MP blasts colleagues over expenses and pensions row
8:51am Thursday 18th October 2012 in Local
A BOLTON MP says some of his House of Commons colleagues “can’t shut up” about their wages after a row erupted over what politicians are paid.
A report published by watchdog the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) suggests MPs could get a pay hike in return for a pensions cut, which could see their salaries rise from £65,738 to up to £91,936 per year.
IPSA, which was established in 2009 in the wake of the expenses scandal and now sets MPs’ salaries, has launched a consultation on members’ wages and pensions.
One of its proposals is linking pay to national earnings — a move that could see MPs’ income rise to four times the national average. In return, MPs could have to give up their final salary pension schemes and pay more into their pension pots.
Bolton North East MP David Crausby said: “The most important thing about all this is it should be externally decided.
“It’s simply not right that we say it’s going to be externally decided then MPs can’t shut up about it, either saying its too much or too low. I don’t think MPs should get into it.”
Bolton West MP Julie Hilling said: “It is right that MPs salaries are set and monitored by an independent body. I believe it is important there is extensive consultation about this issue and that members of the public are able to have their say about what they feel is appropriate.”
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “I’ve never campaigned for it or asked for it in the past. Whatever is decided I’ll accept it, whether the amount goes up or down.”
But Ms Qureshi claimed MPs worked hard for their money. She said: “There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what MPs do and the expenses scandal didn’t help. The work is 24-seven, 365 days a year.
“If a constituent calls me at 2am on a Sunday I have to deal with it. When a constituent is in trouble or ill abroad, their MP is often the first person they’ll contact, and if they need help we can get things done faster by dealing with the Foreign Office or embassies.”