Nick Clegg: I wouldn't take pay rise for MPs


Nick Clegg: "It would be impossible to explain to the public why MPs should be treated so differently"

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said he would not take a big pay rise even if one is recommended for MPs.

He said people whose living standards were being "remorselessly squeezed" would find a big rise for MPs "impossible to understand".

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is expected to say backbench MPs' £66,000 salaries should increase to more than £70,000 from the election.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said such a plan would be "unthinkable".

But the BBC's Nick Robinson said the PM could not block the recommendations and advisers had warned him MPs would reject any bid to do so in the Commons.

The BBC's political editor added that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's (Ipsa) recommendation would be "likely to cause outrage from voters at a time when there is significant pay restraint in the public and private sectors".

'Show restraint'

Ipsa, which was set up as an independent body to regulate MPs' pay and pensions in the wake of the expenses scandal, is expected to announce its initial recommendations later this month.

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What must have seemed a good idea at the time of the MPs' expenses scandal is now giving the prime minister a political migraine”

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MPs and members of the public will be able to take part in a consultation before Ipsa publishes its final plans - expected in the autumn - which would then come into force without the need for further legislation.

Reports in several newspapers this weekend suggest its initial recommendations will call for a rise of about 15% in the basic salary of a backbench MP from £66,396 to a sum closer to £75,000. MPs would, however, have to pay much higher contributions towards their pensions.

Asked about the reports of a proposed pay rise for MPs, Mr Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, said the recommendations were a matter for Ipsa and for MPs to decide themselves whether or not to take any rise.

Speaking in Pakistan, Mr Cameron said he did not know what Ipsa would say but added: "Whatever Ipsa recommends, we can't see the cost of politics or Westminster going up. We should see the cost of Westminster go down.

"Anything would be unthinkable unless the cost of politics was frozen and cut, so I'll wait and see what Ipsa have to say. What I said to Ipsa was that restraint is necessary."

The government could propose a motion calling for Ipsa's recommendations to be ignored, but Nick Robinson said this could "undermine the independence of the new system" and would be unlikely to win enough support from MPs.

Keith Vaz MP: "This has always been a point of contention"

And the Mail on Sunday reported that a source close to Labour leader Ed Miliband had said: "We will view any rise for MPs in the light of the current climate of economic austerity.

"It has to be seen in the context of the decision to limit public sector workers' pay increases to 1% and the fact that some private sector workers have had their pay cut."

The Commons voted against a 1% pay rise in 2011 and last year agreed to extend the pay freeze into 2013. MPs' salaries are due to rise to £67,060 from April 2014.

Public sector salary comparison

In an anonymous online survey of 100 MPs conducted for Ipsa - the results of which were published in January - 69% said they were underpaid. The average level suggested for the appropriate level of pay was £86,250.

'Last thing on earth'

Former Labour minister and chairman of the Home Affairs select committee Keith Vaz: "The last thing on earth MPs should be talking about is their own pay."

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Running a modern parliament in the 21st Century costs money”

End Quote Tom Harris Labour MP

Former children's minister and Tory MP Tim Loughton: "This isn't going to happen. It would be completely inappropriate for us to accept it at the moment. It sends the wrong message to the rest of the country going through a tough time."

Matthew Sinclair, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, which campaigns for lower taxes, said there would be public outrage should the rises go ahead.

He said: "MPs are already very well paid both in terms of European politicians and the average salary in this country.

"It would be particularly egregious for politicians to be handed a whopping great pay rise while hard-pressed taxpayers tighten their own belts."

Former Labour minister Tom Harris called for Ipsa to be abolished and MPs to be given the final say on issues of parliamentary pay and expenses.

"If we're going to get the blame for rises in our salary, we might as well take the responsibility too," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "The complaints will continue, but at least they'll be aimed at the right people."

And he suggested efforts to cut the "cost of politics" were futile. "Running a modern parliament in the 21st Century costs money. And if it doesn't, you're not doing it right."

MPs are paid more than their counterparts in Spain and France but less than legislators in the Republic of Ireland, Germany and Italy. An Ipsa study in 2012 found the mean average for pay across major democracies was just over £86,000.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 590.

    I have seen commentators suggesting performance related pay, example, unemployment down, pay up. Well watch out what you ask for, partime working, not paying full NI means NO Job seekers allowance when your next sacked, and IF you leave cos your boss is an a**hole, you cannot get JSA for 6 months.

  • rate this

    Comment number 589.

    And there I was thinking that Polititians only wanted to serve for the common good . . . .

    Since being able to put everything on expenses has been restricted, it is only fair that they get a big pay rise to compensate. perhaps they'll get a tax cut soon as well . . . .hang on!

