Which Scottish MPs have second jobs? Scottish MPs with jobs outside Parliament - and how much they earn
As the Tory sleaze scandal continues to loom over British politics and questions rise over our politicians’ surplus income, here are the Scottish MPs with second jobs and high earnings outside of their parliamentary role.
With concerns over lobbying at the heart of British politics swell following the revelations of Conservative MP Owen Paterson’s role in promoting the interests of two companies employing him as a consultant, people across the UK are eager to see whether their own representative has a high-earning second job.
On Tuesday, The Guardian reported more than a quarter of Conservative MPs have second jobs, with Tory MPs such as Sir Geoffrey Cox, Andrew Mitchell and health secretary Sajid Javid facing accusations of ‘Tory sleaze’ for lucrative positions besides their primary Commons role.
According to Parliament rules, MPs are permitted to have second jobs so long as they are not ministers earning higher salaries at the heart of the UK Government, but they cannot use their parliamentary or political influence to lobby for the companies employing them or their interests.
But which Scottish MPs have second jobs?
Here are the Scottish MPs with jobs beside their parliamentary roles, how much they are earning and the MPs with the most shareholdings.
Are MPs allowed to have second jobs?
While the Tory sleaze scandal revealing the highly-paid roles and positions of those representing our constituencies in the House of Commons is highlighting concerns around MPs having second jobs, MPs are still allowed to have them, according to Parliament rules.
According to current parliamentary rules around MP income, Members have to register individual payments of more than £100 received for any employment beyond their Commons MP work.
The results of this are published and regularly updated in the Register of Members' Financial Interests, with details on any directorships, shareholdings, donations and earnings from secondary employment outlined in the register.
Which Scottish MPs have had second jobs?
With only 59 Members representing Scottish constituencies in the House of Commons, there is a far smaller minority of Scottish MPs with secondary jobs.
And according to the most recent update to the Members’ Financial Interests Register, dated November 1, only a handful have second jobs, with none appearing to earn more than their basic annual MP’s salary of £81,932.
These are the Scottish MPs who currently have, or recently held, second jobs and how much they earn, according to the latest Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
The Member of Parliament for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, Ian Blackford, held a high-paying second job until 31 March 2021 as the chairman of Golden Charter Trust Limited, the trust of Golden Charter Limited, which manages, holds and invests funds generated from the sale of funeral plans.
According to Golden Charter Trust’s website, the Trust had net assets totalling £1.223 billion as of March 31, 2021, with the Trust Limited company letting the firm “conduct its investment business more efficiently and to take advantage of the lower taxation rates applicable to companies”.
In the year to March 31, Mr Blackford received £3,247.25 a month for eight hours of work per quarter and £1,575.85 per day for any additional work, unspecified, according to his entry on the MPs’ Financial Interests Register.
Mr Blackford collected an estimated salary of £38,967 in total from the position last year, but collected a salary of £3,000 a month from the chairman position from December 2015, according to previous entries on the Register.
In addition to this, Mr Blackford held the position of chairman of Commsworld Plc, a Scottish telecommunications company and Internet Service Provider (ISP), until December 17, 2019.
The MP received £1,000 a month in the role from July 2015 to December 2019 for eight hours of work per quarter, earning an estimated £50,000 in the four years and five months to December 2019.
The Member of Parliament for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie, has served as a Scottish Conservative MP since 2017.
Since July 28, 2019, Mr Bowie has served as vice-chairman of the Conservative Party in a position believed to carry an undisclosed part time salary.
But as Tory ‘sleaze’ allegations engulfed the party following Mr Paterson’s resignation, Mr Bowie announced on Wednesday (November 10) that he would be stepping down as vice-chair to focus on his obligations to his constituents.
"I was honoured to serve as vice-chair of the Conservative & Unionist party,” Mr Bowie tweeted on Wednesday morning.
"However, over the last few months, I have come to the decision that I need to take a step back from the demands of the role to focus on representing my constituents.”
Mr Bowie added: “I formally asked the party yesterday if I could step back from my position and I will remain in post until they have found a successor.”
The MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine became a vice-chair of the Conservative Party along with five other MPs in 2019, receiving his first undisclosed salary payment for the part time position on October 31, 2019.
Joanna Cherry QC
As a high-profile Scottish lawyer, member of the Faculty of Advocates and Queen’s Counsel, Joanna Cherry returned to the Bar after being demoted from the SNP front bench in the Commons in February 2021.
Having been appointed Queen’s Counsel, commonly known as taking “silk”, in 2009, Ms Cherry carries the higher rank of senior counsel and can, as such, be paid higher fees for case work on account of her legal expertise.
