The eyes of the nation will be on Bury today as the funeral of Drummer Lee Rigby takes place in Bury Parish Church. It will be a very difficult day for his family and friends and I am sure the people of Bury will turn out in force to show their support for them. It is a private military funeral and I am very conscious that along with the other civic leaders present we will be representing all those who would have liked to be in the church. I trust the day passes without incident.
I particularly want to thank all those who have been responsible for making the arrangements for the funeral.
There is a lot of speculation and comment being made at the moment about MP’s pay.
My view is clear. Following the expenses scandal in the last Parliament the public and the media demanded that MP’s pay and expenses should be determined by an independent body. That is exactly what Parliament did. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was established to set MP’s pay and expenses. It is their job now not the job of MP’s. It is a truly independent body and one only has to consider the level of dissatisfaction in some quarters with the body to accept that it is not the poodle of the House of Commons.
Personally I have never had any problem with IPSA. I do not claim for many of the things I could claim for which makes my claims much simpler. Many of the payments such as rent are made directly by IPSA. Quite rightly all expenses are published and are open to scrutiny. It is a completely open and transparent process.
As for MP’s pay my personal view is that at a time when public sector pay is being restrained the public would regard it as totally wrong for MP’s to be treated differently to the rest of the public sector. As IPSA are independent my view is that MP’s should be bound by what they decide if MP’s try to interfere with IPSA people will say it is not independent and we would be back to square one.