« Can you trust ConservativeHome's surveys? | Main | Hague rejects Kirkhope compromise on EPP »


It would have been pretty easy for Mr Hollobone to have set up some phoney arrangement and trousered the £85,000.

It's not commendable as such that he hasn't - it's what we should expect - but nonethless well done.

I do think that it's a bit daft not to claim the full allowance. He may be doing a grand job but if he gets promoted to a Party or shadow post, how is he going to cope?

MP's are also highly employable in the commercial sector once they give up or are booted out.

Being an MP is one of those "money can't buy" jobs, so the actual financial compensation isn't the main form of benefit people expect from doing the job. Besides, if you reduce the salary then only those with private incomes would be able to do the job. The pension fund I do have a problem with, especially for Labour MP's.

theyworkforyou.com seems to hold the data for some mps - don't seem to have Mr Hollobone's ranking though! Would be nice to see the list of all 635 ranked by total cost, though perhaps a bit of detail would allow some fairness (housing allowance for Chelsea & Westminster versus Orkneys could mislead)

When our MPs call for increased efficiency in public spending why don't they look at sharing secretarial & support costs? It should be badge of honour for Tory MPs that above salary they minimise cost to taxpayer.

Mr Hollobone is an MP, a councillor, a footballer, deputy chairman of his constituency party, a bell-ringer, starter of Neighbourhood Watches, school governor, and he does all his secretarial work too. I am actually frightened of people like Mr Hollobone. It's not normal to have that much energy!

I don't find it impressive in the slightest.

I do applaud his commitment to personally reading and answering his constituents' concerns rather than allowing staff to deal with this, but there is only so much one person can do.

Does he really not think it would be better to employ someone to deal with the general admin issues? Even dealing with opening the post can take an hour or so a day. Printing letters and stuffing envelopes is a longer task than many think. Does he book all the surgery venues himself? There are so many general admin tasks that can be dealt with by a member of staff and still allow the MP to still have a strong understanding of the needs of his constituents.

Learning when to delegate and what tasks to delegate to trusted staff members is an invaluable skill for MPs. He isn't an office administrator and shouldn't be behaving as such.

Surely talking about "best value MPs" is fairly nonsensical. The "best value MP" is not the one who spent the least, but the one who achieved the most. Although I am sure that Mr Hollobone's record in this department is also very good, it is not a simple case of calculating how much each MP costs and declaring them the best value.

Frankly, MPs' salaries are such an insufficient part of national spending that we should be prioritising quality above any concern about cost. If MPs' salaries were £600,000, this would not be too much for a Parliament with genuine legislative scrutiny by high-quality candidates. The cost to each taxpayer would be less than half a pint every other month. The real question is whether increasing MPs' salaries would improve the quality of Parliaent. If it would, the financial implications are irrelevant.

Philip stood in Lewisham East in the 97 election and was beaten by the national swing to Labour. Despite this many people (and not just Tories) speak very highly of him still.

He has a reputation as an incredibly hard working candidate here, who threw himself completely into the campaign. People like Philip are always a hard act to follow.

I am in no way surprised that he takes on so much personally, it is just the way that he is.

You don't work for an MP do you Alex? I'm with Wat on this one,there is no evidence at all that increasing MPs salary will lead to an improvement in quality.As we have seen from the Alist there are still a large number of talented people who want to be MPs irrespective of financial reward.
In fact I would go so far as to say that if pay and perks were made even more generous the country would suffer an increase in the number of 'career politicians' who have never done anything else in their lives.

It should perhaps also be pointed out that Philip Hollobone has spoken in 211 debates in the last year (3rd of all MPs) and has asked 540 written questions in the last year (21st of all MPs) - not a bad record for hard working, and all without assistance.



Would we be able to have a Platform piece written by an MP trying to justify his or her salary/expenses?

It would make an interesting discussion, I’ve always wanted to know what ACTUALLY happens to the £130,000 worth of expenses MPs get per year, a financial break down by a Member of Parliament would be fascinating.

I don't doubt that MPs need significant office allowances but I’d just like to know where it exactly all goes.

Matt Simpson - Quite so. I apologise to all if my post has been misinterpreted as a personal attack on Mr Hollobone; as I have previously stated, I believe him to be a hard-working and conscientious MP.

The point I was attempting to make was the broader one as to what criteria we use to deem our MPs "good value".

