There's never a good time to increase MPs' pay, but in the current circumstances it would seem like a self induced wound to vote yourself a 16 per cent pay hike. But that is what is on offer to MPs on 3 July. They will vote on whether their pay should go up from £61,820 to more than £72,000.
I've said before that I believe MPs are underpaid for the job they do, but to vote yourself such a payrise when many of your constituents are finding life very tough indeed would be a further reinforcement of the negative view the public have of politicians. Both Gordon Brown and David Cameron have made clear that they oppose the suggested rise and foregone their own pay rises. Whether their colleagues will show similar restraint is open to question.
There's an opportunity here for the political party which comes up with a solution to MPs' pay and fights a general election with it included as a manifesto promise. Whatever the details of that solution it must include to pledge that MPs should never again debate or vote on their own pay.