Boris Johnson Urged to Come to Parliament to Defend Millions in Outside Earnings Amid Bill to Ban MPs' Second Jobs
The MP has earned £4.8m since he left office last September, more than 50 times his salary as a backbench MP, reports Josiah Mortimer
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to defend his outside earnings in a parliamentary debate on banning MPs’ second jobs this Thursday.
Richard Burgon, the Labour MP for Leeds East, is using the debate to push forward his Parliamentary Bill which would ban second jobs for MPs.
When Boris Johnson was PM, Tory MPs repeatedly blocked Richard Burgon’s Bill banning second jobs, the left-wing MP said.
Boris Johnson is now reportedly the highest-earning MP having made nearly £5 million since leaving Downing Street last September – more than 50 times his annual salary as a backbench MP.
The ousted premier is now regularly receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds per speech, including £200,893 from Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Management Corporation in Mumbai last December, £3,000 from The Spectator for an article saying he was on a career “hiatus” despite still being the MP for Uxbridge, and £246,407 from Bloomberg Singapore, for seven hours of preparation and a speech last month.
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In a letter to Boris Johnson, Richard Burgon MP said: “Whilst Prime Minister, your Party repeatedly blocked my Bill to ban second jobs and failed to take the action needed to stop MPs chasing corporate cash.
“No wonder. You have reportedly raked in an eye-watering £5m in outside earnings since leaving Downing Street. It would take a nurse around 150 years to earn that amount…
“The scandal of MPs’ second jobs is undermining confidence in our democracy. Banning such second jobs, as the majority of the public support, would help restore trust in our politics.”
He added: “I would welcome your participation in this debate so you can put on the record why you think MPs should be allowed to continue making millions in outside earnings.”
In January, it was revealed that MPs have earned over £17m on top of their salaries since the last election – with Tory MPs accounting for almost 90% of that.
Richard Burgon has also written to all the other MPs in the top ten earners from second jobs inviting them to defend their position in his Parliamentary debate.
The socialist MP’s bill banning second jobs would mean no MP could undertake paid work other than in Parliamentary or Governmental roles, unless the work is necessary to “maintain existing professional qualifications”, the work “frontline work in the NHS, social care or the emergency services”, or “the Member has been a Member for less than one month and is working in a job they held at the point when they were elected.”
All MPs are paid a basic salary of £84,144 – far above the UK average of £33,000. There are fears that excessive reliance on external work among MPs leads to conflicts of interest – as witnessed during the Owen Paterson scandal.
The Tory MP was forced to step down last year after it emerged he had consistently lobbied politicians on behalf of two businesses, Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods. The firms paid him more than £100,000 a year while he was still an MP, in what the parliamentary standards commissioner called an “egregious case of paid lobbying.”
Stick to the Day Job
It comes as new polling commissioned by Byline Supplement shows that the public’s patience in Britain’s globe-trotting ex-Prime Minister is waning.
The poll by Omnisis asked voters whether they thought Boris Johnson should continue to have a major role in national politics – or focus on serving his constituents.
By a large margin – 61% – voters think that he should focus on his job as Uxbridge MP. Just 21% think he should still have a major national role.
Only 31% of Conservative voters say Johnson should continue to have a major role in national politics. These results suggest that even the Conservative base is losing faith in the former PM.
The only party’s voters who feel that Johnson should still retain a major national role was Reform UK, with 55% of their voters supporting his continued political ambitions.
In January, an investigation from Sky News found that MPs have earned £17.1m on top of their salaries since the last election. Conservative MPs account for £15.2m or nearly 90% of the total, though some Labour figures including David Lammy MP earned considerable income doing media work.
Two-thirds of the £17.1m figure went to just 20 MPs, and of the 20 MPs with the highest outside earnings, 17 are Conservative.
Since Sky’s analysis was published, Boris Johnson has millions more in outside income, amounting to £4.8m since he left office last September.
In March, several reforms will come into force meaning MPs won’t be allowed to serve as political or parliamentary consultants. It could impact the second jobs of some 30 MPs, one source told the broadcaster.
However, it will have no effect on MPs taking part in extended TV appearances – such as Matt Hancock’s I’m a Celebrity appearance, legal work, or speeches abroad.
Full text of the letter to Boris Johnson
Dear Boris Johnson,
I am writing to invite you to make an intervention in the Parliamentary Adjournment Debate on MPs’ second jobs that I have secured on Thursday 23rd February.
I will be discussing my Parliamentary Bill to ban MPs from having second jobs.
Whilst Prime Minister, your Party repeatedly blocked my Bill to ban second jobs and failed to take the action needed to stop MPs chasing huge amounts of corporate cash.
No wonder. You have reportedly raked in an eye-watering £5m in outside earnings since leaving Downing Street. It would take a nurse around 150 years to earn that amount.
Being an MP is not only a privilege but a well-paid job, with MPs getting paid more than 95% of people in our country.
It should be our full-time focus too. But too many MPs don’t treat it as such and see it simply as an opportunity to chase corporate cash through second jobs.
MPs have made £17.1m from second jobs since the last election – with 90% going to Conservative MPs.
These big money extra jobs are not about MPs gaining ‘real world experience’. In fact, it means MPs are even more out of touch with the people they’re meant to represent and who are experiencing an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.
This scandal of MPs’ second jobs is undermining confidence in our democracy. Banning second jobs, as the majority of the public support, would help restore trust in our politics.
As the MP with the highest outside earnings, you obviously disagree. I would welcome your participation in this debate so that you can put on the record why you think MPs should be allowed to continue making millions in outside earnings.
Boris Johnson MP was contacted for comment.
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