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Sun, 27 September 2020

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Alun Cairns received £16,000 ‘compensation pay’ after quitting Cabinet amid outcry over rape trial

Alun Cairns received £16,000 ‘compensation pay’ after quitting Cabinet amid outcry over rape trial

Alun Cairns resigned on the eve of the general election campaign last year. (PA)

2 min read

Former Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns received a "compensation payment" of more than £16,000 after resigning from the Government last year, new figures show.

The Wales Office’s annual accounts list the £16,876 payment as part of the Welsh Secretary’s £57,379 ministerial salary for 2019-20.

A spokesperson for the former Cabinet minister told the BBC the payment was "in common with the departure of every minister”.

Under the 1991 Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act, ministers under the age of 65 are entitled to three months of their ministerial salary when they are forced out of office.

The full annual salary for Mr Cairns’ role at the Wales Office would have been £67,505, an amount which is paid on top of the annual basic salary of £79,468 for being an MP.

Mr Cairns quit the Cabinet as the general election campaign got underway in November amid claims — denied by the MP — that he knew a Conservative candidate had undermined a rape trial. 

Ross England, a former aide to Mr Cairns, made allegations about the victim's sexual history in a 2018 rape trial at Cardiff Crown Court, leading to its collapse.

Mr Cairns went on to endorse Mr England's candidacy as a Welsh Assembly member for the Vale of Glamorgan and the party "categorically" denied he was aware that Mr England's actions had undermined the court case.

But he resigned after leaked emails from his special adviser prompted calls from the victim at the centre of the trial for him to stand down.

An internal government inquiry later cleared Mr Cairns of breaking the ministerial code over the row.

A spokesman for the Vale of Glamorgan MP told the BBC the payment was "in common with the departure of every minister from the Welsh or UK government and has been in place for decades, from Rhodri Morgan to Peter Hain".

And a UK government spokesperson said: "Severance payments for ministers who leave government are made automatically as set out in the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991."

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