Geldof to work with Tories on globalisation


Bob Geldof has claimed his involvement with a Conservative Party policy review on globalisation and global policy, initiated by the new leader, David Cameron, is simply another opportunity to "give his tuppence worth" in the formulation of policy on the area.

"That's my gig, that's what I do . . . regardless of political stripe, if I can help to persuade them to act in the interests of the poor, then I will do that," he told The Irish Times last night. "I'll help steer it in what I think is the correct way. We must deal with the policy-makers."

Geldof acknowledged that some may see his involvement as an attempt by Mr Cameron to use his name to garner attention for the initiative, but he said he had previously worked with Labour and the Liberal Democrats, and had met many other groups and world leaders over a period of more than 20 years.

He also expressed the hope that resulting Tory policies might help to push the British Labour government into meeting and extending its outstanding commitments.

"If it helps that the Tory Party suddenly push the Labour Party further than they might wish to go, then that's great," he said. " It's a constant, constant dialogue."

Geldof was responding to the news that he is to act as a consultant to a wide-ranging review of Tory policy on globalisation and global policy, which is to be chaired by Peter Lilley MP.

He said he had been contacted personally by Mr Cameron and had agreed to contribute to the panel. Mr Lilley is expected to meet Mr Geldof in early January to pick other review panel members.

Conservative Party officials were quick to emphasise that Geldof was acting in a "non-partisan" role. "We're not saying he's suddenly become a Tory," Mr Lilley said.

In a statement, Mr Cameron also explained his thinking in prioritising the issue. "This summer, millions of British people took part in the Make Poverty History campaign," he said.

"A new generation of concerned citizens want prosperity for themselves and progress for the poor, whether living on the other side of the street or the other side of the world. Modern, compassionate conservatism means responding to their demands."

The group will address issues including the impact of globalisation and free trade on poverty and sustainability, tensions between the World Trade Organisation, economic fairness and environmentalism; and the EU, its farm and aid policies. - (Additional reporting Guardian service.)