§ Mr. J. S. HIGHAM called attention to the question of the Payment of Members of this House and of the Returning Officers' Expenses, and moved:—
§ "That, in the opinion of this House, the non-payment of Members and the liability of candidates for the Returning Officers' Expenses render it impossible for many constituencies to exercise a free choice in their selection of candidates and election of Members of Parliament; and this House is of opinion that any measure of general electoral reform passed before the dissolution of this Parliament, and coming into force upon or after the dissolution, should be accompanied by arrangements for the Payment of Members elected to serve in Parliament and for the transfer to the Imperial Exchequer of the financial responsibility for the Returning Officers' Expenses incurred in the conduct of such elections."
§ It is scarcely necessary that discussion on this Motion should be prolonged, and I hope that the Debate to-night will not be long, because of all the subjects which have been debated in this House there is not one which has been before us for so great a length of time as this one. I do not propose to go into ancient periods in regard to this question, though it is on record that in olden times Members were paid by their constituents, and sometimes I believe by the Imperial Parliament. But from that time there was a long interregnum, during which Members were not paid. But the subject still remained one of the features of political programmes. It was one of the prominent points of the Chartist programme, and later of the Newcastle programme. In 1830 a Bill for the payment of Members was brought forward in this House, now nearly eighty years ago, and in 1845 a resolution was carried in favour of the payment of Mem- 1904 bers of this House. In 1870 another Resolution was brought forward, but it only succeeded in getting 26 supporters. It is a remarkable example of the mutability of life that of the 26 Members who voted in 1870 the only one in this House to-day is my right hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean. More remarkable still, he is the only survivor of the 26 who voted for payment of Members. In 1886, 1888, and 1892 this Question was again debated in the House. In 1893 it was carried by a majority of 47. In 1895, by a majority of 18. In 1904 it was defeated by 66; and in 1906, the last time we had it before us, it was carried by a majority of 238.
§ I think I was justified in saying that there is no other Question which has been for so long a time debated in the House of Commons, and out of it as well. Sometimes it has been coupled, as is the case with my Resolution, with the payment of returning officers' expensess; sometimes it has been discussed alone, and the payment of returning officers' expenses has itself formed the subject of Debate. In 1906 the two subjects followed each other on two consecutive nights as to the payment of returning officers' expenses in the Debate of 1906, the principle was accepted on both sides. Our Conservative Friends and hon. Members in every part of the House accepted the proposition of that night. I should just like to draw attention to the anomaly of this Question as to the payment of returning officers' expenses. Every local election, without exception, falls upon the local rates, upon the official expenses. It has been recognised in this House by every Act of Parliament which they have passed authorising the election of persons to perform municipal work, that the charge was a charge which would fall on the local rates. It would appear to be beyond controversy: If the bodies that had to do local work should have their election expenses paid by the local rates, then the body that had to do the national work, Parliamentary work, should have their expenses paid by the national exchequer. That would appear to be perfectly logical, perfectly 1905 clear, and perfectly reasonable. It carries with it another conclusion, which is not always so obvious. It is very regrettable, but it is a fact that Members of Parliament in their elections are looked upon as fair game to be shot at from every quarter in this matter of finance. We find great anomalies on this question of official expenses.
§ I have taken the trouble of going into the question in a borough with which I have been connected practically all my life in municipal work. When I was a member of that borough we purchased the whole apparatus in connection with election. They have there, roughly speaking, 10,000 electors, and the cost of a contested fight on 1st November in eight wards, with 10,000 electors, and two—and sometimes three—candidates in each ward is £90. That is £9, roughly, for 1,000 electorate, and, if we take the majority of boroughs in the country, the cost works out, roughly, at about that average. If we take the Parliamentary election, the figure is not £9 per 1,000 but an average of £30 per 1,000. It is easy to see how that arises when we come to the details. The schedule list for Parliamentary elections allows a payment of £4 4s., and sometimes five, where there is travelling to the presiding officer. The same man for municipal elections has a couple of guineas, and he sits in the same room and does the same work. The poll clerks in Parliamentary elections receive two guineas and over, according to the distance, and in a municipal election 15s. in the town I come from. There, again, we see the anomaly of separating the method of payment of the two elections. I do not think there is a, shadow of a doubt that if the official expenses of a Parliamentary election were put on the public authority to pay they would see the charges would be as reasonable sums as they have in all their own elections.
§ I was referring just now to the capital charged for the apparatus required for elections. In the town to which I refer we paid for moving polling booths and all the other apparatus £75, and I believe the majority of the Members of this House pay more than £75 for the loan of them every time they have an election. May I also point out that the £90 which I gave as the total cost of the borough election included conveying all the apparatus to and from the central store room. I do not think I need say more on the point of returning officers' expenses. I think the few figures 1906 I have given prove that the present system is not fair to Members of Parliament, is not fair to the local authorities, or to the country, and that the anomaly should not continue as between all those elections for parish council, district council, county council, and boards of guardians; every one of those authorities pay the expenses, and then in the Parliamentary election the candidate is left to bear them himself.
§ I pass on to the main point of my Resolution. Following up the historical argument I gave just now, one might say that the payment of Members is the law in, I believe, practically every English-speaking country in the world. Their agitation has been a much shorter one than ours, and they have achieved the results quicker than here. I think it will be impossible to find any leading man in those English-speaking countries who desire to abolish that which has been established there. They have little or nothing to say against it. It may have defects, but every method of working has. We do not pretend that anything will be perfect. They have no desire to abolish it, and they have expressed themselves perfectly satisfied with the result of the payment of Members in those various countries. I would like to point out to the House that the Resolution to-night is drawn in terms of studied moderation. In 1893 the Resolution adopted by the House of Commons contained the word "forthwith." In 1895 the same word. In 1906 the Resolution moved by my hon. Friend the Member for the Wirral Division stated that the time had now arrived when Members should be paid £300 per year. I have not put in my Resolution any amount. I have not said it shall be done forthwith. I recognise a feeling amongst Members—a feeling which I share cordially—that such a change should be accompanied by a scheme of electoral reform and that it should not come into effect during the life of this Parliament. Another reason is that some Members of the House, and I share the view, do not care to vote that they themselves sitting in this House should have a salary attached to their sitting here. We think it is fair and reasonable we should go before the electors, and that the electors should know that the Government had indicated that from that date forward the successful candidate would be paid—I do not say for their services, but that they should be paid a sum of money to reimburse them for some of the expenses in doing the country's work in London.1907
§ There is another argument besides that of which I was speaking and from past history. We have present in the House hon. Members who would say they could not have come here dependent on their own resources. When they won the confidence of their trade union they have been appointed to positions in those bodies, and then those bodies have followed up that confidence with the additional confidence of having authorised them to use their money to do the work of the nation. I do not think there is a Member of this House in any portion of it but would say that the presence of these Members has done anything but good to the legislation and to the consideration of the measures which have become law since they came into this House from the time the Member for Morpeth came 40 years ago. Their services in the Debates, the arguments they have put forward, the knowledge they have brought to bear, have been of incalculable good in forming decisions and in helping the Government to formulate the measures which were needed for the working classes and for the general good of the whole community. I am quite aware of the argument that we all represent the working classes. It is quite true; but, still there is a peculiar way in which men coming straight from among those classes, who live amongst them, work amongst them, and mix with them almost every day of their lives, represent their feelings, their ideas, and their ideals better than Members like myself, who perhaps at one time were more closely connected with them than we are to-day. But the main point is that if it be right that an organisation should permit its officials to come here on the stipends which it pays them, and if those officials are doing good work for the country, it is doubly right that the stipends should be paid by the nation for whom the work is done.
§ I should like to take up certain arguments which are generally advanced against the payment of Members. It is said to be contrary to the dignity of the House, and that it would lower the standard of membership. In another connection we have had that argument ad nauseum, With every widening of the franchise the same thing has been urged; but I would say that with the continued widening of the franchise there was never a time when elections were purer than they are to-day, or when the people who exercised the franchise more strongly demanded purity in 1908 public57 life. There is a higher standard demanded in public life to-day than ever before. With the widening of the franchise the doors of this House have been thrown more widely open. In answer to this objection, as applied to the House of Commons, Mr. Gladstone used to say that throughout the many years which he spent in this House there had not been a lowering, but a gradual raising, of the standard and an improvement in the tone. I think the evidence of a man so eminent should carry great weight with us in arguing a subject like this, and in coming to a conclusion on it. In the days when the franchise was more restricted public life was more impure. There cannot be a shadow of doubt about that if we read the history of Parliament. When we read the correspondence of olden times we must acknowledge that among the electorate and among Members of Parlament there was not the high standard which exists to-day. I was reading some time ago the letters of Sir Robert Peel, and I found there a letter written by the wife of a Member of Parliament, in which she said that in a certain election more than £40,000 were spent through her influence alone. That is an instance of the sort of work that went on in a bygone day. The letter was written in September, 1841, by Mrs. Disraeli to Sir Robert Peel, and on the same day her husband wrote a letter asking for office. Further back still we are all familiar with the eminent man who said that he knew the price of almost every Member of Parliament. That was under the most restricted franchise of all, when it was impossible for any man, unless he had great wealth or was the nominee of a man of great wealth, to enter these doors. The times of greatest corruption have been the times when the autocracy have had great power. After the autocracy came the aristocracy, when things were better, but not much. We have hundreds of Enclosure Acts, by which men for their own class used their power in Parliament to rob the people of millions of acres of land. It does not lie in the mouths of these men to say that the widening of the franchise or the wider opening of the doors of this House leads to abuses or to legislation which they term class legislation—legislation which, if it be for a class, is for that class which forms 95 per cent. of the community. That portion of the community are people who are poor, though not necessarily of the labouring class. There are many men who have won their spurs in municipal life, not 1909 necessarily of the labouring class—literary men, writers, students of political economy, and students of the social problem—who, while they can afford to work in municipal life because they do not need to sacrifice their business in so doing, and who are doing the best possible work for their town or district, cannot come here, although men acquainted with them know that they would be an honour to this House, and would add to its dignity, and that their contributions to Debate would be of infinite service to the country. But they cannot come here because of the lack of some such system as is advocated in the Resolution. I am quite aware that this improvement is generally coupled with other reforms, such as the second ballot or the transferable vote. I agree that those reforms ought to be coupled together, but if we demand that all reforms shall come in at once we stand a chance of losing everything. One is bound to recognise that even the best Act of Parliament carries in its trail the necessity for another, and this proposal may have a similar result. But if we cannot get them together we should be content to have them separately, and I do not think that that should be a reason for delaying a reform which the country demands and which the House thinks the country ought to have.
