Julian Smith MP criticised for taking on third lucrative advisory role
Last updated Apr 15, 2021
julian smith
The MP will be paid £60,000 for 30 to 40 hours advising a cruise ship refurbishment company.

Skipton and Ripon Conservative MP Julian Smith has been criticised for taking on a third lucrative advisory role in a year.

His latest position is advising MJM Marine, a County Down-based cruise ship refurbishment company.

He will be paid £60,000 for 30 to 40 hours of work over the next year.

In total, his three advisory positions, all with businesses related to Northern Ireland, will earn him up to £144,000 for 84 hours work.

This is almost double his salary as an MP which is £81,932.

Former Northern Ireland secretary

Mr Smith was dismissed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in February last year but received praise across the political spectrum for his role in bringing a power-sharing agreement back to the country.

Since he left government, the majority of his tweets have related to Northern Ireland politics.

Mr Smith has previously been warned by a government advisory committee about his business roles and the potential for a perceived conflict of interest with his former role as a Northern Ireland minister.

‘His constituents deserve better’

News of Mr Smith’s latest appointment comes as former prime minister David Cameron is at the centre of lobbying concerns.

Brian McDaid, who stood for the Labour Party against Mr Smith in Skipton and Ripon in 2019, accused the MP of focusing more on his business interests in Northern Ireland than on his constituents.

He told the Stray Ferret:

“What experience and knowledge is required to carry out these advisory roles?

“During these times of austerity and the impact of the pandemic on us all, Mr Smith must be struggling on his MP’s salary to have to seek additional work with very lucrative remuneration.

“His constituents deserve so much better, especially during these very difficult and uncertain times.”

David Edwards, chair of the Skipton and Ripon Liberal Democrats, told the Stray Ferret:

“The fact that Mr Smith appears to be more willing to put his time and effort into consulting for businesses in Northern Ireland rather than represent and address the concerns of his constituents in Skipton and Ripon unfortunately comes as no surprise.

“This also adds to the current wider concerns around the relationships between ministers and private companies and we support a comprehensive review and reform into the rules around this.”

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Mr Smith’s jobs

Ryse Hydrogen: £60,000 for 12 months. He is expected to work 20 hours.

In August 2020, Mr Smith took an advisory role with Ryse Hydrogen. Its chief executive Jo Bamford also owns Wrightbus, a Northern Ireland bus production company that has a relationship with the Northern Ireland Office in government.

Simply Blue Management: £2,000 a month for one or two hours a month over 12 months.

In January this year, Mr Smith began advising Cork-based firm Simply Blue Management. Its website describes itself as ‘the leading early stage developer of sustainable and transformative marine projects’.

MJM Marine: £60,000 for 12 months. He is expected to work 30 to 40 hours.

From last month, Mr Smith began advising MJM Marine on ‘business development’. The company calls itself a ‘leading international specialist in cruise ship refurbishment’. It’s based in County Down, Northern Ireland.

The Stray Ferret contacted both Julian Smith and MJM Marine for a response but we did not receive one at the time of publication.