New Charity Commission boss quits before he starts over ‘error of judgment’ during application

The new head of the Charity Commission has stepped down from the position following an “error of judgment” during the application process.

Martin Thomas (pictured) was announced as the Government’s preferred candidate for commission chairman earlier this month and was expected to take up the post after Christmas.

However, on Friday it was announced that Mr Thomas had resigned following four allegations of inappropriate behaviour in a previous position.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which made the appointment, said nothing was declared by him during the application process that would call into question his conduct.

It acknowledged that Mr Thomas had “entered the process in good faith, without looking to mislead”.

In a statement, Mr Thomas said: “Regretfully I have decided to step aside from the role as chair of the Charity Commission over an error of judgment on a technical omission during the application process.

“I have behaved throughout the process in good faith, and did not wilfully mislead anyone at any time.

“In my role overseeing 14 charities during a 30-year career, I have had to make tough decisions which sometimes can make me unpopular.

“These decisions can often relate to improving transparency and the return on investment, including for the taxpayer.

“There will always be people in the charity sector who resist that challenge.

“I have never deliberately set out to offend anyone and my passion to improve the sector is borne out of a desire to do public good.”

Mr Thomas said one of the allegations of inappropriate behaviour involved him sending a picture in a Victoria’s Secret store to a colleague “in error”, while working for a women’s charity.

He said he had meant to send the picture to the charity’s CEO following discussions over a proposed donation from the lingerie firm.

A DCMS spokesperson said: “All due process was followed in the search for a chair.

“We will now take steps to appoint a new Charity Commission chair and will provide an update in due course.”

Formerly working in the insurance and financial services sector, Mr Thomas also chaired NHS Resolution and a number of charities.

He had said that the commission should not get involved in arguments about “woke” or “anti-woke” politics.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said on Twitter: “How could @NadineDorries appoint someone with this awful record?

“The Tories have made a mockery of the Charity Commission chair first with a political appointee and now with a friend of Boris Johnson’s.

“It’s time for someone who is properly impartial.”

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