'No Ships' Chris Grayling To Be Paid £100,000 A Year To Advise Ports Company

Grayling, once dubbed the “worst transport secretary of all time”, will collect his six-figure salary for just seven hours of work per week.

Former transport secretary Chris Grayling, who once gave a no-deal Brexit ferry contract to a company with no ships, is to be paid £100,000 a year to advise a leading ports company.

Grayling, once dubbed the “worst transport secretary of all time” by Labour, will collect his six-figure salary in return for just seven hours of work per week for Hutchison Ports Europe.

The Tory MP’s appointment as a “strategic adviser” was approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments earlier this month, the latest MPs’ register of interests shows.

Grayling’s time at the Department for Transport left taxpayers with a £100m bill for ferries chartered to bring in vital supplies if there was a no-deal Brexit, but which were never used.

He also faced calls to resign after awarding one of the contracts - worth £13.8m - to run Channel crossings between Belgian port Ostend and Ramsgate in Kent to Seaborne Freight - a company which had no ferries.

But Grayling refused to apologise for the debacle, describing criticism of him as “baffling” and at one point telling the Commons “I did see ships”, in a reversal of Horatio Nelson’s famous quote.

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: “The now former minister for no ships must wish his list of successes was as long as his list of nicknames.

“With a role like this, the public deserve to know that MPs are on the side of public interest and not the pockets of lobbyists.

“To allow a conflict of interest would be an utter outrage.”

"I did see ships"
"I did see ships"
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

Grayling held on to his job before being eventually sacked by Boris Johnson when he replaced Theresa May as prime minister in 2019.

More recently, Grayling found himself at the centre of another controversy after he failed to be elected chair of the influential Commons intelligence and security committee despite being Johnson’s top pick for the post.

In a major snub, backbencher Julian Lewis was instead picked by the nine-strong committee.

Lewis was later stripped of the Tory whip for upending the prime minister’s plans, while Grayling quit the committee.


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