Johnny Mercer MP blasts coverage of his Surge non-exec role as a conspiracy against him

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Several weeks after his £350-an-hour non-executive position in Crucial Academy was exposed, which was formerly part of the Surge group of companies which promoted London Capital & Finance, high-flying Johnny Mercer MP has finally broken his silence.

Today the BBC has explicitly connected Mercer’s salary to LCF. Previously, while it was a matter of public record that Crucial Academy was part of the Surge group of companies, no one had been brave enough to trace a direct financial link between Mercer and LCF. The BBC reports:

Johnny Mercer receives £85,000 from Crucial Academy, a company ultimately funded by Surge Financial Limited.

Surge Financial Limited took 25% commission for marketing bonds by London Capital and Finance (LCF), which is now in administration.

[…]

However, the accounts of Surge Group have been published and show nearly £9m was loaned from Surge Financial to Surge Group without which, the auditors said, the company would be unlikely to survive.

Surge Group then loaned £325,095 to the Crucial Group, which owns Crucial Academy.

An industry expert told the BBC the cost of training 80 people on the courses provided by Crucial would be about £240,000.

When added to the cost of Mr Mercer’s £85,000 salary, the total almost exactly matches the amount loaned to Crucial Group.

Mercer has responded on Twitter by describing the coverage as a conspiracy against him and hints that the purpose is to undermine his leadership ambitions.

Clearly there is some co-ordinated effort to go after me at present – the reasons for which are unclear.

Mercer strongly disavows any link between LCF money and himself, and suggests that the link between him and LCF is nothing out of the ordinary.

It is possible to draw a link between an individual and any number of companies.

Mercer does not provide any other examples of MPs to whom one can draw a link from other collapsed unregulated investment schemes.

12225668-6915293-Happier_times_Mercer_left_and_Careless_far_right-m-105_1555148715912
Mercer with Surge CEO Paul Careless

He describes the loan from Surge Group that funded Crucial Academy as a “historic link” which has now been repaid.

Mercer expresses sympathy with bondholders:

I have huge sympathies with bondholders, and would support them in any future action they take to try and recover their position.

before doubling down on his allegation that the coverage of his involvement with Surge is a political conspiracy.

The wider context of calling out deliberate efforts to smear me by so-called colleagues in the House of Commons, and then this story appearing so soon afterwards, I will leave for others to judge.

Why Mercer seems to think the national news media would need a political conspiracy in order to cover his recent work (prior to the management buyout) for a group of companies which took 25% commissions from London Capital & Finance I don’t know. Most of us would consider that newsworthy in and of itself.

By “calling out deliberate efforts to smear me”, Mercer appears to be referring to allegations he has recently made that Parliamentary colleagues are attempting to “dig up dirt” on him.

Mercer is spoken of as a potential future Tory leader. As yet he has not explicitly stated that he will stand to replace Theresa May, but he has called for an overhaul of Conservative Party rules to allow its membership to choose from four leadership candidates, rather than the current limit of two.

However much a threat it may pose to any leadership ambitions, Mercer does not view the coverage as sufficient reason to give up his £350-an-hour salary.

Let me be clear: Crucial Academy is a good organisation, doing good things, run by good people, with no financial link to London Capital and Finance. I have no intention of resigning or cutting them adrift in this storm.

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6 thoughts on “Johnny Mercer MP blasts coverage of his Surge non-exec role as a conspiracy against him

  1. Individuals involved with LCF have links to the Conservative Party. Are we to believe that the all of it was set up to undermine Johnny Mercer? Evan D Trump would find it hard to get anyone to believe that.
    According to Companies House Crucial Academy is 100% owned by the Crucial Group. The Crucial Group is 40% owned by The Surge Group and 25 % by Paul Careless, the rest is owned by others.
    Surge Financial worked for LCF. Surge Financial lent the Surge Group millions. For the record Surge Financial is not part of the Surge Group PLC, it is owned by Paul Careless
    Mr Mercer may call himself a non-executive director, but he is not listed at Companies House as a director of any of the crucial companies. So, he works for Crucial and has a job title with the word director in it.
    So how can a company that started in October 2017 with a capital of £1 pay an MP 85K for 240 hours a year ? If what the Crucial Academy is doing is so good why does Mr Mercer charge so much and where did he think the money came from ……..

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  2. Companies House should in theory now be out of date. The management buyout was supposed to take effect over the Easter weekend, according to a Daily Mail article last week, and it is likely that it will take Companies House some days or weeks to reflect the change of ownership.

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  3. “Clearly there is some co-ordinated effort to go after me at present – the reasons for which are unclear. … The wider context of calling out deliberate efforts to smear me by so-called colleagues in the House of Commons, and then this story appearing so soon afterwards, I will leave for others to judge.”

    Mr. Mercer needs to get with the programme.

    This is no conspiracy. You are in a trusted position and you have stuck your hand, wittingly or unwittingly, into a dirty pot and guess what – it has not come out squeaky clean. Moreover you are in politics and ALL politician will attempt to gain advantage at someone else’s expense. It happens in office politics also but on a smaller and less public stage. You would do likewise if you could gain advantage over a colleague. Your £85k p.a. was obtained because of your position but turns out might have been a bad choice given the links to a scam, so stop whining and get over it.

    It might have been you were “conned” in much the same way as innocent investors were “conned”. You could just admit you had no idea and THEN use your position to put effort into helping stop these people continuing their scamming! Help the fight against scams – ask questions in the House as to why the FCA are doing so little to bring scammers to account. Do that and you might turn the sorry situation you are in round. People like Angie Brooks – https://pension-life.com/ – and bondreview could do with an ally in Parliament to help stop pension scams.

    People might forgive and forget. Whinge and whine you are a victim of a conspiracy and you will just make it worse!

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  4. I accept that the reported changes have yet to filter through the Companies House system. But the claim that the link between Crucial – Surge – LCF is not well founded is risible. The Financial Conduct Authority in its notice to LCF to stop a marketing it bonds named the website top-isa-rates.co.uk. This site is run by RPDigitalServices Limited, a director of this company, with the same name and birthday, was until April this year a director of the Crucial Academy. If Mr Mercer attended any board meetings, he may have met him. The same person seems to be a director of the Surge Group.

    I not going to repeat all the well document statements relating to Surge Financial connections to LCF

    The article gives evidence, from published accounts. of the loans between Surge Financial – Surge Group – Crucial Group

    Apparently, none of this documented evidence is relevant. It is all fake news invented to damage Mr Mercer and all done by his own party!

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  5. What job description does Mr. Mercer hold for his excessive Pay per Hours employment?.
    If he has nothing to hide then let us all see what is really going on and he can be judged accordingly.
    I am sick and tired of him being sold to us as the Angel MP of our Valiant Veterans.

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  6. This is from the register of Members Financial Interest for J Mercer MP published 1 October 2018 “From 14 Sept 2018 until further notice, Non-executive Director of Crucial Academy Ltd, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf London E14 5AB , for which I will receive £85,000 per annum. Hours 20 hrs per month. (registered 18 September 2018) ”

    The rules of parliament say that he should disclose “the nature of the work involved” , but this is all you get.

    He does not seem very keen to say what he does for the money, but he does seem very keen to hold on to it though.

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