Cayman Islands’ government terminates Lord Blencathra’s lobbying contract

Cayman Premier Alden McLaughlin. (Image by Chatham House/Flickr)

The Cayman Islands Government has terminated Lord Blencathra’s contract after deciding its terms were incompatible with new rules on lobbying by peers.

Cayman Premier Alden McLaughlin also cited ‘negative publicity’ around the peer’s 2011 appointment as director of the Cayman Islands Government Office in London.

The contract was ended by mutual agreement last week, he added.

Signed in 2012, it required Lord Blencathra, the former David Maclean, to lobby the UK government on behalf of the Islands.

Premier McLaughlin told Cayman 27: ‘We have concluded the provision in the existing contract is in conflict with the rules and we have no choice but to terminate the agreement.’

He added: ‘None of us like negative publicity and it’s not good for the Cayman Islands.’

The premier was visiting London last Monday when the Bureau revealed that terms of the peer’s earlier contract required him to ‘make representations’ promoting the Cayman Islands’ interests to UK MPs and peers as well as ministers.

The contract was amended in 2012 to require lobbying of ‘key governmental stakeholders’ instead.

This is incompatible with a ruling by the Lords committee for privileges and conduct this year, which said peers should be banned from lobbying ministers for gain.

The committee referenced the Lords standards commissioner’s investigation into Lord Blencathra.

Related story: Peers to be banned from lobbying ministers for gain

The commissioner, Paul Kernaghan, scrutinised the peer in 2012 after a Bureau investigation into his activities.

Lord Blencathra had told the Bureau that he lobbied government but not Parliament.

Mr Kernaghan found there was ‘no evidence that Lord Blencathra exercised parliamentary influence on behalf of the Cayman Islands’ or provided Parliamentary services for gain. 

But the commissioner did not examine the peer’s contract as part of that enquiry.

After the Bureau revealed the £12,000 per month contract required the peer to promote Cayman interests to members of Parliament, Lord Blencathra referred himself to Mr Kernaghan for a fresh investigation, which is now underway.