    The rich get richer and everyone else is a shirker.

  • rate this

    Comment number 588.

    Well we all thought the politicians were out of touch with reality. Seems they're not the only ones. Who on earth are these people in this so called 'independent review board'?
    Although, if they said double MP's wages but ban them from having second jobs, I'd support that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 587.

    @578: "This is all part of Baldrick's latest cunning plan- get the public alienated from politicians, so that they are so sick of them they can't be bothered to vote"

    I'll continue not voting until there's a choice of a change of direction. I'm waiting for compulsory voting so I get even more pleasure in refusing to vote. I live in a rabidly Tory area (Surrey) so my vote never counts anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 586.

    It shows you how far from reality Mr Clegg is if he can afford not to take a pay rise! You could not make it up........

  • rate this

    Comment number 585.

    562.Please extend HYS to all areas
    A middle manager in Liverpool will earn around 40k, whilst an MP representing parts of Liverpool will earn double that with expenses and possible a lot more with a second job. So no, I don't agree with you. I have work in the CoL as a manager and earned less than MPs with a lot more stress/hours and had to pay all my own expenses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 584.

    MPs get expenses! They can claim for travel expenses, rent on their homes etc. In this respect, their salary is excellent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 583.

    If you wk in the public sector 1% payrise,& changes to you final sal pens.if you are a MP Keep your final sal.pension,large payrise & golden payouts when you leave. Not to mention the long holidays they get. Speaks for itself one rule for the MPs &one rule for the rest,teachers,police,NHS staff etc.Who is kidding who here?

  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    I don't object to a pay increase for MPs, so long as they can demonstrate a clear knowledge and understanding of business by practical experience for at least ten years and are at least 40 years of age.

    We have far too many career politicians whose main themes in parliament have lately centred on gay marriage, and matters abroad that never will be of concern to our national status or security.

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    "How many of the MP bashers on here have any idea of what is involved? .. I never critisise someones job unless I know alot about what it takes, it's clear many on here don't have a clue."

    So you know why warehouse workers who do crippling work are on minimum wage, or why any minimum wage earner is only worth that much?

    293.Black_And_Proud ? Not Keith Vaz then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    562.Please extend HYS to all areas
    -- we cannot attract the kind of people we want and need when they are paid so little.
    We could make the pay ten times what MPs currently get and we still would not get the people who are competent to govern.

    We have a closed shop political party system. If you don't subscribe to their lunatic ideology then you won't get selected to stand as a MP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    Clegg does politics as a hobby.He does not need the pay given the fact that he has inherited millions .We should pay our MP's a decent wage to encourage ordinary people to do it full-time and ban them from second jobs such as lobbyists and company directors which immediately compromises their integrity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    This is all part of Baldrick's latest cunning plan- get the public alienated from politicians, so that they are so sick of them they can't be bothered to vote,particularly Labour, then put loadsa money into your campaign at next election, and get your candidate voted in on a less than 15% turnout. It worked with Police Commissioners... + alienate the Scots enough to vote for Independence.. Brill

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    Are these people the best we have got? No wonder our nation has gone to the dogs. What have we got left that hasn't been flogged for a quick quid to serve some career politicians agenda or buy some votes. Sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    108.Jeremy Lee
    I see where your coming from however, Doctors do not get expenses, second home allowances, food allowances plus all teh other myriad of other perks that they receive. I would be happy to see their pay increased commensurate with other professionals IF they funded their own lifestyle adn only got out of pocket business expenses in line with other professionals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    There is no relevance in claims that we must pay high wages to attract the best.

    These positions are elected. Expertise has nothing to do with gaining office.

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    550 Mike B
    My MP Alan Beith confirmed in writing to me he would only be having a 1% pay rise for the next two years.

    Dont be misled, this pay rise is for 2015 onwards. Whereas the plan for everyone else is for 1% up to 2016 and beyond.

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    What Democracy the true meaning of the word and our politicians have long since forgotten what it stands for. Pigs and Troughs is what comes to mind now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    Remember the MPs expenses scandal, we learnt that you can claim for anything from boxes of matches to duck houses, swap houses and claim the rent, travel expenses, entertaining expenses etc etc,employ friends to do next to nothing, incidently in a private company you would be sacked but that is for normal people. So WHY do they need a raise when 50% of the population have not had one in 2-3yrs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 571.

    "We are all in this together".

    I bet whoever invented this saying is kicking themselves now.

    Maybe it should have said.... "We are all in this together, but MP's will still be able to claim massive pay rises and expenses whilst they put 300,000 out of work"

    It reminds me of Animal Farm...."All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"


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