It is disappointing to hear people of the stature of Jack Straw claiming that IPSA’s recommendations on MPs’ pay are out of their hands and must be implemented in full.
They argue that IPSA is wholly independent of Government. In fact, independent bodies make recommendations on the pay of many occupations, including doctors, police officers and teachers, but the Government does not have to accept these recommendations and, in recent years, rarely has.
IPSA was only created because MPs were abusing the expenses system on an industrial scale and even, in some cases, breaking the law. What people like Straw are saying, in effect, is that IPSA should reward them for not fiddling their expenses. While MPs accepted that IPSA should decide how much they deserved to be paid, they blocked other recommendations, including that on the employment of spouses/partners (much to the relief of several local MPs).
The claim that talented people will be put off becoming MPs if the salary is not attractive enough is also utterly bogus. We all know that there is no shortage of people queuing up to become MPs – what other occupation offers a commensurate starting salary to people without qualifications, training or experience?
No-one asks anyone to take a pay cut to become an MP and, if the honour of serving as one is not sufficient in itself, they don’t deserve to be elected.