HC Deb 24 June 1869 vol 197 cc536-53

Bill, as amended, considered.

A Clause (Pensions under this Act payable quarterly out of Consolidated Fund,)—(Mr. Gladstone,)—brought up, and read the first and second time; amended, and added.


moved the insertion of a clause, that— None of the provisions of this Act shall apply to the tenure of the offices of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Lord Privy Seal. He said the object of the clause was to prevent the holders of sinecure Offices from receiving pensions under this Bill; and even from the remarks of the Prime Minister he thought he should be able to show that the two Offices named ought to be excluded from the privilege of pensions. He objected to the whole Bill, believing that it was vicious in principle and fragmentary, and that it met want in a very bad way, and thinking that if people were to have pensions for holding political Offices, they ought not to obtain them in the manner provided and under the conditions imposed by the Bill. What it did was to give a man a right to a pension under certain conditions, which were extremely objectionable; and it robbed these pensions of their great recommendation, because it gave no security that a poor man who really wanted and deserved a pension should be able to obtain one, for it limited the pensions to one a year, to be given at the option of the Prime Minister. The chief arguments advanced by the right hon. Gentleman, when he introduced the Bill, were that they were about to amend an Act which was passed in 1835, and that there was not to be found in the history of Parliament one so good, so economical, so wise as that of 1835. The right hon. Gentleman seemed also to assume that, because that Parliament passed that Act, this Parliament could not do wrong in following its example. They would, however, find that this good, economical, and wise Parliament in 1835 excluded the offices of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Lord Privy Seal from all claims to pensions, because they were sinecure Offices, and the holders ought not to be entitled to pensions. Then the defence of these Offices was that they were held by men who could not do much administrative work for the sake of the value of their advice. That was all very good in theory; but how was it carried out in practice? The Offices were now held by Lord Dufferin and the Earl of Kimberley, two of the youngest men in the Administration, who were perhaps as capable as any in the Government of doing administrative work, and who were, it might be supposed, anxious to have it. Nor was this an exceptional case, for the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster in the last Liberal Administration was held by the President of the Poor Law Board (Mr. Goschen), one of the youngest and most active Members of it, and the Office of Lord Privy Seal in the same Government was held by the Duke of Argyll, who was by no means a worn-out man. Therefore the plea of these Offices being required to provide places for men who could not undertake administrative work or departmental labour absolutely fell to the ground. The second objection to the Bill was, that as the stipend paid to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was paid by the Queen, it was introducing a new and a bad principle, as stated on a former occasion by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, to pension a man from one source of revenue when his stipend was provided from another, but that the pension ought to be paid from the revenues of the Queen. The Prime Minister on that occasion said it would be interfering with the Prerogative of the Crown, and he could not consent to have the point raised. As to the Office of Privy Seal, a Select Committee, of which the present Earl Russell was Chairman, and of which Mr. Cobden, the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Bright), Sir William Molesworth, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) were Members, had reported, in 1850, that the Office was a sinecure and ought to be abolished; but that recommendation had received no attention, and, so far from abolishing the Office, we were, for the first time, about to confer upon it the privilege of a pension. The pensions might involve but a small amount; but a great principle was involved in the Bill. The Government had resolved to carry out economy and retrenchment, but we could not do that unless our economy and retrenchment were strictly impartial and just. If a discharged dockyard labourer came to a Member and said—" It is extremely hard that I, who have been in the service of the Government so many years, should be thrown out of it when labour is abundant, and that I should not have the means of maintaining myself and family;" the reply would be—"The interests of economy absolutely demand that not a single person should be employed by the Go- vernment if the services of that person can possibly be dispensed with." If the workman rejoined—"While you are discharging me you are increasing the number and area of the pensions which you are giving to Members of your own body;" the Member could only say—'' It is impossible for me to reply to your objections; if you wish for an answer you must go to the economists on the Treasury Bench." He should certainly ask the House to express an opinion on the clause, which he concluded by moving.


seconded the Motion.

