All the MPs who voted against giving nurses a pay rise in 2017

All the MPs who voted against giving nurses a pay rise in 2017

Boris Johnson has thanked the "unbeatable" NHS which he says saved his life as he battled Covid-19 at St Thomas's Hospital.

In a video message posted to Twitter, he named some of the nurses who cared for him, staying by his bedside for up to two days as he faced the worst of the virus.

But while the PM and his government are thanking the NHS now, people can't help but to remember a time when their gratitude wasn't quite as forthcoming...

You've probably seen references to the Tories voting against pay rises for nurses in 2017 on social media during the pandemic.

But let's take a closer look at what actually happened.

What were MPs voting on in 2017?

In 2010 the government under David Cameron and Nick Clegg froze the wages of public sector workers earning £21,000 or more for two years as part of their austerity measures. This included nurses, whose starting salary was just above the £21,000 threshold at the time.

Then from 2013, any increase to public sector workers's wages was capped at 1 per cent per year. Some people consider this essentially to be a cut, given that this was below the rate of inflation.

On 28 June 2017 MPs voted on whether or not to lift that 1 per cent cap, meaning workers including nurses might get a pay rise. And the majority voted against it.

Was the Conservative Party responsible for MPs voting against possible pay rises?

In 2017 the Conservative Party was under different leadership than it is now.

But essentially, yes. The amendment the parties were voting on was submitted by Labour and the vote was split along party lines.

The 323 MPs who successfully voted down the amendment were made up of 313 Tories and ten members of the DUP.

The 309 MPs who who voted in favour of the amendment were mostly Labour. SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and one independent also voted in favour.

What was the reaction?

Some Conservative MPs cheered as Labour's amendment was voted down.

But it wouldn't be long before changes were made anyway.

Have MPs had a pay rise since 2017?

Pay for MPs increased by 3.1 per cent on 1 April, well above the 1.8 per cent rate of inflation by the CPI measure.

This brought their basic pay from £79,468 to £81,932.

In fact, MPs enjoyed eight pay rises throughout the 2010s, the most substantial being the jump from £67,000 to £74,000 in 2015. MPs can also claim up to £10,000 in expenses for working from home needs during the pandemic, on top of the £26,000 they can claim to cover office costs. The government have stressed that this money will be spent on equipment like laptops and printers, and is not simply a bonus for MPs.

Who voted against lifting the cap on public sector wages in 2017?

Familiar faces including Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson were amongst those who voted against the amendment.

But so did the rest of the Conservatives. With no rebellions, this seemed like more of a party decision than an individual decision. Some Conservative MPs like Andrew Murrison and Maria Caulfield did speak in favour of removing the cap, but ultimately voted on party lines.

Conservative governments were responsible for implementing and keeping in place the austerity measures that kept pay for nurses, teachers, firefighters and police officers below even the rate of inflation.

This cap was eventually lifted was largely owing to pressure on Theresa May's government from worker's unions and the Labour Party who gained 30 seats in parliament less than a month before the vote in 2017.

The full list

Current Cabinet ministers and attendees who voted are bolded.

N.B: Not everyone who was a Conservative MP in 2017 is a Conservative MP today. Some MPs like David Gauke lost their seats in the 2019 general election, whilst others like Rory Stewart are now independent.


Nigel Adams

Bim Afolami

Adam Afriyie

Peter Aldous

Lucy Allan

Heidi Allen

Stuart Andrew

Edward Argar

Victoria Atkins

Richard Bacon

Kemi Badenoch

Steven Baker

Harriett Baldwin

Steve Barclay

John Baron

Guto Bebb

Henry Bellingham

Richard Benyon

Sir Paul Beresford

Jake Berry

Bob Blackman

Crispin Blunt

Nick Boles

Peter Bone

Peter Bottomley

Andrew Bowie

Ben Bradley

Karen Bradley

Graham Brady

Jack Brereton

Andrew Bridgen

Steve Brine

James Brokenshire

Fiona Bruce

Robert Buckland

Alex Burghart

Conor Burns

Alistair Burt

Alun Cairns

James Cartlidge

Bill Cash

Maria Caulfield

Alex Chalk

Rehman Chishti

Christopher Chope

Jo Churchill

Greg Clark

Colin Clark

Kenneth Clarke

Simon Clarke

James Cleverly

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

Thérèse Coffey

Damian Collins

Alberto Costa

Robert Courts

Geoffrey Cox

Stephen Crabb

Tracey Crouch

Chris Davies

David Davies

Glyn Davies

Mims Davies

Philip Davies

David Davis

Caroline Dinenage

Jonathan Djanogly

Leo Docherty

Julia Dockerill

Michelle Donelan

Nadine Dorries

Steve Double

Oliver Dowden

Jackie Doyle-Price

Richard Drax

James Duddridge

David Duguid

Alan Duncan

Iain Duncan Smith

Philip Dunne

Michael Ellis

Tobias Ellwood

Charlie Elphicke

George Eustice

Nigel Evans

David Evennett

Michael Fallon

Suella Fernandes

Mark Field

Vicky Ford

Kevin Foster

Liam Fox

Mark Francois

Lucy Frazer

George Freeman

Mike Freer

Marcus Fysh

Sir Roger Gale

Mark Garnier

David Gauke

Nusrat Ghani

Nick Gibb

Cheryl Gillan

John Glen

Zac Goldsmith

Robert Goodwill

Michael Gove

Luke Graham

Richard Graham

Helen Grant

Bill Grant

James Gray

Chris Grayling

Chris Green

Damian Green

Justine Greening

Dominic Grieve

Andrew Griffiths 

Sam Gyimah

Kirstene Hair

Robert Halfon

Luke Hall

Philip Hammond

Stephen Hammond

Matt Hancock

Greg Hands

Mark Harper

Richard Harrington

Rebecca Harris

Trudy Harrison

Simon Hart

John Hayes

Oliver Heald

James Heappey

Chris Heaton-Harris

Peter Heaton-Jones

Gordon Henderson

Nick Herbert

Damian Hinds

Simon Hoare

George Hollingbery

Kevin Hollinrake

Philip Hollobone

Adam Holloway

John Howell

Nigel Huddleston

Eddie Hughes

Jeremy Hunt

Nick Hurd

Alister Jack

Margot James

Sajid Javid

Ranil Jayawardena

Bernard Jenkin

Andrea Jenkyns

Robert Jenrick

Boris Johnson

Dr Caroline Johnson

Gareth Johnson

Jo Johnson

Andrew Jones

Marcus Jones

David Jones

Daniel Kawczynski

Gillian Keegan

Seema Kennedy

Stephen Kerr

Sir Greg Knight

Julian Knight

Kwasi Kwarteng

John Lamont

Mark Lancaster

Pauline Latham

Andrea Leadsom

Phillip Lee

Jeremy Lefroy

Edward Leigh

Oliver Letwin

Andrew Lewer

Brandon Lewis

Julian Lewis

Ian Liddell-Grainger

David Lidington

Jack Lopresti

Jonathan Lord

Tim Loughton

Craig Mackinlay

Rachel Maclean

Anne Main

Alan Mak

Kit Malthouse

Scott Mann

Paul Masterson

Theresa May

Paul Maynard

Patrick McLoughlin

Stephen McPartland

Esther McVey

Mark Menzies

Johnny Mercer

Huw Merriman

Stephen Metcalfe

Maria Miller

Amanda Milling

Nigel Mills

Anne Milton

Andrew Mitchell

Damien Moore

Penny Mordaunt

Nicky Morgan

Anne Marie Morris

David Morris

James Morris

Wendy Morton

David Mundell

Sheryll Murray

Andrew Murrison

Bob Neill

Sarah Newton

Caroline Nokes

Jesse Norman

Neil O'Brien

Matthew Offord​

Guy Opperman

Neil Parish

Priti Patel

Owen Paterson

Mark Pawsey

Mike Penning

John Penrose

Andrew Percy

Claire Perry

Chris Philp

Christopher Pincher

Daniel Poulter

Rebecca Pow

Victoria Prentis

Mark Prisk

Mark Pritchard

Tom Pursglove

Jeremy Quin

Will Quince

Dominic Raab

John Redwood

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Laurence Robertson

Mary Robinson

Andrew Rosindell

Douglas Ross

Lee Rowley

Amber Rudd

David Rutley

Antionette Sandbach

Paul Scully

Bob Seely

Andrew Selous

Grant Shapps

Alok Sharma

Alec Shelbrooke

Keith Simpson

Chris Skidmore

Chloe Smith

Henry Smith

Julian Smith

Royston Smith

Sir Nicholas Soames

Anna Soubry

Caroline Spelman

Mark Spencer

Andrew Stephenson

John Stevenson

Bob Stewart

Iain Stewart

Rory Stewart

Gary Streeter

Mel Stride

Graham Stuart

Julian Sturdy

Rishi Sunak

Desmond Swayne

Hugo Swire

Robert Syms

Derek Thomas

Ross Thomson

Maggie Throup

Kelly Tolhurst

Justin Tomlinson

Michael Tomlinson

Craig Tracey

David Tredinnick

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Elizabeth Truss

Thomas Tugendhat

Ed Vaizey

Shailesh Vara

Martin Vickers

Theresa Villiers

Charles Walker

Robin Walker

Ben Wallace

David Warburton

Matt Warman

Giles Watling

Helen Whately

Heather Wheeler

Craig Whittaker

John Whittingdale

Bill Wiggin

Gavin Williamson

Sarah Wollaston

Mike Wood

William Wragg

Jeremy Wright

Nadhim Zahawi


Gregory Campbell

Nigel Dodds

Jeffrey Donaldson

Paul Girvan

Ian Paisley

Emma Little Pengelly

Gavin Robinson

Jim Shannon

David Simpson

Sammy Wilson

So has the cap on pay rises for nurses been lifted yet? 

In September of 2017 Theresa May began to show flexibility, allowing pay rises for police officers and prison workers. 

Then in March 2018 she lifted the cap on pay rises for NHS workers. 

Unions including Unison and the Royal College of Nursing agreed on a pay rise of 6.5 per cent over three years for nurses, paramedics, midwives and healthcare assistants.

This would take starting pay for nurses from around £22,000 in 2018 to £25,000 next year. 

Will nurses be paid more because of the coronavirus outbreak? 

Matt Hancock has said that he is "sympathetic" to the argument that the nurses who are risking their lives to protect us from Covid-19 should be paid more, but that "now is not the moment to enter into a pay negotiation"

The Health Secretary has also been criticised for not knowing how many nurses had died of the virus when appearing on BBC Question Time

He later paid tribute to those who had lost their lives to coronavirus whilst working for the NHS. 

Hancock might think now is not the time, but what better time could there be to give nurses the pay they deserve?

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