UK & World News

  • 11 December 2013, 16:53

Cameron: 11% MPs' Pay Rise Is Unacceptable

David Cameron has said an 11% pay rise for MPs is unacceptable and even hinted he might scrap the parliamentary watchdog if it did not reconsider the proposal.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron warned that if Ipsa forged ahead with its plans for the increase he was "ruling nothing out".

His comments suggested that if the parliamentary watchdog, which was brought in following the MPs' expenses scandal and which has responsibility for setting politicians pay, did not "think again", he would be willing to consider abolishing the body.

Ipsa is expected to recommend on Thursday that MPs' pay goes up by £7,600 to £74,000. The rise would come into effect in May 2015. It comes as all other public sector workers have seen their pay capped at 1%.

Mr Cameron said: "First, the idea of an 11% pay rise in one year at a time of pay restraint is simply unacceptable.

"Secondly, Ipsa do need to think again and unless they do so, I don't think anyone will want to rule anything out. No-one wants to go back to MPs voting on their own pay but we have got to have a process and an outcome that can build public confidence.

"Third, in my view, I think this should all be accompanied with a cut in the cost of politics."

When pressed on whether the Prime Minister was suggesting scrapping the parliamentary watchdog, Downing Street responded that Mr Cameron was "not ruling anything out". Another option could be to strip Ipsa of its powers to set MPs' pay.

The recommended pay rise will be subject to a statutory review by Ipsa after the 2015 General Election.

But  Downing Street source said: "There's no final decision until 2015. A statutory review is planned after the 2015 election to look at whatever is published tomorrow so probably best to let that process go forward. But I think the PM has been crystal clear what his view is."

However, Ed Miliband called for an urgent meeting with Mr Cameron, Nick Clegg and the chairman of Ipsa, Sir Ian Kennedy, to prevent the pay rise ahead of that.

A senior Labour source said: "That meeting should take place as soon as possible. The three party leaders should jointly make clear this package is unacceptable to the public and cannot go ahead."

At the weekend shadow chancellor Ed Balls told Sky News the suggested rise was "preposterous" when there was a cost-of-living crisis.

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