Mr Lavery featured in a Labour campaign video released on social media that accused the Conservative Party of “stealing the miners’ pension fund”, but questions have been asked about how he financially benefited from running the 10-member NUM branch. A 2017 report from the Certification Office that regulates trade unions revealed he was loaned £72,500 from the NUM benevolent fund, which he used to buy a house – and the debt was later forgiven. He was also given a £89,887 “termination payment” when he quit to become an MP.
After the news was shared on the Express.co.uk Facebook page, hundreds of users angrily condemned Jeremy Corbyn’s ally.
One user furiously wrote: “This is what socialism is all about in a nutshell!
“Keep the working class poor and make them grateful for their lot whilst we line our own pockets and make ourselves rich and powerful.”
Another user added that the Labour Party is “absolutely riddled with champagne socialists”.
READ MORE: Brexit Party to clean up in Wales? Why ‘old Labour’ voters back Farage
A third user exclaimed: “As usual, one law for them and another for everyone else.”
Mr Lavery was the president of the NUM from 2002 to 2010 and general secretary of the NUM northumberland branch for 18 years.
In 2010, he stepped down from both to become the MP for Wansbeck.
A 2017 report form the Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations found that Mr Lavery pocketed £165,000 from his NUM branch during his years in charge.
When asked why they settled, the union said they were aware of the potential legal costs of not settling.
A spokesman said: “Mr Lavery was adamant that £15,000 was his final offer and we were left with little choice but to accept.”
When these huge sums are totalled – the £72,000 loan for the house, the nearly £90,000 termination payment minus the £15,000 he paid back, plus the £18,000 endowment fund – Mr Lavery took £165,000 from the NUM.
Not only this, but the union regulator also found that Mr Lavery sold a 15 percent stake in his house to the union in 2005 and then bought it back in 2013 when the house was worth less, yielding him a profit of £8,500.
The unions funds came from the coffers of miners who had been compensated for industrial injuries and work-related illness.
Mr Lavery denies any wrongdoing and has been cleared by the parliamentary watchdog and Mr Corbyn’s office.
At the time the report was published in October 2017, Mr Lavery said: “Under my stewardship the union always complied with the rules and certification officer signed off every year’s transactions.
“As the certification officer’s report makes clear, no member of the union, past or present, has made a complaint about the financial affairs of the union.
“I am pleased that the certification officer has decided not to appoint an inspector take further actions.
“This report should draw a line under almost two years of allegations and innuendo directed at me and my former colleagues.”