Alongside the business vote the pretence that most City of London councillors are ‘independents’ is something else that makes the anti-democratic way in which this rotten borough is run amount to a travesty of political representation. Of course, the ‘independent’ councillors are not subject to a party whip, but many still have party – as well as their business – affiliations; and some like Chris Hayward represent mainstream political parties elsewhere. Hayward is a Conservative councillor in Hertfordshire, a political also ran whose thwarted ambitions seem to make him determined to leave his mark on the City of London no matter what the cost is to everyone else.
As long ago as the 1983 General Election, Hayward was the Conservative Party parliamentary candidate for Hull North, and easily defeated at the polls by Labour’s Kevin McNamara. This failure in the democratic political arena possibly accounts for Hayward’s gravitation towards the City of London; he was elected unopposed to the common council this year, so he didn’t even have to garner any business votes, let alone support from a real electorate (for example those living in the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate who will suffer the consequences of his decision as head of the Planning Committee to support Taylor Wimpey’s Gerrymander Mansions development).
Four years ago Hayward made the shortlist to replace Brian Binley as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Northampton South, but failed to gain the final nomination. In 2014 Hayward was on the shortlist of candidates for the Tory safe seat of Hertsmere following James Clappiso’s announcement he’d be retiring as a MP; however our clockwork Tory failed to get selected at a meeting held on 7 October that year. A week after getting the knockback from Hertsmere, Hayward made the final four who hoped to be selected to replace Conservative MP David Willetts when he announced he wouldn’t run again as the Tory parliamentary candidate for Havant; we can assume Hayward felt he’d been ‘called’, but yet again he wasn’t chosen by the god of mammon. His ‘business’ career doesn’t appear to be much different to his political one; he started work as a teen at The Hayward Group, but it seems unlikely he’d have had a ‘meteoric’ rise from trainee surveyor to director without preferment in a family business.
Despite his long-term use of low-grade ritual magic as a member of the Guildhall Lodge among others, clockwork Tory Christopher Michael Hayward has singularly failed to conjure up a role for himself in his desired career as an elected MP.
It should be apparent from one of our earlier posts that Hayward’s initial decision to stand as a councilor for the City of London in 2013 led to criticism in Hertfordshire, where he was deputy leader of the council. Hayward reacted to this censure with blatant lies. The Watford Observer of 20 March 2013 quoted him as follows:
…he stressed the role is unpaid and would involve no more than “one lunch time meeting a month”.
He said: “It is not exactly a major time commitment. If it was anything more than one meeting then I wouldn’t do it.
County council’s deputy leader Chris Hayward to stand for election in London.
Hayward’s ongoing attempts to become an MP likewise raised the issue of whether he was committed to the people and localities he allegedly served; or if he was just attempting to further his own ambitions at everyone else’s expense. Press coverage and past behavior suggest Hayward is motivated by self-interest, and much prefers privilege and the privileged being rewarded for failure to meritocracy. This is from My News Mag:
Mr Hayward was criticised by Herts Lib Dems, who have released the following statement:
“It’s time for Chris Hayward to decide what he wants: Does he want to be a Three Rivers Councillor and a Herts County Councillor, being Deputy Leader of Herts? Or does he really want to be in the City of London as a “common council man”? It would appear that rather than any of the three jobs he has in Herts and London, he would rather stand for Parliament!….
…Commenting on this revelation Stephen Giles-Medhurst, leader of the opposition on HCC, said,
“Whilst I would not deny anyone the wish to stand for Parliament, does he really want a fourth job as a parliamentary candidate? Which of his other three roles will suffer if he is splitting his time between London, Northampton and Herts? I have to question once again, is his heart really in Hearts?”
Cllr Hayward was unavailable for comment.
Chorleywood councillor could make the move to represent Northampton South by Tim Green. My News Mag December 4th 2013.
Chris Hayward fails to secure the nomination as a Tory electoral candidate yet again.
