Friday, 7 February 2014

Newly Appointed Labour Donor Opens Hospital Group Company


Former gambling Lobbyist and Labour party donor Lord Mendelsohn incorporated new Hospital Group on the same day he joined the Lords.

When it comes to conflicts of interest, the Labour party is in no position to throw stones at anyone. One in six Labour Lords have recent or present financial links to companies or individuals involved in private healthcare.

In the next election, the NHS will undoubtedly be one of the key battlegrounds in the fight for people’s votes. Labour has promised to repeal the external market elements of the Health and Social Care Act if they get into power. Presumably then, they will be less than happy about the newly made life Peer, Baron Mendelsohn’s latest venture into hospitals.

Jonathan Mendelsohn is firmly in the New Labour camp, being a director of their think tank Progress. Mendelsohn was at the centre of a controversy back in 1998, when he helped set up a lobbying firm called LLM Communications (now dissolved). The manifesto of their successful operation read according to journalist Greg Palast as “leaders who lead” are antique creatures of The Passing World. Today, markets lead. Industry CEOs lead. In the Emerging World, prime ministers and presidents merely “listen.”

Greg Palast wrote that as part of an article following his undercover work that caught both Mendelsohn and his fellow lobbyist Derek Draper on tape. The sting had them boasting about how they could get access to government ministers, create tax breaks, you know the usual stuff.

So why on Earth did Labour think it would be a good idea to make Mendelsohn a Life peer in September?  Was it because he was a good fund-raiser? Not without controversy. A big donor? He has given money to Labour before, but not a lot in donor world, just two £5,000 payments to Peter Hain and Gordon Brown in their respective leadership campaigns. Electoral Commission

Now he has just incorporated a new company of which he is the sole owner and which coincidentally was incorporated ‘received for filing’ at Companies House on the same day he became a life peer. The new business is called ‘Europa Hospitals Group’, which has one office in Madrid and one in London and a website that says ‘coming soon’. In what form this business will materialise is currently unclear as the accounts say nothing about the business, and as yet neither does the website. It could be an investment vehicle for hospitals or private hospitals themselves. An email to his new company has been sent asking for more details.

Aside from this interest, Baron Mendelsohn is also an adviser to law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner that have a specialist healthcare division working with the NHS in PFI projects, and NHS Trusts. The law firm also works with private healthcare clients that include companies, BUPA, Barchester Health, UK Specialist Hospitals, as well as some NHS Trusts.

As Labour moves away from New Labour in the Commons, they have promoted New Labour in the Lords, a House where rampant vested interests reign. Mendelsohn was an embarrassment to Labour back in 1998, and by placing him into the Lords, are they opening themselves up to more unnecessary pain?

The question many potential voters may well ask is will the real Labour please stand up!


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