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Nadine Dorries pledges to repay mistaken £17K exit payout

Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is facing scrutiny after receiving an exit payout despite surpassing the age limit for eligibility. Government accounts revealed the error, prompting Dorries to pledge to repay the money. She expressed surprise at the oversight, humorously admitting her true age.

Dorries left her role in September 2022, but regulations dictate that only individuals under 65 are entitled to the severance payment equivalent to three months of their ministerial salary. Her case is among several instances where former ministers aged 65 and over received erroneous payouts in the last financial year.

The government has acknowledged the mistake and is taking steps to recover the payments. Other recipients, including Baroness Stedman-Scott and former MP Peter Bone, have been contacted to return the funds. Dorries, however, noted a lack of details in the notification she received about repayment.

Labour has criticized the current severance pay system and proposed reforms to link payouts to the actual duration of ministers’ terms. Dorries, a long-serving MP and ally of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, resigned from Parliament last year amid controversy surrounding her denial of a peerage.

The episode underscores ongoing concerns about transparency and accountability within government processes, particularly regarding financial matters. As discussions around ministerial severance pay continue, there is heightened scrutiny on ensuring adherence to regulations and preventing similar errors in the future.

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