Liz Truss resigned on 20 October after just six weeks in charge, making her the shortest serving prime minister in UK political history.
After a dramatic 24 hours at Westminster, Truss announced she was stepping aside as Conservative Party leader and prime minister after just 44 days in the job. A new leader will be chosen in a short contest scheduled to last seven days.
Truss’ resignation led to a number of claims online about the short length of time she was in office, including one about the amount of money she would be due after leaving the prime ministerial role.
Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it True.
Pay and pensions for MPs at Westminster are set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). The standard pay for an MP is currently £84,144, not including expenses.
Those who take on roles in government – such as ministers, those who chair select committees, or the speaker of the House of Commons – get extra payments on top of their base salaries.
The prime minister gets paid £75,440 for the role, on top of their standard MP salary.
There is a pension scheme for MPs, but it does not kick in until somebody is no longer representing their constituency, either through resigning, choosing not to stand for re-election or losing their seat.
However, former prime ministers are entitled to a special payment scheme called the public duty costs allowance (PDCA). This was set up in 1991 after Margaret Thatcher left office, to “assist former Prime Ministers still active in public life”.
The current allowance is set at £115,000 per year. It is intended to be used to cover expenses for any office or secretarial costs which are required for a former prime minister’s “special position in public life”.
It was originally set to be equal to the amount of money that MPs can get for office expenses, but is now lower than that amount.
In a written answer to a question by MP Rupa Huq in 2021, then-parliamentary secretary Julia Lopez gave examples of what could be considered PDCA expenses.
She said: “These costs can include diary support, Met police protection on public visits, correspondence, staffing at public visits, support to charitable work, social media platforms and managing and maintaining [an] ex-prime minister’s office (staff, payroll, admin).”
The guidance on the PDCA says the fund is not to “support private or parliamentary duties”, and that any expenses must be accounted for with supporting documents.
All living former prime ministers have claimed expenses from the PDCA, as well as former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who was allowed to claim due to his position in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government.
Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and John Major each claimed more than £110,000 in PDCA allowances in 2019-20.
When Liz Truss leaves office she will be eligible to claim the allowance up to the current maximum of £115,000. According to PDCA guidance, this would be adjusted if she accepted “any public appointment”. Former prime ministers who are serving as leader of the opposition are not allowed to draw expenses from the PDCA.
There is no specified rule on how long one must serve as prime minister before being eligible for the allowance, with public guidance stating all former prime ministers are eligible.
Ferret Fact Service verdict: True
Liz Truss will be eligible for a special allowance set up for former prime ministers called the public duty costs allowance, which is currently set at £115,000 per year. There is no minimum length of time that a prime minister must serve to be allowed to draw from the fund, and it is available indefinitely. The allowance is for expenses accrued as part of their “special position in public life”, and guidance states it can be reduced if a person takes on other paid public roles.