The cash behind our MPs: All the foreign trips, freebies and donations given to Scotland's 59 MPs - Part Four
Scottish MPs have received free event tickets, trips to far-flung countries, as well as thousands in donations since their elections
Scotland’s 59 MPs are a mixed bunch from a broad church of political views, but they all provide a route for those with money and power to influence politics at a national level.
In this series, we take a look at each MP elected to the House of Commons in the 2019 general election who will represent Scotland for the next four-and-a-half years.
We will examine the foreign trips, freebies, outside work and donations to see who is contributing to the people you elect to represent you.
We will also work through the list of Scottish MPs alphabetically, beginning with Hannah Bardell and ending with Pete Wishart, with 15 MPs per week.
You can find Part One here, running from Hannah Bardell to Ronnie Cowan.
Part Two, from Angela Crawley to Neale Hanvey, is here.
Part Three, from Drew Hendry to Carol Monaghan, and including Scotland secretary Alister Jack, is here.
This article will list MPs from former Scotland secretary David Mundell to the joint-longest serving Scottish MP, Pete Wishart.
We are also beginning this exercise from 2010, rather than the earliest date for some of those elected, 2001.
For the purposes of this article, we are not including anything which involved a fee being donated directly to charity which can include fees for newspaper columns and other work.
Many of the foreign trips are part of the workings of All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), which are groups of MPs who work together around one issue or country.
David Mundell – Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
The former secretary of state for Scotland under Theresa May and David Cameron was first elected to Westminster in 2005 where he served as shadow secretary of state for Scotland until 2010.
Since being sacked by Boris Johnson in that role, he has served on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee.
However, due to his high profile in his old job, he has received the most donations of any Scottish MP.
In outside income he also has a flat in Edinburgh which earns him rental income.
His foreign trips have included:
• In May 2009 a trip to Sierra Leone for research on Conservative Party Social Action Project. Flights and in-country costs were paid by Andrew Mitchell MP from registered donations made to him in his capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.
In free gifts he has received:
• In March 2009, a private flight from Humberside Airport to Glasgow on 7 March 2009 provided by Malcolm Scott of Dunalistair Estates Ltd
• In September 2009, £850 for hospitality at Carlton Club Political Dinner in London, paid for by Alexander Inglis and Son Ltd.
In donations, he has received since 2010 more than £91,000 in mostly quarterly donations from Singapore-based property mogul Brian Gillies through his companies Alchemist Estates Ltd, Stridewell Estates Ltd, and Kirklee Property Company (2).
Mr Mundell has also received £51,000 from private donor James Stewart since 2011.
He has also received the following donations:
• In November 2010 a donation of £5,000 from Garry Watts
• In December 2010 a donation of £5,000 from Carolyn Ward
• In September 2014 a £2,589 donation from Caledonian Colour Printers
• In December 2014, a £2,000 donation from Garry Watts
• In January 2015, £2,000 from Carolyn Ward
• In May 2015, £5,000 from Glenrath Farms Ltd
• In May 2017: £3,000 donation from Sir Henry Keswick. Sir Henry stood down from the board of his conglomerate Jardine Matheson in 2018 whose companies include the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group with hotels in several capital cities. The family is reportedly worth more than £6bn.
He also received £3,000 from Mary Coltman, £4,000 from Mr and Mrs David Reid, £3,000 from Vitol Services Ltd, £2,000 from Eric Holford, £5,000 from Sir John Campbell
• In January 2019, he received a £5,000 donation from Stewart Grieve
• In October 2019, another £3,500 donation from Sir Henry Keswick
• In January 2020 following the 2019 General Election he registered donations of £2,500 from David Stevensonm, £3,000 from Mary Coltman, £4,000 from Stewart Grieve, £2,000 from long-time Tory donor Lord Phillip Harris, and £9,995 from Glenrath Farms Ltd
Ian Murray – Edinburgh South
Labour's only Scottish MP and shadow Scotland secretary came close to quitting the party, it was revealed earlier this year.
