HC Deb 14 August 1911 vol 29 cc1579-682

1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £252,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1912, for the Salaries of Members of the House of Commons not in receipt of Salaries as Ministers, as Officers of the House, or as Officers of His Majesty's Household."

Viscount WOLMER

I beg to move, to reduce the vote by £100,000.

I move this reduction on the understanding that we are allowed now to discuss the procedure by which, the Government have thought fit to introduce payment of Members into our Parliamentary system.


On a point of Order, will the discussion be confined to the question of procedure?

Viscount WOLMER

May I explain that the Chancellor of the Exchequer offered to allow us to take a Division on this Motion at about half-past six, after which other questions could be discussed.


I understand that it will be for the general convenience of the Committee that the discussion at present should be confined as far as possible to this particular point.

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)

I think it would be very desirable that the Debate at the outset should as far as possible be confined to this one point.


I have a Motion on the Paper, and I should like to be assured that if I do not intervene now I shall have a chance later.


I cannot give a definite promise; but if it is the general understanding that a Division is to be taken on a reduction moved for the purpose of raising the constitutional question about half-past six, I shall endeavour to confine the Debate to Members who wish to speak on that point.

Viscount WOLMER

I have put down this Motion because I agreed last Thursday to remove the blocking Motion which stood in my name, and I would like to apologise to the House for having caused a certain amount of inconvenience. In order to remind the Government of a pledge which they had apparently forgotten, I took the step, which I believe was the only step one could take, and obtained permission to raise the constitutional aspect of this very important question. The discussion that took pace on Thursday last, if it did nothing else, at any rate showed the great importance of this question. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that England is practically the only country that does not pay her Members of Parliament. We are proud of it. This innovation at one blow-sweeps away the last distinguishing feature that remains to mark the superiority of the British Parliament over those of foreign countries. Our point is that this most important, innovation ought to have been carried out by Act of Parliament. We regard it as highly unconstitutional to have proceeded by means of Resolution and Vote. Our reasons for that opinion are as follows:—In the first place, the procedure adopted by the Government has rendered adequate discussion of this far-reaching proposal impracticable. The Speaker explained to the House last week that of the many important Amendments on the Order Paper to the Resolutions proposed by the Government only one or two were in order. The other Amendments, raising important points or making alternative proposals were not discussed or even considered by the House. We believe that such an important change in our Constitution ought to have been discussed in all its bearings before it became an actual fact, and it is because of the hopelessly inadequate discussion and consideration this proposal has received that we in the first place wish to register a protest against the procedure adopted by the Government.

Secondly, it is obvious that in the end this purpose will have to be accomplished by Act of Parliament. Surely the Government before long, if this practice is to be a permanent feature of our Constitution, will be forced to establish it as part of the law of the land? I do not suggest that they will do it out of any respect for the Constitution, but merely because of the inconvenience it will be to this or to any Government to have the subject annually brought up and discussed afresh. I think everybody will agree that payment of Members will ultimately have to be passed into law if it is to be permanent, not only to remove congestion of Parliamentary business, not only to bring an important feature of our Constitution into the law of the country, but also because the arrangement instituted by the Government is very unbusiness-like and temporary. According to the procedure which has been adopted, there is no guarantee that the money we are asked to vote this afternoon will be expended in accordance with the Resolution passed on Thursday last. If any hon. Members opposite prove recalcitrant or disagreeable to the Government, there is nothing in the Resolution of Thursday to prevent the Chancellor of the Exchequer from witholding their salaries. I do not insinuate that the right hon. Gentleman would do any such thing, but if he did hon. Members would have no redress at all. I merely bring this forward as an instance of the fact that His Majesty's Government, if they ever get a chance, invariably do a thing in a bureaucratic way instead of by means of legislation. I think it will be agreed on all hands that the procedure adopted by the Government is ephemeral, unsatisfactory, and cannot in any way be a permanent settlement. We must ask ourselves the question why, if this will ultimately have to be passed as an Act of Parliament, it was not so passed this year. We know what we shall be told. We shall be told that the Government have no time. But that is a difficulty which confronts every single Bill ever passed by this House. Every Session we see Bills postponed because there is not time to carry them. We have frequently seen such Bills as Shop Hours Bills or Women Enfranchisement Bills postponed because there has not been time to carry them. If those proposals have been postponed, why should not this proposal have been postponed also? The shop assistants may wait and the women may wait, but directly it is a question of the salaries of Members of Parliament the proposal must be hurried through without any reference to the constitution or anything else. Those measures which we have seen postponed for lack of time are infinitely more important to the classes concerned than this particular proposal is to us personally. Therefore I believe it to be in every way unfortunate that the Government have decided to rush this proposal through the House in the manner they have adopted.

In considering the action of the Government, I think we can find only one other reason why they did introduce this great and far reaching innovation by an Act of Parliament, namely, that they knew perfectly well that the House of Lords would reject it, and the people would back them up. [Laughter.] Hon. Members appear to regard as a matter for amusement the very idea that the people do not desire them to have £400 a year. I am perfectly aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has claimed a mandate for this measure. He would claim a mandate for anti-vivisection if it suited his purpose. But it is impossible to claim a mandate for any measure until a Referendum has been held on the particular point, and I would suggest that this proposal was a very fitting subject for a Referendum in this country. If a Referendum had been taken, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not have been so certain about his mandate. I was very much interested to notice in a White Paper circulated a few days ago that a Referendum on this subject had been recently held in South Australia In that case it was not a proposal to pay Members of Parliament, but to increase the salaries already paid. Not only would I like to see the proposal to pay Members of Parliament submitted to a Referendum, but whenever this House thinks fit to increase the salaries, which I believe it will before very long, I would like to see that proposal also submitted. The question submitted to the Referendum in South Australia was, "Are you in favour of increasing the payment of Members of Parliament to £300 per annum," and the result was: "Yes," 42,934; "No," 89,042. I think that if a Referendum were held in England on the subject the respective proportions of the electors would be much the same as they were in Australia. I am much obliged for the courtesy of the Government and of hon. Members opposite in allowing us to raise the constitutional point. I believe it is one of overwhelming importance, and I think it exceedingly unfortunate that the very first day after the passage of the Parliament Bill the House of Commons should vote itself a quarter of a million pounds at the expense of the electors, who sent them here for a very different purpose.


I rise to support the Motion of my Noble Friend, and I do so with no desire to obstruct the business of the House, but with a genuine wish to protest against the action of the Government in bringing forward payment of Members in the manner in which they have done. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in moving the Resolution last week, said it was an important Motion, and yet, although one listened attentively to his speech, there was no explanation and no apology on the part of the Government for introducing what is really a new system of government in this country, merely by a Resolution instead of by a Bill. I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to explain to us certain passages in that speech. He said:— The Prime Minister had announced his intention before the last election to submit a Resolution to the House of Commons for the purpose of paying the Members."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th August,1911, col. 1360.] I think I am right in saying that the Prime Minister never did anything of the sort. If reference is made to the utterances of the Prime Minister, it will be seen that he said that he proposed, if he was returned, to make provision for the payment of Members, but he never said he was going to merely pass a Resolution to have that effected, which is a totally different thing. In the statement of the Prime Minister he gave no details, and suggested no amount, and I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer does he think that these few words, these few passing words, of the Prime Minister can be construed to have the effect that the Government will be entitled now to bring in a Resolution for the payment of Members and for expending £250,000 a year, on what is simply a blank cheque. Does he think that because he said, just before the House rose one evening, that if returned he would propose payment of Members, that entitled him at the end of a Session to bring forward a Resolution which will introduce an entirely different state of affairs to what has existed up to the present time. I would also ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to explain this sentence, "At any rate it was with full notice to the constituencies." What notice was it? During the discussion which we heard last week only one hon. Member on the opposite side of the House got up and said that he had given any notice to his constituents in his election address. That was the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald). An hon. Member on this side of the House said that he also gave some notice by suggestions that the Government were going to bring in payment of Members. I know many of us suggested that, and we argued as one of the reasons why support should not be given to the Radical party that it was the intention of the Government to bring about payment of Members, but we were always shouted at by the Liberals and Radicals present; we were told it was pure nonsense, and that if the matter did come forward, the people would have an opportunity of expressing their opinion, and that it was not really an issue at the election. I remember that shortly before the last election the Noble Lord the Secretary for War (Viscount Haldane) warned his. audience, and through them the Liberal party, that the election would come "like a thief in the night." I think that simile would be more exact if it were applied to the manner in which his own party were going to bring about payment of Members. I venture to submit that the utterances of the Chancellor of the Exchequer last Thursday and of the Postmaster-General who wound up the Debate on the same day were somewhat different. In the case of the Postmaster-General, there was a somewhat scant attendance owing to what was going on at the time in another place. He said, "the Members of this House, are, of course, in a somewhat delicate and embarrassing situation." I quite agree with the Postmaster-General. He went on, "because there is no other body that has the power to effect that payment except the Members of the House of Commons themselves." Surely that is the very reason why. if you were in a delicate and embarrassing position, the Government should have gone out of their way to take every precaution possible, so that the people of this country and the taxpayers might feel that we were not trying to vote money to ourselves in a way in which it was not intended to be done. Surely that was the more reason why further discussion should have been given by means of a Bill which should have been introduced and discussed Clause by Clause so that all the merits of the question of payment of Members could have been discussed, and the people and the taxpayers would be given an opportunity of seeing the reasons why the Government thought fit to force on this question.

On the contrary, to return to the utterances of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what does he say?" I find that no regulations of any kind will be necessary at all. It will be quite a simple process." Is it because, under this system of Resolutions, giving payment to Members of Parliament will be such a simple process that they have proceeded in this way? Myself and my friends feel that it will be too simple, too attractive, once it is begun, and that we shall see the House constantly increasing the salaries at the expense of the taxpayer. It is because it is too simple that we wish by moving this Amendment to see the country safeguarded by the introduction of a Bill where, at any rate, safeguards can be placed upon the Statute Book which will prevent that simple process of voting money to ourselves, when we are supposed to be, and have been up to the present moment, the custodians of the public purse. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has endeavoured to prove that the demands upon the time of Members have increased, and that really the life of a Member of Parliament is not quite so easy a thing as it was not many years ago, but he went on to say that the House has become more representative, more capable, and so on, generally patting us on the back. This argument may, or may not, have been right, but it did not go to prove that payment of Members was necessary. If the House of Commons at the present moment is so representative it shows it has risen to the requirements of the times. It is no argument for saying that Members should have to be paid. In spite of the fact that we had two elections in one year, there was no shortcoming of candidates, even on the Liberal side. We find many who call themselves democrats willing to come forward, and not only to give up their time and to spend their money in the elections, but, as the election petitions show, they were willing to spend more than the law allows them to spend in. order to get into Parliament. [HON. MEMBERS: "On both sides."] Yes, that applies to both sides, though not on the Labour benches possibly. However, my point is that there was no shortage of candidates, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not prove in his speech that there was any real need, so far as the House of Commons is concerned, owing to any falling off of candidates, to change the present system. Whether or not payment of Members of Parliament is right, whether the arguments are in favour of or against it, I think the electors and the taxpayers as a body will look with considerable suspicion upon a Government which at the fag-end of a Session and at the very first moment they possibly could, after they had taken upon themselves by illegal means this supreme power in a Single-Chamber Government, made it their first act to vote themselves salaries. I think the electors will look with suspicion upon them and will give them the reward they justly deserve.


I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Resolution upon the Paper will enable the Patronage Secretary, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Undersecretaries to receive £400 per annum in addition to their existing salaries?

Mr. LLOYD GEORGE indicated dissent.


