Thursday, June 05, 2008

Well, of course it should be cut

Peter Lilley MP seems to have hit on a popular policy. Well, popular with the electorate though not, one suspects, with his colleagues.

As the Daily Telegraph reported it (well, so did the Daily Mail but I find that one even more difficult), Mr Lilley has called for a cut in MPs' salaries for the reason we have been advocating on this blog for some time (here, here and here among others): they no longer perform the function that is supposed to be theirs.

What Mr Lilley did on Tuesday was to introduce a Private Member's Bill under the Ten-Minute Rule, entitled Members of Parliament (Pay and Responsibilities). In summary, its purpose is

to require the Senior Salaries Review Body to take account of transfers of powers between Parliament and European Union institutions when making recommendations on the pay of Members of Parliament; and for connected purposes.
The session on Tuesday was the First Reading, which is little more than a formality. The Second Reading is scheduled for October 17, not long before Parliament's prorogation. Clearly, the Bill is going nowhere fast but it is useful to have the sentiments on record.

Introducing the Bill, Mr Lilley began his speech thus:

In virtually every occupation, it is recognised that pay should reflect responsibilities. If people receive more responsibilities, they get higher pay. If they move to a post with fewer responsibilities, they expect to receive lower pay. The same should be true of Parliament. If, as is contemplated under the Bill that deals with the European constitutional treaty, this House hands over more of its powers to European institutions, MPs’ remuneration should reflect that diminution of their responsibilities. If, on the other hand, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has promised, Parliament regains some powers, such as those over social and employment policies that were conceded in the Amsterdam treaty, that should be reflected positively when MPs’ pay is assessed.
Quite so. As we have pointed out before. See above and passim.

Mr Lilley then proceeds to make various sensible calculations about how much power has already been transferred to the European Union and how much more is likely to go the same way with the Constitutional Reform Lisbon Treaty.

Sadly, the muddled and misleading speech made in response by the completely unmemorable Labour MP for York, Hugh Bayley, goes a long way towards explaining why the public does not trust MPs or other politicians. They have no knowledge or understanding of political reality or of the way they are viewed by the electorate.

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