United Kingdom

PM's ex-aide Eddie Lister apologises for approving £187million loan to property developer he advised

One of Boris Johnson's longest serving aides apologised last night for approving a £187million loan under-written by the taxpayer for a property developer he was being paid to advice.

Lord Udny-Lister green-lit a payment by affordable housing authority Homes England to Delancey, a firm which has built luxury flats in the Olympic Park in East London.

The peer, who as Sir Edward Lister worked for many years with Boris Johnson in No10 and City Hall in London, was a paid strategic adviser to the firm at the time it was made in May 2019.

Last night when the loan was revealed by the Sunday Times Lord Udny-Lister said: 'I apologise for not taking sufficient steps to prevent any perception of a conflict.' 

He told the paper he followed the code of conduct and Delancey said it did not ask him to lobby on its behalf. 

But it is not the first Lord Udny-Lister he has been caught up in allegations of a potential conflict of interest. 

In April he stepped down as the PM's Gulf Envoy after it was revealed he held talks over taking a six-figure second job with a lobbying firm with interests in the volatile region. 

He was made the PM's 'special envoy for the Gulf and special projects' in February, with a remit to strengthen UK links with the oil-rich region.

He rejected the offer from Finsbury after being approached by the Times and later stepped down from the Government role.

Lord Udny-Lister (left, with Carrie Symonds) green-lit a payment by affordable housing authority Homes England to Delancey, a firm which has built luxury flats in the Olympic Park in East London.

The peer, who as Sir Edward Lister worked for many years with Boris Johnson in No10 and City Hall in London, was a paid strategic adviser to the firm at the time it was made in May 2019.

Lord Udny-Lister was acting chief of staff in No 10 after the shock departure of Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain last December.

Former Treasury official Dan Rosenfield relieved him of the role in February, freeing him up for his new position.

Lord Lister's reputation as 'Steady Eddie' saw him act as the calming foil to Cummings before the later was forced out of No10 in a power struggle with Carrie Symonds.

For 19 years the peer was leader of flagship Tory Wandsworth Council, consistently delivering the lowest council tax in the country.

In 2011, he became Johnson's chief of staff at City Hall and masterminded his re-election as mayor in 2012.

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