The shock waves of Enron’s collapse have been felt on the British political scene because of the company’s sponsorship of both the main political parties, Labour and the Conservatives.
“Cash for access” claims have been made against the Labour government, which abandoned its moratorium on gas-fired power stations after lobbying and campaign contributions from Enron.
The government dismisses any suggestion of impropriety and says it would have been odd if energy ministers had not met with executives from Enron and other companies.
The row has renewed campaigners’ calls for political parties to be funded by the state rather than relying on business donations.
An extra dimension to the British overspill from Enron is added by the fact that Labour had close links in opposition with Arthur Andersen, who were the energy giant’s accountants.
Allegations about the government’s links with Enron were eclipsed when the spotlight turned on Lord Wakeham, a former Conservative cabinet minister and non-executive director of the company.
Lord Wakeham had served on the committee that was meant to oversee Enron’s auditing procedures.