A new charity head is being forced to quit. The previous Pal of Boris Johnson post was resigned due to bullying claims… however, she WAS cleared of sending a raunchy photograph to a female junior.

  • Yesterday, the new chief of charity watchdog abruptly resigned before he could even take up his position 
  • Martin Thomas, 58, , stepped down from his new job after it emerged he had resigned from a previous post after being found guilty of ‘inappropriate’ conduct 
  • In the aftermath of an investigation into bullying allegations earlier in the year, questions were raised regarding his appointment to the Charity Commission. 










Before he even took up his new post, yesterday’s resignation of the head of the watchdog for charity was dramatic.

Martin Thomas, 58, a friend of Boris Johnson, stepped down from his new job after it emerged he had resigned from a previous post after being found guilty of ‘inappropriate’ conduct.

This was after questions raised regarding his appointment as Charity Commission chairman in response to a probe into bullying earlier this year.

In five years, he was subject to three misconduct allegations at the charity which aids women living in war zones rebuild their lives.

In one incident, Mr Thomas sent a junior female employee a picture on WhatsApp of himself taken in a Victoria’s Secret lingerie store. He said he had intended to send it to the charity’s chief executive.

Martin Thomas sent a photo of himself in a Victoria's Secret store to a junior female employee

Martin Thomas sent an image of him in Victoria’s Secret to a junior employee.

This photo depicts him with a mannequin, wearing black thongs and standing alongside a poster featuring a model in black underwear and leather jacket. Following an investigation, he was found not guilty.

In March, the third complaint was filed about how aggressively he treated an employee over a phone call.

Women for Women said: ‘The investigation concluded that the chair’s actions were not deliberate bullying but that the complaint was partly upheld insofar as aspects of the chair’s conduct were judged to have been inappropriate.’ The charity filed a ‘serious incident report’ on the case, identifying its chairman as the subject of the allegations, to the Charity Commission.

No one from Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’ department contacted Women for Women for a reference, The Times reported.

MPs on the Comons culture committee, who approved Mr Thomas’s appointment, were unaware of the history of disciplinary issues. It prompts questions over what due diligence was performed and whether Mr Thomas’s links with the Prime Minister influenced the appointment process.

Mr Thomas, 58, a friend of Boris Johnson, stepped down from his new job after it emerged he had resigned from a previous post after being found guilty of ‘inappropriate’ conduct

Mr Thomas, 58, a friend of Boris Johnson, stepped down from his new job after it emerged he had resigned from a previous post after being found guilty of ‘inappropriate’ conduct

Mr Thomas was only confirmed as chairman of the Charity Commission last week by Mrs Dorries, who said he would bring ‘a wealth of experience’. Thomas was scheduled to start work December 27. It is a two-and-a-half days a week post with a £62,500-a-year salary.

Last night Mr Thomas said in a statement he had stepped aside from the role as chairman of the Charity Commission over ‘an error of judgment on a technical omission during the application process’. He added: ‘I have never deliberately set out to offend anyone.’ Mr Thomas was the subject of formal complaints in 2018, 2019 and 2021 while chairing Women for Women.

The Victoria’s Secret photo was taken in 2018 at a time when the charity was debating whether to accept a donation from the lingerie brand. In his statement last night, Mr Thomas said: ‘I was not sure whether a company that advertised using sexual content should be partnered with a charity which helped women escape sexual violence.

‘I was in an airport at the time of this discussion and took a photo of an item for sale in a Victoria’s Secret store which I felt was appropriate to illustrate my point.

‘Instead of sending it to the charity CEO who was in agreement with me, I sent it in error to another colleague. I immediately apologized and was granted my apology. The charity went on to decline the donation and I felt justified in the stance I took.’

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: ‘Martin has acknowledged his error of judgment during the application process and we acknowledge that he entered the process in good faith, without looking to mislead.’

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