Boris Johnson and his former ministers are entitled to almost half a million pounds in redundancy pay for resigning from their posts.
Ministers are facing calls to reject the payoffs, the bill for which will be footed by taxpayers.
One minister has already said she will donate her severance pay to charity with others being urged to follow suit.
Under the Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, MPs leaving office are entitled to 25% of their annual salaries in severance.
They are entitled to the benefit if they resign from the government, even if they do so for political reasons or leave in disgrace.
More than 50 MPs have resigned from government or party roles since Tuesday night, when a mass exodus was triggered by the resignations of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid.
The total bill for the taxpayer is currently £423,000, according to analysis by the Liberal Democrats.
The beleaguered prime minister, who is expected to formally announce his resignation today, will be in line for a taxpayer handout of £18,860.
While Chris Pincher, the Tamworth MP whose alleged behaviour triggered the scandal which ultimately led to the government to implode is entitled to a £7,920 pay-off for leaving his job as deputy chief whip, the Independent reports.
Opposition parties are urging the Tory MPs to ‘do the decent thing’ and reject the pay-offs.
Michelle Donelan, who quit as education secretary after less than two days in the role, has said she would be giving away her resignation pay-out of nearly £17,000.
In response to a tweet that pointed out she was entitled to £16,876.25, she said: ‘If this is the case I shall be donating it in full to a local charity.’
Lib Dem chief whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said: ‘Conservative MPs spent months defending Boris Johnson and failed to get rid of him when they had the chance. The public won’t forgive them for keeping him in place for so long.
‘Now Conservative infighting and sheer incompetence has cost the taxpayer yet more money during this cost-of-living crisis.
‘Conservative ministers who resigned should do the decent thing and pass up their pay-offs for the good of the country.”
Labour MP Rupa Huq raised concerns in the Commons about the redundancy pay total, asking Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis: ‘Can he confirm that they will be forfeiting their right to this, because we do not reward failure?’
Mr Ellis replied: ‘The matter (Ms Huq) refers to is set in statute so it’s a matter for the law, and that law would have been passed by this House.’
The Cabinet Office was contacted for comment.
The key events that led to Boris Johnson’s resignation
The news that Boris Johnson is set to resign as prime minister follows a tumultuous few days in British politics.
After surviving a vote of no confidence in June, the government’s handling of the Chris Pincher scandal marked the end of Mr Johnson’s time in office.
Here’s a run down of the key events which have led us here.
Monday, July 4
Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson was aware of concerns about the conduct of Mr Pincher when he made him deputy chief whip. His spokesperson later conceded he had known of ‘speculation’ surrounding the MP, but ‘no formal complaint at that time’.
Tuesday, July 5
- Lord Simon McDonald, former permanent secretary in the Foreign Office, publishes a bombshell letter claiming Mr Johnson was briefed ‘in person’ about a formal complaint regarding Mr Pincher.
- 12.30pm: Labour is granted an urgent question in Parliament to address the Pincher scandal and what the prime minister knew.
- Tory MPs line up in the House of Commons to publicly condemn Mr Johnson’s handling of the affair.
- 1pm: Downing Street said Mr Johnson had forgotten he had been told Mr Pincher was the subject of an official complaint.
- Tory backbenchers start publicly calling for Mr Johnson’s resignation.
- Shortly before 6pm: Mr Johnson is forced to issue an apology over his handling of the Pincher scandal.
- At 6.02pm Sajid Javid resigns as health secretary, saying the British people ‘rightly expect integrity from their government’.
- 6.11pm: Chancellor Rishi Sunak resigns.
- What will become a steady stream of resginations begins.
- 9.40pm: Nadhim Zahawi is appointed chancellor, Michelle Donelan becomes education secretary and Steve Barclay is made health secretary.
Wednesday, July 6
- 8.25am: Will Quince becomes the first minister of the day to resign while backbenchers including Lee Anderson and Robert Halfon publicly withdraw their support for Mr Johnson.
- 12pm: Mr Johnson defies calls to resign during PMQs citing his ‘colossal mandate’ in 2019. He vows to keep going.
- 2.25pm: Ministers Kemi Badenoch, Julia Lopez, Mims Davies, Lee Rowley, Neil O’Brien and Alex Burghart announced their resignations via a group letter and call on the prime minister to go.
- 2.40pm: The Daily Mail reports that cabinet minister Michael Gove has told the prime minister he must step down.
- 3pm: Amid unfolding chaos, the prime minister appears before the Liaison Committee to answer questions about his handling of the Pincher affair.
- A delegation of ministers, including some of Mr Johnson’s longest-standing allies meet with him to urge him to resign.
- 8.15pm: Mr Johnson rejects calls for his resignation after meeting with ministers.
- 9pm: Mr Johnson sacks Michael Gove as Levelling Up, Communities and Housing Secretary.
- 10.30pm Simon Hart resigns as Welsh Secretary.
- 11pm: Attorney General Suella Braverman says it’s time for the prime minister ‘to go’.
Thursday, July 7
- The Tory party exodus continues and by 9am 27 resignations have been filed, five at cabinet level, and 22 below cabinet level.
- Among them are Brandon Lewis the Northern Ireland secretary and Michelle Donelan, the newly appointed education secretary.
- Nadhim Zahawi publishes a blistering open letter calling on the prime minister to resign.
- Shortly after 9am the news breaks that Mr Johnson has agreed to resign as British prime minister.
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