Former culture secretary John Whittingdale appointed to board of Albert Hall

He replaces the former Conservative MP Gerald Bowden as the government's representative

John Whittingdale
John Whittingdale

The former culture secretary John Whittingdale has been appointed to the board of the Royal Albert Hall.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that the appointment was routine and Whittingdale would replace the retiring former Conservative MP Gerald Bowden as the government’s representative on the charity’s board.

Whittingdale has been the MP for Maldon since 1992, during which time the boundaries of the seat have changed twice.

He was the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee from July 2005 until March 2015, and served as culture secretary from May 2015 until July 2016, when he left the Cabinet during a reshuffle after Theresa May became Prime Minister.

The DCMS said the trustee position at the Albert Hall was unpaid.

The appointment comes during a long-running dispute between the Royal Albert Hall and the Charity Commission about the hall’s governance.

The commission has said it sees a potential conflict of interest in the fact that 19 of the 24 members on the hall’s governing body are elected from among people who own about a quarter of the 5,275 seats and can sell tickets for them at inflated prices on the internet.

The regulator wants the constitution to be changed so that seat-holders form a minority on the ruling council, thus removing the risk it identifies that the charity’s members might put their own interests above those of the charity in their decision-making.

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