Mr Murray, who was elected in 2010 and has held on to his seat despite several attacks from the SNP, is the highest profile Labour politician in Scotland and is back in the frontline of politics following the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn.
His outside income includes:
• In June 2010, he earned £3,000 as part of event management services to Bath Festival Fringe which was paid to 100MPH Events Ltd
His foreign trips include:
• July 2011 he took part in a trip to Egypt and Gaza. Parliamentary delegation paid for by Council of European Palestinian Relations. It was worth: £1,492
• In November 2011 he took part in a ‘familiarisation visit’ to the Falkland Islands paid for by the Falkland Islands government worth £2,810
• In March 2013, he visited the United Arab Emirates. Paid for by the UAE government. Part of the trip as a member of the the UAE APPG in order to meet Government Ministers, Members of the Federal National Council and senior business figures together with British diplomats in order to build on the bilateral relationship and promote trade and investment ties. The trip was worth £3,500
• In August 2017, he was taken on a trip worth £5,282 to Taiwan, paid for by the government of the Republic of China. He was part of APPG Taiwan group travelling to discuss political, trade and cultural links between the United Kingdom and Taiwan.
In donations he has received:
• In May 2015, £2,000 from union USDAW, £2,000 from union Community, £1,863.25 from Unite and £2,000 from Glen Bramley
• In June 2017, a donation of £5,000 from Community Trade Union, £4,000 from USDAW and donations of £5,000 from Mary Hughes, £5,000 from Lord Oakeshott, and £2,000 from Ghill Donald.
• In December 2019 he received a £2,000 donation from GMB, £10,000 from Lord Oakeshott, £5,000 from USDAW, £7,000 from Community Union, and £5,000 from Lord William Haughie.
• Following the 2019 General Election he registered donations of £5,000 from Gordon Dalyell, £10,000 from Lord Oakeshott, £3,000 from Baroness Meta Ramsay, £6,000 from Community Union, £3,000 from Jonathan Wild, and £2,000 from Fiona Mactaggart all of which went towards his campaign to become Labour’s deputy leader.
• In February 2020 he received an extra £5,000 from Gordon Dalyell, £5,000 from Mark Bathgate, and £5,000 from Lord William Haughie for his deputy leadership campaign.
In gifts he received:
• In September 2012, a researcher paid for by the union GMB. Worth £5,000
• In December 2014, PWC paid for, via the Labour Party, a research assistant to support him in his role at the Independent Export Commission from 10 November 14 to 1 May 2015. It was worth £45,000
• In January 2018 he received tickets worth £1,075 and hospitality to attend the National Television Awards, paid for by ITV.
• In February 2018: RBS paid for tickets to Scotland v England worth £136
• In March 2018, Charlotte Street Partners paid for tickets to Motherwell v Hearts worth £200
• In December 2018, tickets for the X Factor final, paid for by ITV worth £450.
Gavin Newlands – Paisley and Renfrewshire North
First elected in 2015, Mr Newlands has been the SNP’s spokesperson for transport since January 2020 and was previously the party’s spokesperson for Wales, Northern Ireland between 2018 and 2020 and sport between 2016 and 2020.
While in his latter role he received several free tickets to sport events.
His foreign trips include:
In February 2017, he visitied Trip to Qatar, paid for by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, for an APPG visit to World Cup sites and examine the rights of migrant workers. The trip was worth £5,100
• In April 2018, he travelled to Friedrichshafen, paid for by the APPG on General Aviation, as part of a trip to the AERO general aviation exhibition for meetings with stakeholders, worth £591
His gifts have included:
• Wimbledon tickets in 2017, 2018 and 2019 paid for by Tennis Scotland worth £310, £420 and £450 respectively.
• In November 2017 and February 2018 he received rugby tickets at Murrayfield, paid for by BT, worth £375 and £600 respectively.
• In December 2017, William Hill paid £524 for free tickets to PDC Darts at Alexandra Palace and made a £1,000 donation to charity and ‘good cause’
• William Hill paid for £325 tickets for Ayr Gold Cup in September 2018 as part of his role as chair of Scottish Sport APPG.
