Ex-Business and Energy Secretary advised against UK energy sector roles

Former UK Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, offered an advisory position at Fortescue Metals Group, has been advised against any involvement in the UK energy sector due to potential conflicts

Former Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been advised not to pursue roles within the UK energy sector.

This advisory comes as Mr Kwarteng reportedly received an offer for a position from Australian commodities giant Fortescue Metals Group.

The recommendation stems from concerns regarding potential overlaps between the company’s UK operations and Mr Kwarteng’s previous responsibilities and access to energy-related information during his tenure.

As a result, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments suggested that Kwasi Kwarteng should abstain from participating in any aspect of the UK energy sector.

In its letter, the committee said: “Given the company’s work in the UK will overlap directly with your access to information and responsibilities for green energy and the hydrogen energy market in the UK, the committee has recommended you are prevented from working in any aspect of the UK energy sector.

“This would not prevent you carrying out the role you have described for the rest of the global market that Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) operates in.”

During his time in office, Mr Kwarteng was responsible for overseeing key energy policies, including those related to decarbonisation and the development of the UK’s Hydrogen Strategy.

Given these responsibilities, the committee expressed concerns about the possibility of offering any energy company an unfair advantage through his insights and network gained during his term.

While the committee acknowledged that no policy, regulatory, or funding decisions were made specifically in favour of FFI, Mr Kwarteng had met with representatives of FFI during his time in office.

Considering these factors, the committee proposed several conditions to mitigate potential conflicts of interest.

These include a 12-month waiting period from Kwasi Kwarteng’s last day in ministerial office, restrictions on sharing privileged information from his time in office and a two-year period during which he should not engage in lobbying on behalf of FFI or provide advice on the UK energy sector.

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