Former West Midlands MPs accepted tens of thousands of pounds in “golden goodbyes” after last year’s General Election, the House of Commons has finally revealed.
Commons officials had attempted to hide the names of MPs who took advantage of grants offered to retiring politicians, but they have now released the details almost a year after polling day.
Former Birmingham Erdington MP Sion Simon and Birmingham Ladywood MP Clare Short were among those who accepted a pay-off.
Mr Simon has since launched a campaign to become the first directly-elected mayor of Birmingham, a post Ms Short has also said she may consider contesting.
Julie Kirkbride, the former MP for Bromsgrove who quit following controversy about her expenses, also accepted a grant – and so did her husband, former Berkshire MP Andrew Mackay.
They decided not to defend their seats last year after it emerged they had both claimed expenses for second homes.
Jacqui Smith, who claimed expenses for pornographic films watched by her husband and lost her Redditch seat in last year’s election, also received the money.
Even now, the Commons is refusing to reveal exactly how much each MP received. But they would all have been eligible for at least £32,383.00.
MPs who left the Commons for any reason were offered resettlement grants worth between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of their salary, up to a maximum of £64,766. But the cash was not automatically paid, and it was up to them to decide whether to claim it or not.
Commons authorities refused to reveal who had received the money, and initially turned down requests for details under the Freedom of Information Act.
They finally backed down when the case was referred to the Information Commissioner, the official freedom of information watchdog.
It emerged that 220 MPs from across the country accepted the grant – and only five, none of them from the West Midlands, chose not to apply for it.
The list of those who accepted the cash includes former Birmingham Selly Oak MP Lynne Jones, who last year voluntarily confirmed that she accepted the grant when she was approached by the Birmingham Post.
Others former MPs who accepted the grant, along with their former constituencies, include: Charlotte Atkins (Lab Staffordshire Moorlands), Patrick Cormack (Con Staffordshire South), Janet Dean (Lab Burton), Mark Fisher (Lab Stoke Central), Mike Foster (Lab Worcester), Sylvia Heal (Ind Halesowen & Rowley Regis), Brian Jenkins (Lab Tamworth), John Maples (Con Stratford), Rob Marris (Lab Wolverhampton South West), Bill Olner (Lab Nuneaton), Ian Pearson (Lab Dudley South), James Plaskitt (Lab Warwick & Leamington), Ken Purchase (Lab Wolverhampton North East), Michael Spicer (Con West Worcestershire), Richard Taylor (Ind Wyre Forest), Lynda Waltho (Lab Stourbridge) and Tony Wright (Lab Cannock Chase).