Top trade official paid £455,000 then quit before Brexit talks started

Catherine Raines with business manager Keith Austin and former trade minister Lord Price

A leading government trade official was paid almost half a million pounds then quit before a single post-Brexit negotiation, it emerged today.

Catherine Raines was paid a £62,800 'golden goodbye' when she resigned as director of International Trade and Investment in February, The Sun newspaper reported.

She also received a £40,000 performance-related bonus on top of earnings of between £150,000 and £155,000 — more than the prime minister is paid.

With the taxpayer also paying £39,000 into Ms Raines' pension pot this year and £64,000 last year, the total paid to her for working less than two years at the department was up to £455,000.

Liam Fox's Department for International Trade must wait until the UK leaves the EU next March to open negotiations with non-EU countries. Disgraced former defence secretary Dr Fox only launched the first consultations last week.

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Eloise Todd, CEO of the campaign group Best for Britain, which is calling for a second referendum, said: "It seems the only Brexit dividend that is being dolled out is for civil servants who are making lots of cash on the back of this disaster.

"It really takes the Mickey that these people are getting thousands in cash. It seems that these people are only good at negotiating their own leaving packages, not trade deals.

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"This government has a policy of rewarding failure."

A Department for International Trade spokesman said: 'Catherine's salary and bonus reflected her 25 years' experience in leadership roles, and were in line with requirements for senior pay.'

The only other senior official to get a bonus was John Alty, director general of trade policy, who received between £15,000-£20,000.

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