Ex-minister accused of job `scandal'

Click to follow
The former transport minister Steven Norris is set to take a job heading a private bus company, it emerged yesterday as Labour condemned a "jobs- for-the-boys" scandal.

Mr Norris, is in talks with with Capital Citybus, which operates some London Transport routes but is not one of the former London Bus subsidiaries, about taking over as non-executive chairman.

Brian Wilson, Labour campaigns spokesman, said: "This is a public scandal. The privatisation of London buses was Steven Norris's direct responsibility. Common decency dictates he should not walk out of government and start taking money from one of the beneficiaries of his policies."

The possible move would follow that of Tim Eggar energy minister to an oil company "will heighten the public impression that Tory ministers legislate for their own futures rather than the national interest", Mr Wilson said.

Mr Norris stressed no agreement had yet been reached and said: "This looks to me like a case of Mr Wilson getting his retaliation in first." Mr Norris, who is retiring as an MP at the election, produced an instant memoir of his political career earlier this year, although most attention was focused on the story of his five mistresses, some of whom were concurrent.

Meanwhile, Lord Tebbit, a former Tory party chairman and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, has retired as a non-executive director of British Telecom, a position he has held since 1987.

A BT spokesman said that Lord Tebbit had taken the decision to retire after reaching the age of 65 earlier this year.

As a cabinet minister, he privatised BT in 1984 and there was fierce controversy over his appointment. But he was in the headlines last year when he publicly backed an agreement reached between the company and Labour leader Tony Blair on the information superhighway.

Under the agreement, Labour would lift restrictions preventing BT using its network to compete with cable television companies in exchange for BT providing free access for schools, libraries and hospitals.