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Alun Cairns now one of just seven MPs with three or more jobs outside Westminster

03 Jul 2021 5 minutes Read
Alun Cairns. Picture by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0).

Alun Cairns is now part of the one per cent of MPs who have three or more jobs outside Westminster, research by Nation.Cymru shows.

The Vale of Glamorgan MP last month started a £30,000-a-year role advising the board of Elite Partners Capital, a Singapore-based property investment firm, the register of MPs’ interests reveals.

That doubled the income he was already making from two other side jobs worth £15,000 each, one advising a firm producing home Covid tests and another with a taxi operator that runs Cardiff’s Dragon Taxis.

Just six more of the 650 members of the House of Commons – all of them Conservatives – have as many or more roles outside Parliament, our analysis of the register of MPs’ interests has found.

Steve Brine, Mark Garnier, Stephen Hammond and John Hayes all also have three other jobs, while Richard Fuller has four and former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell has six.

Cairns is also in the top 5% of MPs when it comes to earnings from and hours worked in outside jobs, although is far from being top of either measure.

Wage

The £60,000-a-year brought in by his three jobs makes him the 22nd, behind former Prime Minister Theresa May who has made over £1 million through speaking tours and his predecessor as Wales Secretary, John Redwood, who makes £192,272-a-year made as an advisor to an investment firm.

Cairns’ sidelines require a combined commitment of up to 224 hours a year, equivalent to 28 days based on a regular eight hour working day. Some 30 MPs rack-up more hours on second jobs, including Labour MP Dan Jarvis who spends 1,440 hours-a-year as mayor of the Sheffield City Region, or the 801 hours clocked up by former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox as a QC.

The Vale of Glamorgan MP now earns more than First Minister Mark Drakeford and almost as much as he did as a UK Government minister before resigning as Wales Secretary over claims he knew about a former aide’s role in the “sabotage” of a rape trial.

Coming on top of the £81,932 earned by all MPs and at least £10,000-a-year from a house he rents in Cardiff, his three second jobs means Cairns now makes £151,932 a year.

By comparison, the average annual wage in his Vale of Glamorgan constituency was £23,971 last year – which has fallen from £25,281 since Cairns became an MP in 2010.

‘Influence’

Commenting on our findings, Plaid Cymru’s group leader on the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cllr Ian Johnson, said: “This is just greed, isn’t it? Pure and simple.

“Being a Member of Parliament is a well-paid full-time job, and MPs shouldn’t be feathering their own nest by taking on additional roles, when they should be working full time for their constituents.

“It’s an insult, particularly to those searching for work or facing poverty, when a public representative takes on lucrative sidelines that are a conflict of interest to their main democratic role.

“As a former Assembly Member and now Member of Parliament, politics has been Alun Cairns’ full time job for more than twenty years. So, what exactly are these companies paying him for except for his insider knowledge?

“There seems to be no shame from the Conservatives when it comes to selling their influence.”

‘Toothless’

Cairns’ latest role with the Singapore property investment firm, which will see him “update the board on economic and political developments in the UK which could impact the group’s investments”, was approved by ACOBA, the UK Government’s lobbying watchdog.

In his application for approval, Cairns told the body that he first met representatives of Elite Partners Capital at an event to promote investment jointly organised by the Wales Office during his time as Wales Secretary, although he was not involved in any negotiations about potential investments.

Labour said MPs should be banned from taking up such roles. “Under this Government sleaze and cronyism have become so routine and common that it is not surprising that a senior Tory MP appears to have used his position to enrich himself, rather than serve his constituents,” Shadow Cabinet Office minister Fleur Anderson told Business Insider.

“It’s time to ban MPs with pound signs in their eyes taking private money for lobbying gigs, and urgently reform ACOBA – which is standing idly by while our politics gets polluted.

“Labour would establish a single Ethics and Integrity Commission with the powers to oversee and enforce anti-corruption and ethics laws and regulations, which are currently fragmented and toothless.”

A spokesperson for Alun Cairns told Insider: “In line with Parliamentary procedure, this role was approved by the independent body ACOBA.”

It’s not the first time Cairns has courted controversy with outside interests. Nation.Cymru reported last month how campaigners warned the MP left himself open to charges of lobbying after setting-up a Parliamentary group for energy security after receiving a donation from an energy firm.

The only other Welsh MP who currently has a second job is Labour’s Stephen Doughty, who recently registered as an Army reservist.

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Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
21 days ago

Why mention a reservist role when reporting on Tory corruption?
£100 a day for a captain and the chance to die for the Union Jack isn’t quite the same as Cairns’s greed.

defaid
defaid
20 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

That’s probably the (blunt) point. On one hand Tory, £60 000 for 224 hours work: £268 per hour. On the other Labour, £100 for giving up your weekend and running the risk of suffering permanent harm.

I’ve seen a similar comparison made between professional football and explosive ordnance disposal, the one essentially useless and the other altruistic but not paying much above an ordinary industrial shopfloor wage.

Last edited 20 days ago by defaid
Mick Tems
Mick Tems
21 days ago

Pure naked greed, sleaze and cronyism – throw Cairns in jail and chuck away the key.

Erisian
Erisian
21 days ago

You have to ask why the hell do these companies hire politicians if it isn’t for nefarious purposes. It’s not like most of them have qualifications in anything other P.P & E.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
20 days ago

Either the man doesn’t sleep or he doesn’t take his parliamentary job seriously.

Quornby
Quornby
20 days ago

I won’t be using that taxi firm any more even if it means a wait. You are judged by the company you keep.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
20 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

Quotnby, cycling is good for you I’m told, both physically and politically.

Chris
Chris
20 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

They’re pretty rubbish much of the time anyway. If the local office is busy they bump you to Cardiff or Newport and you have to explain to the sullen disinterested despatcher where the place you want the taxi to arrive is, because they don’t know the area and apparently have never heard of Google Maps. I don’t blame Cairns for this. Clearly he is “employed” to defend Dragon’s best interests in Y Senedd, not to actually put a shift in.

Last edited 20 days ago by Chris
Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
20 days ago

I vaguely remember a court report in the press a couple of years ago about a Welsh Tory MP who was quoted to have said “what’s the point of being an MP if you can’t make money from it?”.

Last edited 20 days ago by Nick Randall-Smith
Chris
Chris
20 days ago

That’s the party motto I believe

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