Theresa May paid £11,700 per hour for virtual speeches while earning £750K during COVID

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GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Theresa May speaks as ministers, businesses and activists discuss rainforests on day seven of COP26 at SECC on November 06, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Today COP26 will focus on ensuring the importance of nature and sustainable land use are part of global action on climate change and a clean, green recovery. The 2021 climate summit in Glasgow is the 26th
Former prime minister Theresa May speaking at the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Theresa May has been paid up to £11,700 an hour for making virtual speeches during the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.

The former prime minister has earned more than £750,000 from speaking engagements between April 2020 and May 2021.

The majority of these speeches were given remotely by the Conservative MP for Maidenhead.

Her extra earnings are detailed in Parliament documents along with those of all other MPs, whose outside financial interests are under increasing scrutiny in the fallout from the Owen Paterson scandal.

Watch: Boris Johnson says he is 'trying' to look at MPs' misconduct process

Ministers were accused of seeking to rewrite the rule book after Paterson – a former Tory Cabinet minister – was found to have repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials on behalf of two companies he worked for as a paid consultant.

Paterson was facing a 30-day suspension for an “egregious” breach of lobbying rules after an investigation by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone and a subsequent report by the Commons Committee on Standards.

The attempt to rewrite the rules failed after opposition parties refused to co-operate, and Paterson announced he was quitting as MP for North Shropshire, blaming the “cruel world of politics”.

He has insisted throughout that he did nothing wrong.

Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson in the House of Commons, London, as MPs debated an amendment calling for a review of his case after he received a six-week ban from Parliament over an
Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson stepped down as an MP following the scandal. (Getty Images)

According to House the Register of Members' Financial Interests, maintained by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Mrs May has received substantial earnings outside her work as an MP, for which she receives a salary of £81,932.

She was paid a total of £757,526 for 14 speaking engagements, a number of them paid by US firms and colleges, between April 2020 and May 2021, the register revealed.

For a virtual speech to the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation, based in Cleveland, Ohio, she was paid £46,800 for four hours’ work - or £11,700 an hour.

There is no suggestion she has broken any parliamentary rules. Yahoo News UK has contacted Mrs May's office for comment.

Theresa May’s earnings from speeches:

- April 2020: £160,370 as advance payment from JP Morgan Chase for two speaking engagements.

- June 2020: £101,169 from World 50 Inc. About £56,000 of this was for a speaking engagement on 23 June 2020.

- November 2020: £45,500 from Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry for virtual speech.

- January 2021: £48,245 for speech on 16 January 2021 from The Richmond Forum.

- January 2021: £39,900 for speech on 15 January 2021, from TPG Communication.

- February 2021: £38,672 for a virtual speaking engagement from Society of the Four Arts.

- March 2021: £45,650 for a virtual speaking engagement from Guilford College, North Carolina.

- March 2021: £38,220 for a virtual speaking engagement for the Pension Real Estate Association.

- April 2021: £38,000 for a virtual speaking engagement from Eminent Series Group.

- April 2021: £38,000 for a virtual speaking engagement from MPSF.

- April 2021: £38,000 for a virtual speaking engagement from Eminent Series Group.

- May 2021: £38,000 for a virtual speaking engagement from Eminent Series Group.

- April 2021: £41,000 for a virtual speaking engagement from World50.

- May 2021: 46,800 for a virtual speaking event from Cuyahoga Community College Foundation.

There have been calls for MPs to be banned from taking second jobs in the fallout.

On Monday, prime minister Boris Johnson was accused of “running scared” by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, after deciding to stay away from an emergency House of Commons debate on the rules for MPs.

“Boris Johnson does not have the decency either to defend or apologise for his actions,” said Sir Keir, who has called for the prime minister to apologise for the scandal.

“Rather than repairing the damage he has done, the prime minister is running scared.”

The debate will instead be open by Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay, with Downing Street saying Johnson is making a long-planned visit to an NHS hospital trust in Northumberland.

Johnson said: “I think it is very important that we get this right. We are going to hold MPs to account. MPs should not break the rules.”

On Sunday, environment minister George Eustice was criticised by his own Tory MPs after claiming the Paterson sleaze row was a “storm in a teacup”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is shown around a CT scan room during a visit to Hexham General Hospital in Northumberland. Picture date: Monday November 8, 2021.
Prime minister Boris Johnson on a visit to Hexham General Hospital in Northumberland on Monday. (PA)

High Peak MP Robert Largan told Times Radio: “I don’t think it’s very helpful to say, ‘Oh, it’s just a storm in a teacup’.

“In my view this was something that we got badly wrong and they need to fix it.”

Labour MP for East Leeds, Richard Burgon, told BBC’s Radio 5 Live on Monday that representatives should be banned from having second jobs.

“In no other job would it be seen as acceptable to be moonlighting the way so many MPs do,” he said.

“If MPs think they are badly done to in only getting £82,000 a year, they want to wake up. We’re very well paid as MPs. No MP wants to earn more than that.”

At the weekend, another former Conservative prime minister, Sir John Major, branded the government’s handling of the row “shameful” and “wrong”.

Watch: Tory minister claims 'no wider problem' with corruption in politics

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