From: Andrew Johnson
Date: 2009-03-15 10:14:03
www.dailymail.co.uk/… Security firm lands MoD job three months after John Reid joins as a consultant By Matthew HickleyLast updated at 12:40 AM on 14th March 2009 Former Defence Secretary John Reid faced fierce criticism yesterday as it emerged the world’s largest security firm had won a huge contract from the Ministry of Defence weeks after taking him on as a consultant. Mr Reid – who ran the MoD until May 2006 before resigning from the Cabinet while Home Secretary in June 2007 – was hired by G4S three months ago for £50,000 a year to offer ‘strategic advice’. This week, it was awarded a four-year contract to supply private security guards for around 200 MoD and military sites across Britain in a deal thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds. While many former ministers have taken private-sector jobs, it is unusual for such a senior Government figure and sitting MP to work for a company so closely linked to their former department. Opposition MPs last night said Mr Reid’s earnings from G4S were ‘totally inappropriate’, while the Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign group called for the rules governing employment for ex-ministers to be reviewed urgently. G4S – the result of a merger between Group 4 and Securicor – holds lucrative contracts with several Government departments, including the MoD. It hires out former Gurkhas as civilian trainers for British troops preparing for operations overseas, as well as providing private security guards for Government officials at home and abroad, running private prisons and immigration detention centres and operating tagging systems for criminals. Securicor also had extensive contracts with the Home Office during Mr Reid’s spell as Home Secretary, from 2006 to 2007. G4S insisted yesterday that Mr Reid had played no part in winning the latest contract with the MoD. But critics said the timing of his appointment highlighted serious problems with the monitoring of private-sector jobs for ex-ministers. More… Mandelson under fire over EC cash: ‘Golden goodbye’ should be made public, say Tories Shadow Treasury Minister Greg Hands said: ‘This appointment is just the sort of thing Gordon Brown used to complain bitterly about when he was in opposition. ‘Now that he’s in power he’s only too happy to let his Labour Party colleagues use the experience they gained in Government to cash in. ‘It has all the hallmarks of a Government that’s been in power too long and is out of touch.’ Enlarge SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said: ‘Our brave troops have had to pay the price of an illegal conflict and now it appears former defence ministers are reaping personal financial rewards. This is totally inappropriate.’ John Reid – who held a succession of senior cabinet posts under Tony Blair, but stepped down when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister – followed the required procedures by seeking advice from a special Whitehall panel last year. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments said it could ‘see no reason’ why he should not take up the post. All ministers are obliged to seek the committee’s advice if they take on any job outside Government within two years of leaving office. Cabinet ministers are expected to wait a minimum of three months before taking private work. The committee, made up of former senior civil servants and diplomats, can advise that jobs are inappropriate or add caveats, demanding that ex-ministers do not directly lobby on behalf of their new employers for up to two years. It relies on the honesty of exministers and departments and does not police its rulings. Susie Squire, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘John Reid is still an MP, and MPs are elected to represent the interests of taxpayers, not the interests of private business. ‘This appointment may be within the letter of the law, but is it within the spirit of the law? The committee should look carefully at its rules and how they are administered.’ A spokesman for G4S said: ‘Dr Reid took no part in the winning of this contract in any way. ‘Dr Reid has a wealth of domestic and international experience and as such is able to provide us with geopoliticial and strategic advice across a range of areas.’ John Reid, a committed Communist during his student days, lists his consultancy post with G4S in his register of interests as an MP, stating that he is paid between £45,000 and £50,000 a year.