On 9 October, the register of MPs’ interests was updated, detailing all the additional money that our parliamentarians make. The document shows that one Tory MP is now earning £355,717.56 a year from a second job. This is around 16 times more than a nurse’s starting salary.
Nadhim Zahawi is the Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon. And his listing [pdf p41] in the register of interests now says:
From 15 July 2015, Chief Strategy Officer for Gulf Keystone Petroleum, 6th Floor, New Fetter Place, 8-10 New Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1AZ; an oil and gas exploration and production company. From 25 August 2017 until further notice, I will receive a monthly salary of £29,643.13. Hours: between 8 and 21 hrs per week.
But Zahawi is not actually doing anything wrong. Parliamentary guidelines allow MPs to take second jobs, as long as they don’t act as “paid advocates” (lobbyists) for the company they work for. They also have to declare every outside interest.
And Zahawi is not alone in earning from secondary employment.
Another second job which sparked controversy was former Chancellor George Osborne taking the role of editor at The Evening Standard while he was still an MP. Also, the register shows that Labour’s Rupa Huq MP earned [pdf p19] £2,000 for six hours’ work, writing for Rupert Murdoch’s News UK. And Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg earned [pdf p33] £29,006.43 for 60 hours’ work in August and September, from Somerset Capital Management.
After the MPs’ expenses scandal, meanwhile, Zahawi revealed that he was claiming from the public purse to heat his horse stables. He later apologised and promised to pay part of the money back. Some Labour MPs were also caught up in the expenses scandal.
Working for whom?
The Canary asked Zahawi’s office for comment, but none was received by the time of publication.
It is often pertinent for MPs to have had other work experience when they come to parliament, as ‘worldly’ knowledge must surely aid them when making decisions that affect the rest of us. And if Zahawi can earn more than double the PM in his second job, then who are the rest of us to argue. Although it must surely stick in the throats of other public sector workers, who were stuck with a 1% pay rise cap for around seven years.
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