Boris Johnson and Liz Truss both received £18,660 as severance payments after they stood down as prime minister, annual accounts have shown.
Both leaders quit amid mounting pressure from their own MPs, but were still entitled to the payout – with Mr Johnson having served just over three years in the job and Ms Truss having been in office for 49 days.
The figures from the Treasury also showed Ms Truss’ chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, received £16,876 after he was forced to resign following his mini-budget, which caused ructions in the market due to a number unfunded tax cut pledges – measures later reversed by the current Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
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Mr Kwarteng’s decision to fire the Treasury’s top civil servant, Sir Tom Scholar, in the days after Ms Truss’ premiership began also ended up costing £457,000 in severance and other payments.
The move was criticised at the time due to Sir Tom’s experience at the department, but it was seen as part of Ms Truss’ pledge to rip up the existing “Treasury orthodoxy” for her own economic vision.
Ministers are entitled to a “loss-of-office” payment, which is equivalent to a quarter of their post’s salary if they are under 65 and are not appointed to a new ministerial role within three weeks.
However, it is up to them if they take the money and they can choose to pay it back if they return to government after the three-week period.
For example, Rishi Sunak received £16,876 after resigning as chancellor in July 2022, but later paid it back after becoming prime minister.
Asked about the payments, Mr Sunak’s official spokesperson said: “Obviously, there are laws that need to be followed at all times when coming up with agreements on severance pay.”
A number of other pay-outs were revealed in the account documents, with Chris Pincher – the deputy chief whip who resigned after groping allegations – receiving £7,920.
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The House later recommended he be suspended for eight weeks after the claims were upheld in an investigation, and he has until today to appeal the decision – meaning with parliament closing for the summer recess, MPs won’t be able to approve any suspension until the autumn.
A raft of other ministers also received severance following the three changes in administration between July and October last year.
Grant Shapps received £16,876 after his exit from government as transport secretary in September 2022 – he returned as home secretary under Ms Truss six weeks later.
Simon Hart, who quit as Welsh secretary ahead of Mr Johnson’s resignation last July, also received £16,876. He was appointed as Mr Sunak’s chief whip in October 2022.
Both Connor Burns and Kelly Tolhurst were among those who received pay-outs of £7,920 after their short stints as ministers over the summer of 2022.
And Wendy Morton received the same amount after serving as Ms Truss’ chief whip for six weeks.
There are still more departments to report on their severance payments, but of the ones published so far, the total cost to the government last year was £319,287.