Defeated Scots MPs set for £3.9m ‘golden goodbye’

Some of the high-profile MPs who lost their seats last week. Picture: PA
Some of the high-profile MPs who lost their seats last week. Picture: PA
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THE politicians who lost their seats during last week’s general election are set to receive nearly £4 million in ‘golden goodbyes’ and expenses.

The 43 former MPs are entitled to as much as six months salary, at a total of over £1.2 million while the ousted politicians can also claim nearly £3 million to pay their staff and close their offices.

More than 20 Scottish politicians who lost their seats as the SNP made sweeping gains - including Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and former Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander - will pick up the top amount of £33,530, with the first £30,000 tax-free.

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Former Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, who lost his seat to 20-year-old politics student Mhairi Black, will also receive the maximum payout while all members in their seat for six years or more will receive the same amount.

Politicians who won their seats at the 2010 General Election, including ex-Scottish Labour deputy Anas Sarwar and former Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex, are in line for the smaller payout of £27,941.67 while Iain McKenzie, who lost his seat to Ronnie Cowan in the Inverclyde constituency, will receive £16,765 after initially securing the seat in a 2011 by-election.

The total payout for Scottish politicians will be £1,246,198.38.

In full: General Election 2015 Scottish seat results

Parliament rules state that an MP who stood for election and was unsuccessful is entitled to claim for a ‘resettlement grant’, designed to help them adapt to life after Westminster while MPs will also pick up a month’s salary for each year of service, capped at six months.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) states that the departing MPs will only receive the payouts after paying their staff and handing in final expenses claims.

Politicians who stood down or retired prior to the election, such as former Prime Minister and Kirkcaldy MP Gordon Brown and Better Together chief Alistair Darling, do not qualify for the package.

But the 50 MPs who lost their seat in last Thursday’s election are each entitled to claim nearly £54,000 in expenses to cover closing their offices, including paying staff.

The high profile MPs who lost their seats

And if each departing MP claims the maximum amount, taxpayers will be landed with a bill for £3,943,698.38.

A spokesperson for IPSA told the Daily Record: “Six years is the maximum, for which you would get more or less six months’ pay. If you served six years or 26 years, that amount would be the same. It is not age-related, it is service-related and only for those who have been de-seated.

“The MPs who have stood down are entitled to some support. They often have staff in constituencies who do work for them.

“There is a winding-up payment which is intended for office closure. They might need to terminate a rental agreement or pay staff for a couple months for an interim period before all their affairs are closed.

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“This is to cover the period until early July and gives them enough time to get that done. Not everyone will require the full amount. Payments have been cut back since 2010 and are likely to be cut further before the next election.”

John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance claimed that IPSA was ‘totally out of touch with public opinion’, adding: “Taxpayers will be astounded at the remarkable size of this bill.

“The changes to the system since the expenses’ scandal are welcome but there remains much to do to reduce the cost of politics.

“It is clear that IPSA – the overgrown monster of a quango responsible for these payouts – are totally out of touch with public opinion.”