It seems Hayward often isn’t available when difficult questions are being asked by the press; but he is around as a kind of ‘rent-a-quote’ when newspapers such as The Guardian, Financial Times, or even City AM, are doing puff pieces about the building of new skyscrapers in the Square Mile. I haven’t seen any London media coverage questioning whether Hayward is really committed to the City, but then metropolitan journalists are considered more cynical than suburban stringers, and quite possibly work on the assumption this clockwork Tory is a self-interested tosser without any heart to speak of. It certainly isn’t difficult to conclude Hayward doesn’t give a damn about those who live in the City, or those who have jobs here that don’t pay at least hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
Rules should be tightened so that the likes of Hayward can’t even sit on – let alone chair – the City of London Planning and Transportation Committee, while simultaneously landing cushy overpaid jobs like that of senior advisor at JBP, a lobbying firm specializing in parliamentary affairs and planning. Hayward was appointed to a post at JBP a few months ago. Aside from obvious possible conflict of interests questions, making this even worse is the fact that only last year Hayward’s new employer and its founder Jennifer Bryant-Pearson were caught up in a widely reported ‘cash for access’ scandal. The Daily Mirror covered it as follows:
Laurence Robertson, Conservative MP for Tewkesbury has been reported to the Standards Commissioner… Mr Robertson gave a parliamentary pass, which gives access to the entire Westminster estate, to Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, chief exec of JPB Public Relations.
Earlier, Mr Robertson declared almost £10,000 in payments from Westminster Parliamentary Research, a sister company of JPB, also run by Ms Bryant-Pearson, for consultancy services between 2009 and 2010.
Mr Robertson is a board member of Veolia Environmental Services, a major client of JPB Public Relations, and has declared thousands of pounds in donations from the firm since 2013.
Edward Buxton, who stood against Mr Robertson in the election, wrote: “The overlap between Bryant-Pearson; JBP Public Relations; Westminster Parliamentary Research; Veolia Environmental Services and Laurence Robertson seems to have allowed Mr Robertson to sponsor Bryant-Pearson for a pass while he was in the pay of her client.”
Tory MP faces sleaze probe over ‘cash for access’ claims by Mikey Smith. Daily Mirror 3 March 2016.
Bryant-Pearson and her companies have been pulling similar underhand tricks for years, and her parliamentary access crops up as an issue for investigative journalists way before last year. She is, for example, named in a James Ball piece for The Guardian in 2011:
More than 120 professional lobbyists have been given access to the Houses of Parliament by members of the House of Lords, a Guardian investigation has revealed…
This uncovered that of the 646 staff given passes by peers, 281 declared some form of outside interest or employment, including roles at BP, the taxpayers’ alliance, lobbying consultancies and evangelical pressure groups.
Parliamentary passes give holders easy access to legislators and usage of the Parliamentary estate, as Lord Campbell-Savours describes:
“One they have a House of Lords parliamentary pass, they do not have to go through security, which is a lengthy exercise. Instead they can walk up to the committee rooms, Portcullis House and many of Parliament’s facilities. These are places where ministers and members meet and can be glad-handed and cajoled”.
The full list of Lords’ passholders with declared outside interests in published below, alongside the peer who issued the pass….
Lord Gordon of Strathblane: Ms Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, Managing Director, JBP Associates Limited, a public relations consultancy, personal client: Gloucester County Cricket Club.
Which lobbyists do members of the House of Lords favour? by James Ball. The Guardian, 8 November 2011.
Jennifer Anne Bryant-Pearson the boss of JBP ‘networking’ with Fred Flintstone.
Further insights into Bryant-Pearson unscrupulous character can be gleaned from coverage elsewhere. For example this New York Times coverage of the Conservative British election victory in 2015:
Hundreds of lobbyists and public relations executives packed into a central London restaurant late Thursday night, eating plates of shepherd’s pie accompanied by gallons of wine, as they waited for the votes to be tallied from across Britain…
…the suspense evaporated faster than anyone imagined when exit poll results issued late Thursday suggested that the Conservative Party had done surprisingly well…. The gathering at the restaurant quickly turned into a raucous party, with the consensus being that the results would be good for corporations looking to move agendas through the government here.
“It will be good for the stock market, and good for business,” said John Harvey, the chief executive of the London School of Mediation, who was among those at Shepherd’s of Westminster, a legendary gathering spot for politicians and lobbyists.
