In touch?! Backbench Tories grumble over “inadequate” £65,738 salary

Alex Hern asks what on Earth out of touch Tory backbenchers were thinking when complaining to Conservative Home about their “inadequate” £65,738 salary.

Tim Montgomerie has a piece up today on Conservative Home explaining the ten reasons why he considers the era of the powerful Tory backbencher to have begun. It is well-reasoned, and makes some good points. Except for his eighth point, which boggles the mind.

Montgomerie says:

“They are marching on inadequate rations. One MP has stopped buying his coffee in Starbucks because he can’t afford it. Another MP I know has stopped going to dinner clubs with fellow MPs because of the expense.

“Another gets his lunch at Tesco because he can’t afford the new (more realistic) prices in the parliamentary canteens.

“Most Tory MPs have taken big pay cuts to enter parliament. Short of money they are not happy and unhappy troops have a tendency to be mutinous. Addressing this would go a long way to restoring Cameron’s standing with his MPs but in this age of austerity it’s also one of the hardest things for him to do.”

A few points of information:

• The salary for an MP is £65,738, more than three times the median income (pdf);

• They have one of the most comprehensive expense allowances of any profession;

• Many have other financial holdings.

For them to claim to be marching on “inadequate rations” just shows how out of touch they are. Of course, it may well be difficult to live the life a Tory MP expects on £65,000 a year; almost 2 per cent of that would go just on your gentlemen’s club.

We reported on the number of Conservatives who are members of these elitist establishments in April:

Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State in charge of cutting councils is one of the 27 Tory MPs eligible to enjoy the library at the Carlton, a club which boasts it is the “the oldest, most elite, and most important of all Conservative clubs”. Membership is over £1k (£1,140) per year – but you can bet the Carlton library does not receive as many visits as any of the scores under threat in Britain.

Culture cuts won’t be an issue for members of the Garrick. Its five Tory MP members include Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve, and the sub of £1,000 per year gives access to more than 1,000 works of art.

So perhaps it’s for the best that one MP has had to stop going to clubs with their fellows; having to use the same facilities as the 95 per cent of workers (pdf) who earn less than £61,000 may instil the sort of compassion which is clearly lacking in the members who vote against children, against women, against the disabled and against the NHS.

See also:

Exposed: Tory legal aid minister’s £97,000 conflict of interestAlex Hern, October 11th 2011

Help stop Tory changes to welfare penalising disabled childrenSam Royston, August 15th 2011

Another broken Tory promise: 31 Sure Start centres have already closedShamik Das, July 27th 2011

Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPsDan Whittle, April 16th 2011

Tory Osborne, Tory Mitchell and Tory Hammond accused of tax avoidanceShamik Das, October 18th 2010

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22 Responses to “In touch?! Backbench Tories grumble over “inadequate” £65,738 salary”

  1. QC

    You couldn't make it up. Tory MPs complaining "because they can't afford coffee in Starbucks"

  2. Croydon feed

    RT @christhegoth: Care to comment @GavinBarwellMP? What's this all about then?: . I smell s…

  3. Tony Breen

    RT @leftfootfwd: In touch?! Backbench Tories grumble over “inadequate” £65,738 salary

  4. Samantha Johnston

    You couldn't make it up. Tory MPs complaining "because they can't afford coffee in Starbucks"

  5. Nathan Grrr Johnson

    You couldn't make it up. Tory MPs complaining "because they can't afford coffee in Starbucks"

  6. CroydonNeighbourhood – @InsideCroydon @christhegoth UK unemployed over 2.5m & MPs complaining about £65k+ salary? What planet are they on??

  7. egg of truth

    You couldn't make it up. Tory MPs complaining "because they can't afford coffee in Starbucks"

  8. Clive Harriss

    In touch?! Backbench Tories grumble over “inadequate” £65,738 salary: by @AlexHern

  9. Sian Balsom

    Yeouch…RT @leftfootfwd: Backbench Tories grumble over “inadequate” £65,738 salary: by @AlexHern #notallinittogether

  10. Jennifer Mitchell

    Sickening attitude! @nasuwtunion #voteyestostrike #pensions #mutiny (via @InsideCroydon @christhegoth)

  11. Rob the crip

    I feel for them honest to god I do, I listened yesterday to PMQs and to be honest it must be hard for these people to shout and moan like they did yesterday, I say give them all a decent pay scale, lets see fuck all.

  12. OccupySL

    @suey2y Tory backbenchers are revolting cos on £66k pa they can't afford starbucks, apparently: on @leftfootfwd

  13. Noxi

    RT @wdjstraw ..salary nearly three times the national average means Tory backbenchers cant afford their daily starbucks

  14. Noxi

    RT @wdjstraw ..salary nearly three times the national average means Tory backbenchers cant afford their daily starbucks

  15. Darren Nash

    My heart bleeds. They can always leave… Via @NewStatesman Backbench Tories grumble over “inadequate” £65,738 salary

  16. Jonathan

    You couldn't make it up. Tory MPs complaining "because they can't afford coffee in Starbucks"

  17. unemployedhack

    This is truly heartbreaking. One can’t help but gain a new perspective and consider that the millions currently without work, on low pay, seeing salaries decrease and the cost of living increase should stop moaning: those choosing between whether they should heat their homes or have their tea are obviously living the life of Reilly. Bloody working class and their whining, eh?

  18. Tartan tabbies: Fat-cat Scottish judges seek pay rise | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • In touch?! Backbench Tories grumble over “inadequate” £65,738 salary – Alex Hern, November 2nd […]

  19. Paul Southworth

    Good lord! Can you imagine having to get your lunch at TESCO?! There are poor people in there!! Who knows what you might catch from them!

    How much do parliament canteen lunches cost?? By my reckoning, after tax they should have £44,000ish left over. Even if we assume that they work every day of the year, they could spend £10 on lunch and still be spending less than 10% of their net pay on lunch.

  20. Defend_the_NHS

    The government (politicians, of course) constantly tell us NHS grunts that NHS pay levels will only be changed if problems arise with recruitment and retention. There are no such problems (allegedly) and so no changes are needed.

    As there is never a shortage of people standing for election to become MPs, then recruitment and retention for Parliament is obviously not a problem. So cut MPa’ pay, expenses and pensions until no-one wants the job.

    I wonder why MPs’ pensions are not being attacked by Hutton? Turkeys and Christmas?

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