Government trade official pocketed nearly £500,000 then quit before Brexit negotiations even started

Catherine Raines was paid a £62,800 “golden goodbye” when she resigned as director of International Trade and Investment in February.

She also got a £40,000 performance-related bonus despite leaving on a voluntary exit scheme.

This was on top of earning between £150,000 and £155,000 — more than the PM.

The taxpayer also paid £39,000 into Ms Raines’ pension pot this year and £64,000 last year.

It means she was paid up to £455,000 for working less than two years at the department.

Its team must wait until March to even open negotiations with non-EU countries on trade deals.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox only launched the first consultations last week.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said tonight: “She’s obviously very good at negotiating on behalf of herself.

“I wish she was as good at negotiating for the country.”

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 got between £15,000-£20,000.

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