A NORTH Hampshire MP was paid the equivalent of £40,000 for eight days work at a private health care firm, it has been revealed.

Ranil Jayawardena, Member of Parliament for North East Hampshire, made the money in share options whilst consulting for the private sector drugs company PepTcell Ltd in the last year.

It has been revealed by the latest release of the House of Commons register of financial interest.

According to the document, the Minister for International Trade has also declared £15k in donations and benefiting from free travel on the Great Western Railway network in exchange for consulting for them.

A district councillor in his constituency said that he had concerns over the revelations, saying: “On the face of it, it doesn’t look good.”

But Mr Jayawardena’s office said that he “complies fully with the Ministerial Code”.

According to the new document, the government minister also employs his wife as a part-time senior researcher; her salary is paid for out of Mr Jayawardena’s taxpayer-funded parliamentary expenses.

The Yorkshire Post reported last month that as a part time senior researcher, Alison Lyn Jayawardena’s average salary would be £42,278 per year.

A Gazette investigation has uncovered that until August 2020, the North East Hampshire MP was the director of a company called Ringshall Ltd.

Whilst he resigned soon after he became a government minister, his wife Alison remained the sole director.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The register states until August 2020, in return for being Non-Executive Director for approximately four days a year, Ringshall received share options valued at £20,000 from PepTcell.

Additionally, in return for providing an ‘expected four days of strategic consultancy’ to PepTcell, Ringshall received another set of share options valued at £20,000.

Share options give the owner the ability to buy the equivalent value of shares in the company when desired.

PepTcell Ltd are a company that research, develop and sell over the counter and prescription medicines, and manage and operate a number of private healthcare clinics.

The company has reportedly had “promising results” in finding a universal flu vaccine.

Approximately a further £2,600 per month was earned by Ringshall in return for Mr Jayawardena being chairman of TrustMark – the Basingstoke-based business that accredits builders for the government - for four days of the month.

TrustMark, headquartered in Basing View, boast on their website that they are the “Government Endorsed Quality Scheme covering work a consumer chooses to have carried out in or around their home”.

The document also states that Ringshall received payment of £650 per day for Mr Jayawardena’s work there, plus reasonable expenses incurred, until 5 August 2020.

Other payments for extra work include £1,400 plus free travel on Great Western Rail for consulting on its advisory board, and £1,070 for completing opinion surveys for the likes of ComRes, YouGov and Ipsos MORI.

He states that all payments from the surveys were “used to help meet the costs of my office and to support my work as a Member of Parliament”. The Hampshire-born MP earns over £80,000, topped up by more than £22,000 as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Trade.

In addition to all the above income the document details the Minister received £15,000 in donations from two separate donors.

Cllr Graham Cockarill, who sits on Hart District Council and ran against the incumbent Conservative MP in last December’s general election, said: “£80,000 a year for a government minister is a reasonable amount of money.

“One wonders why he feels the need to get quite so involved in outside bodes, and I do quite wonder whether having shares in a private health company is the right sort of thing a government minister should do.

“It is one of those things that on the face of it you have got to ask ‘why would you do that?’, particularly as it is share options in a private healthcare company and there are a lot of talks about vaccines generally with coronavirus.

“On the face of it, it doesn’t look good.”

A spokesperson for Mr Jayawardena’s office said: “Mr Jayawardena complies fully with the Ministerial Code.

“Quite properly, the Register of Members’ Interests details his past business involvement, and this was scrutinised fully by the Cabinet Office on Mr Jayawardena’s appointment as a Minister.

“Our focus remains serving local people at this difficult time.”

Other North Hampshire MPs earned a significant amount less that Ranil Jayawardena.

Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, received no additional income, gifts or donations.

Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire, and Minister of State declared over 15% of issued share capital in County Finance Group Ltd but received no donations or gifts.