Yorkshire MP 'terrified' at prospect of missing out on £22,000 payout if she loses seat after she moved party and constituency

0
Have your say

A Yorkshire MP has complained that she would not get a £22,000 payout if she lost her seat at the next election after she switched parties and constituencies, while bemoaning another MP - believed to be Jared O’Mara - would.

A letter to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) obtained by Buzzfeed revealed how Angela Smith, Liberal Democrat MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said it was “terrifying” that she would not get a Loss of Office Payment if she were to lose the next election, because she was changing which seat she stood for.

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Ms Smith left Labour in February and joined the Lib Dems in September. In her letter she said: “I found it impossible to stay in that party [Labour] because of the treatment I had started to receive from members of that party and differences with its leadership.”

Since her constituency already had a Lib Dem candidate, she will instead be standing in Altrincham and Sale West.

But Ms Smith discovered a payment which is designed to help MPs adjust to life outside Parliament if they lost only applied if they stood in the seat they already held.

She said she “could not underestimate [her] horror” and that: “The implications of this are terrifying and may also affect my staff.”

Although Ms Smith did not name Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara she seemed to reference him as an “anomaly” to the system.

She said: “For example, an MP who has decided to retire, thanks to much bad publicity about his performance, will know that if he lays down a small deposit he will secure himself the Loss of Office Payment and the two months salary.

“He has no intention of returning but he gets the monies.

“I, on the other hand, who wants to remain an MP, would leave Parliament with no payment whatsoever.”

Political blog Guido Fawkes last week alleged Mr O’Mara was hanging back from retiring due to the payment but Mr O’Mara has not yet announced if he would stand.

Ms Smith said she felt “discriminated against” because she had “no option but to move to another party and then no option but to move to a vacant constituency”.

And that without the payment she would not be able to pay her mortgage and other bills.

Ms Smith and Mr O’Mara were contacted for comment.