• In March 2019, he was given tickets for England v Scotland at Twickenham, paid for by London City Airport and worth £1050
His only donation was:
• June 2015: Donation of £5,000 from Flagship Media Group, owned by Derek Carstairs.
John Nicolson – Ochil and South Perthshire
An MP since 2015, Mr Nicolson is the SNP’s spokesperson for digital, culture, media and sport and sits on the committee of the same name.
A former journalist, his outside income includes:
• More than £16,700 for hosting The Week with John Nicolson on TalkRadio.
His only other outside income comes from owning a terraced house in Tower Hamlets that is sometimes rented out for photoshoots, but without any work from him.
His sole foreign trip since his election in 2015 was to New York in November 2016. The trip, worth £805 and paid for by the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies was to attend and speak at a conference on referendums and democratic politics in New York City.
His free gifts have included:
• Free tickets to the National Television Awards in January 2016, worth £1032, paid for by ITV.
• In June 2016, he was given two tickets to Capital Summertime Ball, worth £700, but did not attend.
• In January 2017, he was given tickets to the National Television Awards, worth £1,028, paid for by ITV
Brendan O’Hara – Argyll and Bute
Elected in 2015, Mr O’Hara is the SNP’s spokesperson for international human rights and conflict resolution. He was also previously the party’s spokesperson for culture and media and the group leader on defence.
His trips have included:
• In June 2016, a trip to Brussels and Mons, paid for by US Mission to NATO, as a member of armed forces APPG to US Mission to Nato and SHAPE HQ in Mons. Worth £1,260
• In October 2016 he went to Islay in a trip worth £379. Paid for by Scotch Whisky Association.
• In August 2016, he travelled to the British Army Unit Suffield, Canada, as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, paid for by Armed Forces Parliamentary Trust, worth £750
• In April 2017 visiting the UAE, as part of the UAE APPG, to meet with Government Ministers, Members of the Federal National Council and senior business figures to promote trade and investment ties. It was worth £3,500
• In August 2017 he travelled to Svalbard, Norway, paid for by the APPG for the Polar Regions, sponsored from Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Mamont Foundation. The trip was to visit British scientists at the NERC Arctic Research Station at Ny-Alesund and to learn more about Britain's contribution to polar science. Worth £1,364
• In August 2018 he visited to Greenland, funded by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Mamont Foundation, WWF UK and the British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union, all via the APPG for the Polar Regions. In total the trip was worth £2,707 including a personal contribution of £200 and was done to establish and develop dialogue with the Parliament and Government of Greenland and visit British scientists and learn more about Britain’s contribution to Arctic science.
• In September 2018, he went to the West Bank and Israel, funded by Medical Aid for Palestinians for a fact finding visit organised by the Council for Arab-British Understanding and Medical Aid for Palestinians. Worth £1,570
• In January 2019 he went to to Lebanon, funded by Aid to the Church in Need UK, worth £2,006. It was part of a APPG on International Freedom of Religion or Belief visit to refugee families in Lebanon and to look at the work undertaken by the 'Church in Need'
His gifts have included:
• In February 2018, Six Nations tickets, worth £1,200, paid for by BT.
• In March 2019, Six Nations tickets for Wales v Scotland at Murrayfield, worth £1,900, paid for by BT.
Kirsten Oswald – East Renfrewshire
The deputy leader of the SNP in Westminster is also the party spokesperson on Northern Ireland, Wales and on work and pensions.
First elected in 2015, she lost her seat to the Scottish Conservative Paul Masterton after a swing of 7,000 votes, but won the seat back in 2019 with a majority of over 5,000.
Throughout her time in Westminster she has never registered a foreign trip, gift or donation.
Douglas Ross – Moray
The new leader of the Scottish Conservatives, replacing the struggling Jackson Carlaw in August, is a part-time referee and linesman and unseated the then-SNP leader in Westminster Angus Robertson.
It is looking likely both will face off against each other again in Holyrood following the 2021 elections as both are set to stand and will probably win their respective seats.
