MPs in rush to ditch outside jobs as deadline looms

IoS investigation reveals scale of the extracurricular fees earned by senior ministers ahead of Wednesday's new disclosure rules

A lengthening list of senior MPs are preparing to ditch lucrative outside jobs before new rules introduced this week oblige them to disclose how much they bank from the work they do on top of parliamentary duties.

Four Tories have now officially given notice that they intend to quit directorships, consultancies and other work worth tens of thousands of pounds before Wednesday, when all MPs will have to declare how much they are paid, and how many hours they put in, on extra-curricular jobs.

It has now emerged that a shadow Treasury minister, David Gauke, has given up his directorship of Ivobank, while David Evennett, Edward Leigh and Edward Timpson have confirmed that they will do the same before Wednesday.

The figure comes on top of a list of members of the Shadow Cabinet who have already dumped outside work – or pledged to do so at the next general election – as David Cameron's most senior colleagues respond to a government attempt to improve "transparency" in MPs' affairs.

But many more insisted last night that they would not bow to a "politically motivated" measure which they claimed was designed to embarrass the Tories, who traditionally accept more paid work than MPs from any other parties.

An Independent on Sunday investigation has revealed for the first time the scale of the fees commanded by many of Britain's MPs in their work for external organisations.

Details of sums paid for directorships include the £245,000 in fees and "share-based awards" received by former Tory leader Michael Howard from a Canadian gold-mining firm last year.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude received £27,000 as non-executive chairman of the Mission Marketing and a further £52,000 in fees and options from the American technology group UTEK in 2008. Shadow Home Secretary Damian Green has received £21,000 a year through a non-executive directorship with South East Water.

Company records also show that Gerald Howarth, a shadow Defence minister, received £13,000 in 2007 for a non-executive position with Landkom International. Senior backbencher Hugo Swire was paid £61,000 for his work as non-executive chairman of Photo-Me International.

Almost 40 former Labour ministers, including Alan Milburn, Patricia Hewitt and John Reid, have signed up to lucrative external work. Ms Hewitt's position with BT alone pays £75,000 a year. But Ian McCartney, who will abandon a £113,000-a-year role with the Fluor this week, is the only senior Labour figure to ditch a contract.

A number of Mr Cameron's team, including the shadow International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, the shadow Commons Leader, Alan Duncan, and Grant Shapps, the Shadow Housing minister, have already begun shedding paid jobs. Mr Maude and the shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, are preparing to leave their additional jobs before the election.

However, a number of senior Tory MPs are digging in against the "political pressure" to abandon outside work. Mr Cameron's parliamentary aide, Desmond Swayne, who earns up to £5,000 from a property company and as an officer with the Territorial Army, said: "Gordon Brown is doing this because it pleases his backbenchers and because he thinks it will embarrass us much more than it will them. But I feel strongly in favour of outside interests, because the whole notion of just having professional politicians is abhorrent."

Another Cameron ally, Ed Vaizey, said he would be keeping his paid position until the next general election. The Wantage MP said he earned £2,500 as a non-executive director of educational services firm Edexcel. He said: "It is more of an honorarium and I intend to do it until the general election."

£21k Shadow Home Secretary Damian Green's annual fee from South East Water

£79k Francis Maude's combined earnings from Mission Marketing Group and UTEK

£245k Former Tory leader Michael Howard's fees and awards package from Entrée Gold

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory