POLITICS
01/07/2013 11:29 BST | Updated 01/07/2013 19:25 BST

Conservative Mark Pritchard: MPs Deserve A Pay Rise, But Not Right Now

AP
MPs may be given a pay rise

Restricting MPs pay to its current level will result in a House of Commons made up only of rich people who can afford to live of their existing wealth, a senior Tory MP has warned.

Mark Pritchard, The MP for The Wrekin, criticised the "immature" debate in the press over how much politicians are paid and said journalists needed to stop questioning the motivation of politicians.

"I think there should be a pay rise, but I don't think the time is right now," he said. "The majority of people who came into parliament took a major pay cut."

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is reported to be considering setting a pay rise of around £7,500, taking an MP's salary to £75,000.

David Cameron has said he had urged the body to "show restraint" and claimed it would be "unthinkable" to make Westminster more expensive to the taxpayer.

But speaking to Sky News outside parliament, Pritchard said if MPs were not paid more it would prevent people from poor backgrounds and those who had spent their careers as teachers or fireman from standing for election.

"We don't want to go back to just very wealthy people coming to this place," he said. "The fact is we are driving good people away from this House of Commons."

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"The majority of MPs come to the House of Commons for the right reasons, with a sense of public service and a sense of vocation," he said.

"I don't think the motivation of the majority politicians should be questioned. Let's not question the integrity of MPs, let's not have an immature debate about pay."

"We dont want to go down the narrow route of only people with lots of money, whether inherited or earned, coming into this place and are living off their savings and their inherited wealth," he said.

Pritchard said "most sensible people" would recognise MPs pay was too low when compared to politicians from other European countries.

And he said MPs could not win in the eyes of the media as they were attacked if they earned money from other jobs but were also attacked if they shunned outside work but asked for a pay increase. "Everything we do we are criticised," he said.