Hartlepool MP Iain Wright says he has kept his promise to donate his controversial pay rise to charity.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) announced in July that MPs’ salaries would increase by £7,000 a year from £67,060 to £74,000.
I have said consistently that I do not agree with MPs’ pay rise at a time of ongoing pay restraint elsewhere in the public sector. It sends out a dreadful message about one rule for public sector workers and another for MPs.Iain Wright MP
The pay hike represents a rise of more than 10 per cent a year, despite the rest of the public sector seeing its pay rise pegged at just one per cent annually for the next four years.
Iain Wright was scathing of the plans at the time and promised to donate any rise to charity.
Now he says he has kept his word.
“I have said consistently that I do not agree with MPs’ pay rise at a time of ongoing pay restraint elsewhere in the public sector,” he told the Mail.
“It sends out a dreadful message about one rule for public sector workers and another for MPs.
“I do not think that this is acceptable.
“I, therefore, took the personal decision that I would donate an increase in pay to charity. That remains my view today.”
Ipsa had provided a service allowing MPs to donate to approved charities, but Mr Wright said he had chosen to support good causes close to his own heart.
“I did not use the central service Ipsa provided because I would have no say in which charities received my donation,” he said.
“I asked Ipsa if I could specify particular local charities, but was told that this was not permitted.
“I, therefore, donate to local and national charities which have a personal and special meaning to me and my family.
“I believe that most MPs who have made a personal decision to donate their pay increase will do the same thing.”
Ipsa initially proposed a 10 per cent pay rise for MPs in 2013.
Mr Wright condemned the plans at the time in light of the pay restraint being imposed across the public sector.
“It’s just an absolutely ridiculous idea,” he said.
“When the public are facing such savage cuts it’s wrong to propose a wage rise for MPs.
“The public would not accept it and I think we need to show some leadership here and say it isn’t going to happen.”
He said MPs knew the going rate for the job when they decided to stand for election and did not go into politics for the money.
“I knew the pay when I took this job, every MP did and it has never been an issue,” he said.
“The public won’t agree with it at all and rightly so, it’s an appalling idea.”
Prime Minister David Cameron also opposed the plans, saying it would be “unthinkable” to make Westminster more expensive.