Shanker Singham

Shanker Singham

Credentials

  • J.D., University of Miami, (1996). [1]
  • Law Society Finals, Guildford College of Law, (1992). [1]
  • C.P.E. Guildford College of Law (1992). [1]
  • M.A., Balliol College, University of Oxford (1990). [1]

Background

Shanker Singham is a US lobbyist who became a prominent figure in UK politics after the Brexit referendum. He is a close adviser of former Department for Exiting the EU Secretary of State David Davis and the department’s minister Steve Baker, and has worked for two think tanks that form part of a network of groups lobbying for a hard Brexit based out of offices on Tufton Street. [2], [3]

Singham is Director of the International Trade and Competition Unit at the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) — a free-market think-tank based at 55 Tufton Street, which is a hub for right-leaning organisations including climate science deniers, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). [4]

He was formerly at the Legatum Institute before leaving for the IEA in 2018. The Legatum Institute was described by openDemocracyUK as “the Brexiteers' favourite think tank,” which has been found to have breached the charity commission rules on its Brexit work. Like the IEA, Legatum also has strong ties to the Tufton Street network. [5], [6]

As of 2015, Singham was listed on the climate science denying campaign group the Heartland Institute website's “expert search,” which contains “staff, managing editors, senior fellows, and policy advisors (unpaid volunteers) to The Heartland Institute, as well as persons affiliated with other think tanks who have agreed to be identified as topic area experts for Heartland.” [7]

Singham was also a member of an “expert committee” advising International Trade Secretary Liam Fox on trade. [8]

Who are the IEA?

The IEA plays a leading role among a group of 80 organisations worldwide advocating a similar, free-market worldview. The Atlas Economic Research Foundation—now Atlas Network— and the International Policy Network IIPN) which are part of the IEA’s network are also known to spread climate science denial. [9]

IEA was embroiled in a cash for access scandal when undercover recordings were published showing IEA director Mark Littlewood claiming Singham and his team speak with Gove “every three or four days, along with David Davis, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox.” Littlewood acknowledged he was sometimes used as a “slight shill” to cover Singham’s meetings with Baker. [10]

Both the IEA and the Legatum Institute were named among a group of transatlantic organisations set to held “shadow trade talks” in a bid to significantly weaken existing regulation. [11]

Stance on Climate Change

Singham does not appear to have publicly voiced his views on climate change.

Key Quotes

October 2017

While with the Legatum Institute, an interview with BBC Newsnight, Singhams said: [12]

“We should be an independent, sovereign nation from Day One of Brexit”

Key Deeds

September 2018

Singham was reportedly the architect of a proposal for a Canada-style trade deal between the UK and EU, touted as an “alternative Brexit plan” by former Brexit Secretary of State David Davis. The plan is seen as a key part of the strategy for MPs and policymakers that support a hard Brexit and reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s compromise Chequer’s plan. [13]

July 2018

Singham arranged for members of a US think tank with an interest in reducing regulations around chlorinated chicken to meet UK politicians. [10]

Unearthed obtained recordings of IEA director Littlewood claiming Singham and his team speak with Gove “every three or four days, along with David Davis, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox.” [14]

It claims Singham organised for Michael Carnuccio, CEO of the E Foundation, an Oklahoma-based thinktank, to meet former Brexit minister Steve Baker and other members of the influential alliance of Euro-skeptic Tory MPs, the European Research Group, including Jacob Rees-Mogg[10]

The Unearthed investigation claims Carnuccio compared Singham to George Clooney’s well-connected “fixer” character in the movie Michael Clayton: “Shanker is like that but for trade and economics and everything else, they all just seem to call him or want to talk to him to, like, figure out how to get things done.” [15]

June 2018

The Department for International Trade was embroiled in a scandal with Singham at the centre after OpenDemocracy revealed that he had begun advising PR and lobbying firm Grayling about Brexit. Singham was at the same time member of International Trade Secretary Liam Fox's trade advisory team. [16], [17]

Singham said there is no conflict of interest, but stepped down from his trade advisory role anyway. But that wasn’t before using his position to get privileged access to a myriad of government departments and ministers — DeSmog UK mapped all the connections. [18]