Clause (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, &c.,)—(Mr. Fawcett,)—brought up, and read the first time.


said, he hoped Ms hon. Friend would not think him disrespectful when he pointed out to him that no portion of his speech applied to the proposal he had made. His hon. Friend's speech was divisible into two parts. He objected to the principle of the Bill, and added that the Government were increasing the number of pensions, and that they were giving them to persons of their own class. That was not the case. His hon. Friend's speech was, in fact, full of inaccurate references. His hon. Friend had said that he (Mr. Gladstone) had praised the Parliament of 1835 for passing the Pensions Act. Now it was not passed at that time, and he never praised the Parliament of 1835. His non. Friend had also said that he objected to the arrangement proposed by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer about the Duchy of Lancaster because it interfered with the Prerogatives of the Crown, but the fact was he made no such objection; it did not interfere in the slightest degree with the Prerogative of the Crown. He must enter a general protest against being bound by the recitals the hon. Member had made.


explained. He might have misquoted the date of the Act. It was either 1833 or 1835.


said, he never mentioned the Parliament at all, and it was most important that the error of his hon. Friend, that the present Government were increasing the number of pensions, should not go forth without correction; because the fact was that the Bill diminished instead of increased the number of pensions, equalized the applica- tion of the principle of law, and imposed restrictions and greater responsibilities in granting them. He did not at all mean to say that the existence of these Offices was not a fair subject of discussion by the House; but the balance of argument preponderated in Ms mind in favour of their maintenance. He would, however, not say much in favour of their maintenance then, because it was irrelevant; but he would be ready to discuss it on another occasion. His hon. Friend had said that the Government defended the maintenance of these Offices in order that they might be held by persons who were not strong enough for administrative duty. He defended them on totally different grounds. His hon. Friend said that the Office of Lord Privy Seal was held in the last Government by the Duke of Argyll. That was quite true; and while the noble Duke held it he applied himself to the study of the affairs of India, and conducted the whole business of India in the House of Lords in the face of great authorities on Indian matters, and the knowledge that he acquired at that time enabled him to carry out all the great transactions connected with the change in the management. He mentioned that to show that it was not a mere pretence, but that there was a reality in the allegation that the holders of these Offices, having regard to the dual character of our Legislature, and the due representation of the Government in both Houses of Parliament, had constantly to perform most valuable public duties. His right hon. Friend the present Secretary for War held the Office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster under the Government of Lord Palmerston, and at that time he had applied to him he believed more than once, but certainly on one most important occasion, when he found that it was impossible for himself or the Secretary of the Treasury to undertake the task, to conduct the inquiry with respect to the most difficult and complicated questions connected with the adjustment of the sugar duties. His right hon. Friend undertook the conduct of the inquiry, and brought that long controverted matter to a termination, which was regarded as perfectly satisfactory, on the whole, to all the parties concerned. These were not by any means the only arguments he could adduce in justification of his position; they were only in- stances which he had chosen in order that the statement of his hon. Friend might not remain wholly unnoticed. But that was not the question then before them. If the House should at any time think that the political staff of the Administration ought to be reduced in numbers, and that those Offices ought to disappear, let them disappear. He, for one, did not think that it would be the death of the Constitution if they did. But it appeared to him to be wholly unnecessary to mix up with that question any sentimental allusion to the condition of the dockyard labourers; and he should say, with great respect for his hon. Friend, that it was hardly worthy of him to introduce upon the present occasion any such invidious topic. The question was if they were to maintain a law of political pensions in their statute book, what was to be the ground of that law? That ground, as it had hitherto been recognized, was that persons who had held high Offices in the State might be without private means, although they had shown great capacity in the public service, and that after they had held those Offices it would not be for the credit and therefore not for the advantage of the country, that they should be left in a state approaching to destitution. That was the argument on which the present law stood, and if his hon. Friend disapproved of that law let him propose its repeal. The Government were then only endeavouring to improve the existing law, and to make it more consistent in its application. The argument of the discredit which would be reflected upon the country by the need and penury of persons who had held high public Offices was just as applicable to the Offices of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Lord Privy Seal as to any other Offices in the State. If they disapproved of those Offices let them abolish them, and then the pensions that attached to them would, of course, also be abolished. What he contended was, that as long as those Offices existed their holders ought not to be excluded from the right to a pension. That was the point which was then really at issue, and it was one upon which he thought the House was competent at once to decide.


said, the right hon. Gentleman had informed the House that he had not sought to justify the pensions which were now about to be attached for the first time to certain Offices by a reference to the Parliament of 1834, The right hon. Gentleman had, however, pointed to that Parliament as a model Parliament. [Mr. GLADSTONE: I used the word "period," not Parliament.] Well, the right hon. Gentleman, at all events, spoke of that period as being characterized by the existence of one of "the most honest, upright, and thrifty Administrations ever known in England.'' Yet, although during that "model period" a Bill was brought in with the object of conferring pensions on noble Lords, right hon., and hon. Gentlemen who had filled sundry Offices, yet the "honest, upright, and thrifty Administration" of that day did not think proper to include the holders of the Offices of Lord Privy Seal and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the list of those who should be eligible for pensions. He hoped the honest and upright Parliament of the present day would imitate their example.


said, the argument of his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton was, as he understood it, that those were sinecure Offices, and that no pensions ought, therefore, to be attached to them. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister said, that after persons had been appointed to high Offices, it would be wrong that they should not have pensions granted to them. [Mr. GLADSTONE: No!] Well, if that was not the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, his (Mr. Chambers') intellect was very confused.


