Theresa May zooms to top of MPs’ pay list after earning £500k for ‘virtual’ speeches during the pandemic
- Theresa May commanded a speech fee of up to £110,000 before the pandemic
- She received £502,837 for 12 speaking engagements from September to June
- She has earned £1.9million in speeches since she was ousted from No 10 in 2019
Theresa May has earned more than £500,000 for ‘virtual’ speeches during the pandemic – making her the highest-earning MP last year.
Despite a sharp fall in appearance fees on the international lecture circuit and criticism of the former Prime Minister’s lack of charisma,
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that she received £502,837 for 12 speaking engagements from last September to June.
It takes her earnings from speeches since she was ousted from No 10 in July 2019 to almost £1.9 million.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that she received £502,837 for 12 speaking engagements from last September to June
Rates for speakers have fallen by up to 90 per cent during lockdown, in part because events have moved online.
Mrs May commanded a speech fee of up to £110,000 before the pandemic, but her online rates have held up better than most at between £38,000 and £48,245, according to Parliament’s Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
In April, the 64-year-old Tory MP for Maidenhead earned £76,000 for two separate online speeches on the same day – one to a company in Salt Lake City, Utah, the other to a firm in Carmel, California.
In September she was paid £46,750 for a virtual speech to the Telmex Foundation, a philanthropic body.
Other clients have included the US Pension Real Estate Association and The Richmond Forum, an American non-profit educational organisation.
Speaking from home to The Society of the Four Arts in Florida in February, she said: ‘I wish I could start by saying it is a pleasure to be here in Palm Beach. One advantage of giving a lecture from your own home, however, is that it does cut down on the logistical challenges.’ She received £38,672 for the lecture and a question-and-answer session.
…Even though Trump said he’d pay NOT to hear her
According to Mail on Sunday columnist Piers Morgan, former US President Donald Trump once said of Theresa May: ‘I’d pay £100,000 not to hear her talk!’
TV presenter Jeremy Paxman complained: ‘Theresa May? She’s the person you only have lunch with once.’
And former Commons speaker John Bercow said: ‘Theresa May is decent, but as wooden as your average coffee table.’
BBC broadcaster Nick Robinson thought her so dull that he turned down an invitation to lunch with her. His colleague Emily Maitlis claimed she was ‘very hard to make interesting’.
Public-speaking expert Viv Groskop said her style was ‘a car crash. It is painful to see a woman… with so little authority’.
According to Mail on Sunday columnist Piers Morgan, former US President Donald Trump once said of Theresa May: ‘I’d pay £100,000 not to hear her talk!’. President Trump and Theresa May are pictured together in January 2017
The former Premier’s speaking fees are paid to her company, The Office of Theresa May Ltd, and are used to pay staff, maintain her involvement in public life and support charitable work.
She is paid £85,000 a year from her company for her speaking engagements, which are organised though the Washington Speakers’ Bureau.
Tom Kenyon-Slaney, chairman of the London Speaker Bureau, said she was not the most gifted speaker but added: ‘It is not Theresa May who is selling these events, but the strapline of being a former British Prime Minister which sells well, particularly in America.’
Mrs May has become an increasingly outspoken critic of her successor Boris Johnson, but her public speaking style has won far from universal acclaim.