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South Holland MP defends paid roles after national newspaper report

MP Sir John Hayes has said his post-Government paid roles were ‘all signed off, right and proper’.

Sir John’s photo featured on the front page of Friday’s i newspaper as one of a series of David Cameron’s former ministers that it said had ‘found private sector jobs linked to their role in government within two years of stepping down’.

Sir John said that he believes the newspaper may have made a mistake in its reporting.

i newspaper front page (45781188)
i newspaper front page (45781188)

The MP, who has represented South Holland and the Deepings since 1997, left his last Government role as Minister of State in the Department for Transport in 2018.

Sir John said that none of his post-Government positions have been in any way related to transport.

He also said that any interests that he has pursued have gone through a ‘rigorous’ independent approval process (see below for details).

He told the Lincolnshire Free Press: “Nothing I have ever done since leaving the government has had any relation to the last ministerial job I had.

“Anything I have done has followed the proper processes, was fully checked and found to be right and proper.”

The national newspaper reported records published by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba).

This watchdog signs off appointments taken up by ministers within two years of leaving a role.

The i’s front page gallery featured 66 ex-ministers and officials, including George Osborne, Philip Hammond, Chris Grayling, Nicky Morgan and Amber Rudd.

While it featured Sir John’s image on the front page and inside, the paper didn’t elaborate on which roles it was referring to in his case.

It made clear that there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by anyone in the article – but reported on calls to reform the system.

Sir John vowed to look into the i’s report in more detail – and said he would take the matter up with the paper if he felt their report was inaccurate.

The i’s investigation came after a week in which David Cameron came under scrutiny for his connections with collapsed bank Greensill. Mr Hayes said he had only heard of Greensill after reading about it recently in the press.

Sir John Hayes.
Sir John Hayes.

For the record: Sir John’s outside interests

Sir John Hayes, who earns the basic MP salary of £81,932, has the following entries in the Register of Members' Financial Interests (all approved by Acoba):

  • £30,000 a year, paid quarterly, for 40-50 hours as President of Highbury Burton Saudi Arabia - a technical and vocational education college for women in Saudi Arabia linked to Burton and South Derbyshire College.
  • Expected £50,000 a year for 80-90 hours as strategic adviser to BB Energy Trading - described as an international energy company trading worldwide with an address in London.
  • £6,000 a quarter for a maximum of 1.5 days a month promoting Esharelife’s charitable work as non-executive director. Esharelife is described as a ‘charitable foundation set up to support infrastructure and social, cultural, educational and humanitarian projects in some of the most disadvantaged area

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