Shall I explain?


By all means.


I stated in the most distinct and explicit manner that no man, whether he holds a sinecure Office or any other Office, acquires, in my judgment, under the existing law, or would acquire by the present Bill, any title to obtain a pension.


The right hon. Gentleman, at all events, said that it would be a disgrace to the country if, after a man had. held high political Office, a pension were not granted to him, and he was left in a state of destitution. It was true that by this Bill no absolute title to pensions was given; but certain named officials after a certain period of service were qualified to receive them. They had heard from the Prime Minister that, while filling the Office of Lord Privy Seal, the Duke of Argyll had time to devote himself to the study of Indian affairs, and to transact a great deal of the business connected with the government of India. Now, he did not think it was right to give any man a pension or a claim to a pension for having filled an Office which was so much of a sinecure that the holder was able to be a student in acquiring knowledge not connected with the duties of that Office. He considered, therefore, that the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton was a reasonable one, and that it ought not to have been treated—he would not say contemptuously, because there was no such thing as contempt in that House—but coldly by the Government. He could understand the propriety of granting a pension to a Chancellor of the Exchequer or a Secretary of State—Ministers who worked hard and rendered great service to the country; but as, whenever pensions were asked for persons who had filled humble positions, the economists were sure to object, he could not understand the proposal of the Government to give pensions to the Lord Privy Seal and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; or, as the number of pensions was limited, the justice of placing them upon an equality with the more laborious and responsible Members of the Cabinet.


was of opinion that the proposal of the Government was a concession to public opinion. That proposal was not to give pensions to persons who had held sinecure Offices, but to enable the Government to give pensions to men who had held high Offices in which they performed service to the State, and whose circumstances rendered it desirable that they should receive pensions. They might have such a man as Mr. Burke in the House—a man occupying an inferior position in the House, but taking a leading part and occupying himself in most laborious labour; and that man might suddenly become paralyzed, and it would not be endurable that such a man should find himself without the assistance which the country could render him. His talents might even have saved the country from an engagement in an unjust war. Such a man should have an opportunity of applying to the Prime Minister for a national allowance.


said, that the policy of this Bill was not, as the hon. and learned Member for Devonport (Mr. M. Chambers) and the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) seemed to suppose, that certain persons should become entitled to pensions. No title to a pension was given to anyone by this Bill. That was to be clearly understood. No person, no matter how great or how brilliant his services, or how abject his poverty, would be entitled to a pension by reason of the passing of this Bill. Under certain conditions the holders of particular offices might become recipients of pensions. Among those Offices were that of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and that of the Lord Privy Seal. It was argued that those two Offices ought not to exist, and that, therefore, no pension should be given to persons who had held them. That was not the question. The Offices existed, and the question was whether they should come within the meaning of this Bill. What was the policy of the Bill? The hon. and learned Member for Devonport said it was this—that when a man had held high Office of any kind he should have a pension. With great submission to the hon. and learned Gentleman, that was not the policy of the Bill. The policy of the Bill was that when a man had held an Office of importance and dignity it was not to the credit of the country that he should be allowed to fall into abject poverty; and that, in the rare and singular cases where there was a danger of such a thing happening, it should be in the power of the Prime Minister of the day, he being satisfied that the person was unable to maintain his position in life, to give him a pension. But this Bill did not entitle anyone to a pension for any service, however long, or however laborious. He could not doubt that the Offices of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Lord Privy Seal should come within the Bill when it went so much lower in the official hierarchy. That was the question—whether those two Offices were of sufficient dignity to render it desirable that persons who had held them should be placed among those to whom under the circumstances he had mentioned the Prime Minister might give pensions.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."