Why get rid of 10% of MP's as planned by Cameron? when they could all have a pay cut.

I wonder if Cameron would axe the ones like Hollobone who don't wish to be corrupt and who want Britain to exit the EU. What does Malcolm think?

Cameron's already banned Hollobone and his chums at Better Off Out from the Front Bench (Eric Forth was one). How far will Cameron go in his attemopt to get rid of eurosceptics from the Conservative Party?

It may be true that, as Lucy74 said in another thread, "The simple fact is that our brightest and best people can often earn considerably more than £60k in the private sector."

But I think a far greater disincentive for our 'best and brightest' to become MPs is how little real influence they have these days. If they really have something to say, they are going to be unhappy in the structure of the modern political party which demands that everyone says exactly the same thing, according to the 'line to take'. If they really have a mission to accomplish, they are going to be frustrated by a system that rewards loyalty rather than courage.

What is impressive about Philip Hollobone is that he does seem to be in the job for his constituents and his beliefs. That's fantastic. For most of his colleagues, the prime motivation seems to be the little scraps of glamour associated with being in the media.

It is a fallacy to say all ex-MPs get good jobs in the private sector. Ex-ministers might but few backbenchers do. They have to start from scratch, some after having been MPs for 10 or 20 years.

I think AlexW makes a fair point - an MP could be cheap without being good value - Philip Hollobone appears to be both, however.

If any MP is reading this thread and would like to rise to Henry's challenge and explain how they use their allowances, they'd be very welcome...

"When our MPs call for increased efficiency in public spending why don't they look at sharing secretarial & support costs? It should be badge of honour for Tory MPs that above salary they minimise cost to taxpayer."

They do.

There are benefits other than money to working in the private sector? Seems very simplistic toreduce the debate to just wages and just sounds like an excuse for the mp's to demand more money for themselves on top of very generous expenses.

Looking at voting records I was pleased to see Mr Hollobone was one of 28 Tory MPs (including Ken Clarke & the Wintertons so not a group of normaly like minded people) who supported the SDLP atempt to allow the NI Assembly to veto Mr Hains viceregal Orders in Council.

AlexW is right to say value cannot be judged by cost but I'd prefer that MPs did look to be more frugal. Indeed it would be better for MPs reputation if there were fewer allowances & expenses that could be misused. We have seen both IDS faced with unfair allegations and the Tory leader in Scotland forced to resign over expenses.

Perhaps they should have a salary increase (of less than £85k) balanced by loss of the £85k allowance so each gets only salary, travel and centrally supplied office PC, phone & stationery.

The additional expenses payments which seem to be "flexed" in ways not entirely related to costs for maintenance of necessary second home also needs revision to perhaps be included as a non-London weighting payment standardised by region.

Rules on incidental expenses need tightening.

MPs could then reasonably claim their office & other official expenses against tax as other people do.

(I'm not suggesting this is the case in reality, but:)

It would be funny if his letters to constituents were wildly inadequate.

(I don't REALLY think it would be funny.)

Anyone should be able to be an MP regardless of how much money they have personally. If you reduce the salary or the expenses then this will bar those who can't make up the difference themselves.

add on;

So much money is wasted by the government, surely money spent on providing resources to Conservative MPs is money well spent?

I think we should be proud that we have a principled MP who could use the expenses to pay a relative but chooses to save the country money by working hard. Shame there are not more like him.

Tom - you made me laugh out loud. Funnily enough I was watching an old episode of Yes, Minister last night - The Economy Drive - have you seen it? Humphrey gets his own back on Hacker's desire to slim down the Civil Service by removing all his support. I always loved Yes, Minister, now it makes me half-laugh, half swamp with the bitter-sweet nostalgia for a more innocent age.

Dearest Tom G,

Only as a researcher would you find it funny to be wildly inaccurate!!!!
Those amusing research pranks you used to play on Shadow Ministers at CCO - how we laughed!
I'd be remiss not to tip off your new boss!


I like the sound of Philip Hollobone, my nana used to say "if you want a job doing, ask a busy man"

It's a shame he can't claim the allowable expenses to spend on his local favoured charitable causes. I'd trust him to spend it better than leaving it for the treasury to spend.

This sort of things eventually grinds people down. There will be pressure from others to conform to the average spend or it makes them look bad.

