SIGNIFICANT SHORTS : Rumbold under attack over pay reply letter

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The Independent Online
Dame Angela Rumbold, a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, came under strong attack last night after she had written dismissively to a pensioner constituent who had protested about last month's pounds 9,000 pay rise for MPs. She told Hilary Pentecost - a regular correspondent - that she was fed up with the number of people who had complained "about what is a rather modest increase" of 26 per cent in MPs' pay.

The Thatcherite former minister, who gets pounds 10,000-plus as director of a stockbroking firm, on top of her new backbench pay of pounds 43,000, said: "I do think it very unfair and disgusting that people who wish to be represented, continue to complain ... about the amount of recompense that they receive." A spokeswoman for Help the Aged said: "Two-thirds of pensioners have incomes so low they don't pay income tax. From that standpoint pounds 9,000 is a great deal of money." Anthony Bevins