More than £930,000 was handed out in severance payments to 97 different ministers who either quit their roles or got the sack during the year of political chaos (2022) which saw three different Prime Ministers in charge in Downing Street.

As a result of the unprecedented turnover in ministers, dozens of Tory MPs were able to claim three months in severance despite serving for only a matter of weeks in their ministerial posts, and a number of others kept their full payouts even after returning to new jobs just a month or two later.

Amid the chaos, it was also recently revealed that five former ministers had been handed severance payments worth a total of more than £50,000 by mistake, having been aged over 65 at the time of their departure, including Nadine Dorries and Peter Bone.

This week, Labour put forward a motion which would reform the severance rules. Under the reforms proposed in Labour’s motion:

  • Individuals would only be able to claim a quarter of their actual earnings as a minister over the previous twelve months, not a quarter of their final annual salary, preventing MPs who only served a few weeks on the front bench from claiming a full three months of salary.
  • Individuals who return to a new job in government while still enjoying the benefit of their previous severance entitlement would be required to pay back the corresponding amount.
  • Individuals who leave their jobs while under investigation for gross misconduct or breaches of the ministerial code would not receive any severance payment at all unless and until they were cleared of those allegations by the relevant authority.

Labour has calculated that, if its reforms had been in place during 2022/23, the severance bill for that financial year would have been cut by £377,993, or just over 40 per cent of the total.

Tory MPs had the chance to do the right thing in this debate, and fix the rules on ministerial severance payments which their party has brought into disrepute. They actively voted
to block these sensible reforms and it doesn’t take a genius to work out why. They are all more interested in lining their own pockets than protecting taxpayers’ money.

Labour remains committed to these reforms, and if we are able to form a majority in Parliament later this year, we will bring back this legislation and ensure the system is changed for good.

Tory Ministers Claimed £933,086 in Severance Pay in 2022/23
Tory Ministers Claimed £933,086 in Severance Pay in 2022/23
Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search