REVEALED: Sir Malcolm Rifkind's £240,000 side earnings


Sir Malcolm Rifkind has earned more than £240,000 from private sector work since January, on top of his MP salary. Is it at the expense of his constituents?

A picture of Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Tory MP for Kensington Sir Malcolm Rifkind has shown a “well below average” turnout in parliament despite finding time to sit on the boards of four companies.

To date, the former secretary of state for Scotland has more than tripled his MP salary by earning upwards of £240,000 since January this year. His earnings come from directorships, consultancy work and journalism.

That £240,000 plus comes on top of his MP annual salary of £65,738, meaning Sir Malcolm will take home more than £305,000 this calendar year. (He could earn significantly more if he does more private sector work between now and the end of the calendar year.)

This is the most earned of all London MPs and is well above the national average.

Among the former defence secretary’s registered directorships is his position as a non-executive board member for the investment group Aberdeen Asset Management. For £4,666.66 a month, Sir Malcolm attends 10 four-hour long board meetings and a similar number of committee meetings per year.

The MP also sits as a non-executive board member for Unilever. In his Register of Members’ Interests he describes attendance as:

Approximately eight board meetings a year each lasting a morning and afternoon with a dinner the previous evening. Most meetings in London, two or three in The Netherlands and one elsewhere. Also member of Board Committee, three hours the day before each board meeting.

For his services he earns both Sterling and Euros, receiving monthly payments of £2,719 and 4,167 Euros.

His biggest single earning came from UBS. It paid him £25,000 for a series of four eight-hour-long presentations on international affairs. The presentations took place in London, Edinburgh and New York.

According to the website TheyWorkForYou.com, which collates parliamentary data from Hansard and parliament.uk, Sir Malcolm has spoken 22 times and voted in 57 per cent of the ballots in this parliament (i.e. since May 2010) – deemed “below average” and “well below average” respectively by the website.

Sir Malcolm has been a member of parliament for Kensington since 2005 and served as MP for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974 to 1997 before losing his seat to the Labour Party.

For a full rundown of the MP’s parliamentary career you can visit Conservatives.com – but unfortunately not Sir Malcolm’s personal MP site. He doesn’t currently have a working website dedicated to his constituency. He is the only London MP not to.

As well as sitting on the boards for Aberdeen Asset International, Unilever, Continental Farmers Group and Adam Smith International, Sir Malcolm advises L.E.K. Consulting, for a fee of £6,250.

In August, he registered fees for articles penned in the International Herald Tribune, Independent on Sunday, Observer, Scotsman, Spectator, Sunday Times, Washington Post, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times and Evening Standard. These amounted to around £10,000.

Sir Malcolm also works as a senior counsellor for a specialist advisory firm based in Australia called Dragoman. The notes in his Register of Members’ Interests show he doesn’t have to attend to his duties for the firm in person:

No regular meetings, communication by email and occasional meetings in London as might be required. Retainer of Australian $12,500 paid every three months.

Nice work if you can get it.

Sir Malcolm declined to comment when we invited him to respond to our findings.