Hague made £500,000 from media and speeches, MPs' register shows

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Indy Politics

They were both unsuccessful Tory leaders, but their fortunes out of office could not be more different.

The register of MPs' interests, published yesterday, reveals that William Hague has made up to £500,000 from speaking and media appearances in the past year, while Iain Duncan Smith, his successor, lists not a penny.

Former ministers and senior Tories are making hundreds of thousands of pounds a year on top of their parliamentary salaries, the register shows. House of Commons rules forcing MPs to make their fees public disclosethe highest earners.

Robin Cook, the foreign secretary who resigned over the Iraq war, has earned £450,000 from the publication of his memoir. Michael Portillo, the former darling of the Conservative Party who plans to stand down as an MP at the next election, has continued to forge a lucrative alternative career as a media pundit which earns him up to £340,000 a year.

In May, the MP for Kensington and Chelsea picked up a £15,000 fee for swapping places with an impoverished single mother for a week for a television documentary. In an entry three pages long, he discloses he earns regular payments of up to £10,000 for presenting BBC current affairs and arts programmes.

Mr Hague is one of Parliament's highest earners. He has brought in about £500,000 a year on top of his MP's pay of £55,000 and commands up to £10,000 per address or media appearance. His entry in the register shows he has signed a contract to write articles for the News of the World for six months for £95,000.

Mr Duncan Smith does not disclose any specific earnings since being deposed by Michael Howard at the end of October. Although his novel The Devil's Tune has earned him "income", it seems not to have been enough to merit registration in the list of outside earnings.

The Prime Minister, who drew criticism last year for accepting a flight from the Egyptian government to Cairo from the Red Sea resort of Sharm-el Sheikh, reveals that he accepted travel from Egypt to Jordan from King Abdullah. The King also paid for a sight-seeing tour of the ruins at Petra for the Blair family.

The opposition leader and his wife accepted a place on a pensioners' cruise to Casablanca before he became Tory leader. Mr Howard enjoyed a Saga cruise from Southampton in Casablanca in January last year during which he made a speech and took questions. Saga, which provides holidays for the over 50s, paid for the cruise and air fares.

But Mr Howard broke the rules on registration of outside interests by failing to inform the House of Commons authorities on time. He should have registered the sum within a month of receiving it, but did not do so until 10 months later.Because he has belatedly registered the money, he will not face action.

Theresa May, the shadow Environment and Transport Secretary, whose love of kitten heels has made her an icon for the shoe industry, registers "receipt of a discount card on the purchase of shoes from Russell and Bromley, which has the potential to be of registerable value".

Patricia Hewitt registers her attendance at Wimbledon ladies tennis finals as a guest of an employee of Boeing UK, and at the British Grand Prix as a guest of Jaguar. The cabinet minister also attended, with her son and daughter, the premiere of Matrix Reloaded as a guest of AOL Time Warner.


Diane Abbott, Labour, Hackney North and Stoke Newington:

November 2003 to the Bahamas for a business conference. Travel and accommodation paid for by Carib news publications, New York.

Tony Blair, Sedgefield:

December 2003. While on holiday in Egypt, visited King Abdullah of Jordan for official talks. The King provided travel and a sightseeing tour of Petra for the family.

Patricia Hewitt, Labour, Leicester West:

May 2003, attended premiere of Matrix Reloaded with son and daughter as guests of AOL Time Warner. July 2003 attended the British Grand Prix with her son and a friend as guests of racers Jaguar.

Alan Beith, Lib Dem, Berwick-upon-Tweed:

Consultant to Bourne Leisure Group, a holiday park operator, £5,000-£10,000.

Alan Duncan, Conservative, Rutland and Melton:

September 2003 and December 2003 to Oman as guest of the government; gift of a watch, coffee pot and incense burner.

Robin Cook, Labour, Livingstone:

£250,000 from Simon & Schuster for book and £200,000 from The Sunday Times; Weekly article for The Independent, £15,001-£20,000

Peter Bottomley, Conservative, Worthing West:

Use of a Powabyke electric assisted bicycle for six months provided by the Worthing Herald.

Stephen Byers, Labour, North Tyneside:

October 2003 to Jordan with partner at invitation of the Royal Hashemite Court.