I think the proposal to take this money by means of a Resolution is illegal. I think so on account of what was done in 1875 and 1883. Just look at the matter from the point of view of ordinary practice. I do not agree with what the Noble Lord says, that if we vote the money now, it will be possible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to keep it in a pool and to cut out any hon. Member. I think it is all the other way, and that once Parliament has voted the money and has earmarked it for a particular purpose, the Treasury will pay it to the person who. is intended to receive it. If you go back to the year 1883, at that time the Government was in an enormous difficulty in Ireland in reference to the salaries of their stipendary magistrates. The salary of an ordinary resident magistrate was fixed by Act of Parliament at from £300 to £600 a year, but the Government, in order to give certain magistrates a salary of £1,000 a year, did the very thing which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now doing with regard to payment of Members of Parliament, namely, putting down an Estimate and carrying a Resolution, and then validating it, as he supposed, by means of an Appropriation Bill. That is exactly the method which the Auditor-General condemned in 1883. He said: "It is illegal for you to do that," and he referred back to the precedent of 1875, when certain half-pay officers in excess of the number were given half-pay by a system of votes in this House. The matter, I think, gains much more importance from the fact that we have deprived the House of Lords, or the Second Chamber, of the right to deal with financial questions. Once we have taken that step it behoves us to proceed ourselves with greater particularity. I have never hesitated to say in regard to the Budget of two years ago that I did feel, and I still feel, greatly obliged to the House of Lords, and my regret is that they did not throw the Bill out, not once but two, three, four, or ten times. I have never wavered in that opinion, and all the conflict, so far as Ireland is concerned on that point, has passed by me as the idle wind. This House, however, has decided by the Bill which is soon to become law that the Lords are to be given no opportunity of giving Ireland any protection in these financial questions, and therefore I think we are entitled in regard to so important a proposal as Payment of Members to look at it very carefully.

Speaking generally, I am in favour of the principle because of the very great value of the entrance here of a large party such as the Labour party. I think, speaking generally, they are an ornament to this House, and it was my opinion on that question which prevented me voting against it the other evening. I thought it would be acting undemocratically to prevent the workman of this country sending here any representative he chooses. That being so. the question is, are we right or not, are we taking the proper step on which to found this great, and, as I believe, generally wholesome innovation which the Government have initiated? The right hon. Gentleman said the other night that he would safeguard this payment from the ordinary garnishee order against a man who is bankrupt or in default. May I ask him to consider for a moment the case of the Irish and Scottish Members? Suppose you apply at an Irish or a Scottish court for an Order—Scotland, I suppose, in this matter will be the same as Ireland—to attach for the payment of his debts the salary that has been voted here to a particular Member: is the right hon. Gentleman quite sure that in regard to so novel a principle as the present an Order could be obtained to attach the salary of a Member which was in the hands of the Treasury of this country? I would not like to have to argue that point. Once, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman has admitted that this sum of £400 will become attachable for ordinary debts which Members may owe, does not it follow, as a matter of course, that the creditor or creditors are entitled as against us to some provision which enables that money to be annexed for payment as suggested?

If the right hon. Gentleman said, "We have determined, as in the case of Ireland, by certain Bills in relation to the pensions of certain police"—I am not quite sure whether it applies to soldiers, but I know in the case of certain police payments it does apply—"that the money can never be taken in execution, and that the pensions of particular people shall remain and shall not be chargeable for particular debts," then I could understand the position taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But surely this question of annexing the salary of a Member of Parliament is one that requires definition? For instance, take the case of bankruptcy. Is this money to be available in bankruptcy for the benefit of creditors? If this money is to be available in bankruptcy, how in the case of Irish bankruptcy are you going to provide—if there is neither rule nor regulation, nor statute—that an Irish bankrupt's assets should be seizable in England for the benefit of Irish creditors? This question only lies at the threshold. Take, if I may put it, the case of a Member of Parliament who has only just come into the House, like myself. Am I, or is my predecessor, to get the salary which is to be annexed to the position? I do not say I am very much troubled about it, and I am sure my predecessor is not very much troubled about it; but this matter requires definition. Supposing the Treasury say that as regards a Member of Parliament who has only served for a few months that they will pay the salary. I should like to know upon what principle they will rely having regard to the terms of the Resolution.

A person who ceases to be a Member of Parliament is not, I would suggest, entitled to any portion of this sum. Therefore it appears to me that we should treat the present Resolution as in the nature of giving Parliamentary sanction to a Bill for next year. I do not mind a bit if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer then says that this Bill shall be dated back. But we are now at the threshold of a very important question, and we are, I think, in our own interest and from the point of view of finance, taking a leap in the dark. Let me illustrate this a little further. Take the case of schoolmasters; take the case of the Army. You pass annually an Army (Annual) Bill. You provide in that Bill, or in some Bill of the kind, for salaries for commanders-in-chief, colonels, captains, and other officers. Would it be tolerable that you should by a Resolution of this House raise those salaries without having the authority of Statute for it? Take Another case. This House very frequently votes a grant or a salary to distinguished officers. They did it in the case of the Egyptian War to a famous admiral. We vote pensions to Mr. Speaker. But these are all afterwards moulded into Statute form. We never rely in these cases on a mere Resolution of the House. In every case there is Statute law for what we do. Unless there was Statute law I venture to think that the Treasury would be very slow, under circumstances like these, to pay the money.

If what is good, or rather what is required in the case of a distinguished general, in the case of a Speaker of the House of Commons, and in all those other cases affecting the Army and Navy and the great public services, why do we in our own interests and at a time when we have abolished the financial powers of the House of Lords take a step fraught, it may be, with inconvenience for the future? I do not say this for a moment by way of any opposition to the principle of the payment of Members, as I have indicated. But I do think that the Government require some further powers than those they claim by way of giving effect to the principle. The right hon. Gentleman will find my references to the Public Accounts Committee of 1883–4 on page 7 of the reports of 1883. The only other thing I would mention is this: What did Mr. Gladstone do? The Public Accounts Committee of that day was a very strong body. Mr. Courtney, now Lord Courtney of Penwith, was Secretary to the Treasury. Anyone who recalls the names of those on that Committee will see at once the weight and importance of them, and how strong a body that committee was.

In consequence of their Report, what did Mr. Gladstone do? He brought in a Bill to regulate the salaries of these divisional Irish resident magistrates. That Bill, being opposed in this House by us, was dropped, and with it Mr. Gladstone allowed the salaries of these gentlemen to drop also, so that effect was given to the report of the Auditor-General and to the Committee of Public Accounts. That was a reasoned case. I do not pretend to know recent cases as well as I know old ones, but I think there was a recent case connected with the Education Department in England a year or two ago. I rather think that a precedent was created in the case, in spite of the protests in this House. Surely, when we are dealing with our own salaries it is an occasion when we should be the more scrupulous and the more careful! Lastly, let me remind the House how are Ministers' salaries settled. Ministers' salaries are settled by Statute. Take the case of the advance of salary—so well deserved, to the President of the Local Government Board, and I think, also to the President of the Board of Trade. Was not that done by Statute? If it was done by Resolution of the House, at all events the original Government had this warrant for the precedent created—that the original salaries were fixed by Statute. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is always alert and wise in this House. He will say, I think, that the salaries of most Members of the Government are fixed by Statute. I think they are. They are not on the Consolidated Fund. They are voted every year by this House, and I certainly think in our own case it would be wrong if we departed from what is, I submit, a wholesome practice.


I desire to support, the Motion which has been made by my hon. Friend and also to support the grounds which have been raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Louth (Mr. Healy). It is a very wrong thing of the Government to have thought fit to have brought this forward by Motion, because in very recent years this matter has been discussed and discussed again. That great financier, Sir William Harcourt, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, when there was a Motion before the House for the payment of Members, on 24th March, 1893, said:— It is a measure which ought to be carried by Act of Parliament. We perfectly admit that the proposal is one of serious constitutional change in this country, and it ought to be regarded, and dealt with, as such. It is not a thing to be hurried through by any sidewind or by any by-stroke. Sir William Harcourt treated the matter as the lawyer which he was. He knew the difficulties that surround the question. Financier as he was, he felt it was not right by a by-stroke or side-wind to alter what is a matter of high constitutional practice. May I ask the Committee to go back a little bit. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the amusing speech in which he introduced the Resolution to the House, attempted to suggest that he was the constitutional authority who was going back over the period of a couple of hundred years in order to restore old constitutional usage. What he was attempting so far as constitutional history goes— to clear away one point, do not let us suppose there is any constitutional history which can possibly support any Resolution of this kind—for the old procedure was apparently that at the end of Parliament the Member for the Constituency had a writ to take with him down to his Constituency for the purpose of levying his expenses upon the Constituency which had sent him to Parliament.

I doubt very much whether there is any Member of this House who would welcome having a writ put into his hands that would entitle him to go down to the burgesses of the borough which he represented, or the voters of the county division, and get his expenses from them for having attended the Session of Parliament.

That was the procedure which lasted until 1681. If any reference is required to show that, it is to be found in the well-known and useful Diary of Mr. Pepys, which tells us so much about that time. He called attention to the disuse of this procedure, and tells us why in that time it was thought to be a misfortune. In 1668 he was dining in the City, and after a long conversation with various Members in the City, he said (Pepys' Diary, 30th March, 1668):— But all concluded that the bane of the Parliament hath been the leaving of the old custom of the places allowing wages to those that served them in Parliament-[HON. MEMBERS: 'Hear, hear']—by which they chose men that understood their business and would attend it and they could expect an account from, which now they cannot; and so the Parliament is become a company of men unable to give account for their interest of the place they serve for. There are not quite such emphatic cheers for the last sentence:— They could expect an account from them, which now they cannot, and so Parliament is become a company of men unable to give account for the interest of the place they serve for. 5.0 P.M.

I have no doubt that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he goes down to his Constituency, is able to give a very excellent account of his work. But is he immediately to put out his hand and say: "I have brought a writ for payment of services rendered?" That was the constitutional procedure of old times, arid when the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked the House to believe that in passing this Resolution he is going back to the constitutional procedure which existed a couple of hundred years ago he may have been making a very amusing statement, but he must not really ask us to accept it as the true view of constitutional history. How does the matter go on? After that time I do not think anything was heard of the payment of Members until it was put forward as one of the items of the people's Charter in 1839; then it was scouted as one of the most impossible things, and the Chartists, as we know, failed to succeed upon that item. At that time it was fully discussed by many persons of high constitutional authority, and Lord Macaulay spoke emphatically against it when it was brought forward in what I may call the democratic charter of the time. Let us come down to an absolutely recent period of time, when the matter was brought forward, as it was, by an hon. Member for Leicester. Hon. Members for Leicester seemed to have held to the doctrine of the payment of Members for some time. When the Motion was brought forward by Mr. Taylor, who then represented Leicester, Mr. Gladstone declined to give the matter even consideration, because when the Bill was brought in his authority secured its defeat upon First Reading. I think I may fairly quote Mr. Gladstone as a person of distinction and authority, even for hon. Members opposite. The words he used at that time are important. He said: When the charge is locally levied, it is an indication of a very strong sense in the local community of the necessity of the measure and of the value of the services of the man, but if these payments are to be made out of the Consolidated Fund, then I must ask whether it is generally desirable to, that irrespective of highly exceptional cases which may be counted upon one's fingers, we should entirely alter the practice that so-long governed our conduct. I do not know that in this Constitutional! question any sufficient authority has been given to prove that this House can by Resolution do what the authority I have already cited shows should be done by Act of Parliament.

