Nearly 70 per cent of MPs believe that a salary of £65,738 is not enough and they should be paid up to 32 per cent more – despite being told that they should not see their pay rise by any more than 1 per cent.

In a survey by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), this view was held by 47 per cent of Conservative MPs (who thought they should get £96,740), 39 per cent of Labour MPs (£77,322) and 9 per cent of Lib Dems (£78,361).

Ipsa’s chairman Sir Ian Kennedy pointed out that in the past, MPs had agreed among themselves what pay and pensions they should get. This new approach of independent decision-making marked “a real and important change and another crucial step in helping parliament to regain the trust of the public”, he said, adding: “We remain committed to listening and I would urge people to get involved in this debate.”

Commenting on the survey, David Cameron’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister’s view is that MPs’ pay is a matter for Ipsa. The ‘I’ in Ipsa stands for ‘independent’.”

However, public sector unions said that the findings showed that MPs from all parties had real contempt for the plight of families across the country struggling to make ends meet.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “At a time when millions of workers are getting zero pay rises, the idea that MPs believe they deserve a 32 per cent increase is living in cloud cuckoo land. MPs should get real about pay.”

• Some reports today have claimed that the cost of ‘keeping’ an MEP is around £1.8m a year. This claim was made nearly FOUR years ago on the Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum, which said: “Jun 4, 2009 – On average UK MPs cost GBP 360k a head. MEPs cost GBP 1.8m a head. MEPs have voted to keep their expenses secret.”