§ Another objection is that if we begin to pay Members of Parliament we ought also to pay members of county councils, town councils, boards of guardians, district councils, and parish councils. My answer is that these men can do the work of their towns or districts without sacrificing their businesses, or leaving their homes, or incurring much expense. And really the argument is not one against the payment of Members of Parliament, but in its favour, because in these very towns and districts the councils, if they send members away from home on the work of the municipality, make a fixed allowance per day and travelling expenses, thus recognising the principle advocated in the Resolution. Another objection is that it would create a class of professional politicians. That, I think is a ridiculous argument. In every other walk of life the term "professional" is one not of reproach, but of honour. If I want a doctor I employ a professional man, not a quack. If I have a dispute and want a lawyer, I employ a professional man, and not a quack. If I want a farmer to carry out a rotation of crops I do not go to an architect, but to a professional farmer. If I want to build a house I 1910 employ a professional architect, and not an agricultural labourer. Thus in every other walk of life the term "professional" is an honour, and not a reproach; but in opposition to this Resolution the term: "professional politician" is used as one of reproach. A man cannot be a Member of the Government until he has studied his subject thoroughly and obtained a deep knowledge of politics. In that sense he becomes a professional politician, and his appointment is really a reward for hard service. I do not agree for one moment that the word "professional" is an objection, or that it can be used as a tenable objection against the Resolution. We ought to be able to learn from what has taken place in municipal life, and in the life of public bodies in the country owing to the wider franchise. Wider doors have been opened, and there is a purer life, and a more economical administration in consequence; and fairer and better work has been done by these bodies. From that I think we may have perfect confidence that if the doors of this House, which have hitherto been opened by a golden key, are thrown wide open, and capable men who have given good service—and if they have not means it means they will come in by sheer merit—are allowed to come in it will be an advantage all round. When we see what has been done by those authorities that I have quoted, I say that the adoption of this Resolution will help us to strengthen our hold upon the country, and the country will have greater confidence in the legislation we send from this House. I beg to move.
Mr. CHARLES FENWICK
I beg to second this Resolution. I shall endeavour to follow the example of the Mover, and make my observations within the shortest possible limit. I do not anticipate any opposition to this Resolution; certainly not from this side of the House. When I look at the benches opposite, especially at those above the Gangway, at the present time, I do not anticipate any serious objection from that quarter either. I speak the more confidently with regard to this side of the House having regard to what has transpired on previous occasions. It is just now 21 years since I had the honour of introducing to this House a Resolution similar to the one which we are now debating—that is to say, similar in principle. On that occasion I had the good fortune to be seconded by the present Secretary of State for War, ably supported in the debate which followed by Sir George 1911 Trevelyan—who, I regret to say, is no longer a Member of this House—and also just as ably supported by the late Mr. Gladstone. On subsequent occasions I had the honour of receiving support from the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who delivered a very able speech in support of this Resolution. So that, therefore, I am quite safe in assuming that we are not likely to meet with any serious opposition from this side. Since that time, whatever may have been the strength of the arguments in favour of the principle of the payment of Members, and of the payment of election expenses out of public funds, those arguments have grown stronger and stronger in my opinion as the time has gone by. Before the assimilation of the county with the borough franchise the duties of a Member of Parliament began practically towards the end of February, and ceased practically with the beginning of August. There was none of that running to and fro at that time such as there is now demanded from Members of Parliament. Our duties now may be said to be continuous almost from January to December. I do not regret that, nor do I deplore it. Indeed on the first occasion, 21 years ago, when I brought this question before the notice of the House I anticipated that condition of things, and I then said in my opinion the demand would become greater and greater upon the time and duty of Members. That is exactly what has happened, and what I expected would follow, from the assimilation of the county and borough franchises. Since that time also we have set up Grand Committees upstairs for the purpose of considering Bills. That is a change in our system of which I thoroughly approve, because I believe it conduces to the efficiency of our work; it conduces also to getting more work done in this House than otherwise would be the case. It is no unusual, no uncommon thing, for a Member of Parliament to be called upon to serve two days a week now upon these Grand Committees, and I have known other cases in which after a Member has given two days to Grand Committee work, he has been called upon for another two days a week to serve upon Committees on private Bills. That, it seems to me, is stress and responsibility which is now made upon private Members of this House which demands some consideration at all events from Parliament, or both from Parliament and the country itself.
1912 Let me say a word or two upon this question of official expenses. As a Methodist the terms of this Resolution appeal very strongly to me, because of the way in which it is divided and sub-divided. With respect to the question of official expenses, it seems to me, and it has always seemed to me, that this is a most reasonable proposal, a most reasonable demand, namely, that all official expenses connected with elections should be thrown upon some public authority, either upon the taxes or the rates in the local districts. Certainly they ought not to be thrown upon the individual candidates in the election. A General Election at the present time involves an expenditure creeping up to nearly a quarter of a million. At the last General Election the official expenses were returned at over £200,000. That may be taken to be something like the ordinary expenditure; but it is a growing expenditure. It is an expenditure which increases from time to time with each General Election; and that is what we ought to expect, and might reasonably expect, in consequence of the addition to the electorate throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.
I remember that in 1886 we discussed the question of election expenses for certain constituencies in Ireland. This dealt with the question of municipal elections. It was sought—by the present Member, I think, for North Louth—by the introduction of a Bill to reduce, not to abolish, official expenses connected with municipal elections in Ireland. As the Bill was passing through Committee, Mr. Labouchere succeeded in carrying an Amendment, the effect of which was to put an end to all official expenses so far as candidates were concerned. The House may be interested to know that when the Bill went to another place—a place where Members do not have to stand either the racket of an election or the expenses of contested elections—that reasonable condition was struck out, or Ireland would have been at the present moment in the enjoyment of having its candidates freed from having to pay the official expenses of an election. I have said that these expenses are increasing from election to election. Let the House bear in mind that they are expenses over which the individual candidate has absolutely no control. We may control our other expenses. We may not distribute literature, we may not hire committee rooms, we may dispense with hundred and one things which occasion expenses at the election, but here in the official expenses 1913 we have absolutely no control, and I submit to the House that any attempt to condone this condition of things will be, in my judgment, condoning what is practically a system of political blackmailing upon candidates who stand for elections in this country. I can put my own experience forward as a proof of how official expenses are increasing election after election. In my own first election the official expenses were £271; in the last election they were £391 18s., or nearly £392; and if we had an election tomorrow, which I do not think is very likely, we would find them very much increased as compared with the times of the last General Election. I say these are expenses, whether we consent to pay Members or not, which ought not to be thrown upon the individual candidate, and on that subject I agree with my hon. Friend who moved the Resolution, that there is practically no opposition upon either side of the House. Besides, it is an expense that no one would ever dream of putting upon a candidate for a borough council, or a county council, or a district council, or a parish council. It is only when you come to deal with representatives in this House that a candidate who stands for the honour of election is deemed fit game to be fleeced all round. Now with respect to the question of the payment of Members, here again I think it will not be denied that the House has already recognised the principle; but we have to complain of the miserable restrictions imposed. We have restricted payment within an all too narrow area. I do not merely refer to the payment of the Members of the Government—Cabinet Ministers, Under-Secretaries, and such like—we admit the principle by the creation of new pensions, particularly at the end of each Parliament. When Ministers are going out of office it is the invariable practice to provide and to safeguard the interests of their Friends. We had a miserable example, as I consider it, of this practice at the end of the last Parliament. I remember reading a letter from Mr. Gladstone to a correspondent, in which he said:—I cannot feel well satisfied with the state of things in which gentlemen of high birth or station receive pensions for public service on the ground of insufficient means, and Members of Parliament, elected by labouring men, have to be returned and supported by contributions out of their daily wages.And after all, when an ex-Member has received his pension and passes into opposition, no matter which political party to which he belongs, he becomes a private Member of this House as much as any other 1914 Member unattached to the Government. During the period he was in office he received his ordinary salary and the emoluments associated with his office, and when, he passes into Opposition it seems to me a ridiculous thing that he should continue to draw from the public funds of the country a salary in the form of pension for his political services. If the House will permit me I should like to make one quotation from the excellent speech delivered by Sir George Trevelyan in 1888 on this very point. He then said:—To grant political pensions, and to refuse to pay members of Parliament in the same circumstances as the recipients of political pensions was the ne plus ultra of anomaly.I agree emphatically with the declaration of Sir George Trevelyan. We have had one very plain example as to Members receiving pensions up to the time of their death, and on dying leaving huge sums of money behind them. There was one case which happened during my time—I shall mention no names—during the period that I had the honour of a seat in this House, where the recipient up to the time of his death was in receipt of a handsome pension, and when he died it was found that he left wealth close upon £100,000. Yet, forsooth, if we ask for a small and reasonable indemnity for private Members of Parliament, we are told it would tend to lower the dignity of the Houses of Parliament. I do not believe that would be so. It is often said, "Why should you pay Members of Parliament when you can obtain any number for the public service gratuitously?" My answer to that objection is simply this: If you confine yourselves to purely gratuitous service you are limiting to a very large extent the area of your choice in the selection of candidates. You are compelled almost to take your candidates and your representatives either from the leisured or the wealthy classes, and why, I ask, is the labouring class the only one which has to tax itself under our present conditions in order to find representation in this House? That is practically what it comes to. If we are to have Labour representatives in this House, labour must put its hand into its own pocket to tax itself with its already limited resources in order to provide for the maintenance of its representatives in the House of Commons. I have here a Return which was issued at the beginning of this Parliament. It is a Report from His Majesty's representatives abroad setting forth the remuneration of Members of Parlia- 1915 ment in foreign States. This Return was issued in pursuance of an address to this Parliament in 1906. This Return, which was presented to Parliament through the Foreign Secretary, shows that in almost every country in the world Members of Parliament are either paid salaries or are provided with travelling passes all over the country, and particularly from their places of residence on the opening and prorogation of Parliament. Even the poorest of the States recognise their right and their responsibility in this respect, and yet we, one of the richest communities in the whole world, refuse to recognise the principle in its fullest sense. Well, I think that the time has now passed when we can no longer ignore the national responsibilities which rest upon us for remunerating or indemnifying in some reasonable form Members of Parliament for the service they render so fully and so willingly in the interests of the State, and recognising the justice and the reason of this principle I have the greatest pleasure in seconding the Resolution moved by my hon. Friend.
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Mr. Lewis Harcourt)
I believe that there is a widespread feeling that those who generally occupy the Treasury Bench have occupied during the last fortnight a fair share of the time of this House. I shall not, therefore, trespass unduly upon the attention of hon. Members tonight. I rise early in the Debate first of all in order to express the appreciation which I think all who have listened to this Debate must feel for the two very moderate, interesting, and exhaustive speeches which have been made by the hon. Member for Sowerby and the hon. Member for Wansbeck, the latter of whom has indeed been a pioneer of the Question now before the House. Both the main proposals included in the Motion now before us have been discussed during the present Parliament, which probably accounts for their appearance before us as something in the nature of a compound Motion. It is not, of course, a Government Motion, and the Government desire to leave a full discretion to the House in regard to any decision at which hon. Members may arrive in the matter. Speaking for my friends on this side, and for those who sit on this bench as well, I think it would be safe to say that probably all of us are pledged to the payment of returning officers' expenses at elections out of public funds, 1916 and a very large majority of us are equally pledged to the policy of the payment of Members.
The opinion of the Government upon both these Questions has been clearly expressed during this Parliament. It is a melancholy recollection that the spokesmen on both these occasions have been taken from us. The Question of the payment of returning officers' expenses was dealt with by the late Sir John Lawson Walton, and the Question of payment of Members was dealt with by the late Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. Both those speeches are within the recollection of the House, and it is only necessary for me to state briefly the position of the Government. I will deal first with the least contentious part of this Motion which relates to the payment of election expenses. I might call it practically non-contentious, because when this Question was discussed two years ago I believe the Motion was passed without a division and without being challenged by the unanimous assent of the House, in fact, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Augustine's Division represented the Opposition, and supported the proposal which was then made.
There are, I think, in relation to the payment of election expenses, two matters which the House will do well to reserve for further consideration. I notice that there has this year been a slight alteration in the terms of this Motion. I believe on a previous occasion two years ago the words employed in relation to the payment of election expenses were "public funds." To-day, I notice those words have been altered to "Imperial Exchequer." On the previous occasion the words "public funds" were deliberately inserted in order to leave it an open question for the consideration of the House, and it was so treated by many of those who spoke in the Debate. When I vote, as I shall vote, for the Motion this evening, I shall do so without prejudice as to whether the fund for the payment of election expenses shall come from local or Imperial sources. Lord Randolph Churchill, in supporting this proposal, suggested that the expenses should be paid out of the Consolidated Fund. Experts of the standing of Sir Henry James and Mr. John Morley desired that the charge should fall upon the locality. I know very well the strength of the arguments both ways on this matter, and I think the House will do well 1917 to leave the consideration of that important detail to a future time when we come to the Bill itself.
There is one other matter in relation to returning officers' expenses which ought to be in the minds of hon. Members, and that is the absolute necessity, in my view, if you are to carry out this proposal, that you should make some provision against bogus candidates. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the St. Augustine's Division suggested that there should be a deposit of caution money, which should be forfeited if the candidature proved to be frivolous. I am not sure what would be considered a sufficient proof of frivolity. I do not know whether failure to secure a certain percentage of the votes recorded would be considered sufficient to ensure the forfeiture of the deposit money. There are others, and I should number myself amongst them, who would sooner see this question approached through the medium of proposals either in the direction of a second ballot or what is called the transferable or the alternative vote. I am not going to discuss those proposals to-night, because, in the first place, they do not appear in the Motion, and, secondly, we have a Royal Commission sitting to inquire into the matter. I wish, however, to say this word of warning, that if you are to pay the expenses of the returning officer you must have some provision of this kind. I think there is a general unanimity in the House in favour of this part of the Motion, which has been accepted by every party, and it is already the fact that in local and county council elections the expenses are paid by the locality. Many of us have long felt that the liability of candidates for the payment of returning officers' expenses is a remnant of the old and bad property qualification.
I will now pass for a few moments to the more contentious part of this Motion. The late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, standing at this box two years ago, said, on behalf of the Government, that he cordially agreed with this principle, but he also added that he found himself subject to limitations both of time and money. I am sorry to say that we find ourselves no less short of either of those commodities. As to time, the situation is somewhat eased by the terms chosen by my hon. Friend in his Motion. He proposes to postpone until the introduction of a general Reform Bill the dealing with this specific matter, and, as we are all well Aware, a general Reform Bill is more appropriate to the end of a Parliament, a date 1918 which is still somewhat remote. As to money, I shall be able to inform my hon. Friends better on that question after the passage of the Finance Bill, and again still better at the conclusion of the present financial year. In the financial exigencies of the country I could not pledge the Government to make this provision under present circumstances, because I assume that when we carry this, in my view, desirable proposal, we shall pay all Members. That was the opinion expressed by the Leader of the Opposition in the year 1892, and I think it would be monstrous to introduce a poverty test into this House. What I want is equality of treatment and no invidious distinction between individuals. If you are to pay a sum of £300 a year to every Member of Parliament that would require a Vote of, roughly speaking, £200,000 per annum, which, of course, is a material consideration to every Chancellor of the Exchequer. At all events, I am and always have been a warm advocate of this policy. I have never been able to see why politics should be the only profession run by unpaid amateurs. I am not afraid myself of a professional politician. I am one myself, and I am bold enough to say that I glory in it. I believe that the proper meaning of the term is one who devotes his life to the profession which he happens to have selected. The time has passed when you can draw your legislators wholly from a leisured class. I feel no degradation in drawing a salary for my work. I believe that public service deserves public pay, and I do not believe that you make a man corrupt by giving him a fair wage for honest work. The Member for West Birmingham supported such a proposal as this as long ago as 1885, because he realised that the extension of the franchise required it. This system has worked well in all our Colonies and I believe in every civilised country in the world. It has been said that poor men are more exposed to temptation than rich men. That may be true, but I am not sure that it is equally true that the resistance of one class is greater than the other. The former payment of Members lapsed when corruption came into Parliament. When pickings were many honest men were scarce; salaries were then a drop in the ocean of ill-gotten gains. I am happy to say that the times have changed. I think we can trust a constituency to distinguish between a needy adventurer who is seeking a salary and the 1919 man of small means who is deserving a seat in this House. It is not a case of beati possidentes. The old prejudice against voting salaries to ourselves is removed by the terms of the Resolution, which suggests that the proposal shall only operate on or after a dissolution. Any action, therefore, which we take now will only be an act of generosity to our successors. The object of all electoral law has been to obtain a genuine and straightforward representation of the people. Can it be suggested that you get that representation by asking a man not what is the record of his character, but what is the capacity of his purse? I believe that a reasonable subsistence allowance would give a freer choice to a constituency. I think it would broaden the basis of your representation by introducing the qualification of brains rather than of wealth. I agree with the Committee which sat on this subject 130 years ago, and expressed an opinion in favour of the payment of Members, on the ground that it would be "a return to the wholesome practice of former times." I shall vote with great pleasure for this Motion, but I should not support it if I did not believe that it would conduce to the honour, strength, and character of the House of Commons, because I have hereditary veneration for this Assembly.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
I desire, in the name of my colleagues, to associate myself with the Motion now before the House. The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken referred to what he characterised as the changed position of this Question so far as the Labour representatives are concerned. I wish to assure him and the House that, so far as organised labour is concerned, there has been no change. For many years, almost throughout the whole time that the Trade Congress has existed, one of the first articles in its programme has been the Motion before the House. I can go further. I think I am right in saying that every labour organisation at the conferences which have the right to speak for organised labour, and even the conferences of the Social Democratic Federation, has treated this question as one entitled to a foremost rank in their programmes. It may be that there have been one or two Members associated with me in the Labour party who have given expressions of opinion which support the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman. But I do not think they express the opinion of organised movements, 1920 whether political or Labour, with which they may happen to have been associated, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept from me the assurance that never were we so strong in our opinion in the justice of the two points contained in this Resolution than we are to-day. When we come to examine the Resolution there are two points dealt with—first of all, we have that most curious anomaly of separating Parliamentary elections from all other elections that take place in this country, and imposing on candidates in Parliamentary contests those legitimate machinery expenses which in other contests are made chargeable to the public funds. I venture to say it would be well-nigh impossible to find anything more anomalous. I do not know that we have given sufficiently serious attention to the magnitude of the charge which is really imposed. I have taken the trouble to go into the figures of the last General Election, and I find that the total cost of the election was £1,166,858 13s. 2d. Of that amount £206,334 18s. represented actually machinery expenses, made up under some of the following heads:—Cost of providing ballot papers, dies, boxes, and official placards, £21,786 17s. 1d.; presiding officers, clerks, and counters, £81,678 8s. 7d.; preparing and publishing notices and making returns to the Clerk of the Crown, £11,836 3s. 4d.; fees of returning officers or their representatives, £24,978 11s. 11d.; conveyance of ballot boxes and travelling expenses incurred by those in charge (as well as expenses of presiding officers and clerks), £12,433; cost of polling stations, money the most of which goes into the pockets of the local authority, £35,634 13s. 8d.; and supplying nomination papers, without which an election cannot possibly take place, no less than £2,000. When we come to look into the details we find that in cases like Romford each of the candidates had to subscribe £650 for these purposes; at Walthamstow, £525; in the Wansbeck Division, £391; in the Tyneside Division, £370; in the Wimbledon Division, £360; in South Glamorgan, represented by another miners' representative, the fund for whose maintenance has to be provided also out of their own money, £343; and in the Constituency in which I reside, £385.
May I bring this further point before the House? Two hundred and fifty candidates at the last election had to table over £250 each before the election could proceed, and every bit of that was spent for purely election machinery. It seems to me 1921 that the case for this part of the Motion is so strong that I regret that the right hon. Gentleman has not seen his way clear to make a more definite statement to-night. I think we ought to have an assurance that no other general election shall take place in this country without this unfair and unjust charge imposed upon candidates ceasing and ceasing finally. The Government ought to give us an assurance that this course shall be adopted. I think we have a right to expect them to give it. When I made a Motion in similar terms five years ago, I had the unqualified support not only of the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, but of the present President of the Local Government Board, the Postmaster-General, the Solicitor-General, the Home Secretary and his Under-Secretary, and the Foreign Secretary, and I shall never forget the interesting speech delivered on that occasion by the present Foreign Secretary, for it was about the most lucid explanation and statement of the position that I think it was possible for any speaker to put before the House. I also had the support of the Minister for War, of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of the President of the Board of Education, and of the Lord Advocate. Having regard to the volume of the support that we secured for our Motion five years ago from the right hon. Gentlemen I have named who were then in Opposition, it seems to me we have a perfect right to have expected something more definite than the statement which the First Commissioner of Works has given us to-night.
I expected this, too, for another reason. I may say that the Motion which is before the House to-night is somewhat altered in its terms compared with the Motions which have been moved during the six years I have had the honour to sit in this House. All previous Motions have run on the lines that the payment shall take place forthwith. I think my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby has acted wisely in taking the course he has by seeking to commence the operation of both payments after the next dissolution of Parliament, and having regard to that I would have thought it would have made the course absolutely clear for the spokesman of the Government to have given us a very definite assurance that the Motion would be accepted in the sense that steps would be taken between now and the General Election to have it put into operation so far as arranging for the payment of Returning Officers' expenses is concerned, and also accepting the 1922 obligation to make payment to Members of Parliament consequent on their return at the next General Election. I think, so far as the question of the payment of Members itself is concerned, it is almost unnecessary to argue it further. We shall all admit the cogency of the arguments adduced, and it seems to be ridiculous for us in this country to argue and agitate, as has been done so long for the extension of the franchise, giving by that a fuller, clearer, and more definite representation, so far as election matters are concerned, and then, when those who elect want free and unfettered expression of opinion in this House by their own representative, be he shopkeeper or working man, no matter what he be, if he is considered to be the best choice, the best fitted to be the mouthpiece of their opinions, it savours, I say, somewhat of giving with the one hand in the shape of the franchise, and withholding with the other by not giving a clear course right through into the House of Commons. I remember when making my Motion five years ago I endeavoured to put forward this point, that it seemed to me the payment of Members was really the corollary of our present educational system. We have been improving our educational system. We have been going in for free education. We have been giving scholarships, and have tried to remove the poverty that might rest upon a boy by giving him the best educational facilities possible. Surely it is not right if that boy, having succeeded through the free educational system and the scholarship system which very happily obtains, should fit himself for a political career, that merely because his parents are not in a position either to provide him with the full amount for election expenses, or to provide for his maintenance in the event of his being returned to Parliament—surely it is again retracting a portion of that which we have already given to the youth of our country if we prevent them having an open door into the highest position that can be offered in connection with the Mother of Parliaments. We have been reminded to-night that nearly all the other countries of Europe, our Colonies, and America have taken this step long ago, and I have yet to learn that any of them are at all anxious to go back upon the decision that they came to when they set this machinery in motion. I am well aware that it has been said, and we have been reminded of it to-night, and it was freely stated on the discussion of my Motion, that we are going to open the door to professional politicians. I suppose the nearest 1923 analogy to the professional politicians in this country would be the Members who sit in this House as the paid representatives of the great trade organisations. I suppose, because they receive from their trade unions their maintenance allowance, and in some cases a salary amounting to £200, £300 and £400, they would be regarded as the nearest approach to the professional politician, unless, of course, there is to be included in that category the heads of the Departments and the Under-Secretaries who adorn the Front Bench, whichever Government be in power. Let me take either case, whichever party is in power. Is it going to be suggested that the Gentlemen who occupy that Front Bench are less effective and less honest because they receive payment for the services that they render to the State? I do not, moreover, think that I shall be going too far, in trying to make the point, that my hon. colleagues here and my hon. colleagues opposite, who are in exactly the same position, as far as their trade unions are concerned, are not the less earnest in their application to Parliamentary work because they are paid, and, indeed, I would venture to say that there are few Members who give themselves up to that work with such diligence as do the Labour representatives in the performance of the work which their Constituents have sent them to perform. That, surely, destroys the argument that if we introduce this payment from public funds, local or Imperial, it is going to introduce something in the nature of professional politicians, who will not be able to give pure, and shall I say devoted, service both to their Constituents and to the country. Therefore, I sincerely hope that the Government, in accepting the Motion, will be prepared to see that it is put in operation on and after the next general election. I do not want to insist that we should merely ask for this as a piece of patronage to the Members who may be affected by the decision in the case now pending. I have never thought of asking for that. I defended this position long before I became a Labour representative, or thought of being a Labour representative in this House, and I speak in favour of almost all Members of Parliament. We do not want this to be put in operation as a piece of patronage to the Labour Members. We ask for it because we think that it is right that every constituency should enjoy the free and unfet- 1924 tered choice of its representative in this House.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
I am somewhat sorry that the Motion should include two different things—one the payment of returning officers' expenses and the other the payment of Members. With regard to the payment of returning officers' expenses I am at one with the mover of this Motion. I think that is a thing which has been carefully considered now, and all the arguments are in its favour. I would go further in regard to registration expenses. I think we could very well put upon the local authority or the State the whole cost of the machinery, which at present candidates have to indulge in order to get the register amended. The way at present in which men are left off the register and both parties have to go to great expense to put them on, is an anomalous state of things which should be swept away. I cannot help thinking that a paid official, paid by the local authority or the State, should be responsible for putting everyone on the register, and that would be a move in the right direction. But when I come to the payment of Members I am afraid I am at issue with the hon. Members who moved and seconded this resolution. In this world there is more done for love than for money. ["Oh."] I believe that if a careful account were taken of all the labours performed in this world, the labours of a father on behalf of his children, the labours of the mother, the brother, the sister, and friends, and all the various work that is done in this world on behalf of our fellow creatures, I think you would find the balance would be in favour of the work of the world which is done for love. Why are you going to stop that? Why are you going to start this payment of Members? There are 670 Members in this House, and I believe the general impression is that the sum which we ought all of us to receive would be £300 a year, but why are you to stop at Parliament? What about the county councils? I believe there are 120 members of the County Council in London, and I do not think we could insult them by suggesting that they should be paid, when we have fixed the price of the Members of Parliament at £300—that they should receive for services almost as great less than £150 a year. Then there are county councils throughout the country and the borough councils. I think the borough councils may perhaps do with £100 a year. Then there are the Justices of the Peace 1925 who perform various duties throughout the country, and I think they should receive at least £150. In addition you have the urban district councils, I suggest at any rate they ought to be paid £50. Then there are a very large number of Conservators throughout the country, and there are the parish councillors. I think their remuneration should be £50 a year. Then there are guardians; I think they should get £100 a year. I had prepared a careful statement showing exactly the numbers of these various persons, and I made a careful sum of what it would cost the country. I have not that list of figures with me, but I believe there are 500,000 people who serve on the various boards, and if you take an average of £50 a year, it comes out at £25,000,000. I have omitted jurymen. There is another valuable service rendered to the State for which no payment is made, and they certainly ought to be included. In times gone by, when Members were paid by the local authorities, there were several cases in which it was not considered by any means an honour to be represented in the House at all. I think it was the city of Colchester in the time of Queen Elizabeth which rendered some service to her in fitting out a ship for the Armada, and she said she would grant any reasonable boon they liked to ask. The Mayor and Corporation met together and thought the matter over, and prayed to Queen Elizabeth whether she would not allow them to be free from having to send a Member to Parliament for the space of three Parliaments. I believe that was granted, with the result that Colchester was quite satisfied and happy without having any representative at all.
