Statement – Aerosol Shield

16th February 2021

Having left my entrepreneurial career to stand on a platform of restoring trust in our broken politics after the MPs expenses scandal, I take compliance with parliamentary and ministerial rules extremely seriously. Please see below the chronological chain of ACOBA’s recent findings on my work with Aerosol Shield last year- including my statements and my latest letter to ACOBA.

Update 16 Feb 2021

Following the most recent letter from Lord Pickles, please see here my response to ACOBA, dated 16 Feb 2021

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Update 1 Feb 2021

My latest correspondence with ACOBA, dated 28 Jan 2021

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27 Jan 2021

I am appalled that my pro-bono work helping identify technologies to help the Government’s Covid crisis is being misrepresented as a breach of ACOBA rules. 

Last March and April, there was a National call from Ministers for a national effort to source any technology to help with the Covid emergency: from ventilators to PPE. With a background in medical technology, I did all I could to help - including securing a charitable gift of disposable PPE for frontline healthcare workers in Norfolk. 

Although this had nothing to do with my previous role in Government at the Department of Transport, but my professional background in Life Science technology before coming to Parliament, I contacted ACOBA to seek advice and make sure there could be no confusion.

They were clear that I did NOT require ACOBA approval for this - only for any ongoing long term commercial work which might transpire which fell within ACOBA’s remit which is to ensure Ministers do not exploit insights or influence gained through their previous Ministerial experience through commercial work within two years of holding office.

Aerosol Shield had an innovative new idea for a much stronger face shield which could protect frontline NHS staff. Along with other proposals, I helped ensure Ministers were aware of this new equipment which could potentially save thousands of lives.

Sadly Aerosol Shield were turned down by NHS procurement.

Two months later, the founding medics then decided to try and raise money from commercial technology investors and asked me if I would help them with their plans for that, given my professional career background in this sector. 

In June, I did a short piece of consulting work with Aerosol Shield for which I invoiced for £5k, and fully declared in the Register of Interests. 

On the basis of ACOBAs advice, because it had nothing to do with my previous role at DfT, and was not an ongoing piece of work, I did not believe it needed clearing with ACOBA.  

ACOBA have themselves admitted to me that the guidance wasnt clear and apologised to me to me for that, and confirmed that I have done everything asked in responding and the matter is closed from ACOBAs perspective

Now no longer a Minister I am involved in a number of Not-For-Profit and charitable projects - from The Bridge of Hope set up in memory of my late father, to The Big Tent Foundation, The Norfolk Way Festival, and an international Health Resilience Commission, none of which involve exploiting any Ministerial benefits, but all of which I am discussing with ACOBA to avoid any further confusion.

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November 2020

Please see below my recent letter to ACOBA