Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind says it’s “quite unrealistic” to expect MPs to live on their salary of £67,000 a year.
Rifkind along with Labour MP Jack Straw, has been caught up in a cash for access scandal. They offered to work on behalf of a fictitious Chinese company in return for payments of at least £5,000 per day, it was claimed last night.
Rifkind who oversees intelligence agencies for parliament, boasted he had “useful access” to every British ambassador in the world.
The top Tory told undercover reporters he would submit questions to ministers for a paying client.
And Straw boasted he had worked to help change EU rules on behalf of a firm which pays him £60,000 a year.
Rifkind registered earnings of £69,610 outside of Parliament. He said, “I am self-employed—so nobody pays me a salary. I have to earn my income.” He said his usual fee for half a day’s work was “somewhere in the region of £5,000 to £8,000”.
Straw trousered £112,777. Of 180 MPs with additional jobs, 112 are Tories, 43 are Labour and 15 Lib Dems.
MPs declared more than £7.4 million from outside work and second jobs in the past year. Some 30 members declared at least the equivalent of an MP’s £67,000 salary in extra work.
A dozen were paid more than David Cameron, who gets £142,000 for being prime minister.
Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, declared additional income of close to £1 million. Geoffrey Cox, the Conservative MP, declared earnings of £820,000—12 times the annual MP wage.
As Jack Straw with great foresight said in 2010 “Their behaviour, prima facie, does indeed bring the Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as parliament, into disrepute, because it appears that former Cabinet ministers are more interested in making money than they are in properly representing their constituents.”