Plans to give ministers 40 per cent pay rise to be scuppered by Labour

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The Independent Online
Plans to give ministers a 40 per cent pay rise are set to be scuppered by Labour, even before the report recommending the rise has been received by the Prime Minister. Robin Cook, Labour's foreign affairs spokesman, said on BBC1's Breakfast With Frost yesterday: "Personally, I cannot for one moment believe that this Government deserves a 40 per cent increase and I doubt if any of my constituents would wish me to vote for it."

A report by the independent Top Salaries Review Board, to be delivered to Downing Street this week, is expected to recommend a 30 per cent pay rise for most MPs, but an extra pounds 8,425 for ministers. Backbench MPs of all parties are expected to ignore their party leaders' demands for restraint and vote through their pay rise next month. The extra rise for ministers, however, is likely to be put to a separate vote. A spokesman for Tony Blair said he would not comment until he had seen the report, but Mr Cook's opposition suggests that it would be impossible for such an increase to get through the Commons if there were a separate vote on ministers' pay.