Sajid Javid: Why has the ex-chancellor been allowed to work for JP Morgan?

Sajid Javid Image copyright Reuters

Sajid Javid resigned as chancellor back in February 2020 after being told to sack his advisers.

Six months later he has taken up a job with US bank JP Morgan and will sit on their advisory council for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

But are there problems with a former government minister taking up such a role?

MPs are allowed to take on second jobs – and while some have argued that representing constituents should be a full time job, others say working in “the real world” keeps members of Parliament grounded in reality.

For ex-members of the government, however, taking on paid work is slightly trickier – particularly if they have only recently given up their ministerial red boxes.

If a former minister wants to start a job less than two years after leaving their government role, they should first seek advice from ACOBA – the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

‘Potential risks’

In its advice to Mr Javid, the committee warns that the former chancellor’s “privileged access to information” means accepting a job with JP Morgan carries “potential risks”.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Sajid Javid worked for JP Morgan before entering politics

“Privileged information” refers to official information a minister has gained as a result of their job, but which is not available to the public.

This privileged insight could give the MP’s employer – in Mr Javid’s case JP Morgan – an unfair advantage over their competitors.

Specifically, the committee points to his knowledge of “potentially at risk firms” and the government’s likely post-Brexit policies.

However, the committee says in its advice on Mr Javid’s new job that these risks are partly mitigated by the change in economic conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The information you had access to is unlikely to be significantly up to date given recent events, which will significantly impact the economic and political context,” the committee says.

Image caption Lord Pickles chairs the committee that examines business appointments

However, to reduce the risk of giving JP Morgan an “unfair advantage” the committee issued Mr Javid with the following advice:

  • He should not take up the job until six months after his last day in government, 13 February 2020
  • He should not draw on privileged information available to him from his time as a minister – specifically in relation to the UK government’s Brexit negotiations
  • In the two years after leaving government,

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