The former deputy prime minister, who condemned the global investment bank in 2010 for alleged “recklessness and greed”, listed the payment in the latest entry for the Commons register of members’ interests.
The entry said that his agent, News Presenters Ltd, arranged for him to be paid £22,500 for delivering a keynote speech and moderating a question and answer session over dinner for Goldman Sachs in London on 2 December 2015. The speech examined Britain’s place in the EU.
A similar fee was arranged for a speech by Clegg on the EU at PepsiCo in New York last August. On that occasion, Clegg was paid £22,000 for two hours’ work.
A spokesperson for Clegg said: “Nick Clegg is regularly invited to speak to business audiences about Britain’s place in Europe, given his knowledge and expertise, and openly declares when he has been paid for doing so.”
The decision by the former deputy to accept the £22,500 fee from Goldman Sachs could prompt criticism following his strong attack on the investment bank in 2010 after the US Securities and Exchange Commission alleged it had defrauded investors in the run-up to the financial crash.
Speaking in April 2010, a month before his appointment as deputy prime minister, he said: “The allegations about alleged fraud in Goldman Sachs are extraordinarily serious. They are a reminder of the recklessness and greed that have disfigured the banking industry as a whole. We believe that Goldman Sachs should now be suspended in its role as one of the advisers to the government until these allegations are properly looked into.”
The payment suggests that Clegg is following the example of Tony Blair, rather than Gordon Brown. Blair has earned hundreds of thousands of pounds from speaking engagements. Some of the income funds his charitable work but a large proportion counts as private income. All of Brown’s earnings fund his charitable work.
Robert Oxley, a spokesman for the Vote Leave group, which is campaigning for Britain to exit the EU, said: “Nick Clegg wanted Britain to drop the pound and join the euro. He was wrong then and is wrong now. If Goldman Sachs are willing to pay £22,000 for that kind of advice, no wonder their own position on the EU is so flawed.”
This article was written by Nicholas Watt Chief political correspondent, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 13th January 2016 18.58 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010