South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes described a suggested 11 per cent pay rise for MPs as “unacceptable” while “many people are feeling the pinch”.
The £7,000 rise was recommended by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and sparked a huge outcry in the national press.
MPs currently earn £66,396 and are still regarded with public suspicion following a huge scandal over expenses in 2009 and recent revelations about perfectly legal claims for heating and lighting second homes.
The Daily Mirror called on every MP not to accept the rise, saying “to take the money during this austerity drive would not only be greedy, it would repeat the backlash of the expenses scandal by turning the public against politicians”.
Speaking from Westminster yesterday, Mr Hayes said the recommendation from IPSA will not go ahead without a further review after 2015, but MPs need to sort out something “more sensible and fair” to deal with matters after that.
Mr Hayes told us: “When I became an MP I gave up a much larger salary that I had previously as a businessman because I wanted to serve the people of the area in the Mother of Parliaments.
“When I became a minister, along with others, I took a voluntary five per cent cut in pay.
“When, as a result of Labour’s dreadful legacy, many people are feeling the pinch I think that an 11 per cent pay rise for MPs – such as that suggested by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority – would be completely unacceptable, as would MPs deciding themselves on what they get paid.
“None of this is to happen without a further review after 2015 and we need to sort out a more sensible and fair way of dealing with matters after that.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has also described the suggested pay rise as “wrong” at a time of public sector pay restraint and has refused to rule out scrapping IPSA.
If the pay rise went ahead, it would cost an extra £4.6million including extra national insurance contributions.