Pressure Mounts on Cameron to Reject Pay Rise

A cynic might say the wannabe next leader of the Labour Party is being shamelessly populist, but Andy Burnham is first out of the blocks to turn down his 10% pay rise:

The PM’s position on this is less equivocal.

Cameron said in 2013: “I think it would be wrong for MPs to get a big pay rise at a time of public sector pay restraint”.

Last year he threatened to abolish IPSA entirely if they did not “think again”.

Yet yesterday his Official Spokesman seemingly dropped that threat and suggested Cameron would be accepting the pay rise: “If IPSA determines MPs get a pay increase, MPs get a pay increase”.

It comes down to whether Cameron wants to give it to charity and annoy his more shallow-pocketed backbenchers three weeks into the new government…

UPDATE: Seems to be a concerted effort from certain Labour MPs up for elections to get ahead on this before PMQs:

Your Last Chance to Challenge MPs’ Pay Rise

Despite IPSA “receiving hundreds of responses” – and claiming to have “carefully considered every response we received” – MPs are still set for a 10% pay rise:

“We remain of the view that it is right to increase MPs’ pay to £74,000 for all the reasons we set out in December 2013 and which we summarise above. Subject to any new and compelling evidence arising from this review, we therefore intend to implement the determination as currently drafted, with a one-off adjustment in MPs’ pay to £74,000 and subsequently linking it to changes in average UK earnings for the remainder of this Parliament.”

However:

“That said, we invite submissions as to any new and compelling evidence that might cause us to reconsider. Consultation Question: Is there new and compelling evidence that might lead us to amend our determination?”

Handing MPs a 10% rise while public sector wages are capped at 1% seems pretty compelling.

Send your objections to: mppayandpension@parliamentarystandards.org.uk.

Rent Your Flat To an MP, If You Dare

Nice to see the mansions of SW1 getting a look in – this letter has been posted to flat owners near Westminster – but surely this has to be the biggest fib of the election? MPs will be “good quality, respectable tenants”:

Dolphin Square landlords need not apply…

Pie Minister: Cameron’s Colossal Campaign Calorie Count

A busy day on the stump for the PM, who seems to have spent the day stuffing his face. So far he has eaten:

Haggis (350 calories)

Fried egg (90 calories)

Fried bread (400 calories)

Fried mushrooms (160 calories)

Scotch egg (300 calories)

Steak, ale and Stilton pie (500 calories)

Half a pint of stout (135 calories)

Total calories: 1,935

2,000 calories already and it’s only just coming up to tea time.

Nevermind a chopper, they’re going to have to roll him back to London…

People’s Champion? No Sorry From Sarah

Labour MP Sarah Champion is today paying back the £17 she claimed on expenses for a Remembrance Sunday poppy wreath. Apart from a short statement confirming she would reimburse the taxpayer, Champion has maintained radio silence in the face of searing public criticism. The Labour majority in Rotherham was halved when Champion was elected in 2012 following the MacShane scandal and UKIP are narrowing the gap. Is a ‘sorry’ so hard?

“Kensington and Chelsea” Embarrasses Hacks

Nothing like a political scandal to flush out some sloppy journalism. Malcolm Rifkind is standing down from Kensington. Not Kensington and Chelsea. The parliamentary constituency of Kensington and Chelsea does not exist any more: it was scrapped in 2010 when the seat was redrawn. What was once one of the safest Tory seats in the country now has a majority of just over 8,000. That hasn’t stopped national newspapers, broadcast journalists, lobbyists and assorted political hacks displaying a shameful lack of knowledge about their patch:

Nope

Guido wouldn’t ‘bet’ on that!

But Boris has a bigger majority in Uxbridge, oh wise hack?

Really?

BBC.

And Sky…

Et tu, FT?

Partial reporter? Partial with the facts more like!

Even self-proclaimed Parliamentary experts get it wrong.

Perhaps most embarrassingly the Indy even ran this terrible headline:

Don’t tell Peter Oborne, but there’s another subbing error in the Telegraph:

Tut tut.

Malcolm Rifkind Steps Down as ISC Chair and MP

The Chairman of the ISC, the Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind has this morning issued the following statement:

None of the current controversy with which I am associated is relevant to my work as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.

