Call for MPs to forego pay rise under fire

The Government's call for MPs to give up a planned 1% pay rise came under fire in the Commons today.

Tory MP Mark Field said the Commons should take the rise ordered by an independent pay body.

But Commons Leader Sir George Young said as public sector workers faced a pay freeze MPs should "reflect very carefully" before accepting a raise.

Sir George announced in a written statement that a resolution would be put before the Commons to block the increase ordered by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB).

In a sign of the frustration felt by many MPs Mr Field raised the issue with Sir George during questions on future Commons business.

Mr Field (Cities of London and Westminster) said: "Might I respectfully suggest to you that just for once on the issue of MPs pay and conditions you try to be wise before the event.

"Regaining the trust of the general public after the calamitous expenses scandal requires that this House abides in Fuqua by the independent reviews that are made, in rain or in shine."

Sir George said MPs would get the final say on whether to go ahead with the 1% pay rise, which would take their salaries to 66,395 a year.

But he added: "The coalition Government has made its position on public sector pay very clear. We think there should be a two-year pay freeze and we think that unless you are earning less than 21,000 a freeze is a freeze and for those under 21,000 the increase should be 250.

"Members of Parliament earn substantially more than 21,000 and I believe that the House will want to reflect very carefully before it takes a 1% pay increase against the background of the restraint that many other people, earning much less than we are, are having to face over the next two years.

"So I hope the House will come to a collective view and when the motion is laid before the House it will agree that it would be right for Members of Parliament to exercise restraint for the time being."