HC Deb 26 April 1888 vol 325 cc606-8
MR. HOWORTH (Salford, S.)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether a Member of the House of Commons, before he is entitled to receive a Ministerial pension, has to make a solemn declaration to the effect that his means are otherwise insufficient to maintain his position; and, whether such a declaration has been made by every Member now in receipt of such a pension?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

Every Member receiving a Ministerial pension has to make a declaration as to the insufficiency of his means; and every Member of this House now in receipt of such a pension has so declared.

MR.LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to state whether it is left to the ex-Minister to form his own conclusions as to what means are sufficient to maintain his position; or whether there is an average estimate made by the Treasury?


The hon. Gentleman asks me a Question which, as I have had very little experience in the matter, is, perhaps, hardly a fair one. But I should have very little doubt that, if it was left to an ex-Minister to make a statement of this kind, such a statement might be received with perfect confidence.

MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)

The Question is not put to me; but as I have had several cases during a number of years in which I have had to administer this difficult law, I may say that, when I have been Prime Minister, I have always considered the declaration of the person who was to be the holder of the pension as a declaration expressing his own conscientious and honourable view, although, at the same time, it would be that of the known party interested. I never considered, however, that that declaration exempted the Prime Minister from the duty of forming his own estimate; and I have felt myself undoubtedly responsible for every pension of this description I have sanctioned.

MR. JENNINGS (Stockport)

I should like to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, whether, if it was well-known that an ox-Minister had received a considerable accession to his income after the pension had been received, would it then be the duty of the recipient to give the pension up?


I think it is undesirable to answer Questions of this character. It is a matter in which the honour of the Minister himself is concerned; and I have no doubt whatever that any Minister or ex-Minister who received a considerable and permanent addition to his income would resign his pension.


I refer to a lengthened experience; and I may say that in two instances, I think, in which pensions were given by my advice I obtained from the receivers an engagement to the effect that, in the event of an accession to their fortune, they would surrender the pension. I believe such a ease has been forgotten.


Will the House allow me to state the most recent instance—I believe it is the only one to my knowledge—that the Duke of Rutland, who was allotted a pension of this character some time ago, resigned it on his accession to the Dukedom.