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Christian MP spurns pay rise

A Christian MP is condemning the recommendation that MPs' pay should be increased by £6,000 to £74,000 a year from 2015.

Northern Ireland DUP MP Jeffery Donaldson is one of many MPs and party leaders who have come out against the decision suggesting it would be wrong to accept the cash in the current climate. The move's been recommended by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. But many MPs say they don't want the cash, especially at a time when public sector workers are facing pay freezes.

Mr Donaldson said:

"I didn't enter politics because of the pay. As a Christian politics is a calling to serve not only the people that I represent but also to serve God and therefore I don't regard the issue of pay as something important to me."

The pay increase is a recommendation from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which was established in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal in 2009. It will come into effect after the general election in 2015, however, the expenses watchdog proposes to offset some of the costs with curbs to pensions and expenses, taxis, and so-called "golden goodbyes".

Public servant Justine Leigh said:

"It's disgusting, we're all furious about it. We're slaving ourselves into the ground so we can afford to live, while they can afford a bit of a cushier lifestyle, it's just not fair".

The man who came up with the idea Sir Ian Kennedy said the overall package is fair and believes now is the time to act by giving MPs more now but less over the longer term. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have already urged restraint.

However, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe told Premier she would like to see a complete overhaul of the current system, with the second homes allowance scrapped altogether in favour of a 20,000 pay increase.

She said:

"My own preference is that you do away completely with the second home allowances, so you get rid of that controversy. Put that instead onto salaries and let them decide how they manage their second homes."

The problem for politicians is they don't have a huge say in this. They along with the public can take part in a consultation, but it's IPSA that makes the final decision on MPs pay.

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