MPs’ second jobs in TV and radio: Jacob Rees-Mogg is top earner with GB News role as MPs make £250,000 in 2023

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Conservative MPs were by far the biggest earners from TV roles in the first half of 2023

The earnings of Members of Parliament with a second job on TV and radio have been revealed, and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg has topped the list for the year to date.

MPs could be on course to earn more than £500,000 by the end of the year through their second jobs on TV and radio, with just over half this figure declared so far.

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Of the £254,000 declared by MPs for these roles in 2023 to date, Conservative MPs were responsible for just under £230,000.

These figures do not include Nadine Dorries’ payment for her weekly TalkTV current affairs show, which she has hosted since February, and for which she is yet to declare any earnings. TalkTV declined to comment when asked by NationalWorld whether Dorries’ role is paid and how much she has earned if so. 

Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, has hosted an hour-long evening show on right-wing channel GB News since January, and has so far declared more than £90,000 for 120 hours performed in the service of this job. This works out at just over £755 per hour. 

Rees-Mogg’s earnings for the first half of this year are more than the basic annual salary for an MP, which is currently £86,584, having risen by 2.9% in April.

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Esther McVey, David Lammy, and Jacob Rees-Mogg have all made thousands from TV and radio jobs this yearEsther McVey, David Lammy, and Jacob Rees-Mogg have all made thousands from TV and radio jobs this year
Esther McVey, David Lammy, and Jacob Rees-Mogg have all made thousands from TV and radio jobs this year | Getty

Which MPs earn the most from TV and radio appearances?

Of the 10 MPs who have received the most income this year from appearances on TV and radio, eight are Conservatives, whilst two are Labour.

After Rees-Mogg, the next highest earners are Conservatives Esther McVey (£37,398 for 116 hours), Lee Anderson (£36,538 for 152 hours), and Phil Davies (£32,869 for 200 hours), who all present on GB News. Anderson has declared his annual salary of £100,000 in exchange for eight hours work per week, but only started the role in March.    

The fifth biggest earner is Labour’s David Lammy, who has made £19,950 for 90 hours of work on his Sunday morning show on radio station LBC.

No Liberal Democrats have declared earnings from radio or TV roles so far this year, whilst the Green Party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas, made £400 for 24 hours of work on the BBC.

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Two MPs, Conservative Danny Kruger, and Labour's Emily Thornberry, donated their appearance fees, (£3,000 and £600 respectively) to charity.

Are MPs allowed to have their own TV and radio shows?

Following the slew of Conservative MPs joining news-adjacent shows like TalkTV and GB News, audiences have questioned what the rules are regarding serving politicians making TV appearances. Earlier this year, Ofcom clarified that MPs can present TV and radio shows, with some exceptions.

One important rule is that serving politicians cannot appear on news programs as an anchor, interviewer or reporter unless there is an editorial justification. Ofcom is currently investigating Rees-Mogg over a GB News appearance in which he may have acted as a newsreader without editorial justification. The appearance led to more than 40 complaints.

Additionally, if politicians are standing in an election, or are about to do so, they are not allowed to present TV or radio shows of any kind, regardless of their political content, unless the appearance was scheduled before the election period began.

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This means that ahead of next year’s planned general election, if the politicians currently hosting shows on TV and radio plan to stand for re-election, they will have to take a leave of absence from their presenting roles.

NationalWorld has contacted the 10 highest earning MPs listed in this article for comment. Nadine Dorries has also been contacted for comment as to why she has not declared earnings for her role on TalkTV.

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