GEORGE Osborne is well on the way to making £1 million from giving speeches as official Commons records show he is already expected to have earned more than £720,000 in the six months since leaving office.
The former Chancellor, sacked last July from the UK Government frontbench when Theresa May became Prime Minister, has been supplementing his £74,962 annual salary as the MP for Tatton in Cheshire with a series of after-dinner speeches, mainly to business audiences in New York, London and Dubai.
Last month, it was revealed that the 45-year-old politician had become an adviser to New York-based BlackRock, one of the biggest investors on the stock market. While Mr Osborne has not yet disclosed his earnings from BlackRock - which he will have to do according to parliamentary rules - it is expected that he will receive a handsome six-figure sum, making him by far the highest-earning MP in the country.
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Since September, Mr Osborne, whose critics have denounced his time in office for overseeing an age of austerity, has delivered 13 speeches, taking up some 28.5 hours of his time, according to the Register of Members’ Interests. For most of the events, the costs have included transport and accommodation.
The highest fee was for a single address to the investment bank JP Morgan in New York last October, for which the Conservative backbencher is expected to have received £81,174.
Most of the speeches have been organised by the Washington Speaker’s Bureau based in Alexandria, Virginia.
The exclusive agency boasts among its British speakers former Prime Ministers Tony Blair, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Sir John Major as well as Douglas Alexander, the former Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications chief under Mr Blair’s premiership.
The bureau describes Mr Osborne as a “modern and renowned global leader,” who offers “authentic and forward-thinking analysis of the world’s most complex economic issues and the way forward for Britain and the world economy”.
At BlackRock, which is estimated to oversee more than £4 trillion of investments for pensioners and savers, the former Chancellor has joined his onetime chief advisor during his time at the Treasury, Rupert Harrison.
Mr Osborne has followed in the footsteps of previous senior Cabinet ministers with Mr Blair having reportedly earned £2m a year as a part-time advisor to JP Morgan. Former Chancellor Lord Darling joined the board of directors of Morgan Stanley bank.
Meantime, David Cameron reportedly signed an £800,000 for his political memoirs.
The latest Commons entry, which has recently been published, shows Mr Osborne’s latest speeches were one to HSBC last month in London, for which he expects to be paid £51,829, and one to St James’s Wealth Management in Cirencester, for which he expects to receive £40,567.
Other entries show that the Tory MP last October received an estimated £4,087 from Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire American businessman and philanthropist, who from 2002 to 2013 was the mayor of New York City, for a trip to Paris with his wife Frances to attend a dinner in Mr Bloomberg’s honour.
A recent entry shows how Mr Osborne received an estimated £700 for a trip to Versailles to attend the Franco-British Colloque, which footed the bill.
In December, when the scale of Mr Osborne’s extra-parliamentary activities was beginning to emerge, the former Chancellor said: “As a Member of Parliament I disclose all my earnings. These are relatively new rules. It’s quite right that people can see what I do and what I am paid and so on. It’s not different from what previous Chancellors have done, Labour and Conservative. The difference is that it’s disclosed. And that’s a positive step forward.”