Main party leaders set to scupper moves to give MPs a bumper pay rise
Recommended increase was expected to add up to £10,000 to backbenchers' salaries in 2015
Moves to give MPs a bumper pay rise looked doomed tonight after they ran into strong opposition from the main party leaders.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is expected to recommend an increase of up to £10,000 to take backbenchers' salaries to more than £75,000 in 2015.
Although its report is not due until later this month, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband spelt out their opposition to such a display of largesse when other sections of the public sector are facing pay freezes or below-inflation rises.
They will be backed by MPs who will fear a backlash from voters in their constituencies at the general election in 2105 if they are awarded generous pay increases.
Ironically, Ipsa was handed the task of fixing MPs' salaries in an effort to insulate politicians from such controversies.
The pay and expenses body could theoretically impose large increases, leaving the Government in the bizarre position of having to legislate to prevent MPs from receiving the rises.
Ipsa has examined the pay of what is regarded as comparable professions in drawing up its recommendations.
It has found MPs generally lag behind GPs, many head teachers and senior police officers in income and their pay has fallen in relative terms in recent decades. In addition, British MPs earn less than their counterparts in North America and many western European nations.
Downing Street said yesterday it had urged the regulator to "take the broader fiscal climate into account" when recommending its rise - and had reminded it of the public sector pay squeeze. Mr Cameron has already said it would be "unthinkable" to make Westminster more expensive to the taxpayer.
Mr Clegg said he would not collect any increase if it was awarded - and, if necessary, would return the extra amount to the public purse.
The Deputy Prime Minister told a press conference: "My own view is the public would find it impossible to understand - particularly as there are millions of people in the public sector whose pay is only increasing by one per cent - that their parliamentary representatives at a time like this would be receiving pay increases far in excess of that one per cent increase."
However, Mr Clegg stopped short of saying MPs should not receive the increase and pointed out that backbenchers faced greater financial pressures than ministers who enjoyed a top-up through their ministerial salaries.
Senior Labour sources also said Mr Miliband believed backbenchers should only receive an increase in line with state sector workers.
"Any decision for an increase in MPs' pay must be consistent with what is happening to nurses, teachers and others in the public sector," they said.
The former shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, said: "The Government may have to legislate to stop it, frankly. I know, it's bonkers, but I don't think when they started down the road, they thought a) we'd be in the parlous state we are economically now, and b) [Ipsa] would come up with a proposal like this."
He said he would be prepared to propose a parliamentary motion to block a large increase if ministers did not.
The former GP Sarah Wollaston said she took a £40,000 pay cut to be a Tory MP but met "very many people" who were put off standing for election because it would mean a salary cut.
But she told BBC Radio 4's The World at One she had "no doubt that if this was to come to a vote, the Commons would not accept it…I wouldn't vote to accept it."
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Israel to appropriate 400 hectares in West Bank for ‘state use’
Kate Upton nude pictures leak: Model's representatives 'looking into' authenticity of naked images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...