The House divided:—Ayes 36; Noes 68: Majority 32.


rose to propose the insertion of the following clause:— After the passing of this Act any person who applies for a Political Office Pension shall make such an application in writing to the Prime Minister; this application shall contain a statement of the various political offices which the applicant' has held, and the time during which he has contained in each office; the applicant for a pension shall declare that in consequence of accepting a political office under the Crown he was obliged to relinquish some trade, employment, or profession, from which he obtained a maintenance; and that upon leaving office he is left without adequate maintenance, because he cannot resume the trade, employment, or profession which he had previously relinquished. His object in proposing the clause was to strike a direct blow at the whole of the pension system. If hon. Members would recollect what the present declaration was and some of the results to which it led, they would agree with him that this Pensions Bill ought not to be allowed to pass until that declaration was repealed. They had been told that the object of the Bill was to prevent distinguished men from falling into poverty. If the operation of the pension system was to give pensions to poor men only, who had rendered distinguished service to the country, he should be the last to object to that system, because he agreed with the Prime Minister that it would be a scandal to the nation if men, after holding distinguished Offices, and after having rendered distinguished services, should be allowed to sink into poverty. In his opinion, the present Bill would not have that effect as long as the present declaration was retained, because it allowed the pensions to be given to those who did not require them. The present declaration merely required a man to state that a pension was necessary to enable him to maintain his station; and, therefore, it established the vicious and bad principle that the position of an ex-officio Member was different from that of a private Member of that House. To illustrate his argument he would refer to two or three cases; but, as it would be invidious to mention names unnecessarily, he should refrain from doing so, unless the House required him to state them. An hon. Member sat for many years in this House. He was in no profession. He never relinquished an iota of income. He held Office for six or seven years. At the expiration of that time he made a declaration that the pension was necessary to enable him to maintain his station. Now he (Mr. Fawcett) would like to ask what was the position of that Gentleman when he made that declaration? Why he had his town house, his country house, his shooting box, and his yacht; and yet he declared that a pension was necessary to support his station in life, and he was allowed a pension of £2,000 a year. The reason he was opposing this Bill was to prevent a repetition of such gross scandals as that to which he referred. He would mention another case, and as the circumstances attending it were matters of notoriety, he had no difficulty about acknowledging that he referred to that of Lord Clarence Paget. That nobleman left the Navy for a time, and came into that House. By doing so, he rather gained than lost promotion in his profession. Not only did he enjoy a high salary while in the House, but when he resigned his seat in order to take the command of the Mediterranean Fleet, having made the necessary declaration, he obtained a pension of £1,200 per annum, to commence when he relinquished his naval command. He (Mr. Fawcett) maintained that this was a state of things which could not be defended. But how had the subject been treated in the public newspapers? Why, that very newspaper which supported the policy of the Administration with ecstatic and sentimental enthusiasm, after he had raised the discussion, took the ground that as seats in the House were becoming more costly every year, it was only right that pensions should be granted to those who succeeded in obtaining Office. Throughout the whole argument it was assumed that the end of every successful and useful politician must be to obtain Office. But were there no men in that House who had been successful and useful politicians except those who obtained Office? He maintained that all the arguments employed in favour of this Bill could equally be applied in favour of the payment of Members. He did not mean to declare that a poor man who had served his country faithfully should be deprived of the opportunity of obtaining a pension; but he meant to say that the Bill did not give sufficient security that the pensions which were granted would really be enjoyed by poor men. On the contrary, he was convinced that, if the declaration were not altered, pensions would be granted to men who ought certainly not to receive them. It was rather a dangerous doctrine to lay down, as this Bill tended to do, that those only were successful politicians who took Office. All the experience of the last century went to prove the contrary. No one, for instance, could be pointed out within that period who was more distinguished, or who had done more valuable political services to the country than Richard Cobden. And with such examples in view, were pensions needed to induce men to render service to the State? He by no means wished to put an end to pensions altogether, but his object was to do away with the present declaration, and to substitute for it a declaration to the effect that the Member on taking Office was obliged to relinquish some trade, employment, or profession—not some lucrative trade, employment, or profession, as he was represented to have said, but one which provided the Member, at the time of taking Office, with a maintenance—and which, on quitting Office, he could not resume, and was, therefore, left without adequate means. A declaration of this character would have prevented the occurrence of a scandal like the case of Lord Clarence Paget. From the whole tone of discussion in the House, as well as in the public Press, the Pensions Bill would seem to have been defended upon the plea that men required pecuniary rewards to induce them to do their duty in Parliament. He asserted that the moment pecuniary inducements to enter the House of Commons were held out, a blow, well-nigh fatal, was struck at Parliamentary government. At the height of the financial mania, in 1865, an impression sprang up throughout the country that a seat in the House of Commons was of considerable pecuniary value, owing to the income which it enabled men to make out of directorships, and a feeling of distrust was excited, which it would take long to eradicate, with regard to all commercial legislation. It was therefore of great moment to discourage, as much as possible, the prospect of pecuniary emoluments being obtained by men who entered Parlia- ment. If ever there was a fragmentary and unsatisfactory measure he believed it to be the present Bill. With the doctrine laid down by the Prime Minister, that a man having once held high Office should not be allowed to sink into poverty, he entirely agreed; but how did this measure meet the supposed case? As far as he could understand, the pensions were absolutely at the disposal of the Prime Minister. Therefore, however poor a man might be, his obtaining a pension at all was a matter of great uncertainty. If he should happen, just before he became entitled, to displease the Prime Minister, he might lose his pension, which might be given to somebody who had shown himself more subservient. The declaration was left by the Bill in such a form that the evils which had happened in the past might happen again in the future, and they might have the scandal repeated of a man who lived with all the appearance of wealth and luxury, who kept a town house, a country house, and a yacht, retiring on £1,500 or £2,000 a year pension, which he declared to be necessary to the maintenance of his position. The hon. Member concluded by moving his clause.

