Clarke tops Norfolk MPs' earnings list

Former home secretary Charles Clarke rose to the top of the pile of Norfolk's biggest parliamentary earners as the region's MPs declared their outside interests

Former home secretary Charles Clarke rose to the top of the pile of Norfolk's biggest parliamentary earners as the region's MPs declared their outside interests yesterday.

Mr Clarke - who quit the cabinet after being sacked from the Home Office in May - has taken on three significant roles with a selection of companies over the past year. On top of these positions, he has also carried out a range of paid media work.

He is not obliged to reveal his exact earnings but the Register of Members' Interests, which requires all MPs to report all income which could prejudice their actions, showed he brought in up to £45,000 over 12 months.

But despite such a heavy workload, the Norwich South MP refused to rule out a return to frontbench politics, saying: “In politics, circumstances change.”

His roles include a directorship at the LJ Group, a Norwich-based educational systems provider. He was forced to defend this appointment last year amid concerns it could conflict with his former post as education secretary.

He also earned between £25,000 and £30,000 as a consultant for commercial law firm Beachcroft LLP, and declared his position as strategy adviser to investment bankers Charles Street Securities. Articles for the Evening Standard in London and work as a presenter for Channel 4's The Insider documentary were also declared.

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Mr Clarke, who gets an annual MP's salary of £60,775, said: “Since I left the government I have taken on an additional three commitments along with some media work. I feel this gives me a wider range of experience in different walks of life.

“It has also provided me with some income to make up for the loss of my ministerial salary. It is not the same

level of income I was receiving, but it has helped my overall situation.

“The roles do not provide any clues for my future expectations at all. I remain an active politician and the organisations I am involved in understand that in politics circumstances changed.”

Although Mr Clarke declared the highest outside income of all Norfolk's MPs, David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, recording earnings of up to £55,000 from three different posts.

MPs are also obliged to declare overseas trips and gifts. These included Mr Clarke attending a Champions League match between Chelsea and Liverpool; South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon visiting Rwanda and Kenya to study the treatment of tuberculosis; and Mid Norfolk MP and shadow foreign office minister Keith Simpson visiting the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.