MPs are earning more than £2.1m a year to act as consultants for private firms – with some receiving more from their second job than their primary work serving constituents.
As concern grows over the potential conflicts of interests, the register of members’ financial interests shows 32 MPs are paid for consultancy work.
Analysis by The Independent shows this group – predominately Conservative MPs – has earned just over £2.1m annually in salaries and one-off payments from a range of companies.
MPs could be banned from having consultancy jobs under plans being considered by the Commons standards committee, as Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle made clear his desire to “cleanse” the House from the current “sleaze” storm.
An emergency Commons debate on standards is being held on Monday following the debacle over the government’s botched attempt to rewrite conduct rules and save Tory MP Owen Paterson from suspension after he was found to have breached lobbying rules.
Mr Paterson was found to have used his consultancy position to lobby on behalf of two firms paying him more than £100,000 a year, sparking renewed debate over whether MPs should be allowed to hold outside employment.
Ahead of the debate, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party would back a ban on MPs holding consultancy role and directorships. “We’ve been saying for many, many years that they should go,” he told the BBC.
The cross-party standards committee is set to publish its own report soon on the code of conduct and disciplinary process – with a fresh look at consultancy jobs thought to be under consideration.
Figures shows that dozens of MPs would lose out on lucrative second jobs paying tens of thousands of pounds a year if a ban was introduced.
The highest paid MP for consultancy work is former Tory minister Andrew Mitchell – who receives £182,600 per year working for firms including investment companies Investec, SouthBridge and Kingsley Capital Partners, along with accountants Ernst & Young and consultants Montrose Associates.
Others benefit from consultancy roles include Tory MP Chris Grayling is paid £100,000 annually by Hutchison Ports Europe, and former Tory chief whip MP Julian Smith receives a total of £144,000 per year from three companies.
There are currently no rules against MPs being paid for advising external businesses so long as they record it in their register of interests – but they must not lobby the government on behalf of those businesses.
MPs having jobs that “involve lobbying” should be “looked at again”, cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said on Monday.
The international trade secretary told Sky News: “I think the question of whether MPs having jobs that involve lobbying, I think, perhaps should be looked at again.”
Boris Johnson said that it is “very important” to get the standards regime for MPs right, welcoming moves by the Speaker to forge a cross-party consensus on reform of the way the standards system operates.
Asked if MPs should be banned from taking second jobs, the PM said: “All those kind of things are issues that the Speaker’s panel – whatever he is going to set up – will have a look at.”
Mr Johnson was accused of “running scared” after deciding to stay away from the emergency Commons following the row over Mr Paterson – who has quit as MP for North Shropshire and stepped aside from his consultancy roles.
Here is a list of current MPs receiving payments for consultancy or advisory work. It does not include all second jobs listed by MPs, with some continuing to work as lawyers, doctors and nurses, while others are listed as directors of companies.
– Trant Engineering, £40,000pa for 120 hours
Sir Graham Brady
– Snowshill Allied Holdings Ltd, £10,000pa for 12 hours
– Mere Plantations Ltd, £12,000pa for 96 hours
– Remedium Partners, £19,200pa for 96 hours
– Microlink PC (UK) Ltd, £19,200pa for 96 hours
– Sigma, £19,992pa for 96 hours
– Total £58,392pa for 288 hours
– BBI Group (life sciences), £15,000pa for 70 hours
– Veezu Holdings (private hire transport), £15,000pa for 70 hours
– Elite Partners Capital Pte Ltd (property investment), £30,000pa for 84 hours
– Total £60,000pa for 70 hours
Sir Ed Davey
– Herbert Smith Freehills, political issues and policy analysis, £60,000pa for 72 hours
– Next Energy Capital, member of advisory board, £18,000pa for 48 hours
– Total £78,000 for 120 hours – money used to benefit Sir Ed’s disabled son
– National Pawnbroking Association, £12,000pa for 60-120 hours
– THI Holdings GmbH (German investment company), £33,900pa for 16 hours
– Chairs supervisory board of Kohlgartenstrasse 15 Verwaltungs AG (German property company), £16,948pa for 168 hours
– Total £50,848 for 184 hours
Sir Iain Duncan Smith
– International advisory board of Tunstall Health Group, £20,000pa for 30 hours
– Byotrol Technology Ltd, £25,000pa for 144 hours
– Total £45,000pa for 174 hours
– MHR International ltd (HR software), £60,000pa for 192 hours
– Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, £15,000pa for 60-80 hours
– Investcorp Securities director, £20,000pa for 48 hours (plus additional £29,900 for 19 hours in 2021 so far)
– Laser Light Communications (satellites), £60,000pa for 120 hours
– Shetland Space Centre, £30,000pa for 120 hours
– Total £90,000 for 240 hours
– Hutchison Ports Europe, £100,000pa for 84 hours
– Abellio Transport Holdings, on rail policy, £40,000 pa for 288 hours
– Darwin Alternative Investments, £60,000pa for 50-100 hours
Sir John Hayes
– BB Energy Trading Ltd, £50,000pa for 80-90 hours
– The Electrum Group, £36,000pa for 360 hours
Sir Greg Knight
– Cambridge and Counties Bank Ltd, £16,000pa for 108 hours
– Penelope Thornton Hotels, £4,800pa for 48 hours
– Outcomes First Group, £37,000pa for 144 hours
– Link Scheme Ltd (cash machines), £6,250pa for 32 hours – money paid direct to charity
– Investec, £12,000pa for two days
– Montrose Associates, £36,000pa for 8 days
– Ernst & Young, £30,000pa for five days
– Arch Emerging Partners, £15,000pa for 2.5 days
– SouthBridge, adviser on African matters to Rwanda-based company, £39,600pa for 9 days
– Kingsley Capital Partners, £50,000pa for 8 days plus share options
– Total £182,600 for 34.5 days
Sir Robert Neill
– Weightmans LLP, £15,000pa for 72 hours
– Substantia Group, £12,000pa for 72 hours
– Masonic Charitable Foundation, £7,500 for 10 hours (one-off payment)
– Total £34,500 for 154 hours
– Iogen Corporation (Canada), a clean energy company, £36,000pa for 36 hours
– Consumer Credit Association, £18,000pa for 96 hours (a client of Mark Pritchard Advisory)
– Epic Private Equity, £5,000pa for 12 hours
– Betting and Gaming Council, £24,000pa for 120 hours
– EPIFNY Consulting, £2,000 for 28 hours in 2021
– Oxford International Education Group, £10,000pa for 48-96 hours
– Ryse Hydrogen Ltd, £60,000pa for 20 hours
– Simply Blue Management (UK) Ltd, £24,000pa for 12-24 hours
– MJM Marine Ltd, £60,000pa for 30-40 hours
– Total £144,000pa for 62-84 hours
– Barker Mill Estates, £18,000 for 90 hours since May 2020