Lancaster appoints Lord Liddle as its new Pro-Chancellor

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The University has recently announced the appointment of Labour peer, Lord Roger Liddle of Carlisle, as its new Pro-Chancellor, replacing the outgoing incumbent Bryan Gray.

The Lord Liddle, 65, was the sole nomination in the election for the role, which was voted on by members of the University Court.

Born in Carlisle, Liddle began his career working in research for the Oxford School of Social and Administrative Studies and as an industrial relations Officer for The Electricity Council. He began his political career in 1971, when he served as a Councillor on Oxford City Council. In 1976, he was appointed as a Special Adviser to William Rodgers, Secretary of State for Transport, under the Callaghan government.

Later he was appointed Director of the Public Policy Centre, and undertook pioneering work on the regulation of privatised industries, regional policy and wage determination.

In 1981, Liddle defected from the Labour Party to become a founding member of the Social Democratic Party, serving on its national committee until 1986. During his association with the SDP, he stood (and was defeated) in two parliamentary elections; once for the parliamentary seat of Vauxhall in 1983, and for Fulham in the 1986 by-election.

In the 1992 election, he fought Hertfordshire North for the Liberal Democrats, but was defeated.

He realigned with the Labour Party in 1997, advising Prime Minister Tony Blair on European matters.

In this role, Liddle was involved in the development of UK policy of positive engagement in the European Union. He later became a Member of the Cabinet of the European Trade Commissioner, where he again advised on policy regarding the European Union. In 2006, Lord Liddle was appointed as the Principal Adviser to the President of the European Commission.

He is currently the Chairperson of Policy Network, an international social democratic think tank comprised of progressive centre left academics, policymakers and politicians. It deals primarily with projects on immigration, globalisation, the future of the European Social Model and social justice.

Lord Liddle also spent 10 years working the private sector, serving as Managing Director of Prima Europe Ltd.

A University spokesperson said of the appointment; “The Council believes that Lord Liddle will bring a wealth of experience and valuable connections to the University. He

has considerable experience of European matters, and a significant interest in higher education, including having been on the Board of Cumbria University.”

The appointment has raised some minor concerns, however, owing to allegations of corruption made towards Lord Liddle, who has been described in a 2001 BBC News report as a “deeply suspicious figure”, owing to his past political defections.

In 1998, the Observer newspaper reported a ‘cash-for-access’ scandal, dubbed “lobbygate”, and alleged that Derek Draper, a lobbyist, informed an undercover reporter (posing as an American businessman) that, for a price, he could offer him access to influential individuals in the government.

The report went on to claim that Draper directed the undercover reporter to Roger Liddle, and was quoted in the Observer as telling the reporter: “There is a circle and Derek is part of the circle… Whenever you are ready, tell me what you want, who you want to meet, and Derek and I will make the call for you.”

However, no recording of Lord Liddle making these remarks exists, and the report was promptly refuted by then Prime Minister Tony Blair, who told the BBC: “It is emphatically denied that [Liddle] in any way offered… to act on behalf of a lobbying company.

“The journalist claimed to have words suggesting this on tape. It is now admitted that this claim is false and no such tape exists.”

In response to allegations made against Lord Liddle in the past, a University spokesperson told SCAN; “The Search Committee made both formal and informal checks into Lord Liddle’s background. References were taken up from people of high standing who had known him for a long period, and they were unequivocally clear about his openness and integrity.

“The Search Committee is as satisfied as anyone ever can be, that the University will only benefit from this appointment by Court of a new Pro-Chancellor.”

The University has recently announced the appointment of Labour peer, Lord Roger Liddle of Carlisle, as its new Pro-Chancellor, replacing the outgoing incumbent Bryan Gray.

The Lord Liddle, 65, was the sole nomination in the election for the role, which was voted on by members of the University Court.

Born in Carlisle, Liddle began his career working in research for the Oxford School of Social and Administrative Studies and as an industrial relations Officer for The Electricity Council. He began his political career in 1971, when he served as a Councillor on Oxford City Council. In 1976, he was appointed as a Special Adviser to William Rodgers, Secretary of State for Transport, under the Callaghan government.

Later he was appointed Director of the Public Policy Centre, and undertook pioneering work on the regulation of privatised industries, regional policy and wage determination.

In 1981, Liddle defected from the Labour Party to become a founding member of the Social Democratic Party, serving on its national committee until 1986. During his association with the SDP, he stood (and was defeated) in two parliamentary elections; once for the parliamentary seat of Vauxhall in 1983, and for Fulham in the 1986 by-election.

In the 1992 election, he fought Hertfordshire North for the Liberal Democrats, but was defeated.

He realigned with the Labour Party in 1997, advising Prime Minister Tony Blair on European matters.

In this role, Liddle was involved in the development of UK policy of positive engagement in the European Union. He later became a Member of the Cabinet of the European Trade Commissioner, where he again advised on policy regarding the European Union. In 2006, Lord Liddle was appointed as the Principal Adviser to the President of the European Commission.

He is currently the Chairperson of Policy Network, an international social democratic think tank comprised of progressive centre left academics, policymakers and politicians. It deals primarily with projects on immigration, globalisation, the future of the European Social Model and social justice.

Lord Liddle also spent 10 years working the private sector, serving as Managing Director of Prima Europe Ltd.

A University spokesperson said of the appointment; “The Council believes that Lord Liddle will bring a wealth of experience and valuable connections to the University. He

has considerable experience of European matters, and a significant interest in higher education, including having been on the Board of Cumbria University.”

The appointment has raised some minor concerns, however, owing to allegations of corruption made towards Lord Liddle, who has been described in a 2001 BBC News report as a “deeply suspicious figure”, owing to his past political defections.

In 1998, the Observer newspaper reported a ‘cash-for-access’ scandal, dubbed “lobbygate”, and alleged that Derek Draper, a lobbyist, informed an undercover reporter (posing as an American businessman) that, for a price, he could offer him access to influential individuals in the government.

The report went on to claim that Draper directed the undercover reporter to Roger Liddle, and was quoted in the Observer as telling the reporter: “There is a circle and Derek is part of the circle… Whenever you are ready, tell me what you want, who you want to meet, and Derek and I will make the call for you.”

However, no recording of Lord Liddle making these remarks exists, and the report was promptly refuted by then Prime Minister Tony Blair, who told the BBC: “It is emphatically denied that [Liddle] in any way offered… to act on behalf of a lobbying company.

“The journalist claimed to have words suggesting this on tape. It is now admitted that this claim is false and no such tape exists.”

In response to allegations made against Lord Liddle in the past, a University spokesperson told SCAN; “The Search Committee made both formal and informal checks into Lord Liddle’s background. References were taken up from people of high standing who had known him for a long period, and they were unequivocally clear about his openness and integrity.

“The Search Committee is as satisfied as anyone ever can be, that the University will only benefit from this appointment by Court of a new Pro-Chancellor.”

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