Northampton Labour candidate pledges £7,000 a year from her MP wage to get youth into politics

Sally Keeble has pledged �7,000 of her MP's wage to setting up a youth engagement fund, if she wins the election in May.
Sally Keeble has pledged �7,000 of her MP's wage to setting up a youth engagement fund, if she wins the election in May.

Northampton North Labour candidate Sally Keeble has pledged to hand over £7,000 of her MP wage to get young people involved in politics - providing she is elected in May.

The pledge was originally made at a hustings event on Monday night, after Mrs Keeble and her parliamentary rivals were asked what they would do to overcome the problem.

In response she said she would pledge £7,000 a year from her wage - the difference between existing MP salaries and the increased wage set to be introduced - to help young people ‘get involved in community life and democratic activities’.

However the move has prompted a spat between her and her Conservative rival Michael Ellis, who says has accused Mrs Keeble for taking the moral high ground.

Mrs Keeble said: “There is a problem with the lack of involvement of young people in politics.

“It’s not helped by so many of them, all the university students, being knocked off the electoral roll through the government’s new individual electoral registration process.”

Mrs Keeble says her Youth Engagement Fund will provide small-scale funding to allow young people to take part in a ‘community campaign’, a twinning event with young folk from elsewhere in the country, or to visit London to lobby government.

“It would not be party political,” Mrs Keeble added. “It would be about enabling them to engage in the democratic process.”

But Michael Ellis said the £7,000 pledge was rich “considering she accepted a £54,00 pay out after losing in 2010.”

“She claimed expenses for bathroom fittings and a new boiler for her home,” he added.

“This is an attempt at taking the moral high ground which isn’t fooling anyone.”

And her Liberal Democrat rival Angela Patterson added: “This sounds like blatant electioneering.”