Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 12:07 UK

Cormack defends MP pay proposal

Sir Patrick Cormack
Sir Patrick Cormack is one of the longest-serving Tory MPs

A senior Tory has played down his call for MPs' pay to be doubled, calling media reports "a bit of a distortion".

MP Sir Patrick Cormack said pay should rise from £64,766 to £130,000 and all personal allowances should be scrapped.

A Tory spokesman was forced to stress Sir Patrick's words were his own view after they were attacked by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Sir Patrick said he still believed his proposal to be valid but stressed it should be taken in context.

The South Staffordshire MP told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the comments were made in May to an inquiry into expenses by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

He said: "I thought the tidiest solution for all this nonsense would be to abolish all personal allowances completely, travel, the lot and roll it up in the salary.


"But I went on to say that this would mean almost doubling the salary and because of the pension and other implications I didn't think this would therefore be acceptable.

"I then went on to spell out what I thought should be done to the allowances."

Sir Patrick, a select committee chairman and one of the longest-serving Conservative MPs, who has twice stood for the job of Commons Speaker, suggested that all MPs' second homes should be rented rather than bought and should be based in London.

Asked whether he would still say MPs' salaries should be doubled, he said: "Yes, I think I probably would. It has been a terrible period and we've got to restore public confidence and one way of doing it would be the total abolition (of allowances) and the salary increase.

"But I accept we are in a recession. It would not be practical or acceptable and the hysteria over the last few hours seems to have illustrated that."

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