Sir Geoffrey Cox, the former attorney general, has declared a part-time job worth £400,000 on top of his MPs’ salary.
The contract with international legal services firm Consultant Global Counsel began on 1 November – and commits the Tory MP for Torridge and West Devon MP to up to 41 hours of work a month.
Cox is a prominent commercial barrister and QC – and has been parliament’s highest-earning MP since entering the House of Commons in 2005.
His new contract is a renewal of a similar agreement with the same company from last year, which saw him paid £468,000 for 48 hours’ work a month.
He took a signifiant pay cut when he gave up private practice to serve as attorney general between 2018 and 2020.
Cox’s big bucks
But, since being sacked as the government’s foremost legal officer by Boris Johnson last February, he has returned to his commercial roots – registering more than £570,000 in earnings last year.
According to Hansard, Cox has spoken in the Commons just once since leaving the Conservative frontbench – during a debate on fixed-term parliaments in September.
The disclosure comes as a Cabinet minister defended the peerages system in the UK, claiming those in the House of Lords had “usually done enormously good work”.
A Sunday Times report showed 15 of the last 16 Conservative Party treasurers have been offered a seat in the Lords, having each donated more than £3 million to the party.
But International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said it was key to have a “rich mix” in the upper chamber.
‘We have an incredible system’
The Tories have denied any link between the donations and the nominations to sit in the Lords, in the latest twist in ongoing allegations of sleaze.
On Monday, Trevelyan said “many business people, who have donated to their parties – Lord Sugar is one for the Labour Party, we have some on our side – do so because they believe in political activity”.
She told Sky News: “We have an incredible system in the UK where we don’t ask the state to fund our political parties and if we didn’t have the private donations that come through from donors large and small – in my constituency, people donate £25 a year and donors who can provide more, do more – if we didn’t do that the taxpayer would be funding political activity.
“I think our UK system is uniquely well-placed to ensure that we get this broad stretch … the unions fund a great deal of the Labour Party’s activity, again that’s from many, many small voices, and then some large ones too.
“It’s a mix which brings a real depth of voices to our political parties across the piste.”