However, in terms of his finances pre-2021, it can be revealed Mr Ross has earned a staggering £56,000 from refereeing since his election in 2017.
He has officiated games involving giants such as Bayern Munich, as well as many high profile matches in the Scottish Premier League.
Other than his trips for footballing reasons, he has also travelled to Israel and the West Bank while an MSP in August 2016, in a trip worth £2,000 and paid for by the Conservative Friends of Israel.
His donations have included:
• In July 2017, donations of £5,000, £7,500, £10,000, and £5,000 from Alasdair Laing, Scottish Unionist Association Trust, Stalbury Trustees, and John Martin respectively.
• In January 2020: Donations of £5,000, £5,000, £2,500, £5,000, £5,000 from John S Martin, Alasdair N Laing, Carlton CB Politc, Stalbury Trustees, and the Scottish Unionist Association Trust.
• In July 2020, a donation of £20,000 from Alasdair Locke, received via John Lamont (campaign manager) for his Scottish Conservatives leadership campaign.
Tommy Sheppard – Edinburgh East
The owner of The Stand comedy club in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Mr Sheppard was first elected in 2015.
He is the SNP’s leader in the House of Commons and sits on the finance committee and has served as the spokesperson for Scotland, the House of Lords, and the Cabinet Office.
His foreign trips include:
• In January 2016, a trip to Jordan, paid for by Jordan House of Representatives (Palestine Committee) for fact finding political delegation worth £1,000
• In February 2016, he visited to Jerusalem and the West Bank, paid for by Fateh Movement UK branch and worth £650
• In September 2017, he went back to the West Bank and Israel as part of a fact finding visit organised by the Council for Arab-British Understanding and Medical Aid for Palestinians. It was worth: £1,390
• In September 2019 he travelled to Bangladesh as part of the APPG on Population, Development and Reproductive Health. The trip was worth £2,683, and was paid for by the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health.
His gifts have included:
• Annual subscription to The National for four hours work and two column pieces donated in October 2019.
• In March 2020, he received tickets to British Kebab Awards, worth £432, paid for by Centre for Turkey Studies.
Alyn Smith – Stirling
The former MEP stood for election in the 2019 General Election after the UK left the EU and won his seat, previously an extremely tight marginal seat with the Conservatives who won by just 148 seats in 2017, by more than 9,000 votes.
He has been subject of a row about reducing the number of equalities groups represented on the SNP’s national executive committee, and now serves as the SNP’s spokesperson on the foreign office.
His only registered trip, gift or donation was a trip to Washington DC in February 2020, paid for by the Woodrow Wilson internation Centre for Scholars for participation in Defeating Disinformation workshop. The trip was worth £1,026.
Chris Stephens – Glasgow South West
Elected in 2015, he sits on the work and pensions committee and is the SNP’s spokesperson for fair work and employment.
His outside income has mainly come from money from the Public and Commercial Services Union to help pay for the administration and coordination of the PCS Parliamentary Group which he chairs.
In total, Mr Stephens has received almost £150,000 to pay both Union Services Parliamentary Consultancy and Solidarity Consulting for the work.
Otherwise, he has not registered any gifts, foreign trips or donations.
Jamie Stone – Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Elected in 2017, Mr Stone won back the seat lost to the SNP by the Liberal Democrats from Paul Monaghan.
He is now the Lib Dem spokesperson for defence and digital, culture, media and sport and previously help the same position for Scotland issues.
His outside income includes:
• Majority shareholding in Highland Fine Houses Ltd.
His only foreign trip was in February 2020. He travelled to Denver, Colorado, Florida, paid for by Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd to experience the launch of Solar Orbiter and help advance MPs’ understanding of the USA’s space programme and UK space policy topics. He also visited NASA, US Space Force and UK space companies’ US operations. Overall the trip was worth £6,600.
In donations he has received two donations in August 2017 and January 2020 of £2,000 from More United Ltd.
His only free gifts were seven dinners and three breakfasts as part of the APPG for the armed forces. All of the meals together cost £322 and costs were covered by the group.
