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 We are sweeping away the out-of-date and overly generous benefits, and introducing a one-off uplift in pay.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
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Sport
Raheem Sterling of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Life and Style
tech
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: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise
Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

New system means that evergreen songs could top the festive charts
Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence

Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys

He is a musician of wondrous oddity. He is on a perpetual quest to seek the lost tribes of the Welsh diaspora. Just don't ask Gruff Rhys if he's a national treasure...