Susanna Reid was left in an awkward position on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain as the presenter had to defend her own pay check during a discussion about MPs’ pay.
For the debate on MP’s pay rise, the presenters Susanna and Ben Shephard invited former Conservative MP Michael Portillo into the studio to discuss comments made by Sir Peter Bottomley.
Sir Peter’s claim that MPs should be paid the same amount as GPs and that MP’s struggle on wages over £80k, Susanna said: “On the day Universal Credit is cut for thousands of people across the country, Sir Peter Bottomley says MPs who are paid £82,000 a year should be the same as GPs whose average salary is £100,700.”
Michael Portillo, 68, butted in and said sarcastically: “Or TV presenters? What about that? What if they were paid the same as TV presenters? Would that be a good one?”
Defending TV presenters’ high wages, Susanna argued: “Well, the difference is, of course, that TV presenters aren’t paid out of the public purse on this channel. So, I’m not sure the comparison applies.”
Michael then asked her: “But are you saying that because people work in the public sector there can be no market consideration?”
Susanna laughed awkwardly and replied: “I’m not saying anything…
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“If Sir Peter Bottomley is struggling on £82,000 a year then I think he has the perfect right to say that and express that view.”
Michael was keen to continue the conversation and continued: “Let me say what I think is a fairly serious point, which is that MPs get the same amount of money whatever age they are.
“So if you went into the House of Commons at 26 and £82,000 then you think this is fantastic because you were stacking shelves the week before or whatever. But when you’re over 70 with all those years of seniority…”
“There’s not progression,” Susanna agreed as Michael added: “But if you were in the private sector he’d have been making a lot more.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.