Ex-Cambridge Analytica chief caves in to MPs' demands for Commons committee grilling

Posted On: 
31st May 2018

The former head of controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica has finally agreed to appear before a major Commons committee as part of their inquiry into the firm's business practices.

Alexander Nix will appear before MPs on 6 June
PA Images

Alexander Nix was issued with a formal summons by the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 10 May after he initially agreed to appear in April before cancelling at short notice.

The ex-CEO of the company, which has since shut down, pulled out after his legal team cited ongoing investigations by the Information Commissioner’s Office and Electoral Commission.

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Both bodies later said appearing would not hinder their inquiries, and Mr Nix has now accepted the summons to appear before MPs on 6 June.

He appeared in front of the committee in an inquiry on fake news in late February, but has faced calls to reappear following a string of controversial revelations around Cambridge Analytica’s business practices and alleged misuse of data.

The committee is looking into how the consulting firm harvested the data of millions of Facebook users worldwide.

Following the summons being issued earlier this month, committee chair Damian Collins said: "We are summoning Mr Nix to Parliament to get to the truth about an extremely serious issue affecting over one million UK Facebook users, and potentially voters in elections worldwide.

"Mr Nix has been given multiple opportunities to appear and clarify his evidence to the committee, but now we expect him to appear on 6 June.

"There are serious inconsistencies between Mr Nix's original testimony of 27 February, and evidence received under the inquiry since."

Former Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings was also called before MPs. However, he has since accused Mr Collins of “empty threats”, writing on his blog that he would not attend “regardless of how many letters you send”.

Failure to attend a summons could see the recipient found in Contempt of Parliament, but it is unclear what the sanctions are if a person fails to comply.