UK MPs rewarded for failure with post-election payouts

LONDON — British MPs worried — in some cases almost certain — that they will lose their seat in a general election have an incentive to stand anyway: lots of cash.

With the major parties on a war footing for an election that could come as soon as the day after October 31 — when Boris Johnson has promised the U.K. will leave the EU, “do or die” — a host of lawmakers face an uncertain future. But the humiliation of losing their seat could be soothed by a redundancy payment that’s double the statutory payout given to members of the public who lose their jobs.

While there’s no suggestion that any MPs are standing just to get the money, the choice facing them is clear: Quit before the election and get nothing; or stand, and if they fail to get reelected, get a check. It’s been called a “perverse incentive” to contest elections.

Frank Field, who resigned from the Labour Party last year after almost 40 years as the MP for Birkenhead in the northwest of England, announced earlier this month that he would stand at the next general election.

The 77-year-old chair of the work and pensions select committee has formed a new party, Birkenhead Social Justice, to fight a seat that had a Labour majority in 2017 of more than 25,000 votes.

“At a time when distrust in politics is running high, it seems odd that defeated MPs can get double the maximum redundancy available to ordinary voters” — Willie Sullivan, senior director at the Electoral Reform Society

If the people of Birkenhead choose the new Labour candidate over Field,

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