I desire to say a few words upon the important points raised by the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy). We all know that in many cases where either salaries or pensions are paid they are rendered immune from any illegal proceedings. That is done by Statute. The pay of officers and of retired officers, both in the Army and Navy are protected from legal proceedings, and cannot be touched where the person proceeded against has got himself into financial difficulty and has had judgment given against him. That is on the ground that these sums are given to those persons to maintain their status and position. It is given in order that they may maintain the honourable position which they hold in having the King's Commission or in filling an office of profit under the Crown. What is the intention in this case? Is it that this £400 a year is given to Members of this House in order to maintain their status and their position, and is it therefore to be a rule that it will be immune or impossible of assignment. I should like to ask the Attorney-General for his opinion on that point. Is this salary to be given to Members of this House in order that they may maintain themselves in an honourable status, or is it given merely as a bonus for services rendered? If given in order to maintain their status I respectfully ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell us whether it can be taken by any proceeding in any court; whether it is inalienable and unassignable, and whether it is given for that purpose, or is it given as a compensation or a bonus at the concluding portion of each Session?

The other point which the hon. Member for North-East Cork raised is a very important one, and that is the question as to who are the Members to be paid? Is it the Members who are Members at the conclusion of a Session or Members who are Members at the commencement of a Session, and whether there are to be some rules and regulations made by which an adequate portion is to be assigned to Members for approved duty day after day, week after week, and month after month? And is this salary to be apportioned by one Member so long as he sits for a constituency, and does it go to the succeeding Member, and if so what is to happen during the day which the seat is unoccupied? All these are matters which must necessarily come forward and must arise for determination, and very quickly. The difficulty the House is in is that we are proceeding in a totally exceptional manner, and the manner in which there is no precedent at all. We have payment by resolution, and being outside a Statute, we are to have the whole power and control in our own hands. If the Attorney-General determines some of these points, there are still a great number of points incidentally to the matters raised by the hon. Member for North-East Cork which must still await solution. What is the process if any portion of this sum of alienable or assignable by which we are to apply to levy, and where are we to levy it? If it is determined that it should be inalienable and that no portion of it can be taken the Section of an Act of Parliament is necessary to do that. Upon that ground I support the Motion of our Noble Friend. I can conceive the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by being in a hurry, has lost a good deal of time, as it will be ultimately necessary to deal in this important constitutional matter by way of Act of Parliament.


I support the Amendment of my Noble Friend below the Gangway, and I only regret that he did not move to reduce the sum by £200,000, which would amount to a practical rejection of the proposal of the Government. Passing that matter by, however, I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what explanation and excuse the Government have for proceeding in this grave matter by Resolution and Estimate rather than by Act of Parliament? So far the Chancello rof the Exchequer made no attempt whatever, despite the long and humorous speech he made last Thursday, to justify this procedure. He justified, from his own point of view, the principle of the payment of Members, but he made no attempt to justify the procedure which the Government have attempted, and I really think it is due to him and to the House that we should be told why this departure from all precedent has taken place in this case. Most of us upon this side of the House, while entirely opposed to the principle of the payment of Members, think that at least if it is to be introduced, and if it is the Government policy, it should be made a subject of a first-class Bill which would be discussed thoroughly with adequate time and upon all its stages in order that all the many complicated and knotty questions which arises in connection with the payment of Members should be thoroughly entered into and discussed.

We have to come to the conclusion the Government felt that this matter was likely to be so unpopular in the country that they want to smuggle it through under a cover of darkness, so to speak, when the majority of the House of Commons is absent, and they give the impression either of being ashamed of this proposal or afraid of the consequences in case the country came to realise before it was too late what was being done. I quite understand that they might have some hesitation in bringing in a Bill under conditions in which that Bill might have been rejected in another place. They might be unwilling to expose themselves to another rebuff, but now they are perfectly safe if they brought in a Bill dealing with this financial question. They would only have to persuade the House of Commons that it was a right and proper thing to do and the matter would be passed into law, and things would have been done decently and in order. Apart from that, the course which the Government and the Chancellor have adopted will be most inconvenient to the House of Commons, because this matter will have to come up again. I presume they are not going to keep this proposal perpetuated by not putting down this Vote until the end of the proceedings of Supply, and then closing it and thereby stifling all public discussion upon it. The right hon. Gentleman will see that all sorts of difficulties will arise if we have to vote this money every year. There will be Members of the House moving reductions of the salaries of other Members against whom they have some grievance, political or otherwise, and as a result we shall run the risk of having a number of Debates which certainly will not conduce to the dignity or reputation of this House, and therefore all kinds of knotty and difficult questions will arise as to the exact status of salaries which should really be settled by Act of Parliament. Some of these difficulties have been referred to by speakers who preceded me. I do not suppose the right hon. Gentleman considered many of these points, but, whether he has considered them or not, he has no power to decide what should be done in the absence of an Act of Parliament This resolution of the House of Commons merely says that salaries should be paid, but it lays down no law as to the position or security of those salaries, and sooner or later it is quite clear the Government will have to proceed by Bill. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us, do the Government propose to bring in a Bill next year, and that they merely proceeded this year by resolution and estimate because of the exceptional pressure of business? Do they propose to regularise the proceedings by Act of Parliament next year, and, if they do not proceed by Act of Parliament next year, will proper and adequate opportunities be given for discussion, or will the Government come down and say this: This is chosé judgée, it was settled last year, and there is no need for any time for discussion? We have known that course adopted in regard to other matters in the past. It would be little short of a scandal if it were adopted in future, because the House of Commons would have no adequate opportunity of discussing this great matter at all. The Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot pretend that we have had any adequate opportunity this Session for discussing this question. We shall have had at the most two days' debate, with opportunities for moving only one Amendment; and surely the right hon. Gentleman cannot contend that that is an adequate amount of discussion for such a grave constitutional change as this. I will not say more now about the evils of what I can only call legislation by Resolution, to which the Government now appear to have committed themselves. Once that principle is admitted it is capable of almost indefinite extension. In the days which some hon. Members below the Gangway look forward to they anticipate a Socialist Government in this country, and under those conditions what could prevent them bringing in a great measure of social reform on the lines of the right hon. Gentleman's Insurance Bill by which invalidity pensions of 30s. a week might be paid to all adults who are not able to work? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear hear."] That proposal could be equally well brought in by a Resolution and a Supplementary Estimate if this procedure is stereotyped.

Even the Supplementary estimate could be closured with the rest of the estimates at the end of the Session. Consequently the Government are setting up a dangerous precedent which they may find reason to regret in the immediate future. The procedure which has been adopted has this additional objection. One would have thought that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as guardian of the Nation's purse, would have been the first to object to such a proposal as this, but as he does not object I think the taxpayers have a certain right to object because a great raid upon the finances ought not to be made except by a procedure which the country understands, and during the course of which the people had an opportunity of expressing their views. That security has not been taken away from the taxpayer, and whilst it would not be in order on this Amendment to discuss any further the principle of the payment of Members, which I think will he highly injurious both to the reputation and moral authority of the House of Commons, no Parliamentarian can deny that the actual procedure which the Government has selected in this case is nothing short of a Parliamentary scandal.


I have been listening to the Debate for some time in order to find out exactly what the griev- ance of hon. Members opposite is. I was under the impression that they were going to challenge the constitutionality of the action of the Government for proceeding in this matter by Resolution, and I thought they were going to argue that there was no precedent at all for this procedure. I have been waiting for some time, and the reason I did not get up earlier is that no case at all has been made out in support of that challenge. I have listened carefully to the speech of the hon. and gallant Member opposite, hoping something might be said to justify the proposition which was laid down last Friday, and which was laid down with equal confidence on Thursday, that there is no precedent at all for a sum of money being voted, initiating quite a new policy except by Act of Parliament. It is quite clear that hon. Members who came to that conclusion have never even searched the Parliamentary records to find if there was any justification for that contention, and that is exactly where they are now. I cannot see that there has been the slightest effort made to search the records of Parliament to find out any precedents.

There are two or three simply first-class precedents of the most remarkable character which could have been found without the slightest difficulty. I have no doubt at all that, by taking more trouble I could have found more precedents. Some of these precedents were not challenged at the time at all. It is true the Vote was challenged upon other grounds, but never upon this ground. I would like to say one or two words about the arguments which have been used in support of this Amendment. I am not quite clear what the complaint is—whether it is that procedure by Resolution curtails discussion or whether it leads to too much discussion—because both arguments have been used. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I will show that both arguments have been used. The Noble Lord who moved this Amendment started his speech by saying this Resolution curtailed discussion, but he appears to have forgotten that he said in the next part of his speech the result of our proposal would be a debate every year. The hon. and gallant Member opposite so far forgot the first part of his complaint that he proceeded on the same lines. He said that we should always be having discussion, and somebody would be moving to reduce somebody else's salary, and that there would be endless debates, which would be derogatory to the dignity of this House.


That is not what I said, and the right hon. Gentleman has unconsciously misrepresented me. I said there might be Debates on the Vote in Supply. My point is that you cannot have the discussion relating to matters of principle except upon a Bill. You could not move the Amendments we wish to move to a proposal of this kind on a Vote in Committee of Supply.


That is where the hon. and gallant Member is wrong again. Not only has he taken no trouble to find out precedents, but he lays down the Parliamentary rule which has no foundation at all. There is nothing to prevent hon. Members each year challenging the whole principle of payment of Members each time the Vote is put down. Really this shows that a grievance is put forward and complaint made by hon. Members opposite without taking the slightest trouble to find out whether our proposal is based on some sort of Parliamentary precedent or not. We have had a discussion of this question for two days, and may I remind the hon. and gallant Member that there was no closure on Thursday, and we did not attempt to curtail discussion. We shall have another Debate to-day. This is not a discussion upon the principle, but upon the form of our proposal. The hon. and gallant Member says that next year this question may be put down in such a form that it may be closured along with the other Votes——


I asked if you would introduce a Bill on the subject.


The hon. and gallant Member said we were going to put it down in such a way that it would be closured without discussion. If the hon. and gallant Member knew anything about the order of our procedure he would know that that is entirely a matter for the Opposition, and all the Opposition Whips have to do is to go to the Government and say, "We want a discussion upon this Vote for the payment of Members." They can always have that discussion. I have never known a Government refuse to do that, and the moment the demand is made they have the Debate. They can have the Debate next year, the following year, and every year if they wish it, so that I think we have taken the course most conducive to a full discussion, and not merely a full discussion but repeated discussion. If this had been an unclean thing and we wanted to get it out of the way we could have brought in a Bill and got it through in that way. There is really not so much to discuss in it. If we had proceeded in this matter by a Bill it would have been done with then, and it could not have been raised afterwards. You could not afterwards challenge the principle, because you would be discussing something involving legislation, and you cannot do that. It is because we are anxious that this question should be discussed every year when the House of Commons has any doubt about it that we have proceeded in this way. The hon. and gallant Member knows very well next year and the following year, if there is a general feeling in the country against this proposal or if it is working very badly, not only can it be discussed but it will be discussed as it ought to be discussed, and the Opposition will certainly see that it is discussed. As I have said, if we wanted to have done with this question we could have proceeded by Bill and not by Resolution. An hon. Member opposite said, "You are smuggling this question through without letting the people know anything about it." Nothing could be further from the facts. I will read what the Prime Minister said, and I ask could anything be more specific on the eye of going to the electors just before announcing a dissolution than the words used by the Prime Minister, who said:— I may say at once that it is the intention of the Government. if they have the opportunity and the requisite Parliamentary following next year, to propose a provision out of the public funds for the payment of Members, and they think that intention being announced before the General Election takes place there will be no constitutional impropriety in the proposal being made effective if Parliament thinks fit in the Parliament after the General Election. What more could a Prime Minister do on the eve of an election? [An Hon. MEMBER: "Put it in his election address."] Surely the Prime Minister is entitled to do exactly what the Prime Minister did in 1900, who said, "This is an election upon the war." I think we are entitled to say this was an issue. If the Prime Minister says, before going to the electors, "I propose doing this the very first year, if you give me a majority," what more can any Prime Minister do? [AN HON. MEMBER: "That suggests a Bill."] I am told that a question was put by the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division to the Prime Minister on this subject, and he repeated that pledge, and nothing could have been more specific. Not only did the Prime Minister say he would do it in the next Parliament, but he said he would do it next year, and that is as specific as anything could possible be on this subject. Now I come to the question of precedents, although nothing has been said upon this point. I can assure hon. Members that there are precedents, and I have been able to discover three in a very short time. There was the abolition of purchase in the army, under which £803,000 was voted to provide compensation, not by Act of Parliament, but purely by a Vote in Committee of Supply, and that was incorporated in the Appropriation Bill, as it will be in this case. I will give another precedent. There was the question of paying rates on Government property, which involved a very considerable burden on public funds. In this case there was no liability on the Government to pay, but under pressure, in the year 1860, a vote was taken to cover the cost of making a contribution in lieu of rates on Government property to the local authorities concerned. That cost some hundreds of thousands a year; I forget for the moment how much, but at any rate a very considerable sum. You have never had an Act of Parliament for it. It has been done by Resolution of this House. The policy was initiated by a Resolution of this House. It has been continued by Resolution, and even to this very hour you simply have a Resolution put down and the rest is done by means of Government regulations and by means of Parliamentary pressure.

