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cambridge-news.co.uk: Lord Browne’s ‘unique’ efforts

EXTRACT: The Mail on Sunday claims Lord Browne was masterminding a merger between Shell and BP to create the largest company in the world, and that the oil giant threatened to quit Britain with potentially damaging consequences for the Treasury and the City. BP paid £1.34 billion in corporation tax last year and employs thousands of workers in London.

The Article

FORMER Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University Sir Alec Broers is among the arts and business leaders giving support to embattled Madingley peer John Browne.

Lord Browne stepped down as boss of BP last week after it was revealed he lied to a judge about how he met his former boyfriend Jeff Chevalier during a court battle to avoid revelations about his private life.

Now Lord and Lady Broers have signed a letter publicly supporting Lord Browne, who had been tipped to become Vice- Chancellor of the university in 2003.

Virginia Bottomley, Norman Foster, Philip Gould, John Gummer, Peter Hennessey, Chris Patten, Lord Puttnam and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild are also among the signatories.

The letter reads: “We wish to place on public record our support now and in the future for our friend John Browne and to thank him for his immense and unique contribution to business and the economy and to art, culture and the environment.

“We wish him well, stand by him and look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”

The letter was published on the eve of The Mail on Sunday’s revelations about Lord Browne’s business deals and his champagne lifestyle with Mr Chevalier.

The Mail on Sunday claims Lord Browne was masterminding a merger between Shell and BP to create the largest company in the world, and that the oil giant threatened to quit Britain with potentially damaging consequences for the Treasury and the City. BP paid £1.34 billion in corporation tax last year and employs thousands of workers in London.

The paper also revealed Lord Browne put a £10 million price tag on the life of an employee ahead of an explosion at a Texas oil refinery which killed 15 people and injured 180 in March 2005. It is believed to be the highest accounting value any company puts on a human life.

Mr Chevalier told of the pair’s jet-set lifestyle including dinner with Prime Minister Tony Blair, nights at the opera with Princess Michael of Kent and a whirlwind of social engagements with the cream of industry, the arts world and politicians.

He also gave a glimpse of the peer’s life in Cambridge. Lord Browne grew up in the area, attending The King’s School in Ely before going to St John’s College, where he got a first in physics. When he became a People’s Peer he took the moniker Lord Browne of Madingley.

The pair threw dinner parties for 12-14 guests at Lord Browne’s £3 million home in Cambridge. Lord Browne has now sold the house.

Speculation about the peer’s future includes him being tipped as the next chairman of English Heritage and also that he may seek a role in promoting green energy and helping fight climate change. 

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/city/2007/05/07/ed6b540d-d82e-417f-a123-993619c2723c.lpf

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