MPs fail to comment on salary increase proposals

Only two of the five Comet country MPs have released a statement

Only two of the five Comet country MPs have released a statement - Credit: Archant

ONLY two of Comet country’s five MPs have spoken out over proposals to increase their salary.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is proposing an increase in MPs’ salaries to the tune of £8,000.

The MP watchdog, which was set up in the wake of the expenses scandal, wants to bring in the £74,000 salary for 2015.

Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries and Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland criticised the move, and hit out at the IPSA for its proposal.

But the area’s three other MPs – Oliver Heald, Peter Lilley and Alistair Burt – have either failed to respond to the Comet or declined to comment.

Ms Dorries, who last month posted on her blog that she would stop claiming personal expenses, said: “As an organisation IPSA is worse than incompetent and horrendously expensive, having so far cost the tax payer £39m.

“As from the end of this Parliamentary session I will no longer claim any personal expenses, will cover the cost of my Westminster accommodation myself, and I have neither asked for or want a pay increase.”

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And Mr McPartland said he was “disgusted” by the proposals.

“(It) should be abolished if they try to force this pay rise through,” he added.

“IPSA was created after the expenses scandal before I was a Member of Parliament to rebuild trust in politics. If they think this will help, then they are absolutely mad.

“I do not claim personal expenses and commute from my home in Stevenage every day. I only claim for my office costs, such as rent and staff salaries, which are not considered expenses by HMRC or most working people.

“I cannot speak for other MPs, but I take my duty to represent my constituents very seriously and believe IPSA is forcing those of us from modest backgrounds out of Parliament so it becomes the plaything of millionaires.”

North East Beds MP Mr Burt declined to comment, while North East Herts MP Mr Heald and Hitchin and Harpenden MP Mr Lilley failed to respond to the Comet’s request for an opinion.

See the Comet’s website tomorrow for a selection of constituents’ responses. You can also leave your views by commenting below or tweeting us @thecomet24