Clause (Declaration of relinquishment of trade,)—(Mr. Fawcett,)—brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."


said, his hon. Friend had referred to what was undoubtedly the most intricate part of the whole question. He wished to point out, however, that, if there were difficulties in connection with the declaration, they had arisen in consequence of the indisposition of Parliament—a wise and just indisposition, he considered—to admit the dignity of the Office held by any public man, the length of time he had served, or the amount of service he had rendered, to constitute in themselves a title to a pension. For his own part, he should object extremely to admit any of these grounds as a title to a pension, and the phrase itself had been erroneously used in debate. The question really was how they could most effectually hedge about the pensions granted by the Bill, under certain circumstances, so as to prevent abuses. His hon. Friend had selected two cases for remark. It was invidious to the last degree to make observations upon particular cases; and had his hon. Friend been in a mood of perfect impartiality, while condemning the Bill as fragmentary and mentioning the case of a gentleman who, having had a salary of £2,000 a year, took a pension of like amount, he would have remembered that under the present Bill nothing of the kind could happen. [Mr. FAWCETT said he was aware of that.] And, further, he would have remembered that the particular abuse which he denounced would be prevented by the Bill. ["No. no!"] Yes as far as the culminating point of the case went—which certainly was a very staggering one—of a gentleman with a salary of £2,000 obtaining a pension of £2,000 a year, for the pension in respect of such a salary would not at the utmost exceed £1,200. He confessed that he did not see his way to any provision for substituting machinery of any other kind for the declaration at present taken, though the point no doubt deserved consideration. But when the House came to judge of the operation of any measure they would naturally look at its whole scope, and if reference were made to the list of pensions, granted under the Act of 1834, though they might not have succeeded in excluding every questionable case, the real question was whether the object of that Act had not been attained. He greatly doubted whether, at any period since the Act had been passed, one-half the pensions authorized by its terms had been in existence, a fact the significance of which could not be too well weighed by hon. Members. He hoped that, under the provisions of the present Bill, at least a similar reserve would be maintained in future. His hon. Friend by the clause which he proposed had not got rid of any portion of the difficulty of the declaration, and the clause seemed to rest upon a principle which could not be sufficiently defended in argument. Any honourable and right-minded man ought to have no very great difficulty, he thought, in forming a conscientious and intelligent judgment as to whether his private fortune was adequate to the maintenance of his station or not. The large majority of those who had received pensions under the Act had made the declaration under conditions with which, he thought, the most fastidious could not find fault. It would often be a difficult thing, however, for a man to say that he had relinquished a trade, profession, or employment. He had been told by one of the most eminent surgeons in London that a medical man required to have his brass plate on his door and to challenge public approval for twelve years before he could expect to pay his way. Could such a gentleman, although by investing his capital and walking the hospitals he might insure a future fortune, be said to have relinquished a trade or profession by which he made his livelihood? Take a case in mercantile life. Take the case of one of these directors, to whom the hon. Member had referred. He did not know into what pitfalls a man might not slip if he were called upon to declare that he had relinquished an employment from which he obtained a maintenance, when they considered how precarious and doubtful the sources of maintenance must be in the present complicated state of society. He admitted his hon. Friend's object to be good, but he objected to the principle of his clause; because he thought it would be unwise to say that they would recognize the title of men who, provided with ample means, came into that House and obtained pensions in case of their need, but that they would not recognize the title of men who had never had a trade, employment, or profession in the strict sense, but who from the earliest days of their manhood had devoted their time, mind, thought, and all the powers of their body and soul to the service of their country. Was that an unimportant class of public men? Let them turn to the page of history, and they would find that a very large proportion of the men who had conferred the most distinguished services upon their country were men who had never relinquished a trade, profession, or employment which had afforded them a maintenance, and yet they were the very men on whom a pension ought to be conferred. He would not enter into minute details, he would only take four names which occurred to him at the moment—Burke, Fox, Pitt, and Canning. He would rather erase from the statute book the whole of this legislation on pensions than have a system of legislation so clumsily contrived as to be incapable of including them. Under these circumstances, although he did not deny the difficulties of the question, he was willing to consider whether any practical improvement could be made in the machinery of the law, and he trusted that his hon. Friend, would not require the House to express an opinion on the clause he had proposed. He fully admitted the justice of purpose with which he had framed it; but he did not think it would be adequate to attain the end he had in view.