I have got a third precedent, and it is a ranch more startling one. The whole system of State-aided national education was started in this way. In the year 1833 a Vote was put down by Lord Althorp to give State-aid to elementary education for the first time. That was a very great and serious departure. There was a great controversy going on at the time, and I believe the Radical view was the State should not support education in any State form, but that it ought to be left to voluntary organisation. There was a controversy between the Church and Nonconformists which raised some of the most fundamental issues that you could possibly raise. The issues raised by the payment of Members is nothing to the issues then raised. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] I ask anybody who knows what issues are involved in that question whether the issues raised by the payment of Members are for the moment comparable? Can you raise any issue that is greater than the issue of denominational education? Of course you cannot. Whatever issue you take up, it is the most solemn issue that could be raised in this House or anywhere else. All that was in- volved in the intervention of the State for the first time in aiding elementary education in this country. That was done by means of a Vote in Committee of Supply without any Bill, and it was done without any notice being given before the election, or during the course of the Session. On the contrary, if hon. Members will turn up the Debate which took place earlier in the Session, they will see Lord Althorp was more or less opposed to it, and it was only towards the end of the Session he put down a Vote on the subject. I have been looking at the Debate. Sir Robert Inglis protested he had never heard an Estimate brought forward in that House with greater surprise than the present. This predecessor of the Noble Lord opposite (Lord Hugh Cecil) protested:— It was the commencement of a new system, the extent of which they could not know. He was perfectly right there. He could not but express his surprise that such a proposition should have been brought forward without notice at the very end of the session, and at two o'clock in the morning. I hope the Noble Lord will follow his predecessor here. He was not prepared, however, to oppose the Motion, but he thought the Noble Lord ought to delay it. That was the only protest. There was no protest on the constitutional ground. Mr. Hume, who was the champion of economy, and who would have protested had there been anything unconstitutional in it, because he was opposed to it on principle——


He had not much time if it was brought on at two o'clock in the morning.


There was no Eleven o'clock Rule then, and he could have gone on till four o'clock, as they frequently did, and as you can now, and as we have done once or twice.


We are only able to discuss it now by arrangement, and through the courtesy of the Government Whips.


I do not object to interruptions so long as they have some relevance or some coherence. What on earth has this to do with it? Here you have a Motion which undoubtedly did initiate a policy of a most revolutionary character.


Would the right hon. Gentleman give us the date?


16th August, 1833.


And the amount was £20,000 a year, not £250,000.


With true Scottish instinct, it is the cash the hon. Member is thinking about, and not the principle. It is the principle that worries the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford (Lord Hugh Cecil) and the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Rupert Gwynne); it is the money that is worrying the hon. Member (Sir Henry Craik). You were initiating great and revolutionary policy by a Resolution of this House, and it was at Two o'clock in the morning. Mr. Hume opposed it:— Not on the ground assumed by the hon. Baronet. He opposed it because he thought the plan of giving assistance to schools bad. He opposed it on principle. Then, on the following day, they had the Report stage, and this Motion came first. What was the objection then? Sir Robert Inglis could not support any plan of education that was not based on the principles of the English Established Church. It was raising the whole question of denominational education. Mr. Aglionby's opinion was that a distinct plan ought to be proposed before the House proceeded to vote any money for this purpose. He was the only man who suggested it ought to be done by means of some distinct plan. Mr. Cobbett could not consent to take from the people one single farthing…. in order to teach the working-classes reading and writing, and he objected to it on the ground that education promoted immorality amongst the people.


That is not the great Cobbett?


No, it is not the great Cobbett. He goes on to ask: What did all this education tend to? Nothing but to increase the number of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses — that new race of idlers. The result of the little education they had had recently was that crime had gone on increasing, and if he had a choice of two men, one who knew how to read and the other who did not, he would not have the slightest hesitation in choosing the man who could not read. That was the sort of objection taken. There was no education on what was called the great constitutional ground. Here you have three distinct precedents. There is the precedent created three or four years ago by my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. McKenna). I do think it is fair of a Government to take advantage of their own precedent. That was challenged at the time very strenuously by the Leader of the Opposition, and I do not rely on it; but those are three precedents, two of them involving very serious departures of principle. They involve annual charges of a much greater amount than anything you could possibly contemplate with regard to the payment of Members, and they were not even challenged at the time. There is not the faintest doubt the House of Commons has an absolute choice of the best method of proceeding in these cases. I have no doubt those who are in favour of the payment of Members think the best way would be to proceed by a Bill, because then there would be an end of Debate, but surely from the point of view of those who regard this as an experiment, it is infinitely better to put it down by way of a Vote, so that we may have a Debate next year and the following year.


Could the House of Lords reject a Bill of this kind under the Parliament Bill?


That is a question of the interpretation of the Parliament Bill. They could not reject a Bill if it came under the Parliament Bill at all.


Does it?


The only doubt I have in my mind at all is whether any Bill initiated before the King's consent has been given to the Parliament Bill would be subject to that Bill. I would not like to express an opinion. The hon. and learned Gentleman is much more competent to express an opinion on a matter of that kind than I am, and I would advise him rather to take his own opinion than to appeal to me for mine.


If the right hon. Gentleman appeals to me, I should say the House of Lords could not reject a Resolution of this kind; if it was a Bill they could, and you deprive them of the power.


My hon. and learned Friend knows that is perfectly wrong. Under the Parliament Bill they could not reject any Money Bill, and this is a Money Bill if it is anything at all.


made a remark which was inaudible in the Gallery.


I do not know what that interruption means.


It was intended to express a doubt as to whether this would come under Clause 1 of the Parliament Bill.


It is a question of the interpretation of an Act of Parliament, and I have already expressly declared I do not feel myself competent to express an opinion upon it. I do not think it arises at all, for the simple reason I do not think the Veto Bill is applicable, so far as I can understand, to any measure introduced before the King's consent has been given to it. There is therefore absolutely nothing in the point of the hon. and learned Member for Cork, because, supposing we had done it by Act of Parliament, even then the Veto Bill would not be applicable. The precedent used by the hon. and learned Gentleman is quite inapplicable. That was an attempt at payment without a Vote of the House of Commons, and that is a very different thing. Supposing we had gone on paying Members of Parliament without taking a Vote of the House of Commons——


That would have been illegal.


I know, and that was exactly the case in the precedent of the hon. and learned Member. It was an attempt to pay something in excess of the statutory power. Of course, you cannot do that without some sort of Vote of the House of Commons. Take the other case, the case of the President of the Local Government Board and the President of the Board of Trade. In the case of the President of the Board of Trade you could not increase the salary because there was a statutory limit, and you had to get rid of that by means of a Statute, but with regard to the President of the Local Government Board there was no statutory limit, and the House of Commons voted £5,000 where they had previously voted £2,000 and left it to the Appropriation Bill. I have only found three precedents, but my hon. Friend has found a fourth. It is a small precedent, but, at any rate, it is a precedent which passed without challenge, and it was done at the request of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I think I have convinced the House that, at any rate, there are very important precedents for action of this kind, and that the Government adopted a wise course in following them.


I listened with some alarm to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because I confess it seemed to me to be characterised by too much levity. It is true the right hon. Gentleman cited precedents, but then precedents are very dangerous things to be guided by, unless we know the exact circumstances. We do know this, at any rate, with regard to one precedent, and that is that it referred to only a very small sum indeed—£30,000 a year, and when my hon. Friend the Member for one of the Scottish Universities (Sir Henry Craik) called attention to the fact that the only retort was, "Oh, you are after the money." Reply by way of the tu quoque as a rule is vulgar, and in this instance I think it was perfectly irrelevant as well. No one is entitled on either side in a matter of this sort to attribute evil motives. Not one single adequate reason has been given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the Government should have adopted the hasty method of proceeding by Resolution in this case. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us that the result of adopting this method will be that, as years roll by, there will be adequate opportunities for discussion, as the Vote can be put down year after year, and therefore the Debates may be prolonged and frequent. We decline to accept the view that there will be more continuous discussions by reason of the Government having adopted this method of procedure. Does the right hon. Gentleman really think that the Resolution having been passed this year it will be adequately discussed in succeeding years? We are all of us human, after all, and many of us are prone to yield to temptation. But, speaking as a man, I venture to say that when once hon. Members of this House have accepted this salary of £400 it will be treated as a step taken once and for all, and we shall never be able to retrace that step. It will be a case of vestigia nulla retrorsum.

I should be very glad indeed to endorse what has been said by hon. and learned Members who have spoken in the course of this Debate. I believe that their view of the constitutional aspect of the question is the true one, and I thoroughly agree with what was said by the hon. and learned Member for Cork when he called attention to the vagueness of the phraseology of this Resolution. I want to put this point: Suppose a man were elected to this House and sat in it for four months, doing, during that period, hard, continuous work; suppose at the end of that four months it should turn out, by the decision of some election tribunal, that the hon. Member's election was void through some act of his own, and not merely on the part of his agent. The Resolution is entirely vague on this point, whether a Member who has been elected to this House by corrupt means, partly used by himself, is to be entitled to receive a salary by virtue of having attained a position as Member of Parliament which he would never have attained except by his own corrupt act. That point is entirely ignored. I am convinced that the Government adopted this short and summary procedure by way of Resolution instead of by Bill, because they thought it would be more conducive to the interests of the Radical party to rush the Resolution through the House in a single sitting, almost, one might say, in the twinkling of an eye; and they did this rather than introduce a Bill, which would certainly have afforded abundant opportunities of debate on the First, Second, and Third Readings, as well as on the Committee stage.

We all in this House know that at the bottom of this trouble lies the question of the reversal of the Osborne Judgment. We know that that judgment in the minds of many thinking men in this country created a sore. The Government recognised that it had created a sore, and that it was an embarrassing topic for them. They wanted to get rid of it as quickly as possible, so they sought, by means of this hasty Resolution, which was to be forced through the House in one day, completely to cure the sore. I am convinced that it will not cure it. The Labour party are absolutely determined to stick to their resolve to do all they can to get a reversal of as much as possible, if not the whole, of the Osborne Judgment, so that the object of the Government in trying to smooth over matters in this way will not be realised. The Labour party are honest in their determination to secure the reversal of the Osborne Judgment.

