Downing Street has declined to say whether David Cameron will accept an 11 per cent pay rise expected to be recommended by the MPs’ watchdog.
Senior politicians have condemned the plan being drawn up by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) for a £7,600 increase in MPs’ salaries to £74,000 after the 2015 general election.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond indicated that he would not accept the extra cash while armed forces pay was being pegged back – and suggested Cabinet ministers would agree a united approach.
Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the public would find it “utterly incomprehensible” if Ipsa defied concerted calls from Mr Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to show restraint.
Asked whether the Prime Minister would accept the rise, Mr Cameron’s official spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing: “I don’t believe Ipsa have made a formal proposal yet. Any proposal that they make will be reviewed in mid-2015.
“The Prime Minister’s long-standing position is that the cost of politics should go down, not up. He doesn’t think that MPs’ pay should go up while public sector pay is being restrained.”
Ipsa took over Westminster pay levels after the expenses scandal as MPs were stripped of the power to set their own salary in a move intended to take the issue out of the arena of political controversy.