DARLINGTON MP Alan Milburn has denied allegations that his decision to step down at the next General Election has come ahead of fresh scrutiny into MPs’ second jobs.

Mr Milburn has been revealed to be among the top earners in a political poll, bringing in at least £115,000 a year from five companies.

Political opponents have suggested there is a link between Mr Milburn’s earnings and his surprise announcement on Saturday to stand down as the town’s MP.

Mike Barker, who will stand as Liberal Democrat candidate in Darlington at the next election, has criticised Mr Milburn’s private sector work and his performance as an MP, saying in a letter on Friday that Mr Milburn “raked in amounts of money in outside earnings that most of his constituents can only dream about”.

He said he believes Mr Milburn decided to stand down because he could be an opposition backbencher next year, under pressure to devote less time to other jobs.

He said: “Mr Milburn’s decision is a mixture of embarrassment and also the fact that the Labour Party are going to clamp down on second earnings.”

But Mr Milburn exclusively told The Northern Echo: “I’m not walking away because it is tougher than normal – I simply feel that it is time to move on.”

He has cited family reasons and time to pursue other challenges as the reason for quitting, and said people expecting “shock-bang revelations would be sorely disappointed”.

Although some of his earnings are obscured, the former Health Secretary is believed to almost treble his parliamentary salary after setting up AM Strategy as a vehicle for his media and consultancy work.

Mr Milburn earns £30,000 as an advisor to Lloyds pharmacy, a further £35,000 working for Bridgepoint Capital, £25,000 advising the manufacturers of Pepsi, and up to £25,000 from newspaper articles.

For the first time, all MPs will be required to reveal the details of private sector work when regulations to help restore trust in Westminster are established on Wednesday.

Last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown further stepped up the pressure on MPs already reeling from the expenses scandal.

He revealed that new antisleaze laws would threaten any MP failing to declare properly their extracurricular earnings with a one-year jail term.

Meanwhile, the senior salaries review board said it would consider whether to slash the backbench salary – £64,766 – of anyone considered to be a “part-time MP”.

Already, several of the biggest names, including Richmond MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, have bowed to pressure to cut back their outside work or end it altogether.

Mr Hague is expected to wind up his two directorships and two advisory jobs by October, and he will also end his lucrative sideline in afterdinner speeches.

But the most recent Commons register of interests reveals that the new rules – coming into force on Wednesday – will also reveal the work of many more of the region’s MPs.

The requirement on MPs to list hours spent on second jobs – part of reforms prompted by the expenses scandal – was originally opposed by the Tories, who feared the revelation of hourly rates would be embarrassing.

However, the issue of outside jobs has also been controversial for Labour. Since 2006, 37 former ministers have accepted private-sector jobs within two years of leaving office.

But the new rules will not immediately trigger a flood of information on the register, which is published on Parliament’s website.

They are not retrospective, only requiring an MP earning after July 1 to register, within 28 days, the income, the nature of the work, who it was for and the hours worked.


Hilary Armstrong (Lab; North West Durham)

● Member of advisory board of GovNet Communications (£5,001 to £10,000))

● Chairwoman of advisory committee of recycling company Sita UK (£30,001 to £35,000)

Stuart Bell (Lab; Middlesbrough)

● Shareholdings; SpenView Ltd, a publishing house

Frank Cook (Lab; Stockton North)

● Advisor to DSM Demolition Ltd, a demolition company (£5,001 to £10,000)

David Curry (Con; Skipton and Ripon)

● Column for Local Government Chronicle (Up to £5,000)

Robert Goodwill (Con; Scarborough and Whitby)

● Directorship; Mowthorpe (UK) Ltd, a company operating a woodland cemetery in North Yorkshire)

● Shareholdings; Mowthorpe (UK) Ltd and engineering firm Rolls Royce Plc

John Greenway (Con; Ryedale)

● Directorships; exercise company Skills Active Services Ltd and Combined Insurance Company of America Ltd)

● President of the Institute of Insurance Brokers (£10,001 to £15,000))

● Advisor to the Institute of Sales Promotion (up to £5,000), the British Promotional Merchandising Association (up to £5,000) and the Incentive Travel and Meetings) Association (up to £5,000)

● Business consultant to Stewart Title Insurance Co (UK) Ltd and the Tote (£5,001 to £10,000))

● Chairman of the Responsibility in Gambling Trust

William Hague (Con; Richmond)

● Directorships; AES Engineering, Rotherham and systems integrator)

AMT-SYBEX Group Ltd ● Advisor to the JCB Group (£45,001 to £50,000))

● Member of the Political Council of Terra Firma Capital Partners (£15,001 to £20,000))

● Frequent after-dinner speeches (£10,001 to £15,000))

Alan Milburn (Lab; Darlington)

● Directorships; A M Strategy Limited, for media/consultancy work, and Diaverum Healthcare, a private health firm)

● Articles for Times, Guardian, News of the World, Sunday Times (each up to £5,000))

● Member of Lloydspharmacy’s Healthcare Advisory Panel (£25,001-£30,000))

● Member of European Advisory Board of Bridgepoint Capital Limited (£30,001 to £35,000))

● Member of the Advisory Board of PepsiCo UK (£20,001 to £25,000))

● Member of the Advisory Board of Covidien)

● Shareholdings; A M Strategy Limited Chris Mullin (Lab; Sunderland South))

● Column in the Sunderland Echo (£1,500)

● Article for Associated Newspapers (£900).