Ex-UKIP MP Douglas Carswell joins DIT board

Former Labour spad Andrew Hood also named as department's lead non-executive board member
Photo: Photoshot for CSW

Former UK Independence Party MP Douglas Carswell has been appointed as a board member at the Department for International Trade.

Carswell, who was Conservative MP for Clacton before joining the pro-Brexit party and triggering a 2014 byelection in which he retained the seat, is one of four new non-executive board members joining DIT this week.

He has been outspoken about the benefits he believes the UK will gain from leaving the EU – benefits the department is tasked with realising. In 2016, Carswell said he had changed his political allegiances to “decontaminate the brand” of UKIP ahead of the EU membership referendum.

In 2017 – after leaving UKIP to sit as an independent MP for two months and then standing down at the general election – Carswell said the “really significant change from the Brexit vote” was that the UK was now “free to negotiate” trade relationships with non-EU countries.

"Leaving the European Union means that we're leaving a stagnant, cramped customs union, and we're in a position to open ourselves up to global free trade. I think that means we're going to be more prosperous and we're going to see our economy grow faster than if we stayed behind,” he told Business Insider.

Andrew Hood, a consultant and former spad to Labour foreign secretary Robin Cook, will become the department’s lead non-executive board member. Hood, who is now founding partner at Oxford Research & Analysis, was also chief adviser to defence secretary Geoff Hoon under the New Labour government before being poached by the consultancy firm Brunswick Group in 2002.

DIT said in a press release that Hood had beaten “strong competition from a high number of candidates” for the role, and that his background in foreign affairs and defence had included stints in North America, the Middle East and Asia.

Dr Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist and author who has worked for the World Bank and Goldman Sachs, is also joining the board.

And Dominic Johnson, founding partner and chief executive at the investment company Somerset Capital Management, has been named as the new chair of DIT’s audit and risk assurance committee.

International trade secretary Liz Truss said the appointees bring "vast experience and expertise to the department at a critical time for the UK as a trading nation".

"They will help execute our strategic priorities, in particular driving forward our trade deal negotiations programme, our export and investment campaigns, and our work on reforming and reshaping global trade rules," she said.

"All of them are high quality appointments who believe fiercely in rules-based free trade. They will play a big role in re-establishing the UK as a major force in global trade, and will help take our trade agenda to the next level in 2021 and beyond."

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