Sir Graham Brady discussed claiming a consultancy payment of “something like £60,000” during a sting operation set up by campaign group Led By Donkeys – but the Altrincham and Sale West MP has insisted he would have operated within the bounds of the MPs’ Code of Conduct.
Brady is one of a number of Conservative MPs to have been included in a video after apparently being duped by the group, which since 2018 has regularly attacked government policy.
During the seven-and-a-half minute video, the MPs were interviewed by a woman purporting to be a senior executive for a South Korean investment firm, Hanseong Consulting, who it was claimed wanted individuals for an international advisory board.
It said advisors would be needed to attend six board meetings a year with a “very attractive” renumeration package and “generous” travel expenses.
The Observer reported that Brady, who recently announced he would be stepping down at the next general election, was interviewed remotely in his parliamentary office in mid-February.
During the interview, Brady quoted £60,000 a year as a reasonable fee, and agreed that a rate of £500 an hour and £6,000 a day would be appropriate, but open to negotiation.
The Observer report added: “He said he was always careful to follow the rules, but said he might be able to identify people in government to approach and “how to do it in the most appropriate way”.”
Brady told Altrincham Today that he did have an “exploratory discussion” but that he had made clear that “any arrangement would have to be completely transparent”.
He said: “Having decided to leave the Commons at the next election, I have received a number of approaches regarding future opportunities. I did have an exploratory discussion with someone purporting to be recruiting an international advisory board for a South Korean investment house.
“I made it clear that any arrangement would have to be completely transparent and that whilst a Member of Parliament, I would only act within the terms of the Code of Conduct.
“I also made it clear that whilst I could be flexible in attending international meetings in person, this would be subject to some important votes and commitments at Westminster.”
The MPs Code of Conduct, which sets out the standards of behaviour expected of Members of Parliament, does allow MPs to take on outside work in addition to their Parliamentary and constituency duties.
It does however require MPs to have a written contract for any outside work, where the contract (or a formal letter) states that the MP cannot lobby for their employer or give paid parliamentary advice, and that their employer can’t ask them to do so.
The code was updated in December 2022 to tighten the rules around lobbying, transparency and conflicts of interest.
In the same video, former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and former health secretary Matt Hancock were shown agreeing to work for £10,000 a day for the fake South Korean firm.
Speaking on Sky News this morning, Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell said she was “appalled and sickened” by the story.
“Being an MP is absolutely a full-time job, it’s not just a full-time job, it’s a whole lifetime commitment and our constituents need us to be fully focused on that.”