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Simon says… bye-bye
Curse of Gnome , Issue 1523
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CURSE OF GNOME: Simon Dingemans, the top beancounting regulator no more
SO. Farewell then Simon Dingemans, chair of the Financial Reporting Council, exposed last year in the Eye for, er, breaking accounting laws and failing to declare his interest in the offending private investment company when applying to become the country’s top beancounting regulator last July.

Dingemans’s position began to look completely untenable in February when Eye 1515 revealed how he had filed an application to strike off his company a week after the Eye first reported his failure to file accounts for it – but that oddly the application had been dated a month earlier.

This enabled Dingemans to claim (wrongly) that he didn’t need to declare the company (and thus draw attention to its accounting irregularities) to the Commons business committee that approved his new job. He refused to answer questions about possibly backdating the paperwork.

Refused to elaborate
The reason given for Dingemans’s departure is that, while it had been agreed he “could take on additional roles provided they did not conflict with his responsibilities at the FRC”, this “has not proved possible…” The explanation is bizarre, since other FRC directors have positions at dozens of companies, from small non-executive directorships to being chief executive of a FTSE100 firm; and his predecessor chaired JP Morgan Securities plc. Unless he wanted to set up a company called Accounting Fiddles R Us Ltd, it’s hard to see how Dingemans’ style was being cramped. The FRC and the business department that appointed him refused to elaborate on his explanation. More plausible is that with MPs resuming activities after the Covid shut down, the less than straightforward way he had dealt with them raised hackles.

In October, when the Telegraph picked up the scandal, a later FoI request from the Eye revealed that Dingemans had fobbed the business department off, one of its directors responding: “Hopefully the story will die a death now.” And so it has. RIP.

More top stories in the latest issue:

THE ARSE NUMBER
MD on how Dominic Cummings risked spreading the virus to a less exposed community, particularly as his family needed to access the local NHS.

WHAT A SHOWER
There was much hugging and no social distancing at Carrie Symonds’ baby shower, hosted by her fiancé at Chequers on 14 March.

CR-APP TESTING
Government auditors have severe doubts about NHSX, the new unit set up by Matt Hancock and which will now run the government’s Covid-19 tracking app.

CONFESSIONS OF A CONTACT TRACER…
With no hands-on interactive training and no one on the end of a phone to help, ‘Contact Tracy’, an experienced senior nurse, says we should all be worried...

GRADE EXPECTATIONS
Exam boards and watchdog Ofqual are still working out how best to deal with malpractice in grading students whose exams have been cancelled.

RARE BEEF
Emily Maitlis’s Newsnight monologue on Dominic Cummings sparked a storm of complaints – but not many were from people who saw the programme live.

RIGHT-WINGING IT
Premature launch of test, track and trace looked like a political diversion from Cummings story – but those running such public services are meant to be non-political.

ICO NO EVIL…
Serco won’t refer itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office over a contact tracing data breach – but it wouldn’t have had much to fear even if it had.

BEYOND THE BAIL
The PM pledged to sweep away EU “state aid” rules that make it harder to bail out companies – but the UK is now providing far less aid than EU countries.

LOCKDOWN LOCK-UP
Priti Patel is being taken back to court over the government’s “irrational and discriminatory” immigration detention practices during the pandemic.

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Next issue on sale: 14th July 2020
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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
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Private Eye Issue 1523
In This Issue
Dominic Cummings saga proves one-country-two systems principle is secure, says delighted President Xi… Astonishing video of black man not being murdered by police in US goes viral… That definitely-not-backdated secret Cummings blog in full… Hong Kong returns to normal after lockdown as protesters fight running battles with police… Turner Prize won by this year’s cancelled Turner Prize… Scotland’s decision to allow gatherings of eight people delights Edinburgh Fringe participants… Harry Potter fans rejoice as JK Rowling releases best-selling shopping list… Niall Ferguson’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

Breach birth?
Carrie Symonds’ baby shower

Not a trace
Confessions of a contact-tracer

Stunt trouble
Tough times for Tory donors

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