"MPs' pay rise will go down like a cup of cold sick with the public"

9 October 2020, 09:38 | Updated: 9 October 2020, 09:41

By Fiona Jones

MPs receiving a £3,500 pay rise will "go down like cold sick" with the British public, political commentator Kevin Maguire told LBC.

MPs are set to receive a £3,500 increase in their salaries - even those that are staying at home - despite mounting calls to the Commons pay chiefs to suspend pay rises during the pandemic.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has chosen to continue linking MPs’ wages to the average rise for public sector staff - although it is reported this hike in MPs' salaries will exceed general inflation.

Kevin Maguire said, "It'll go down like a cup of cold sick. It's a disaster...because, as you say, a lot of people are fearing for their jobs and unemployment is about to soar. It will rocket when the furlough scheme comes to an end.

"People are facing restrictions on their lives, shorter hours, people aren't getting pay rises if they survive in jobs. If MPs take this...there will be a furious backlash. Trust is already low in politicians."

He pointed out that people are not following the Prime Minister's instructions the way they once might have, such as the social distancing, and this pay rise acceptance will cause "such an angry backlash."

Some MPs may argue that it is regulation body IPSA's choice to hike the salaries and it is not their fault; Nick asked Mr Maguire how valid this argument would be.

"Not very valid because they set the system up," replied Mr Maguire, "I know other workers that used to have pay formulas...they were changed by the Government. You said it up, you can change it."

He commented that the timing of this would be "so wrong", with people suffering financially, and MPs need "a little reality check" before accepting the increase.

"It will undermine public confidence even more," he said.

Mr Maguire reflected that overall public confidence in the Government started to break down after Dominic Cummings was excused for his round trip from London to Durham during strict lockdown.

"He getting that privileged free pass haemorrhaged support for the measures."