I gather that self-important Labour MP Tom Watson has earned £10,812 in royalties for the book he recently co-authored on phone-hacking, Dial M For Murdoch. New parliamentary records show that Watson claims to have devoted 175 hours to the project. Despite shunning an advance from publisher Allen Lane, this means the MP has still made an average of £61 per hour for his work so far – a figure that will increase if the book continues to sell. There is no mention in the latest Register of MPs’ financial interests, where Watson has made the disclosure, of this cash being donated to charity or good causes. Surely Watson is not seeking to profit personally from the phone hacking affair?
When Watson flew to Los Angeles in October 2011 to attend the News Corporation Annual General Meeting he spent an impressive £6,300 on flights and hotels. Watson said he felt a ‘duty’ to attend the event to alert personally News Corp’s investors to wrongdoing at the company. His trip was short, taking place between 20 and 23 October, so that was some bill to rack up. Not that it hurt his wallet. The trade union Unite, which effectively bankrolls the Labour Party, paid the bill in full. Time for Watson to pay back the hard-working Unite members, whose subs funded him?
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