Sitting MPs have received almost £50,000 from presenting gigs on GB News since its launch a year ago, according to new Press Gazette analysis of the register of MPs’ financial interests.
Conservative MP Dehenna Davison was the biggest TV earner due to her regular Sunday morning presenting slot on the channel, making £1,879.17 per month since 1 April, up from previous payments of £369 per week. In total that means she has earned approximately £19,256.34 between the channel’s launch and 13 June 2022, exactly a year since her show began.
The other GB News recipients were married Conservative MPs Philip Davies and Esther McVey, who together interviewed Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the channel in April. Davies earned £9,500 for presenting 18 programmes while McVey earned a total of £19,510 for presenting 37 shows. Her rate appears to have risen from £495 per show last year to approximately £625 to £650 in 2022.
McVey also earned £850 from News UK for presenting two TV news pilots in June and October last year – ahead of the company’s eventual launch of TalkTV in May – and £9,333 from Reach for 20 Daily Express columns since April 2021 at approximately £500 per column. Her total of £29,693 makes her the MP who has earned the third most from the media since the 2019 general election.
Which media companies pay politicians the most?
- GB News
- Associated Newspapers
- National World
- The Independent
- Financial Times
- Telegraph Media Group
- News UK
GB News was the second biggest media payer to MPs behind LBC, where 98% of spend went to David Lammy who hosts a programme on Saturdays at 4pm with some cover in other time slots, totalling 87 shows. He has earned £59,525 through the gig since the last general election, meaning an average of £684 per show.
The biggest paying newspaper publisher since the last election has been Mail and i publisher Associated Newspapers, which paid sitting MPs £38,700 in total – including £16,500 from the Mail on Sunday, £7,950 from the Daily Mail, £13,850 from unspecified titles in the group (some MPs disclose only the company from which they received payment, not the publication for which they have written), and £400 from the i.
The biggest earners from the Mail titles were:£6,900 for Tobias Ellwood (all Mail on Sunday), £6,750 for Matt Hancock, £5,750 for Iain Duncan Smith and £3,800 David Davis who gave all his fees to charity.
This was followed by The Scotsman, which pays East Lothian MP Kenny MacAskill £200 per week for a column. MacAskill also writes a £220 monthly column for DC Thomson’s The Scots Magazine and is the second most-paid by the media after Lammy.
The fourth most-paid MP by the media was Labour's Jess Phillips, who has written a regular column for The Independent since March 2020 and has also written for The Guardian, the New Statesman and The Telegraph.
John Baron has earned approximately £23,200 from a monthly column in the Investors' Chronicle magazine, owned by the Financial Times, but has waived all his fees for charity donations.
The BBC's total payments of £2,500 represent 13 MP appearances on Radio 4's Any Questions.
No payments by Sky News or ITV to MPs are listed (apart from one £250 payment by ITV to an MP for use of a video clip).
The total at Reach, the seventh biggest payer, is almost entirely made up of payments from Express titles (£17,433) with just £500 from the Mirror. The most-paid by the Express were again married couple Esther McVey (£9,333) and Philip Davies (£3,500).
At News UK, the ninth-placed publisher/broadcaster, over half (£7,850) was paid out from Sun titles. The MP who earned the most from The Sun was ex-Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, on £4,250.
The figures collated by Press Gazette include only fees for writing columns and articles, or for presenting or appearing as a guest on news TV. They exclude book payments and comedy programmes such as BBC One's Have I Got News For You where payments come from the production company and not the BBC.
Also excluded were behind the scenes gigs: for example, Karen Bradley's monthly payments of £150 for her role on the advisory board of the House Magazine.
Some payments listed are approximate as they are based on monthly or weekly fees rather than exact earnings and could feature unforeseen fluctuations or unexpected payment schedules.
Correction: This article previously wrongly stated that Grahame Morris had received two payments of £17,460 for 2020/21 and 2022/23 for his role as chairman of the NUJ Parliamentary Group. This is incorrect and Mr Morris has received no payments from the NUJ. The chairman role is unremunerated and the payments were made to Solidarity Consulting Ltd for the administration and coordination of the parliamentary group.