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Mark Pritchard hits out at 'immature debate' over pay rise for MPs

Telford | News | Published:

A Shropshire MP has hit out at the "immature" debate about MP salaries.

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard backed a plan by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) to give MPs a pay rise of about £7,500 – but not yet.

The suggested rise could mean average salaries go up to around £75,000.

Conservative Mr Pritchard said most MPs take a big pay cut to go into Parliament.

He said: "I think there should be a pay rise, but I don't think the time is right now.

"If MPs were not paid more it would prevent people from poor backgrounds and those who had spent their careers as teachers or fireman standing for election."

He said he felt the move would mean more working class people would stand for election. He said: "We don't want to go down the narrow route of only people with lots of money, whether inherited or earned, coming into this place and living off their savings and their inherited wealth."

Mr Pritchard said most MPs stood for election for the right reasons. He said: "Most sensible people would recognise MPs' pay was too low when compared to politicians from other European countries."

But Telford & Wrekin councillor Mike Ion said Mr Pritchard was wrong to support a pay rise for MPs. He said: "This is the wrong move at the wrong time." Councillor Ion said he would be writing to Mr Pritchard to ask him to think again. Education Secretary Michael Gove has led a growing backlash against the proposed pay rise, dismissing Ipsa as a "silly organisation".

All three main party leaders condemned the idea of an increase at a time when the rest of the country is suffering austerity. Labour's Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg pledged to shun the extra money – although David Cameron stopped short of saying the same.

Ipsa's chairman Sir Ian Kennedy has remained defiant after announcing the new package for consultation, insisting politicians' pay had to "catch up" after years of being suppressed. He said the £4.6 million extra salary costs would be offset by curbs to pensions, "golden goodbyes", and expenses – meaning the overall burden on the taxpayer would only go up by £500,000 when the deal took effect after the 2015 general election.

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