THE BLOG
27/02/2015 11:41 GMT | Updated 29/04/2015 06:59 BST

We Must End This Culture of Dishonesty and Distrust and Replace It With One of Honesty and Integrity

For politicians to make the case about being underpaid is inappropriate given the sacrifices being asked of the British public and its work force.

Let's not forget it is because of the actions of the last Labour government that the country is in the state it finds itself in.

How anyone can therefore justify that politicians should be entitled to a larger salary is beyond me. Regardless of whether they caused the crash or are fixing the mess, it is outrageous to think they should be awarded a hefty pay rise at this time.

The matter of principle is that should I be elected I could not accept an 11% pay rise funded by the British taxpayer. I could not take a pay rise funded by those very same people who had nothing to do with the economic crash but have contributed more than their fair share.

And by helping to ensure our economy's recovery, they have seen their income stifled. We are on the road to recovery but there is more to be done.

That's hardly fair.

MP salaries are now independently set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which means they cannot be rejected. The difference however can be given back. And this is exactly what I will do.

I will give something back to those people who have put their trust in me for the good of our community.

I have put myself forward for election in order to campaign towards bringing an end to child poverty in the UK by 2020. This is about public duty not personal gain. If the state of the economy means asking for sacrifices, I cannot exclude myself and not apply those same rules.

Indeed I do not even see it as a sacrifice, but a great honour to contribute the £7,000 extra to set up a new charity to provide educational opportunities and grants for Brent children.

The Stronger Children Foundation will be based on the philosophy of 19th Century African-American slave, social reformer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Douglass said: "It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men" and I firmly believe it is easier to build stronger children than to repair broken adults.

By investing in education, we can spread opportunity and give the poorest children the best start in life and a much needed route out of poverty.

I grew up in Brent, I grew up in poverty and I know what it takes to escape. There is no more powerful weapon in the fight against poverty than education. The elimination of child poverty in the UK by 2020 should be the greatest political and social aspiration of our time.

That is why I will contribute my pay rise, if elected, to go towards meeting that goal in Brent.

What's more, I will not take a second job. I will be an open, transparent and accountable MP. I will keep an open constituency office so that everybody can access help and support whenever they need it.

For decades our political system has been muddied by politicians seeking to profit from politics. It's a disgraceful practice and one which has led to a feeling of apathy among the electorate.

We have to end this culture of dishonesty and distrust and replace it with one of honesty and integrity.

The role of a politician is more than just a job. It is an honour and privilege. Members of Parliament exist to serve the communities that they have been elected to represent. For me, you can't put a price on that.

Ibrahim Taguri is the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Brent Central