MPs' pay rise: Ed Miliband calls for decision now after David Cameron refuses to say whether he will accept 11% increase
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Monday 09 December 2013
An attempt by David Cameron to kick the vexed issue of MPs’ pay into the long grass was rebuffed by Ed Miliband on Monday night.
The Prime Minister insisted there was no need to take an immediate decision on whether to accept an inflation-busting 11 per cent salary hike to be recommended by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) on Thursday. It would take MPs’ earnings from £66,396 to £74,000 a year in 2015.
Downing Street, which declined to say whether Mr Cameron would accept the increase, said the proposal would be subject to a review after the May 2015 election, when a final decision would be taken.
But Mr Miliband tried to resolve the issue to prevent further damage to the reputation of politicians while it dragged on. He argued that the package could not go ahead during the biggest cost of living crisis for a generation.
Mr Miliband’s spokesman said: “We cannot have an outcome for MPs which does not command public confidence. Therefore we are asking the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats for a cross-party approach which recognises the current economic circumstances where workers in the public and private sectors are going through such difficult times.”
Downing Street rejected the Opposition’s proposal. A spokesman said: “There is no need for cross-party talks on this issue because we have already made clear that MPs shouldn’t be getting a pay rise at a time of public sector pay restraint.”
Mr Cameron’s view is unlikely to change by 2015 because last week’s autumn statement made clear that the downward pressure on public sector pay would continue beyond the election.
Clear differences between party leaders and their backbenchers have emerged on the issue. Charles Walker, a Conservative MP, said: “I've been working since I left university for 25 years and I have never turned a pay rise down and I don't intend to start turning any future pay rises down.”
The dilemma for party leaders is that blocking the increase would almost certainly require legislation to take away the power to fix MPs’ pay from Ipsa. It was handed the job in an attempt to end the controversy over MPs voting on their own salaries. Removing the power would take MPs back to square one.
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Tower of London poppies: Tens of thousands of people flock to see installation in its final days
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...