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Deputy Labour leader alleges Health Secretary and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid has 'conflict of interest' over shares option in AI firm

Bromsgrove Editorial 19th Nov, 2021 Updated: 20th Nov, 2021

QUESTIONS are being asked about Health Secretary and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid over an alleged perceived conflict of interest and an alleged breach of the Ministerial Code over shares he previously declared in an American company.

Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner wrote to the Prime Minister’s Ethics Advisor Lord Geidt regarding the previous declaration Mr Javid relating to work and shares in California-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) firm C3.ai

Mr Javid quit his role with the firm – reported to have paid £150,000-per-year – in June 2021 when he took up the post of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

But Ms Rayner  is questioning whether he still has an ‘option for 666.7 common shares per month’ which, if correct, she feels breaches the Ministerial Code.

She also references in the letter an announcement made by Mr Javid on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care in September where he spoke about the use of technology in the health service and ‘the use of AI to shorten waiting times for the NHS’.

She concluded her letter by asking Lord Geidt: “Can you confirm whether a Minister holding shares in a company that stands to benefit from a government policy announcement represents a conflict of interest or a perceived conflict of interest?

“Can you please advise on whether this case represents a conflict of interest or a perceived conflict of interest between the Health Secretary’s ministerial position and his private financial interest and what steps you will take?”

Dr David Nicholl, who raised the issue with the Standard earlier this week, said: “This is a clear breach of the Ministerial code which I’ve been highlighting since his appointment and since Private Eye broke the story.

“Mr Javid’s answer raises even more questions, why did he not sell them immediately upon appointment.

“Private Eye estimates he holds more than £250,000 in shares not the £45,000 he states, who has he sold them to?”

The Standard contacted Mr Javid yesterday for a response and is awaiting a reply.

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