I would like in that connection to refer for a moment to my experience at the last General Election. I did what, I believe, comparatively few hon. Members in this House did, because in the course of my campaign in my constituency I repeatedly devoted whole speeches to this one topic of the payment of Members of Parliament. It was a matter I had very much at heart. Addressing, as I did, thousands of working men, while I, of course, found there was a great cleavage of opinion on such subjects as fiscal reform, the Parliament Bill, and the question of the reversal of the Osborne Judgment, I am certain that in the open meetings which I addressed on this question of the payment of Members, there was an entire absence of any cleavage of opinion. On the other hand, there was a clear atmosphere of unanimity on the part of working men present at the meetings, and that unanimity was one of disapproval of the payment of Members of Parliament. That is why I say it is wrong and unconstitutional on the part of the Government to rush this question through in the way they are doing, when really the country do not demand it. I have no doubt it was the experience of many other hon. Members that, while many of the working men desired a reversal of the Osborne Judgment, yet there was hardly a single soul who approved the payment of Members. Therefore, working men who wish to see the judgment reversed will never rest content with this remedy the Government are now applying. For these reasons I maintain that it is both unconstitutional and illegal to rush this matter through by means of a. Resolution instead of proceeding by means of a Bill. The fact is the Labour party has a grievance; they demand the reversal of the Osborne Judgment. The Government realise that they are in a hole, and have said to themselves, "This is very awkward for us."


On a point of Order. I wish to ask whether it is in accordance with a ruling given earlier in the evening—that the Debate should be confined at this stage to the constitutional question —for the hon. Member to go into more general questions?


I believe that was the understanding in the earlier part of the proceedings, but there is nothing in the rules of Order to prevent the hon. Member travelling wider. Still, for the convenience of the Committee, I hope that as far as possible he will observe the understanding.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)

May I invite the attention of the Committee to the fact that it was arranged that this particular discussion should continue until about 6.0 o'clock. [HON. MEMBERS: "Half-past six."] At any rate the Division was to be taken by half-past six. May I remind the Committee that the hon. and learned Member who has just spoken only devoted a very brief portion of his earlier remarks to the constitutional point, which is the subject matter under discussion, and I submit it would be convenient to hon. Members generally if the general question were left over till after the question of procedure—a constitutional point raised by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford in the discussion which took place of the last occasion—has been disposed of.


I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention. I did understand it was the desire of the Committee to first dispose of the constitutional question. But the Committee will understand that this is a matter in their own hands rather than in mine. It is not for me to stop the hon. Member however wide he may travel, but now that he has been reminded of the understanding I hope he will observe it and allow us to dispose of the Amendment dealing with the constitutional point. After that the whole question will be open for discussion.


The hon. and learned Gentleman has repeatedly addressed his remarks to these benches and has emphasised the fact that the working classes of Preston are opposed to the policy of the payment of Members. Is he aware that the labour vote in favour of the payment of Members was increased at the last election, and will he accept the decision of the labour organisations and trade unions of Preston on this question?


I am afraid the hon. Member is doing the very thing I was deprecating.

6.0 P.M.


May I at once say I will gladly accept any referendum on this question. I will also gladly abide by your ruling. I submit that the Resolution was wholly unconstitutional, because it forces the principle of payment of Members through the House, a principle involving admittedly grave questions, and therefore needing more and more to be dealt with in a Bill rather than in a Resolution. It was unconstitutional to do it in this way, especially as there are very few Members in this House indeed who, when they were candidates at the last election, made the question of the payment of Members of Parliament a prominent issue. For these reasons the Government ought to proceed by a Bill, which would allow elaborate discussion, instead of rushing a Resolution in the course of a single Sitting.


I want to refer entirely to one point, whether this is a proper or a legal way of providing for this payment? Have hon. Members considered what is the difference between payments made on mere Estimates sanctioned by the Appropriation Act and payments which are made under a special Act of Parliament? What, for instance, is the difference between the salary of a Minister and the payment of old age pensions? Surely it is this: When we vote a sum, as we are asked to do in Committee, we are voting a sum for the Crown, to be expended by the Crown upon the service of the year. The form of the Resolution is that a certain, sum be granted to His Majesty, and even when that sum is granted it gives no one a claim to payment, nor indeed can it be even expended until there is some subsequent Order, under the sign manual, I think, which puts the amount at the disposal of the Treasury. In other words, money voted in this way is to be expended by the Crown in paying its own servants, or in making Government Grants to local authorities. On the other hand, payments say of old age pensions, payments to individuals, are not, of course, made to them as servants of the Crown or the Government, but they have, under the Act of Parliament, to make personal and legal demands for payment. If that distinction is right, under what category does the House wish to put these payments to Members of Parliament? Do you want to say that we sit here as servants of the Crown? Are we here as persons appointed by the Government or by the Crown to do the work of the nation? Do we not sit here by a very different and a higher right? We ought not to be put in the position of mere Crown servants, paid by the Crown out of money granted by Parliament. I believe that to be a real and a very vital distinction. Follow it a little further home. May I put a question with a view to bringing out the point and also to clearing up doubts which I know are really in the minds of those who will be responsible for these payments. Who is going to make these payments? Under what Vote is it to come? Am I right in understanding that it is simply to be thrown upon the Vote under which the servants of this House are paid, and that we are to be paid as our excellent doorkeepers and others are paid? Is that a position in which you are going to be put or are willing to be put? If so, the House ought to understand what it is doing and to consider whether it is right to treat this-matter in this way.

May I put another question? How without an Act of Parliament are you going to determine the nature of these payments? For instance, are they assignable and do they pass in bankruptcy or do they not? Different authorities take different views on the point. Surely the matter is of so much importance that you want to define it by statute and not by the mere opinion, however valuable, of right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench. Here is another point which, though it may seem a small one, shows the need of an Act of Parliament. Under this Vote payment will run from 1st April. It depends entirely on the pleasure of the Government whether payment down to this day is made or not. Why should they have the determination of this matter? Take the case of a change in representation. The hon. and gallant-Gentleman (Captain Donelan) was elected last November, was unseated last May, and was again elected in July. Will he under this Resolution be entitled to salary from 1st April to 22nd May, when he was unseated, and when will his salary recommence, on the day of his election, on the day when the writ was returned, or on the day when he took the oath? Surely these are matters which must be settled somehow. I do not think it is right that the mere dictum of the Treasury, however valuable in itself, should determine these substantial questions. There is also the case of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Duke). On 21st April it was reported that he was the duly elected Member for Exeter. Is he to be paid from 21st April, or from 1st April, when this Resolution is to take effect? Then take the case of a man who succeeds to a peerage or is made a peer. From what date does his salary cease? Is it from the date when his father dies, or from the date when he is created or from the date when he is sworn a Member of the other House? I have always understood that a Member of this House created a peer remains a Member until he takes his seat elsewhere, and it is only by courtesy that he does not come to this House. How are you going to deal with a case of that kind? Take the case of death or any other case where there is a broken period. Does the Apportionment Act apply? I do not think it does. All these matters, some of small and some of larger importance, ought to be considered by this House and determined before a final decision is come to. I think the whole proceeding is wrong. You are not providing for the public service at all—that is, you are not providing money for the King to be expended on the public service. You are providing for a new payment to be made to Members as Members. The Chancellor of the Exchequer quoted some precedents, but they did not touch at all the point I am making. Take the case of compensation on abolition of purchase. That was a sum voted to the Crown to be expended in paying for something which has been taken away. Take the sums voted in order that the Crown may make a payment in lieu of rates. That again is a Vole for the Crown. In. the case of the Education Grants, though it is a more doubtful case, that is capable of being defended as a Vote for the Crown for the public service. This is nothing of the kind. Unless you are willing to make yourselves Government servants or Crown servants you will not consent to deal with the matter in this way. The point is of real importance, and it has not been dealt with by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


I must really in all seriousness protest against the precedent of 1833 as set up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The only ground upon which the right hon. Gentleman based that contention was that that precedent was at the beginning of a revolutionary movement, and that therefore it was not of great consequence. What concerns us is whether the House of Commons of that date recognised it as the beginning of a great revolution, and no one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman himself that in those days, when the precedent was introduced, the question of education was practically unknown to this House. It had only once been mentioned before, and that in a purely passing and cursory way in 1827, and to set that up as a precedent is absolutely ridiculous. Besides which, it was not the accepted practice then, as it is now, for great new-measures to be solemnly set forth in election addresses and speeches. Hon. Members made very few speeches in the country, and they issued no election addresses at all, therefore you cannot compare that precedent with what has been done today. Our accepted practice to-day is that if you make a great change of any time it is only right that the people of this country should have a fair chance of considering it; at any rate, in its general principles if not in its small details. In answer to the interruption of the hon. Member (Mr. Clynes), may I say that when it is claimed for this measure that it is accepted and acceptable to the people of this country, the party of which he is a distinguished Member numbers in all forty-two, and of that forty-two only sixteen mentioned the subject of payment of Members at all in their election addresses—eighteen altogether, because two of them mentioned it simply for the purpose of protesting against this Bill as a solution of the difficult question of the reversal of the Osborne Judgment.


I never heard a more melancholy Debate in my long experience of the House. We thought there was some large constitutional question to be raised. In the last speech we have heard nothing but the most petty, frivolous, contemptible pretexts for argument. I will take for example the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Cave). When I saw him rise I expected a good speech, such as we generally see from him, going to the bottom of the principle that is involved. What had we? A lot of small pettifogging questions which would be more suitable to a small court of Petty Sessions—such questions as these, how are all the small details to be settled without an Act of Parliament? Supposing a Member is elected on the third day. Will he be paid from the first? Supposing he loses his seat for ten days, will he be paid for the ten days? He suggested that all these points would be covered in an Act of Parliament. Nothing of the kind. The Act would be a short one dealing with the principle, just as our Resolution does, and these things would be settled by Orders in Treasury. Then he endeavoured to cast some stigma upon our proceedings by saying we should be paid in the same way as our doorkeeper is paid, under the expenses of the House of Commons. It could not be dealt with in a fairer way than that It is part of the expenses of the House of Commons, and it shows how reasonably and fairly the Government have proceeded when we see this treated as expenses, so that any Member who wishes to question it can do so. The House will see how unfairly the Government have been treated in this whole matter, and it is because of the restraints on their position that hon. Gentlemen opposite made such bad speeches, if they will forgive me for saying so. What is the course the Government has taken? It has ensured that there will be constant discussion of this matter, and that it can be looked into by the House of Commons. I say that is a fair and open way for the Government to take, and they should have been praised instead of being attacked. I want to give one or two reasons why the constitutional question must be settled in favour of the course the Government has taken. The old law of this country is in favour of the payment of Members. There is an old Act of Parliament passed early in the fifteenth century—I think it was in 1412—and there is another Act passed in 1472, allowing payment of travelling expenses. These payments were made for several hundred years, and therefore I say we ought to regard the action taken as relieving the rates rather than anything else, and from that point of view it should be welcomed by hon. Members rather than attacked in the way it has been this afternoon.

