55 Tufton Street

Matthew and Sarah Elliott: How a UK Power Couple Links US Libertarians and Fossil Fuel Lobbyists to Brexit

Read time: 27 mins
The Elliotts network map

If you have detected a distinctly American flavour to the rampant lobbying in Westminster corridors over a Brexit deal, there is a good reason why.

A close look at the transatlantic connections of the London-based groups pushing for the most deregulated form of Brexit reveals strong ties to major US libertarian influencers. These include fossil fuel magnates the Koch brothers — known for funding climate science denial around the world — and the man who bankrolled Donald Trump’s campaign, Robert Mercer.

At the heart of this network lies a little-known power couple, Matthew and Sarah Elliott. Together, the husband and wife team connect senior members of the Leave campaign and groups pushing a libertarian free-market ideology from offices in Westminster’s Tufton Street to major US libertarian lobbyists and funders.

Collectively, the network aims to use Brexit as an opportunity to slash regulations in the UK, paving the way for a wide-ranging US-UK free-trade deal that could have disastrous consequences for the environment.

Senior Vote Leave Members Join Forces to Create a 'Museum of Communist Terror' In The UK

Read time: 7 mins
Daniel Hannan MEP

A group of hard-Brexiters is working together to launch a “Museum of Communist Terror” with the aim to “keep alive knowledge and understanding of the deaths, terror and economic failure that took place under Communist regimes, primarily in the 20th century”.

Over the last month, individuals from high-profile and opaquely-funded organisations advancing free-market and libertarian ideology have joined the venture founded by journalist and writer James Bartholomew.

This included senior members of Vote Leave such as the campaign’s founder Daniel Hannan, who later founded the IFT (previously Institute for Free Trade), technology chief Thomas Borwick and head of social media Chloe Westley, now a campaign manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which was founded by Vote Leave’s chief executive Matthew Elliott.

Video: Exposing Westminster's Tufton Street Network Pushing Deregulation and Climate Science Denial

Read time: 3 mins
Tufton St offices

It’s about low tax, low regulation — an economy fit for hedge fund owners”.

That’s how Peter Jukes, an investigative journalist with Byline Media, describes the aims of a network of shadowy thinktanks and campaign groups operating out of offices on Tufton Street, just around the corner from the Houses of Parliament.

DeSmog UK has previously mapped all the key connection between the organisations, many of which are leading voices in for Brexit and climate science denial.

Mapped: Whistleblower Accuses Nine Organisations of Colluding over Hard Brexit

Read time: 6 mins
55 Tufton Street network

Nine right-wing organisations including think tanks pushing disinformation about climate change have been accused of mounting a coordinated campaign to push for a hard Brexit, according to court documents.

Whistleblower Shahmir Sanni, formerly of youth campaign group BeLeave, claims that think tanks and campaign groups held regular meeting at 55 Tufton Street — an office close to Westminster and home to the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation — to “agree on a single set of right-wing talking points” and “securing more exposure to the public”.

Some of the topics discussed allegedly included “new policy announcement by the Labour Party, developments in the Brexit negotiations, or any other political news story”.

The accusations were made in documents from an employment tribunal setting out Sanni’s case  against pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which he has accused of unfair dismissal after he spoke out about illegal behaviour at Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit campaign group.

Steve Baker

Steve Baker

Credentials

  • BEng, Aerospace Systems Engineering, Southampton University. [1]
  • MSc, Computer Science, Oxford University. [1]

Background

Read time: 7 mins

John Redwood

John Redwood

Background

John Redwood is a Conservative Party politician, and has been the MP for Wokingham since 1987. Between 1993 and 1995, Redwood held the position of Secretary of State for Wales under John Major, before resigning from the cabinet to stand against Major in the Conservative Party leadership election of June 1995. Redwood lost, but stood again in the leadership election following the resignation of Major in 1997, where he was again unsuccessful.

Read time: 4 mins

Ruth Lea

Ruth Lea

Background

Ruth Lea is a political economist and former civil servant. A commentator on economic and political affairs, Ruth Lea has criticised the “big state” economic ideas of Gordon Brown.

Between 2004 and 2007, Ruth was director of Centre for Policy Studies, an organisation with links to climate science denial groups in the US.

Read time: 3 mins

From Donald Trump to Theresa May: How a US-UK Network Pushes Climate Science Denial and Lobbies for a Hard Brexit — Mapped

Read time: 7 mins
Network map of US-UK climate science deniers

Donald Trump has finally come to the UK, 20 months after he won the election to make him the 45th President of the United States.

During that time, a trans-Atlantic network of business people, think tank analysts, and lobbyists have grown in influence — pushing a free market ideology and spreading climate science denial on both sides of the Atlantic.

DeSmog UK first mapped the network when Trump was sworn into office in January 2017. Things have moved on a bit since then.

Centre for Policy Studies

Centre for Policy Studies

Background

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a free-market organisation founded by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher in 1974, promoting an ideology of small state and economic liberalism.

Although the Centre claims to be non-partisan, historically it is heavily linked to the Conservative party, and has been an influence on British politics since the 1970s.

Read time: 3 mins

Matt Hancock

Matthew Hancock

Background

Matt Hancock is a Conservative politician and has served as MP for West Suffolk since 2010. Following the Cabinet reshuffle on 9 July 2018, he was appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Previously, Hancock has served as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and he held the position of Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change between 15 July 2014 and 11 May 2015.  

Read time: 2 mins

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