Phillip Hollobone is one of the most decent MPs I have ever come across. He is a man of utter principle and has an incredible work ethic. He holds deep values and lives by them. His constituents are incredibly lucky to have such a unique and hard working MP.

The problem with MPs pay is that some are worth more than 65k, and some are worth far less. But there's no way to differentiate.

So this debate will never end.

Deer Mr Jones,

Thank you for your letter of the 12th Marchj regarding the smoking of grass.

I must confess I don't quite understand where you're letter is coming from. Grass is incredibly commonplace, both outside private homes and in fields. Indeed you might refer to common or garden grass. That's just a little joke.

Anyway, despite what you have been told, grass is certainly not illegal, although some people are alergic to it. The main point I want to stress to you is that smoking it must be considered conserably unwise.

I am not actually clear as to whether the smoking of grass is illegal per say, and have asked the House of Commons Library to look into that. I have also written to my GP to ask him if he has any medical information about the potencial dangers. I will get back to you, but in the meantime, I really do suggest you don't smoke any more grass.

(Sorry that I couldn't provide this information with this letter - I don't have a researcher.)

I'm afraide that the person who sold you grass was kidding you on. Far from being illegal or rare, it is, as I say, actually very common. But, as I say, PLEASE don't smoke it.

In conclusion, I would indede recommend that you avoid all forms of smoking altogether.

Thank you once again for you're letter.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Hollobone

What??? This guy is knocking back 95K which could be spent on full time staff building up local branch and activist structures? If you read Anthony Wells' projection on the new boundaries, he's going to have a majority of just 108 votes, one of the ten most marginal Tory seats in the country! How can he think that he has the luxury of not taking on staff to help build him up solidly, as a first-term incumbent MP?

Sorry guys but one thing working for the Tories taught me is that Opposition REALLY sucks, and this lot is hopelessly under-resourced to fight the Labour machine ensconced in government. I think every single penny that every single Conservative MP can squeeze out of every legal entitlement, properly declared, should be spent on the greater goal of returning a Conservative government to the next election. That would be the best possible investment of Philip's entitlement. There is MORE than enough work to go around...

LOL @ Tommy G!!!!


Refreshing direct bit of real politick :-)

quite right on bigger goal - only problem is when the cash is expolited for personal gain though.

It does seem a rather noble act and he should be commended for that, but I can't help agreeing with Alexander Drake.

The reality of political expenses is that they tend to be spent on discrete vote winning activities, we can't afford (literally) to allow opportunities to go amiss.

I will repeat my request to Tim to get an MP to justify and explain there total income (office and personal) in a Platform piece.

One thing I would do is have enforcable bands for staff and relief/part time staff, so that there wasn't the scope for pocketing the cash.


Alexander, what do you mean by "bands"? I'm sure there are many ways to improve the way expenses are given to MPs.

The problem with MPs pay is that some are worth more than 65k, and some are worth far less. But there's no way to differentiate.
So this debate will never end.

Not if we just go ahead and cut their salary as those who are worth more and have gained real experience outside politics will be able to pick up directorships, consulting roles, speaking roles etc.

Just cut their salaries by 25% now. Only those who are overpaid will whinge and whine out of self-interest. Can't survive off a £45k basic? Let's have those MP's who believe this named so their constituents can learn how difficult life is for their poor MP.

Philip Hollobone though sounds like a thoroughly decent bloke and I applaud his approach of seeking to become closer to his constituents, which in turn as a secondary benefit, saves taxpayers money too.

I'm sure those who argue that he should 'play the game' and claim every expense going would not extend such generosity to those who live off state benefits.

Surely conservatives would be seeking more private sector and less state sector dependency?

What will be better for democracy and government, more MP's costing us (the humble taxpayer) less whose salary combines a mixture of private and public sector funds, or fewer MP's on guaranteed state funds?

Guess which one has been proposed by the Tories? It seems, it is state funds all the way these days.

Sorry Henry that should have been SALARY bands. Apologies for the error.

I posted most of this on Friday's newslinks page:

The main objection I have is to MPs working in other jobs outside Parliament, taking other salaries - particularly OUR MPs. A Conservative MP, once s/he signs on, should be completely focused from Day One to doing the work necessary to see the return of a Conservative government by building the Party and helping it gain seats and attack the other parties. Dabbling in the City in the morning and strolling around the Commons for PMQs doesn't cut it these days in modern politics if you are serious about wanting to get this mob out. It has to be Game On, all the time.

