Barry Gardiner claims he was misled by company charging interns �6,000 to work for him

Five American students have worked for Brent North MP in the past two years

A Brent MP who used an American firm which forced its clients to pay thousands of pounds for work experience has insisted he had “no idea” students were paying to work for him.

Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, is alleged to have taken on five students in the past two years from American company Global Experiences, who charge interns more than �6,000 for three months work experience in his office.

But, speaking to the Times, Mr Gardiner, who lives in Buckinghamshire, insisted the company had misled his office and that he had received no money at all from the arrangement.

He said: “Our interns are usually here studying and come in between one and two days a week to work with us.

“There was no reason to believe this was any different. At no stage did they say they had paid money to be here.”

Mr Gardiner’s office currently has a policy which doesn’t allow unpaid interns from the UK to work for him, he told the Times taking on interns from the UK would require them to be paid the London minimum wage, which he said they couldn’t afford.

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He added: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing but we had no reason to believe this was going to be any different from the usual firms we use.

“We took them on in good faith. I won’t have any further dealings with the company and have written to them to ask why it was not made clear to my office that they were paying huge amounts of money.

“For the company to be charging young people in this way is a disgrace. They have entirely misrepresented to my office the basis on which these students sought work experience.”