One of the areas I have become increasingly interested in is cyber-security. It has profound implications for the future, including strategic threats from governments like the Russian and Chinese as well as the integrity of modern businesses, particularly those with a strong IT dimension. I used to advise on this policy issue, before becoming an MP, and it has only become more topical and important since.
As well as reading up on the various reports on the ‘strategic’ or ‘geopolitical’ threats and challenges, I want to better understand the commercial perspective from businesses’ point of view. So, from the New Year, I have agreed to join the Advisory Board of Reliance ACSN Limited, a UK cyber security firm. It is a paid role with a (flexible) time commitment of up to 18 days per year, which doesn’t involve any lobbying of government. I have cleared the role with Whitehall’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (as a former Minister), and (as an MP) declared it with the House of Commons’ Register of Members’ Interests.
Cyber security is a good example of a public policy issue that cuts across business and government. I also look forward to having some renewed exposure to an interesting business in the sector – not least because it is all too easy for politicians to lose touch, in the Westminster bubble, with the real challenges that businesses are facing.