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Russian donations, fact-finding missions, and tickets to Wimbledon - what are Norfolk MPs receiving from supporters and firms?

PUBLISHED: 18:32 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:58 10 April 2019

Brandon Lewis, Sir Henry Bellingham, and Liz Truss. Photos: UK Parliament

Brandon Lewis, Sir Henry Bellingham, and Liz Truss. Photos: UK Parliament

UK Parliament

Thousands of pounds from the wife of a former Putin minister, nearly £10,000 for 18 and a half hours of work, and a fact-finding mission to Lebanon.

Those are just three of the items declared by Norfolk MPs in the latest edition of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

The list is updated fortnightly when the House is sitting, and is run by the Parliamentary for Commissioner for Standards.

Entries can date back a number of years.

The most recent list, published on April 1, revealed since March last year Great Yarmouth MP and Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis had received £79,500 worth of donations.

This included £5,500 from Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of Vladimir Chernukhin - former minister under Vladimir Putin - plus an extra £4,000 from her as the winning bid for a raffle prize at a fundraising event.

Mrs Chernukhin is a long-time party donor, and from the start of 2014 to the end of 2018 donated £875,882 to the party.

Mrs Chernukin and her husband are British citizens and live in the UK. Her single largest donation was £161,000 in the election year of 2017.

Mr Lewis also received a number of private donations, as well as those from businesses Countrywide Developments Ltd, Skeol Ltd, Cambria Automobiles, Sun Mark Ltd, and Norwich-based Bateman Groundworks Ltd.

Mr Lewis was contacted for comment.

Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, was listed in the register as holding a number of senior positions with a number of firms.

But he said: “They don’t take up a huge amount of time. I take the view MPs are allowed free time, if you want to take a weekend off, I tend to work long hours anyway. And because I’m the chair I can have the meetings when I want them.”

Sir Henry is paid £2,500 a month as non-executive director of global consultancy firm Developing Markets Associates, for around three and a half hours a month of work.

He has also been paid £2,083 a month since September last year for between four and seven hours of work at non-executive chairman of Pathfinder Minerals PLC, a mining company.

Sir Henry also receives £2,500 a month for around three and a half hours of work as non-executive chairman of construction firm Clifton Africa Ltd.

Plus £2,500 for four and a half hours of work as a senior advisor to fund management company J Stern & Co LLP was listed, but Sir Henry said he had now stepped down from that post.

He added: “What I find is quite often when I go and meet a business in King’s Lynn when they know I’m on the board they know I can read a balance sheet and I have an understanding of the issues they face.”

Other Norfolk entries on the register were of lesser value.

These included two tickets to the Cheltenham Gold Cup final day, with a value of £320, donated to Mid Norfolk Tory George Freeman by the British Horseracing Authority.

Mr Freeman also took his partner on a four-night fact-finding trip to Lebanon, paid for by the Dubai-based Risk Advisory Group, with a value of £1,419.57.

South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss received two tickets to Wimbledon last year, from the Lawn Tennis Association, with a value of £340.

Plus four tickets, at £100 each, from the English National Opera to see Porgy and Bess.

She also took a three-day trip to Sea Island, George, USA, to speak at the annual American Enterprise Institute (AEI) World Forum. The AEI covered this at a total of £8,200.38.

Last month Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, registered a new role as chairman of the advisory board for digital mental health support provider XenZone.

He will be paid £42,000 for around 16 hours a month of work shaping their strategy and direction.

While Keith Simpson, Conservative MP for Broadland, was paid around £250 a month for around 20 hours a month of work at book review editor at Total Politics magazine.

Computer Service Centre, based in Meridian Way, Norwich, made donations and carried out work for Norwich North MP Chloe Smith.

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich North, received £25,000 towards work on sustainability economics since July 2018.

Plus the Open Society Foundation paid covered a four-night trip costing £2,685 for Mr Lewis to be part of a delegation of European policymakers and civil society leaders to the Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conference.

In Waveney, Tory MP Peter Aldous was listed as being a partner on his family farm in Halesworth, which has a value of more than £100,000 and gives a rental income of more than £10,000.

Plus an interest in a farm near Ipswich.

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