British public opinion is split over Tony Blair’s earnings since stepping down as Prime Minister, amid general unease over the rights of politicians, or ex-politicians, to earn money for their skills, a new survey undertaken for the Sun has revealed.
The former Prime Minister has lucrative advisory deals with private firms, notably the Wall Street bank JP Morgan, and national governments, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. He also holds a visiting lecturing position at Yale University and is reportedly a regular on the after dinner speaking scene there.
33% of the public feel that he has worked very hard in his role as PM for ten years and he has every right to make money now. Conversely, 24% felt that his behaviour is obscene and that he should be ashamed of himself (the survey didn’t give people a chance to elaborate on why). The largest percentage (35%), felt he has the right to earn some money, but much less than the £20 million he has reportedly amassed.
Political partisanship may be responsible for these divides as 56% of those who identified as voting Labour stated they felt he had worked hard and was entitled to make money now compared with 40% of those who identified as voting Conservative, who felt that his behaviour was obscene and that he should be ashamed of himself.
The results indicate that Tony Blair continues to be viewed as a divisive figure, with those with Labour sympathies more likely to view his earnings more favourably than those who hold conservative sympathies.
For survey details and full results, please click here