said, he hoped that the hon. Gentleman would withdraw the clause; but, at the same time, he thought that it would be very desirable that gentlemen claiming pensions should be required to put into writing the length of time they had served in any Office, and that they were not in a position to maintain themselves, on their own resources, in a position of comfort and respectability.


said, he would not put the House to the trouble of a division.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 (Limit of amount of pension).


said, that he had three Amendments on the Paper, in regard to which the Government had consented to meet him half-way. The House would remember that under this Bill there were three classes of pensions. In the first class, pensions were granted after "four" years' service; he proposed "five" instead of "four;" but the Prime Minister had objected, and therefore he should not press the Amendment. The Bill proposed, in the case of second-class pensions, that the time of service should be "five" years; he proposed "seven;" the Prime Minister had consented to "six," and to that compromise he (Mr. Fawcett) gladly assented. As to the third class of pensions, the Bill fixed "five" years of service; he proposed "ten," and the Prime Minister had accepted the Amendment. He begged to move these Amendments respectively.


said, he thought that this was rather a serious change, and would exclude almost every claimant from the third-class pensions. The House ought to know on what ground the Government had acceded to it.


replied that ten years was the term fixed by the existing law; and, after consideration, the Government did not think they would be justified in departing from it.

Amendments agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 6 (Pensioner not to hold pension under another Act).


, in moving an Amendment, to the effect that any salary received by a pensioner from the public service shall go in suspension or abatement of his pension, said, that if this Act purported to give pensions as of right, and earned by service, they must be given whether the persons receiving them had other public employments or not. Inasmuch, however, as it depended upon the actual need of the pension, it would be right to declare that this pension ought to be a pensioner's only public emolument, or that, if he received any other emolument, it should go in suspension or abatement of his pension. The right hon. Gentleman moved, in page 3, line 1, after "Act," leave out to end of clause, and insert— Was at the time of his application for such pension, or is afterwards entitled to any emolument (including in the term any salary, compensation, superannuation allowance or pension), which is payable out of any monies raised by taxation or of other public revenue in any part of Her Majesty's dominions, or is received by way of fees or otherwise in respect of his holding any public office or employment in any part of Her Majesty's dominions, the payment of the pension under this Act shall, so long as he receives such emolument if the amount thereof is greater than or equal to the pension under this Act be suspended, and if less be diminished by the amount of such emolument; and if any person is at the time of his application for or while receiving a pension under this Act entitled to any such emolument, he shall forthwith deliver to the Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury a declaration under his hand stating the nature and amount thereof.


stated that this clause was brought up to remedy the defect he pointed out in the original Bill, which would permit a man to hold two pensions. One instance of this kind was well known to the Government; a man holding a diplomatic pension also held a Civil Service pension as a permanent Under Secretary of twelve years' standing.


expressed his obligations to the hon. Member for having called attention to the matter.

Clause addedto the Bill.


asked the Prime Minister whether it was the intention of the Government to exclude the holders of the Office of Judge Advocate General from those entitled to pensions, and suggested the propriety of including it?


said, he was bound to confess that his arguments in opposition to the hon. and learned Member on this point upon a former occasion were not well founded, and he would gladly include the Office of the Judge Advocate General, if the feeling of the House were in favour of doing so.

Amendments made.

Bill to be read the third time upon Monday next.