‘Discriminated against!’ Labour-turned-ChangeUK-turned Lib Dem’s fury at ‘golden goodbye’

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A FORMER Labour MP who defected to the Lib Dems is complaining she may miss out on a £22,000 taxpayer-funded payout if she loses at the next general election, claiming she is being “discriminated against”. Angela Smith expressed her “horror” to learn she may not be entitled to the cash and says she will not be able to meet her mortgage payments or bills without it.

Ms Smith, who served as Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge for 14 years, resigned from the Labour Party in February to become one of the founding members of The Independent Group – later renamed Change UK. In February, she was forced to apologise for describing people from ethnic minorities as having a “funny tinge” during a live TV discussion.

She left Change UK in June after the party failed to get a single MEP elected in the EU elections, and joined the Liberal Democrats in September.

She is leaving her constituency to challenge senior Tory MP Sir Graham Brady for the Lib Dems in Altrincham and Sale West in next month’s election.

In a letter to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), she said she was being “discriminated against” by Parliament’s expenses authorities.

IPSA rules state an MP who loses their seat is entitled to a parachute payment worth two months’ salary, net of tax and National Insurance contributions, also known as a “golden goodbye”.

However Ms Smith’s decision to stand in a different constituency means she would not be eligible for compensation.

She argued she had “no option” but to change party and seats, because the Lib Dems had already selected a candidate for the Penistone and Stocksbridge seat.

She wrote in the letter: “I cannot underestimate my horror in finding in the latest guidance these payments are only available if you stand in the same ‘seat’.

“The implications of this are terrifying.

“As you can imagine being an MP for a considerable amount of time these payments provided some comfort in the event of losing on election day.

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