Tory MP Steve Brine Under Investigation By Standards Watchdog For Lobbying
Senior Tory MP Steve Brine is being investigated by the parliamentary watchdog for potential breaches of lobbying rules. (Alamy)
Chair of the health select committee Steve Brine is being investigated by parliament's commissioner for standards for potential breaches of lobbying rules.
The Winchester MP is being investigated under "paid advocacy" and "declaration of interests" guidelines for MPs after being referred by Labour party chair, Anneliese Dodds.
Dodds said: "The public are rightly sick of this constant slew of Conservative sleaze.
"These are very serious allegations and the commissioner must be given space to thoroughly and independently investigate."
The probe comes after leaked WhatsApp messages seen by the Telegraph appeared to suggest Brine lobbied then NHS England chief, Simon Stevens.
In a message forwarded to then health secretary Matt Hancock on 2 February 2021 from Michael Gove, Brine wrote: "Dear Michael... sorry to raise this but having tried the Dept of Health (seemed logical) and the Chief Exec of NHSE (ditto) I am at a loss.
"Long story short, I have been trying for months to help the NHS through a company I am connected with - called 'Remedium'.
"They have 50 anaesthetists right now who can be in the country and on the ground in the NHS if someone only said let's us help. They just want to assist and asked me how they might."
A further message from Brine read: "Despite offering this to health and to Simon Stevens I've had nothing despite SS telling the press conference last week this is an acute problem, despite the PM telling the Liaison Committee this is his biggest problem etc etc.
"How might I progress this or does the NHS just not need the help? S."
According to the MPs register of interests, Remedium paid Brine £1,600 for eight hours of work each month from July 2020 to the end of December 2021.
In a statement to the Telegraph responding to its story, Brine said: "This was about responding in the national interest to an urgent public call from ministers and the NHS in a national crisis even if, ultimately, it led nowhere let alone secure any business for Remedium."
The investigation into Brine comes after Owen Patterson was forced to resign as a Tory MP November 2021 after it was found that he had broken paid advocacy rules.
His resignation came following a recommended 30 day suspension from the House of Commons after it emerged he had been paid for consultancy work for Randox from 2015 and Lynn's Country Foods from 2016.
The case raised broader questions about whether MPs should be allowed to have lucrative second jobs, with Patterson earning around £110,000-a-year alongside his then £81,932 MP salary.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe