A BOURNEMOUTH MP who earns around £90,000 a year claims he has to "watch the pennies" because MPs are so poorly paid.

Tobias Ellwood, who receives a basic salary of £67,060 plus around £20,000 for his role as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, said a pay rise for MPs was "well overdue."

Today it was revealed he was one of only four MPs who chose to write to the Independent Parliamentary Standards' Authority (IPSA) to "speak for the silent majority" of MPs who are not independently wealthy.

Dorset Echo:

Following the consultation, IPSA has announced that MPs are to get a 10 per cent pay rise, backdated to May 8. This will take their pay from £67,060 to £74,000. The increases are being paid for by cuts in expenses, pension and severance payments.

Mr Ellwood, who has a home in Holdenhurst Village and rents a flat in London, wrote: "I know I speak for the silent majority (who are not millionaires) to say this increase is well overdue.

"I never expected to be watching the pennies at my age and yet this is what I now have to do."

The 48-year-old former Army Captain said he would be earning far more if he had stayed in the Armed Forces and said: "Those who are vocal about turning down the MPs' increases have all acquired considerable wealth and can afford it.

"Without a competitive salary you will fill this place with rich people and not those such as me who have taken a salary cut to serve here.

"In addition, as an MP, I have no hospitality budget so when, for example, the Mayor of Bournemouth comes up for an annual lunch at the House of Commons, the bill comes out of my own pocket.

"I exhaust my car travel mileage, as I return to Bournemouth most weekends and my wife exhausts her rail travel allowance for the same reason. So we have to pay all this extra ourselves."

He concluded: "I hope common sense will prevail and this pay rise will be honoured."

The most recent expense claims for Mr Ellwood show that, during 2014, he was claiming £2,120.83 a month in rent - believed to be for a London property. He was also paid £9.406.09 for travel expenses during the 2014/15 financial year.

Mr Ellwood was one of 30 MPs who chose to respond to IPSA, only four in support of the rise. The Prime Minister David Cameron had opposed the proposals and education secretary Nicky Morgan and Eric Pickles, the former communities secretary, both pledged to give the extra pay to charity.

Three of the Labour party leadership candidates - Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendell - have also said they will not take the pay increase.

Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Just a week after the Chancellor rightly announced further pay restraint in the public sector, it is totally inappropriate for IPSA to be pushing forward with this pay hike. 

"This unaccountable body is doing our MPs a great disservice: the invisible quangocrats at IPSA may have made this regrettable decision, but the public will inevitably direct their anger at their elected representatives in Parliament."

Mr Ellwood declined to comment and no Dorset MPs had returned our calls.