Pay-offs to departing MPs at the next election set to double after IPSA ruling

Severance pay given to departing MPs will double to £17,300 at the next general election. 

Former MPs’ “winding-up” period has also been extended from eight weeks to four months, in an effort to make the transition from parliamentary work smoother and more efficient. 

A spokesperson for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the body that made the ruling today, said: “Following a public consultation earlier this year, based upon the evidence available to us and our own experience from previous elections, we agreed that the winding-up period is too short for former MPs and their staff to close down their offices and deal with outstanding casework”.

They added: “It is also unfair to expect those closing their offices to do so once their employment has ended. We therefore have extended it to allow a smoother transition for members of parliament and for their constituents.”

To receive the payment, MPs must demonstrate they are actually winding down their offices and working on constituency business. 

“Winding-up” is expected to be particularly complex this year after the significant boundary changes to constituencies, the first changes since 2010, which will only leave 55 of 533 English constituencies unchanged.

In response to the news, Lord Sikka, Emeritus Professor of Accounting at the University of Essex, has questioned whether the government would double redundancy money for workers. “No chance”, he said.

Also responding to the news, Conservative MP Bob Seely told TalkTV: “I don’t think people resigning should be getting a payout. But this is an independent body. I’m afraid to say we don’t get to vote on it unless somebody tells us that we do, and, frankly, I am more concerned about dealing with my constituency casework.”

He added: “I’m not particularly happy about this either because it just shows us in a bad light and despite the fact it’s an independent body, everyone is going to blame us for it. It really winds me up, frankly.”

The news of increased payments comes after more than 70 MPs have already announced they will not be standing at the next election, including 43 of the Conservative party’s 353 MPs and 8 of SNP’s 44 MPs.