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Cumbrian MP defends his payments from national media

A Cumbrian MP has defended the £8,000 he was paid to produce a BBC documentary.

Rory Stewart photo
Rory Stewart

In a list of all payments made by the BBC and national newspapers to members of parliament so far this year, Rory Stewart has been revealed to have received the largest amount.

According to the latest register of interests, published on April 28, the corporation paid MPs £20,000 in the first four months of the year – and the Penrith and Border Conservative MP received £8,200 of this.

The figures also show that Mr Stewart was paid £1,200 by the Telegraph newspaper.

However, the MP has insisted he has the right to be paid for work he does.

He told the News & Star: “I write articles and I make television documentaries, and that is something I have done for nearly 15 years; I made them long before I came into parliament and it is something I continue to do.

“I do it in my free time – the articles for the Telegraph are written in an hour or so.”

Mr Stewart stressed that he also writes “an enormous amount” for publications which he does not charge for, as well as giving “probably 100 speeches a year” without payment.

“These are instances where they have asked me to write on a subject I am a specialist on,” he continued, “usually foreign affairs or human rights, which I taught at Harvard University in America. The amount I get paid now for television documentaries is also slightly less than I was paid before I became an MP. I’m proud of the work that I do.”

Defending his Border Country:The Story of Britain’s Lost Middleland documentary, which explored the troubled history of the England/Scotland border, Mr Stewart said he had “deliberately focused” on making a documentary which would have the dual purpose of raising the profile of Cumbria, and hopefully attracting more trade and tourism.

Have your say

While it's up to Mr Stewart what he does in his spare time, I sat opposite him on the train to London at the end of last year and it sounded to me like he was spending most of his time raising money for the tory party.

Posted by Jonny on 22 May 2014 at 13:20

This boils down to what do MPs really do ? They have no job description, no defined hours, need no qualifications and once elected through the party system can not be recalled or sacked. Mr Stewart charged the taxpayer £132,000 last year to run his office and pay his staff so its pretty clear he does not do involve himself with the menial tasks. His voting and attendance record in the HOP is below average for a back bench MP and he has never voted against the party line. Over the course of the 5 year term of government Mr Stewart's salary and expenses and pension will have cost the taxpayer over a million pounds.
I ask again, what exactly do MPs do

Posted by Penrithian. on 21 May 2014 at 10:34

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