Labour has accused Liz Truss of attempting to bury connections with a pro-hard Brexit think tank after she erased meetings from a public register.
Labour has said Truss, who is the trade secretary, was trying to conceal the think tank’s influence on government trade policy.
According to Reuters, Truss had two meetings with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) removed from a public register created to disclose private institutions that were involved in government policy development.
The meetings were removed from the department’s website on Wednesday and replaced with a note explaining they were personal meetings, and thus did not warrant publication on the site.
Until Wednesday, no meetings had ever been removed from the register since it was created in 2016.
The IEA is a right-wing think tank that promotes free market economics and has consistently argued for a hard Brexit.
A spokesperson for Labour’s shade trade secretary Emily Thornberry said it made ‘no sense’ for the minister to claim the meetings had nothing to do with her current role.
‘It makes no sense for Liz Truss now to claim that meetings on those issues had nothing to do with her ministerial role, and suggests instead that she has something to hide, whether in terms of who attended the meetings or what specifically was discussed.’
The Department for International Trade said the gatherings were added in due to an administrative error. They declined to comment on how a meeting on trade and investment could be considered as personal.
The IEA is known to host regular events and meetings with ministers.
‘By definition, the private events we run do not involve the minuting or publication of the full, frank and free exchange of views which we try to ensure takes place,’ a spokeswoman said.