MP with stake in giant health insurer lobbied for ‘Australian-style’ care insurance

MP with stake in giant health insurer lobbied for ‘Australian-style’ care insurance

A British MP with financial interests in a company that sells insurance to pay for care tried to change the law to help companies that sell insurance to pay for care.

In September, Conservative MP Marcus Fysh put forward an amendment to the controversial health and care levy. Though brief, his amendment was intended to allow the government to use the levy cash “to create incentives for investment into some kind of modern insurance scheme”, he explained to the Independent.

Writing in the Daily Mail that week, the Yeovil MP urged the government to “rebate any currently proposed extra levies” for people who signed up to insurance and savings schemes.

In the debate on the levy, Fysh did not draw his fellow MPs’ attention to his register of interests, which shows that he has a financial stake in a multinational insurance giant, AIA Group, a growing company providing health, care and life insurance across Asia and Australasia.

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Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told openDemocracy that Fysh’s actions were “quite wrong” and, in his view, a breach of the parliamentary code of conduct.

Graham said: “The rules of procedure would clearly require him to explain what his interest is in the matter, so, yes, I think that would be a breach of the code. Particularly where he’s seeking with an amendment to influence the policy of the government, then he’s duty-bound to declare any interest he has in the matter.”

Graham acknowledged that AIA does not currently operate in the UK, but added: “They might in the future, mightn’t they, and presumably all this questioning is that he anticipates that they will and he’ll make a big shot of money when they do that.”