How much should MPs get paid?

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In an ideal world we would not need to be represented by MPs, but as things stand the question of their remuneration will not go away and needs to be addressed. The general line MPs and the media are taking on the expenses dibacle is that MP fraud grew out of the politically charged problem of MPs not want ing to be seen to award themselves more wages. Frankly this is just an excuse to justify their behaviour and should be wholly ignored. Give or take the odd thousand either way – as of today – £64,000 is ample reward for the job of an MP.

Politics is a career these days. Young men and women decide at an early age to charm and smarm their way into political office. The profession of the politician is much the same as any other and should be treated as such. Of course they deserve a decent wage, but they already have one, especially given the bonus culture.

By bonus culture I don’t mean MPs dishonest and fraudulent expenditure claims, I mean the lucrative advantages of getting to the top of their profession: speaker fees, non-executive directorships, TV series and autobiographies. Like other professions, getting to the top certainly pays, as 'Tony Blair Inc.' explicitly testifies.

So if it is agreed that MPs should be earning as much as they are legitimately being paid now, how should this figure change over time? I would not tie it with any measure of inflation (who knows what that could lead to?) but instead link it to ebbs and flows in equivalent executive pay; excluding public sector pay for obvious reasons.