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”

End Quote

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 650.

    £66,000 doesn't sound much but when you add the expenses and the second home that they don't have to give back its not a bad little earner for someone totally unqualified.
    Let alone the second jobs because they only work half a week.
    They are propper talking the mickey out of us!

  • rate this

    Comment number 649.

    Now who mentioned MI5 MI6, CIA, NSA monitoring. The site has stopped taking submissions. Maybe it might be MOSAB collaboration too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 648.

    Why not simply replace six hundred of the six hundred and fifty MPs with Baboons?

    They'd cost less to feed and would answer questions more concisely and accurately.

  • rate this

    Comment number 647.

    I have no problem with the higher wage - if they reduce the amount of them to reflect the pay rise & the total salary pot doesn't go up. Also make the minimum age for an MP40 so they will have hopefully had a real world job before going into parliament.

  • rate this

    Comment number 646.

    this is so incendiary, there has to be real thought given to the question - are they really that stupid (in which case they don't deserve a pay rise) or are they trying to provoke absolute carnage on the streets? Cos that's what will happen. And why would they want that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 645.

    Hah! Should have known: all the stupid, ignorant, vengeful, bitter and twisted comments are highly rated - all sensible, realistic, thoughtful ones get voted down.

    Be an MP: away all week, back to local duties at the weekend, the media and HYS low-rater types forever sniping - and all for half the pay of a GP, school head or any self-respecting mid-career professional. What sane person would?

  • rate this

    Comment number 644.

    I do not want professional politicians, but people who live in the real world and earn their own living. It's the absence of this that led to the great expenses scandal that still seems to be going on. And let's have fewer MPs

  • rate this

    Comment number 643.

    You are my hero Cleggy!

    Wish again Mr Clegg.
    Just now you will say ANYTHING just to get your face into a nice frame of light. The public KNOW that the only thing MP's are truly interested in is THEMSELVES.
    With extra wages MP's will be able to provide constituents with a better service and not "have to" fill in dishonest unnecessary outrageous Expense Forms like

    "Bath Plug one (1) off 88 Pence"

  • rate this

    Comment number 642.

    It is a truism that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. But what if you already have monkeys? How do you pay them? MP's have already demonstrated their simian tendencies in the expenses scandals and the cash for questions scam. Most MP's are mainly lobby fodder and we could do without half of them. Perhaps, to save money, they could be included in the current round of public service cuts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 641.


    It takes much,much more planning and brainpower to project manage than it does to say 'Aye' or 'Nay'"

    And even that is decreed by the Whips. My MP doesn't even reply properly to letters, just sending a wad of party propaganda stuffed in envelopes by minions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 640.

    does anybody still believe that we are all in it together , this committee has made a laughing stock of the man that set it up in the first place . take a bow camerooney

  • rate this

    Comment number 639.

    108 Jeremy Lee; we need to attract the best? Yes, but history shows we never have. And even the best need to suffer with the rest of us. If push comes to shove, give them their 32%, and reduce the number of MPs by 50%! There are too many of these idiots anyway.
    As for malik2012 (609), what a pointless comment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 638.

    dear Jeremy Lee, what kind of logic is this? Money is going to make people responsible? Of course not. Will make it worse as they would see politics as a market where there is good money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 637.

    This thread had the headline Glegg: 'I wouldn't vote for pay rise.'

    Cheap words Nick, not every one is married to a corporate lawyer! If MP's do not take this pay rise, then the electorate will increasingly be represented in Parliament by rich people from privileged backgrounds or low grade loonies, who in the main would be elevated to a position far beyond what they would achieve in real life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 636.

    David Cameron 'can't block it'? He can block pay rises for everyone in the ;public sector, but because his freinds who bankroll the conservatives have had double digit pay rises every year since 2008, he needs to catch up a little. MP's to defined contribution pensions now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 635.

    2 Hours ago

    Company...Great Britain PLC


    CEO's Queen,MP's

    Status ... Receiving Pay Rises..

    Conclusion...MADNESS Pure MADNESS and stupidity



    You'd think so but I guess it would take something as important as banning the X factor or football before the Great British public actually do anything. Wish I was French sometimes!

  • rate this

    Comment number 634.

    Please remember, if Michael Gove hadn't gone into politics he had a promising career in rugby (as a ball)

  • rate this

    Comment number 633.

    To talk only 'MPs' salaries' omits other elements of their total 'package'. EG : subsidised food, drink, gyms and hairdressers in the Houses of Parliament, substantial office expenses, first class travel, free postage and a very generous pension scheme. Many MPs also undertake a variety of other paid activities. When these 'additions' are aggregated the package comes to £200 K +

  • rate this

    Comment number 632.

    I receive the support component of ESA, I've been deemed to unfit for work by the annual medical assessments I have to attend. I'm not a scrounger, I worked all my life till illness struck and I'm having to live on £106.50 week. I really feel for the MP's that can't manage on the already generous pay + the expenses but this is rubbing salt into the wound of those at the blunt end of the cuts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 631.

    Must be nice to be an MP. Turn up when you feel like it and when they do grace us with their presence, they fall asleep or making childish noises at other MPs. Gordon Brown's attendance last year was less than 15% - why he still an MP? I think their salary should be based on their attendance. Don't show up for work, lose your pay.


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