Alun Cairns received golden goodbye after resigning over Ross England rape trial ‘sabotage’ row

Alun Cairns. Picture by Cabinet Office (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Alun Cairns received a five-figure golden goodbye after resigning as Wales Secretary over links to a Conservative candidate accused of sabotaging rape trialNation.Cymru can reveal.

The Vale of Glamorgan MP quit the Cabinet in November after evidence emerged contradicting his claim that he was unaware of the role played by his former staff member, Ross England, in the collapse of a rape trial until after the story broke.

A recently released document reveals Alun Cairns received a “compensation payment” of £16,876, equivalent to an extra three months’ ministerial salary, after standing down in November.

The Wales Office’s annual report and accounts state: “On the 6th November 2019, the Rt Hon Alun Cairns resigned from his post as Secretary of State for Wales. His total salary for 2019-20 includes a compensation payment of £16,876.”

The payment means Cairns received £57,379 from the UK Government in the 2019-2020 financial year, which came on top of his £79,468 salary as an MP. The normal annual salary for the Wales Secretary is £67,505.

Cairns received severance pay despite resigning, which would mean forfeiting redundancy pay for most workers. UK Government advice warns employees of resigning: “You could lose your eligibility for redundancy pay.”

 

Background

Alun Cairns quit as Welsh Secretary on the first day of the Tories’ general election campaign after a scandal that started when he was asked about the role in the collapse of a rape trial of his former aide and political ally, Ross England.

England was accused by a judge of a “deliberate attempt to sabotage” the trial of his friend, James Hackett, after raising inadmissible evidence about the victim’s sexual history. The trial had to be abandoned but Hackett was convicted after a retrial and is serving a five-year prison sentence.

Cairns claimed he was unaware of the trial until October 2019, but BBC Wales published evidence proving he was made aware of the matter in August 2018.

Despite that, Cairns later endorsed England’s selection as a Conservative candidate for the forthcoming Senedd elections, describing him as a “friend and colleague” with whom “it will be a pleasure to campaign.”

A UK Government inquiry found Cairns did not break the ministerial code but added that it was “unlikely” he would not have known about the trial.

The victim of the attack, who also previously worked for the MP, said: “No-one with an ounce of common sense believes his ludicrous claim that he didn’t know.”

Board

On top of the “compensation payment”, the Vale of Glamorgan MP has made up for the loss of ministerial income through a second job outside Parliament.

Nation.Cymru revealed last month that he is making £15,000-a-year as a “senior adviser” to a firm developing a Covid test for a UK Government consortium.

The role will see Cairns spend 70 hours a year providing “strategic advice” to the board of the Crumlin-based BBI Group.

Cairns was allowed to accept the role on conditions imposed by the ACoBA, the anti-corruption committee, which include not being able to lobby the UK Government until November 2021.

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