A WEALTHY Dorset MP has seen his family business included on a government list of “rogue employers” who failed to pay the national minimum wage.

Richard Drax, Conservative member for South Dorset, is director of the Morden Estates Company, which runs the Charborough Estate.

The business was found to have underpaid 43 workers by a total of £2,761.

The MP has said the “technical infringement” concerned “beaters” – people who drive game birds out of their cover at shooting events. He said they traditionally took part for enjoyment but had been paid a “modest sum”.

The breach landed the Morden Estates Company on a list of 139 businesses included in a government press release, headed “Rogue employers named and shamed for failing to pay minimum wage”.

Employers on the list – including Tesco, Superdrug and Pizza Hut – underpaid more than 95,000 staff by a total of £6.7million from 2016-18, the government says.

Business minister Paul Scully said: “Paying the minimum wage is not optional, it is the law. It is never acceptable for any employer to short-change their workers, but it is especially disappointing to see huge household names who absolutely should know better on this list.

“This should serve as a wake-up call to named employers and a reminder to everyone of the importance of paying workers what they are legally entitled to.”

The 62-year-old MP, a former army captain and BBC South Today reporter, signs off the accounts of Morden Estates Company as director.

Claimed by the Observer to be the wealthiest landowner in the House of Commons, he has recently been facing calls to pay reparations over the Drax Hall Plantation in Barbados. His ancestors had a slave workforce there for nearly 200 years.

Mr Drax said of the minimum wage case: “The 2017 case relates to the occasional casual engagement of beaters in relation to the estate sporting business.

“This is an activity which is widely regarded as recreational and participants have, for generations, attended because they enjoy the countryside and the camaraderie. A modest sum was paid to participants in acknowledgement of their contribution and costs.

“The estate was operating in accordance with accepted industry best practice and sought to cooperate fully with HMRC as soon as it was highlighted that the matter could be a technical infringement of the minimum wage regulations. The case was concluded quickly and all sums due were settled at the time. No further issues or concerns have been raised since.”

Famous names “named and shamed” on the government list have said the breaches were inadvertent. Tesco blamed a technical problem, while Superdrug and Pizza Hut both blamed a previous uniform policy.