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 670.

    If you just happen to "INHERIT" a barony of Ireland, and just happen to "INHERIT" a £25 million trust fund in the non-taxpaying Cayman Islands
    then of course he should get a 16% increment on his salary because the poor are just there to serve him.

    Come on people, we are just "PLEBS" compared to these self serving, privately educated elite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 669.

    I fundamentally disagree 108 and 31. They should be with everyone else: receive nothing/below inflation pay rise. Few of us are able to vote through our own pay rise."Professional politicians"? I want people who do it for the good of/serve their voters. If we should all pull together MPs, walk the walk, do not accept this increase if you do, you will be seen as self-enriching hypocrates.

  • rate this

    Comment number 668.

    Whilst MPs from all three main parties have been agitating for a pay rise it is noticeably that it is predominantly Tory MPs demanding more cash (at our expense, even though we're supposed to be skint)......

    ....even though MORE Tory MPs have second jobs/incomes outside Westminster in the first place.....

    ....why is it ALWAYS the Tories who have the most greedy Parliamentarians...???

  • rate this

    Comment number 667.

    MP's abuse the expenses system,have 2 or more other incomes from being "consultants",have subsidized food/drinks in the Commons,plus any other extras they think they can get away without the public finding out about.NOW they are to get a rise equal almost to that which a pensioner has to live on They are taking the ****

  • rate this

    Comment number 666.

    There have been several comments comparing the salaries of MPs with doctors and head teachers. Doctors are paid to look after the health of patients - the majority of which survive and get better. Head teachers are responsible for educating our youngsters - most come out better informed and able than when they went in. MPs are meant to manage the country for the benefit of ALL british citizens....

  • rate this

    Comment number 665.

    645 HarryPHall; I wonder how many MPs have ever had their arms twisted to run for office. But you speak truer than you know. "No sane person would....?". You're right; frightening thought, isn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 664.

    Cabinet ministers are running UK Plc - which suggests their salary should be linked to the performance of UK Plc.

    As for common or garden MPs - they are basically the equivalent of sole traders running a small office in their constituency. I'd suggest £60k is more than enough for that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 663.

    ?????????? I am so glad we are in this altogether! ?????????????

  • rate this

    Comment number 662.

    Milibean is missing a trick. While our PM has been away battling for Britain in the EU, supporting the troops in Afghanistan, then on to Pakistan & Kazakhstan to boost trade - Ed has had nothing to say except "It's the wrong face on the ten pound note, Gromit!"

    Come on Ed - this is surely a bandwagon you can't miss out on. Let's hear why you wouldn't take a pay rise - or do you need the money?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 661.

    GPs are some of the most overpaid people in the UK

  • rate this

    Comment number 660.

    Ok fair enough being an MP has to be a very stressful job, and yes many could probably earn much more money elsewhere. However for MP's to preach that "we're all in this together" then demand a pay rise of 15% is a joke. Just goes to show that the majority are in it for themselves and don't actually care about voters. I'm no fan of Clegg but credit to him for accepting the hypocrisy of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 659.

    If they don't like the pay, guess what we're all in this together. Make MP's find another job in this climate..... oh no lets give them more so these "top class politicians" stay. As with bankers who are threatening to leave, go on then do so...good bye to bad rubbish. Lower the numbers of MP's & MEP's Lords, councilors and guess what a "were all in it together" saving for the nation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 658.

    David Cameron 'can't block it'? Of course he can. When he lost a court case he *retrospectively* changed the law *the same day* to get out of it. What would it take to change Parliamentary rules - 20mins?

    MPs will only be sitting for 200 days this year (unless they fancy *another* two week extra break). Does that mean they spend the rest of their time in their constituency office? Yeah, right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 657.

    @ 645.HarryPHall
    "away all week, ...local duties at the weekend, media ... all for half the pay of a GP, school head or ..self-respecting mid-career professional"

    REALLY - what do real world professionals get paid then? Most I know are trapped in the bracket just above or below the higher tax threshold - keep getting told we're "high earners" / top 10% / priviledged - on circa £45-50k

  • rate this

    Comment number 656.

    I will probably annoy many people with my comment.
    66000 pounds a year is a ridiculously low salary for a MP. Many plumbers with minimal education and responsibility make more than 50K.

    I know it is popular treating our MPs badly.
    But I says, pay them well if you want the job done well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 655.

    623 Realist. Taking 1983 and 1997 as their respective nadirs, nearly 400 MP's of both major parties will be re-elected, whatever the election result. My Local MP will be Damien Hinds until he retires. My previous MP was Tony Banks - he died. Most MP's have a job for as long as they want.
    646 £65K is in the top 4% of salaries

  • rate this

    Comment number 654.

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

    MOSAD? lol

  • rate this

    Comment number 653.

    They can't fiddle extra pay through expenses so they vote themselves a pay rise anyway! Democratically elected has no meaning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 652.

    Just now
    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
    Another labour luvvie blaming Cameron for something Brown set up!!
    What's wrong with you lot and facts?
    This committee was Brown's baby & they surveyed back bench MPs, not front bench MPs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 651.

    There's a simple answer to this; give MPs the same % pay rise as the average enjoyed by nurses, teachers, police, firefighters and other public servants.

    That way the average politician might appear to be a little more like a public servant rather than just self-serving.

    And if you want to strike about it boys; take as long as you like!


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