Are MPs paid too little? Quite a few of them seem to think so. Parliamentary expenses watchdog IPSA released the results of a survey today which found 69 per cent of MPs think they are underpaid. If that wasn’t quite enough to light the touchpaper, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen very bravely appeared on PM this evening to make the following rather provocative comments:

‘We work in the constituencies and we work in Westminster. In the city of Westminster average salaries are well over £100,000. We work in both those spheres. Now I know MPs who will say in private that every year they are getting poorer. Most of my colleagues on the government benches took a large pay cut to be an MP, and I think there’s a real danger, if you need good people, you need the right people, there’s a lot of exclusion.’

Bridgen may well have a point about making sure Parliament is attractive to the brightest and the best. But his argument may be a little obscured by his next warning:

‘A man or a woman who’s very capable, doing very well in their profession, whatever that may be, with a family, are they going to be willing to take that pay cut, look their children in the eye when it’s Christmas say you can’t have what you normally have because Mummy or Daddy wants to be an MP.’

You can listen to the full exchange here, with thanks to the BBC’s Nick Sutton for uploading it:

Tags: MPs' expenses, UK politics