Labour MP Jess Phillips is laughing all the way to the bank after Have I Got News for You performance earns her £15,000
Her constituents may struggle to pay their heating costs in the coming weeks – but Labour frontbencher Jess Phillips is likely to have few concerns about her own bills.
The MP for Yardley in Birmingham received an astonishing £15,000 to present a single edition of BBC1’s Have I Got News For You.
The 40-year-old, who has lamented that it’s ‘awful to hear people on the doorstep saying, “You politicians are all in it for yourselves,” ’ hosted the show on December 10 alongside regular team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton and panellists Jon Richardson and Hannah Fry.
The MP for Yardley in Birmingham received an astonishing £15,000 to present a single edition of BBC1’s Have I Got News For You
The money reached Ms Phillips’s bank account a month after the Labour Party brought a parliamentary motion calling for a ban on MPs holding second jobs outside Parliament
Her bumper payment arrived in time for Christmas and is recorded in the Register of Members’ Interests, which states it was in return for a mere 12 hours’ work. But she does seem to have star quality – she opened the show with a gag about Harry and Meghan, which got roars of laughter from the audience.
However, one source questioned the filming timeframe, saying: ‘Twelve hours is the most hilarious bit. None of them work on the script. They just get handed it.
‘Scriptwriters start writing Monday lunchtime and finish on Thursday night. Normal recording time is about two to two-and-a-half hours.’
Maybe Jess was mistaken – or perhaps she thought her constituents in Birmingham would find the idea of about £1,000 per hour more palatable than £7,500 per hour for presenting the show.
The money reached Ms Phillips’s bank account a month after the Labour Party brought a parliamentary motion calling for a ban on MPs holding second jobs outside Parliament – but only if they are paid as lobbyists or political consultants. The motion, which was defeated, omitted any mention of appearing on BBC game shows.
Ms Phillips, who earns £81,932 a year as an MP, said: ‘Obviously I think it’s a lot of money. I believe it’s the standard fee. I didn’t negotiate it. The shoot is about three hours, but as a presenter you are there all day running through, rehearsing with the autocue. I’m not sure this was because I am a novice or it is standard.’
She has previously described herself as a ‘staunch socialist’.
We asked Hat Trick, the show’s producers for comment.