- Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:36 am #381533
The last thing we want to hear is that most MPs took a pay cut when they entered Parliament
If we think MPs are lazy and overpaid, why are we so cross when one of them – Mark Simmonds – says he's leaving the Commons because he can find more congenial work elsewhere? He wants to spend time with his children before they grow up, and has been honest enough to come clean as to why he is leaving. Yet the reaction ranges from scorn to outright fury.
I'm blowed if I can work out what he has done to deserve this level of hostility.
It's something much more than envy. True, a minister of state’s £90,000 salary is far above the national average, and there are always a few people who object to anyone earning "too much". But that doesn't explain the volcanic eruption of abuse.
I think Simmonds's real crime is to have challenged people's prejudices. We don't want to hear that an MP might be making a sacrifice, that he might be working longer hours than before he was elected, that he might have taken a pay-cut (as the majority of those elected in 2010 did). When one of them says that he has had enough, thanks, and that he'd be happier in the private sector with less abuse, more privacy and a lot more money, it upsets the way we want to think about our politicians.