Tory MP Ben Bradley has defended his £35,000 job as a council leader saying that the role complements his parliamentary work and is in the best interest of his constituents.
The MP for Mansfield is paid just under £36,000 a year for council work, on top of his £81,932 annual MP’s salary.
With accusations of Tory sleaze engulfing Westminster, MPs have come under increased scrutiny for any extra work they are doing outside of parliament.
Reports have highlighted Mr Bradley’s work as leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, for which he is paid £35,211 a year, and his role on the board of East Midlands Council, for which he received £600 a year.
Mr Bradley has hit back at criticism of his extra work, saying that his “second job” allows him to “try and sort out Mansfield’s roads, social care services, children’s services at a very direct, decision-making level.”
He added that he took on the role “because I was fed up of just talking about improving things and relying on others.”
The MP said that first-hand experience of delivering local services helps him to do better work as an MP and visa versa.
He also hit out at reports that the council work took up an extra 60 hours of his week, the time that appears to be listed on the MP’s register of interests.
He told The Independent: “I appreciate that the register of interests is confusing.
“In truth, the two roles registered on there are more fairly represented as being the same 30 hours. The East Midlands Councils role is tiny but comes with the Council one. It is all registered as per the advice of the Parliamentary Authorities. I’ve contacted them to see if we can make it clearer.”
In an emotional Facebook post addressing the issue of his extra work, Mr Bradley said he worked “bloody hard” and “very long hours”.
He added: “It’s Wednesday evening and I have already done more than 35 hours this week. I started at 8am, I’ll be working until about 7, I’ve put my kids to bed, and now I’ll get my laptop out and do some more work.”
He said he typically worked a 60-70 hour week and that it was hard to distinguish which hours he worked for the council, and which hours he worked for parliament, because “in reality it’s almost all both”.
In the post he conceded that in some cases, such as Owen Paterson’s, there are clear breaches of the rules. He referenced roles, such as work for political consultancies, which would be “very much in conflict with being an MP”.
He added: “It would be wrong to mix both, as it seems Owen did, and it’s therefore right to examine what jobs MPs might have and ensure that those lines are drawn in the right place. Lobbying on behalf of paying private businesses is wrong.”
However he defended his council work as a “public service” role and said: “If my crime is adding an additional role doing even more to…