was never shared with me or any of my Parliamentary colleagues. If it had been it would have been vetoed early on. The system lacks transparency and requires
improvement as a matter of urgency.
Your pledge to govern with openness and integrity is very important to my constituents. Your influence upon this matter will be greatly welcomed.
As ever, best wishes and good luck
Ian Liddell Grainger