Warrington MPs at bottom end of the donation league table – Warrington Guardian

BRITISH prime minister Benjamin Disraeli is often quoted as saying something along the lines of: “There are three kinds of lies – lies, damned lies, and statistics. And that is probably as true today as when he is purported to have said it some time in the 1800s.
The problem with statistics is that while numbers don’t lie, they quite often don’t tell the whole truth. I mention this after the work done by journalists at Sky News and Tortoise Media who collaborated to pull together all the income MPs have received from sources other than their parliamentary salaries.
Don’t forget, the base salary for an MP is £84,144 with those ‘on the government payroll’ getting significantly more. For comparison, the government’s own figures show the average [male] salary in 2022 was £30,000 and the current starting salary for a Band 5 Nurse in the UK is £27,055 per year
At this point I could go on a bit of a rant about MPs expenses, subsidised food and drink, second homes, heating allowances, value for money etc but I won’t.
So back to the Sky News report. By and large, the extra money made by MPs is a combination of donations, gifts and income from second jobs.
So how did our MPs fare? Well in the great scheme of things, they are both in the lower end of the extra income league table.
Warrington South’s Tory MP Andy Carter is reported to have declared around £23,000 worth of payments and gifts including a donation of £7,000 from Foxglove Solutions, whoever they may be.
Other donations to the Andy Carter cause included IX Wireless (£4,550); The United and Cecil Club (£3,400) and gifts to the value of £700 from Channel 4.
Mr Carter was also recorded earnings of £5,620 from a company called Shoebridge (2006).
And here’s a perfect example of how statistics may not lie but certainly don’t tell the whole story.
So what is Foxglove Solutions? What does it do? Why did it give money to Mr Carter? What is Shoebridge (2006)? What does it do? What work did Mr Carter do for it?
I can answer one question though (thanks to the fount of all knowledge Wikipedia). The United and Cecil Club is a dining club with close links to the Conservative Party. Formed in 1949 following the merger of the United Club and the Cecil Club, the club is the seventh-largest donor to the Conservatives, and focuses its donations on marginal seats and Warrington South certainly fits into the ‘marginal’ category.
There is no question of impropriety here. All the donations have been correctly entered in the register of MPs’ interests but it does raise some interesting questions.
Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols did not make any income from a second job but did receive £7,450 in donations and gifts. The bulk of that was a £4,000 donation from the GMB Union (no surprise there, she previously worked as a national research and policy officer for the GMB).
Ms Nicholls also received ‘gifts’ worth £2,930 from the British Council. But far and away, my favourite and most intriguing gift was £500 from Heineken UK. Party on dudes.
As I said, the extra earnings, gifts and donations received by our MPs pale into insignificance in comparison to some to the big hitters, which somewhat surprisingly sees former prime minister Theresa May top the list. Her side hustles pulled in a staggering £2.8million but Boris Johnson is coming up fast on the rails. He pulled in an extra £1.2million now he’s got himself a gig giving speeches for vast sums.
(As a side note, I was once at an event where Johnson was the keynote speaker. He was truly terrible. Well before the end, people were talking among themselves or getting up to go to the bar.)
But there is an honourable mention for another MP with strong Warrington connections – Fiona Bruce, the MP for Congleton.
She is in the top 10 of those declaring extra income at a very healthy £712,300.
According to the Sky News website, £500 of that came from gifts from the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief. And what of the rest, well £711,700 came from her Stockton Heath-based legal practice Fiona Bruce and Co LLP.
Now that’s the way to do it.
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