Boris Johnson is grilled on the handling of Owen Paterson saga
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The basic annual salary of an MP in the House of Commons is £81,932, as of April 2020. MPs are also able to claim allowances to cover the costs of running an office and employing staff, and maintaining a constituency residence or a residence in London.
More than 200 MPs have received earnings in the last year on top of their £81,932 annual salary. The extra earnings range from £50 a year to almost £1million.
Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, was ordered to a 30-day suspension from Parliament by the Commons Standards Committee for carrying out “egregious” paid advocacy.
MPs are not allowed to use their power in Government to advocate for companies they are receiving cash from.
But Mr Paterson has been a paid consultant for clinical diagnostics company Randox since 2015 and to meat distributer Lynn’s Country Foods since 2016, both of which he had advocated for within Government on multiple counts.
He receives £100,000 per year from Randox and £12,000 per year from Lynn’s on top of his £81,932 parliamentary salary.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson decided to hold a vote to over-rule the Commons Standards Committee’s order, and to make the surveillance of MP incomes more relaxed.
All Labour MPs, Lib Dem MPs, SNP MPs, and 13 rebel MPs from the Conservative party stood against the vote, but the Tory majority managed to push it through.
Mr Johnson has come under fire before for his expenditure, over whether holidays in villas provided by friends were properly declared, and how the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat was funded.
Now, the spotlight is shining on MP incomes.
Being an MP, to most, is seen as a full-time role – so many are questioning how second or third jobs are being maintained by politicians, or whether, in fact, paid advocacy and corruption are yet to be exposed.
Geoffrey Cox, a Tory MP who was attorney general during the height of the Brexit negotiations, has registered a total of £970,000 income in the last year, for 705 hours of legal services.
Andrew Mitchell (Conservative) holds six consultancy jobs, supporting investment banks and accountancy firms. He has registered more than £180,000 for 34.5 days’ work.
In comparison, the average person in the UK earns about £4,000 for 34.5 days’ work.
Another Tory MP, Julian Smith, is earning £144,000 for 62-84 hours’ work for three companies, including advising on energy and renewable fuels. These earnings tally up as high as £2,322 per hour.
A British person over 23 on minimum wage (£8.91 per hour) will earn £748.44 for 84 hours of work.
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Former Conservative transport and justice secretary Chris Grayling earns £100,000 to advise Hutchison Ports.
Mark Garnier (Conservative) is paid to sit on the advisory boards of two companies in the space and satellite industry, committing 20 hours a month for an annual payment of £90,000.
Sir Ed Davey (Lib Dem) works as a consultant for two firms alongside his job as leader of the Liberal Democrats. He says his extra £78,000 income goes towards supporting his disabled son.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took home £25,934.18 in the last 12 months for 106 hours work.
The list of more than 200 MPs who earn extra salaries is dominated at the higher end by conservative politicians.
A number of MPs are also employed as doctors and nurses. Some have continued to work on the NHS front line during the pandemic.
Should there be a cap on how much a politician can earn from extra income outside of their role as MP? Have your say in the comments section below.
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