The former MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Nicola Blackwood, is to be granted a peerage and a return to government, according to the Mail on Sunday.Nicola Blackwood served as a Minister in the Department of Health before losing her seat to Liberal Democrat Layla Moran in the 2017 election, and has since been working as a senior advisor for healthcare projects at the lobbying firm Global Counsel.The Mail on Sunday reports that Ms. Blackwood is expected to return to her role as a Minister in the Department of Health and Social Care after the Christmas recess, despite losing her parliamentary seat 18 months ago.Nicola Blackwood’s Global Counsel page highlights her “background in political office” and “experience from the health sector”, noting that she works for the firm on “policy areas related to technology and healthcare.”Last February Ms. Blackwood was cleared by Parliament’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, to take jobs in the private sector on the condition that her employers would not unfairly benefit from her time in office.Ms. Blackwood subsequently took paid roles at Policy, a firm which helps private sector companies get contracts in public services, and Eagle Genomics, a biotechnology consultant. She is also on the board of directors of the lobbying group Campaign for Science and Engineering.Global Counsel serves a number of companies in the private sector with political interests, such as energy giant Centrica, which successfully lobbied for the government to ease restrictions on fracking.The director of Spinwatch, a group which campaigns for transparency in lobbying, David Miller told Cherwell: “This is the latest in a long line of revolving door appointments involving public servants who go on to work for private clients in the lobbying world. There is no effective regulation of this and it is simply unacceptable for lobbyists to be appointed as government ministers in this way.“Reforms are needed to the registration and regulation of lobbyists to make such issues clearer, and we need to abolish the totally inadequate system via [the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments] and introduce much stricter rules on the revolving door and conflicts of interest in order to protect the public interest in such matters.”Global Counsel’s chairman is Peter Mandelson, who served as a minister under Tony Blair before losing his seat and subsequently returning to government as a peer.Ms. Blackwood and the Oxfordshire Conservatives have been contacted for comment.
The Baking Industry Awards 2020 will now take place at the Royal Lancaster London, on Wednesday 20 January 2021.As a result of the ongoing coronavirus health situation, British Baker has had to take the difficult decision to move the event to this new date and would like to thank all sponsors, entrants and customers for their understanding at this time.“As ever, we will ensure this is a fantastic night out that will showcase not only the achievements of the industry, but also its resilience and ability to adapt to even the toughest of trading conditions,” said British Baker editor Vince Bamford.The event will feature a colourful Secret Garden theme, and will begin with a drinks reception, followed by a three-course dinner, then the awards ceremony itself, hosted by a celebrity presenter.We are looking for the best of the best across 13 categories, including Bakery Manufacturer of the Year and Supermarket Bakery Business of the Year, plus categories for individuals and products.There is no charge to enter the awards, and entries will again be examined by a panel of judges, including representatives from the sponsoring company, plus an independent expert judge.To ensure businesses have enough time to submit entries, we are extending the Baking Industry Awards 2020 entry deadline to Friday 28 August. Visit the awards website to enter.“I appreciate bakers and their suppliers currently have more pressing concerns than entering awards but am also confident the time will come when they are ready to do so again,” added Bamford.If you would like to talk to us about the event, we are here to help. Please contact Rebecca George on 01293 610422 or Sonia Young on 01293 846507.