MPs across the region are raking in thousands of pounds a year on top of their £81,932 annual salary, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Many have second jobs and shares in companies. They have received freebies and hospitality, and they have accepted financial contributions from donors.

A quick glance at the Register of Members’ Financial Interests shows that some of our MPs have accepted money, donations, hospitality and jobs from the likes of Ukranian businessman Alexander Temerko, Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, a Tory billionaire racing tycoon, Kilfrost Chemicals CEO Gary Lydiate and GB News.

Read more: FULL LIST: The North East MPs raking in thousands in donations and second jobs

They’ve taken thousands from betting companies like Power Leisure Bookmakers and alcohol companies like Heineken; they own dozens of homes up and down the country when many people are struggling to afford a first home; they own multiple companies, some of which have gone bust; they’ve earned tens of thousands of pounds from second jobs, including one MP who earns £3,000 an hour from an energy firm; and some have paid their spouses and children out of the public purse.

One MP for North Yorkshire is one of the highest earning MP consultants in the country for his work advising on energy and renewable fuels, while Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison is earning hundreds of pounds of a week presenting a show on the TV news channel GB News. 

MPs’ earnings and second jobs are under intense scrutiny after it emerged Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Cox earned about £900,000 last year through his work as a lawyer.

The former attorney general has denied breaking any rules after allegations were made that he used his parliamentary office to attend a remote court hearing.

But it has thrust the issue of MPs having second jobs back in the spotlight. 

North Yorkshire MP Kevin Hollinrake told the Northern Echo second jobs should not overshadow the work of MPs – but said banning them would deter good people from entering politics.

Labour’s former shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon is tabling a private member’s bill to ban all second jobs, with limited exceptions for professional MPs such as nurses and doctors to carry on their work.

He said MPs should not be “lining their pockets by moonlighting in other roles”.

In the North East and North Yorkshire 16 of the 37 MPs have declared employment and earnings in the latest register of interests. 

It is not against the rules for MPs to have a second job but they have to declare any additional income, along with gifts, donations and shareholdings over 15 per cent. 

The Northern Echo is looking at what MPs have declared, what their earnings are from second jobs, as well as details of financial donations and what gifts and hospitality they have received. 

Among the disclosures are details of thousands of pounds worth of hospitality claimed by MPs from the region to attend England’s matches at Euros 2020, other sporting events and music award ceremonies. 

The Northern Echo:

Tickets and other hospitality were donated by betting companies like Entain Holdings UK, which owns Ladbrokes, and Power Leisure Bookmakers, as well as The Betting and Gaming Council and alcohol company Heineken.

The register also reveals who is funding the region’s MPs through political donations. 

A six-figure sum was received by 11 MPs, amounting to £178,396.60 in the last 12 months.

The total received by individual MPs range from £51,269 given to Labour’s Gateshead MP Ian Mearns by three unions to £2,500 donations to North West Durham MP Richard Holden and Sedgefield MP Paul Howell, which both came from Preston-based company IX Wireless, which is rolling out high-speed internet across the North. 

The company has also donated to Darlington MP Peter Gibson, who received a total of £22,500 from a variety of backers including racing tycoon Lawrence Neil Tomlinson, worth a reported half a billion pounds. 

Fourteen MPs have also declared owning a total of 47 properties, with Conservative Paul Howell, the MP for Sedgefield, owning the most in the country.

Mr Howell owns a total of 16 properties in County Durham and Darlington, which he has declared earn him an income of at least £10,000 a year each. 

Across the North East and North Yorkshire 16 MPs – or 43 per cent - have declared additional income or a second job, 11 have had political donations made, 11 have received hospitality, gifts or benefits, 14 have declared owning property, seven have shareholdings at more than 15 per cent and eight have employed family members within the last year. 

All of the disclosures are made in the register of members’ financial interests and are correct as of November 1. 

The Northern Echo will be publishing further details in the coming days. 


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