The answer to thieving, bent and crooked MPs isn't to pay them more; this will only attract even more greedy, self-serving, amoral narcissists in search of a comfy berth with no heavy lifting and the opportunity for some freelance crookedness. As it happens, I believe the current base of between £60,000 - £70,000 is about right - and that this should only rise in line with the nation's average earnings increases.
However, discouraging both the sense of entitlement that MPs have, and their attraction to lobbyists, will require a constitutional change. We must go back to the demands of the Chartists in 1838 and Item 6 of the Charter - the only article left unfulfilled. This called for
(6) Annual Parliament Elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since as the constituency might be bought once in seven years (even with the ballot), no purse could buy a constituency (under a system of universal suffrage) in each ensuing twelvemonth; and since members, when elected for a year only, would not be able to defy and betray their constituents as now.I don't believe that annual elections are still the best answer. Whilst what Lutfur Rahman did in Tower Hamlets to buy the Mayorality - bribery and imtimidation - was once widespread for Parliamentary elections, it is now a danger now largely confined only to Pakistani constituencies. And an effective power of recall if MPs 'defy and betray' their constituents should deal with the other leg of the problem.
Whatever remedy we find must allow men and women of true probity, selflessness and with a total commitment to the public good to fill Parliament and deter the disgraceful bent old wrecks such as Rifkind and Straw from infesting like lice the heart of our democracy.