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(Photo: House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images)
A Tory MP has described how members of parliament struggle on their £81,932 annual salary and deserve a pay rise – on the same day benefits were cut for millions of people.
Sir Peter Bottomley, 77, told the New Statesman that MPs should see their pay increased by around £20,000 to bring them in line with GPs.
A family doctor’s average salary in England is £100,700. The average salary across the UK was just over £31,000.
The longest-serving MP in the Commons, which means he is referred to as the Father of the House, said the financial settlement was “desperately difficult” for many of his colleagues.
Meanwhile, the Department of Work and Pensions brought in a cut to the Universal Credit uplift on Wednesday – a move that will hit 5.8 million people on the benefits scheme by £1,000-a-year.
Watch: 'Level up' the country by scrapping benefits cut and backing pay rises, Boris Johnson told
The MP for Worthing West, a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s, said: “I take the view that being an MP is the greatest honour you could have, but a general practitioner in politics ought to be paid roughly the same as a general practitioner in medicine.
“Doctors are paid far too little nowadays. But if they would get roughly £100,000 a year, the equivalent for an MP to get the same standard of living would be £110-£115,000 a year – it’s never the right time, but if your MP isn’t worth the money, it’s better to change the MP than to change the money.”
While conceding he is not struggling financially, Sir Peter said the situation is “desperately difficult” for new MPs, adding: “I don’t know how they manage. It’s really grim.”
When asked what kept him in the Commons, Sir Peter said: “I’m still an MP because I’m still alive and people vote for me.”
Also on the same day as the £20-a-week Universal Credit cut, work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey was caught on camera singing karaoke to ‘The Time Of My Life’ at the annual Conservative Party conference.
The uplift was introduced to help ease financial concerns for those on Universal Credit throughout the pandemic, but the government now believes removing it will incentivise people to get back to work.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.