Outside income for MPs with one who earns over £700 an hour

One of them earns more than £700 an hour for a second job. None of the Conservative members have broken any rules.

Issues around standards in public life have come to a head following the resignation of former Tory MP Owen Paterson after he was found to have lobbied for two companies paying him for than £100,000 a year.

Last week, MPs were ordered to vote for a new committee to consider an altered system of appeals and to review Mr Paterson’s recommended suspension. Ministers backtracked hours later after opposition parties refused to co-operate.

Since then, a new row has erupted over second jobs after Sir Geoffrey Cox, the former Attorney General and MP for Torridge and West Devon, was discovered to be earning hundreds of thousands of pounds as a top QC while also an MP. And Boris Johnson has also said he now supports a ban on paid consultancy work.

Since December 2020, Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark, who admitted it was ‘clearly a mistake’ for the Government to call the vote on the Owen Paterson suspension that he had backed, received around £4,770 for speaking at two dinner events and for an article written for a national newspaper.

Tonbridge MP Tom Tugendhat, who last week abstained from the vote on the Paterson amendment, also earned around £3,100 for various media articles.

He received $5,000 from the Center for Independent Studies in Sydney, Australia, for a paper on UK-Australia relations.

However, the highest local earner for outside work, and among the best-paid MPs per hour in the House of Commons, is Nus Ghani. She represents Wealden, including the town of Crowborough and used to be the Minister for Maritime at the Department of Transport but left the post in a 2020 cabinet reshuffle.

Ms Ghani, who backed the Paterson amendment, has two outside roles according to the register of financial interests.

The MP for Wealden earns £60,000 in a year for seven hours work a month for a role as Non-executive Chairman for the Belfast Maritime Consortium Supervisory Board of Artemis – a maritime technology company.

The Belfast Maritime Consortium is a group consisting of businesses, academics and local government that has invested £27million alongside government to deliver a net-zero ferries project.

Ms Ghani’s work as Non-executive Chairman equates to £5,000 for seven hours, or £714 an hour – more than the weekly pay of most of her constituents.

In Wealden the average annual salary is £32,300 or £621.12 a week.

Ms Ghani also earns £12,000 a year for six hours work each month as a Senior Fellow at a think tank called the Policy Exchange. She provides advice on trade, maritime, security and terrorism.

When approached by the Times Nus Ghani declined to comment.

The news comes as Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that he supported a ban on paid consultancy work called for by Labour.

MPs will vote on new rules to curb their outside business interests amid a fresh row over alleged Tory ‘sleaze’.

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