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Worcester's Labour candidate says it would be ‘completely wrong’ to take extra cash
WORCESTER’S Labour parliamentary candidate has spoken out about an 11 per cent pay rise for MPs – saying they would be “completely wrong” to accept it.
Joy Squires, who is also a city councillor, says ordinary people “do not understand” how parliamentarians can justify a £7,600 pay rise in 2015.
She was speaking a day after the city’s MP, Conservative Robin Walker, refused to criticise the proposed rise, saying it was right that an independent panel got to make the decision.
Coun Squires said if she wins the Worcester seat in 2015, in what is expected to be one of the most important general election battles in the country, she would not take the cash.
“The reaction of many MPs to this has been completely wrong – ordinary people just do not understand and think it’s completely unfair,” she said.
“It undermines public confidence in MPs further when they say things like Robin (Walker) is saying.
“There should be a cross-party agreement on no pay rise, for once they should listen to what the general public are saying.
“I don’t want to do this job for the money and whatever is on the table now is more than enough.
“They get very generous expenses too.
“On the doorsteps people still talk about the expenses scandal from all those years ago.
“If I get elected the answer (to will she accept the money) is no – I woudn’t take it and if there’s no way I can pay it back I’d have to look very carefully at what I did with it.”
She said she likes to give money to charity and that she’d seek to “incorporate it” into that.
Mr Walker won the Worcester seat from Labour’s Mike Foster in 2010 with a slim 2,982 majority.
He has since suggested that Coun Squires tell the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority her views.
The authority was given powers to decide on MPs pay after the expenses scandal.
Mr Walker said: “If she wants her views to be taken into account she can write into the consultation.
“I can only reiterate what all parties agreed on, to set up an independent body to decide upon MPs pay – to hand that back to politicians is wrong.
“She is entitled to her opinion.”
So far West Worcestershire MP Harriet Baldwin is the only local MP who has said they are willing to refuse the payrise.
Mrs Baldwin said she would be handing her £7,600 to charity if it is goes ahead.
A report by the authority is due out tomorrow suggesting pensions and other perks be reduced, but in return MPs get an 11 per cent salary rise, taking their annual salary to £74,000.
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