Francis Maude and Saudi Arabia: Political Connections and Financial Interests

Francis Anthony Aylmer Maude also Baron Maude of Horsham is a UK Conservative Party politician who acted as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General. He also served in several positions while the Conservatives were in opposition, notably as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Shadow Foreign Secretary. He was a Member of Parliament for North Warwickshire from 1983 to 1992.

It has been revealed that former Conservative cabinet office minister Francis Maude counsels the governments of the oil-rich kingdom, Saudi Arabia, via his consultancy firm. In 2018, KSA’s King Salman met with British Conservative Party representative, Lord Francis Maude, at al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, attended by a delegation of Middle East experts from the Conservative Party.

Moreover, Francis Maude, who is conducting a comprehensive review of job cuts within the civil service, faces accusations of leveraging his parliamentary job for personal gain.

Revelations indicate that he pursued private business opportunities with Saudi royalty during official trips. It raises ethical concerns about conflicts of interest. Despite not breaking any rules, Maude’s actions have attracted criticism, especially from Labour’s Angela Rayner. She views such conduct as symbolic of top Tories permitting their associates for financial benefit. 

Moreover, Maude’s consultancy firm, Francis Maude Associates Partners (FMAP) Ltd, was established to help foreign governments in cost-saving and service advancement endeavours, including those in the Middle East. 

However, controversy originates from Maude’s involvement in parliamentary fact-finding visits while simultaneously engaging in private business meetings. This entanglement of parliamentary duties with commercial interests highlights broader questions about transparency and accountability in political engagements. Maude’s register of interests from the time documents he attended the first quarter of the trip, from 11 to 13 February 2018. On the second day, Maude privately met with King Salman at Riyadh’s Al-Yamamah Palace.

Additionally, Maude’s function in spearheading civil service reforms potentially resulted in substantial job losses. It heightens concerns about conflicts of interest and the revolving door between government and private consultancy.

Furthermore, Francis Maude Associates and Partners (FMAP) Ltd has some former Tory ministers as senior advisers including Nicholas Soames. Soames is the president of the Conservative Middle East Council and there are concerns that he actively works for the interest of Saudi Arabia. 

It also includes the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Simon Collis and Maude’s former associate Philip Hammond has also been a senior consultant at FMAP. The UK’s register of financial interests indicated that Hammond accepted a £1,950 watch from the Saudi ambassador.

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