The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which sets MPs’ pay, is currently consulting on a proposed £3,360 pay rise for all MPs, which would their annual salary to £85,291.
Plans for the 4.1 per cent hike sparked fury when they were set out in October, with a number of MPs saying they will donate any rise to charity.
And the issue has become even more sensitive amid reports that chancellor Rishi Sunak will impose a pay freeze on many public sector workers in his spending review on Wednesday, in an attempt to rein in the massive increase in state borrowing resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Health secretary Matt Hancock struggled this morning when asked repeatedly whether he would personally take the cash, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I’ll let you know.”
But Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson for the first time said the PM did not think the rise should go ahead.
The spokesperson said: “Given the circumstances, the prime minister doesn’t believe that MPs should be receiving a pay rise.”
Mr Johnson has already frozen ministerial salaries, which are under his control. But he has no power to halt the rise for MPs, which is set independently by Ipsa and implemented automatically whether MPs want to receive them or not.
The annual rise for MPs is based on a comparison with public sector pay and is subject to a consultation process which ends in November, with a final decision expected next month and the rise taking effect from April 2021.
Successive prime ministers since 2010 have kept ministerial salaries unchanged to avoid a political backlash.