Socialist Worker

Royals for hire to lobby the Russian government

Issue No. 2754

Prince Michael of Kent in his sailors costume

Prince Michael of Kent in his sailor's costume (Pic: Royal Navy/Flikr)


Prince Michael of Kent was willing to use his royal status for profit, and to seek favours from Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The queen’s cousin told reporters posing as investors from South Korea that he could be hired for £10,000 a day. For that he would make ­“confidential” representations to Russia.

Channel 4 Dispatches and the Sunday Times newspaper set up a fake South Korean gold company called House of Haedong and approached five members of the royal family with an offer of a role. Prince Michael of Kent responded showing interest in working with the company.

He told reporters that he would give House of Haedong his royal endorsement in a recorded speech for a £143,000 fee and was happy to use his home in Kensington Palace as a backdrop.

He was also approached about a role helping the fictitious gold firm in Russia.

The prince drew their attention to the fact that the Russian presidency had bestowed on him the Order of Friendship. Well he is the first cousin twice removed of the Nicholas II, the last Russian Tsar.

His business partner Lord Simon Reading had used an event at Kensington Palace in 2013 in to sell access to Putin.

The event, to promote Russian wrestling, also offered opportunities to personally meet the Russian leader at a later date, Dispatches found.

In a recorded meeting with the undercover reporters, Lord Reading said, “If Prince Michael is representing the House of Haedong, he could mention that to Putin and Putin would find the right person who is interested in South Korea or interested in gold.

“It just opens the door, you know, which is so helpful.”

He added, “I think, if I can say this, this is kind of slightly discreet, we’re talking relatively discreetly here.

“Because we wouldn’t want the world to know that he is seeing Putin purely for business reasons, if you follow me.”


EU and UN slam Tories’ asylum plans

Not a single European country has decided to support the British government’s asylum plans. The United Nations (UN) criticised the proposals as so damaging they risked Britain’s “global credibility”.

Six weeks ago home secretary, Priti Patel, unveiled a sweeping immigration overhaul that included deporting migrants who enter Britain without the necessary documents.

They were to be removed to “France and other EU countries”.

But the Home Office has been unable to persuade any European state to sign up to the scheme.

The UN’s refugee agency is set to publish its opinion of Patel’s asylum proposals.

It is likely to conclude her plans infringe international legislation and are unworkable.

Rossella Pagliuchi‑­Lor, UN refugee agency representative to Britain, said, “If a country like the UK with relatively low numbers of asylum seekers seeks to back away from its obligations under the convention, what message does it send to others hosting large numbers?”

Despite this, Patel’s asylum proposals were to feature in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday.

It follows reports last week that hundreds of people seeking asylum have already been warned they could be removed to other countries in Europe.

This is despite Brexit removing Britain’s power to make such transfers and the fact it has no legal agreement with EU nations to force them to take these people back.

When Britain left the EU it also left the so-called Dublin regulation. This is the legal mechanism that allows EU governments to transfer applicants back to other member states where they had previously been registered.


The man appointed by Boris Johnson to probe David Cameron’s lobbying has cleared the government of “favouritism” in the award of £17 billion in Covid-19 contracts. City lawyer Nigel Boardman admitted that some government practices, such as a fast-track “VIP” priority system for firms known to MPs and ministers, gave rise to the “suspicion” of bias. But he found no evidence of favouritism in the award of the contracts. Boardman will now move on to a whitewash, er... separate review, of the Greensill Capital lobbying scandal.


lIn July 2020, an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times newspaper found that some of the clothing firm Boohoo’s supplier factories in Leicester were paying workers just £3.50 an hour and forcing some to work while sick. Last week Boohoo announced its gross profits for 2020-21 were up by 42 percent to £945 million and its bosses are in line to receive £50 million in bonuses.


Twice as many have died from Covid than claimed

Covid-19 has caused nearly seven million deaths globally, more than double the number recorded by official governments’ figures.

This is according to a new analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Through a careful analysis of “excess death” figures, IHME found that Covid-19 deaths are significantly underreported in almost every country.

It says the true death toll in Britain is nearly 210,000 and in the US over 900,000.

IHME is not some fringe body. It has in the past been repeatedly quoted by mainstream newspapers. Its methodology is cautious and precise.

This study underlines that when Boris Johnson said “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” he was speaking for himself and ruling classes everywhere.


Man proved innocent after his execution

For 22 years, Ledell Lee maintained that he had been wrongly convicted of murder.

“My dying words will always be, as it has been, ‘I am an innocent man,’” he told the BBC in an interview published on 19 April 2017—the day before officials in Arkansas administered the lethal injection.

Four years later, lawyers affiliated with the Innocence Project and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say DNA testing has revealed that genetic material on the murder weapon—which was never previously tested—belongs to another man.

The Innocence Project and the ACLU pushed for additional DNA testing at previous times, including on the eve of Lee’s execution. The request was denied.

A federal judge rejected Lee’s request for a stay of the execution, saying that he had “simply delayed too long”.


Things they say

‘I lost count of how many people told me on the doorstep they would not vote Labour because of Corbyn. A lot of them went on to say, but if Keir Starmer was your leader, I would vote for you’

Lord Adonis, 17 Dec 2019

‘Unfortunately, Keir turns out to be a transitional figure—a nice man— without political skills or antennae at the highest level’

Lord Adonis 7 May 2021 in an article headlined Labour needs an election winner, Keir Starmer isn’t it

‘If the party were ever to feel it needed me, well, I’m here’

Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham offers himself to save Labour again

‘Jeremy Corbyn still casts a long shadow’

Peter Mandelson knows who to blame for election losses


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