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Blair calls for MP pay rises to boost the 'gene pool'.

LOW salaries for politicians are limiting the "gene pool" for producing good leaders, Tony Blair has warned.

The former prime minister, believed to have earned tens of millions of pounds in the private sector since leaving office in 2007, also cautioned that too few have "real-life" experience before entering politics. The comments, in an article for the New York Times, will make uncomfortable reading for Ed Miliband, who was only briefly a television researcher before becoming a political adviser and then MP.

Mr Miliband has also made clear he opposes the planned 11% pay rise for MPs next year, and promised that if he wins the general election all his ministers will take a 5% salary cut.

Mr Blair wrote: "At the very time when leadership is needed, the gene pool of political leaders has shrunk. How many leaders and, for that matter, followers in a parliament or congress have real-life experience in responsible positions outside of politics? "Today it is very common for a young person interested in politics to graduate from university, go to work for a politician as a researcher or political analyst, and then transition straight into an elected position.

"On top of this - and only an ex-politician can say this - politicians are not really well paid by the standards of those who are successful in the private sector. This restricts the attractions of a political career, at exactly the time when we most need the gene pool of our politicians to be varied."

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 5, 2014
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