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 690.

    I find it hard to believe that they are any worse off then any of us, i've worked all my adult life im over 35 and now i'm not well enough to work i don't get a penny! i have to live off my partner because he has a good job, never mind the fact that we are not married he has a mortgage on his property. They were having 2 home's one paid for by my tax! yet i get nothing. Oh the hardship they face

  • rate this

    Comment number 689.

    The intelligence level of these 'public servants' beggars belief. While they freeze public sector workers pay, and make thousands redundent, they expect a pay rise. I can't use the word I'd like to to describe these people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 688.

    top bosses,MP's,bankers etc should be taking pay cuts to bring them in line with ordinary people.It's a race to the to more and more for them and a race to the bottom for everyone else.Get rid of percentage wage rises/bonuses and bring in wage rises where everyine gets the same amount in monetary terms so the gap doesn't keep widening.

  • rate this

    Comment number 687.

    MPs are an anachronism. In a bygone era we needed to have someone represent us in parliament, whereas nowadays we could vote on matters that concerned us personally, on-line, we can also approach government depts in the same way, should we have a particular concern. They are an outdated & outmoded unnecessary expense, & as for paying them more, I thought we were all in this together, seemingly not

  • rate this

    Comment number 686.

    Mrs Thatcher's solution was to allow MPs to widen the scope of what could be claimed on expenses.See where that got us.Though there are rumours some MPs are still being "economical with the actualité" viz expenses, the poor little darlings have run out of ways to squeeze more blood from an already exsanguinated system - hence, the grab it & damn everybody else ploy.Honourable members-what a joke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 685.

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

    How much did Gordon Brown make from his extra curricular activities last year? How many days did he attend the HoC to represent his contituents?

    You're fooled if you think that any of them have the moral high ground!

  • rate this

    Comment number 684.

    Do people think this massive pay rise may have something to do with,they cant fiddle their expenses as much.Working for industry "cash for questions" is now much harder.Or that they just dont care what the public think and are out of touch.What is ironic is that tory mps are public sector employees,yet they have gone to war on nurses,teachers,firemen etc.Vote them out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 683.

    IPSA board -

    Two lawyers.
    Two directors of NHS Trusts.
    One former MP & Chief Exec appointed by the 'speaker'.

    Can someone explain how the above represents and independent opinion capable determining MPs salaries?

  • rate this

    Comment number 682.

    I still find it odd that a bloke who was 3rd in a 3 horse race is 2nd in command. hes a complete nothing bloke who is meaningless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 681.


    If an MP's job is so important and worthy of a 20% pay increase, then by the same token a nurse, a doctor, a member of the Armed Forces or a policeman should be worthy of a heck of a lot more.
    It's this kind of attitude that engenders apathy and loathing of the current crop of politicians - incapable of making a decision and now grabbing as much money as they can for doing so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 680.

    671.Stephen Mortimer
    "MPs pay should be performance linked to the country, like the pay of those of us who live in the real world is performance linked to our job... As things stand none of them deserve a £4K pay rise."
    As things stand none of them deserve a £4K salary, let alone a pay rise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 679.

    This lot are undoubtedly the worst servants we have ever had.

    I have no idea why we are even still employing them, let alone discussing a pay rise...

  • rate this

    Comment number 678.

    Lets face it cleggy, if it was up to the voters you wouldn't get a job anymore let alone a pay rise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 677.

    EIther the MP's are part of UK and if so must tighten their belts and forego this pay increase - if they don't they should be named and shamed as scroungers - regardless of what the IPSA says.

  • rate this

    Comment number 676.

    MP's who annoy me as those who claim they are underpaid and took a pay cut to become an MP, well that was your choice, if you dont like it go back to employment, Some MP's moonlight raking in £1000's per day doing a non job, its all online for all to see,yet some claim to work 24/7 yet manage to find time for their other jobs, they can have a 1% pay increase as other public sectors have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 675.

    The argument that higher wages for MPs is necessary to attract the best people is rubbish. I personally don't want the people running the country to be motivated by money. MPs should do their job out of a sense of duty, not because they want a fat pay cheque. Being paid such ridiculous wages also puts them out of touch. I believe they should be paid the average wage for their constituency.

  • rate this

    Comment number 674.

    "656.Mustafa Yorumcu
    Many plumbers with minimal education and responsibility make more than 50K. "

    But plumbers have to actually take responsibility for their actions - kill someone and prison beckons. MPs just resign, keep their pension and sit of a few more boards. They never actually take the responsibility, they just claim credit when all goes well and pass the buck when it doesn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 673.

    It's all very well Clegg saying he wouldn't accept the proposed new salary when it comes after next election.

    He is unlikely to be an MP then so it is not going to affect him or many of his Lib Dem friends.

  • rate this

    Comment number 672.

    They should adopt performance-related pay.

    Judging by the current mess this country finds itself in, the wage bill would drop considerably.

  • rate this

    Comment number 671.

    MPs pay should be performance linked to the country, like the pay of those of us who live in the real world is performance linked to our job. If the country is doing well then they get paid well, if they run our economy into the ground then they get basic pay and no frills. As things stand none of them deserve a £4K pay rise.


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