Give MPs their pay rise - and cut the number in the Commons

In the private sector if you have a high wage increase, you lose some staff

Share

As Oliver Hardy would have said to Stan Laurel, “this is a fine mess you have got me into”.  For MPs' pay it was ever thus, in the early 1970’s I had responsibility for MPs' pay and we tried to find a comparator salary in the civil service, that was impossible, and the only Prime Minster to accept an MPs' pay report and implement it was Ted Heath, even in spite of living in difficult times.

Margaret Thatcher settled it by saying she would never take it.  The heart of the matter is that MP’s have to vote on their own pay conditions, which is not only embarrassing but principally wrong.

So after much arguing and the agony of the expenses debacle the job was given to IPSA and the understanding of their proposals would be accepted.  What a neat solution but when the music stops they don’t want to be left with IPSA’s parcel which they have to accept.  IPSA’s 9.6 per cent increase sits badly against a public sector squeeze on wages. Little wonder that all 3 party leaders overcome by righteousness indignation want to stop it. But many backbenchers think it is only fair. 

Even though the 9.6 per cent will not increase government expenditure, since MP’s will lose gold plated pay offs and higher pensions contributions, politically it is simply not enough, they have to give more. In the private sector if you have an above average wage increase any manager would be looking to cut the staff, so what should happen now is that the size of the House of Commons should be cut from 650 MPs' to 600, that would save about £20 million.  The central proposal of the Parliamentary Boundaries bill was abandoned when Nick Clegg in a fit of spite and piqué stopped supporting it because he couldn’t get his way with his House of Lords reform. 

What the Prime Minster should do is to reintroduce the Parliamentary Boundaries bill and ask the House to pass it as this would be reducing the cost of politics which is something he wants to achieve and what the public wants. Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband will then have to decide whether they will want to support this popular measure. Decision time for firm government.

Lord Baker is a former Conservative Home Secretary

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Retail Business Architect

Flexible for the right candidate: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: I have a fa...

Calypso Developer

£500 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Calypso, J2SE, XML, ...

IT Developer/Analyst

£35000 - £36000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A market leading financia...

Pricing Manager, Finance, Edinburgh, £250-350p/d

£250 - £350 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is cur...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Clockwise from top: Zafran Ramzan, Razwan Razaq (main picture), Adil Hussain, Umar Razaq and Mohsin Khan were sentenced for grooming teenage girls for sex in 2010.  

Nothing can make up for the trauma of Rotherham's abused young girls, but many more heads must roll

Jane Merrick
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush  

Suddenly everyone goes beserk about Kate Bush, and I’m the one left out...

Archie Bland
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis