Tory peer Lord Lansley asked for £4k a day to give Brexit advice

A Tory peer boasted about how the Prime Minister went to his wedding as he asked for £4,300 a day to help “Chinese tycoons” looking for Brexit advice.

Lord Lansley also bragged that David Cameron had worked for him before reaching No10.

He told undercover reporters claiming to work for a Chinese firm: “Of course, Theresa and Philip – Theresa May and her husband Philip – came to our wedding.”

Fellow top Conservatives Peter Lilley and Andrew Mitchell were also caught in the sting.

Former Health Secretary Lord Lansley claimed his fee would be “about €5,000 [£4,300] a day” as he met the undercover team from Channel 4 and The Sunday Times.

He said: “I’m nearly unique in having been a private secretary to a Cabinet Minister in the Civil Service and also a Cabinet Minister.”

He said he has advised health and pharmaceutical firms on Brexit, and offered to give insight on key contacts that would help the firm lobby the Government more effectively.

Lord Lansley suggested any deal could go through wife Sally Low’s firm Low Europe.

He said: “If you had a contract separately with me it would have to appear… on the transparency register as a contract with you.

"But if it’s with Low then its covered by the Low contract.”

Ex-International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell also seemed happy to give advice for a fee.

He told the investigators: “If you look at my register of interests in the Commons you’ll see I’m paid at the rate of £6,000 a day. My constituents don’t mind what I’m paid, they mind how much time I take.

“Therefore I’ve got these six different roles and they occupy 37 days or something. I reckon I’ve got a capacity of up to about 50 days.”

In a follow-up call he said he could do six days, excluding travel, for the Chinese firm and would be available “all the time when required” – including over Christmas.

Former deputy Tory leader Peter Lilley was also willing to approach key ministers on the Chinese company’s behalf.

Talking up his links to Brexit Minister Steve Baker, he told how he still met with a group of eurosceptic MPs despite standing down from Parliament.

He also said he was one of six advisers to International Trade Secretary Liam Fox meeting every few weeks to discuss Brexit trade deals and tell him “what he is doing right”.

He said: “They’re like a sounding board of people they can trust, so they can say we’re thinking of doing this, and if we all say that would be a disaster they’d probably look at least two or three times before they do it.”

None of the men was alleged to have breached the Parliamentary standards code.

All said they were unfairly targeted in an attempted entrapment, and strongly denied misconduct.

But the revelations will fuel fears about politicians getting rich using knowledge and contacts acquired while working as MPs and funded by taxpayers.

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said: “Giving special help to one company when that information is not generally available… is just not acceptable.”

Lord Lansley, who reported himself to the Standards Commissioner, said: “I made it clear in these meetings, which took place while I was undergoing cancer treatment, that I would apply the terms of the House of Lords Code in any business relationship; and that this would be written into any contract that I entered into.

"No privileged access, insider information, lobbying activity, parliamentary advice or services were offered.”

Mr Mitchell said he would do no lobbying as it was against Commons rules. He added: “All my outside business interests – paid and unpaid – are fully registered in the House of Commons Register of Members’ Interests.

“I abide by the letter and the spirit of the rules governing the business interests of MPs.“

And Mr Lilley said: “I repeatedly made it crystal clear I would not use confidential information.

“I possess no such information. If I did I wouldn’t make it available to anyone. I did nothing improper whatsoever.”

Mr Lilley had hoped to return to Parliament as a peer, but yesterday House of Lords leader Baroness Natalie Evans appeared to block the bid.


Leave a Reply