However, I have today informed my colleagues that while I will remain a member of the Committee, I will step down from the Chairmanship.

The Committee is due to be dissolved in little over a month with the prorogation of Parliament for the forthcoming General Election. The main substantive work which needs to be completed will be the publication of our Privacy and Security Report during March.

I do not want the work of the Committee and the publication of the Report to be, in any way, distracted or affected by controversy as to my personal position. I have concluded, therefore, that it is better that this important work should be presided over by a new Chairman.

Will it be enough to lance the boil?

UPDATE: Rifkind also stepping down as an MP at the election. Kensington is in play.

UPDATE II: Personal statement from Sir Malcolm Rifkind:

“I have received tremendous support from my Constituency Association and from many constituents in Kensington over the last two days. However, I have been pondering whether it is fair to my colleagues and friends in Kensington to remain the prospective Conservative candidate for the forthcoming General Election. I warmly welcome the Committee that has been established by the Party to examine the controversy with which I have been associated and to report by the end of March on its conclusions. It will be an excellent opportunity for an objective assessment of the allegations that have been made and I will be happy to cooperate closely with the Committee. However, it is unlikely that it will be able to finish its deliberations until well into March and there, obviously, can be no certainty as to its conclusions. I am conscious, therefore, that Kensington Conservatives are faced with serious uncertainty until the end of March as to whether I will be able to be their candidate. If I could not they would have little time to choose a new candidate. I am also aware that even if the Committee reach a favourable conclusion as to these allegations the controversy will remain during what is certain to be a heated General Election and, indeed, for many months thereafter until the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has completed the necessary enquiry. I had intended to seek one further term as MP for Kensington, before retiring from the House of Commons. I have concluded that to end the uncertainty it would be preferable, instead, to step down at the end of this Parliament. This is entirely my personal decision. I have had no such requests from my constituency association but I believe that it is the right and proper action to take. As regards the allegations of Channel 4 and the Daily Telegraph I find them contemptible and will not comment further at this time. Although I will retire from Parliament I shall continue my public and political life and am much looking forward to doing so over the years to come.”

UPDATE III: No. 10:

UPDATE IV: 

Tories:

“Sir Malcolm has had a long career of distinguished service both to the Conservative Party and the country.  We respect and support his decision to stand down.” 

POLL: Should Rifkind Resign From Intelligence Select Committee?


Should Sir Malcolm Rifkind stand down to spend more time with the lifestyle to which he aspires?

Miliband Weaponises Straw

Miliband is quick out of the blocks in trying to use Jack Straw’s suspension to hit the Tories:

Dear Prime Minister,

I write this letter to you not just as leader of the Labour Party but as someone who believes

[…]

+ READ MORE +

WATCH: Rifkind And Straw – The Footage

According to Dispatches:

The fictitious company
PMR, a communications agency based in Hong Kong was set up, backed by a fictitious Chinese businessman. PMR has plenty of money to spend and wants to hire influential British politicians to join

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Battered and Bruised: Murphy Slammed Over Irn Bru-Gate

These are the headlines taxpayer-funded Irn-Bru quaffer Jim Murphy is waking up to North of the border this morning. The Scottish Sun says he is “battered and Bruised” after a day of ridicule, the Daily Record accuses him of “drinking […]

+ READ MORE +

Tim’s Troughing Far From Yeo-ver

YEO

Three decades of his MPs’ salary, expenses and all those lucrative green energy interests and troughing Tory Tim Yeo is still at it. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, even though he is leaving Westminster in just three months, […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Former Miliband guru Arnie Graf reveals Labour’s disconnect with the working class:

“On one of my trips to the U.K. in the autumn of 2013, I bumped into one of Ed’s strategists in Portcullis House. He asked me if I was assisting the staff on Ed’s trip that was to take place in a few days to one of the regions. I told him that I did not have knowledge of his planned trip.

He told me that Ed was going to give a talk at the region’s annual fund raising dinner and that prior to the dinner he had invited the media to join him at a local coffee shop to listen to a conversation he planned to have with a minimum wage worker. The point of the conversation was to show how difficult it was for a minimum wage worker to get on in life.

There was only one problem. No one had been able to locate a minimum wage worker for Ed to talk with.”

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