A Wealden MP and former energy minister has accepted a lucrative second job as a consultant at a major oil trading firm.
Wealden MP Charles Hendry has been added to the payroll at Vitol – a Swiss-based but Dutch-owned energy trading company – in a role that will earn him £60,000 a year.
The sum is almost as much as his parliamentary salary, despite his consultant role taking up just one-and-a-half days of work per month.
The role has been cleared by the Office of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, the Westminster watchdog that polices former ministers’ outside interests.
Mr Hendry told the committee he had ‘some contact’ with Vitol during his time as the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change – a position he held from 2010 to 2012.
In the updated register of members’ interests, Mr Hendry has disclosed that he has accepted the £60,000-a-year post as a ‘consultant to Vitol Group, an energy trading and service company’.
He told The Independent, “My involvement with Vitol has primarily been on UK and EU energy issues and I am completely satisfied there is no conflict of interests between anything I have, or might, be asked to do for Vitol and my role as an MP. More generally, British companies have billions of pounds of investments in Russia and many jobs depend on well-established trading links.
“In times of political stress, it is right that the Government seeks to protect those relations.”
Tamasin Cave of the lobbying group Spinwatch said of his post at Vitol, “Given the current geopolitical climate (in Crimea) this job is extremely ill-timed and highly inappropriate.”
A Vitol spokesperson said, “To date, Charles Hendry has solely provided advisory services to Vitol with regard to UK and EU energy policy.”