The Leader of the Labour party said he did not think there were professional politicians in other countries. I do not know whether he has travelled much, but I think if he had brought his usually acute mind to examine into the question of America and elsewhere, there is a very distinct class of professional politicians, who outwardly avows the fact that he goes into Parliament for what he can make. That is a distinct drawback, because the better class of American holds entirely aloof from politics, because he does not consider politics are clean. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is why they are Protectionists."] I hear the right hon. Gentleman who was in favour of the payment of returning officers' expenses when in opposition does not seem to be in favour of it now that he is in power.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
The hon. Baronet is quite mistaken. I voted in favour of it three years ago when it was moved in this House.
§ Sir W. BULL
At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman has not evidently given a very encouraging reply to that part of the speech. He has not been able to promise that the Government will do anything in this direction, though he may possibly at the end of this Parliament make some alteration. I hope and trust it will be a very long day before Members of the House are paid.
§ Mr. W. H. LEVER
As one who had the honour of moving this Resolution three years ago I support it again to-night. In doing so I wish to express my regret that the Chief Commissioner of Works has given the same official reply that we received three years ago. The proposal is declared to be equitable and necessary, but for some reason or other, sometimes one reason and sometimes another, it is at the moment inopportune and impossible. There never was a time when a poorer excuse could be put forward. We are told we are short of money. Any of us on this side of the House who have welcomed the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot help but see that those proposals carry with them an adequate provision of finances for every responsibility which we have to face. So far from being inopportune from the point of view of money, it never was more opportune than when the House is asked to provide means for putting the Government of the country on a better footing, doing our duty to the aged poor and protecting this country by ample provision for defence. I think a provision of something under 2d. a head of the inhabitants of the country would provide payment for Members on the scale of £300 a year. To me it is a great surprise and a great disappointment, because I had felt that before this Parliament rose we should have had this measure passed. I remember the then Member for the City of London raised the point three years ago that it was not within the power of this House to pass such a Resolution as this without immediate dissolution, or I am not sure whether he would even admit that that would give us the power. It would seem to me that the Bill must be so worded as to make it well within the province of this House to pass such a Bill at that or at any time and still to be within the Constitution. The wording of such a Bill 1927 would be to this effect, that after the passing of this Act every Member returned to sit here should receive a sum of money to be specified in the Bill. That would leave all existing Members who voted for it absolutely cut off from any participation in it until after the passing of the Act they again appealed to their Constituents. It was mentioned to me by a friend with whom I discussed it that that would be unjust, because Members would return to the same Parliament after the passing of the Act and would be paid. I venture to reply that any Member who felt perfectly certain of being returned, and whose election expenses would not be greater than he would receive, could immediately appeal to his constituents and come back as a paid Member. Therefore there would be no injustice to any Member. I do feel that if we are to put off this reform and other reforms until a dissolution of Parliament there will be a great danger of some of these reforms, and especially the payment of Members, being overlooked or neglected, so that when a new Parliament comes together we shall find ourselves in the present position.
I wish to point out that this is not a matter alone affecting Labour Members. I claim that it affects Members in every position in this House. I think there is nothing more degrading to a Member returned to this House than being in doubt whether he is selected for his worth and for his desire that he should serve his country, or whether he is selected because he can afford to pay his election expenses. We want that point put entirely at rest. We want the Constituencies to have a free choice, and to be able to choose a working man or any man living in the district or out of it in whom they have sufficient confidence and whom they desire to send here. After that we can all feel that we meet here the absolutely free choice of our electorate, and that we come here with a distinct mandate and command to attend to the business of the country, and to that alone. I quite agree with the hon. Member the Leader of the Labour party in his remark that the payment of Members will not make them less honest. I am quite certain that, so far from having that effect on the Members of the Government, payment makes them feel their responsibility more, and makes them all the more desirous not only to live up to the honour of the position they occupy, but to live up 1928 to the responsibilities which the receipt of a salary places upon them. The receipt of a salary would put on every one of us a sense of responsibility which we do not now feel. We feel that we give our time and our best efforts, and that we receive no payment for our services, and in consequence of that we are more or less free agents. As to the question of the payment of members of town councils, and so on, it has already been pointed out that there is no parallel between the payment of Members of Parliament and the payment of a member of a town council. In the one case a man has not to leave his home to serve his country. In the case of a town councillor he has not to go even to the expense of paying a tram fare. He can follow his occupation without inconvenience. But if a man has to come to London to attend to the duties of Parliament, you place a barrier upon him, which may be beyond the means of all except those who have financial resources. We want to abolish that once and for all.
There is another point. I believe this will give us better representation of all classes than any other form we could possibly adopt, and I feel that it is only when all classes are equally and freely represented in this House that we can have knowledge here of what is the feeling throughout the country. I would liken the differences in the views held by Members of Parliament to the differences in our watches. They do not all indicate the same time, but I venture to say that if every Member put down on a piece of paper the time given by his own watch, and if all these, whether fast or slow, were added up and the average taken, you would come nearer to the accurate time than you would by taking the time from any individual watch. Therefore, I claim that equal and proper representation by the free selection of the Constituencies in all parts of the country will give us here, what we do not now possess, though perhaps we possess it better in this Parliament than in any previous one, namely, a knowledge of what the wishes of the Constituencies are. I feel that this is a matter which is urgent, and that there is no valid reason why we should not proceed at once with it. I urge the Government to reconsider their position and to support the words of the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and others who have all been in favour of the payment of Members, because this is a case which has passed long beyond the zone of debate and argument. It is now 1929 recognised by all sections practically, and certainly by a large majority, that it is a thing which must be carried into effect. I ask the Government to brush aside all obstacles and manfully face this proposition and carry it through.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
I think that as an Irish Member I may be allowed to intervene in this Debate. We have heard the stock argument of Gentlemen of a certain political party that the Irish party is a paid party. The Irish party is a party of poor men, who, knowing that the interests of their constituents are at stake, have accepted sums of money as mere contributions of love and affection from their people. We came here to attend to those interests. The abuse of the Irish party on account of these payments was pretty frequent, but of late it has been discontinued to a considerable extent. I was to some extent the means of stopping it. I carried war into the enemy's camp, and I showed how they were paid and in what way. I wish to speak of one aspect of this Question on which I am in some small measure able to speak with a little knowledge, and that is the historical aspect. May I say to the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench that in the course of his very delightful speech he made use of one sentence which I will slightly enlarge, because in that sentence is the germ of a great constitutional and political truth. The right hon. Gentleman said that in proportion as Parliaments were free they were less subject to corruption, and he also said it would not be difficult to show that in the earlier periods when Parliaments were paid they were far more advocates of popular liberties than in the time when payment fell off. That is absolutely true. This Statute in reference to the payment of Members is still on the Statute Book. It is a Statute of Edward. It is not like the Statute of Edward III., which is only brought into operation against Irish Members. This Statute has not been brought into operation for some time, but we have the authority of no less a lawyer than Lord Campbell, who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland and then Chief Justice of England, and afterwards Lord Chancellor of England, and he gave it as deliberate opinion, at the time he was writing in the forties, that the Statute de expensis could still be brought into operation, and Members of Parliament would have the legal right to get from their Constituents the old payment of 4s. for a Knight of the shire and 1930 2s. for the ordinary branches. That Statute has been in existence from that day to this. How does it come not to be acted on? It came not to be acted on when this great event happened: When Members who were first sent by their constituents largely not to give but to check and modify supply, and to see that in granting supplies their constituents' liberties were given for them, when they were sent to this House to discharge those duties they were paid, and paid simply the travelling expenses of these days, because they were serving their constituents. But a time came, through the manipulation of the Crown, in the creation of rotten boroughs—these boroughs were always rotten up to the time that they were created. They were not decaying boroughs at all. There were 180 of them at the time that the Reform Bill was passed—franchise boroughs that were really nomination boroughs—then the time came when Members of Parliament, instead of being paid by their constituents, paid their constituents to let them come in, and traffic in corruption themselves. That is the whole story of that from beginning to end. I mean to pay a proper and gracious recognition to my hon. Friend because by a happy coincidence he mentioned Colchester.
Perhaps a man who rather likes to look at the records of the past may state this. I was reading only this very day a most interesting Debate in reference to this very subject of payment of Members, led and introduced by the Gentleman of the day who was Member for Colchester, Sir Harbottle Grimstead, a very celebrated Parliamentary character. He brought in a Bill in 1676 for the abolition of payment of Members, and the Parliament in which he brought in this Bill was the most infamous—and that is a strong expression—that was ever established in England. It was known as the Pensions Parliament of Charles II., and every second man in it was bribed by France. He brought in this Bill, and the Members seem to have been in great delight at that. Of course, they had paid nothing for their seats. They were paid nothing for being Members of Parliament; they did not exact it. And then, with an exquisite example of delightful self-abnegation that you could scarcely meet even now in the House of Commons, Sir Robert Sawyer got up and said he would be perfectly delighted if the Bill was carried, with the proviso that at least the salary of the last two years of Parliamentary service was paid. And then another Gentleman got up and said: "That is all 1931 very well for the like of the hon. Baronet, because he has only been in the House of Commons two years, and he is going to secure his salary, when I have been in the House of Commons sixteen years, and I have not got a halfpenny of it." They allowed the second reading to go, and then they droped it, and it was dropped from that day to this. But there was a recorder, and a recording angel in that Parliament, who saw and witnessed and took some part in that transaction. That was the very last Member except one who was actually paid formally by his constituents.
