Published: 12:08, 07 August 2017
A Kent MP says her husband’s brush with cancer persuaded her to join the board of a company developing new treatments involving cell biotechnology.
Maidstone and Weald MP Helen Grant has joined a company called Celixir as a non-executive director and says a “significant proportion” of the £25,000 a year she will receive will go to charities in Maidstone.
Mrs Grant said it was important MPs took up roles that better connected them with the world outside Westminster. But a key factor had been her husband Simon’s illness.
She said: “In the wake of my husband’s recent encounter with cancer I was more than pleased when I was invited to join the board of this young company and help them realise their potential to help millions of patients around the world.”
“I have always had a special interest in health as most of my close family have a medical background.
"I was also a non-executive director of one of England’s largest Primary Care Trusts before seeking election as an MP.
"My role at Celixir will be to use my legal and professional skills and experience to handle, among other things, conflicts of interest and ethical issues at board level.”
“Prior to the 2010 general election I went on the record as saying I believed it is important for MPs to have outside interests to ensure they remain connected with the world beyond Westminster.
"My view has not changed and the knowledge I am gaining from my work with Celixir will certainly enhance my ability to represent my constituents in the public health sector.”
She said that when she stopped being a minister in 2015, she took on other roles, including becoming a trustee of the Human Trafficking Foundation and of the Social Mobility Foundation, which were unpaid.
The appointment, which appears in the latest MPs’ register of interests, was approved by the relevant Parliamentary authorities before she accepted the invitation.
Celixir describes itself as a company specialising in developing regenerative medicines.
It was founded in 2009 and is led by Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Martin Evans and former Roche Global Head of Emerging Technologies, Ajan Reginald.