Never underestimate the value of reputation. Lord Barker of Battle certainly doesn’t. The Times reported on Tuesday that the Conservative life peer and former executive chairman of the Russia-based, London-listed EN+ aluminium giant, had spent heavily on lawyers specialising in reputation management to delay a response to a freedom of information request. The background is another such request by Tortoise’s Paul Caruana Galizia in April 2019 for the minutes of a meeting between Barker and Sir Alan Duncan, then a Foreign Office minister. That request took seven months to yield a reply. Barker seems to have been anxious to withhold details of the meeting, but he was also peeved about Caruana Galizia’s earlier story about a large portrait of the peer, defaced in red paint with the words “GREG, F***ING, BASTARD”.
Photograph David Levene / eyevine