Labour’s top second jobs earner David Lammy has conceded if MPs are banned from having outside earnings “I will have to live with that”.

The shadow foreign secretary has come under scrutiny this year after Sky News’ Westminster Accounts project revealed he tops his party’s list with additional earnings of £243,800 since this parliament started in 2019.

He is in the top 15% of earners of all MPs, and has the highest number of second jobs, with £99,300 coming from his regular radio show on LBC and the rest coming from speaking engagements, books and consultancy work.

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The Tottenham MP has come under fire for all his extra earnings but told Sky News’ Beth Rigby Interviews programme he agreed with Sir Keir Starmer saying second jobs need to be reviewed.

“I think the Labour Party is right to say that we need to fix this problem,” he said.

“It will be one of those issues that parliament is going to have to determine.”

Mr Lammy added that he would have to accept it if Labour did block second jobs after Sir Keir in January backed a ban, with some exceptions.

But, Mr Lammy defended his extra work as he said he needed to pay for his office staff.

“If parliament determines that – no second jobs at all – we can’t have people who are doctors – can’t have people who are lawyers – one job only, being an MP – then I will have to live with that like everybody else,” he said.

“The truth is, when you’re in opposition and you’re wanting to do a job like being shadow foreign secretary and your party’s just lost an election, there is no money in the coffers.

“You do try and raise money to help employ people so that you can properly do your job.”

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Starmer defends Lammy’s £200,000 jobs

Mr Lammy added not all of his earnings go towards paying for staff and he does take some for himself but said that is allowed and is common practice among MPs.

“Some of that money goes towards paying for the things so I can do my job as best as I can,” he said.

“Those are the sorts of decisions that you make. As I’ve said, MPs have done speeches and things, corporate speeches, after-dinner speeches for years and years and years and years.

“There are lots of Conservative colleagues doing it. There are other Labour MPs that have done it.

“If people determine that they don’t want to see that, then that will come to an end and it won’t happen.”

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Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab on Wednesday took aim at Mr Lammy for his second earnings after the issue was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions.

“I notice the benches on this side [Labour] are curiously quiet. Is that because there’s 10 shadow cabinet members on their benches who are taking earnings?” Mr Raab said.

“In particular the shadow foreign secretary looks like he certainly doesn’t want to be under the limelight.”

‘Decision to block friend Corbyn was right’

Mr Lammy also spoke to Beth Rigby about former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn being blocked from standing for the party at the next election in the seat he has held for 40 years.

The shadow foreign secretary previously apologised for nominating Mr Corbyn to be Labour leader in 2015 after the MP was suspended from the party for denying the party had an antisemitism problem.

Read more:
Middlemen, brokers and clients – who really pays MPs for their other jobs?
MPs’ second jobs – what are the rules?

Mr Lammy said in 2021 he “never believed” Mr Corbyn would become leader and nominating him was “a mistake”.

Before that, he regularly praised Mr Corbyn, who he considered a friend and had asked to launch his election campaign in Tottenham in 2015.

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‘But Corbyn is your friend, isn’t he?’

But he put his personal friendship with the former Labour leader aside and admitted it was the right decision to block Mr Corbyn from running for Labour at the next election.

“It’s not about friendship,” Mr Lammy said.

“These are bigger issues. Representing Tottenham, I represent – partly – the Stamford Hill area of London, which has a very strong, long standing Jewish community. So the issue goes to that one.

“No one ever said that politics sometimes hasn’t got to be brutal.

“It was an important decision, I think, for both Keir Starmer to take when he took over the Labour Party to be absolutely clear that we would get rid of that antisemitism, and for the NEC to take.”

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