Super-Wealthy Populists against Elitism

The Brexit Party never tire of portraying themselves as simple champions of democracy, men and women of the people, fighting the dreaded metropolitan elite.

But a new report from Transparency International EU shows a slightly different story.

“The newly elected MEPs of the UK Brexit Party and the Italian party Lega have the highest combined outside earnings of any national party delegations in the European Parliament, according to an analysis by Transparency International EU (TI EU). While high-earners are present in nearly all the political groups, the non-aligned, to the which the Brexit Party belongs, take in nearly double the average outside income of all MEPs combined. The analysis is based on MEPs’ own declarations of financial interests, which TI EU has made available for scrutiny through its updated EU Integrity Watch database.”

These “earnings” are on top of their salaries (each MEP takes home €8,757.70 (£7,650) per month).

The Brexit party’s London member Ben Habib is the EU’s best-paid MEP.

Elected in May, Habib declared €960,000 annual earnings from First Property Group, the property fund manager he founded.

Close behind is National Treasure and shackle-enthusiast Ann Widdecombe, who declared a second income of €240,000-€480,000 a year. The former Tory Prisons Minister and reality TV contestant makes between €5,000 and €10,000 a month writing her Daily Express bile column, with a further €20,000 a month coming in from “speaking” and broadcasting.

In sad news poor impoverished Peoples Champ Nigel Farage is no longer the best-paid British MEP by second job. He’s now in lowly seventh place among the 227 MEPs with outside earnings, earning a meagre €360,000 (£319,000) a year from his media company, Thorn in the Side.

The Brexit party chairman, Richard Tice, has annual earnings of between €264,000 and €360,000 from his business interests.

Way back there in 12th spot is the Tory Brexit cheerleader Daniel Hannan, who is paid at least €5,000 a month to advise the machinery manufacturer JCB. Chaired by the Brexit-supporting Lord Bamford, JCB reportedly paid Boris Johnson £10,000 in January and has also had David Davis on the payroll, giving a new meaning to the term Gold-digga?

But the real shock is poor poor Claire Fox-Foster, who scrapes by on a pitiful €12,000 euros. Let’s just hope she has some wealthy backers in the background somewhere, or that one of her multiple front groups is a bit more lucrative for her?

The irony is not just these Brexit Champions at the Euro-trough, nor the sizeable amounts of lolly sloshing about the vaguely defined “outside income” of lobbying, media (“Boo! Hiss!”) and consultancy work, but that these folks are leading the way!

Of the top ten national delegations the Brexit Boys and Girls are way out in front earning over a staggering €2 million euros…


The report concludes:

“In total, 521 of the newly elected 748 MEPs have declared 1503 side activities, of which 842 are paid. While these only concern 30% percent of all MEPs, taken together this amounts to a minimum combined yearly sum of at least €6,381,924 million and potentially as much as €16,204,186 million. Outside income is not reported in exact amounts but broad gross ranges which explains the large margin between the minimum and the maximum amounts.”


Comments (3)

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  1. Peter says:

    That is madness, what a thing to uncover Mike. I mean as usual, it’s not a surprise, but you can’t really guess at these things and hope you are right, which is why this sort of research is valuable. Props.

  2. Darby O'Gill says:

    Is it true that EU legislation regarding money-laundering, tax evasion, etc will come into force on 1st January 2020? If so, could this explain the urgency by those driving the Leave campaign?

  3. Richard Easson says:

    I would love to say that they were worth every penny…..but I can’t.

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