By Connor Steel
SKY NEWS have revealed that two local MPS have received a combined total of £54,000 from second jobs, donations, and gifts since December 2019; the media company sharing their findings of a major new project that they hope will improve the transparency between politicians and voters after recent Westminster events.
Entitled the ‘Westminster Accounts’ the project was undertaken in partnership with Tortoise Media and brings data together from three official sources; the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, Party political figures from the Electoral Commission, and declarations to the Register of All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGS).
All of this information was already within the public domain with Sky News creating an interactively run online database that aims to help improve transparency between politicians and constituency voters. Over 650,000 data entries have been verified in the process covering all members of this Parliament’s House of Commons.
The project was started in February 2022 and took ten months to collate their findings, which were unveiled as part of the media programme ‘Sophy Ridge on Sunday’ this weekend. It is believed that the database will be updated regularly with MPs required to declare donations, gifts and added income throughout each year.
It follows an ongoing debate about second jobs for MPs which has run for generations, but it was highlighted further in the aftermath of Owen Patterson’s resignation after breaking lobbying rules in late 2021. There was also the ‘expenses scandal’, which saw mass resignations including that of ex-Gosport MP Sir Peter Viggers.
An analysis shows that MPs have received a total of £17.1 million since December 2019; a figure dominated by Conservative MPs who have declared £15.2 million. In contrast Labour Party have declared the combined figure of £1.2 million in additional payments whilst the Liberal Democrats declared £171,000 across 14 MPs.
Gosport MP Dame Caroline Dinenage has declared the figure of £37,678 in additional payments from eleven sources; the majority being earnings of £23,060 paid by LNT Care Developments Group. Concluding the top three figures were £3,950 in gifts from Jamaica Tourist Board and a donation of £2,500 from Palmer Capital.
Gifts from Victorious Festivals (£900), Isle of Wight Festivals (£700), Sky UK (£600), UK Music (£1,020), the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus (£600) and Betting & Gaming Council (£1,550) were all declared by Ms Dinenage. This joins donations from Clipper Venures (£2,500) and YouGov earnings of £600.
Meanwhile Fareham MP, current Home Secretary and ex-Attorney General Suella Braverman declared totals of £17,000 in extra payment from six sources; the bulk of this being a £10,000 donation from First Corporate Consultants. Also declared were two donations from Darren Ridge (£3,000) and Ethan R Wilkinson (£2,000).
Ms Braverman hasn’t declared further earnings aside from her £84,000 base salaries as a MP; although she has been given gifts of £2,000 in the last three years. This is broken down with £900 provided by the Football Association / Premier League, £800 from Asian Achievers Awards and finally £300 from PG Paper Company.
Also locally the Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt (Conservative) declared £119,400, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan (Labour) declared £49,000, Havant MP Alan Mak (Conservative) declared £77,980 and Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond (Conservative) declared £16,300 in added incomes since December 2019.
Current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has declared £546,000 whilst Labour’s leader Sir Keir Starmer declared £799,000 in additional payments. Former PM Theresa May is top of the list with £2.8 million declared, whilst Boris Johnson (£1.2 million) and Liz Truss (£538,600) lag behind. Other big figures include Sir Geoffrey Cox (£2.1 million), Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy (£313,300) and Angela Rayner (£300,200).
It is important to stress that these figures are not 100% accurate and there are no indications that any rules have been broken by anybody at this time. These state that a contract should be signed with all second role providers and they can’t offer guidance on subjects that may interfere with parliament strategy / procedures. Paid lobbying is not permitted whilst there is no limits on how much MPs can earn or the employment hours.
Readers can explore the ‘Westminster Accounts by clicking on this online browser link, which includes all of the analysis from correspondents, details on the project, how it was conducted and the interactive database itself. This can be used on phones, computers, and tablets; with absolutely no costs needed to access data.
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