One in five new MPs has second job

Analysis of the new register of MPs’ financial interests by Unlock Democracy reveals that 1 in 5 new MPs already has a second job: 34 out of the 182 new MPs reported second jobs, while 80 of the 468 returning MPs reported second jobs. The total number of MPs with second jobs has increased slightly since the election, with 114 MPs reporting second jobs, up from 108 according to a BBC analysis conducted in February 2015. [1] Of the 114 MPs who have second jobs, 84 are Conservative, 18 Labour, 11 SNP and one DUP.

MPs’ second jobs have been in the spotlight following the cash for questions scandal involving veteran MPs Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind, and the scheduled 10% increase in MPs’ salaries. A YouGov poll held earlier this year found that 54% of voters favoured a ban on second jobs for MPs, while only 26% agreed that MPs continuing to do second jobs like medicine, law or running a business keeps them in touch with ordinary people. [2]

Five new MPs reported paid directorships, including one MP with multiple paid directorships. [3]  Four reported regular media work, including the returning Alex Salmond, while four reported other business roles. [4]

Many new parliamentarians were already elected politicians. While 25 new MPs resigned from other elected positions on taking their seats in Westminster, 23 of the new intake have so far held on to their old elected positions. These include 19 local councillors, three London Assembly members (including one, Conservative MP Victoria Borwick, who is also a local councillor), and Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Johnson also reported his annual £250,000 income from his newspaper column and a book advance. Alex Salmond, who is an MSP as well as an MP, has not declared additional income from his position as an MSP.

Commenting on the analysis of MPs' second jobs, Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, said:

“Over the next five years, many new MPs will be offered opportunities to earn money on top of their salary. But new politicians should remember that they are in Parliament to represent their constituents, not to pursue lucrative second jobs.

MPs can follow a simple rule to make sure their dealings are above board. If an MP decides to take a paid second job, it should be because it helps them become a more effective MP, rather than because being an MP helps them do their second job more effectively.”


On the most recent register of members’ financial interests, 312 MPs reported income from outside their parliamentary work.

Of these, 198 reported income which we have not categorised as having a second job

  • 120 reported income from participating in parliamentary opinion polls, occasional media work or speaking engagements

  • 40 reported receiving income from their employment before becoming an MP

  • 25 reported income from elected positions from which they resigned on their election as an MP- e.g. local councillor or member of devolved assembly

  • 11 reported income from past second jobs

  • 1 reported royalties from artistic works

We have categorised the remaining 114 MPs as having second jobs:

  • 25 reported income from other elected positions:

  • 21 local councillors (4 of whom took no allowances or donated them to charity)

  • three London Assembly members, one of whom is also a councillor

  • one Mayor of London

  • 27 reported one paid directorship, consultancy or advisory role (including 3 who work as parliamentary advisors)

  • 18 reported multiple directorships, consultancies or advisory roles

  • 18 reported regular media work or speaking engagements - e.g. a column

  • 10 reported legal work - as solicitors, barristers or judges

  • 5 reported income from farming

  • 5 reported advances for books they are currently writing

  • 4 are members of the Territorial Army

  • 3 reported income from medical practice

  • 6 reported other second jobs

[Figures do not add to 114 as some MPs reported multiple second jobs]

See spreadsheet for full details of the analysis taken from the register of members’ interests.





[3] Paid directors: Kevin Hollinrake, Kit Malthouse, Chris Philp, Paul Scully (Conservative); Paul Monaghan (SNP). Multiple directorships: Ian Blackford (SNP)

[4] Media work: Boris Johnson (Conservative); Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, George Kerevan, Alex Salmond (SNP) Other business roles: Craig Mackinlay (Con, accountant), John Mc Nally (SNP, business owner), Tom Tugendhat (Con, leadership mentor), Seema Kennedy (Con, manager)