It has been said that the question of payment of Members was not in the election addresses of hon. Members on this side. It has been in every election address of mine since 1892. The question has been discussed many times in this House. From 1870 to 1911 we have had ample discussions on the principle of the proposal. It has had the usual fate of good measures. When it was introduced first in the House in 1870 it was treated somewhat as hon. Members treat it this afternoon as a new and terrible thing. But discussion went on, and as early as March, 1892, in a Conservative Parliament the principle of payment of Members was carried by a majority of sixty-five. The principle was re-asserted in 1893, 1894, and again in the Parliament elected in 1906, by majorities of hundreds. There is nothing new in it. The whole of our Parliamentary history shows that the principle has been approved hundreds of times, and we ought to thank the Government for putting it in practice. [An HON. MEMBER: "Approved hundreds of times?"] Well, repeatedly. We have all been familiar with the question for many years. The Noble Lord (Viscount Wolmer) who opened the Debate, said that the Government would save time by this procedure. Why should not the Government save time? Why should it be a crime to take this course as long as fair play is given to everyone. Is it suggested that fair opportunity has not been given for stating every objection to the proposal that can be stated?

Viscount WOLMER



You can defeat the Government to-day on it if you like. [An HON. MEMBER: "I wish we could."] Is not that fair play? If the Noble Lord had men enough he could defeat the Government, and then the proposal would come up next year under the procedure which the Government have taken. Then, again, it could be defeated if its opponents had men enough. I say that the Government has proceeded in a businesslike way to carry out the proposal, and not a single sound objection has been raised to the course it has taken.


I venture to appeal to the Committee now to bring this discussion to a close. We have already given considerable time to it. Many speeches have been made from the other side of the House with reference to the matter, and I suggest that we might now get on to the general questions involved in the Vote. [An HON. MEMBER:" IS there to be no reply?"] The Chancellor of the Exchequer has already replied, and I was afraid if I proceeded to answer points raised in the Debate that might prolong discussion. So far as I could gather from the speeches made, it seems to me that none dealt with the constitutional point, except the speeches of the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy), the hon. and learned Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave), and the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lee). I only want to reply to the points raised specifically since the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke in the general discussion. First of all, let me say, in answer to the hon. Member for Cork, that I think the point he made was quite fairly stated. He said he had considered this matter, and he referred to the precedent which did not apply to this particular case, namely, the raising of the salary of the President of the Local Government Board. Therefore, in view of the precedents given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think we are entitled to expect the support of the hon. and learned Member.

The main question raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Kingston Division (Mr. Cave) was that in this particular case we are voting this amount to pay ourselves; whereas in other cases the votes were Grants-in-Aid to His Majesty for the payment of services to the Crown, and that if they are not services to the Crown they should come under some other designation, which I do not think he made quite clear. As an illustration of this point he sought to bring out the difference between payment for old age pensions and payment for such ser- vices as those given by Members of Parliament, and said that in respect of old age pensions the vote would not be to His Majesty as it would be when it was to pay for services to the Crown. That is quite wrong. The money would be voted in this form for old age pensions: "That a sum, not exceeding (so many millions), be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1912, for …" Of course the point of that is that the sum of money is voted to His Majesty in order that the charge, which is in that case a statutory charge, may be defrayed out of moneys voted by Parliament. Therefore the distinction which my hon. and learned Friend was seeking to draw does not exist. I do not intend to follow him into those minor points with reference to the number of days in respect of which a Member should be paid. I will content myself with saying that he is entitled to be paid so long as he is a Member of the House. It does not seem to be open to very much legal discussion whether, when you say a man is to be paid for his services as a Member of Parliament, that would entitle him to be paid when not a Member of Parliament. Nor would this proposal entitle him to be paid after he is dead, or when he has succeeded to a peerage. I have no doubt there are points which my hon. and learned Friend will be quite equal to discover as to whether on a particular day, on the death of a peer, his heir, who is a Member of this House, would cease to be entitled to payment. I think we might leave these matters to be settled hereafter.


May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman to state his view on the point I raised?


I am speaking as a law officer, and I do not like to make a statement of what I believe to be the law on a point if I have not carefully considered it. I do not think there is any division of opinion among lawyers that this is payment made for public services. It is intended to be an allowance given to a Member in order that he may perform

those public services, and therefore it is payment which will not be in the ordinary sense of the word payment like a private debt due to a man.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the contrary.


I think he said exactly what I have said. I will read the answer which the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave. I presume the hon. and learned Gentleman is referring to an answer given to a question. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, replying to the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Goulding), said:— The payment of the salaries of Members will be governed by the ordinary rules relating to payments in respect of personal remuneration out of voted moneys, namely, the accounting officer will not recognise any assignment, unless made by order of court. I do not think any further restrictions of the kind referred to in the question are either necessary or desirable."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 10th August, 19ll, cols, 1349 and 1350.] I have only intervened in the Debate out of courtesy to my hon. Friend, who asked me to reply to the question which he raised, and I hope this discussion may now be closed.


I understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that not one of the precedents he gave had ever been challenged. What are the facts? I remember perfectly well myself the abolition of purchase by Royal Warrant, and I have a record of the facts. They were these. It was sought to abolish purchase by a Bill which was debated for weeks in this House. On 4th July of that year it left the House, being carried by 289 against 231. It was introduced in the House of Lords on 13th July, and was rejected on the Second Reading on the 18th of that month by 155 to 130. It was then, and then only, that Royal Warrant was issued. I am not arguing the question whether that was right or wrong, but I state these facts in reply to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the precedents he gave had never been challenged.

Question put, "That a sum not exceeding £152,000 be granted for the said service."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 120; Noes, 216.

Division No. 322.] AYES. [6.28 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Ashley, Wilfrid W. Baker, Sir Randall L. (Dorset, N.)
Amery, L. C. M. S. Astor, Waldorf Balcarres, Lord
Archer-Shee, Major M. Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Barlow, Montagu (Salford, South)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Baird, John Lawrence Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton).
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Goldsmith, Frank Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Grant, J. A. Perkins, Walter Frank
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Gretton, John Peto, Basil Edward
Bird, Alfred Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Pollock, Ernest Murray
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid.) Hamersley, Alfred St. George Remnant, James Farquharson
Boyton, J. Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Ronaldshay, Earl of
Bridgeman, W. Clive Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire) Salter, Arthur Clavell
Burgoyne, Alan Hughes Hill-Wood, Samuel Sanders, Robert Arthur
Burn, Colonel C. R. Hoare, S. J. G. Sanderson, Lancelot
Campion, W. R. Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Horner, Andrew Long Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)
Cassel, Felix Houston, Robert Paterson Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Castlereagh, Viscount Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.) Spear, Sir John Ward
Cator, John Jessei, Captain H. M. Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Cautley, Henry Strother Kimber, Sir Henry Stewart, Gershom
Cave, George Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.) Larmor, Sir J. Talbot, Lord E.
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Lee, Arthur Hamilton Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lloyd, G. A. Thynne, Lord A.
Craik, Sir Henry Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Touche, George Alexander
Croft, H. P. Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Tryon, Captain George Clement
Dalziel, D. (Brixton) Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Tullibardine, Marquess of
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Mackinder, Halford J. Valentia, Viscount
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Macmaster, Donald Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Fell, Arthur McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Magnus, Sir Philip Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Fleming, Valentine Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Worthington-Evans, L.
Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Mount, William Arthur Yate, Col. C. E.
Forster, Henry William Neville, Reginald J. N. Younger, Sir George
Gardner, Ernest Newdegate, F. A.
Gibbs, George Abraham Newton, Harry Kottingham TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount Wolmer and Mr. Rupert Gwynne.
Gilmour, Captain J. Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Cullinan, John Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Acland, Francis Dyke Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)
Adamson, William Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Henry, Sir Charles
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Higham, John Sharp
Ainsworth, John Stirling Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Alden, Percy Dawes, J. A. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) De Forest, Baron Hudson, Walter
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Delany, William Hughes, S. L.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus
Barnes, G. N. Donelan, Captain A. Johnson, W.
Barry, Redmond John Doris, William Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Beale, W. P. Duffy, William J. Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)
Beck, Arthur Cecil Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Jones, H. Hadyn (Merioneth)
Bentham, G. J. Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Bethell, Sir J. H. Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of Jowett, F. W.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Essex, Richard Walter Joyce, Michael
Boland, John Plus Falconer, James Keating, Matthew
Booth, Frederick Handel Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Kellaway, Frederick George
Bowerman, C. W. Ferens, Thomas Robinson Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Brady, Patrick Joseph Ffrench, Peter Kilbride, Denis
Brunner, John F. L. Field, William King, J. (Somerset, N.)
Bryce, J. Annan Gelder, Sir W. A. Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)
Burke, E. Haviland George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Lansbury, George
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Gill, A. H. Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rlnd, Cockerm'th)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Glanville, H. J. Leach, Charles
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Lewis, John Herbert
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) Logan, John William
Byles, Sir William Pollard Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Lundon, T.
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Guest, Hon. Major C. H. c. (Pembroke) Lynch, A. A.
Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Macdonald, Ramsay (Leicester)
Chancellor, Henry George Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Hackett, J. Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hancock, J. G. Macpherson, James Ian
Clancy, John Joseph Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Clough, William Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) M'Callum, John M.
Clynes, John R. Hardie, J. Kerr M'Curdy, C. A.
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) Manfield, Harry
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Marshall, Arthur Harold
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Meagher, Michael
Condon, Thomas Joseph Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Mond, Sir Alfred M.
Cotton, William Francis Hayden, John Patrick Montagu, Hon. E. S.
Crumley, Patrick Hayward, Evan Mooney, John J.
Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Primrose, Hon. Neil James Snowden, Philip
Muldoon, John Pringle, William M. R. Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Munro, R. Radford, G. H. Sutton, John E.
Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Rattan, Peter Wilson Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Rainy, Adam Rolland Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Nannetti, Joseph P. Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Tennant, Harold John
Neilson, Francis Reddy, M. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Nolan, Joseph Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Nuttall, Harry Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Verney, Sir Harry
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
O'Doherty, Philip Robinson, Sidney Wardle, George J.
O'Donnell, Thomas Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
O'Dowd, John Roche, Augustine (Louth) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Ogden, Fred Roche, John (Galway, E.) Webb, H.
O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Rose, Sir Charles Day Wedgwood, Josiah C.
O'Malley, William Rowlands, James White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
O'Sullivan, Timothy Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Parker, James (Halifax) Samuel, J. (Stockton) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Wiles, Thomas
Pearce, William (Limehouse) Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton) Wilkie, Alexander
Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M. Sheehy, David Wilson John (Durham, Mid)
Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Shortt, Edward Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Pirie, Duncan Vernon Simon, Sir John Allsebrook Wood, Rt. Hon. T. MacKinnon (Glas.)
Pointer, Joseph Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Power, Patrick Joseph Smith, H. B. (Northampton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.
Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Smyth, Thomas F.

Original Question again proposed.

Mr. W. R. PEEL

I beg to propose to reduce the Vote by the sum of £63,000.

The Committee will see by a not very elaborate use of arithmetic that under this Amendment hon. Members, instead of getting £400 a year, will get £300. I do not know whether that is a very disturbing fact to hon. Members, but I have been at some pains to look into, not only past Debates, but also some of the speeches delivered on the subject to see whether or not any particular sum was specified which Members were to receive for their services. I think the Committee will agree with me so far that the process of voting money for ourselves is not perhaps a very agreeable or a very ennobling one, and that the House of Commons have been engaged in other occupations which perhaps are better deserving of the credit and support of the electorate. It is difficult to gather much from the election addresses of hon. Members opposite. I quite admit that there were only thirty of them which mentioned the question of payment of Members, but I do not think that any of the thirty specified a particular sum which they were going to receive. But so far as my experience goes on platforms, and I believe the experience of my hon. Friends also, £300 a year was the magic sum which was going to restore the representative capacity of the House of Commons. If hon. Members look back to the Debate of 1906 they will see that actually and specifically the sum of £300 was to be paid to Members of Parliament. It is interesting for a moment to refer to that Debate, because the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman spoke in it, and said:— I concur with Sir William Harcourt when he said we had neither the time nor the money. The policy upon which the Government have taken office and upon which they have been supported by their friends is the policy of retrenchment. I do not know whether their policy is still one of retrenchment, but I do know that in those five years public expenditure has increased at a greater rate than it ever increased in the whole history of this country, and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer himself can have his boast that he has added more to our permanent expenditure than any Chancellor in our history.

