MPs paid £350k for media appearances

Posted on 26/06/2014


With the BBC’s non-coverage of austerity protests and the climax of the hacking trial, the relationship between mainstream media and politicians is back under the spotlight.

But for some politicians and media outlets the relationship is far deeper than a ‘back door to power’. It’s a financial arrangement.

A £358,017 financial arrangement.

Hidden among the latest MP’s Register of Members’ Interests [pdf] are declarations of earnings from politicians’ media appearances. And this is not just for columns in newspapers as the chart below shows.

How much do media outlets pay MPs?

Most notable is the amount the BBC has paid to politicians – £43,399. Unlike ITV, which usually spends money on paying politicians to appear on reality TV shows, the BBC and Sky totals include regular amounts paid for appearances on news and current affairs programmes, which is just MPs doing their job promoting their politics.

These payments range from  Any Questions (£150 an appearance) and Sky news reviews (£144) to Have I Got News For You (£1,500).

Here are the top MP media earners:

  1. George Galloway, £75,800
  2. Nadine Dorries, £56,160
  3. Gisela Stuart, £24,680
  4. Chris Bryant, £21,750
  5. Rory Stewart, £20,412
  6. Austin Mitchell, £15,000
  7. Alan Johnson, £14,817
  8. Diane Abbott, £12,600
  9. David Blunkett, £10,850
  10. Penny Mordaunt, £10,000

So next time you see a politician on TV your question might not be “do I agree with them” but “how much have they been paid to be there.”

Note on the calculations: All payments made by media outlets and then stated to be donated by MPs to charity are excluded, but those ‘donated’ to a constituency office have been retained in the totals. The data is based on the Register as on 2nd June 2014 only available as a pdf which has was converted into .csv and summarised with notes indicating how the total was reached. This spreadsheet has been made available as a Google doc which can be viewed and challenged (through comments) online here.