Charity Commission chair candidate to be questioned by MPs this week

The government’s preferred candidate to chair the Charity Commission, Orlando Fraser, is to face members of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee later this week.

Fraser, who is a former board member at the regulator, is to be interviewed by MPs on Thursday 24 March as part of his selection process.

It is expected that Fraser, who stood for the Conservative Party at the 2005 general election, is to be questioned about his political affiliations.

In addition, he is set to be questioned about a previous stint on the regulator's legal board, from 2013 to 2017.

The Directory of Social Change has urged MPs to question Fraser on his role in the drafting of “flawed” Commission guidance around the 2016 EU referendum, that had to be withdrawn and reissued.

His role in the regulator’s failed “attempt to fetter the discretion” of Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust trustees over funding to advocacy group CAGE should also be scrutinised, say DSC.

If appointed Fraser will replace former Conservative Party minister Baroness Stowell, who stepped down last year and had been appointed despite concerns raised by MPs.

The Charity Commission chairmanship courted controversy late last year, when the government’s previous preferred candidate, Martin Thomas was forced to resign after it emerged his conduct was under investigation by a charity he had chaired.

Fraser’s selection has also been called into question by ACEVO and NCVO, who had wanted the selection process to be completely re-run, following the bungled attempt to appoint Thomas.

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