May 2018

Singham visited the US to work on a post-Brexit trade deal with Matthew Elliott — former Chief Executive of Vote Leave, editor-at-large of Brexit Central and founder of Tufton Street resident the Taxpayers’ Alliance. [19]

March 2018

Singham left the Legatum Institute to head the International Trade and Competition Unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a member of the Tufton Street network lobbying for a hard Brexit and pushing climate science denial. [20]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

According to his profile at IER, Singham has “lectured, written and spoken extensively, including over one hundred articles and book chapters.” [4]

Resources

  1. Profile,” Competition Policy International. Archived December 14, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/OpPZe

  2. Singham, Shanker A,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed December 14, 2018.

  3. Pippa Crerar. “Shanker Singham: is he the brains of Brexit?The Guardian, September 23, 2018. Archived December 14, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/UbLkV

  4. ABOUT SHANKER SINGHAM” (PDF), Institute of Economic Affairs, May 16, 2018.

  5. (Press Release). “Shanker Singham to leave the Legatum Institute for new role at the IEA,” Legatum Institute, March 9, 2018. Archived December 15, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/sjV0Q

  6. Peter Geoghegan. “Legatum: the Brexiteers’ favourite think tank. Who is behind them?openDemocracy UK, November 26, 2017. Archived December 14, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/IJyAG 

  7. Expert Search,” The Heartland Institute. Archived September 12, 2015. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/aJaCG

  8. Chloe Farand. “Revealed: Liam Fox's Trade Department is Taking Advice from 'Experts' with Links to Climate Science Denial Networks,” DeSmog, March 22, 2018.

  9. Institute of Economic Affairs,” Atlas Network. Archived December 15, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/eqQkn

  10. Chloe Farand. “How Hard-Brexit Thinktank the Institute for Economic Affairs Helps Climate Science Deniers Push a Deregulation Agenda,” DeSmog, July 31, 2018.

  11. Mat Hope. “Trans-Atlantic Network of Hard Brexit Climate Science Deniers Plotting ‘Shadow’ US-UK Trade Talks,” DeSmog, February 18, 2018.

  12. Shanker Singham: 'We should be an independent, sovereign nation from Day One of Brexit' - Viewsnight,” YouTube video uploaded by user “BBC Newsnight” Octobe 25, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  13. Catherine Neilan. “David Davis aims to see off Chequers by backing fully fledged 'Alternative Brexit Plan',” City A.M., September 4, 2018. Archived December 15, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/w0JM2

  14. Lawrence Carter and Alice Ross. “A leading think tank brokered access to ministers for US donors looking to influence Brexit,Unearthed, July 29, 2018. Archived December 15, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/6Ffcz

  15. Alice Ross. “How the IEA teamed up with US donors to push for environmental deregulation post-Brexit,” Unearthed, July 30, 2018. Archived December 15, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/UouUh

  16. Adam Ramsay and Peter Geoghegan. “Liam Fox caught in fresh 'lobbyists as advisers' scandal,” OpenDemocracyUK, June 21, 2018. Archived December 15, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/vWjjf

  17. Chloe Farand. “Revealed: Liam Fox's Trade Department is Taking Advice from 'Experts' with Links to Climate Science Denial Networks,” DeSmog, March 22, 2018.

  18. Mat Hope and Richard Collett-White. “Mapped: How Brexit Lobbyists Give Climate Science Deniers Privileged Access to the UK Government,” DeSmog, July 3, 2018.

  19. “Senior Fellow Matthew Elliott recently visited America where he made the case for a strong US-UK trade deal,” Legatum Institute, May 22, 2017. Archived May 31, 2017. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/idsTv

  20. Shanker Singham to head up new Trade Unit at Institute of Economic Affairs,” IEA, March 9, 2018. Archived December 15, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/7YRwo

  21. Shanker Singham,” LinkedIn. Accessed December 14, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  22. Trade guru Shanker Singham quits over role at lobbying firm,” The Times, June 25, 2018.  Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/7VkAc

  23. Expert Search,” The Heartland Institute. Archived September 12, 2015. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/aJaCG

  24. (Press Release). “Babson Global Taps Shanker Singham to Lead Newly Established Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project,” Babson Global via Cision PR Newswire, September 26, 2013. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/gVBKE

Other Resources