Barometer

Which former prime minister earns the most for corporate speeches?

27 June 2020

9:00 AM

27 June 2020

9:00 AM

Voyage into history

How did the Labour government respond to the arrival of the Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948? While the ship was at sea, Prime Minister Clement Attlee tried but failed to have it diverted to East Africa so that its passengers could work on the groundnut scheme. He later wrote to concerned MPs that it was ‘a great mistake to regard these people as undesirable or unemployables. The majority of them are honest workers, who can make a genuine contribution to our labour difficulties at the present time. It is difficult to prophesy whether events will repeat themselves, but I think it will be shown that too much importance — too much publicity too — has been attached to the present argosy of Jamaicans… These circumstances are not likely to be repeated; yet even so not all the passages available were taken up’.

Rain check

Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, suggested that Britain ‘is no longer a wet and rainy country’ due to climate change. Is the country really getting drier? Average annual rainfall in mm:

England / UK


1961-90 828 / 1,101
1971-2000 839 / 1,126
1981-2010 855 / 1,154
Source: Met Office

Taking stock

In the week following the reopening of non-essential shops, how did footfall compare with the same week last year?

West End -81%
High streets -59%
Shopping centres -49%
Retail parks -22%
Source: Springboard

Money talks

Theresa May was reported to have earned £115,000 for each of four corporate speeches. How much did former prime ministers earn for their first speeches after leaving office?

— David Cameron was reported to have been paid £120,000 for an hour-long speech to Wall Street financiers.
— Gordon Brown was paid £60,000 for a summit in Delhi.
— Tony Blair was paid £180,000 for a speech at Manila University (he was also reported to have been offered £330,000 for addressing the World Hunger Forum in Stockholm, but pulled out)./>

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