A LOCAL MP has been ranked 22nd in a list of all 650 MPs’ outside incomes.
North Herefordshire MP Sir Bill Wiggin, who lives in Upton Bishop near Ross-on-Wye, has received more than a quarter of a million pounds in addition to his parliamentary salary since the start of the current parliament at the end of 2019, according to new data published by Tortoise Media and Sky News.
Sir Bill’s 68 declared financial interests over the period – outside earnings, donations, gifts and other benefits – are together worth £261,500.
Most of this, £232,000, came from Bermuda-based Emerging Asset Management, of which Sir Bill has been managing director since 2015, and for which he works “an expected eight hours a week”, according to his declaration of interests.
The company “provides fund managers with an innovative turnkey solution on how to start a hedge fund and launch new funds in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Delaware, USA”, according to its website.
He also drew about £16,000 in earnings from payment collection firm Allpay, of which he is a non-executive director, and received gifts worth £8,140 from Qatar’s ministry of foreign affairs, apparently related to his attending the Doha Forum of political leaders last March.
Sir Bill did not respond to a request for confirmation of Tortoise Media’s figures.
MPs are entitled to draw outside income, but are required to report both their own direct financial interests and any donations or other payments to their local constituency party to support their work or election.
Tortoise Media describes its Westminster Accounts data, which took six months to assemble, as “an extensive, though not comprehensive, record of the financial interests in Westminster”. It does not include MPs’ annual base salary of £84,144.
Herefordshire’s other MP, Conservative Government minister Jesse Norman, whose Hereford and South Herefordshire constituency includes Ross-on-Wye, is in the top third of MPs, with 29 declared donations, gifts, payments and other benefits from 18 sources worth about £34,660 during this parliament.
This is more than twice the average MPs’ figure of £14,780. About one in 10 MPs have not declared any interests during the current parliament.
Mr Norman said: “Unfortunately, the way this has been reported is very misleading. All the donations listed here went to support local campaigning. Other items were to reimburse the cost to me of attending various academic and policy conferences. In all these cases, I have received no financial benefit at all.
“The remaining items are royalty earnings from my books. That money has been given by me to local charities in Herefordshire.”
Mr Norman was made transport minister in November, entitling him to a further salary of £34,367, a figure frozen since 2010.
Top of the outside income table is former prime minister Theresa May with £2.8 million, mainly for speaking engagements, and some way ahead of her successor Boris Johnson, who has taken £1.2 million.
Perhaps also surprising is that the current Tory leader Rishi Sunak’s declared £550,000 over the period is well behind the figure for his Labour opposite number Sir Keir Starmer, on £800,000.