Ian McCartney

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Ian McCartney (born 25 April 1951, Lennoxtown, East Dumbartonshire) is the former British Labour MP for Makerfield (1987-2010) and a former Cabinet minister.

Political career

McCartney served in the Cabinet for four years, between 2003 and 2007. He was Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs (2006-2007), Minister of State for Pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions (2001-2003), Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (1999-2001), and Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry (1997-1999).[1]

Nuclear firm adviser

McCartney moved into a lucrative job within the nuclear industry around the same time as the UK Government was undertaking a public consultation and then gave the go-ahead to proceed with a new generation of nuclear power plants.

The former chairman of the Labour Party and former Trade Minister was reportedly paid between £110,000 - £115,000 to act as a senior adviser to Fluor Corporation, on top of his £60,000 a year MP's salary. Although the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments gave McCartney permission to take the appointment it was on condition that he did not lobby the Government for a year.

One part of lobbying is gaining privileged access to MPs. Six months after quitting his position as Trade and Industry Minister in June 2007, the press reported how McCartney was spotted in the Commons "entertaining an executive from a controversial US nuclear company". The person concerned was Flour's UK boss, Ian Thomas, who said that he was there on a "social visit". Flour was on a shortlist of four firms seeking to win a contract worth billions for decommissioning the Sellafield nuclear power site. [2] Flour did not end up securing the contract, losing out a year later to rival AMEC, which had recruited the services of fellow former Labour minister Richard Caborn.

In January 2009 McCartney told the House of Commons public administration committee: "I don't lobby for Fluor and this is explicit in our agreement, lodged with the House authorities." McCartney also stated that he personally received no money for this role: part of the fee was used to employ someone in Westminister from his Makerfield constituency until 31 May 2009 and the rest donated to an Indian women's charity.

While there was no suggestion McCartney had done anything wrong under the current rules the committee 'came to the conclusion that their corporate paymasters were probably more interested in their address books than their knowledge of Parliamentary procedure'.

'It stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that the fact that they were former ministers with contacts in government did not play a part in the decisions by AMEC and Fluor to employ them,' the report says.
Part of the appeal of employing former ministers is the perception - accurate or not - that they will be able to offer access across government. This is particularly so when the their party remains in government.
[The committee] called for a tightening up of the rules to prevent former ministers being able to "use with impunity the contacts they build up as public servants to further a private interest". [3]

The MP's Register of Financial Interests stated that McCartney would cease any consultancy work with Flour from 30 June 2009. [4]


  • Adviser,[5] Fluor (http://www.fluor.com/) - American nuclear power giant - October 2007-June 2009[6]. Approved by ACOBA allowing him to "take up [the role] forthwith but, for 12 months after leaving office, he should not be personally involved in lobbying the Government on behalf of the company or its clients".[7] McCartney says his work with Fluor involves, 1) I advise on economic, social, political and environmental issues, 2) I advise on anti-corruption and business ethics practices, 3) I advise on regulatory matters and 4) I advise on outside relations, eg trades unions, He does not 1) I don't lobby for Fluor and this is explicit in our agreement, lodged with the House authorities, 2) I am not involved in any bidding process or negotiations and 3) I don't benefit in any way if Fluor is successful[8]


Notes and References

  1. Ian mcCartney, About Ian, accessed 27 November 2008.
  2. Jonathan Oliver, Cash-for-access row as former Labour minister Ian McCartney entertains nuclear boss in Commons Daily Mail, 10 November 2007, 21 May 2012
  3. Brian Wheeler, Lobbying and British politics, BBC News, 30 January 2009, accessed 21 May 2012
  4. [http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/ian_mccartney/makerfield Ian McCartney Former Labour MP for Makerfield], They Work For You, accessed 21 May 2012
  5. Deedes, henry, "Pandora: McCartney's paymasters come off second best in nuclear battle," The Independent, 23 July 2008, accessed 27 November 2008.
  6. Ian McCartney They Work For You, accessed 6 November 2014
  7. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments Ninth Report 2006-2008 Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, accessed 6 November 2014
  8. Memorandum from Rt Hon Ian McCartney MP Publications.parliament.uk, accessed 6 November 2014