Increasing MPs’ salary will ‘attract wrong kind of people’ to politics

Tony Blair explains ‘unforgivable politics’

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Football pundit Gary Lineker has claimed more successful people could be attracted to a political career if the annual £84,144 salary was increased. He suggested that some of the nation’s “brilliant minds” could be enticed to run for office with higher pay. However, over 90 per cent of readers think politicians should not be paid more.

Mr Lineker told Times Radio that being Prime Minister must be an “incredibly difficult job”. When asked if he thought politicians should be paid more, the Match of the Day host said: “You’d probably never get that through parliament, but I’ve always thought it’s such an important job.”

He continued: “I’ve always thought that if we could kind of tempt the really brilliant minds in the country into the roles, rather than perhaps people that are already self-made, or their family’s fortune.

“I don’t think we really entice the great minds in the country and probably a bigger salary would, but I don’t think you’d ever get that through.”

Research by YouGov for Times Radio shows many Britons rate professions such as surgeons, nurses, firefighters and soldiers as being harder than being Prime Minister.

In a poll that ran from 9:45am on Friday, January 13, to midday on Friday, January 20, asked readers: “Should politicians be paid more to attract more people to run for office?”

Overall, 1,292 people cast their votes with the overwhelming majority, 92 per cent (1,191 people) answering “no” politicians should not be paid more.

Whereas seven per cent (92 people) said “yes” in support of a pay rise to attract more people to the role, and one per cent (nine people) said they did not know either way.

Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts in a lively discussion.

Many readers argued that politicians were already paid enough, with username Drrdf writing: “No certainly they should not be paid more. It is the present pay and expenses which attracts career politicians.”

Username CosmicRocker said: “MPs are already overpaid with the salaries and allowances they receive and claim.”

While username Yorkie 74 said: “Definitely not, they should be paid the same money as an average worker so they realise what their policies are doing to Joe public.”

And username Last days of Brexit said: “No, what is needed is integrity and having the interests of the country at heart, not super intelligence.”


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Other readers agreed that an increased salary would negatively affect the type of people running for office. Username JKD said: “We need people who are interested in our country, not greed.”

Similarly, username rude earther said: “No, they should be paid less to attract people who want to do the job out of love for the country, not money.”

Another, username Joolsaria said: “There is no shortage of people wanting to be MPs. Brilliant minds are not just paid well anyway, sometime they are happy to be paid a lower wage to do what makes them happy as a job!”

And username Nishni Nivgrov added: “Definitely not. It will attract the wrong kind of people.”

However, some readers commented that a pay rise may be beneficial to UK politics, with username borishouseparty writing: “It depends. I don’t mind politicians being paid a fortune if it meant we got the best of the best.”

Likewise, username DanSolo said: “Yes, but they shouldn’t be allowed second jobs. The UK should be run like a successful company, attracting the best and brightest.”

The base annual salary of an MP in the House of Commons is £84,144, increasing to £106,519 as a junior minister and £151,649 for cabinet members. The annual salary of the Prime Minister is £159,584.

MPs can also receive expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, a residence in London or their constituency, and travel.

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