Wyre Forest Labour’s Stephen Brown writes:
This is a story about our local MP that our local newspaper The Shuttle appears to be wilfully ignoring. You’d think they’d want to let the residents of Wyre Forest know what our MP is up to – but apparently him having 5 jobs and coining in the cash is not newsworthy. They seem to prefer to keep you in the dark. I wonder why?
Anyway, as it’s been a while since I checked the MP’s register of interests – which is usually a good way to see what our MP has been up to outside of doing the job he was actually elected to do – I decided to take a look.
And, wow, so far as I can tell, our MP now has 5 jobs and this is the list of them (pay per year):
- Wyre Forest MP £82,000
- US Space Tech Company £60,000
- Scottish Space Centre £30,000
- Coventry Wealth Management £10,000
- Govt Trade Envoy £10,000 (estimate)
So, it seems the all things to everyone affable ‘man of the people’ Tory MP Mark Garnier who claims to work for all of Wyre Forest on every issue, is actually working quite nicely in his own interests.
He’s sat firmly on the Westminster gravy train earning another £100,000 per year (at least) on top of his MP salary – and get this – so far as I can work out, thanks largely to connections he’s made as an MP. Let’s not forget he also employs his wife on £45,000 per year as his Office Manager (2019/2020 figures). Meanwhile, the average wage in Wyre Forest is £27,000. It appears there’s no shortage of cash in the Garnier household, just as huge numbers of his constituents struggle with their bills, have suffered financially due to Covid, or thousands are about to see their Universal Credit cut by £20 per week. How’s Mark working for YOU on all of this stuff?
So how has all this been possible? Let’s start with space, yes space, that empty blackness that surrounds the planet. It came as quite the news to me that an exBanker with no experience in this field sits as a vice chair on a parliamentary committee about it. Seems like a good move eh……
It meant Mark Garnier had a nice junket to the USA to “experience the launch of Solar Orbiter and advance MPs’ understanding of the USA’s space programme” that was worth £6,600. And yes, this was particularly successful for him because as an exBanker it appears to have now made him an expert on space technology.
Being an expert on space technology then means it lands you a job worth £60,000 per year working for a USA space company specialising in lasers, even though you’re a UK MP with no experience in it. So what’s in it for them? You may well ask. I guess a voice in Parliament that most of his constituents don’t get from him is a start.
Working for a USA space tech laser company can then land you another job working for a UK space centre based in the North of Scotland, nowhere near his Wyre Forest constituency of course, and paying you another £30,000 per year.
If that little space junket to the US, under the pretext of advancing MPs’ understanding of US space tech isn’t enough, and leading to two new jobs nowhere near his constituency, there’s always a bit of moonlighting working for a wealth management company paying £10,000 per year. At least the wealth management job is closer to his constituency being based in Coventry.
What with all this jetting around to places all over the planet and him contributing to climate change, at least we should be relieved that his Parliamentary votes are consistent with someone who doesn’t care-a-less about climate change.
I guess we should also all be grateful in Wyre Forest he managed to get Boris Johnson to come to Bewdley and commit to some flood barriers. I mean, apart from taxpayers paying his MP salary, how does he find the time to be an MP with all these other jobs he’s got on the go? It’s a mystery to me. It’s a mystery to his constituents too, as most of the stuff he likes to talk about is trade with countries 7,000 miles away rather than local issues; and as the Government desperately tries to repair the damage to our economy caused by their version of Brexit. That ‘oven ready’ deal turned out to be something of a pot noodle in reality. I like pot noodles but you can’t survive on them without getting serious health problems. And so it is for our economy. But that is a whole other story of Government spin and not for this article. See those empty supermarket shelves? Brexit! Ask Mark Garnier what he’s doing about it.
Ultimately, you have to ask the question about how all of this extra-curricular ‘paid’ activity by our MP helps Wyre Forest and its residents? And what do his new employers get in return? And if he’s only interested in money, as a constituent, how do you get him to show the same level of commitment and energy for your concerns? About £100,000 will do it, if you’ve got that kind of cash lying around.
I’m reminded in all of this about something Mark Garnier said back in 2012 when (as a smoker himself) he was asked why he’d accepted some free tickets worth £1,100 from a Japanese tobacco company for the Chelsea Flower Show. At the time he was campaigning to stop tobacco smuggling and commented: “All of us who are MPs in Worcestershire have taken pay cuts of some form or other from coming out of the private sector… If we wanted to have our nose in the trough I could go back to being an investment banker. The reason I’m an MP is the complete opposite to having my nose in the trough.”
Yes Mark, your nose is most definitely not in any trough, you just like the finer things in life. Constituents do too, but they don’t get these kind of wonderful fortunate opportunities just happen to drop in their lap.
Finally, Mark Garnier is no stranger to accepting money from donors in order to help his cause to keep his seat in Parliament. He got a tidy £10,000 in donations in 2015 before/after the general election, as part of a bigger donation to the Tories from OGN Newcastle. OGN is owned by a climate change denying former Russian Defence Minister, Alexander Termeko.
I’m tempted to say some might think that Mark Garnier is the best politician money can buy, but I won’t, that would be unfair. But he is working for all of Wyre Forest on every issue, but only sometimes though, when he’s not busy doing other things.