Select Page

British Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will be in line for a “golden goodbye” pay out of over €6m (£5.3m) when the UK leaves the European Union, Sky News has learnt.

A senior EU source has confirmed that these so-called “transition payments”, in effect redundancy money for MEPs when they stand down or lose their seats, will be paid to Britain’s 73 MEPs.

However the same source has said that Brussels will not pay for it and that it will in effect be added to the so-called “Brexit bill” which Britain must pay.

The scheme awards one month’s salary for each year served as an MEP, up to a maximum of 24 months.

Senior figures who campaigned for the Leave campaign will be in line to receive substantial sums.

Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader who remains a group leader in the European Parliament, is set to receive over €167,000 (£147,000). Daniel Hannan, the Conservative MEP, will receive the same sum.

Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his State of the Union speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Image: Seventy-three British MEPs sit in the European Parliament

Other figures, including prominent Remain supporters who have served even longer, will be in line to receive the maximum amount of over €200,000 (£176,000).

This excludes other benefits, including free private healthcare for themselves and family members in perpetuity and generous pension allowances.

There is no question of any impropriety – all members are legally entitled to the money – but some will doubtless find the prospect of MEPs who voted to leave financially benefiting from Brexit a rum one – especially given that their compensation will have to be paid directly by the British taxpayer, not by the EU. And indeed being paid out of a sum of money – the Brexit bill – which many of them say should not even exist.

MEPs have already experienced a substantial increase in their salary as it is paid in euros. With sterling’s depreciation since the referendum, MEPs’ purchasing power has increased by over 10% since 2016.

Mr Farage is unrepentant about accepting the money.

When asked by Sky News if it was his intention to accept it, he replied: “After 18 years hard service I’d probably take it,” but added: “But they won’t give it to me.”

The Institute for Free Trade is run by pro-Brexit Tory MEP Daniel Hannan

Image: Daniel Hannan is set to receive the same sum as Mr Farage

Mr Farage said that he thought it highly likely that the EU would try to deny the payments and pensions owed to him and other prominent Ukippers on account of their euroscepticism: “Given the nasty vindictive nature of these institutions I’d be very surprised if I get what’s due.”

Richard Corbett, a long-standing Labour MEP who will also receive the money, says that is nonsense: “He’s entitled to it. There’s no question of the EU saying some can have it and some can’t. It’s a typical Farage invention, if I might say so.”

The case of MEPs’ redundancy payments and pension rights is in some ways a microcosm of the arguments around whether or not Britain does indeed sport liabilities to the EU.

Mr Farage says that the pensions of the 22,000 British people who have at some point worked for the EU are the one area he sees there being a case for the UK paying some contribution.

If no deal is reached between the UK and the EU it is possible that MEPs might still be able to get the money, but they might have to appeal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to get it. The irony of Mr Farage applying to that body isn’t lost on the man himself: “I don’t think I’d do very well there,” he jokes.

But some in Brussels are wondering whether or not the money will ever need to be paid at all.

Nigel Farage Video: April: Nigel Farage compares the EU to the Mafia

As Mr Farage told me: “The argument some people are making around here lately is that if there is a transition period then there needs to be a British MEP voice during that period, that they could be non-voting honourary members of the EU Parliament with salaries but without voting rights and I’ve heard that from someone very close to Juncker himself.”

There is a precedent for that: before the new countries of eastern Europe joined in 2004 they had observer MEPs to look after their interests on the way in. The argument goes you could have the same for Britain on its way out.

This isn’t a view confined to the Brexiteers, alive to conspiracies and concerns about Brexit backsliding.

The arch-remainer Richard Corbett agreed with the idea and goes further, by pointing out that it will be the agreement reached between the EU and UK which sets the date of departure and that during the transition it would make more sense for Britain to remain a full member of the EU, perhaps two or three years after the official 2019 Article 50 countdown runs out.

That way the UK would retain its ability to shape the regulations and laws to which it would remain subject during any transition.

If that happened then Britain would take part in the next round of European elections scheduled for May 2019.

And if we did Mr Farage is certain about where he’ll be: “I cannot think of anything I’d less like to do after 2019 for a couple of years.

“But if they really do fudge this and the British parliament betrays the will of the people and if effectively we don’t Brexit before the next set of European elections and we have to contest those elections I will be there in the front line contesting those elections and I will give them, the establishment a result which they can’t even bear to look at.”

World News – Breaking international news and headlines | Sky News

Trump calls Kim Jong-un 'short and fat'
Nine Disneyland guests contract Legionnaires'
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
More in World
Nine Disneyland guests contract Legionnaires'
Close