MPs deny seeking 22 per cent pay increase

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Indy Politics

A row has erupted over attempts to increase MPs' salaries after it emerged that senior backbenchers held private talks about pay.

MPs spoke out after Ann Clwyd, chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party confirmed that she and other Labour figures had met senior Tories to discuss parliamentary pay and pensions. Ms Clwyd denied reports that some MPs were seeking an increase of 22 per cent. She said: "We discussed several issues of interest to MPs, like pensions and also the Senior Salaries Review Body, but no figure was discussed."

Four years ago the SSRB recommended that MPs' salaries be linked to those of headteachers and police chief superintendents.

Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, said: "I think that talk of a 22 per cent increase is not something that is sustainable when we really need to get a grip on public-sector pay."

Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, also rejected suggestions of such an increase, saying it was "no good lecturing the public sector" if MPs awarded themselves such a rise.

Douglas Alexander, the minister for Europe, told the BBC he would vote against any attempt to raise pay by 22 per cent: "We need responsibility as MPs if we are asking for responsibility from other people."