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MPs For Sale? Estimating Returns to Office in Post-War British Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  entered the Commons as a Conservative in 1970 served for 27 years, during 16 ofwhich he was the chairman of the Conservative MPs’ trade and industry committee.During his otherwise successful parliamentary career Grylls was often criticized for hisinvolvement in lobbying work. Some of the campaigns he undertook were the resultof his position as consultant for the pharmaceuticals industry; others were promptedby his work as a consultant to the lobbying company run by Ian Greer, notablyhis warnings against a GEC takeover of Plessey and his campaign against unitarytaxation, which led to an amendment to the 1985 Finance Bill. In 1997, Grylls foundhimself among those criticized by the inquiry into the ”cash-for-questions” scandalwhich had engulfed the Conservatives in the run-up to the general election. In areport into Mr. Greer’s activities, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards,Sir Gordon Downey, stated that Grylls had “seriously misled” the select committeeon members’ interests in 1990. 40 He had done this by understating the number of payments he had received for introducing clients to ministers. Grylls accumulatedfour directorships before retiring from the House in 1997. 41 • Sir Marcus Fox represented Shipley from 1970 to 1997. The son of a transport man- ager, he went to grammar school, skipped university, served in the Green Howardsduring the Second World War. Before gaining his seat at Westminster, he held jobsat the Midland Bank as a bank clerk, at Woolworth’s, and with the Yorkshire confec-tionery business of Joseph Terry. During his political career he accumulated six direc-torships and numerous consultancies. In particular after resigning from his positionas Defence and Environment minister in 1981, he and fellow MP Keith Speed createdthe public affairs consultancy Westminster Communications Ltd., which accordingto the RMI from various years served a long list of clients with political lobbying. 42 Before the Select Committee on Members Interest, he stated “We thought if we, asMembers of Parliament, were actually controlling the company we could ensure weonly acted for those clients who we were convinced were of good standing.” He alsoclaimed that “There is a need for a lobbying industry. That is proven by the successof the companies, their growth and the fact that people are prepared to pay for thissort of information and the amount of time that is spent in often putting a good caseforward.” 43 He died as the 90th richest conservative candidate in our sample, with an estate value of about 510,000 GBP. 40 Obituary: Sir Michael Grylls, The Independent, Mar 5, 2001. Also see Hollingsworth (1991, pg. 60- 62,129-31,166). 41 RMI of January 31st, 1997. 42 RMI of January 13th, 1986, RMI of December 14th, 1991, RMI of January 31st, 1997. 43 Evidence to Select Committee on Members’ Interest, HC 44-vii, p. 200-202. Also see Hollingsworth (1991, pg. 21,69,70-74,105-107,120-122). 30

Authors: Eggers, Andy. and Hainmueller, Jens.
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entered the Commons as a Conservative in 1970 served for 27 years, during 16 of
which he was the chairman of the Conservative MPs’ trade and industry committee.
During his otherwise successful parliamentary career Grylls was often criticized for his
involvement in lobbying work. Some of the campaigns he undertook were the result
of his position as consultant for the pharmaceuticals industry; others were prompted
by his work as a consultant to the lobbying company run by Ian Greer, notably
his warnings against a GEC takeover of Plessey and his campaign against unitary
taxation, which led to an amendment to the 1985 Finance Bill. In 1997, Grylls found
himself among those criticized by the inquiry into the ”cash-for-questions” scandal
which had engulfed the Conservatives in the run-up to the general election. In a
report into Mr. Greer’s activities, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards,
Sir Gordon Downey, stated that Grylls had “seriously misled” the select committee
on members’ interests in 1990.
40
He had done this by understating the number of
payments he had received for introducing clients to ministers. Grylls accumulated
four directorships before retiring from the House in 1997.
41
• Sir Marcus Fox represented Shipley from 1970 to 1997. The son of a transport man-
ager, he went to grammar school, skipped university, served in the Green Howards
during the Second World War. Before gaining his seat at Westminster, he held jobs
at the Midland Bank as a bank clerk, at Woolworth’s, and with the Yorkshire confec-
tionery business of Joseph Terry. During his political career he accumulated six direc-
torships and numerous consultancies. In particular after resigning from his position
as Defence and Environment minister in 1981, he and fellow MP Keith Speed created
the public affairs consultancy Westminster Communications Ltd., which according
to the RMI from various years served a long list of clients with political lobbying.
42
Before the Select Committee on Members Interest, he stated “We thought if we, as
Members of Parliament, were actually controlling the company we could ensure we
only acted for those clients who we were convinced were of good standing.” He also
claimed that “There is a need for a lobbying industry. That is proven by the success
of the companies, their growth and the fact that people are prepared to pay for this
sort of information and the amount of time that is spent in often putting a good case
forward.”
43
He died as the 90th richest conservative candidate in our sample, with
an estate value of about 510,000 GBP.
40
Obituary: Sir Michael Grylls, The Independent, Mar 5, 2001. Also see Hollingsworth (1991, pg. 60-
62,129-31,166).
41
RMI of January 31st, 1997.
42
RMI of January 13th, 1986, RMI of December 14th, 1991, RMI of January 31st, 1997.
43
Evidence to Select Committee on Members’ Interest, HC 44-vii, p. 200-202. Also see Hollingsworth
(1991, pg. 21,69,70-74,105-107,120-122).
30


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