Lionel Zetter, the restaurant’s owner and a lobbyist whose client list includes the government of Azerbaijan, worked to contain himself…
The lobbyists — whose clients included Microsoft and Samsung, among dozens of other brand-name accounts—seemed confident that the election results were good news for the corporate world.
“What we want in this country is stability,” said Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, the chief executive of JBP, a public relations and lobbying firm that co-sponsored the election night gathering, along with the Public Relations Consultants Association. “We want the growth that has been taking place in this country to continue.”
Yet some questions lingered, including the uncertainties that might arise from the debate over Britain’s place in the European Union. A referendum on whether to stay in the European Union was considered more likely if Mr. Cameron remained prime minister.
At London Restaurant, an Unsuspenseful Night Is Considered Good for Business by Eric Lipton. New York Times, 7 May 2015.
It hardly requires flagging up that the journalist who wrote this was more prescient than Bryant-Pearson and her lobbying cronies, since the 2015 Conservative victory led to Brexit and all the uncertainty and instability for business that is still accruing around it. Bryant-Pearson may want ‘stability’ and ‘growth’ for business but since she apparently doesn’t have a clue about how to go about creating it, anyone foolish enough to pay for her and her company’s alleged PR ‘expertise’ may well be throwing good money after bad.
Moving on it seems unlikely Hayward would be landing consultancy jobs like the one he now has at JBP if it wasn’t for his dubious role as chair of the City of London Planning and Transportation Committee, as the headline ‘JBP nets City of London transport committee chair’ from Public Affairs News underlines:
Chris Hayward is one of two new senior advisers at the planning lobbying firm.
Public affairs firm JBP has appointed the chairman of the planning and transportation committee of the Corporation of the City of London as a senior adviser.
Chris Hayward has also been deputy leader of both Dorset and Hertfordshire County Councils and has served at board level on the Local Government Association.
He joins the agency founded by Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, as part of a wider shake-up.
It comes as senior counsel Paul Smith takes on the new post of chairman of JBP’s London Political Unit. The new unit will focus on providing high level intelligence and engagement advice for clients across London as the capital gears up for local elections in under 12 months’ time.
James Turgoose, managing director of JBP’s London office said: “Both Chris and Paul provide unique insights into the world of London politics and we are delighted that they will be working in tandem to ensure we continue to provide the best advice to our clients.”
JBP nets City of London transport committee chair by Rod Muir, Public Affairs News, 7 June 2017.
Hayward’s consultation ‘work’ at firms like JBP and Indigo doesn’t actually produce anything of value, he is simply one of many opportunists peddling what they claim are networks of influence and expertise. These networks may have a market value but they have no social value. Having failed at his political ambitions, a PR parasite like Hayward has to big up what he’s got – which is his position as chair of the City of London Planning and Transportation Committee. Therefore it helps Hayward increase his market ‘value’ when he’s profiled by a fawning journalist from Property Week with words such as those that follow:
Taller buildings form the central pillar of Hayward’s plan. “There is a strong demand for towers and we’re running out of sites – there are two or three sites left. The challenge in the Square Mile is you can’t build out, you can only really build up,” he says.
When asked where he thinks developers should build, Hayward replies that they should continue to focus on the ‘eastern cluster’ of offices between Liverpool Street and Aldgate, home to the iconic Gherkin and Cheesegrater.
This is where most of the current office development pipeline is planned, with 22 Bishopsgate, One Undershaft and WR Berkley Corporation’s The Scalpel set to punctuate the local skyline.
However, he admits that even those huge schemes won’t be enough. “One option is to look at the space between [the cluster] and the Walkie-Talkie,” which is offset from the other tall buildings – although he concedes that such a plan would throw up “all sorts of complications”…
There is also a need for greater public realm and green space, says Hayward, who is pushing developers to deliver more. “It’s about where workers go for lunch, where they can sit outside. One Undershaft is effectively built on stilts, so you get maxed out on public realm,” he says.
While he has a long-held appreciation of green space – as a politician, his experience is in the leafier regions of Hertfordshire and Dorset – he likes the “vibrancy” of London. He also enjoys the fact that the City of London – unlike other local authorities – is technically apolitical: elected members do not belong to political parties.
