PIERS Morgan relentlessly grilled Health Secretary Matt Hancock on today’s GMB as the MP refused 10 times to turn down a pay rise in an excruciating interview.
The host was adamant Mr Hancock, whose salary is £146,973, should forego a proposed £3,500 increase for MPs put forward by Commons pay chiefs, after it was revealed 5million public sector workers face a three-year pay freeze.
Matt Hancock refused to decline an MP pay rise on today’s GMBCredit: ITV
In his second interview with the minister in a week following a 201 day boycott, Piers asked: “Would it not be a right thing for every MP that none of you agree to take a pay rise?”
Mr Hancock repeatedly swerved the question, telling Piers: “I’ll promise to commit to come back on this programme immediately after that decision comes through and I’ll let you know.”
The feisty journalist hit back: “No, no, no, no, Health Secretary. This is not a difficult question.”
“No it’s not,” agreed the politician.
Piers raged: “I don’t care if they give you £1 extra. You know as well as I do that no member of this government, in particular, in a year of a global pandemic where we have the worst death toll in Europe and the worst economic meltdown in Europe, none of you should be taking a penny in a pay rise.
Piers Morgan demanded a straight answerCredit: refer to caption.
Piers has had several bruising encounters with the Health SecretaryCredit: Rex Features
“So I simply ask you again, are you prepared to lead right now, on Good Morning Britain, and say ‘I won’t take a penny’?”
A grinning Mr Hancock replied: “I will answer this question when firstly the pay policy has been set out by the Chancellor”
Piers exploded: “It doesn’t matter what the pay policy is.”
Viewers were frustrated by Mr Hancock’s reluctance to give a straight answer, with one writing on Twitter: “@MattHancock Matt, Matt, Matt, it wasn’t difficult a question for a very woolly answer. You only needed to say no I won’t take a pay rise.”
Another posted: “Nice to see matt Hancock would not answer they all be taking a nice big fat pay rise thinking they have done a great job.”
MPs are set to get a £3,500 pay rise while the rest of the nation struggles in the Covid pandemic
A third wrote: “@piersmorgan is absolutely right to ask him not to take a pay rise if we have to take a pay freeze for three years. @MattHancock had a great opportunity to gain some credibility there and fluffed his lines.”
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has faced calls to freeze politicians’ pay as the rest of the nation struggles in the Covid pandemic.
But the watchdog decided to continue linking MPs’ wages to the average rise for public sector staff.
It means MPs, including Covid breacher Margaret Ferrier, will earn £85,000Credit: AFP
They said the increase is likely to exceed inflation.
IPSA said it would base next year’s pay rise on October’s public sector year-on-year three-month growth figure — 4.1 per cent.
It would mean MPs, including the SNP’s Commons Covid breacher Margaret Ferrier, would get an extra £3,360 on top of their £81,932 salary.
Jeremy Hutton, policy analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “IPSA must be tin-eared if it really thinks a pay rise for MPs should be considered this year.
“Public finances are in a parlous state, furlough is coming to an end and unemployment is rising.
“A pay rise in parliament would be an insult to hardworking taxpayers who’ve had a very tough year.”
IPSA’s interim chairman, Richard Lloyd, said it had reviewed MPs’ pay in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018.
He said: “Given the huge economic uncertainties arising from the coronavirus pandemic, we don’t think it’s right to depart from this approach.”
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