MPs Have Had Over £210,000 in Freebies “Doing the Season”

Guido has totted up the total cost of all the freebies MPs have accepted in the register of interests since the country began to unlock on March 29th, and discovered that they’ve enjoyed £210,372.21 worth of free tickets to football games, tennis matches, Ascot races and the like. As ever, not bad work if you can get it…

Guido previously totted up their £23,000 freebees between the start of unlocking and the start of July; just two weeks later they’d accrued another £46,000-worth. In the last month things went into overdrive…

MPs managed to splurge an unbelievable £80,762.43 between July 13 and July 26, following Britain’s full unlocking on 19 July. Some of the biggest frolickers include Tracy Crouch who accepted £8,160-worth of Euros tickets and Greg Smith who received £7,030 in Grand Prix tickets.

MPs also enjoyed a big summer blow-out revelling in £56,887 worth of gifts according to August’s register of interests: big winners included Chief Whip Mark Spencer’s £3,474 of Euros tickets, Graham Brady’s £3,074 of Euros tickets and £2,200 in Wimbledon tickets, and Henry Smith who was gifted £4,248 in Grand Prix tickets. A special congratulations to Nigel Adams, who snaffled £8,037.14 worth of free Euros tickets throughout the course of the whole tournament… 

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McVey’s TV Presenting Return that Never Was

At the start of 2021, News UK was still planning on launching a right-wing TV channel of their own, only to abandon plans when GB News had clearly emerged as the better-prepared front runner. The death knell was announced in April by Rebekah Brooks with the departure of broadcast executive David Rhodes, and her conclusion that a linear news channel is not “commercially viable”. GB News hopes to prove that wrong…

The register of MPs’ interests has now given an insight into the programming Brooks had hoped to get off the ground. Last night, Esther McVey revealed she took £600 from News UKfor presenting pilot episodes of a news programme”. According to McVey, the audition took up 6 hours of her time. It was no doubt a breeze for McVey, who prior to Parliament made a name for herself as a GMTV presenter…

Guido hears the audition took the form of a panel show with two talking heads and a second MP. Interestingly, the name of Esther’s MP co-host is yet to register their payment…

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MPs Rack Up £23,000 in Post-Unlocking Revelling

Since the first stage of unlocking in March, MPs have received almost £23,000 in free hospitality tickets and other goodies, Guido can reveal. Nine MPs – mostly Tory – participated in the trial BRITs audience, racking up a total £7,925 in tickets and hospitality. All in order to receive a lecture from Dua Lipa slamming Boris and the lack of nurses’ pay rises…

Sports events have proved most popular, with Michael Gove’s jaunt to Porto with his son costing Santander £2,500. Philip Davies, Esther McVey and Alex Norris managed to wangle tickets plus hospitality to the England versus Czech Republic game on the 22nd June – freebies worth £4,612.8 between the three.

Philip Davies and Esther McVey also enjoyed Royal Ascott, with Davies nabbing an additional solo visit with the hospitality box included (£1,400).

It’s not just sports and music – these are MPs after all. LibDem Munira Wilson has bagged a free £1,463 National Liberal Club membership, not to mention the numerous Tory MPs who’ve bagged free Carlton club membership over the past year. As ever, very nice work if you can get it… 

The register declarations in full:

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Theresa May Pockets £160,370 from JP Morgan, Hancock Has Shares in NHS Contractor

While Cameron’s post-PM money-making ventures are the news of the day, Theresa May’s latest update to her register of interests shows Dave how it’s done: raking in £160,370 as an advance payment for a speech to JP Morgan – for just three hour’s work. Two other newly registered speeches by the former PM, of £45,650 and £38,220, take her total post-Downing Street speech earnings to over £700,000. Unlike Cameron, she claims all were run by Pickles’s ACOBA…

Matt Hancock is another big earner this month, registering a new gift of 15% of the issued share capital of Topwood Limited, his sister’s company apparently, under “a delegated management arrangement”. Given the current on-going cronyism debate and before everyone explodes, Guido would point out that while Topwood has been awarded two contracts with the NHS for waste destruction – worth £300,000 – they were awarded by NHS Wales, not NHS England for which he is responsible. Still, it seems a little reckless in the circumstances…

Former Chief Whip and Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith is to begin earning £60,000 from a new role with a marine refurbishment company (again, having consulted ACOBA), and vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi tops things off with a new residential property in Dubai, valued at over £100,000. Nice work if you can get it…

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Barnsley MP Admits he’s Gone Part-Time

Dan Jarvis combines his full-time MP job with his full-time role as Sheffield’s Metro Mayor. Guido always supposed one set of constituents must therefore be losing out by virtue of Jarvis’s Osborne-esque level job juggling; a recent entry in his register of member’s interests appears to have proved Guido’s suspicions correct:

The addition to the register – and revelation that he’s formally become a part-time MP based on the few hours left after dedicating a full 120 hours a month to his metro mayor role – only came about after an independent panel pushed a new £79,000 mayoral salary onto Jarvis. He’d previously been working for free and therefore not needed to register the role’s hours…

Steve Rotherham quit as an MP when he became Liverpool City Region mayor, and Labour MP Tracy Brabin has promised to resign her seat if elected West Yorkshire’s new metro mayor in May. Can anyone think of a reason why Jarvis shouldn’t do the honourable thing and step down from one of his roles to focus on doing the other properly?

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Saj Took HSBC Dosh Day After Bank Backed Communist Law

Former cabinet ministers have been landing on their feet, with the latest Register of Interest updates confirming Chris Grayling’s appointment as a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, and showing Theresa May made another £100,000 speech during lockdown. One entry from former Chancellor Sajid Javid caught Guido’s eye, however: a £30,000 speech given to HSBC on the 5th June.

This was the day after HSBC came out publicly for China’s oppressive Hong Kong National Security laws. The day of Sajid’s speech, Tory MPs – including the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugendhat – joined the Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy and Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds in taking the bank to task over its support for the national security law. It’s unlikely Sajid missed the news…

When asked whether Sajid took HSBC’s pro-Security Law stance into account before taking the massive speaking fee, a spokesperson said: “HSBC is one of the biggest banks in the UK with millions of British retail and business customers. Sajid spoke to UK customers about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the UK and global economy.” Javid’s been a vocal defender of Hong Kong’s freedoms. What message does it send taking £30,000 from the bank the day after it endorsed the new oppressive laws?

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