Mark Fullbrook, No 10 chief of staff, faces questions over lobbying after accompanying Libyan politician to meeting with Foreign Office officials

Mark Fullbrook, the No 10 chief of staff, faces questions over lobbying .Mark Fullbrook, the No 10 chief of staff.

Accompanied a Libyan politician involved in an attempted military coup to a meeting in the Foreign Office to lobby officials on foreign policy, raising further questions over his influence.

Labour has said Fullbrook’s position as Liz Truss’s most senior official is “untenable” after it emerged he facilitated unofficial meetings in June with senior cabinet ministers for Fathi Bashagha.

Bashagha, who is seeking international support as a rival prime minister, has links to the Russian Wagner Group and a military strongman in the east of the country.

The Guardian has now established that Fullbrook also accompanied Bashagha on a visit to the UK Foreign Office on the same trip to London, acting as his PR adviser. Truss was foreign secretary at the time.

Just one month earlier, Bashagha had unsuccessfully attempted to seize power in Tripoli by force against the United Nations-backed government.

Bashagha and Fullbrook met Stephen Hickey, a director for the Middle East and north Africa, despite it not being a trip officially hosted by the UK. During the two-day visit.

Fullbrook was helping Bashagha to lobby the government to diverge from the official stance of the UN and back a rival administration in Libya.

The Sunday Times reported Fullbrook had made efforts to lobby Truss, despite No 10 having told the Guardian that his firm, Fullbrook Strategies, “did not lobby Liz Truss when she was foreign secretary”.

Fullbrook worked for Bashagha in the spring and early summer, before joining Truss’s leadership campaign and entering Downing Street in September.

Soon after his visit to London, the foreign affairs select committee held a rare off-evidence session via satellite link with Bashagha.

Libya is broadly divided between two sides: one based in Tripoli and the other in the east.

The UK ambassador in Libya, Caroline Hurndall, has met Bashagha more than once and UK policy is to focus on UN-led efforts to get both sides to agree the terms of national elections.

Downing Street was contacted for comment. No 10 told the Sunday Times at the weekend that he had recused himself from matters involving Libya.

A Fullbrook spokesperson told the newspaper: “Mr Fullbrook and Fullbrook Strategies have complied with all legal obligations and have conducted everything in an open and transparent manner.

“The government was fully aware of all of Fullbrook Strategies’ and Mr Fullbrook’s professional engagements before he was appointed as chief of staff.”

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