Councillors Seek Answers Over Mercer Severance Pay

Plymouth Labour councillors in Johnny Mercer’s constituency have written a joint letter to the MP asking him to reveal whether he accepted a severance payment for losing the cabinet post to which he has now been re-appointed.

Former PM Liz Truss sacked Mr Mercer in September after he had spent just 61 days in the role of Minister for Veterans’ Affairs but he has now been reinstated after Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister earlier this week.

Mr Mercer did not reveal if he accepted the payment of £16,876 after he was contacted by The Guardian newspaper.

“Some of the other so-called ‘rebound’ cabinet ministers were open with The Guardian about whether they accepted the payments so it’s not clear why Mr Mercer won’t answer,” said Cllr Tudor Evans OBE, leader of the Labour group on Plymouth City Council.

“We believe the residents of Moor View constituency are entitled to know whether he took a payment of almost £17k after just 61 days in a job that he has now been given back, it is public money after all,” said Cllr Evans, who is a councillor in Ham ward in Mr Mercer’s constituency.

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“With the current cost of living crisis his constituents are having to deal with, it might look a bit unseemly to take a significant sum of money from the public purse to which he may be technically entitled but for which the moral case for accepting it might be less clear.

“He can clear this up very easily by being open and transparent on this matter like his cabinet colleagues Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Grant Shapps have been. We look forward to his reply.”

The letter from Honicknowle councillors Zoe Reilly and Mark Lowry, Ham councillors Tina Tuohy and Tudor Evans and St Budeaux councillor Sally Haydon is below.

Dear Johnny Mercer MP

As councillors representing wards in Moor View constituency we are calling on you to reveal whether you accepted a cabinet severance payment when you were relieved of your post as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs after just 61 days.

This is an important question given you have now been reinstated in that role within a matter of weeks. 

We believe our constituents are entitled to know whether you accepted a payment of close to £17k of public money for being relieved of your role after such a short time in post and to which you have, in any event, now been reappointed.

Three of your cabinet colleagues in a similar position – Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Grant Shapps – have been open about whether they accepted the money and their plans to repay a proportion or donate it to charity, we are asking you to do the same.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Your sincerely

Cllr Tudor Evans OBE

Cllr Zoe Reilly

Cllr Mark Lowry

Cllr Tina Tuohy 

Cllr Sally Haydon