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Kenneth Clarke: failed to declare Bilderberg meetings

June 2, 2013

     :: PRESS RELEASE ::


Kenneth Clarke MP fails to declare 2012 meeting with media proprietors and senior media executives while Secretary of State for Justice.

The conference in Chantilly

The 2012 Bilderberg Group conference1 took place from May 31 – June 3, in Chantilly, Virginia, USA. The conference was attended by the then Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke MP.

Mr Clarke’s name appears on the official Bilderberg Group participant list, and he was photographed leaving the venue on June 3, after a long and tiring conference:

Ken Clarke at Bilderberg

Also attending this 3 day policy summit were a considerable number of media proprietors, senior executives and journalists. Participants included:

    John Micklethwait (Editor-in-Chief of The Economist; Board of Directors, The Economist Group)
    John Elkann (Board of Directors, Economist Group)
    Donald E. Graham (Chairman & CEO, The Washington Post Company)
    Martin H. Wolf (Chief Economics Commentator, The Financial Times)
    Franco Bernabè (Chairman & CEO, Telecom Italia: Italian telecom & media conglomerate)
    Juan Luis Cebrián (Chairman, El País; Executive Chairman, Grupo PRISA: Spanish media conglomerate)
    Oscar Bronner (Publisher, Der Standard Medienwelt: Austrian daily)
    Jonas Bonnier (President & CEO, Bonnier AB: privately held Swedish media conglomerate)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives a sense of the seniority and range of media owners, editors and executives present at the conference.

The Ministerial Code

The Ministerial Code is a set of rules for the conduct of government ministers. It has been described by the Government as: “the rule book for ministerial conduct, including the responsibilities of Ministers to Parliament.” According to the code: “Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public…”

The latest edition of the Ministerial Code specifically talks about meetings between Ministers and the media. On July 15, 2011, the Ministerial Code was updated, upon the orders of the Prime Minister himself, to include the following unambiguous paragraph:

“The Government will be open about its links with the media. All meetings with newspaper and other media proprietors, editors and senior executives will be published quarterly regardless of the purpose of the meeting.”

Kenneth Clarke’s declaration

The Ministry of Justice publishes a quarterly declaration of ‘Ministers gifts, hospitality, overseas travel and meetings with external organisations’. In October 2012, the MoJ published their report covering the 3 month period 1 April 2012 – 30 June 2012.

There is no mention of the Chantilly conference in the sections entitled ‘Overseas Travel’ or ‘Hospitality’. And in the section headed ‘Meetings with external organisations’, Kenneth Clarke lists only a single meeting, for the ‘Work in Prison Agenda’, held in May 2012. This section, in the previous year’s return for this quarter, had the heading:


This section, clearly, is where any meetings with “newspaper and other media proprietors, editors and senior executives” should be declared. However, in this section in the April – June 2012 return, there is no mention of the 2012 Bilderberg conference: an event which is an intense 3-day policy summit packed with “newspaper and other media proprietors, editors and senior executives”.


See also: George Osborne