So if that means we need our MPs to be paid 80K rather than 60 K I don't care. If the 60K is enough then that is also fine. The priority in my opinion is 100% commitment to parliamentary and ministerial responsibilities if elected. Full stop.

Also I'm concerned about 'conflict of interest' situations if an MP has external interests...which comes first? If an MP were also a doctor which type of surgery would come first? : )

Having said that, I'm also not keen on the idea of effectively requiring MPs to be people of independent means though. It would narrow the candidate base too much, which is why I also like the idea floated on this site in the past of income supplements to help candidates from the public sector run for office (especially in the South East).

Just cut their salaries by 25% now

Chad remember the old saying if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys... : )

Thanks Alexander, I agree wholly.

One of my biggest concerns in politics today is what might be called the "career route". Candidates are increasingly being drawn from the ranks of professional politicos (researchers, assistants, press officers etc) however many of the jobs advertised are without any sort of pay or acceptable remuneration. Only graduates with wealthy parents who can afford to keep them can afford to apply for these positions thus ensuring a route into mainstream politics.

I hear myself speaking and hear a horrid, green eyed monster but it does have a tangible affect on our political process. Not only should we have banding but there should be a collective agreement that political jobs should come with specified salaries and never again should full time jobs in central London be advertised with “expenses only” attachments.

Chad remember the old saying if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys... : )

:-) Unfortunately that is no longer exclusively true.

I'm a consultant so I know that you can still get monkeys even if you pay in gold bars...

Much said and debated about salary and allowances MPs should be awarded. As far as Philip Holobone is concerns, he is true conservative. He is worth far more the salary he is getting. He cares about public fund when it comes to using allowances he is entitled to. I respect his decision of not using it and allow the treasury to spend where it is needed most. After all he is not against other MPs who use their allowances. In future if He is promoted to front bench then the situation will be different and I am sure he will show us again the best way of spending allowances to minimum.
Philip Holobone is extremely hard working MP and Councillor for Kettering. If some of you do not like his way of administering, try to spend a day with him to guage his energy and his aspiration to work for the community. It's a blessings to have some MPs like him.

I have just listened to Philip Hollobone's comments on the killing of an eight year old little girl by her father on the news. The only person who has made any sense in the way this case was handled by so called professionals. Over a 54 day period of her life she was seen by 30 professionals, how come this little girl died at the hands of her father? Mr Hollobone's comments of someone needing to be held accountable in the public sector for her death are absolutely just and I hope he does not just leave this here. No-one is above question and accoutability and by saying that it was a systematic fault is just allowing people concerned to get away with this. I am a Psychotherapist working for a GP practice in North Wales. I have seen plenty of clients who have been sexually abused and inform my clients of duty to report even with or without their consent. Yet my clients have been seen by other departments within the health service - no-one has dealth with it or reported such. I find this amazing, I currently work two days a week seeing 15 clients with 5 hours writing up my case files. I don't get paid there is no money within the system I have been told, yet there are social workers claiming to be psychotherapists (after doing a weekends course in CBT) not qualified to be doing this work.
I welcome your comments and hope that you will follow this up and hold someone to account.

Thank god you have the sense to see the writing on the wall.

What a fantastic MP.

Nice to see who the cynics are on this thread.

The idea that MPs are a special class who need special rewards is beyond me. They are not particularly gifted as is suggested by their oft mentioned difficulty finding re-employment. Provided you don't starve, surely being an MP should be reward in itself. I'd cut MPs pays' overall remuneration and would personally do their job for the half their pay. After all we expect a lot of public service employees to do a lot more than MPs for much less (nurses and soldiers for example.

Harriet Harman gave today a very unsatisfactory answer to Mr. Holobone's question regarding Loss of British national identity. Her answer was the standard one quoting past immigration and their contribution to British society. This avoids the salient fact that in the past such immigrants have NOT had the expressed intention of radically changing this society. The Jews have always been a contributive factor, the Chinese opened laundries and restaurans-examples are many! BUT Islam is demanding their own Parliament, Sharia Law and that Britain must become a Muslim society! This is unprecedented and THIS is what worries not only the Womens' Institute, but the vast majority of British people.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker