MPs reject charity watchdog chief appointed by Theresa May over neutrality fears

Posted On: 
21st February 2018

MPs have blackballed the appointment of a former Tory minister as chair of the Charity Commission over fears around both her political past and experience in the sector.

Tina Stowell's appointment was unanimously opposed by the culture, media and sport committee
PA Images

The Culture Committee risked sparking tensions with ministers after members unanimously refused to endorse Tina Stowell for the position after grilling her on her credentials for the post.

While MPs do not hold a veto on the appointment for the £62,500 position, the move sends a powerful signal to culture ministers who must now decide whether to proceed with her appointment.

Baroness Barker: We have a crisis in our charity sector

Resign from the Lords, Stowell tells jailed peers

Charity Commission investigating Kids Company

Ms Stowell, who was leader of the Tories in the Lords until 2016 conceded she had “limited experience” of the voluntary sector in the pre-appointment hearing and cast herself as a “veteran outsider” in previous roles at the BBC.

However she rejected the suggestion that she had only taken up recent charity posts in order to boost her CV for the charity commission role.

Within hours of being questioned by MPs, committee head Damian Collins wrote to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock to say he “cannot support” her appointment.

He wrote: “Baroness Stowell has little more than six months of negligible charity sector experience, and a complete lack of experience of working for a regulatory body.”

He added that “her political past is a source of concern for the Committee and those within the charity sector.”