MP earns more from outside interests

A SUFFOLK MP who is a member of David Cameron's shadow government earns more money from three consultancies than he does from the Commons, the latest register of members' interests has revealed.

A SUFFOLK MP who is a member of David Cameron's shadow government earns more money from three consultancies than he does from the Commons, the latest register of members' interests has revealed.

David Ruffley, whose Bury St Edmunds constituency includes Stowmarket and Needham Market, declares three consultancies on top of his day-to-day work on behalf of his constituents.

Mr Ruffley, a member of the shadow home affairs team as opposition spokesman on police reform, earns a basic MP's salary of �64,766.

Shadow ministers receive no additional cash for being a member of Mr Cameron's frontbench team, and there are no restrictions on them holding outside posts. Mr Ruffley declares earnings of between �65,000 and �80,000 as an adviser to three private sector firms.

Following last Thursday's vote in the Commons on second jobs, MPs will have to declare for the first time how many hours they work outside Westminster, and for exactly how much money.

Limited details of positions held outside the Commons are included in the Register of Members' Interests. But from July they will now be required to lay bare exactly how many hours they work, for whom and for how much money.

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Mr Ruffley said he had always been open about his outside interests, and was one of the few MPs who declared how much money he earned. He welcomed the moves to force all MPs to inform the authorities how much they earned.

Two MPs with substantial interests are John Gummer (Suffolk Coastal) and Tim Yeo (Suffolk South). Mr Yeo is a director of four companies, a board member of a fifth, and a non-executive director of the company that owns Eurotunnel. Other income is derived from journalism.

Among Mr Gummer's activities are being chairman of two companies, a non-executive chairman of a third, and a non-executive chairman of a Moscow based property development company. He also generates �100,000 income from journalism for his environmental consultancy, which generates �30,000 in fees and dividends for himself.

However, the Labour MP for Ipswich Chris Mole, who has no second jobs or interests, said: “Being an MP is a full-time job. I am frankly staggered that they have any time left to devote to outside jobs.”