Cameron faces backbench pay revolt

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Indy Politics

David Cameron faces a backbench revolt two days before this month's Budget when MPs are asked to freeze their salaries for up to two years.

The Prime Minister has been warned that a Government motion for MPs to forgo their recommended 1% pay rise this year will face opposition when it comes before the Commons on March 21.

The 2011 Budget, when the country will be reminded of the dire public finances, will be delivered by Chancellor George Osborne on March 23.

A motion tabled by Leader of the House Sir George Young will keep the basic MP's salary at £65,738 until the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) takes over.

Ipsa, which took charge of MPs' expenses last May, is expected to control their pay as well from April next year, although the necessary legislation is yet to be passed.

Sir George's motion would see MPs' salaries frozen until March 2013 if Ipsa has not taken charge by then.

It also revokes a decision taken in 2008 to automatically implement the recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) each year.

The SSRB recommended a 1% rise this year, but Sir George announced in January that MPs would be asked for forgo it given the two-year pay freeze in the public sector.

Tory backbencher Mark Field said there would be strong opposition to the Government's motion on March 21.

"Many of us feel that the idea of getting an independent review on these things is that it should be an independent review," he said.

"If they came back and said it should be a 3% cut then I would take that as well. It is a retrograde step for us to go back into the fray and dictate our salaries.

"I will be trying to speak in this debate and I will put on record the concerns I have had. We want this to be properly and independently done."

Mr Field urged Sir George to table an additional motion freezing MPs' allowances as well. He said it would be a "public relations disaster" if the expenses bill went up.