Theresa May urged to reveal investments in 'blind trust'

Posted On: 
11th January 2017

Labour has called on Theresa May to reveal her financial interests after it emerged she holds shares in a so-called ‘blind trust’.

Theresa May's holdings are no longer revealed in the Cabinet Office list of ministers' interests
Credit: 
PA Images

By placing her investments in the mechanism the prime minister has no knowledge of how they are being handled - a move intended to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

But it also means her holdings are not revealed in the full list of ministerial interests, leading others to criticise the lack of transparency.

George Osborne forced to deny he has benefited from offshore trust

Panama Papers whistleblower breaks silence and criticises Tories

David Cameron faces MPs over 'Panama Papers' leak

Downing Street insisted the blind trust reflected Mrs May taking up “wider duties”, since she set it up on becoming Prime Minister last summer after six years as Home Secretary.

But Shadow Minister Without Portfolio Andrew Gwynne argued Mrs May must come clean about her financial interests if she has “nothing to hide”.

"In not being able to scrutinise the Prime Minister's financial affairs it's not possible to know if they present a conflict of interest with her government responsibilities," he added.

"The British people deserve full and proper transparency so they can make their own minds up on whether their politicians are acting in the nation's interest, rather than their own."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron branded Mrs May’s financial affairs an “early test” of her pledge of greater transparency in government.

"I'm sure the Prime Minister has nothing to hide but the public has a legitimate interest in what companies she invested in and who runs the trust,” he said.

"Theresa May promised the most transparent government in the world. This is an early test to see if her deeds match her words."

But a No 10 spokesperson said:  "Blind trusts are a well-established mechanism for protecting ministers in the handling of their interests, as they are not involved in any decisions on the management, acquisition or disposal of items in the trust. She set it up when she became Prime Minister."

Mrs May’s blind trust was revealed in the Cabinet Office list of ministers’ interests, which was published last month.

Another six ministers have shares held in blind trusts: Solicitor General Robert Buckland; Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe; Defence Minister Earl Howe; Education Minister Lord Nash; Health Minister Philip Dunne; and Advocate General for Scotland Lord Keen of Elie.