An MP who already works almost 100 hours per month outside parliament has taken on another ‘second job’ working with a medicinal cannabis company.
Dr Dan Poulter, the Conservative MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, has taken on a role as non-executive director at Kanabo, a medical cannabis R&D firm.
MP will work to ‘establish a regulated medicinal cannabis market’
The former health minister, who served under David Cameron and the coalition government, did not have to consult with the parliamentary watchdog on whether the role could lead to conflicts of interests, as he has been out of government for more than two years.
Dr Poulter currently serves as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health.
In a press release put out by Kanabo, the firm says Dr Poulter has “a detailed knowledge of the drugs and medicines regulatory framework in the UK” which will help Kanabo, “to establish and lead a regulated medicinal cannabis market in the UK and Europe”.
It is not clear yet how much of a time-commitment is involved in the role, or the remuneration involved.
A member of Dr Poulter’s team told NationalWorld that “details are currently being finalised and will then be published in the parliamentary Register of Members Interests”.
The government has stated several times that it has no intention of decriminalising or legalising cannabis for recreational use.
And despite the UK being a mass exporter of medicinal cannabis, it is extremely difficult for those who need cannabis-based medicine to access it in the UK.
There are numerous cases of people who need medicinal cannabis being unable to get it prescribed and then being prosecuted for trying to grow their own.
When London mayor Sadiq Khan expressed an interest in decriminalising cannabis last year, the PM’s spokesperson said “illicit drugs destroy lives and [Boris Johnson] has absolutely no intention of legalising cannabis, which is a harmful substance”.
Almost 100 hours per month
As well as serving as an MP on £81,392 per year, Dr Poulter works as an NHS doctor at a London hospital.
According to the Register of Members Interests, he averages “about 96 hours per month” in this role - the equivalent of 22 hours per week, or 12 eight-hour shifts per month.
Through his work in the NHS, Dr Poulter earns £3,804.93 per month, or £45,659.16 per year.
There are no restrictions on the amount of hours outside of parliament an MP can spend on second jobs or other activities.
While the rules around MPs employing spouses and family members to work for them have now changed, with the practice banned, those MPs who had already employed a ‘connected party’ prior to the rule change in 2017 were able to keep them on.
According to MP expenses data for 2019-2020, Dr Poulter employs his mother, Carol Poulter, as an Office Manager, on a salary of somewhere between £35,000.00 and £39,999.99.