Behind the scenes

The MPs earning the most from second jobs

Commons Standards Committee has suggested tightened rules on MPs’ earnings

MPs have backed away from imposing restrictions on the amount of time they can spend on second jobs after failing to find consensus on the matter.

Although opposition parties had backed some form of restrictions, The Independent noted that the government resisted them. Therefore, the Commons Standards Committee, which had sought views on whether restrictions should be placed on MPs’ outside earnings, said that without cross-party agreement on reform, the system should stay as it is.

“We concluded… that a ‘significant change’ in the ability of Members to hold outside interests ‘should only be implemented with broad cross-party support,’” said the committee in its final report. “We have detected no such support in evidence received to our consultation.”

However, the committee did recommend tightening the rules on second jobs at Westminster, including an outright ban on MPs providing paid parliamentary advice, consultancy or strategy services.

The review of the MPs’ Code of Conduct followed an outcry over the disclosures that Owen Paterson broke the ban on paid lobbying by MPs, while Geoffrey Cox earned more than £950,000 last year from his work as a lawyer.

Cox tops a chart of MPs who have earned the most from employment opportunities outside of their parliamentary role between 2019 and 2022. The Torridge and West Devon MP, also a qualified barrister, banked £1,835,399.89 from external employment.

In second position was Theresa May, who has earned £1,564,076 from work beyond her parliamentary role. All of the former PM’s external income came from speaking engagements, including £46,750 from Telmex Foundation for a six-hour virtual talk.

The highest-paid Labour MP was Dan Jarvis, who came in fourth place with £693,775, while Ed Davey of the Liberal Democrats earned £298,500. Boris Johnson pocketed £30,629.91 from book royalties, while Sir Keir Starmer attracted £41,127.46, mostly from giving legal advice.

Daniel Bennett, head of operations at TopRatedCasinos.co.uk which conducted the research, said that “as a lot of people battle price hikes to food, petrol, and energy amid little to no pay rise” the data “signifies the disparity between MPs and the people they are appointed to serve”.

MPs who earned the most from second jobs (2019-2022)

  1. Geoffrey Cox (Former attorney general and Conservative MP for Torridge & West Devon) £1,835,399.89
  2. Theresa May (Former PM and Conservative MP for Maidenhead): £1,564,076
  3. Sajid Javid (Health secretary and Conservative MP for Bromsgrove): £758,670
  4. Dan Jarvis (Labour MP for Barnsley Central): £693,775
  5. Fiona Bruce (Conservative MP for Congleton): £575,686.01
  6. Andrew Mitchell (Former international development secretary and Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield): £524,486.80
  7. Richard Fuller (Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire): £453,650
  8. Ed Davey (Liberal Democrat leader and MP for Kingston & Surbiton): £298,500
  9. Julian Smith (Former Northern Ireland secretary and Conservative MP for Skipton & Ripon): £281,000
  10. John Hayes (Conservative MP for South Holland & The Deepings): £258,720

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