It's 'hair-shirted nonsense' that MPs are overpaid, says Conservative minister

John Hayes' remarks contrast with the Prime Minister’s condemnation of the independent pay review body’s recommendation that MPs’ salaries should rise

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A senior parliamentary adviser to David Cameron has said he is “fed up” with claims that MPs are overpaid, describing the suggestion as “nonsense” and joking that his shirt is made of Egyptian cotton, not hair.

John Hayes, a minister for transport and MP for South Holland and The Deepings, warned a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference that there was a danger only millionaires would be able to afford to stand for parliament.

His remarks contrast with the Prime Minister’s stated aim of reducing the cost of politics and his recent condemnation of the independent pay review body’s recommendation that MPs’ salaries should rise by 10 per cent to £74,000.

“On the payment of politicians, I’m fed up to the teeth with all this hair-shirted nonsense,” Mr Hayes told an audience of local councillors, according to The Daily Telegraph.

“My shirt is Egyptian cotton – it’s not hair. It’s a pity it’s not on expenses really, but it’s not.

“I take the view that all this rubbish about politicians being overpaid and so on, we’ve got to challenge it.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is parish or district or county of parliament.”

He said the Conservative Party’s decision to claim that politics in Britain had been was “broken” by the scandal over MPs’ expenses had been “one of the worst things we did”.

“You can’t go around saying politics is broken but we’re not. You’ve got to be proud of politics,” he said.

Mr Hayes was revealed to have used taxpayers’ money to pay for overnight stays at the Carlton club in London during the expenses scandal.

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