That was Andrew Marvell, of whom Mr. Bright in his speech made in this House in 1858 said he hoped some day or other the property qualification would be abolished, and he hoped some day or other they would see Labour representatives paid by their constituents in this House, and he mentioned Andrew Marvell, the last paid representative, as one of the best and purest examples of Parliamentary life that ever adorned the annals of Parliament. Marvell saw that, and gave a description of that in one of the letters to his Constituents. But what happened to Marvell himself? The Leader of the Government of that day was a gentleman named Danby. He was qualified to be the first Duke of Guise. He was, as characterised by Macaulay, the ne plus ultra of corruption and pollution. He had a charming manner, with the kindly aspect of a young ladylike presence, and he came to Andrew Marvell, and Danby used to wear all the paraphernalia of state and glory at that time, and he came to Andrew Marvell's lodgings, and he walked up the creaking stairs and went into the dingy room, and then, with his graceful manner and his feline way, he offered some emolument to this great man, and Marvell said he was sent to represent his Constituents, and he perfectly understood that and would not have it, and then Danby had been in the House of Commons and thought he could deal with that, and going downstairs he slipped a note for £1,000 into Marvell's hands. And Marvell was deeply impressed by that. [An HON. MEMBER: "Marvellous."] He told Danby to go upstairs. The man went, and then Marvell asked his poor servant boy, "What had I for dinner yesterday?" The answer was, "A small leg of mutton." Then he asked, "What will I have to-day?" and the answer was, "Sir, 1932 you will have the blade of that joint." Then he said, "I have my dinner and I am true to my Constituents, and you and your £1,000 walk straight out of that." That is really a Parliament that was not paid directly, but they were paid indirectly, just as, sometimes, not always by accident, men are rewarded with baronetcies and knighthoods.
This de expensis Act was an enactment made in one of the corruptest periods of Parliamentary life—that is, the time of Queen Anne. What it enacted was this: Parliament passed a statute whereby no one was allowed into the House of Commons who could not show if he were a county Member that he had £500 a year in land and £300 per annum in property of some kind or another. That kept men out of the House of Commons fully fitted to represent, down to 1859, when it was abrogated. In reference to this, it is the correct and proper thing that Members of the House of Commons should be paid. It is right that they should have some little remuneration. It would give them a higher sense possibly of obligation to the service to which they were devoted. I do not believe in absolute service for love, nor does the hon. Gentleman believe in it, because if he did the first thing he would do would be to vote for the disestablishment of the English Church and let them work for love. I end as I began, by emphasising the sound doctrine preached by the right hon. Gentleman, that in the purest times of Parliament Members were paid, and in the most corrupt times of Parliament they were unpaid. With these words I think I may leave my presentation of the case to the House itself.
§ Mr. A. E. DUNN
It has been pointed out by more than one hon. Member that this Resolution divides itself into two heads, and it is manifest that the first, at any rate, receives practically the unanimous support of all parties in this House, namely, that it is the duty of the public to provide that machinery which indicates their choice at the poll of their Member of Parliament. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works, in querying, I will not put it higher than that, whether or not this is a charge that might well be borne by the local authority. One has in England in these days to rather regret that so large a division is made between local imposts and State taxation. After all is said and done, there may be different pockets, but it is the 1933 same garment to which the pockets belong, and it may be that if the local authority had to pay for this particular machinery it would be better able to check and to guard against extravagant expenditure, and probably resentment might be shown against the candidate who forced himself to the poll against the well-known wish of the constituency. With regard to these charges, it has already been pointed out how absurd some of them are. I have no doubt many Members sitting in this House have had to pay for the purchase of ballot boxes and for stamping instruments that have been bought by preceding candidates over and over again. I remember very well on one occasion the matter came to my own knowledge. A very considerable charge had been made for the purpose—it was the scale charge—of purchasing ballot boxes and stamping instruments. It may not be known that there is a clause in the Act of Parliament which gives the right to one of the two candidates to claim the moiety of all the boxes and half the stamping instruments that have been used. One of the candidates who had paid for these particular boxes applied for his moiety of the boxes and half the stamping instruments. The Under-Sheriff was exceedingly astonished, and said he could not possibly part with them; they had been used for the last five elections, and would be wanted again. For the last five elections the candidates had paid for these ballot boxes and stamping instruments, which probably had been borrowed from the municipal authority, who for their own purposes had provided them, as most municipal bodies do at the present moment. Under-Sheriffs are most estimable gentlemen, who have many varied duties to perform, but I find they call the year of a General Election "a fat year." It is a pity, at any rate, that some of the "fat" does not come to those who provide it. I do not think I need say anything further with regard to that part of the question. It has met with that unanimity of approval which should lead, before long, to a practical enactment. I am quite sure that the hon. Member for Hammersmith will use the influence he naturally possesses with his leaders to induce them to appeal to the Government to deal with this matter, and it would then be very soon passed by the House as a non-contentious measure. We know that unfortunately measures which are supposed to be non-contentious on account of expressions falling from the Opposition occasionally blossom into con- 1934 tention directly they have been put in the form of attempted practical legislation.
With regard to this Question of the payment of Members, we are told that it is a dangerous thing, because we shall have professional politicians. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] A gentleman behind me says "Hear, hear." Well, I do not know what my hon. Friend's definition of a professional politician may be, but we have had a definition to-night of a professional Member from the hon. Member for Hammersmith. He has told us that a paid Member is a Member who does not work for love, and that a man works for love and comes here because of the love he bears his country and the love he has for Parliamentary work. If he does not come here for love of that, then he is a professional politician. Then I say unhesitatingly that there are many professional politicians in this House who are not paid Members, and there are paid Members in this House who are not professional politicians, if you take that definition. We know, and are proud of the fact, that there are gentlemen in this House who make no excuse, and who openly publish the fact, that they receive a salary of £250 or £300. Would the hon. Member for Hammersmith with that definition he has told us look to the Benches below the Gangway and point out any man who does not come here for love?
What we want here is to enable men to come here for the love of the work. We want payment not for the services rendered here, because the payment of a paltry £300 would be inadequate remuneration for the services men render in this House. What we want is to remove the barrier which stands in the way of so many coming here and from working for the love of their country, which is such an ideal, and rightly so, according to the hon. Member for Hammersmith. The Gentleman who so well represents Donegal in this House has gone into a historical retrospect. It is exceedingly interesting to hear those historical reminiscences. Perhaps I may be pardoned if I just say on this matter that it was my privilege to examine a document which dealt directly with this question of the payment of Members. It was only a Bill showing how a gentleman who was occupying the position of chief magistrate of an ancient western city four hundred years ago dealt with certain monies that had been entrusted to him to come to the Bar of this House and give an explanation of why that particular city declined to pay the wages of one of 1935 its Members. It was not a question of wanting to get out of the payment. The amount demanded was much smaller than the amount given to the mayor to come to the Bar of the House and explain. The mayor came to the Bar of your House, and he said that they objected to pay one of their Members because that particular Member was not doing his duty to the constituency he represented.
Those are, of course, ancient historical precedents, but we are told that precedent, after all, is a matter which should be taken into consideration when we are dealing with proposed legislation in this way. I have no hesitation in supporting the motion of my hon. Friend. We were told some years ago it would open the portals of this House to various and different classes of Society. I am very glad to know that those portals have been opened, and that the House is the richer, because all classes are now represented in this Chamber. There is one thing surely more important than anything else, and that is that every Member of the House should be absolutely independent. I will use an argument, which I am sure the Labour Members will not misunderstand. Their presence under the conditions which bring them here is one of the greatest arguments you can possibly have in favour of payment of Members of Parliament. Many Members are here because they are paid by their Unions. It may be that a Member so paid desires to vote in a manner which he knows will give offence to the particular Union which pays him, and he is face to face with this difficulty: He must either displease his Union and stand the chance of losing the remuneration which makes it possible for him to be here, or vote in opposition to his real views. I say that the only fear a man ought to have in this House is the fear of his constituents, and the constituency of a trade union is not always the same thing as the constituency of a borough or county. Consequently, I say that the very presence of Labour Members brought here and paid by the great labour corporations renders it more important in the interests of the independence of Members of this Chamber that they should be paid by the State, so that they need have no fear that any vote they give will offend the body which provides the maintenance necessary to their presence here. I have great pleasure in supporting the Motion.
