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What’s an ex-U.K. prime minister to do?

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Senior U.K. ministers are hardly paupers, but by the standards of high-flying private sector jobs, they don’t exactly rake it in. That’s why it’s called public service.

Power has its own perks, however. Many former top-tier public officials soon make up the gap in earnings after they leave office.

Writing a memoir, collecting speaking fees and serving on a few blue-chip boards are the usual post-government income streams. Those sorts of earners — largely trading on experience, celebrity and knowledge — are priced into the job and seem a fair reward for the pressures and responsibilities (yes, it is also a tremendous privilege) of high public office.

David Cameron certainly did that. He reportedly sold the rights for his memoirs to an imprint of HarperCollins for £800,000 (just over $1 million in 2016) and gave lucrative speeches.

But the revelations — by the BBC’s Panorama program — that the former prime minister’s lobbying for the collapsed supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital allegedly earned him $10 million for two years of part-time work showcased a different kind of post-government career — and one that holds dangers for any democracy.

During his recent testimony to a parliamentary committee, Cameron repeatedly refused to say how much he was paid by Greensill, except that it was “far more” than what he earned as prime minister.

Panorama says it obtained a copy of a letter from Greensill Capital to Cameron that indicated he made £3.29 million (more than $4.5 million) from selling a tranche of Greensill shares in 2019. He was also reported to have made a salary of $1 million as a part-time adviser and received a bonus of another $700,000.

Cameron, through a spokesperson, denied receiving “anything like the figures quoted.” He hasn’t broken any laws. A Parliamentary report into the Greensill lobbying last........

© The Japan Times

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