AN MP has defended his right to earn money by also working as a barrister.
Parliamentary records show that Simon Reevell earned more than £64,000 through legal work last year.
That is on top of his salary of £65,738 which he earns as MP for Dewsbury and Mirfield.
The Conservative has come under fire from his opponents in the Labour Party for taking on the legal work.
They have said it leaves him with less time to dedicate to serving his constituents.
But Mr Reevell insisted that his work did not make him a less effective MP.
He said: “My priority is being an MP and it’s only in time that I have spare that I decide, am I going to have time to myself or am I to be a barrister?”
Parliament’s register of members’ interests shows that in 2011 he earned £32,772.72 in legal aid work, £8,784.25 from Northern Rail, £4,000.75 from the Probation Service, £10,119.93 from the Crown Prosecution Service, £4,046.22 from the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority and £4,308.45 from the West Yorkshire Probation Service.
Mr Reevell has also come under fire for how much he contributes to debates in the House of Commons.
According to TheyWorkForYou, a website containing statistics on MPs, he has only spoken in two debates in the last year, and has only submitted 13 questions to government ministers.
This number of contributions is fewer than the average MP, according to the site’s figures.
Chairman of Dewsbury Labour Party Mike Greetham said Mr Reevell’s constituents deserved better.
“He promised to be a full-time MP and we now find he is earning, in a part-time job outside Parliament, three times what the average Dewsbury wage-earner is taking home, on top of the £65,000 a year MPs salary.”
Mr Greetham called on Mr Reevell stop doing work outside his Parliamentary duties.
But Mr Reevell disputed the figures from TheyWorkForYou.
He added: “All the people I speak to at surgeries never raise this as an issue.
“They ask me to look into a problem and when it’s solved they say thank you and that’s that.”
He said the issue of his legal work was only being brought up by his opponents who are campaigning in the Kirklees Council elections in May.
Mr Reevell said; “After 15 years of professional politicians, having members of Parliament with a foot in the real world is a good thing.”
Follow me on Twitter @ReporterRobert. Email email@example.com.