§ Mr. REES
I am greatly obliged to the hon. Member for his high estimate of my services; I regret that my estimate of his arguments is not so favourable. ["Oh."] I said "of his arguments," and I said it with all courtesy. I think £300 a year for every Member, if it is to be put on the rates, as I gather the majority of hon. Members wish, is a very large sum. I have not had an opportunity of consulting my Constituents on the point, but I very much doubt whether they would consider that £300 a year on the rates was a paltry sum, or would in any way approve of it. The hon. Member for Camborne also referred to the absolute necessity of all Members of this House being independent. No sooner had he stated that indisputable fact than, as it seemed to me, he blew his own argument into thin air by contending that the representatives of trade unions in this House were not independent. That appears to me to be the case. I say, with the greatest possible respect to hon. Members opposite, that nobody who is paid can be thoroughly independent of those who pay him. Last Session an hon. Member who had received party aid for his election expenses was roundly accused by a Labour representative as not being an independent Member for that reason. The hon. Member concerned took exception to this, and brought the matter before the House. With great respect to him and to any others similarly situated, I believe that no hon. Member whose election expenses are paid can be so independent as an hon. Member whose expenses are not paid. The hon. Member for Wirral in his speech said that this Question affects all Members of the House, and not only the Members on the Labour Benches. To that I heartily subscribe, and I deduce from it 1937 exactly the opposite conclusion to that drawn from it by the hon. Member. I believe that all men in all positions are more independent in proportion as they are dependent only upon their own resources, upon the product of their own labour or their own belongings, and absolutely independent of any payment. Then the hon. Member for South Donegal, I thought, with rather undue insistence, kept on referring to rotten boroughs. Seeing that boroughs are as honest as, and more intelligent than, county divisions, I hope he only referred to those of the past. But he seemed to take a pleasure in dwelling upon it. I think that he also dwelt unnecessarily upon the question of the character of British Parliaments. In reference to the British Minister to which he referred, I remember a far more pleasing reminiscence of that Minister. The Minister, whose private circumstances apparently were not affluent, and who had risen to great height apparently by his great talents, was said by his King to have owed a good deal of his success to the fact that "he was never in the way, and never out of the way." These were really great merits. I suppose this was the Minister to whom the hon. Member referred.
§ Mr. REES
Then it was a near relation. But the hon. Member, at any rate, argued in favour of this measure, and then it seemed to me he proved it was unnecessary. It seemed to me that he, after laying down the necessity for it, immediately proceeded to show that it was not one that was needed by the hon. Members from Ireland. They, as everyone knows, are extremely able gentlemen, and devoted to their work in this House to such an extent as to be a pattern and an example. The hon. Gentleman first of all argued that we must have this payment. He then proceeded to say that the hon. Members from Ireland are most of them poor men, and therefore he proved that what he wanted was not in the least necessary in order to obtain the best possible Members. That is deducible from what he said, and is a position with which I most heartily agree. If this House is to vote for itself, out of the funds for which it is trustee appointed by the nation, £300 a year per member, why are matters to stop there? The French Deputies, who began with 1938 a certain payment, have lately raised it. I think the same thing has happened in some of our Colonies. I know that only this morning in "The Times" we find the Members of the Cape Parliament have decided to take £400 a year apiece. I submit with great respect to hon. Members of the contrary opinion that it would be a very serious derogation of the present Parliament, and very much impair the high standard of impartiality and independence which exists here, if any sum, be it £300 or £400 or any other, were voted by Parliament for the purposes of Members. Members at the present moment in this House—I do not think anybody would dispute that—derive a great deal of the authority which they possess from the fact that they are not merely Members of Parliament, but something else besides; that they have some authority, some reputation, in other capacities than that of Members of Parliament, and for that reason, and just in proportion as they have reputation and a position outside this House, the opinions which they express in this House are valuable. That class of gentleman described—I do not use the words in any offensive sense—as a "professional politician," is necessarily wanting in those very qualities which give the authority they possess to hon. Members who now sit here. I cannot for the life of me understand how it is consistent with the general policy of distinguished Members on this side of the House and immediately opposite—how it is consistent with their credit that this House should sit down and vote for itself a salary. Moreover, if hon. Members of this House are to have salaries, I do not know on what ground salaries should be refused to Noble Lords in the other place—except on grounds of prejudice. I fail to see how the distinction could be maintained and fairly argued. Moreover, in every county in the United Kingdom there are numbers of gentlemen spending their lives in the service of their fellow-countrymen as members of county councils and other councils, as magistrates, and so on, without payment. They are proud to do it, and the fact that they are not paid ensures for them a position of impartiality which they could not occupy if they were paid, and it is also an enormous saving to the over-rated counties in which they work. I maintain to pay Members of Parliament would be to strike a blow at this great system of voluntary service which is the pride of the country, and that is one of the reasons why, 1939 despite, very often, a great many laws which are not the best, that the law is so well administered. It is all very well to say, as the hon. Member who last spoke said, that £300 a year is not too much to pay Members, or at all events to pay to Members of whom he approves, or who agree with him, or are of his way of thinking. The amount of pay may not be beyond the deserts of an individual, but it may be beyond the means of those who have to pay it, and I think the ratepayers of this country, and the taxpayers, too, have reached a condition in which they cannot afford to pay more than they are paying at present, and this House, at least as the representatives of the taxpayers, should be exceedingly chary of adding to the charges which weigh upon them so heavily, and which they so courageously bear.
I do not believe that any hon. Member will get up in this House and say that at the last General Election this was one of the planks in his platform. [Cries of "Yes."] I beg leave to withdraw that, as there are hon. Members who did, but at least the majority of hon. Members, I venture to say, did not. The cost of these two reforms which have been laid before the House to-night would mean to the people the interest on something like the cost of old age pensions—£9,000,000 a year. [Laughter.] Yes, the interest on that sum, which comes to about a quarter of a million a year, and I, for my part, am extremely glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench—I do not know whether he was very warm or platonic, as I had not the good fortune to hear him—did not undertake to take any active steps to bring these reforms about, and for that, at any rate, I thank him. Then there are the hon. Gentlemen for whom the hon. Member for Donegal spoke. He urged that this reform of payment of Members was desirable in the interest of hon. Members from Ireland, to whose devotion to their work and to whose capacity I venture to offer my humble tribute. But I think it would be a very odd thing if the taxpayers were to pay £300 a year to hon. Members who avowedly—I do not presume to criticise—come here, not for the purpose of furthering the business of this House, but for the purpose of obstructing the business of this House. ["Oh."] I speak with all courtesy and respect of hon. Members; it is their own position that I state, not mine. I would not venture to state that unless hon. Members from Ireland had 1940 stated it themselves. There can be no disrespect in repeating for hon. Members that description which they give of themselves. I say that it is somewhat illogical—I do not know that I dislike it on that account—and there is something absurd in a payment of £300 a year being voted to Irish Members of Parliament in order to further the business of an Assembly which they do not think ought to exist, and of the proceedings of which they thoroughly disapprove. That is a position which requires a little clearing up. The question of returning officers' expenses has also been touched upon. I do not know that I am any more anxious when I am a candidate to contribute to the purse of various local lawyers than other hon. Members, and I do not know that it gives me any more pleasure than it does any other hon. Member, but I would rather do that than see those expenses put upon the rates. I do not see why the ratepayers should bear those expenses; the constituencies are the best judges of the situation, and if they can get a candidate to come forward without costing them anything, why should they be forced to pay these expenses? Why should the constituencies of hon. Members who are willing to come here and do their best, many of whom satisfy their constituencies, be forced to pay salaries which they do not wish to pay, and which their representatives have not asked for?
Another evil which must result from putting the returning officers' expenses upon the rates or the Imperial taxes is that there will be no kind of check, and you will get all kinds of extravagant, eccentric, and absurd candidates coming forward. You will have such candidates as Mr. Hunnable, who knows he has no chance of being returned, and only goes forward in order to keep somebody else out. This Motion would aggravate that difficulty. I do not think that many hon. Members have such great complaints to bring forward against returning officers as might be inferred from certain remarks which, I gather, have been made this evening. I know I have not. It has been argued that it is a good thing that this country should pay Members of Parliament because other countries on the Continent of Europe pay their members. It would be an equally good, or rather bad, argument to say that because Continental countries do extremely well under Protection, therefore this country should adopt the principle of Protection. In point of fact, it seems to me that if we have a sys- 1941 tem which works fairly well, there are at least some arguments to be advanced for letting it alone. It is admitted that the present system works well, and it is not certain that the changes which have been made in it have been improvements. I thank the House for the courtesy and patience it has shown in listening to opinions with which, I gather, they do not in all quarters agree. How it can possibly be argued that because a man has not got the money to pay his election expenses he is likely to make a better Member of Parliament than one who has, seems to me inconceivable.
I do not for a moment say that, because a man has money to pay his expenses, therefore he is more eloquent or more able than a man who has not the money; but it does appear to me that there is some guarantee for impartiality in the fact that he is not beholden to any man. We admit that fact in every other walk of life, and in all business transactions. I quite realise the fact that hon. Members should represent all classes of the community; but it is perfectly clear that the want of means does not keep away men who have the confidence of their fellow citizens. The proposal before the House is a far-reaching change at the expense of the ratepayers, and probably at the risk of impairing that impartiality and that independence which are the most precious possessions of a Member of Parliament.
