Matt Hancock could be entitled to a £16,000 golden handshake after resigning as health secretary.
The MP for Newmarket stepped down yesterday after photos and a video emerged of him breaking lockdown rules with his government aide, Gina Coladangelo.
Writing to prime minister Boris Johnson, Hancock said the government “owes it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down”.
But he could still be entitled to a £16,000 golden goodbye – despite resigning in disgrace.
Ministers under 65 who leave their office – whether sacked or resigning – are entitled to a quarter of their annual salary under the 1991 Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act.
The salary for a Secretary of State is £67,505 according to latest figures, which would in theory lead to a payout of £16,876 for 42-year-old Mr Hancock.
It is not yet known whether Mr Hancock intends to take and keep the payment.
Ministers’ decisions to take severance pay are only published in annual accounts, so unless he makes a statement the answer may only become clear in summer 2022.
But shadow housing secretary Lucy Powell said Boris Johnson must step in and deprive Mr Hancock of the payment.
She told Sky News: “I think most of your viewers would be appalled to think that there’s going to be a severance payment to Matt Hancock in this circumstance.
“Let’s not forget, he as the health secretary was the guy who recommended that our NHS workers, after the year they’ve just had, in the pandemic, on the front line, who have worked flat out, who are now on their knees – he recommended that they have a pay cut.
“I think to find out that he’s now going to get thousands of pounds as some kind of severance redundancy payment – for frankly being caught on the job while he was on the job – I think would be pretty disgusting to most people.
“And we will certainly be calling that out and asking the PM not to give him that.”
Considers the matter “closed”
Mr Hancock initially tried to cling to his job and Boris Johnson considered the matter “closed”, before he was then allowed to resign of his own accord.
Ms Powell said the incident called the Prime Minister’s “judgement and leadership” into question, saying: “The Prime Minister should have sacked him”.
She added: “It feels to me like the prime minister has a very dangerous blind spot when it comes to issues of integrity and conduct in public life.”