Tory MP who strongly opposed equal marriage makes £100k a year from a company selling coronavirus tests

Owen Paterson: Tory MP profiting from company selling coronavirus tests

Tory MP Owen Paterson, who strongly opposed equal marriage in the UK, makes £100,000 a year from a company that is privately selling coronavirus testing kits.

As the Northern Ireland secretary in 2012, Paterson became the first cabinet member to publicly say he didn’t support same-sex marriage.

While then-prime minister David Cameron geared up to fight to introduce equal marriage, Paterson told one of his gay constituents that he would not back the proposal.

“Having considered this matter carefully, I am afraid I have come to the decision not to support gay marriage,” Paterson told his constituent Andrew Smith in a letter.

“The prime minister has made clear that he supports equal civil marriage and the government is rightly consulting widely on this issue before making any changes to the current position. I am worried that this will be a disappointing response,” Paterson added.

Now, Buzzfeed News has revealed that the former cabinet minister makes £100,00 a year as a paid consultant to Randox Laboratories, a company that is selling COVID-19 testing kits online for £120 a pop.

According to the register of MP’s financial interests, Owen Paterson has been a consultant to Randox Laboratories since August 2015.

From April 2017, the North Shropshire MP regularly declared a monthly income of £8,333 from the company.

Randox has been selling a “COVID-19 home testing kit” on its website for £120.

The company, which is registered in Northern Ireland, says on its website that it “has developed a revolutionary test for coronavirus (COVID-19), the new strain of coronavirus. The only test in the world that can identify the lethal strain and differentiate between other non-lethal variants with the same symptoms.”

The UK is currently mostly testing people admitted to hospital – unless you happen to be a member of the monarchy.

The government is facing criticism for not routinely testing NHS staff, despite data from other countries showing that healthcare workers are among those most at risk of catching the disease.

Paterson, who declined to give Buzzfeed comment on this story, is currently self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms.