Glastonbury tickets, a trip to Iran and visit to Qatar - what our MPs have received in gifts and donations

L to R Norman Lamb, Henry Bellingham and Clive Lewis

L to R Norman Lamb, Henry Bellingham and Clive Lewis - Credit: Archant

Glastonbury tickets, a visit to Iran and a day out to the Grand National are some of the gifts donated to our region's MPs.

Members of Parliament are obliged to reveal any monetary interests outside of their parliamentary earnings on the Register of Members' Financial Interests, which can be accessed by the public.

In the most recent register, dated January 8 and covering the period between 2017 to 2019, it reveals how thousands of pounds in donations were handed over to our MPs as well as various gifts, overseas visits and earnings through land and property.

On top of his MP's salary of £74,962 a year, North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham earns £9,000 a month for 12 to 15 hours of work.

He is non-executive director of consultancy firm Developing Markets Associates Ltd, a non-executive chairman of mining company Pathfinder Minerals Plc and senior advisor to fund management company J. Stern & Co.

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But Mr Bellingham said this does not affect his commitments as an MP.

'I work 10 hours a day for my parliamentary duties and that often means working weekends,' Mr Bellingham said. 'Working far longer hours than a lot of people in similar types of jobs, it's a way of life.

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'Because of my knowledge of business, when I visit a business in King's Lynn it's an advantage as long as there is no conflict of interest. It's all a question of common sense.

'The three companies I chair, we quite often meet after work in the evening, after parliament finishes. It is up to your own judgment how long you spend doing them and it widens the knowledge of Parliament.'

Almost all of the donations received by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, around £56,000 between April and July last year, were from 11 private donors.

'I enormously appreciate people willing to support me financially,' Mr Lamb said. 'Fighting in the elections costs a lot of money and I was subject to a massive campaign by the Conservative party at the election last year.

'We had to raise money for the whole period, not just for the campaign but to help me to do my job.

'Nobody who made the donations wanted anything in return.

'I'm enormously appreciative of people who have faith in me to stay in Parliament.'

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis received the highest number of donations, with the vast majority coming from trade unions.

More than £31,000 was donated by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) to the NUJ Parliamentary Group, which he chairs.

He was also given three Glastonbury tickets last year to give a speech alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but he donated one ticket to a community group.

As Mr Lewis climbed on stage with the likes of Radiohead and Ed Sheeran, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey was treated to a day at the Grand National.

Dr Coffey and a guest attended the Aintree event with hospitality costs of £1,125 covered by ITV.

Expenses were also covered for trips overseas. Clive Lewis and a member of staff were given nearly £3,000 for what was described as a 'fact-finding' visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank in September.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon attended the inauguration of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran between August 4 and 10, with two nights' accommodation covered by the country's government with the remaining accommodation provided by a 'non-registrable source'.

Global charity Save the Children covered the expenses for Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman's trip to Lebanon, to 'assess the situation facing Syrian refugees and host communities' in November.

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill visited the World Cup site in Qatar and met with ministers and officials to discuss issues of bilateral relations and regional crisis, in a trip paid for by the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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