Moneybags Miliband gets his mates megabucks too

Published by The Mail on Sunday (15th November, 2020)

Former Labour Minister David Miliband’s charity has hired several of his close political aides for senior positions on hefty salaries.

The Mail on Sunday revealed earlier this month that Miliband has a pay package worth more than $1 million (£770,000) to run the International Rescue Committee, which receives about £50 million a year from UK taxpayers to fight global poverty and distress.

Now we can disclose that Madlin Sadler, his former special adviser, pocketed more than £300,000 last year from the charity as senior vice-president overseeing the organisation’s operations. Her salary has gone up by almost £57,000 in four years. 

Other senior employees at the charity include:

  • Laura Kyrke-Smith (executive director, IRC British arm), a speechwriter under Miliband when he was Foreign Secretary;
  • Ollie Money (global communications director), a researcher in Miliband’s Westminster office before joining the charity in 2013;
  • Matthew Doyle (director of communications for Europe), a former special adviser and political director for Miliband’s mentor Tony Blair;
  • Imogen Sudbery (director of policy and advocacy, Europe), who worked for a Labour MEP and the socialist group in the European Parliament;
  • Ravi Gurumurthy (former chief innovation officer), spent four years as Miliband’s speechwriter and strategy adviser.

Yesterday, Tory MP Pauline Latham, a member of the Commons international development committee, said: ‘This smacks of appalling cronyism. It looks like Miliband has just stuffed the charity with his pals.’

She wants the Foreign Office, which oversees aid, to urgently investigate. ‘Why is this charity paying such big salaries and hiring these people? There needs to be an inquiry to ask if our funds are not better off going to other groups.’

The IRC, which focuses on assisting refugees from war and disasters, is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Britain’s surge in foreign aid spending, which has almost doubled in a decade to £15.2 billion. 

The New York-based charity’s most recent accounts show it got £107 million over the previous two years from the Department for International Development. 

Miliband’s pay package, which rose by almost £82,000 over the past year, has almost doubled in five years. Latest tax details also show he was handed a housing allowance of about £38,000 last year.

One insider claimed that Sadler, who ran Miliband’s failed Labour leadership campaign in 2010, runs the IRC’s operations while her boss hobnobs across the globe with world leaders and celebrities.

Another IRC director was quoted saying Miliband needed ‘super-smart’ Sadler since the ex-Labour Minister ‘didn’t have any experience managing big organisations’. Sadler is the daughter of veteran Labour MP Barry Sheerman. 

It was rumoured that he might stand down from his Huddersfield seat in 2018 to allow Miliband to return to British politics and make another tilt at the leadership.

Miliband’s 12-strong executive team at the IRC had pay packages totalling more than £4 million – an average of about £334,000 each. The latest financial data for the charity’s British arm shows that the highest-paid person got a package of between £170,000 and £180,000 last year. 

Two others received in excess of £140,000. Charity sources say Kyrke-Smith – who has said organisations struggle to make the case for foreign aid ‘clearly and convincingly to the public’ – is paid £105,000 a year and claim that all other UK salaries are ‘below this figure’, with the higher sums listed in accounts going to international staff based in Britain.

Gurumurthy, the brother of Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan, left last year to run a British think-tank. Mr Money has been vocal in his opposition to Brexit, claiming the Tories have ‘taken the country hostage’.

An IRC spokesman said it followed US regulations on publishing senior pay and that under Miliband’s leadership the charity was ‘reaching more people than ever before and making a bigger impact on their lives’.

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