MPs earn £65,738 from their parliamentary jobs and while they claim to spend about 70-80 hours a week on their parliamentary duties, over 20 have declared earnings over £100,000 from other jobs.
But just how are they making this money?
1. There’s loads of money in giving speeches, apparently.
Former prime minister Gordon Brown declared £1.37 million from giving speeches around the world. . £600,000 of that is donated to charity with the rest to “support my ongoing involvement in public life”
He received £60,679.90 for giving a speech to the Abu Dhabi Education Council. Must have been tough..
In his defence, he did state “I am not receiving any money from this engagement personally” after almost all of his declarations, and £600,000 of this income goes to charity.
Don’t ask him about it though, it’s a touchy subject.
2. Working as a barrister is pretty rewarding, too.
Stephen Phillips, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham declared over £740,000 while Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, also declared an earning of £417,000.
Phillip’s’ justification is pretty incredible. He told the Guardian that since he’s not a minister, being a barrister benefits his constituents as it “enables me to keep a foot in the real world”.
3. Be a non-executive director of a private security firm (or just about any company).
Nicholas Soames, former Conservative defence minister, declared £305,000 from his work as a director of Aegis Defence Services, a private military company, and advisory work for other financial services companies. Don’t understand the picture? He’s the grandson of former prime minister, Winston Churchill.
4. Attend board meetings “by video conference”. Yep, this is a thing.
You’d assume that Sir Malcolm Rifkind, MP for Kensington, might be fairly busy as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee but he’s non-executive director of three companies and is on the board for one. In fact, Unilever pay him £7,999/month to attend sixteen board meetings a year. Simple.
5. Finally, you could just write books.
Alistair Darling and Jack Straw, both former Labour ministers, declared £263,000 and £183,000 respectively for writing books and articles, as well as carrying out various speaking appointments around the world. They’d make a cute couple, a bit like Bert and Ernie.
If it’s money they’re after though, they should just take a lesson from Tony Blair.
Blair’s sitting pretty on a fortune of “somewhere between £35 million - £60 million.” In addition to his annual pension of around £70,000 as an ex-prime minister, he consults for multi-national organisations, governments and banks. Oh, and make sure you don’t pay your interns.