Top menu

The new Brexit minister, the arms industry, the American hard right

Steve Baker, the new Brexit minister, has also taken money from an arms company while promoting the aerospace industry in parliament; accepted travel costs from the government of Equatorial Guinea before writing a report dismissing concerns about their human rights abuses; and accepted conference expenses from radical right wing American groups with links to Robert […]

Steve Baker, the new Brexit minister, accepted a donation from the shadowy Constitutional Research Council, the same group that channelled a mystery £435,000 to the DUP to campaign for Brexit.

And today, openDemocracy can reveal that Baker has also taken money from an arms company while promoting the aerospace industry in parliament; accepted travel costs from the government of Equatorial Guinea before writing a report dismissing concerns about their human rights abuses; and accepted conference expenses from radical right wing American groups with links to Robert Mercer and the Koch brothers.

Baker, the MP for Wycombe since 2010, is a new minister in the department for exiting the EU, and has declared in his register of interests that a donation of £6,500 from the secretive Constitutional Research Council paid for a conference of the Eurosceptic “European Research Group”. Before his appointment to the department, Mr Baker was chair of this group of right-wing Tory MPs. The money was used “to fund hospitality for ERG members and their staff at an event on 19 December 2016.”

While it is yet to be established where the Constitutional Research Council (CRC) gets its money from, openDemocracy has previously revealed that its chair, the Scottish Tory Richard Cook, set up a business in 2013 with Prince Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a very senior Saudi prince, and former head of the Saudi Arabian intelligence agency, and with Peter Haestrup, a Danish man wanted by the Indian prosecution service over his alleged role in smuggling Kalashnikovs to a Hindu group in West Bengal in 1995.

So, who is Steve Baker, the new parliamentary under-secretary of state for exiting the European Union? As a new Brexit minister, he will play a key role in negotiations which will impact on the lives of everyone in the UK. And yet, as our investigations have shown, he has serious questions to answer about his relationship with numerous powerful interest groups across the planet.

Read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page