The ‘Institute’ for Free Trade, the controversial think-tank launched by Boris Johnson and headed up by Daniel Hannan, has been forced to change its name, after it emerged over the weekend that it has not sought necessary permission from Companies House to call itself an ‘institute’.
In an article in The Observer yesterday it was revealed that Companies House was aware of the IFT’s use of the term and that it would be contacting the company. This morning it emerged that the IFT has now removed all mentions of the word ‘institute’ from its website, and that Daniel Hannan has changed his Twitter profile accordingly.
Responding, Ben Bradshaw MP, leading supporter for Open Britain, said:
“The comedy of errors that is Brexit has a new clown. Daniel Hannan is regarded by some as the intellectual powerhouse of Euroscepticism, yet after attempting to masquerade as the president of a respected policy institute he has now fallen flat on his face.
“Along with Boris Johnson and all those involved in the Institute for Free Trade, he has very serious questions to answer. Only months ago the Foreign Secretary Secretary launched the organisation at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, prompting controversy about a potential breach of the Ministerial Code. We need to know the details of that launch, and why these people thought they could use the word “institute” without permission.
“There cannot be one set of rules for ministers and those closest to them, and another for everybody else. Sadly this kind of incompetence and double-standards is characteristic of the fanatical hard Brexit strain in British politics. It is hard to see how Mr Hannan’s tin-pot think-tank could ever be taken remotely seriously again.”
Notes to editors:
The original story on the ‘Institute’ for Free Trade using the title of ‘institute’ without permission can be read here.
The follow-up story on the ‘Institute’ for Free Trade attempting to remove the word ‘institute’ from its online presence can be read here.