HC Deb 01 June 1883 vol 279 cc1566-8

Resolutions [31st May] reported.

Resolutions 1 to 6 agreed to.

Resolution 7.


said, he had to apologise that he was not in the House when this Vote was taken yesterday. He wished to make an appeal to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Courtney) which he had previously made to the noble Lord his lamented Predecessor (Lord Frederick Cavendish); and he was glad to be able to make this appeal in the presence of the Speaker and of the Prime Minister, who, he was sure, were better informed upon this question than any other hon. or right hon. Gentleman could be. He (Mr. E. N. Fowler) wished to appeal to the Government to consider whether they could not, in another year, increase this Vote. He was perfectly aware of the fact that it was held to be an unpopular thing to attempt to increase a Vote; but he thought, considering the very important services that the officers of the House of Commons rendered the country at large, a suggestion for increase was a matter which the Government might very properly consider. He knew it had sometimes been argued, on the other hand, in Committee of Supply, that the proper course, in order to put the salaries paid to the officers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords on an equal footing, that the salaries of the former should be reduced rather than that of the latter should be increased. He believed, however, that that course would be impraticable, for the reason that the House of Lords had given up certain funds they had at their disposal on condition that their officers should be adequately remunerated. That was an honourable understanding with the other House of Parliament; but, on the other hand, it was perfectly true that the officers of the House of Lords were much better remunerated than those of the House of Commons. He thought, under the circumstances, the course for Parliament to take was not to decrease the salaries of the officers of the House of Lords, but to raise the remuneration of the officers of the House of Commons to the same level. That had already been done in the case of one very distinguished Officer of the House of Commons—namely, the Chairman of Ways and Means. He was aware that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rochester (Sir Arthur Otway), who now occupied the position of Chairman of Ways and Means, had accepted the position at a very great personal sacrifice; still it was necessary for him to allude to the circumstance he had mentioned, because the fact that such a course had been taken in the case of a distinguished Officer of the House was a rea- son for its being pursued in the case of the other officers. This was hardly a Cabinet question; but, as he believed the decision of the point he was raising rested with the great Officers of State and with Mr. Speaker, he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister himself. He put it to him as strongly as he could, not only as his own opinion, but that of hon. Members generally, that the officers of the House of Commons were inadequately remunerated, and that the subject was one well deserving the attention of those who could exercise control in the matter. He put the matter before the Government as he had done on former occasions, and he was rather glad that he had not been able to draw attention to it yesterday, because he was now able to bring this matter before right hon. Gentlemen more fitted to deal with it than he would have been if he had mentioned it in Committee of Supply.

Resolution agreed to.

Resolutions 8 to 12 agreed to.

Resolution 13.


said, he was sorry not to see the President of the Board of Trade in his place just now, and he would therefore appeal to the Government to consent to the postponement of this Vote until Monday. There were two or three questions he wished to ask as to the legal charges connected with the Board of Trade. He saw an increase from £18,300 to £22,550, and, no doubt, hon. Members would sympathize with him in his desire to call attention to it. If the Government would be good enough to postpone the Vote until Monday, the House might be able to have some explanation on this subject.

Resolution postponed until Thursday.

Remaining Resolutions agreed to.