Dewsbury MP Who Earns More As A Barrister Than As An MP

16 Feb 2013

Dewsbury barrister-cum-MP Simon Reevell accepted an invitation to spend a weekend shooting on a stately home to the value of over £850. The Tory MP somehow still managed to find the time in his diary for the soiree with a group of other Conservative MPs despite mixing his parliamentary duties with a full-blown career at the Bar.

Reevell declared his blood-sport weekend away as a donation in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. The total cost of the weekend for the six Tories came to over £5,000 and was paid by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. Aside from this being another embarrassing indication that the Tories are a far cry from the modernised party they seek to portray themselves as, the degree to which his accepting such hospitality demonstrates contempt for his role as Dewsbury’s voice in parliament is compounded by a closer look at the Register.

It shows that Mr Reevell earned more as a barrister last year than he did in his supposed day-job as an MP. The Register of Members’ Financial Interests shows that during 2012 Mr Reevell earned £87,439.42 for work as a barrister. He declared no fewer than 96 separate payments during the calendar year, many of which were for multiple day’s work.

These figures show Mr Reevell spent a very significant proportion of his time while parliament was sitting choosing not to represent the people of Dewsbury, as he was elected to do, but to represent individuals or companies in court instead, often at rates of approaching £100 per hour. He has failed to vote in over a third of all votes cast in the House of Commons since he became an MP.

Moreover, much of the work he took on was for the Crown Prosecution Service, so he was in effect being paid twice simultaneously by the taxpayer – both for MP work he was supposed to be doing, and for the legal work he was doing instead.

Dewsbury Labour Councillor Karen Rowling said: “Simon Reevell is a part-time MP who is neglecting his constituents to pursue his own legal career. When he’s not in court he’s off on shooting trips with his Tory chums. People in Dewsbury being hit hard by a stagnant economy, high unemployment and damaging cuts to their public services expect and deserve better. It beggars belief that he thinks he has time to be swanning off to stately homes accepting hundreds of pounds worth of hospitality for a blood sport.

“Mr Reevell is utterly out of touch with Dewsbury. We’re fed up with his attitude to repre senting us. He should make a choice – be an MP or be a barrister, not both. I’ve nothing against MPs taking on occasional commitments over and above their constituency MP duties, I can see that doing so can be healthy for keeping our parliament populated with individuals in touch with the country they represent. But by any reasonable person’s judgement Mr Reevell is overwhelmingly overstepping that mark to the extent that he appears to treat being an MP as a secondary rather than primary job.

“Maybe he doesn’t think he can get by on an MP’s salary of nearly £66,000, even with his free shooting excursions thrown in for good measure. Well, at the next election voters in Dewsbury will have their chance to pass their verdict and send him down by voting for a full-time Labour MP instead.”

Source: Yorkshire & Humber Labour Party Members’ Briefing