February 21st, 2024.

Lewes Lib Dems release:

Liberal Democrat candidate for Lewes constituency, James MacCleary, has called on local MP and government minister, Maria Caulfield, to return a severance pay off she received as a health minister only to return to the same department just weeks later.

Maria Caulfield received a pay out of £7,920 when she lost her job as a health minister when Liz Truss became Prime Minister. She was then re-appointed as a health minister just eight weeks later by Rishi Sunak. Although ministers are entitled to severance payments it is with the expectation that they will not be returning to the role at all - let alone a matter of weeks later.

Earlier this month Maria Caulfield also voted to block measures to clamp down on severance payments of this sort. It has also been revealed that two other Conservative health ministers - Steve Barclay and Edward Argar - chose to return the payoffs.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Lewes, James MacCleary, said: "I am calling on Maria Caulfield to either return the payment or donate it to local food banks. Although she will no doubt argue that she has not technically broken any rules, I'm sure that many would see this as a real slap in the face when they are struggling to make ends meet as a result of government policy backed by Ms Caulfield. We deserve so much better.

"It is telling that two of her fellow Conservative health ministers felt that it was morally wrong to keep these payments and returned them.

"I talk to local people every week about the struggles they are facing accessing basic NHS services, managing rising costs for food and energy, and feeling anxious about their family's future. Maria Caulfield seems to be less interested in helping them and more interested in helping herself."
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