Alison Thewliss – Glasgow Central
The SNP’s shadow chancellor was first elected in 2015 and has held on to her seat ever since, previously as the party’s spokesperson on housing, communities and local government and on cities.
She unseated Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar in 2015. He is now an MSP in Holyrood.
She has declared no outside income, gifts, donations or foreign trips since she was elected as an MP.
Owen Thompson – Midlothian
The SNP MP is a whip in Westminster with his only income coming from a flat in his constituency.
He was initially unseated in 2017 by Danielle Rowley, but regained the seat in the December 2019 General Election.
He has declared no other outside income, gifts, donations or foreign trips while an MP.
Richard Thomson – Gordon
The deputy editor of the Scots Independent newspaper also happens to own a flat in Edinburgh, he successfully won back Alex Salmond’s seat between May 2015 and May 2017 from the Conservatives' Colin Clark.
He has not registered any outside income, gifts, donations or foreign trips in his short time as an MP since December 2019.
Philippa Whitford – Central Ayrshire
Apart from her income from her work as a consultant breast cancer surgeon for the NHS, Dr Whitford is the SNP’s spokesperson on Europe and on health and social care.
She has been an MP since 2015 and has travelled widely while in the role.
Her foreign trips have included:
• In September 2015, a trip to Ethiopia, paid for by Results UK. She visited healthcare facilities and see progress against polio and malaria. Worth: £1,341
• She visiting East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in 2016 as a consultant breast cancer surgeon helping with clinics, operating, teaching workshops and inspecting services for breast cancer patients. Paid for by Medical Aid for Palestinians, worth £934 (flights paid for by Dr Whitford)
• In September 2016 she travelled to Berlin, paid for by Rolls-Royce, as part of an APPG trip to meet German politicians to discuss the EU referendum. Worth £661.
• In September 2017 she returned to Palestine, paid for by Medical Aid for Palestinians. This time to help a project aiming to address barriers faced by Palestinians’ in their right to health under occupation and blockade and the significant challenges which Palestinian women face to accessing diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. The trip was worth £2,651
• In September 2018 she visited Palestine again, paid for by Medical Aid for Palestinians, to continue the “multidisciplinary exchange” between U.K. and Palestinian clinicians, by running diagnostic clinics, operating sessions and treatment planning sessions along with workshops for medical and nursing staff. Worth: £1,767
• In April 2019 she returned to Berlin, to appear on German TV, in a trip worth £572, and paid for by Will Media GmbH
• In the same month she took part in another visit to Gaza Strip and the West Bank, paid for by Medical Aid for Palestinians. This trip was worth £2,123
• In June 2019 she travelled to Geneva, paid for by Results UK, as Chair of the APPG on Vaccinations for All. This included meeting with WHO, GAVI, DfID, Polio Eradication and the Global Fund. Worth: £646
Her gifts have included:
• Dinner at the ADS Group (an association of more than 1,100 UK businesses in the aerospace, defence and security industry) industry dinners in 2016. In total worth around £380.
• In July 2016 she was given entrance to Farnborough Airshow, paid for by ADS Group, worth £36.
Pete Wishart – Perth and North Perthshire
Elected in 2001, the former member of rock group Runrig is the joint longest serving Scottish MP still in the House of Commons.
Almost all of his outside income comes from being part of the parliamentary rock group MP4 and from Runrig royalties.
The former SNP chief whip earned around £30,000 in royalties.
In addition, he has earned;
• £1,500 in sponsorship from Onifas Ltd (trading as The Bedford Arms) and the same amount from Research in Motion UK – the makers of Blackberry phones – towards the cost of rehearsals, equipment and a launch reception.
• Mr Wishart also earned £9,283 through the band for performing on TV shows on Dave including ‘Unspun’ and the Matt Forde Christmas show.
This data has been compiled based on information publicly accessible on the House of Commons’ Register of Members’ Financial Interests available here.
Because of this, we have not approached any individual MP for comment on this story.
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