David Cameron Awards Aides 'Golden Goodbyes' Against Whitehall Advice

David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron speaks as he leaves Downing Street for the last time on July 13, 2016 in London, England. Former PM intervened to boost severance pay for special advisers. Dan Kitwood/Getty

David Cameron overruled strongly worded advice from the U.K.'s Civil Service so that his special advisers would get an extra £282,000 in severance pay following his resignation.

Civil Service chief executive John Manzoni insisted the prime minister would have to order him to boost golden goodbye packages for long-serving special advisers from the 4.5 months' pay stated in their contracts to the six months' worth of wages Cameron wanted them to have because he "strongly" disagreed with the move.

Cameron's intervention—known as a Ministerial Direction—would send the severance pay bill soaring by £282,892, taking it from £747,045 to £1,029,938, and set a precedent across all Government departments that could lead to another 30 special advisers getting the same deal, the top civil servant warned.

Manzoni wrote: "I do not believe there is a case for awarding higher sums than those for which the contract allows.

"Legal advice supports this position, and lawyers have been clear that awarding a further month's salary for special advisers in this position would constitute a payment above the contractual entitlement.

"My strong advice is that we continue to abide by the provisions in their contracts of employment."

Cameron's principal private secretary, Simon Case, replied to Manzoni that the then PM would issue the direction regarding the long serving-special advisers who were reappointed after last year's election, because "he is conscious that the situation they find themselves in is through no fault of their own."

"The termination of their employment has been sudden and unexpected," Case argued. "He does not wish to exacerbate an already difficult and uncertain time for them by inferring that their long and loyal service is not fully recognized."

Cameron had to bring his resignation from Number 10 forward after Theresa May was declared new leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister without the need for a protracted leadership race and a ballot from members of the party.