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MPs reject government's choice for new Charity Commission boss

The digital, culture, media and sport committee said Tina Stowell did not have the experience, neutrality or capability to do the job

MPs have refused to sign off Tina Stowell’s appointment as the new Charity Commission boss in an unprecedented rejection of a government candidate.

The Tory peer does not have the experience, neutrality or capability to do the job, the digital culture media and sport committee said today.

MPs said former House of Lords leader Ms Stowell failed to show any real insight about, or vision for, the charity sector and was unable to face the committee’s scrutiny.

Committee chairman Damian Collins has written to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock saying the MPs unanimously agreed that they “cannot support” the appointment, marking the first time the committee has refused to approve the government choice.

“Baroness Stowell has little more than six months of negligible charity sector experience and a complete lack of experience of working for a regulatory body,” Mr Collins wrote.

Ms Stowell was due to take over from William Shawcross next week.

Mr Collins said her political past was a “source of concern for the committee and those within the charity sector.”

Mr Hancock responded that Ms Stowell has his “full backing,” predicting that she “will be a brilliant chair of the Charity Commission.” 

The commission was already under the spotlight following criticism of some charities’ fundraising tactics when the Oxfam sex scandal broke this month.

Save the Children apologised today to three female employees who complained of inappropriate behaviour by its former chief executive Justin Forsyth.

It admitted the women’s claims had not been properly dealt with.

Mr Forsyth, who is now Unicef deputy executive director in New York, was investigated twice after concerns were raised about his conduct in 2011 and again in 2015.

He has admitted making “some personal mistakes” during his time at Save the Children and issued an “unreserved apology.”

The disclosure follows the admission by Brendan Cox, widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, that he made “mistakes” and behaved in a way that caused some women “hurt and offence” when he was working at Save the Children.

Mr Cox and Mr Forsyth previously worked together at 10 Downing Street under former PM Gordon Brown.

Unicef said it was aware of the past complaints against Mr Forsyth.

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