The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Nelson Mandela's memorial service and Members' of Parliament (MP's) pay.
Asked for details of the Prime Minister’s (PM’s) trip to Mandela’s memorial service, the PMS said he had no further details but confirmed the PM will be attending. The PMS added, strictly for information, that the PM and Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) would be travelling together and Mr Milliband was traveling separately, all on commercial flights. Asked whether the PM’s failure to mention his previous trip to South Africa in 1989 in his earlier speech to the House was an omission of embarrassment, the PMS said the PM’s statement set out his admiration for Mr Mandela and that is what people should take from it.
Asked to confirm the PM does not have to decide whether he will accept the rise in pay until after it has started to be paid, the PMS said no and confirmed the review of pay would take place before any payments went through. When pressed to explain an apparent earlier statement from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) that they would only give their ruling after rises had been awarded and payments commenced, the PMS advised contacting IPSA press office. When asked if MPs’ pay rise may come in after an expected 2015 pay rise for public sector workers, the PMS said that did not fit with restraint on public sector pay – he said the facts on public sector pay were set out in the Autumn Statement. When asked if the PM would support MPs who have already stated they would not be accepting any rise, the PMS said the PM’s view had already been publically set out and that the PM believes the cost of politics should not go up and he does not believe MPs should receive pay rise while public spending is being restrained.