MPs' 11% pay rise: 2015 candidates under pressure not to accept rise

 

Political Editor

Candidates at the 2015 general election will come under pressure not to take a proposed 11 per cent pay rise for MPs after an impasse between party leaders and the body responsible for fixing parliamentary salaries.

Although many backbenchers want to accept the increase, which would raise their salaries from £66,396 to £74,000 after the election, they fear they will be pressured into refusing to take it if rival candidates say they will turn it down or give it to charity.

“We will end up with the worst of all worlds,” one senior Conservative MP said. “We will get all the bad headlines about a whopping increase but many of us will never see the money. Everyone will  now be challenged about this at the election.  If you are in a marginal seat and your main opponent pledges to refuse it, you will have to do the same.”

A final decision on the controversial plan appears to have been kicked into the long grass  beyond the election.  Ed Miliband promised that an incoming Labour Government would block the increase, a pledge that might give Labour candidates some protection in their constituency battles.

On Thursday the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) rejected a last-minute plea by David Cameron to think again about its reform package, insisting it would not cost taxpayers any more money because the one-off salary increase would be balanced by less generous pensions and expenses for MPs, including an end to provision for evening meals.  “Resettlement payments” for MPs who leave Parliament will be available only to those who contest their seats and lose.

Sir Ian Kennedy, the chairman of Ipsa,  said: “ For the first time, MPs' pay and pensions will be set independently, and away from political deals cooked up in Westminster. We are sweeping away the out-of-date and overly generous benefits, and introducing a one-off uplift in pay. Crucially, thereafter MPs' pay will be linked to everyone else's."

Sir Ian added: “We have designed these reforms so they do not cost the taxpayer a penny more.” He said Ipsa had saved the public more than £35m since 2010.

Ipsa said in its report: "We have a choice to make: either we say it is too difficult and ignore the issue for another number of years, or we address it with those sensitivities in mind. We choose the second option. We feel any other choice would be to abandon our responsibility, which Parliament gave us, to fix this problem once and for all.”

Although Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband and Nick Clegg all opposed the proposed salary hike, many backbenchers support it privately. Ipsa will review the proposal in the summer of 2015 before it is implemented.  At that point, politicians would have to pass legislation to prevent the increase if Ipsa stuck to its guns.

There appears little chance that Ipsa will retreat.  Sir Ian said: “This is a package, a package of reforms. You cannot unpick it. You can't say that bit we like and that bit we do not."

Mr Cameron repeated his thinly veiled threat to abolish Ipsa, saying  he would not "rule out taking action " if it pressed ahead with the proposed rise. He told BBC Radio WM: "This isn't a final recommendation. They should think again and I very much hope they do. I don't rule out, and I don't think anyone rules out, taking action if they don't modify this proposal."

Mr Miliband said: "I want to be clear with the public, I don't think it's right that MPs should get this pay rise at a time when nurses, teachers, people in the private sector are going through a pay squeeze and facing incredibly difficult economic circumstances. I think it will just undermine trust in politics further. I'm determined that this pay rise does not go ahead if there's a Labour government.”

Mr Clegg insisted that Ipsa’s plan was "not cast in stone" and would be reviewed after the election.  The Deputy Prime Minister opposed the idea of scrapping the authority. “ I would be very wary of turning the clock back and going back to the bad old days of MPs being judge and jury of their own pay and expenses all over again,” he told LBC 97.3.

Video: Ed Miliband against MP pay rise

By default player size is set to 420 x 315px. But you can resize player width and height once you get the player code using player params.
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions