A Mysterious New Addition to the Tufton Street Clique
Max Colbert explores a new company which has just joined the collective of free-market, Brexit, and climate science-denying dark money groups at 55 Tufton Street
UPDATE: having not replied to Byline Times’ requests for comment, Emmnon Ltd has now changed its address from Tufton Street
Housed in what has become one of London’s most notorious addresses, emerges a new entity: Emmnon Ltd.
The company, which was only incorporated on 10 February, shares an address with the growing legion of ‘free market’, Brexit and climate science-denying dark money think tanks at 55 Tufton Street.
The nature of its business is listed as “activities of political organisations” but it currently has no filing activity beyond its certification of incorporation. It currently lists only two directors – Peter Robin Whittle and Neil Philip Anderson.
Peter Whittle is the former deputy leader of UKIP and has offices based at 55 Tufton Street – home to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, TaxPayers’ Alliance and Civitas think tanks.
The entities represent part of a larger network of groups credited with pushing the Conservative Party further rightwards and forming the ideological backbone behind former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ short-lived Government.
The opaquely funded collective often enjoys a platform in the established press, pushing ‘free market’ economics and small-state ideology, net zero scepticism, Brexit and culture war issues.
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It is notoriously secretive about where its funding comes from, although it has previously emerged that it has received funding from US-based trusts, climate-denying and fossil fuel interests, and maintains a close relationship with senior Conservative and right-wing figures.
Whittle is also the founder of the New Culture Forum (NCF), a right-wing think tank also housed at Tufton Street. Its mission is “challenging the orthodoxies dominant in our institutions, public life and wider culture” and it was described by Tim Montgomerie and Matthew Elliot in a 2009 presentation as being part of the ‘infrastructure’ of the broader conservative movement.
The group aims to counter a “left-wing bias” in academia and the media, railing against “woke ideology” and denouncing immigration and multiculturalism, and has recently thrown its weight behind anti-trans issues.
On its website, the NCF states that “the triumph of cultural relativism and political correctness in the opinion-forming fields of the media, academia, education and culture has meant that this groupthink has become even more deeply entrenched. The liberal establishment sets the terms of debate”.
The NCF hosts a YouTube channel promoting several in-house programmes. Guests have included Laurence Fox, Lionel Shriver, Andy Ngo, James Delingpole, Anne Widdecombe, Neil Oliver, Nigel Farage and Calvin Robinson.
Whittle himself has, outside of politics, worked as a journalist, producer and director of programmes for ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and has appeared as a cultural commentator on a range of programmes across the BBC.
Meanwhile, Neil Anderson is a Woodford Green-based consultant who holds a number of other directorships – NPA Consulting; Going Mobile ltd; Anglo Connect and LinguaPro (both dissolved); and the Oikos Forum, incorporated in 2021. Oikos is of note because he shares directorship of the company with Emma Alberta Webb, a commentator and broadcaster, and host of the NCF’s TV channel.
Webb is also a founding member of Save Our Statues, the pressure group established by Whittle and fellow former UKIP member Richard Bingley. It campaigns against “attacks on our history” in the wake of the toppling of the Colston statue in Bristol. It also shares the same address as the NCF and Emmnon.
It is unclear, at this stage, what exactly Emmnon is or does. Peter Whittle was contacted by Byline Times for comment.
While the implosion of the premiership of Liz Truss – who spoke at Institute of Economic Affairs meetings more than any other politician – has ostensibly poured cold water on some of the Conservatives’ more extreme fiscal plans, this does not mean that the influence of Tufton Street, and its connected lobbying groups, has significantly diminished.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared Truss’ agenda to be “fairytale economics” but he has also previously spoken at IEA events and, like Truss, is a vocal advocate of many of its policies. But, with the current economic crises presenting a roadblock to the sort of low-tax agenda commonly pursued by these groups, Sunak’s Government appears to be falling back on an alternative ‘culture war’ agenda, popularised by these groups.
During his own leadership campaign last summer, Sunak promised to tackle “woke nonsense”, while also stating that he had “zero intention in fighting a so-called culture war”.
Nevertheless, with the Conservatives still far behind in the polls, Tufton Street groups could see themselves centre stage once more.
Culture Proxy Wars
The influence of Tufton Street groups continues to spread across British politics.
As previously reported by Byline Times, another prominent entity, the Restore Trust, also has been accused of having Tufton Street links. It recently engaged in a much-publicised campaign seemingly to unseat the directorship of the independent National Trust and, in the process, made a number of questionable and poorly researched claims in an effort to de-legitimise the organisation.
It has been revealed that Neil Record, chair of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and the IEA, is a member of the Restore Trust’s leadership team – raising questions about the politicisation of the National Trust by those sympathetic to Conservative, anti-climate change causes.
The Restore Trust has denied any such link to Tufton Street, calling the claims “blatant lies” and “skullduggery”, and has referred to Record’s role with the GWPF as “not relevant”.
At the last Conservative Party Conference, Home Secretary Suella Braverman reportedly claimed that the Tories had “failed to put enough people forward” who share their agenda when it comes to public appointments to such institutions.
The GWPF is considered the UK’s principal climate-science-denying outfit, and despite being evasive about its financial backers, has previously accepted funding from individuals with interests in the fossil fuel industry. The Charity Commission has faced recent calls from a cross-party group of MPs to strip it of charitable status, claiming that it does not meet its aims as a charity and instead functions as a lobbying organisation.
It was recently revealed through a Freedom of Information request that trans-exclusionary charity the LGB Alliance is another Tufton Street-affiliated group. The group claim it chose its address ‘because it’s handy, flexible, and that it became available at the right time’.
The group’s charitable status is currently being challenged by the Mermaids charity, which supports gender diversity – action supported by the LGBT+ Consortium, Gendered Intelligence, LGBT Foundation, and TransActual, and crowdfunded by the Good Law Project.
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The group claims that the LGB Alliance has “repeatedly targeted registered LGBT rights charities” and accused them of “extremism and homophobia”. It also quotes the leader of the LGB Alliance as saying “we’re applying for charitable status and building an organisation to challenge the dominance of those who promote the damaging theory of gender identity”.
The groups in and around Tufton Street, which coordinate messaging and have a significant media and cultural reach, allows Sunak a degree of separation from having to engage fully with the culture wars. But, while seemingly removed from proceedings, the Prime Minister often ultimately toes the same ideological line.
His Deputy party Chairman, Lee Anderson, has already echoed the sentiment that the next election will be fought on a “mix of culture wars and trans debate”, for which entities like the New Culture Forum will become a crucial tool.
But for voters still experiencing a cost of living and energy crisis with bills set to rise again in April, such culture war campaigns may prove to have insufficient appeal.
Even among the Conservative Party’s own ranks, a rift is emerging. The culture war rhetoric already appears to have led to the departure of former Conservative donor and LGBT business champion Iain Anderson, who said “it was made pretty clear that the plan is to run a culture war to distract from fundamental economic failings… it’s not something I want any part of”.