In a recently published list of the top 10 private earners in the House of Commons for 2014, Gordon Brown came top with a cash total of £962,516 and David Blunkett held the bottom spot with £178,945. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who has regularly starred in the top five with annual side earnings close to a quarter of a million pounds, came in at position 30.
In the current official Register of Members’ Interests, updated this month, the remunerated directorships of Sir Malcolm include Unilever PLC, where he is listed as a non-executive director and attended eight annual board meetings, along with other meetings in London and the Netherlands. Unilever’s last accounts for 2013 list Sir Malcolm as being paid £119,000.
The members’ register states he is a former non-executive director for Continental Farmers Group PLC where he was paid annual fees of over £55,000. This role ceased in 2013. The firm is registered in the Isle of Man. Also listed for 2014 is a non-executive directorship with the Alliance Medical Group which requires his attendance at 10 board meetings a year. This is paid at a monthly rate of £5,000 giving him an additional £60,000 to add to his MP’s salary of £67,000.
Other paid employment outside Westminster includes advice and consultancy work that nets him a further £50,000, and a retainer from an Australian firm that delivers Australian $12,500 (£6,300) every three months.
On Sir Malcolm’s constituency web page web he asks “What can an MP do?” He answers, stating: “They are only able to deal with issues raised by people who live in their constituency, called constituents.” James Cusick