AN aristocratic Scottish Tory MSP is pocketing over £14,000 a day from his second job at the same time as he draws a Holyrood salary.

Alexander Burnett used to take home around £120,000 for a maximum of 12 days a year at his property firm, but the sum has now soared to £170,000.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who has drawn up plans to clamp down on second jobs at Holyrood, said: "We need robust legislation to end this double-jobbing scandal.”

Loading article content

REAAD MORE: The anti-press bias of Scottish cyber-conspiracists is a threat to our democracy

Burnett was elected as the Tory MSP for Aberdeenshire West in 2016 and appointed by Ruth Davidson as the party’s business, innovation and energy spokesman.

All MSPs have to publish details of their outside finances and the new Conservative, whose full name is Alexander James Amherst Burnett of Leys, submitted a sizeable entry of over 1000 words.

In the “remuneration” section filed after he won, Burnett declared that he anticipated withdrawing up to £120,000 in “personal remuneration” as the owner of AJA Burnett Estate, a property leasing and forestry undertaking.

His register stated that the sum was based on fluctuating levels of profits and losses and he expected to spend “between 0 and 1 day per month on this role”.

In December, Burnett updated the entry and revealed he could receive between £160,000 and £170,000 in 2017/18 for the same time commitment.

READ MORE: Labour abandons sexual assault probe into ex-MP after male witness fails to provide statement

While the Tory MSP stands to pocket the equivalent of £14,166 a day, a worker earning a £7.50 minimum wage can expect a make £60 a day, which is before national insurance is deducted.

Burnett is also a director of property firm North Banchory Company Limited, for which he receives a “basic salary” of £6,273 a year plus private medical insurance worth around £1,500. He has estimated he will spend up to one day a month on this other outside job and also declares over £10 million of shares in the same firm.

The MSP, who receives £61,778 for his parliamentary duties, is also a member of the St Andrew Street Development Limited Liability Partnership, an outfit concerned with the ownership and rental of investment property. His profit share this year could be between £1,001 and £2,000, but he will not devote any time to this role.

Holyrood’s standards committee last year admonished Burnett for failing to declare business interests while lodging parliamentary questions. He did not declare financial interests in two written questions, but the committee said it was "minded to be lenient on this occasion".

A minority of MSPs have second jobs, but nobody matches Burnett on £14,000 a day.

READ MORE: Commons majority for remaining in single market

The closest is fellow Tory MSP Donald Cameron who, for two non-executive directorships, pockets up to £55,000 for attending 10 board meetings a year. His time commitment is five days per annum, which works out at around £11,000 a day.

Edward Mountain, a Tory in the Highlands and Islands, is a partner in Delfur Farms Farming Partnership and receives remuneration in the form of utilities and insurance for his home of between £35,001 and £40,000. He expects to spend up to 16 hours a month on this role.

Findlay said: “This is more evidence of Tory politicians seeing Parliament as nothing more than a way to pass the time while they coin it in from their business interests. Burnett is a Conservative who refuses to back a real living wage for ordinary people, yet is more than happy to take £14,000 a day for his own ‘labour’."

READ MORE: Justice Secretary Michael Matheson's top official had secret meeting with police chief after legal warning

An SNP spokesperson said: “While more and more people across the UK are suffering from UK Government austerity and being forced to turn to food banks in order to survive, out of touch Tory toffs like Mr Burnett continue to rake in millions. Yet when Alexander Burnett comes to Holyrood he does absolutely nothing to stand up for his constituents’ interests.”

A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “The profits and losses of this company fluctuate each year, and Alexander has amended his register accordingly. None of this impacts on his ability as an MSP.”