Will they, won’t they? Cameron rejects Cabinet action on MPs’ pay rise
David Cameron is resisting pressure from ministers calling for collective action by the Cabinet against MPs' pay rises.
The prime minister's spokesperson declined the opportunity to back defence secretary Philip Hammond, who yesterday suggested senior members of the government should shun their proposed 11% pay hike.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) intends to stick to its plan of increasing MPs' pay from £66,396 to £74,000, it was reported this weekend.
That has prompted outrage from Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Hammond, who said they would refuse the extra money.
"I suspect that the prime minister would want cabinet ministers to make a clear, collective statement about what they would do," Hammond said.
"I suspect there will be a strong mood in the Cabinet that we all need to say the same thing."
No 10 has taken a different view, preferring to ignore the issue for the rest of the current parliament.
Downing Street said the prime minister would not have to decide on whether or not to accept the pay rise until a final proposal is put forward by Ipsa in mid-2015.
The PM's spokesperson added: "The prime minister's longstanding position on this is he doesn't think MPs' pay should go up when public sector pay is restrained."
Ipsa was set up in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal as Gordon Brown's attempt to depoliticise the issue.
Its draconian approach to expenses claims has left it deeply unpopular with MPs and has not stopped negative news stories about MPs' expenses continuing to emerge regularly.
Now its first attempt to increase MPs' pay has resulted in vocal opposition from political leaders, leaving it far from clear whether the proposed pay bump will actually take place.