Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP, takes on seventh job at Russian-founded firm

Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis arrives in Downing Street in London, ahead of a cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday October 18, 2022.
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis Credit: PA

An MP has been accused of bringing “shame” on his constituency after taking on a seventh job advising a company partly owned by two sanctioned Russian oligarchs.

Great Yarmouth MP Sir Brandon Lewis - who earns more than £200,000 from his six other jobs - is expected to earn in the “low hundreds of thousands of pounds” for his latest role.

The former cabinet minister is set to join investment firm LetterOne as a senior adviser.

The company was founded by billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven who were placed on the UK’s sanctions list following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

While LetterOne has restructured itself to comply with sanctions, the businessmen still own about half of shares.

Sir Brandon's six other jobs are:

  • His role as MP - which gets him £86,584

  • Two £60,000-a-year gigs with property developer Thakeham Homes and infrastructure firm FM Conway - he works eight hours a month for each company

  • Consultant for Civitas Investment Management - making £30,000 a year for four hours of work each month

  • Director of Woodland Schools, a private schools group in Essex - for which he waived payment but received the use of a company car valued at £10,000.

  • An unpaid patron of the right-wing Adam Smith Institute - which has previously criticised a crackdown on MP's second jobs.

Former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Labour’s candidate for Great Yarmouth, Keir Cozens, said the Great Yarmouth MP had "no shame".

He continued: “To be taking this money at a time of war, when our own country continues to stand proudly with Ukraine, is indefensible.

“Any other MP would have resigned long ago. His contempt for our constituency and the people who live here can no longer be tolerated.

“Every day Brandon Lewis clings to office, all he does is bring further shame and neglect. Great Yarmouth deserves better.”

Sir Brandon said he is "proud" of his record as MP and his time commitment to his additional jobs have been "modest". He said he had sought advice on his multiple roles.

He said: "Having served as a government minister and Secretary of State for 10 years, I know that my previous ministerial responsibilities involved a much greater time commitment but I still always continued carried out my duties as MP with care and diligence.

"Along with my team, in Great Yarmouth and Parliament, I continue to deal with hundreds of constituent enquiries every week. That hard work for our community continues undimmed.

"Over the years, working with colleagues, I have helped secure huge investments in Great Yarmouth. This includes government funding for the Third River Crossing, £60 million to regenerate our town centre and much-needed A147 improvements.

"We are looking forward to our new hospital being built within a few years.

"And I've stood up on the issues that matter for Great Yarmouth, such as opposing the use of hotels in tourist areas to house asylum seekers whilst waiting for cases to be determined.

"This use of hotels has now been scrapped by the Home Office. I am currently fighting for better access to NHS dental treatment in the constituency, along with the day to day case work for constituents across Great Yarmouth."

Just last week ahead of Storm Babet, residents in Hemsby displayed a banner that read 'Shame on you' - criticising authorities, including MP Sir Brandon, for failing to fund a permanent coastal barrier for the village.

Donations to Sir Brandon have been criticised in the past, with him receiving almost £50,000 from Russian oligarchs between 2014 and 2022.

The money came from Lubov Chernukhin and Alexander Temerko, who are now British citizens.

Ms Cherukhin has Russian parents and Ukrainian-born Temerko lived and worked in Russia before fleeing the country in 2004.

There is no suggestion of impropriety relating to the donations.

The appointment to LetterOne has been cleared by the government’s independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which vets job applications by former ministers to avoid conflicts of interest.

Talking to the Financial Times about the second job, Sir Brandon said: “LetterOne has travelled a huge distance since Putin’s abhorrent invasion of Ukraine.

“It is now fully separate from its sanctioned founders and focused on investments that are vital for society as well as being one of the biggest corporate donors of aid to Ukraine.”

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