In his own words: Tory David Maclean on MPs’ pay

An extract from the Hansard transcript of yesterday’s debate on MPs’ pay and expenses:

David Maclean (Penrith and The Border) (Con): I have been a Member of the House for 25 years. I have been privileged to be a Minister under Prime Minister Thatcher and under Prime Minister Major. I have taken pay freezes, pay standstills, pay cuts and pay deferments, and a fat lot of good it did for the respect in which Parliament or Ministers at the time were held. Whether or not Prime Minister Thatcher had a pay policy — I am certain she never did — we took a pay standstill when I was a Minister to set an example to everyone else. A fat lot of good it did us as well. …

[The original review body on senior salaries (SSRB) report] compared our salary to that of a head teacher. Our salary was £60,000 and the head teacher was on £71,000. The police superintendent was on £68,000. The senior civil servant, grade 1, was on £69,000. The county council second tier person was on £72,000. The colonel was on £69,000, as was the health human resources director and similar. The comparators in the SSRB report put those people way ahead of us.

There is therefore no doubt that we have fallen considerably behind those whom the SSRB considered our comparators. And, of course, none of those people—except a colonel in Afghanistan—is working long hours. Most of them are not doing 70 or 80 hours a week. Apart from those on the very front-line who are making tactical decisions involving life or death, most of them do not have the responsibility that we have of voting on issues that do include life or death, whether it be embryos, abortion, 42 days or whatever. We have a responsibility to make mega-decisions. For that, we get the pay of a second tier officer in a district council. I look forward to replacing my district planning officer, if the motion is not passed today.

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This entry was posted in News and Parliament.


  • Non of the proffessionals David Maclean uses as comparisons as anything like the generous package of exspences that MPs get. They also manage significantly more people and more budgets than MPs do.

  • Poor old Mr Maclean gets a dreadful mauling for his remarks on … er … ConservativeHome !!!

    Not seeking reselection ?

  • It may be foolish to ask an independent body to set salaries if you’re going to overrule them, but good riddance to him anyway.

    some of those comparator jobs are probably overpaid, but still have more responsibility than a relatively powerless backbench MP who still gets double what some council leaders receive.

  • Please show me the time sheets that show MPs work an average 70-80 hours a week. Subtract recesses and that means 120 hours while the house is sitting. Yeah right.

  • henley constituent 5th Jul '08 - 4:19pm

    Impossibly lax expenses and fat pensions surely make up for a lot, as does being at the centre of things, with opportunities to make money elsewhere by moonlighting.

    My modest proposal is that the candidate should include required salary on the ballot, so the voter can decide how much he wants to pay.

  • Andrew Turvey 10th Jul '08 - 11:35pm


    Spot on – being a politician should be a vocation open to all, not a career chosen by a minority.

    Paid politicians were introduced under pressure from socialists and chartists who wanted working class people to be able to afford to do it. That’s the point of a salary – the comparison with a civil service career is irrelevant.

    MPs should get paid a small premium to the national median wage.

  • The arrogance of the man ! This is a man who became a MP at 29 after being a manager for Securicor. He sneering reveals that if he does,nt get the 10% wage increase he will return to Penrith and become the Planning Officer. You forget Mr Maclean that you could,nt be a planning officer, you are not qualified and have no working experience, but remember that the Planning Officer could be a MP. No qualifications needed and no experience !! This man is a shocker, he epitomises everything that the electorate believe is wrong with “professional” policitians. Lets not forget he tried to have MPs expenses removed from the Freedom of Information Act and in the new Cameron clean up he has still not posted his expenses for public scrutiny.

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