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Labour Want Robert Jenrick To Explain Meeting With Family Friend…

r Jenrick spokesperson said: “Whilst exchequer secretary, Mr Jenrick met with a number of stakeholders to discuss electric vehicles and charge point technology.

Labour demands that an explanation be given by under-pressure housing secretary Robert Jenrick over a ministerial meeting with a “family friend” with possible interests in a mining issue he was taking care of.

It was gathered that Mr Jenrick met Idan Ofer while a minister at the Treasury, where he was in charge of considering a request for financial support from Sirius Minerals for a North Yorkshire mining project that could have competed with the Israeli billionaire’s own firm.

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Jenrick’s spokesperson told The Guardian that the minister informed officials, who advised him to step back from the decision on Sirius.

However, the media reported today that he may have retained oversight of the issue for another six months before handing over to Liz Truss at the beginning of 2019. Later in the same year, Sirius revealed that the government had refused to provide support and the struggling company was later bought out by Anglo American.

Then in Feb. 2019, one of Mr Ofer’s other companies Quantum Pacific UK Corporation donated £10,000 to the Conservatives, which the businessman said was linked to a request from the Conservative Friends of Israel.

Labour shadow communities secretary Steve Reed said: “Mr Jenrick must now tell us whether he declared his friendship with Mr Ofer to officials prior to the meeting, why he did not immediately step back from making the decision and what further discussions he had with Mr Ofer.

“It’s time for some honesty. Mr Jenrick must come to the House of Commons to explain exactly what he’s been up to because the public is now worried that a new era of Tory sleaze has begun in earnest.”

Meanwhile, Mr Jenrick spokesperson said: “Whilst exchequer secretary, Mr Jenrick met with a number of stakeholders to discuss electric vehicles and charge point technology.

“This included a meeting with Mr Ofer, who has substantial experience in the industry. Officials from (the Treasury) attended those meetings and they were disclosed in his ministerial transparency data in the usual way.

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“Mr Jenrick recused himself from consideration of issues around Sirius Minerals.

“He did so before ministerial decisions were taken on the project, which I understand were taken after he had left HM Treasury in any case. Mr Ofer is a family friend. Mr Jenrick raised this with officials and voluntarily recused himself on their advice.”

Labour has referred Mr Jenrick to the parliamentary standards commissioner “Kathryn Stone” over his relationship with property developer Richard Desmond after he overruled a local council and planning inspector to approve the Tory donor’s £1bn housing plan in Westferry, east London, in what he later admitted was unlawful.

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