“At the end of the day,” he says, “I am a politician, and politics is always at the heart of it. Officers advise and members decide. But people aren’t whipped as they are elsewhere – that’s a real plus. We are all independent members, so you get a much healthier debate.”…
Hayward promises to ensure the stakeholders are “properly consulted” and that the planning committee “properly considers the responses” to “get it right”.
City of angles: Chris Hayward interview by Samuel Horti. Property Week, 4 November 2016.
There is much that might be picked apart in the above piece, including the fact the idiot who wrote it doesn’t appear to understand the difference between belonging to a party and representing one; many City of London councillors belong to parties they don’t ‘officially’ represent within that assembly. Likewise if Hayward actually cared about where workers go for lunch then why did he back Taylor Wimpey’s Gerrymander Mansions development on Golden Lane when it will block sunlight from Fortune Street Park? Likewise for Hayward ‘officers advise and members decide’ – but he’s a plonker who was ‘elected’ unopposed in a rotten ward where the business vote rules. He has no mandate and it’s the people who should decide, not a weasel like Hayward who plays the anti-democratic City of London political game.
When Hayward speaks of consulting stakeholders he means this in the narrowest possible sense, viz very rich people with interests or concerns in big business. It doesn’t seem very likely that it is merely coincidence that last year the Bernard Morgan House/Gerrymander Mansions planning application was validated in August, when many residents were busy looking after their kids over the school holidays. This year the same thing is happening with the planning application for the old Richard Cloudesley School site on the other side of the Golden Lane Estate from Bernard Morgan House. The timing of these applications appears designed to avoid having to consult local residents as far as is legally possible. And the little ‘consultation’ that does take place comes across as no more than a charade designed to rubber stamp predetermined decisions.
The skyscrapers Hayward wants to see built aren’t simply office space; they are as Alex Simpson observed in an article published on City Metric earlier this year ‘a monument to the city’s worship of finance’. As Simpson notes, developers are sometimes over ambitious and some projects fail. After funding dried up, The Pinnacle was left as a partially built shell and became known as The Stump. Perhaps Hayward is dreaming that the redevelopment of The Stump as 22 Bishopsgate might in some way parallel his future political career no matter how unlikely this seems. On his City website Hayward boasts of 30 years experience in local government and stresses that the last four were as a councillor for the utterly undemocratic business vote ward of Broad Street. Hayward has been forced to scale down his political ambitions from being an MP to being one of a tiny group of councillors ‘elected’ on no votes whatsoever; and it seems that the only way to get Hayward to scale down his support for overdevelopment in the form of schemes like Gerrymander Mansions is to smash the rotten City of London political culture in which he’s enmeshed.
Fight plutocracy! Reform local government in the City of London!
Fight financial dictatorship! Abolish the business vote!
Call in the electoral commission & give it jurisdiction to establish democracy in the City of London!
Stop Taylor Wimpey’s Gerrymander Mansions Luxury Development In Golden Lane!
End Corporation of London tyranny now!
Chorleywood councillor could make the move to represent Northampton South by Tim Green: http://www.mynewsmag.co.uk/chorleywood-councillor-could-make-the-move-to-represent-northampton-south/
With reference to Chris Hayward’s job at JBP and the firm’s founder Jennifer Bryant-Pearson: Tory MP faces sleaze probe over ‘cash for access’ claims by Mikey Smith. Daily Mirror 3 March 2016: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tory-mp-faces-sleaze-probe-7489436
Which lobbyists do members of the House of Lords favour?: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/nov/08/1
More on public relations low-life and specifically Jennifer Bryant-Pearson: Resounding Victory for Cameron and the Conservatives – At London Restaurant, an Unsuspenseful Night Is Considered Good for Business: https://www.nytimes.com/live/uk-elections-2015/at-london-restaurant-an-unsuspenseful-night-is-considered-good-for-business/
JBP nets City of London transport committee chair (i.e. Chris Hayward): http://www.publicaffairsnews.com/articles/news/jbp-nets-city-london-transport-committee-chair
City of angles: Chris Hayward interview: http://www.propertyweek.com/insight/big-interviews/city-of-angles-chris-hayward-interview/5086020.article
London’s skyscrapers are a monument to the city’s worship of finance: http://www.citymetric.com/fabric/londons-skyscrapers-are-monument-citys-worship-finance-2631