Top Tory dodges call to hand back his pay rise in TV clash with Piers Morgan

A top Tory has dodged calls to hand back his pay rise in a TV clash with Piers Morgan.

Cabinet minister James Brokenshire was slammed by the ITV Good Morning Britain host after the inflation-busting 2.7% rise for MPs was revealed last week.

MPs get the rise next month due to an independently-run formula based on public sector pay.

Yet the budget for MPs’ staff has risen by just 1.5%, and the rise is more than for police or Armed Forces.

Interviewed on the ITV show today, Mr Brokenshire insisted the system had deliberately been taken out of MPs’ control and he had no say over it.

But host Piers Morgan said: "Come off it!

"You could collectively all say we’re not going to have it!

"You could just say you know what, in light of Brexit , in light of the pain we are causing the British public, this seems completely inappropriate."

Communities Secretary Mr Brokenshire continued to defend the independent system, saying: "We made that decision several years back.

"Because people didn’t have confidence in us to do the right thing and actually to put it out in a way that was external so we couldn’t actually make those changes.

"It is now where it is."

But Piers Morgan pressed on: "You’re making enough terrible decisions at the moment as it is, what about making one that will be popular?"

The Cabinet minister then conceded: "You can make whatever judgements you like in terms of the decisions that you take.

"It’s the system we collectively did decide to put in place all those years ago."

Parliament’s expenses watchdog confirmed the salary for MPs will rise from £77,379 to £79,468 from April 1.

The 2.7% rise is the same as the average rise in public sector earnings in July 2018.

It contrasts with welfare benefits remaining frozen for a fourth year in row.

Ministers like Mr Brokenshire get a second salary on top – but these will continue to be frozen in April.

Theresa May is expected to receive £154,908 in total.

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