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Commons spent £367k on NDAs to ‘gag’ ex-staff

HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds has been spent by the House of Commons on non-disclosure and settlement agreements over the last three years, official figures reveal.

Authorities paid out £808,000 on 15 settlement deals with former employees since January 2017 — seven of which, totalling £367,016, contained a confidentiality provision.

A Commons spokesman said confidentiality clauses had not been used in settlement agreements since 2018.

The House of Lords spent £18,421 on four NDAs, all of which contained confidentiality clauses, over the same period.

Labour MP Jess Phillips (pictured) said the level of payouts is ‘very worrying’. She said: ‘Parliamentary inquiries and recent high-profile cases such as Harvey Weinstein have shown how toxic these agreements can be.’

The figures, revealed in response to freedom of information requests by the PA news agency, have led to calls for parliament to ‘outlaw’ the use of NDAs — sometimes referred to as ‘gagging clauses’ — in cases of harassment or discrimination. Concern in parliament heightened after Angus Sinclair, former private secretary to John Bercow, said he was given a £86,250 ‘compulsory early retirement’ pay-off dependent on him signing an NDA.