A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

MPs' pay

My solution to the calls from some MPs for a pay increase from £60k to £100k:

give them the pay increase but cut the number of MPs to 388 so the total bill remains the same.

This would still be more than enough members to provide ministers and opposition front benches and would guarantee that every remaining backbencher had a meaningful scrutiny role on a select committee.

The US manages with 435 Congressmen and 100 senators for a population 5 times larger than us.

Independent salary review bodies have consistently given Directly Elected Mayors more pay than backbench MPs because of the executive powers and management role they have, so let's see council leaders rewarded properly across the country and some of our surplus legislators encouraged to go back into their communities and run the local council.

Just an idea, what do people think?


Blogger Scrybe said...

The US can arguably manage with considerably less representatives per head than the UK because much legislation is passed at a local level owing to its federal composition, which the UK lacks (we are, at best, semi-federal). If you counted all the elected representatives of each individual state (who pass the aforementioned legislation), you'd find it told a different story.

Cutting the no. of MPs would also cut the constituency link (I don't know how you stand on that) although, as you point out, the remaining backbenchers would have scrutiny committees to fill their time with. The question is, how much power/influence do these committees have and is it sufficient vis a vis the power of central government. And there, I think its fair to say, any student (or researcher) of politics would offer a resounding "no."

All in alll? B-, some good ideas but they need developing.

8:43 am, December 05, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some backbenchers decline to serve on scrutiny committees, and there is no way they can be forced to - Dennis Skinner for instance on Labour side, Peter Tapsall on the Tories.

10:37 am, December 05, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Of course they can be forced to - whips force councillors to be on committees.

10:40 am, December 05, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

On second thoughts even I couldn't force Dennis to go on a select committee but I think my point was more about a smaller number of MPs meaning everyone who wanted to could be on one - and it would probably be more likely to be the one they wanted.

On Scrybe's points - it wouldn't break the constituency link - the constituencies would just be bigger. There is no constitutional principle that says "every MP shall represent approximately one large town or half a small London borough" - it's just historical accident and in few cases do seats mirror "real" or "natural" community boundaries.

10:57 am, December 05, 2006

Anonymous LeftrightLeftright said...

The GLA constituencies - roughly two boroughs apiece have been a disaster in terms of constituency links - they just do not feature on people's radar, and I do not think it is anything to do with the relative newness of the GLA as a body.

The supposed size of CLPs being equal is a myth adhered to only by the Electoral Commission. In fact, there are differences of up to 19 or 20,000 in constituency electorates. i do think there is a strong case, though not unproblematic, for drawing constuency boudaries along - mostly - geographical lines and defintiely avouiding situations where wards are split across constituencies or boroughs.

3:10 pm, December 05, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The supposed size of CLPs being equal is a myth adhered to only by the Electoral Commission. In fact, there are differences of up to 19 or 20,000 in constituency electorates"

Taking the 2 extreme cases, the Isle of Wight has more than 100,000 electors and Na h-Eileanan an Iar has just barely more than 20,000 voters

4:12 pm, December 05, 2006

Blogger Harry Perkins said...

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that MPs should be on the salary of an average skilled worker. How can we trust our MPs to truly represent us when they enjoy a lifestyle utterly divorced from that of the vast majority of the population?

Furthermore, why your silence on Trident, Nukey? Such was the importance of the issue, I've even ended my prolonged leave.

4:17 pm, December 05, 2006


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
OfficeDepot Discount