Labour questions new youth justice minister's Serco links
Monday, June 18, 2018
The government's new youth justice minister is facing questions over a potential conflict of interest after it emerged he is a former senior employee of outsourcing firm Serco.
Edward Argar, Conservative MP for Charnwood, has replaced Phillip Lee at the Ministry of Justice following Lee's resignation last week over the way Theresa May is delivering Brexit.
Argar was previously head of UK and Europe public affairs at Serco, which has a number of prisons contracts and previously ran Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, in County Durham, prior to its closure in 2014.
His new role will include overseeing the establishment of proposed "secure schools" as part of efforts to place a greater focus on the education and rehabilitation of young offenders.
Labour's shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon has asked whether Argar will be dealing with any contracts related to his former employer as part of his work.
The Tories' new Justice Minister used to be Serco Head of Public Affairs.— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) June 15, 2018
Serco runs 5 private prisons.
Serco is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over an offender tagging contract.
Will the Minister be dealing with any Serco contracts?https://t.co/G4iJt9pBXg
The Ministry of Justice has declined to comment, but said that Argar had been appointed in line with normal procedures and rules.