SOUTH Shields MP David Miliband is under the spotlight after earning more than £116-a-minute for making one speech.
The former Foreign Secretary received £14,000 for a two-hour speech to a law firm at Claridge’s Hotel in London on June 14 – £116.66 a minute.
The payment is outlined in Mr Miliband’s declaration on the latest register of MPs’ financial interests. He collected £441,821.60 in outside earnings since June last year on top of his £65,738 annual salary as an MP.
Labour MP Ronnie Campbell, who represents Blyth Valley, said outside earnings were wrong as it raised concerns about exactly who big-earning MPs were working for.
Anyone wanting to pay so much money for a speech from Mr Miliband had “more money than sense”, he said.
Independent South Tyneside councillor George Elsom, previously a Labour party member, said he was “appalled” but not surprised.
“Those of us who have to work have to get permission to get a second job, MPs don’t. I would have thought his first priority would have been his constituency”
But Iain Malcolm, Labour leader of South Tyneside Council, said Mr Miliband’s commitment to South Shields was “total”.
“He is extremely well respected in the constituency and until someone demonstrates to me what he is doing is illegal, I cannot see what the problem is.”
Mr Miliband received a total of £75,000 for 10 days work as vice-chairman and non-executive director of Sunderland football club between June 2011 and February this year.
For making speeches around the world, the South Shields MP earned £120,258, while as an adviser to several firms and organisations, he earned £185,875.60 for 12 days’ work.
Five days of teaching at America’s Stanford University last September brought in £25,027, with travel and accommodation worth £3,834 covered. Mr Miliband also received travel and accommodation valued at £4,650.63 for six days of teaching at Harvard University. A further £4,011 came from seven newspaper articles.
Several North East MPs do not have any outside earnings. A handful receive rental income from a property they own or part-own. Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah received £1,000 from a London theatre for 20 hours’ work in writing a 15-minute play. Hexham’s Guy Opperman has not done any outside work since becoming an MP, but has declared money received for legal services he provided as a barrister before May 6, 2010.
Other local MPs have declared small amounts for filling in pollsters’ surveys - with money donated to charity, local schools and local constituency parties.
A spokesman for the South Shields MP said: “David Miliband’s job as MP for South Shields comes first, as shown by his speeches in Parliament. Outside interests are fitted around Parliamentary and constituency commitments.”
He also donates some fees to charity and he paid the 50p tax rate on his income.