§ Mr. H. J. P. R. BELLOC
I think I may say that the hon. Members who have spoken against the Resolution can hardly be taken seriously. The proportion of Members against the payment of returning officers' expenses is infinitesimal. What I want to put before the House is another aspect of the question. Why is not the payment of the returning officers' expenses not the law, and why is it not to become the law? The House has again and again passed Resolutions in favour of it. The House will pass the Resolution tonight, and it will continue to pass it, and yet it will not become law. Yet this is a House which says it has powers almost sovereign; and yet after the expression of its earnest and convinced opinion nothing happens. We are told that every class of the community is represented here. That is absolutely false. The class which I represent, earning comparatively small incomes, is not represented here. I mean the professional class. Though I should like to see a larger number of men who are 1942 or have been artizans here, yet there is one class which is kept out. I would like to suggest that when the territorial classes made themselves masters of the Universities and of Parliament, as well as of many other institutions in the country, the reason why they did not continue the payment of Members was that it was not worth their while in view of the small sum paid. They instead raised to an enormous level—a quite unprofitable level—the salaries attached to the big jobs, and these to a great extent still remain, although they are not all quite so bad as formerly. For instance, the Bishop of Durham does not get the great sum originally associated with his office, and there has been a good deal of clearing out in other directions. Still, some of the high salaries yet remain, and the only reason that there was not this small sum allocated to Members of Parliament in the eighteenth century was that it was not worth the while of the wealthy classes, in view of the fact that they intended to monopolise both branches of the Legislature. The reason of the opposition of the Government to a step of this sort is that it would make the private Member more independent and more powerful. I believe the First Commissioner of Works is perfectly sincere when he says he will vote for this Resolution to-night. But what is the good of his sincerity if, as a Member of the Government, he cannot pronounce that in the General Reform Bill which is to be produced before the end of this Parliament, they will not include safe and obvious propositions such as are embodied in this Resolution we are discussing. If they cannot do so it must be because the present system, which I heartily deplore, is dearer to both the Liberal and the Conservative side than the independence of private Members and the conversion of this House into a real deliberative assembly. Personally I attach less importance to the point of the payment of the returning officers' expenses. The bulk of the expense of fighting an election in an English constituency is not the official expense. A poor man must necessarily have money other than his own behind him even if the election officer's expenses are paid out of the public funds. That will continue at any rate, but it does not follow when he is here that he should not receive remuneration from public sources. There is one point which is very important. If a poor man is not paid out of public funds he will be paid out of some other fund, the 1943 contributors of which will be more or less his masters. I only want the House to consider this anomaly, that it is going to vote in favour of this thing, as it has done in the past and as it will do in the future, but it will not become law. Something, however, will be accomplished if by illuminating this point we show how the whole situation is a farce.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
The ground of opposition to this Motion, as I understand the speech of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire and the speech of the hon. Member for Hammersmith, is this: that if you pay a man for making a career of politics and training himself for what after all, are more important duties than any duties of private life, you make him professional and corrupt as well.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
Upon that point I say this: that, having lived a large portion of my life in Canada, where members are paid £600 a year, where they have free statutory passes on every railway, and where each one gets a present of a trunk and two portmanteaux filled with notepaper, lead pencils, and sealing-wax—I must say this, in all seriousness, that whatever corruption there is in Canadian life, other Colonial life or American political life, it does not come from the small salary that
§ goes with the membership; it comes from corrupt influences in political life quite independent of that salary altogether. In this country you have a corrupting influence in the drink traffic, without which not one out of 50 Members on the other side of the House would be here at all.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
On a point of order, may I ask you whether it is in order for any hon. Gentleman to allege that not one in 50 of any section of the House would be here but for corrupt influences?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
On the face of it it was so absurd and extravagant a statement that I do not suppose the hon. Member himself really attached any importance to it.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
I did not for a moment wish to impute any wrong motive to any Member. What I wished to emphasise, and what I shall say again, is this, that the payment of Members does not itself corrupt the Members, but it is the corrupting influence behind it, whether it be the liquor traffic or the tariff system.
§ Mr. H. C. BRODIE
On theoretical grounds there is no argument whatsoever against the payment of Members. I think it is desirable that constituencies should have the widest possible choice in their selection of Members of Parliament.
§ Question put: "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 261; Noes, 75.1947
|Division No. 101.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Crean, Eugene|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Crooks, William|
|Agnew, George William||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Crosfield, A. H.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Curran, Peter Francis|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Dalziel, Sir James Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Byles, William Pollard||Davies, Ellis William (Elfion)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Cameron, Robert||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Barker, Sir John||Chance, Frederick William||Delany, William|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Devlin, Joseph|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cheetham, John Frederick||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Clancy, John Joseph||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Cleland, J. W.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Clough, William||Dillon, John|
|Beale, W. P.||Clynes, J. R.||Dobson, Thomas W.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Duckworth, Sir James|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Duffy, William J.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Cooper, G. J.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Essex, R. W.|
|Brace, William||Cowan, W. H.||Esslemont, George Birine|
|Branch, James||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Evans, Sir Samuel T.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Falconer, James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Ferens, T. R.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Callum, John M.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Findlay, Alexander||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Robinson, S.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Micking, Major G.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Maddison, Frederick||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Markham, Arthur Basil||Rowlands, J.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Gill, A. H.||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Marnham, F. J.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Glover, Thomas||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Massie, J.||Seddon, J.|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Middlebrook, William||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Halpin, J.||Montgomery, H. G.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morse, L. L.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tdyvil)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Muldoon, John||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Harwood, George||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N W.)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Myer, Horatio||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nicholls, George||Summerbell, T.|
|Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Nolan, Joseph||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hodge, John||Nuttall, Harry||Tomkinson, James|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||O'Doherty, Philip||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Horniman, Emslie John||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Verney, F. W.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Vivian, Henry|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Grady, J.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||O'Malley, William||Walters, John Tudor|
|Hyde, Clarendon G.||O'Shee, James John||Walton, Joseph|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Jenkins, J.||Partington, Oswald||Wardle, George J.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Kavanagh, Walter M.||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Staff. Wald.)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Kelley, George D.||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Philips, John (Longford, S.)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Pollard, Dr. G. H.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesborough)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Raphael, Herbert H.||Winfrey, R.|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Maclean, Donald||Reddy, M.||Young, Samuel|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Higham and Mr. Fenwick|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Hunt, Rowland|
|Balcarres, Lord||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Faber, George Denison (York)||Kerry, Earl of|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lamont, Norman|
|Brodie, H. C.||Fell, Arthur||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Forster, Henry William||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gordon, J.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Gretton, John||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Haddock, George B.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hamilton, Marquess of||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Clark, George Smith||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Hedges, A. Paget||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Helmsley, Viscount||Moore, William|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Hodge, Sir Robert Hermon-||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Hill, Sir Clement||Oddy, John James|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Renwick, George||Starkey, John R.|
|Peel, Hon. W. R. W.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Pretyman, E. G.||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Rees, J. D.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Morpeth and Lord Robert Cecil.|
|Renton, Leslie||Stanier, Beville|
§ Main Question put accordingly: "That in the opinion of this House the non-payment of Members and the liability of candidates for the returning officers' expenses render it impossible for many constituencies to exercise a free choice in their selection of candidates and election of Members of Parliament; and this House is of opinion that any measure of general electoral reform passed before the Dissolu-1948
§ tion of this Parliament, and coming into force upon or after the Dissolution, should be accompanied by arrangements for the Payment of Members elected to serve in Parliament and for the transfer to the Imperial Exchequer of the financial responsibility for the returning officers' expenses incurred in the conduct of such elections."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 242; Noes, 92.1949
|Division No. 102.]||AYES.||[11.10 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Maclean, Donald|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Essex, R. W.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Barnard, E. B.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Everett, R. Lacey||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Falconer, James||M'Callum, John M.|
|Beale, W. P.||Ferens, T. R.||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Ffrench, Peter||Maddison, Frederick|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Findlay, Alexander||Marnham, F. J.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Flynn, James Christopher||Massie, J.|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Fullerton, Hugh||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Gill, A. H.||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Brace, William||Glendinning, R. G.||Middlebrook, William|
|Branch, James||Glover, Thomas||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Morrell, Philip|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Morse, L. L.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Halpin, J.||Muldoon, John|
|Byles, William Pollard||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Myer, Horatio|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Harwood, George||Nicholls, George|
|Cleland, J. W.||Hayden, John Patrick||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Clough, William||Hazleton, Richard||Nolan, Joseph|
|Clynes, J. R.||Healy, Timothy Michael||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Henry, Charles S.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Cooper, G. J.||Hobart, Sir Robert||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hodge, John||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hogan, Michael||O'Grady, J.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||O'Malley, William|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Horniman, Emslie John||O'Shee, James John|
|Crean, Eugene||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crooks, William||Hudson, Walter||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Staff. Wald.)|
|Crossley, William J.||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Jardine, Sir J.||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Jenkins, J.||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Elfion)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kelley, George D.||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Delany, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kettle, Thomas Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Kilbride, Denis||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Lamont, Norman||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Radford, G. H.|
|Dillon, John||Lehmann, R. C.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Duffy, William J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Reddy, M.|
|Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Spicer, Sir Albert||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Stanger, H. Y.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Robinson, S.||Summerbell, T.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Sutherland, J. E.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Roche, John (Galway, East)||Thomasson, Franklin||Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Rose, Charles Day||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Rowlands, J.||Thorne, William (West Ham)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Tomkinson, James||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Seaverns, J. H.||Verney, F. W.||Winfrey R.|
|Seddon, J.||Vivian, Henry||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)||Walsh, Stephen||Young, Samuel|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Walters, John Tudor|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Walton, Joseph|
|Silcock, Thomas Ball||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Higham and Mr. Fenwick.|
|Simon, John Allsebrook||Wardle, George J.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Forster, Henry William||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fuller, John Michael F.||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gordon, J.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Gretton, John||Oddy, John James|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Beauchamp, E.||Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Haddock, George B.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hamilton, Marquess of||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Helmsley, Viscount||Rees, J. D.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Renton, Leslie|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hill, Sir Clement||Renwich, George|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Kerry, Earl of||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Chance, Frederick William||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Clark, George Smith||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Stanier, Beville|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Starkey, John R.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Whitbread, S. Howard|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir W. Bull and Mr. Carlile.|
|Fell, Arthur||Moore, William|
Motion made and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.