By politics.co.uk staff
Former prime minister Gordon Brown is the member of parliament earning the most from work outside parliament, new data have revealed.
The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, who has only spoken in the Commons on four occasions since May 2010, notched up £1.37 million in earnings outside his day job as a Labour backbencher during the last session of parliament.
The bulk of the money has been raised by giving speeches. Brown said he had given £600,000 of the cash to charity, while the rest supported his private office enabling his "ongoing involvement in public life".
His earnings make up a significant slice of the £2.4 million earned outside the Commons by Labour MPs. Conservative backbenchers combined together were paid over £4.3 million for 'second jobs'.
The highest-earning Conservative MP is Stephen Phillips, who worked 1,700 hours as a barrister.
"What matters is whether or not I do my job as an MP and how well I do it," he told the Guardian newspaper.
"People can check that from my attendance and other figures, which I believe demonstrate that I am one of the hardest workers at Westminster.
"The fact that I don't have a job as a minister and continue to work as a lawyer, mostly when parliament is not sitting and I am not engaged on constituency duties, enables me to keep a foot in the real world – though, I accept, a well paid one."
Brown's earnings eclipse those of his New Labour Cabinet colleagues, although former chancellor Alistair Darling and ex-justice secretary Jack Straw notched up additional income of £263,000 and £183,000 respectively.