Roger Gale, MP: Kelly proposals would be devastating

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The Independent Online

If these proposals go through unamended the effect on Parliament is likely to be devastating. What kind of people will want to stand for Parliament in the future? I fear they are either going to have to be very rich, or people for whom a £65,000 a year salary is an attractive job, but not a vocation.

I didn’t come into politics for money. Before I was elected in 1983, I was a television director earning nearly four times my MP’s starting salary of £15,300. That is not a complaint. Nobody made me do it. But what will happen now to people who give up good jobs in the belief that being an MP will be financially manageable? After the election, next year, there may well be 200 new, young MPs. A lot of them are going to be in debt . That is not a good way to start a new Parliament.

My wife Suzy has worked for me for 27 years. She is very highly qualified and very experienced. My constituents know her. Why should I sack her?

We gave evidence to Kelly, the only husband and wife team to do so. He does not appear to have taken any notice but he did seize on the fact that I rent a £100 a week room in Tooting and asked "why can’t all MPs do the same? " My reply is that if I still had a young family, I would want space to have my children with me. One size does not fit all.

I also wonder what Kelly`s proposals will do for our efforts to attract more women into Parliament. If the House sits late I might , without a base in London, be able to get a midnight train to my constituency and be home by 2.00 am. but I would not want my wife or daughter, were she to think of standing for parliament, to do it.

I don’t think Mr Kelly lives in the real world. Politicians are being sacrificed on the altar of public opinion. That may be good sport but will it make for better government?