Labour pushes Government to change rules for ministers’ severance payouts

Labour will seek to reform the rules for payouts when ministers leave office after it emerged nearly £1 million was spent during last year’s political chaos.

The party will use an Opposition Day debate on Tuesday to present a Bill aiming to change the system of taxpayer-funded ministerial severance payments.

Currently, ministers under the age of 65 are entitled to a loss-of-office payment amounting to a quarter of their ministerial salary if they are not appointed to a new role within three weeks.

There has been anger though that some Tory MPs took the compensation amounting to three months’ pay despite only lasting a number of weeks in their post.

Remembrance Sunday
Ministers who lost their jobs during the chaos under Liz Truss and Boris Johnson received nearly £1 million in severance payments (Aaron Chown/PA)

Labour says it would overhaul the rules so departing ministers get a quarter of their actual earnings over the previous year.

It would also claw back compensation if individuals return to the front bench while still benefiting from the severance pay, as was seen last year.

Ministers who leave their job while under investigation for misconduct or a breach of their rules would have their severance suspended too, and quashed if the claims are upheld.

The changes would have cut the £933,086 bill for severance payouts relating to the tumult of the Boris Johnson and Liz Truss administrations by nearly £380,000, or 40%, the party said.

Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, who will present Labour’s motion in the House of Commons, said: “In recent days, we have heard some Tory MPs bleat that it was not their fault that they accepted these exorbitant and undeserved severance payments, for they were just following the rules that have been in place for the last 30 years.

“If they really believe that, then they will take the chance which we are giving them to change the rules, and reform the system which their party has brought into disrepute.

“If not, we will know the real truth, which is that they are more interested in lining their own pockets than protecting taxpayers’ money.”