Former business minister Margot James joins board of doorstep lender Provident Financial

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Former Conservative minister Margot James has joined the board of doorstep lender Provident Financial after stepping down from Parliament last year. 

Ms James will serve as a non-executive director at the company, which hands out high interest credit cards and loans to borrowers with a poor repayment history and is widely known as ‘the Provvy’.

She served as an MP from 2010 to 2019 and held a number of government offices, including as small business minister and digital minister under Theresa May. 

The politician stoked controversy last year by saying it would be “a bad thing for the country” if the Conservatives won a majority in the general election. She said the best government she ever served in was during the Coalition, where the Liberal Democrats “acted as a very necessary break on our party’s right wing obsession with Brexit”.

The Stourbridge MP was also one of the 21 Tory rebels to be kicked out of the party after backing a plan to take control of the Commons timetable to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit. She was then reinstated following a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson but did not stand in December’s General Election.

Provident has suffered a difficult few years, with its share price falling from over £23 in mid-2017 to £1.65 today. A botched IT upgrade in 2017 cost former boss Peter Crook his job, wiped £1.7bn off Provident’s market value in a single day and triggered profit warnings and a dividend suspension. 

Current chief executive Malcolm Le May, a former investment banker who worked for Barclays in New York and was a non-executive director at Provident from 2014 until he took the top job in 2018, has been fighting to revamp the business since taking over. 

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