Brexit Party MEPs earn most from side projects
The watchdog Transparency International has examined side earnings from the party’s 29 MEPs and put the figure between €2 million and almost €4.7 million a year before tax.
With 29 MEPs, the Brexit Party is the largest party delegation in the chamber.
The second-biggest earners are from Italy’s far-right Lega with 28 MEPs which takes in between €369,000 and €1 million before tax.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage is no longer the biggest earner, coming in seventh place among the 227 MEPs with outside earnings. The part-time broadcaster earns about €360,000 a year from his media company, Thorn in the Side.
Brexit London MEP Benyamin Habib is the highest-earning European parliamentarian, receiving €960,000 before tax.
Habib is paid by the First Property Group, the property fund manager he founded, receiving a bonus averaging out at €80,000 per month.
Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe said the high earnings were a sign of success.
“Isn’t it wonderful that Brexit Party MEPs earn more money than arch-federalist Guy Verhofstadt and get a lot more votes than him as well,” the MEP said.
“Many Brexit Party MEPs are successful in the work that they do, the decisions they make, and the earnings list reflects that fact. It’s important that voters who wish to attain the goal of leaving the EU have capable, experienced people to represent them to the best of their ability. In politics as in business, success breeds success,” he said in a statement.
Verhofstadt, the parliament’s representative in Brexit talks, earns between €180,000 and €426,000 for sitting on company boards and giving speeches.
Former Conservative minister and current Brexit MEP Ann Widdecombe has earned between €240,000 to €480,000 before tax.
The former Strictly Come Dancing star’s income is from broadcasting, public speaking and for her Daily Express column, where she is paid between €5,000 to €10,000 per month before tax.
Despite criticising the elite, the Brexit MEPs were condemned for cashing in on their roles.
Labour MEP Julie Ward said: “The Brexit Party quite clearly treat being elected as an MEP as a part-time role and are not interested in serving their constituents in the European Parliament. They are not a political party but rather a company, and these figures expose that. While railing against the ‘elite’ they are actually part of the 1 per cent.”
Brexit Party supporters outside the UK parliament. Picture credit: Eurasia Times