The health secretary repeatedly refused to rule out taking a pay rise this morning in an awkward confrontation live on TV.
Presenter of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan, said ‘he would love’ to hear Matt Hancock refuse a pay rise amid the struggling economy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Smiling, Mr Hancock replied: ‘That’s what all ministers did in the pay freeze that there was after the global financial crash – me included.
‘Let’s see what the final recommendation is and then I’ll come… I know, I’ll promise to commit to coming back on this programme immediately after that decision comes through and then I’ll let you know.
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‘I will answer this question when the pay policy has been set out by the chancellor.’
Interrupting, Mr Morgan asked: ‘I’m just asking you to say you are not personally going to take a penny.
‘Just say I, Matt Hancock, right now tell Good Morning Britain viewers that in all good conscience it would be wrong of me to take a penny in a pay rise this year. And I am going to put my hand up and lead.’
Mr Hancock replied: ‘It’s very tempting, it’s very tempting Piers.
‘I am a stickler for not pre-judging things. You can’t knock me off the perch.’
‘You’re not a parrot, you’re the health secretary in the year of the catastrophic handling of the pandemic,’ Mr Morgan responded.
Mr Hancock is believed to be paid a salary in the region of £140,000, but the information did not appear to be easily accessible on the Government website.
MPs are currently paid £81,932, but are set to get a pay rise of £3,360 next year.
In addition, MPs are able to claim allowances to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, and maintaining a constituency residence or a residence in London.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority proposed their wages should continue to be linked to the public sector three-month annual growth figure of 4.1%, which is likely to exceed inflation.
The news caused outrage after thousands of workers lost their jobs this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The exact pay rise of MPs is set to be confirmed in December, alongside that of Government ministers – who get paid significantly more than regular MPs.
The clash comes two weeks after the health secretary was awkwardly ambushed live on Good Morning Britain.
He was outside BBC Broadcasting House in London when correspondent Nick Dixon quickly approached the health secretary and asked him about the latest news on a coronavirus vaccine.
‘This is a promising step forward, but there’s lots more steps we need to take,’ he said.
When asked when he would next appear on the programme, Mr Hancock responded: ‘I’m very happy to be talking to you this morning, especially as we have this promising news.’
Mr Dixon tried to nail the minister down for a date, but Mr Hancock simply kept repeating, ‘As soon as I possibly can,’ and wouldn’t commit.
At that point Government ministers had refused to go on the programme for 196 days following a string of embarrassing interview blunders.
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