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25th Jul 2019

This is how much Theresa May could earn now she’s no longer prime minister

Wil Jones

Being a former head of state can be very lucrative indeed

After a drawn-out and predictable Conservative Party leadership race, Theresa May is officially no longer our prime minister. And while Boris Johnson gets busy governing the country, May can start planning out her life after Downing Street.

Of course, she may choose to spend her days waking up at midday and sitting around watching The Chase in her pyjamas. But there is a lot of money to be made as a former head of state once you leave office – regardless of how you were thought of during your term.

At present, May is still Member of Parliament for Maidenhead, which earns her a salary of £79,468 per year, as of April 1st, 2019 (she was getting £150,402 as PM). But there’s a lot more potential earnings out there.

Speaking engagements are one of the most profitable routes for an ex-head of state to go down. In 2015, The Telegraph reported that Tony Blair can earn as much as £200,000 for a single speech. David Cameron charges £120,000 for an hour-long speech – that’s £2,000 a minute.

According to a 2012 BBC report, Gordon Brown received £74,936 for a speech for charity the ANAP Foundation and Nigerian newspaper This Day, £62,108 for a speech to a business newspaper in South Korea, £61,637 for one to a bank in Moscow, and £49,052 for one at a Saudi Arabian university (a spokeswoman for Brown did say this the money went to fund various charities though).

You don’t even have to have been PM either – Cameron’s former deputy Nick Clegg was charging £35,000 for a speech in 2015.

There is also the matter of book deals. David Cameron sold the rights to his memoir for a reported £800,000 in 2016, with the book For the Record set to hit shelves in September. Gordon Brown received a £78,000 advance for his tome on the global financial crisis, Beyond The Crash. But those are nothing compared the £4.6 million Blair received for his autobiography A Journey (all three donated their book profits to charity).

Of course, you can only watch so many reruns of Come Dine With Me, even if you are doing the odd speech and noodling away on your memoirs. So at some point, Theresa May will probably want to get another job. Probably some sort of advisory role. That should bode well for her as well.

In 2012, Gordon Brown received over £180,000 as Distinguished Global Leader in Residence at New York University. Nick Clegg now works for Facebook with a salary believed to be over £1 million a year. Earlier this year, David Cameron was made chair of US artificial intelligence firm Afiniti, with the role of “curating and overseeing the strategic guidance,” whatever that means.

Former ministers are expected to wait three months before taking on a second job – so Theresa May has a bit of time to just chill, and catch up on all the Marvel movies she’s missed. But don’t be surprised when we start getting the news stories about how much money she is earning in her post-political career.