MPs earn thousands from journalism

By Dominic Ponsford Twenty MPs declared earnings from journalism, as well as their £59,000-ayear Government salaries.

This
was in addition to the many more who make millions from a host of
lucrative business posts, which they take alongside their full-time
jobs as MPs.

By contrast, the latest register of interests from
Parliament reveals that almost none of the 362 Lobby-accredited
journalists declare business interests outside their journalistic
careers.

Top journalism earner among the MPs is former Tory
leader William Hague. The register reveals he earns £200,000 a year for
his weekly pagelong column in the News of the World.

Other media
earnings helping him towards a £1 million extra-curricular total
include being paid £5,000-£10,000 by Haymarket for speaking, and
£10,000 to £15,000 for a speech at the Financial Media Awards.

Boris
Johnson (Tory) is the next biggest-paid MP journalist. He does not
disclose his salary as editor of The Spectator – but it is likely to be
more than the £70,000 to £75,000 he made for columns in the Daily
Telegraph – he also made up to £5,000 for articles in GQ and £50,000
from speaking engagements.

Respect MP George Galloway is number
three in the MPs media pay league, earning £75,000 to £80,000 for a
column in the Mail on Sunday. Other media payments include up to £5,000
for appearing on The Wright Stuff and £10,000 to £15,000 for various TV
appearances on the BBC.

Tory MP Michael Gove may have stepped
down as Times assistant editor after being elected in May, but he still
earns £60-65,000 writing for the paper and up to £5,000 each from the
BBC and from Five for scripting and presenting a documentary.

Ann
Widdecombe (Tory), who replaced veteran Daily Express columnist Carol
Sarler in her Wednesday slot, gets paid £35,000 to £40,000 for the job,
and has other media earnings including £5,000 to £10,000 for appearing
on Celebrity Fit Club and £25,000- £30,000 for appearing on a BBC TV
series as a roving agony aunt.

Another Daily Express columnist,
Ed Vaizey (Tory), also earns £25,000- £30,000 from the paper and up to
£5,000 each for articles in The Times, Sunday Times, Daily Express,
Daily Mail and The Guardian.

Other big earners include Diane
Abbott (Labour), who was paid up to £30,000 for her contribution to BBC
One’s current affairs programme This Week and up to £5,000 each for
appearing on BBC’s Question Time, and for her Evening Standard, Daily
Express and Sunday Times articles.

Former Pensions Secretary
David Blunkett (Labour) cashed in with a string of media gigs, along
with the controversial business interests that cost him his job earlier
this month.

He was paid between £10,000 and £15,000 for four weekly Daily Mirror columns, and up to £5,000 for an article in the Daily Mail.

Other
MPs in media work include: David Curry (Tory): up to £5,000 each for
columns in Local Government Chronicle and the Yorkshire Post.

Frank
Dobson (Labour): up to £5,000 a piece for The Guardian, The
Independent, Mail on Sunday and Daily Mirror articles and appearances
on GMTV and LBC.

Alan Milburn (Labour, Secretary of State for
Health): up to £5,000 for articles in The Times, The Guardian and the
News of the World.

■ Bedfordshire on Sunday diarist John Ball has
scoffed at Bedfordshire- Mid Tory MP Nadine Dorries after she agreed to
discuss her salary with journalists as long as they lay their salary
down on the table too.

In his column, Ball said: “I would just
like to point out to Mrs Dorries that my salary is not paid for by the
taxpayer and my job is much less safe. The reason MPs should declare
their pay is because they are public servants.

“But if it will
make her happy, I earn just under £20,000 per year. Nadine Dorries
earns £59,095 per year, plus staffing allowance up to £84,081,
additional costs allowance up to £21,634 and incidental expenses up to
£20,000.

Some of my taxes, of course, go towards paying that total annual sum of £184,000.

“Still I don’t mind, providing Nadine does a good job.”

Lobby journalists

FEW HAVE OUTSIDE BUSINESS INTERESTS

The 362 journalists in the press lobby at Parliament nearly all manage to survive on the journalism wages.

In contrast to the MPs they write about, almost none list outside business interests in the register of journalists’ interests.

The
register reveals the re-emergence of former Sunday Times deputy
political editor Eben Black, who is now accredited as a lobby
correspondent for the Sunday People besides his job providing media
strategy services for law firm DLA (Upstream) and as a consultant for
Media Intelligence Partners.

The Guardian’s David Hencke lists
lecturing at the Civil Service College and director of Brown Envelope
TV in his interests, Guardian political editor Michael White also lists
lecturing for Civil Service College. Sun political editor Trevor
Kavanagh lists speaking engagements for Kleinwort Dresdner and Barclays
banks.

Philip Webster, from The Times, lists occasional fees advising William Hill.

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