Matt Hancock is caught asking for an eye-watering £10,000-a-day fee
Two ex-Cabinet Ministers agreed to work for £10,000 a day to promote the interests of a fake South Korean firm in a new row over MPs’ second jobs.
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock and ex-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were apparently duped into offering their services by campaign group Led by Donkeys.
When asked what his daily rate was, Mr Hancock reportedly replied ‘it’s 10,000 sterling’ while Mr Kwarteng agreed to the same rate, saying he did not require a ‘king’s ransom’.
According to the Observer, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, said a daily rate of about £6,000 ‘feels about right’.
But Sir Graham made clear he could not advocate on behalf of the interest and said any payments would be on a public register.
Matt Hancock, the former Health Secretary, quoted his daily rate as £10,000 in the interview with a fake Korean consultancy firm
Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said that he did not need to be paid a ‘king’s ransom’ for his time – but was filmed agreeing to a sum of £10,000
A fourth MP who was approached for the job, ex-minister Stephen Hammond, said this weekend that he believed he had been the victim of a ‘scam’.
But he said that ‘it turns out this company was fake, with a fake website’.
The Observer made clear last night that all the senior MPs had complied with all relevant rules and had referred to their obligation to their constituents during preliminary meetings.
The paper also made clear that none of the job arrangements were finalised.
But the revelations of their proposed daily rates for outside work is expected to spark a new row over MPs’ second jobs.
Labor has said it would ban most second jobs for MPs if Sir Keir Starmer’s party wins the next general election.
Led by Donkeys released a report on its investigation on Twitter yesterday, with recorded undercover footage.
The fake firm that approached the politicians had a rudimentary foreign website.
MPs have been warned by the Home Office to be on their guard against the ‘threat of foreign interference’.
According to the reports last night, Led by Donkeys approached 20 MPs. Mr Hancock, who is standing down at the next election, currently sits as an Independent MP after losing the Tory Whip for taking part in TV show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here last year.
An email sent by the fake investment and consulting firm, Hanseong Consulting, said it wanted individuals for an international advisory board to ‘help our clients navigate the shifting political, regulatory and legislative frameworks’ in the UK and Europe.
It said advisors would be required to attend six board meetings a year, with a “very attractive” remuneration package and “generous expenses” for international travel.
Five MPs apparently agreed to be interviewed on Zoom, but one who was clearly suspicious of the firm’s credentials terminated the call.
The MPs were then interviewed by a woman posing as a senior executive, against a backdrop of the skyline of South Korean capital Seoul.
Sir Graham Brady, who initially proposed a daily rate of £6,000, said he made it clear that any arrangement would have to be transparent (pictured in October 2022)
Five MPs apparently agreed to be interviewed on Zoom, including Stephen Hammond MP, but one who was clearly suspicious of the firm’s credentials terminated the call
In February, Mr Kwarteng is said to have attended an online meeting of about 40 minutes, informing the interviewer that he was ‘sitting in my office in Parliament’.
The Observer reported that during a discussion about what the remuneration might be, Kwarteng said he would not do anything for less than £10,000 a month and would need to be compensated ‘particularly if I’m going to Korea’.
Last night, Mr Hancock’s spokesman said: ‘It’s absurd to bring Mr Hancock into this story through the illegal publication of a private conversation. All the video shows is Matt acting completely properly.
Sir Graham, who is also standing down at the next election, said: ‘I made it clear any arrangement would have to be completely transparent and that, whilst an MP, I would only act within the terms of the code of conduct.
‘I also made it clear that while I could be flexible in attending international meetings in person, this would be subject to some important votes or commitments in Westminster.’
Mr Kwarteng did not respond to a request for comment, the paper said.