Former Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten, who quit parliament after cheating on his wife with a rent boy, has taken a job promoting the fur trade. Mr Oaten, 47, is now the chief executive of the Surrey based International Fur Trade Federation that promotes the industry and gives it a "factual image". The move was today branded a "disgrace" by anti-fur pressure group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).
In 2006 Mr Oaten, the father of two daughters, who is married to Belinda, was embroiled in a sex scandal involving a rent boy that forced him to quit as his party's home affairs spokesman. He stood down before the 2010 general election and his Winchester seat was won by the Conservatives.
Mr Oaten was considered to be on the right wing of the Liberal Democrats and he made a failed bid for the party leadership shortly before the News of the World published the scandal, which he blamed at the time on his hair loss and a mid-life crisis.
In a statement, Mr Oaten, who voted against the 2004 fox hunting ban, said: "I am very proud to be joining such a successful and historic trade. Although we are growing from strength to strength, there are plenty of issues throughout the world that I will need to focus on. It is also important that we do more to promote fur internationally. I served for thirteen years as a member of parliament in the UK and for four years on the Council of Europe, so I know how important effective lobbying can be."
Mr Oaten will travel extensively in the role, meeting and lobbying on behalf of the federation which has links to 35 countries. A spokeswoman for Peta was highly critical of the former politician's new job and claimed the fur trade continues to abuse animals.
The group said in a statement: "(Mr) Oaten, who has identified his hair loss as the trigger for his mid-life crisis and ensuing sex scandal, is now attempting to overcompensate for his baldness by promoting an industry that violently skins fur-bearing animals, often while they're still fully conscious. Fur is a disgrace and so is this former MP, so it's a fitting choice to appoint him the new "face" of the International Fur Trade Federation."