The Telegraph reports this morning that Lord Digby Jones, the trade minister, has disclosed a 5 per cent shareholding in I-Clean, a cleaning company involved in Gordon Brown's deep cleaning of NHS hospitals. This appeared in the Lords register yesterday after being entered on January 8. An "administrative error" meant his interests were not registered sooner, his spokeswoman said. There is no conflict of interest, she added, and the shares are in a blind trusteeship.
This is odd. Last September, The Times found Lord Jones, the former CBI chief, was listed as a director of I-Clean in its Companies House-registered accounts and on the website. When asked how this conflicted with his role as trade minister, his spokeswoman said that he had in fact resigned but I-Clean two months before but the company had not yet submitted the documentation. "He resigned as a director of I-Clean on taking up his position as a minister. It is a matter for the company to file a form to update the registration." But should they, at this point, have mentioned the shares in the interests of transparency?