Boris Johnson earned 85% of all the outside pay generated by MPs this year, Sky News can reveal.
The former prime minister has declared earnings of £4.8m, mostly since stepping down from Downing Street in speeches and book deals, the latest update to the Westminster Accounts by Sky News can reveal.
Some £3.7m of this was earned in just the first six weeks of this year, on top of the basic MP salary of £84,144.
Adding up the outside earnings of every MP in almost two months in 2023 comes to £4.4m, meaning that Mr Johnson received just under 85% of all second job cash. This includes all earnings released up to 20 February.
In January, Sky News launched the Westminster Accounts, a major ongoing investigation into how money works in politics.
We commissioned Tortoise Media to bring together information about MPs’ earnings and donations, as well as money flowing directly to political parties, in one searchable database updated whenever official bodies release more information.
When the project launched, Theresa May was the MP with the highest declared earnings, with Mr Johnson in third place.
Mr Johnson’s extra-parliamentary work in the first two months of this year now pushes him to the top of the league table of outside earnings, with Mrs May moved into second place.
Mrs May’s declared earnings of £2.55m are barely more than half that of Mr Johnson’s.
A spokesman for Mr Johnson said all his interests are properly registered and declared.
The bulk of Mr Johnson’s earnings comes from a high end speaking firm, the Harry Walker Agency, followed by a publishing contract with Harper Collins.
Nearly £2.5m from the speaking agency is “an advance for speaking engagements”, according to the register.
The speech at the International Symposium on Blockchain Advancements in Singapore earned Mr Johnson over a quarter of a million pounds. The highly paid speaking gigs have spanned Singapore, New York, Mumbai and, last week, Westminster.
The second-highest earner in the first two months of this year was the former Tory health secretary Matt Hancock, now an independent MP, earning £378,000.
Most of that has come from ITV for his appearance on I’m A Celebrity which saw him get the nation talking, lose the Conservative Party whip, eat a camel’s private parts and earn £320,000.
His spokesman told Sky News he had donated £10,000 of that to charities – 3% of the total.
Mr Hancock has declared a further £48,000 from the serialisation of his book, which reportedly sold 3,000 copies in its first week.
The book’s ghostwriter Isabel Oakeshott has since forwarded 100,000 of Mr Hancock’s WhatsApp messages, shared with her as part of the book writing process, to a national newspaper.
MPs have declared a total of £22m on top of their annual salaries from outside earnings since the last general election.
Some 17 of the top 20 MPs with the highest declared outside earnings are Conservatives.