Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg – who has sparked outrage by calling abortion a “death cult” – previously admitted that his investment firm profited from pills used in abortions.
The ex-cabinet minister was accused of hypocrisy over his attack on abortion rights, following Somerset Capital Management’s £5m investment in an Indonesian company called Kalbe Farma.
Kalbe Farme produced pills used to treat stomach ulcers, but were reportedly also used by some in Indonesia to trigger abortions when news of the investment emerged in 2017.
Mr Rees-Mogg said at the time that he accepted he did profit from Somerset Capital Management’s £4.8m investment in the Indonesian company “in a very roundabout way” through dividend payments.
He told the Sunday Mirror: “I don’t manage the funds and haven’t done so since I became an MP. But the funds have to be run in accordance with the requirements of the investors and not according to my religious beliefs.”
“This is not something I would wish to invest in personally but you have a duty as an investment manager not to impose constraints on investors,” he added.
Mr Rees-Mogg also said in 2017: “Kalbe Farma obeys Indonesian law so it’s a legitimate investment and there’s no hypocrisy. The law in Indonesia would satisfy the Vatican. It would be wrong to pretend that I like it but the world is not always what you want it to be.”
The MP went on: “This company does not procure the abortion of babies. It’s not my money in these investments and I profit from the total amount of client money we hold, not the investments we make.”
Mr Rees Mogg does not have any of his own money invested in the fund, having withdrawn from managing Somerset Capital Management’s investments since he became an MP in 2010.
But the former business secretary has continued to receive dividend payments from Somerset Capital Management, having shareholdings in the company he co-founded.
The Dutch-based women’s rights organisation Women on Waves has advised women in Indonesia that Kalbe Farma’s Misoprostol product – known by the brand name Invitec – was available in pharmacies and could be used as an abortion medication.
Indonesia continues to allow abortion only in medical emergencies, but many abortions occur under unsafe conditions, according to international health experts.
Some social media users accused of Mr Rees-Mogg of “hypocrisy” on Tuesday, tweeting him links to stories about the investment in the Indonesian pharma firm following his attack on abortion during a Westminster debate.
Mr Rees-Mogg told fellow MPs that it was “wrong” for the state to allow abortion, and refused to agree that the right to termination of pregnancy should be protected even in cases of rape or incest.
MPs and campaigners reacted with horror to his remarks – calling them “dangerous” and “grotesque”. Labour MP Stella Creasy said his views showed why abortion rights should be more clearly “codified” in UK law.