Labour peer turns down a job with £160,000 salary, Mayfair mansion and chauffeur-driven car... because men before her were paid even MORE
- Baroness Scotland, 61, was also offered grace-and-favour Mayfair mansion and chauffeur-driven car to become Secretary-General of Commonwealth
- Deals had to be made to 'boost' Labour peer's pay, whistleblower claimed
- Ex-aide alleges she was given 'special allowance' in lieu of expat costs in London - despite living in Britain since she was two
Former Cabinet minister Baroness Scotland turned down a £160,000 salary for a plum diplomatic post, claiming it was sexist, a former aide alleged yesterday.
The Labour peer was offered the reported £158,757 salary, a generous pension, a grace-and-favour Mayfair mansion and a chauffeur-driven car to become Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
But the senior adviser revealed she complained that her male predecessors were paid more.
Ex-Cabinet minister Baroness Scotland (left) turned down a £160,000 salary for a plum diplomatic post, claiming it was sexist, former aide Ram Venuprasad (right) alleged yesterday
Deals had to be put in place to effectively boost her pay with special allowances, the whistleblower claimed as he quit his job. He had previously voiced his dismay over her 'excessive' use of public money.
The long-serving Commonwealth aide said working for Baroness Scotland had been 'excruciating' and that his attempts to advise her over spending and conduct were 'futile'.
In an excoriating resignation letter, Ram Venuprasad detailed how she handed lucrative contracts to former Labour colleagues and wanted some £50,000 of public money for a lavish garden party for diplomats.
His accusations raise fresh questions over the appointment of the Labour peer – dubbed Baroness Shameless – to the plum diplomatic post.
The Labour peer was also offered a generous pension, a grace-and-favour Mayfair mansion and a chauffeur-driven car to become Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. But the senior adviser revealed she complained that her male predecessors were paid more
A senior Government source told the Daily Mail: 'It is highly concerning that there are yet again concerns about Baroness Scotland and her behaviour.'
The allegations follow earlier claims she secured the job through an 'utterly corrupt process' in which she allegedly arranged bogus knighthoods and made offers of charitable donations in exchange for votes – which she denies.
In a series of potentially damaging revelations, Mr Venuprasad claimed he was effectively forced out of his job when he raised concerns over Baroness Scotland's behaviour. He alleged that:
- The former Cabinet minister refused her Commonwealth pay deal as it was 'sexist';
- Deals were put in place to reimburse her National Insurance and pay for family trips to the Caribbean;
- She was given a 'special allowance' in lieu of expat costs in London – despite living in Britain since she was two;
- She spent £192,000 in three months on contracts which bypassed normal procedures.
Baroness Scotland, 61, has denied wrongdoing. The Commonwealth Secretariat labelled Mr Venuprasad 'a profoundly disaffected individual' facing his own disciplinary charges.
He was suspended in June over claims he leaked information to the media, which he denies, and resigned last week.
From the Mail, July 23
His letter is understood to have been widely circulated within diplomatic circles, but it has not been possible to independently verify his claims. Baroness Scotland was made Secretary-General in April, putting her in charge of the body which runs the Commonwealth.
Her four-year role came with a reported £158,757 salary, generous pension, a residence in an Edwardian mansion, a chauffeur and private health cover.
But according to Mr Venuprasad, a former deputy head of office to the Secretary-General, the former attorney general was 'unhappy' with this.
In a statement which accompanied his letter, he said: 'Her primary complaint was that she was discriminated against vis-a-vis her male predecessors, who she claimed were paid more.'
In fact, he said, her predecessors were paid extra allowances because they were all non-UK nationals and therefore entitled to costs of living away from home.
Baroness Scotland was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica but moved to London when she was two. She and her husband own homes in London and the Cotswolds.
Mr Venuprasad, 43, said she refused to sign the deal and was eventually offered a revised package including a 'special allowance' and 'home leave' to pay for her family to visit Dominica.
She was also allegedly given an educational allowance, although her two sons are 24 and 22, and the eldest is listed as a company director. The former aide claimed her National Insurance was also reimbursed, although it was unclear on what basis.
In February, before she took office, Baroness Scotland announced she wanted a fellow Labour peer, Lord Patel of Bradford, to be her 'change manager'.
The Mail has previously revealed that his firm was given a £30,000-a-month consultancy contract, without the deal going out to tender.
Baroness Scotland also appointed Tony Blair's former spin doctor Matthew Doyle and PR man Joe Phelan as her special advisers, reportedly on £16,000-a-month contracts.
The Commonwealth is funded by its member states. Latest accounts show a £6.7million hole in its pension fund.
A spokesman said: 'These are a whole series of allegations made by a profoundly disaffected individual who is facing serious disciplinary charges.'
The Foreign Office said it saw 'no evidence of irregular spending by the Secretary-General'.
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