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COMMENT: Why can’t our MPs speak for themselves on pay rise issue?
7:00am Tuesday 10th December 2013 in News
WHEN it comes to the furore over a planned 11 per cent pay hike for MPs, it is important to recognise that this is the brainchild of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, not politicians themselves.
In fact, MPs have been placed in an invidious position, as they will catch all the flak even though they have absolutely no say or sway over whether the pay rise is implemented.
If IPSA does approve the increase in the face of howls of protest, then that extra cash will start landing in bank accounts in 2015, even if MPs say they don’t want it.
But taking all that into account, the responses from the majority of Oxfordshire’s MPs to some straightforward questions yesterday was poor at best and deliberately evasive at worst.
They are paid (11 per cent rise or not) to represent their constituents and hold themselves accountable to them.
So, for the county’s five Tory MPs to avoid answering one simple question about what they will do with the pay rise did not speak well of their willingness to front up on a thorny issue.
Three of them – Sir Tony Baldry, David Cameron and John Howell – ignored the question and instead parroted suspiciously similar platitudes, which indicates they were regurgitating a party line rather than being frank with ordinary taxpayers who pay their wages. One, Ed Vaizey, did not respond at all.
The level of MPs’ pay is a complex debate that has still not been aired properly. A good starting point would be some plain and independent speaking from our elected representatives.
IPSA may yet have a change of heart on the pay increase.
If it does not, then do make sure you fire off a few straight questions of your own when your local MP pitches up on the doorstep asking you to vote for them in less than 18 months time.
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