Hague makes a million

Last updated at 10:37 17 November 2005

Former Tory leader William Hague is Westminster's highest-earning MP, raking in up to £1million from speaking engagements, directorships and writing last year.

Since resigning the Conservative leadership following the 2001 election defeat, he has built up an unprecedented portfolio of ways to make money.

The MPs' register of interests shows how his income has been boosted by company directorships, advisory roles, after-dinner speaking engagements and newspaper articles.

In all, he earned at least £685,000 on top of his Parliamentary salary in the past year and potentially almost £ 1million. The exact sum is unclear, since MPs have to declare how much they earn for each outside job only within 'bands' of £5,000.

Mr Hague, who has backed front-runner David Cameron for the Tory leadership, is said by friends to be ready for a return to the Shadow Cabinet despite the threat to his additional earnings.

By contrast, his successor as Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith, has not found it so easy since returning to the back benches. His only extra job in the last 12 months was as a contributor to a programme on the digital channel BBC3, for which he earned up to £5,000.

Boris bonus

Like Mr Hague, Tory MP and Spectator editor Boris Johnson could be left counting the cost if he returns to the front benches.

His newspaper column brought him at least £70,000 last year, speeches made £60,000 while other articles and a TV appearance brought in up to £15,000. Mr Johnson does not declare how much he earns as editor of the Spectator, but the rules allow MPs to keep to themselves sums earned for work not dependent on their position in Parliament.

The register also reveals the last-minute scramble by former Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett to declare all of his interests before being forced to stand down earlier this month.

Three speaking engagements, which earned him up to £14,000, were registered the day before he was forced to step down.

The register shows that, in all, Mr Blunkett earned around £80,000 during his brief break between his last two Cabinet jobs.

Former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe has become one of Westminster's highest earners, pulling in at least £200,000 extra with her novels, lectures, journalism and an appearance on ITV's Celebrity Fit Club.

Former local government minister Nick Raynsford became director and deputy chairman of the Construction Industry Council just a month after standing down, for which he is paid an undisclosed amount, the register shows.

Chancellor Gordon Brown's sole entry is for upgrades for his wife Sarah and baby son John on flights with Virgin Atlantic to Washington in April and December and to Washington, New York and Sydney in September.

Shadow Culture Secretary Theresa May, famous for her exotic footwear, has declared a discount card for shoes at Russell & Bromley.