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20 April 2023

The list of ministerial interests is a cosy affair

The register shows Rishi Sunak is not the only one with family ties to companies close to government.

By The Chatterer

Rishi Sunak often talks about the importance of hard-working families, and judging by the list of ministerial interests that is more than a political slogan.

Yesterday saw the highly anticipated publication of his government’s ministerial interests following Rishi Sunak’s failure to properly disclose his wife’s stakes in Koru Kids, a childminding agency that is set to benefit from childcare measures in the Spring Budget.

Among Sunak’s declarations is that his wife is indeed a venture-capitalist investor with fingers in a number of pies, while a few more surprising entries caught the Chatterer’s eye.

The first was that of Lucy Frazer, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whose husband is the CEO of a company with an extensive government contract for the provision of recruitment services to multiple departments, including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and a number of its arm’s length bodies.

On closer inspection, the contract started in January 2018, only a week after Frazer took up her first role in government as a junior minister in the Department for Justice. The contract will continue until 2024.

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[See also: Why Rishi Sunak is taxed less than you are]

The second is that of Neil O’Brien MP, minister for primary care, whose wife works for Circle Healthcare, a private company that also has a contract with the NHS. According to its website, Circle Healthcare has over 50 private hospitals across the UK, and advertises that NHS patients can opt to have their operations at any of its sites, covered in full by the NHS.

Finally, the security minister Tom Tugenhadt’s entry revealed that he has a family member who is a vice-president at Thales, a global technology company specialising in defence and security. Thales received a government contract in January this year, after it was added to the UK government’s G-Cloud procurement framework for the fifth consecutive time.

The company states on its website that, “Thales will supply over 20 services within the categories of cloud hosting, cloud support and cloud software. G-Cloud 13 also now adds new Thales services such as assured encryption, secure trusted access and cloud HSM. Thales are a trusted cyber solutions provider for digital transformation, particularly where safety and security are critical.”

[See also: Why won’t Labour say it will tax Rishi Sunak and the super-rich more?]

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