I now wish to offer to hon. Members opposite a very humble opportunity to practice a little of what they preach. It is a very small one, and it is going to come out, not of any expenditure on any noble object, not upon old age pensions, not upon giving married women some contribution under the Insurance Bill, but out of their own pockets, and I am going to ask hon. Members opposite to make some little sacrifice—[An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Peel family?"]—in order to do two things: first, in order to show their own disinterestedness on the question of voting this money; and the second is in order to save the taxpayers a sum of no less than £63,000 a year. Hon. Members will agree with me that if you have got a mandate for this—and I am not going to discuss that metaphysical question—you ought to be very careful in interpreting a mandate of that kind against yourselves. Hon. Members have said, "After all, if we do not pay each other, who is going to pay us?" That is a very pertinent observation. We are the only people who can pay each other, and we are the only people who have got our hands on the public finances. From those two reasons the inference I draw is that we should be very careful not to pay ourselves more than is absolutely necessary. Of course, if there is any surplus, if the money is too large—and I have no doubt some of the hon. Members will be able to make a, saving out of the £400 a year— there is a danger that it might possibly be used for some object other than that of supporting the hon. Member himself. For instance, it might be used for assisting electoral corruption. A passage from a speech of the hon. Member for North-West Devon (Sir Godfrey Baring) is interesting on this point. I quote from the "North Devon Herald" of 4th May, 1910. The hon. Member gave utterance to this remarkable sentence:— I tell the electors that if anyone corner to me f or any help, that help "will be quite gladly given, independently of whether lie supports me or not. That is a very generous sentiment, but at the same time I do not think that we ought to vote money in order that hon. Members who have such generosity of sentiment should make large contributions to those who are unfortunate among their own supporters. Apparently the hon. Member took a very modest view of himself, because he said further:— I am not a walking encyelopædia, and I daresay some of my Conservative friends know more about politics than I do. The question is, would £300 a year enable the objects to be pursued which the Chancellor of the Exchequer thinks ought to be pursued. I understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not quite satisfied with the level of ability on the benches behind him. How can we examine whether £300 or £400 a year is a sufficient sum? First of all, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, when he was dealing with this matter, said it ought to be enough to provide hon. Members with the extra expense to which they are put by living in London. I submit that for that extra expense £300 a year will be entirely sufficient. There is another class of Members, those who have no money at all of their own, and who follow some manual occupation which they could not carry on and at the same time be in Parliament. I think £300 a year is a really very considerable sum for those Members who come into this House and who earn their living by some manual occupation. [An HON. MEMBER: "What cheek."] Cheap? [HON. MEMBERS: "What cheek?"] I would not have listened only that I thought it was some more sensible observation. Living in the country, I know something of the conditions of agricultural labour, and I should be very glad indeed myself to see representatives of agricultural labour sitting in this House. Without wishing any discourtesy to hon. Members opposite, I must say that, after listening to their speeches, I have come to the conclusion that most of them have made their reputation in other fields than agriculture. I think it is not invidious to say that an agricultural labourer earning 15s. to 18s. a week would find £300 quite sufficient to enable him to live in London in more comfort than he lives at the present moment. And, after all, that is the sole question. If you are going to do this, it would be very easy to double the amount of £400 a year.

The point is whether the choice of the constituency is to be limited simply by a question of money, and whether you would get for £300 a year quite as large a choice of useful Members representing different occupations and professions, including manual occupations, as you would get if you gave them £400 a year. What you want to aim at is, I suppose, not so much to give a man a comfortable living, as to enable him to discharge his duties to the State by coming into the House of Commons, and serving it there. This is public money with which we are dealing, and we ought to be as careful and economical as we can with what we have got. There is another class of men who have been referred to already by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, men of great natural aptitude for politics, but they have not got sufficient money to enable them to come into Parliament. I am not talking of manual workers. You must assume that those to whom I refer earn something like £200 or £300 a year in addition to what they would get from the State. I am not myself very much of a, believer in this class of unacknowledged geniuses, who are unable to earn sufficient money in any profession or occupation, and would come to this House in order to get £300 or £400 a year. This is not a place where high artistic ability or high ability in similar directions is necessary, for, after all, politics is a practical art, and I assume that those who are able to come into the House for £300 a year are people who are capable of earn- ing a certain amount of money outside. It will be very unfortunate if, in consequence of this payment of Members, you merely got a class of professional politicians. I do not use the words "professional politician" in the least in an offensive sense, but I mean people who are wholly devoted to politics and nothing else.

I think it must be clear to anybody that the position and reputation of this House is due to the fact that there is a large number of Members who are great experts on a very large variety of subjects, and who have obtained their knowledge by a number of years of service. On any subject which may be raised you will find some Member who has very considerable information in relation to it. It is that knowledge which gives strength and prestige to the discussions of the House of Commons as it is at present constituted. The question I wish to ask is whether the conditions are changed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer based a good deal of his case for this large expenditure of £400 a year upon the fact, that we were all, willy nilly, being forced to become professional politicians. First of all, it seems to be a very remarkable thing that this payment of Members should be proposed at a time when there is likely to be a very large diminution of the duties of this House. If we. got Home Rule all round the duties of this House will be reduced very greatly. All we would have to discuss, perhaps, would be the Army and the Navy, foreign affairs, and a certain amount of finance—my right hon. Friend suggests an increase of salaries. Those will be the subjects with which you will have to deal, but they will not take up the whole of your time. Again, without disrespect to hon. Members, I often think that the Debates on foreign affairs had better not take place, as they often do more harm than good. Therefore, this House would be very much restricted in its activities, and, of course, the salary which you are going to pay now will largely govern the salaries to be paid in the subordinate Parliaments, where the work will be less difficult than in this House, though perhaps more laborious.

As everybody knows, there has been a vast amount of legislation in the last few years, and a vast amount of legislation involves an enormous amount of administrative criticism in this House, nor can you be perpetually legislating. We have had, during the last seven or eight years a vast range of legislation on many subjects. Next year we will not have a Bill about Copyright, nor will we have a Bill on other subjects with which we have dealt. I do not know whether we can compare this-period with another historical period, or whether there is anything useful to our times by such a comparison. But undoubtedly the experience of other States that a period of great legislative activity i3 followed by a period of quietude.

The condition, of things which is making us sit here from January to July, and October to December, will not be permanent, and, under these circumstances, I hope to persuade the Labour Members to vote for the reduction in their salary by £100 a year. I am inclined to think that if they go to their constituents and tell them that they had been afforded an opportunity of voting for £300 a year instead of £400 a year, and that they preferred the £400 a year, they will have, rather a disagreeable time. I am one of those who are very anxious, of course, to spare them any anxiety in that respect. I do not wish to make the suggestion, because it might be disagreeable to the Front Bench opposite, but it is one made by the present Prime Minister, who suggested that if there were any difficulty in getting money for the payment of Members it might be met by retrenching the existing salaries of Ministers and officials. That proposition I feel is unpopular, and I hardly like to suggest it. [An Hon. MEMBER: "Cut down pensions."] Hon. Members can make their own suggestions. I do not wish to occupy the whole field of the subject. I wish only to make this one simple and, I think, fruitful suggestion, which might be borne in mind by the occupants of the Treasury Bench. Anyhow, this burden rests on the Government. It is they who have to show that £400 a year is going to bring useful and admirable men into the House of Commons who would be prevented from coming into this Assembly if the salary were fixed at £300 a year. That is the whole problem that the Government have to face. This is not a bonus that is being given to hon. Members. It is an effort to get the best you can for this Assembly, and, as we are the sole Assembly in these islands, it is very necessary, I agree, to get the best material you can. But the Government have got to show that by their £400 a year they will get better material than for £300 a year. That is the problem, that is the burden they have to discharge, and they should at least spend as little as. possible on these salaries, wages or pensions, or whatever you like to call them, of hon. Members.

7.0 P.M.

Sir W. BYLES (who was indistinctly heard)

I have on the Paper a similar Amendment to that submitted by the hon. Member opposite, but I will endeavour to justify my proposal by some reasons which are perhaps rather better, if I may venture to say so without disrespect, than those which the hon. Gentleman has advanced. At any rate, I differ from him entirely in this respect, that I warmly approve of payment of Members, and am grateful to the Government for having at last proposed to the House this small bit of fruition of some Radical seed that we have been sowing in the constituencies as long as my political life has lasted, and indeed longer. I may remind the House that it is a very old question; it has been before the country for very many years. Unlike probably anybody in this Chamber, I am able to go back from memory to the Chartist days. It was one of the points of the Charter that Members of Parliament should receive payment. It is perfectly absurd therefore to say that it was not in the election addresses. I myself distinctly remember a Debate and Division in this House eighteen years ago when I gave a vote similar to that which I shall give tonight. We have got the franchise for the artisans and the agricultural labourers, but what do these men find when they come to an election. They found that they had to make a choice between two rich men. That, therefore, is the justification of the general policy of the Government. I myself know several Friends who were in the Parliament of 1906, excellent Members of Parliament, who were respected on all sides, and who had to go out, not because they did not please their constituents, but because they could not afford to stop in. I say that a small payment, such as the smaller amount which I propose, would probably enable us to enjoy the advantage of having them still. I myself have been rejected by a constituency before now for my poverty. I was for a long time inquiring after constituencies, and I failed to obtain selection over and over again because of my poverty. I am quite sure that my experience must be the experience of a, great many who would serve this House and their country far better than I can pretend to do. I fear I am getting into hot water with some of my Friends for venturing to propose a smaller amount than that in the Government Resolution. A good deal is friendly banter and chaff, I daresay, but some of it I am afraid is serious. At any rate, I have discovered from the various conversations I have had that £400 is a much more popular figure than £300 amongst a good many of my colleagues. They charge me with seeking popularity in the constituencies, and thus it appears that £300 is more popular in the constituencies, in their view. Surely if that be so they would not desire to take £100 more, which the constituencies did not approve of.

In my judgment £300 is a better and more defensible figure than £400. I know that may not, and is not, the opinion of a large number of other Members. All I say is that it is a proper thing for the House to discuss. It is surely not a matter to be dictated by the Treasury Bench. It is a perfectly fair thing that we should ourselves consider and consult and confer together as to how much would meet the case. In this Division, if the hon. Member opposite proposes to take it to a Division, I hope that the Government will allow it to be without the Whips. No reason whatsoever has been alleged by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I think no reason whatever is not too strong, of why they arrived at that figure, and the sum of £400 has never been supported by argument. I think we ought to have some explanation as to why that figure was reached. I will, at any rate, give reasons why I think a smaller sum is more fitting. This is not a policy that hon. Members should receive a salary adequate for services they render, and it should not be regarded as payment for services rendered. If so, then I would say that there are very few of us who are not worth a good deal more, and some of us less, but I dare say some very much more. Therefore do not let us attempt to appraise the value of services of Members of Parliament, and to pay them that sum.

