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More ex-ministers take private sector jobs amid ‘revolving door’ claims

The number of former ministers taking up jobs outside parliament has risen by nearly 60% in a year, new official figures disclose.

The increase, from 33 former ministers to 52, coincides with complaints that lawmakers are routinely making use of a “revolving door” to pursue lucrative contracts in the private sector.

Francis Maude, the former Cabinet Office minister and industry minister, appears to have taken up the highest number of external roles over the past year, with nine.

Ed Davey, the former energy secretary, declares eight different commissions from his independent consultancy, which specialises in energy and climate change.

The data has been disclosed in the annual report of the ministerial jobs watchdog, the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba).

Ex-ministers are required to seek and abide by the committee’s advice before taking up appointments in the two-year period after they leave office.

The report found that the committee advised 52 former ministers in relation to 104 appointments in the year to March 2017. During the previous year, 33 former ministers took up 123 jobs.

Maude’s jobs include being an adviser on Brexit to the international law firm Covington and Burling, an adviser to OakNorth Bank, the chair of an advertising agency, and an adviser to a business intelligence firm, GPW. He has also set up his own consultancy.

Davey, who lost his seat in May 2015 but returned to parliament at this year’s general election, established an independent consultancy which has taken on work from companies including Engie UK, SIT Group, and NextEnergy Capital.

George Osborne, the former chancellor who stood down as an MP in July, was severely criticised in May for taking up a job as editor of the Evening Standard without waiting for advice from Acoba.

Since leaving office, he has also worked in a £650,000-a-year advisory post at the investment bank BlackRock, got a professorship at the University of Manchester, become a fellow at the McCain Institute in Arizona and been paid £75,000 to attend speaking engagements.

Since leaving Downing Street last year, David Cameron has taken up four roles. He is on the books of Washington Speakers Bureau, is president of the Alzheimer’s Society and has taken up an unpaid appointment as chairman of the LSE-Oxford Commission on Growth in Fragile States.

Acoba was branded a “toothless regulator” in April by the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, amid calls for a much tougher system of independent checks.

A National Audit Office report issued this week found that rules that are meant to stop civil servants abusing their contacts and knowledge in the private sector are not being consistently applied or monitored.

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