Bus drivers, waitresses and other people in ‘unimportant’ jobs are not fit to sit in judgement on the business interests of former ministers, a senior Government adviser said yesterday.
Tory peer Lord Lang said ordinary people were not qualified to judge whether former ministers such as Lord Mandelson should be allowed to take well-paid jobs in the private sector.
Lord Lang, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which vets the jobs of former ministers, defended the ‘Establishment’ make-up make-up of his committee, which comprises four peers, two knights and a dame.
Lord Lang, who served as trade secretary under John Major, has carved out a highly lucrative portfolio of private interests since losing his seat at the 1997 election.
The 70-year-old peer, who was educated at Rugby School and Cambridge University, is a director of no fewer than five corporations.
His most prominent role is at giant U.S. insurance firm Marsh and McLennan, where he due to become chairman in May this year. He is also a non-executive director at the hedge fund Charlemagne Capital and the Russian energy firm SoyuzNefteGaz.
Other directorships include Ukrainian wine company OJSC Sun Valley and management consultants SI Associates.
Last year Lord Lang was one of a number of senior politicians caught up in a sting by Channel Four’s Dispatches programme. Researchers set up a fake lobbying firm to establish what politicians would be prepared to offer.