WEALDEN MP and climate change minister Charles Hendry has bought Blair Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland as a second home.
Now Mr Hendry is facing accusations of hypocrisy as critics say the house and swimming pool will use large amounts of energy to heat and run. They recalled a speech to the House last September when he said: “We have pledged to be the greenest government ever. We must lead by example. We are not asking others to do things we will not do ourselves.”
But he told the Express: “This is a business project, not just a home. Blair is already a well-established events venue. My wife has been in the industry for 30 years, and I am very pleased that she is starting a new business venture in the UK in difficult economic times, which will provide jobs in an area which badly needs them, which is also in the part of Scotland where my father’s family came from. In view of my responsibilities, I will not be involved in the business and this matter will therefore not affect my work as MP for Wealden or as Energy Minister. There is work still to be done to complete the renovation of Blair. This will include works to improve its energy efficiency, which will again create local jobs.”
Blair Castle went on the market for £2.5 million. It has 16 bathrooms and a heated outdoor swimming pool set in 250 acres of countryside. There is also an east wing with another four bedrooms and a two-bedroom housekeeper’s flat.
As well as Blair Castle, the couple own Wilderness Farm in Hadlow Down which remains their main home. Sallie Hendry works in events management and will run the castle as a five-star venue for corporate entertaining and weddings, raising about £170,000 a year. Mr Hendry said: “We look to make this an outstanding example of how energy-efficiency measures can be used to benefit an old building and the most appropriate renewable heat technologies to reduce the building’s carbon footprint.”