On today’s frontpage I posted a ‘Sun Says’ editorial and its "a poor MP is as rare as a broke bookie" message. The post has provoked some excited commentary from ConservativeHome visitors. "Lucy74" was one of the few defenders of higher salaries for MPs: "The simple fact is that our brightest and best people can often earn considerably more than £60k in the private sector." "Therefore," she continued, "only independently wealthy or people unconcerned with money are interested in standing for election, narrowing the pool of selection considerably." But, speaking for the majority of commentators, "Wat Tyler" wrote:
"On MPs’ salaries we market fans note:
a) there is no shortage of MP supply at current prices
b) there is a growing shortage of demand (as witnessed by low turn-out)
Implication: the price needs to fall."
Speaking to a Westminster insider today about MPs’ salaries and allowances, I learnt something very interesting about the Tory MP for Kettering; Philip Hollobone. Philip makes no use of his £85,000 staffing allowance. I have just spoken to him and he made it clear that he’s not running any crusade on the issue. He has no problem whatsoever with other MPs using their allowance and understands that it would be impossible for a frontbencher not to employ staff. His simple reason for writing his own letters and responding to all emails personally is, he says, that he prefers the directness that he has with his Kettering constituents as a result. He told me that it gives him a sharper understanding of his constituents’ concerns. Very impressive and probably a unique arrangement.
It’s unlikely that Philip will be promoted to the frontbench any time soon. He supports Philip Davies’ Better Off Out campaign and has agreed to write about leaving the EU for ConservativeHome’s YourPlatform in the next couple of weeks.