Former policing minister Sir Mike Penning MP accepts third ‘second job’ - worth £60k - with CBD firm that lobbied government

The Hemel Hempstead MP will now earn more through outside employment than his £84,000 MP salary

A former policing minister has taken on a new ‘second job’ paying £60,000 per year with a CBD firm that has lobbied the government about creating a “premium cannabis industry” in the UK.

Sir Mike Penning, accepted a role with Tenacious Holdings Limited on 1 October. He will commit up to 18 hours per month to the job, according to the register of members’ financial interests.

Penning already has two other ‘second jobs,’ including as a non-executive director at JT Consultancy, a firm owned by a Conservative donor.

The Hemel Hempstead MP told NationalWorld that his constituents “will always come first,” and he is very pleased to help Tenacious Holdings “navigate the political and legislative landscape” around CBD.

New role is worth £5,000 per month

Penning has taken on a third ‘second job,’ as a non-executive director of Tenacious Holdings and will assist the firm with its work on CBD products and the wider cannabis industry. The job will involve up to 18 hours work in exchange for £5,000 per month.

Tenacious Holdings was set up in September 2020. According to Companies House, the firm is late to file its first full set off accounts, for the period up to 28 February, which were due on 13 October.

Penning has been a vocal supporter of medicinal cannabis, particularly as a treatment for children with epilepsy, and has spoken numerous times in parliament in support of making it easier to access.

Tenacious Labs, which is registered to the same office and shares a number of directors with Tenacious Holdings, produces CBD-based products. The firm also provides secretariat services to the CBD products All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), worth £25,501 per year.

APPGs allow MPs to work on a cross-party basis and coordinate their efforts on specific areas of interest. Charities, private firms and consultancies may fund these groups and their activities, although the Standards Committee has previously raised some concerns about the potential for this process to be abused for lobbying purposes.

The firm has lobbied the government through the CBD products APPG about the CBD industry as well as the “significant economic benefits from recreational THC”.

The chairs of the APPG on CBD products forwarded a letter from the CEO of Tenacious Labs to a number of senior ministers including the Prime Minister in April, which called for the establishment of an “industry-representative forum,” which could put together a plan for a “long-term premium Cannabis industry”.

Penning told NationalWorld that he has “long been a supporter of prescribed medical cannabis to help children”.

He said: “I am very pleased to have been invited to work with Tenacious Holdings Ltd to help them navigate the political and legislative landscape as they explore the medical benefits and opportunities of CBD.

“I have long been a supporter of prescribed medical cannabis to help children with severe epilepsy as I have seen first-hand the incredible results it can achieve and I have been frustrated by the bureaucratic delays blocking access to so many children who could benefit.

He added: “Tenacious Holdings Ltd is one of the companies leading the way in this area and it is a fast-growing sector that could benefit the UK in many ways. Quite simply so many people could lose out if we don’t break down these bureaucratic blocks.”

Penning to earn more through ‘second jobs’ than MP salary

Penning already earns £2,916 per month as a non-executive director of JT Consultancy, for 10 hours work, and £750 a month as a non-executive director of Law Abroad - which trades as Underwoods Solicitors - for 1.5 hours per month.

JT Consultancy is owned by Jan Telensky, who has donated more than £65,000 to the Conservative Party since 2005. The most recent donation, of £35,000 for “campaigning, research and constituency activities,” came in August this year.

In total he will now earn £103,992 per year from the three roles, which will involve a combined commitment of up to 29.5 hours per month, or the equivalent of 6.8 hours per week. This is on top of an MP’s salary totalling more than £84,000 per year.

Despite recommendations by the Standards Committee last year following the Owen Paterson scandal last year, there are no restrictions on the amount of time MPs can spend on outside jobs, or the money they are able to earn.

Penning said: “As an MP my constituents will always come first. That remains the case whether I do paid work or unpaid work such as patronages of local charities and sports clubs.”