Mapped: The Anti-Climate Lobbyists Infiltrating Boris Johnson's Government

Read time: 5 mins
Boris cabinet map

Boris Johnson has named his first full cabinet, and his appointments will have had one set of lobby groups rubbing their hands with glee.

His selection includes a large number of people with ties to 55 Tufton Street, the Westminster address that is home to a large collection of pro-Brexit, anti-regulation, anti-climate action campaign groups. Boris’ cull of Theresa May’s government means many Tufton Street staff members have now found themselves a lot closer to 10 Downing Street.

We’ve mapped all the key connections. Here’s a quick run-down.


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Number 10

Unsurprisingly, given his public support for Brexit three years ago and his need to appeal to the leave-leaning wing of the Tory party, Johnson has stuffed Number 10 full of former Vote Leave staffers. The campaign was also initially based out of offices in 55 Tufton Street.

The most prominent connection is Dominic Cummings, credited with being the brains behind the Leave campaign’s referendum success. He’s joined by Lee Cain, Robert Oxley, Oliver Lewis and Damon Poole, all of whom worked for the campaign. 

They’ll be familiar with another of their new colleagues, Chloe Westley, who until recently was campaign manager for Tufton Street outfit the Taxpayers’ Alliance. She joins the Number 10 team as a Digital Advisor. Before that, she was Head of Social Media for Vote Leave.

While at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Westley shared an office building with the UK’s premier climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). Two GWPF grandees, donor Michael Hintze and Director Terence Mordaunt, funded Boris’ mayoral and prime ministerial bids (as well as giving large sums to the Leave campaign). Neither have formal roles in Johnson’s government.


Find out more about the pro-Brexit, anti-climate network by exploring our huge new map.


Cabinet appointees

Perhaps the most high-profile pro-Brexit appointment (besides Cummings) could be new Chancellor Sajid Javid’s hiring of Matthew Elliott, former Vote Leave chief executive and Taxpayers’ Alliance founder, as a special advisor.

Liz Truss has also hired three Tufton Street staffers as advisors in her new role as International Trade Secretary. 

Former Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Head of Communications Nerissa Chesterfield has joined Truss’s team as a media advisor. The IEA was recently caught by undercover reporters from Greenpeace’s investigative unit Unearthed offering access to pro-Brexit ministers in return for donations. The IEA is funded by tobacco and fossil fuel companies including BP.

Sophie Jarvis, the Adam Smith Institute’s (ASI) former Head of Government Affairs, has also joined Truss as a special advisor. The ASI has published multiple articles casting doubt on climate science and indirectly opposing green energy, describing solar power in Britain as an “impossible dream.” 

Tom Clougherty, Head of Tax at the Centre for Policy Studies, a free-market thinktank that has regularly rejected mainstream climate science, has been named a member of Truss's advisory panel on implementing “free ports” in the UK. Clougherty was previously Managing Editor at the Reason Foundation, a US-based climate science denying libertarian group, as well as Senior Editor at the Koch-funded Cato Institute.

Brexit Party and Trans-Atlantic Ties

President Donald Trump considers Boris Johnson an ally, quickly congratulating the Prime Minister on his new job. Trump also considers Johnson’s supposed foe, Nigel Farage, a friend — saying he couldn’t wait to see what the pair did together

Another of Farage’s new Brussels-bound colleagues, East Midlands MEP Annunziata Rees-Mogg, is the sister of Boris’ new appointment as Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg. Jacob is well-known for his hard-Brexit stance and climate science denial.


Read more about the trans-Atlantic climate science denial network in our special investigation: 
How a UK Power Couple Links US Libertarians and Fossil Fuel Lobbyists to Brexit


Trump’s former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has admitted he helped Johnson with his speech when he resigned from Theresa May’s cabinet. Bannon has returned to being editor of far-right media outlet Breitbart, known for its publication of climate science denial stories, many penned by British columnist James Delingpole.

Delingpole also writes for the Koch-backed Spiked network, as does one of Farage’s colleagues and former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Brexit Party MEP for the North-West, Claire Fox. DeSmog revealed last year that the Koch brothers, who own the US’s largest private energy company and are infamous funders of climate science denial, fund the Spiked network.

Another regular Spiked contributor and former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Munira Mirza, has joined Johnson’s inner circle as a special advisor. Mirza was a Deputy Mayor when Johnson was Mayor of London.

Javid’s new SPAD, Matthew Elliott, also has strong ties to the US. He cites Grover Norquist, founder of US lobby group Americans for Tax Reform, as an inspiration. He is married to Sarah Elliott who currently works for Republicans Overseas UK. She formerly worked for both Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Prosperity, a US right-wing libertarian campaign group co-founded and funded by David Koch.

Research and map by Richard Collett-White. Words by Mat Hope.

Updated 07/08/2019 to include news of Tom Clougherty's role with International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.


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Main image: Matt Brown/Flickr CC BY 2.0

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