Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 5:33 pm ar 6 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Fleur Anderson Fleur Anderson Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland) 5:33, 6 Chwefror 2024

I agree, as would all our constituents. It does not seem right that in many cases those large sums of money have been paid out for such a short term of service. That is not what the system was designed to do, so the system must be reformed. It is high time that the system, exposed by the Conservative summer of chaos that resulted in nearly £1 million paid out to a conveyor belt of Tory Ministers, is reviewed.

To ensure the public get good value for money from their Government Ministers, Labour is making sensible and reasonable proposals today, which should be supported by all Members of the House. Labour will change the rules so that failed Ministers who have been in post for only a matter of weeks are no longer entitled to a quarter of their final top annual salary. Instead, they will receive a quarter of their actual earnings as a Minister over the previous 12 months, minus any period covered by a previous severance entitlement. If they return to a ministerial position after three weeks but within a period equivalent to the number of days of salary they were paid in severance, they must return the corresponding amount of their severance payment. At the moment, that is up to the good will of a Minister who, out of the goodness of their heart, returns the money. The system should not be left like that—it should be clearcut.

Labour will also ensure that any Minister who has had to leave their job while they are being investigated for misconduct has their severance suspended, and then cancelled altogether if the allegations are upheld. We should not have to put forward this legislation: the reforms should be obvious and should have been introduced as soon as the system was brought into disrepute by former Members. It should not be up to the Opposition to call out the Government on the failure of the system.

Labour will go much further, if we have the honour of becoming the next Government. We will introduce an integrity and ethics commission to clean up our politics, because trust in our politics has plummeted to an all-time low in recent years. It is up to us in the Labour party to clean up politics, to restore trust and to show that it is not one rule for them and another for us. We are putting the Government on notice: if they will not clean up our politics, Labour will.