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Ex-education secretary Gavin Williamson has taken a £50,000 a year job advising a private schools and colleges firm run by a ring of Tory donors.

The top Tory has accepted a role on the advisory board of Regent Group, which has donated at least £135,800 to the Conservative Party.

The firm’s CEO, Dr Selva Pankaj, is also a Tory donor, as are company directors Dr Nadey Hakim and Maurizio Bragagni, Professor George Holmes, who chairs the Advisory board.

Lord Rami Ranger, who also sits on the Advisory board, has given more than £1m to the Tories and chairs Conservative Friends of India.

Mr Bragagni is also honorary consul of San Marino in the UK, and was previously chair of British Italian Conservatives.

Mr Bragagni, who has given £650,000 to the Tories made headlines this month after making comments about “foreign Muslims” in an interview.

( Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

The Conservative Party distanced themselves from his remarks, but did not return his donations.

And he was present at last week’s glitzy Tory Summer Party.

The Guardian revealed Mr Williamson had been approved to take the job by revolving door watchdog ACOBA today.

He told the committee the job would involve “general strategic advice on international business expansion and attending regular advisory board meetings.”

And he told them he had “neither had any dealings with, nor met with nor made any decisions specific to RTC while in office.”

While he did not meet with RTC while in office, Mr Williamson has attended a number of Conservative Party events at which members of the firm’s board were also in attendance.

Last month, the Mirror reported the same ring of Tory donors linked to RTC had been accused of giving themselves a ‘leg-up’ by lining pals – and each other – up for gongs and honours.

In what was dubbed the “gong-go-round” by one Tory insider, donors who have given the party more than £3m, have been handed foreign knighthoods and honorary doctorates by the same circle of businessmen, deeply rooted in Conservative social circles.

A source claims the group are seeking to increase their influence within the party, secure knighthoods and peerages for their allies and build a fundraising network for their favoured candidate to replace Boris Johnson as leader.

There’s no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mr Williamson or any of the donors.

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