The Atlantic Bridge, a UK charity founded by Dr Liam Fox, has launched a new website with references to its ‘simple aim of “Strengthening the Special Relationship” exemplified by the Reagan-Thatcher partnership of the 1980s,’ removed. The pledge has also been removed from the website of its sister US charity, Atlantic Bridge Inc.
The move comes as the Charity Commission investigates a number of allegations including that the Atlantic Bridge has broken charity law by supporting a political party.
In addition, the organisation now pays lip service to the public benefit requirements of the 2006 Charities Act, claiming ‘it is axiomatic that good relations with other countries are for the public benefit’ and so, apparently, that they need offer no evidence that their work is charitable.
The Atlantic Bridge spends its money, much of which would otherwise be collected as tax, helping senior Conservatives and their US allies get together. They certainly need some support. When US senator Jon Kyl came to London to see Henry Kissinger receive the oxymoronic Thatcher Medal of Freedom, the Atlantic Bridge paid out around £1,450 on his hotel room alone.
The Charity Commission has issued guidance specific to the Atlantic Bridge over at least three letters and one face-to-face meeting. But the commission argues it is in the public interest to keep this guidance secret, a move that fuels suspicions that the regulator is bending over backwards to protect senior Conservatives connected to the Atlantic Bridge, including William Hague, George Obsborne, Chris Grayling and Michael Gove.
Posts on the Atlantic Bridge are collected here.