Ms Cherry told Scottish Legal News upon her return to Faculty of Advocates stable Arnot Manderson Advocates: “After my election to Parliament in 2015 the demands of my duties as a front bench spokesperson precluded me from accepting any instructions in my capacity as an advocate.
"Now that I no longer have those responsibilities, I hope to be able to take on human rights and public law cases from time to time, as my duties as a constituency MP allow.”
Ms Cherry said she had been granted permission to return to practicing law alongside working as an MP by the Dean of Faculty, Roddy Dunlop QC.
“I am grateful to the Dean of Faculty for granting me a Dean’s dispensation to reflect the fact that my availability to be instructed will necessarily be limited by the requirement to be at Westminster regularly and to fulfil my duties to my constituents,” she said.
“In this respect I will be following in the tradition of fellow members of the Faculty of advocates including John Smith and Menzies Campbell, who combined the occasional practice of law with their duties as MPs.”
On the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, Ms Cherry states she has undertaken “limited practice” as a QC and advocate and continues to be paid for legal services rendered prior to her election in 2015, but no salary details or payments are outlined with this employment information.
Alongside her legal work, Ms Cherry has received £150 payments for her weekly columns in The National since September 2020.
Mr MacNeil, serving the constituency of Na h-Eileanan an Iar as its parliamentary representative in the House of Commons, is a crofter on the Isle of Barra where he lives.
Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, MP for Moray and MSP for the Highlands and Islands region, earned almost £5,000 in 2020 for his part-time work as a football referee, according to the MPs’ Financial Interests Register.
Mr Ross’ entry on the Financial Interests Register suggested that he took home just £4,661.71 last year for his work as an assistant referee at football matches in Scotland and abroad.
The entry states that on October 15, 2020, the Moray MP and Highland MSP received £1,226 from the Scottish Football Association for working as an assistant referee and standby official at five Scottish matches, and £3,435.70 from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for several matches between mid October and early November.
However, Mr Ross failed to declare his additional MSP salary on the MP Register of Interests, as well as additional income from a further 16 matches such as the Scottish Cup semi final, The Herald reports.
The paper found that according to official sports records, Mr Ross earned a further £6728.57 for these games between November 2020 and January 2021.
The Moray MP has apologised and self-referred himself to the Commons Standards watchdog for failing to register the estimated £28,000 excess earnings, telling The Herald in a statement: "This was an error on my behalf that shouldn't have happened, and I apologise for not registering these payments on time.
"Since realising my mistake last week, I contacted the Office of the Register of Interests and made them aware of the situation. All payments have now been declared, including those from my MSP salary that are donated to charities."
Ms Qaisar-Javed was the successful candidate replacing former SNP MP Neil Gray, who resigned from the seat to pursue a seat in Holyrood in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.
According to the Members’ Financial Interests Register, the new MP for Airdrie and Shotts received a payment of £10,141.12 for one day of work as a teacher, and holiday pay, from George Watson’s College in Edinburgh – where she taught Modern Studies – since she was elected as an MP.
The SNP did not respond to requests for comment, but it is understood that the payment registered by Ms Qaisar-Javed is being queried.
Which Scottish MP has the most shareholdings?
Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland and Member of Parliament for Dumfries and Galloway, has the largest number of shareholdings out of all Scottish MPs, according to the Members’ Financial Interests Register.
The Scottish Secretary lists shareholdings over 15 per cent of issued share capital in four different companies – some of which he is or was previously employed at as a director prior to his election to the Commons in 2017.
These are investment holding company Atlantic Solway Holdings Ltd, Lloyds insurance underwriting company Cantco Ltd, Courance Farms estate, Edinburgh Self Storage Ltd and Mollin HEP Ltd.
In addition to these shareholdings, Mr Jack has a further six shareholdings valued at more than £70,000 with companies One Rebel Ltd, Privet Capital Aeromet, Rars Woodlands Ltd, Rars Woodlands 2 Ltd, Rars Woodlands 3 Ltd (Rars Woodlands companies trade collectively as Galloway Woodlands) and Thomas Murray Network Management Ltd.
Scottish MPs besides Mr Jack with shareholdings of more than 15 per cent of a company’s issued share capital include Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Jamie Stone, who has held shares in dormant property company Highland Fine Houses Ltd since before he became an MP, Inverness SNP MP Drew Hendry with shareholdings in internet services company Teclan Ltd, and Chris Law, MP for Dundee West, with shareholdings in Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited.