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MP’s – give us a pay rise or we will fiddle our expenses

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 3 July 2013

That is the conclusion of Jack Straw MP, a sort of unofficial shop steward for the Westminster political classes. Mr Straw, whose son is being groomed to be an MP too as the political class becomes self-perpetuating, writes in the Daily Telegraph that unless MPs pay matches that of CEOs, Head Teachers etc MPs will be drawn from a narrower and narrower social class, be of poorer quality and will “make ends meet” by fiddling their expenses.

On the same principle unless you give big brown envelopes to prisoners on their release they will go and rob banks and mug old ladies. Let’s start such a scheme at once. Let’s be consistent and treat all dishonest vermin who contribute nothing to Society and have a lust for lucre equally.

The basic pay of an MP is £66,000. One in three earns more by chairing a committee, having ministerial responsibility, etc. Since MPs work less than 150 days a year many of them (Straw included) earn even more by doing other work.  So the average MP earns three times the National average wage while one third earns between 4 and 7 times the average wage. And then there are their non Westminster activities.

No wonder that for every “winnable seat” there is a mammoth rush of applicants to fight that seat for the parties that are in contention.  Would there be any less of a scramble if MPs took a 10% pay cut? I doubt it.  Let’s try an experiment and see how many MPs quit if their pay is cut by 2%?

Once again I point out that in the US 425 Congressmen represent 250 million people. Why do we need 650 MPs to represent 60 million of us? How about we halve the size of the House of Commons, freeze MPs pay and let the ferrets fight it out for the seats that remain?

In any other profession the admission that if pay is not increased staff will simply steal from their employers (that is you and I the grateful taxpayer in this case) would be met with outrage. But apparently greedy MP’s regard it as a bargaining chip.

And they wonder why they are so universally despised?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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