Former UK PM Theresa May earned £1.86 million in her 2 years since leaving Downing Street, figures show

Letters begin to fall off the backdrop, “BUILDING A COUNTRY THAT WORKS OR EVERYON” as British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her keynote speech to delegates and party members on the last day of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central on October 4, 2017 in Manchester, England.
Theresa May delivers her keynote speech at the 2017 Conservative Party conference as letters begin to fall off the backdrop. Carl Court/Getty Images
  • Former UK PM Theresa May has earned £1,861,776 for speeches since leaving Downing Street.
  • The income is from 27 speeches since December 2019, paid at an average of £8,130 per hour.
  • Saturday marks two years since May left office, leaving her free to begin lobbying the government.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former British Prime Minister Theresa May earned £1,861,776 for speeches since leaving Downing Street in July 2019, research by Insider found.

Since joined the Washington Speakers Bureau in December 2019, for which she received a £190,000 signing bonus, and since then has registered 27 engagements at an average of £61,917 per speech.

As an MP, May is required to declare earnings from outside parliament, as well as the hours for each piece of work.

May has declared 229 hours of work for the preparation, delivery, and travel around the speeches, creating an average hourly rate of £8,130.03.

Among May’s audiences have been JP Morgan Chase, which paid £160,370 for two talks in April 2020; Brown University and Trinity University, Texas, which both paid £115,000 for speeches in March 2020; and the French asset management company Amundi, which paid £39,900 for an address in January 2021.

Travel restrictions meant at least 13 of May’s speeches since September 2020 were held virtually. These virtual speeches brought in an average of £41,749. In-person speeches brought in an average of £112,904.

May’s earnings are not paid to her directly, but to the Office of Theresa May.

That money is used to “pay employees, maintain my ongoing involvement in public life and support my charitable work”, according to her entry on Parliament’s register of members’ interests.

She also says she takes an £85,000 salary from the company for 24 hours a month.

May stepped down as Prime Minister on 24 July 2019 after failing to secure backing for her deal to remove the UK from the European Union. Boris Johnson won the Conservative leadership contest to succeed her.

This Saturday, 24 July, will mark two years since May left office. It is also the point at which Westminster’s lobbying rules will no longer apply to many of the ministers who served under her.

Ex-ministers who lost their jobs when Boris Johnson took over will be free to lobby the government and take up jobs without consulting the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, the lobbying watchdog.

Alistair Carmichael MP, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Political & Constitutional Reform, told Insider: “Yet another reason – if any more were needed – in favour of a serious reform of the rules around ministerial interaction with business in and after office. ACOBA and the principles around earnings from outside sources need a shake up – but it is clear that the Conservatives have no interest in changing a system that is convenient to them.

“Big business does not pay that sort of money simply out of sympathy for the way she was defenestrated by Boris Johnson. It is valid to ask what benefit they are getting out of it.”

After Philip Hammond, who served as May’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, was given particularly stringent lobbying restrictions for two years from the point he left the government, he told the Daily Mail: “I found this quite a strange decision to understand. I haven’t sought to challenge it because the Acoba control period for me ends on July 24.”

Insider asked May’s office to comment on her speaking income but did not receive a response by time of publication.