Dozens of Tory MPs tell Ipsa to ‘scrap pay rise’ and ‘freeze’ their salaries

‘It is neither appropriate nor justifiable to be awarding MPs pay rises,’ 52 Conservatives write in letter

Sam Hancock
Tuesday 24 November 2020 19:30
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Piers Morgan asks Matt Hancock whether MPs should agree not to take a pay rise

More than 50 Conservative MPs have sent a letter to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) to push for their salaries to be frozen next year.

In the document, sent to Ipsa’s interim chairman, Richard Lloyd, MPs said they rejected the body’s recommendation for their pay to rise by £3,300 in April, and called for it to “scrap” the plans altogether.

The move comes after Boris Johnson made it clear yesterday that, as a result of the hardships many face due to the coronavirus crisis, he believed parliamentarians should not receive the pay increase. The prime minister has already announced that ministers will not receive a rise in their salaries, which he controls, next year — but only Ipsa can make decisions about MPs’ pay. 

In the letter, which was signed by 52 Tories, MPs said that “with the whole nation making huge sacrifices to control the coronavirus”,  it was neither “appropriate nor justifiable to be awarding MPs pay rises”.

Officials wrote that in order “to support people’s jobs and livelihoods, the government has introduced unprecedented measures”, and so “it is only right that we help shoulder the burden”. 

“I am pleased that where the government can take action on pay it has, with ministerial pay frozen at 2010 levels. However, as you know, decisions on the pay of MPs do not sit with government, but sit with you,” Conservative MP for Bishop Auckland, Dehenna Davison, who co-ordinated the letter, said.

“Therefore we are calling on you to scrap the 3 per cent pay rise we are set to receive this year and freeze MPs’ pay.”

In a direct appeal to Ipsa, Ms Davison finished the note by saying she and her colleagues “sincerely hope that you will take current circumstances into account and scrap the proposed pay rise for Members of Parliament”.

The government has been under intense pressure, from both inside and outside Westminster, to announce the freeze on MPs’ pay after it was confirmed last week that Rishi Sunak is set to announce a pay cap for millions of public sector workers in the spending review on Wednesday.

Following the outcry, a spokesman for Mr Johnson said on Monday: “Given the circumstances, the PM doesn't believe MPs should be receiving a pay rise.”

However, ministers have been more reluctant to comment on which way they believe Ipsa should swing in its decision making. 

Health secretary Matt Hancock struggled yesterday morning when asked repeatedly by Piers Morgan whether he would personally take the cash. He eventually told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I’ll let you know”.

The increase of around 4 per cent, which would be paid to MPs from next April, would see their salaries go above £85,000. 

MPs’ annual pay rise is based on a comparison with public sector pay and in a report last month, Ipsa indicated it believed this process should not be altered. 

The body is due to announce its final decision next month.

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