By Steve Hayes 27/03 Updated: 30/03 09:12
MP NADHIM Zahawi has defended his business interests outside of politics after it was revealed he has earnt nearly £50,000 on top of his Parliamentary salary since becoming Stratford MP.
Parliamentary disclosures revealed Mr Zahawi had the highest outside earnings of the seven West Midlands MPs who together have earnt around £200,000 from interests on top of their £66,000 MP salaries.
On the register for member's interests Mr Zahawi is revealed to have earnt a total of £49,572 for 119 hours work over the course of 17 months from London-based IT recruitment firm SThree as a non-executive director.
And Mr Zahawi continues to earn nearly £3,000 a month in his role with the company.
But speaking to the Observer this week, Mr Zahawi insisted work outside of Parliament was essential to understand the real world and his constituents remained his 'primary focus'.
He said: "As a businessman and entrepreneur I was elected into Parliament as someone with real world experience and believe that it's important that whilst delivering on their primary focus of serving constituents, politicians do not lose sight of what is happening outside the Westminster Village.
"My position on the board of a FTSE 250 business ensures I have first hand experience of what is going on in the real economy, and enables me to carry out my job of scrutinising government policy and representing constituents with a more rounded perspective.
"I might add that I was invited to join the board of SThree plc because of my business experience as CEO of YouGov plc. and not because I am an MP.
"All my earnings are declared on the Register of Members Interests which is available online and my renumeration for this role is in line with that for other non-executive directors in similar businesses."
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