My idea is altogether different. I want the State to defray the cost of being a Member of Parliament. I want not a salary, but an allowance which shall cover ordinary necessary disbursements of the average Member of Parliament. I mean for instance, travelling to the House of Commons, food while we are here, postage to attend to the letters of our Constituencies, and various incidental expenses. It is not like a director's fee; it is more like the expenses allowance which is made by, say, an educational authority or a borough council or any public body when one or two or more of its members go away on deputations, to inspect schools or something of that sort. They are not allowed to be out of pocket by doing that service for the body with which they are connected, and neither should we be out of pocket with the daily service which we render in this House. It is my view that this ought not to be a payment for work done. The work differs enormously both in amount and quality. This sum is only to enable any average man to come to this House and to do the work voluntarily. I have heard a great deal of argument and extremely well put, by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) about gratuitous public service. I hope we shall be doing nothing by this vote to injure that splendid record of Englishmen in all public services that they have established. But we shall not be doing so by paying those expenses of which I speak. We should still recognise the principle of gratuitous public service, and we should simply defray the cost to which the Member is put by coming here to do voluntary service. I say that £300 is enough for that, and that it would remove the barrier which keeps out good, able, valuable men. After all £300 is not bad pay. I came to the conclusion that I could live very well and comfortably in any part of the world on £l per day. This is not quite £l per day, but it is a long way towards it. A sum of £6 per week is a very decent salary for a journalist, for a reporter, for a workman, for a skilled artisan, or for a clerk.


Will the hon. Gentleman say what a Knighthood is worth?


If hon. Members want the Slate to maintain their wives and families as well as themselves; if they want the State to clothe and feed them; if they want the State to pay for their one home in the country and another in London, then I do not think that the Nation is called on to do any such thing. I do not want to set a figure which would tempt men to come here for the sake of the money. I suppose we all of us know, or have known, the clever demagogue and the gasbags who are very good talkers and very poor workers. I do not think we have one such in the House now. Let us consider the type of men we have here now all over the House. I do not share the fears that we shall lower the type of man, and I certainly do not think we shall if we do not overpay them. I look at the Labour and Irish Benches. It is understood, I suppose, that most of them are paid a stipend. I say there are no more intelligent, capable men, no men more attentive to their duty, no men who can be more counted on for late Divisions, although they are not whipped by either of the two great parties; and, although none of them is looking for a job, I say that those qualities make a pattern to us all, and I say that that is a complete answer to any arguments you may raise that a small stipend of this kind will lower the quality or the character or the type of men. in this Parliament. You may have undesirable Members here, of course. It has been said, and I think it will be admitted even by my opponents, that the House has become too much a preserve for rich men. A small stipend will tend to exclude the type of man whose real idea is coming here is to serve himself rather than his fellows, to get something, to do little when here, and to keep a constituency in the same way as he would keep a moor or a yacht. I think the proposal will make hon. Members more independent—more independent of their Whips, and more independent of the unhealthy pressure of their constituents. After all, we are elected on an exposition of our political views, and we are sent here to use our best intelligence in forwarding the principles we have expressed. Three hundred pounds is more, and not less, likely to enable us to do that duty frankly and fearlessly. If an hon. Member is paid by somebody else—by a trade union, by a party, or by a constituency he is less independent and less likely to express his particular views. It will not be so if he is entitled to this money in the way now proposed. I think £300 would secure the desired object. There may be 100 Members in this House already paid by someone. I do not suppose there are as many as I could count on the fingers of one hand who get more than £300 a year. This will be the first time we have made this payment. It will to some extent alter the relations of the House of Commons and the constituencies, of the individual Member and his constituents. It will be well to move cautiously. It has been said that this Vote will come up every year. If £300 is found too little this year, we can increase it to-£400 next year; but if £400 is found too much this year, it will be found extremely difficult to bring it down to £300. Although supporting this reduction I am cordially in favour of payment of Members. I want to make a breach in the walls of this House, just as there has been made a breach in the walls of the other House. I want to let in some of the waters of democracy, to find out what the people of the country are really thinking of our "Dreadnought" expenditure, of our Land Taxes, and of our timid legislation in various directions. This country cannot be for ever governed by the lettered and the wealthy classes. The unlettered and the poor are infinitely more numerous, and should have their share in the government of the country.


I support this proposed reduction, although personally I should be inclined to move a reduction equal to the entire Vote, because I regard it almost as one of the most serious steps which this House has taken in its modern history. On behalf of my Constituents I protest against this wasteful, improper, and unnecessary expenditure. I support the experience of an earlier speaker, who said that in Ms own constituency he had found that this proposal was very unpopular. In my Constituency I referred to the question at every one of my meetings, but I found nobody in favour of it. I was asked many questions, but I was never once asked whether I was in favour of the payment of Members. My practice was to save it up till towards the close as the bonne bouche with which to finish up the meeting in a successful manner. I contend that for all practical purposes the question was not really before the country at the last election. Out of 573 election addresses only forty-eight declared that the candidates were in favour of the payment of Members. The Chancellor of the Exchequer to-day quoted with a great deal of emphasis the remarks which the Prime Minister made with reference to his intention of bringing in his Resolution if he had a majority in the new Parliament. But what did the Chancellor of the Exchequer say on Thursday last? ….the Prime Minister, immediately before the last General Election, stated that he proposed, if he had a majority in the new Parliament, to submit a Resolution to the House of Commons for the purpose of the payment of Members. That was not a convenient moment to make an announcement of an unpopular character, but nevertheless the Prime Minister clearly stated that to be his intention. Those were the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and they are scarcely in harmony with the great emphasis which he put upon the remarks of the Prime Minister this afternoon. But what did the Prime Minister do? Did he include the proposal in his election address. Certainly not. Yet this is all the justification that has been afforded us for adopting such a revolutionary change in the life and character of the House of Commons. This is how the Government manufactures certain of its mandates from the people. This is the excuse afforded to hon. Members opposite for dipping their hands into the public purse to the extent of eight golden sovereigns every week all the year round. Never was there a subject on which it was more necessary that a Member should have a clear understanding with his constituents than whether he was to be allowed to vote himself a salary out of the taxpayers' money. The Government would not have dared to put this question as a single issue by referendum to the constituencies throughout the country. Yet, as the constitution of the House of Commons is being fundamentally changed by this Resolution, if it is the real will of the people,, that would have been the right course to. have adopted.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer was somewhat elaborate in his apologies to the House for the very small sum he was asking it to vote to its Members as a remuneration for their services. He emphasised the fact that it was an altogether inadequate amount. I thought it was rather a dangerous line for him to take, because he will find in future years, when hon. Members opposite bring up the question, as they certainly will, with a view to an increase in their remuneration, they will not be slow to quote his words as their justification in so doing. What has been the experience in foreign assemblies? I will not weary the House by referring to a number of them. I will take only the House of Representatives in the United1 States. They began by voting their members £l80 a year. At present they vote themselves £l,500. What will this proposal lead to? The evil example of this House will be followed by every local body, every town council and every county council throughout the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave many reasons, some of them no doubt of: considerable weight, why they would not be entitled to urge the same principle for remuneration of their services. That may or may not be. At any rate, already certain of those bodies have begun to agitate for remuneration of their members. That will be the evil consequence of the example of this House, bringing with it a great deal of cost to the country and influences, to my mind, of a most demoralising character. Before it is too late I entreat the House to pause ere it commits itself to this final step—a step which is altogether out of harmony with its glorious traditions, and one which will, I am certain, be instrumental in lowering the whole tone of our public life to the great detriment of the services of the country.


The Committee, I think, will understand that it is no very agreeable task for a paid Labour Member of this House to rise to support the Motion for the payment of Members, and especially to oppose the Amendment for the reduction of the sum which has been proposed. But I rise at the earliest possible moment to respond to the appeal made by the hon. Member who moved the reduction (Mr. Peel), and repeated by the hon. and gallant Knight who seconded it (Sir W. Byles), to show whether £300 a year would provide what I think is the admitted purpose of the proposal, namely, sufficient means to enable a man to enter this House and support himself while here. I think I have qualifications to deal with that question which none of the three hon. Members who have already spoken possess, because I have for six years now tried to live in this House and to maintain the expenses of a Member of Parliament on something less than £400 a year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in submitting his proposal to the House last Thursday, said that it was not a proposal to pay a salary. We quite accept that. We admit that. I think it has been generally understood that if we paid Members of Parliament it was not payment for their services to the country, but compensation or subsistence in order to enable them to occupy the seat to which they had been elected. Therefore I want to try to show from the experience of myself and my colleagues that £400 per year is neither too much or too little. It is a sum just sufficient to satisfy the object upon which most of us are agreed. The Labour Members, my colleagues and myself, are paid, but we are not paid a uniform sum. I, unfortunately from one point, of view, have my candidature promoted by an organisation which is poorer, and some half a dozen of my colleagues, like myself, have received during the six years we have been in this House the sum of £200 a year each. During these six years I have kept a fairly accurate account of those expenses which are distinctly to be regarded as expenses incidental to my seat in the House of Commons, and I have supplemented by my own earnings the allowance I have received from my organisation, by a sum equal to the amount they have paid me. If I were to take this Committee into my confidence I could prove from my own experience that there are four items of necessary expenditure which absorb the whole of the £200 a year which I receive.

I would like the Committee to understand that I am able to support myself as a Member of this House far more economically than many of my colleagues are. Most of my colleagues are members of trade unions. Their candidature is promoted by trade unions; they are officials of trade unions, and it is absolutely impossible for them to remove their homes to London. It is neither possible nor desirable to cut themselves off from their trade union connections in the country. The position of a Member of Parliament is a precarious one. They have run the risk twice during the last year of losing their seats in this House, and if, on the chance of the permanency of their position as Members of Parliament they had removed to London and resigned their trade union position they would have been thrown upon the world as beggars. It is not possible that they could remove to London. I was in different circumstances. It does not matter very much to my means of livelihood where I live. The House will excuse these personal details, but I think it is important. For the first two years I kept my home in the North of England and went home as a rule once a week and sometimes once a fortnight, and the expenses of the railway journey to my home absorbed the whole of one week's allowance. In addition to that, I had the expenses, very humble though they might be, in my own standard of living, of maintaining myself and my wife, when she was with me, in London for five or six days a week, and that again would absorb a sum equal to the allowance of the society. There was in addition to that the expenses to which the hon. Member for Salford referred, getting one's meals here and other incidental expenses, the necessary incidental expenses connected with receiving deputations in the House of Commons, and of most of these I have kept a fairly correct record; and with regard to the postage account, I may say it averaged 15s. per week. There are of course other incidental expenses. As I have said, many of my colleagues are compelled to keep their homes in the country and to pay lodgings in London, but they have railway expenses to pay, and I was asking before I rose one of my colleagues who sits near me what was the third-class railway fare from London to his home, and the bare third-class railway fare for the return ticket was £3 5s. 9d., and he has to incur that expense every week. He has to maintain himself in London and has also the maintenance of his family in the country, and there are all these other incidental expenses.

Therefore I ask the Committee to consider whether £400 a year, £8 a week, is really more than sufficient to cover the necessary expenditure incurred by a Member of Parliament who is placed in that position. It may be said that I have taken an extreme case, but take a more moderate one. I am quite prepared to say that the average return railway fare incurred by my colleagues going home at the weekend is 45s., and this they do in some cases rather than come to London. When I came to London I found that my rent was more than doubled, and that the accommodation was far inferior. Even by coining to London I did not avoid the expenses of railway journeys. I visit my constituency from twelve to twenty times a year, and I cannot go down without incurring railway expenses and hotel expenses for each different visit amounting to a sum of about £4, and to use a homely expression, an expenditure of £4 makes a very big hole in a weekly allowance of something like £4. I submit, from practical experience—and we are told that an ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory—the experience of those who have tried to meet the necessary expenses of a Member of Parliament on less than £400 a year is that that sum is not too much. May I give just the experience of trade unionism upon this matter. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment said that the constituencies would not support the paying of Members £400 a year. What have the constituencies of the trade union Members and the Labour party done? The amount paid by the Miners' Federation is £250 a year and railway fare, and that is more than £400, and that sum has been fixed by men who themselves are not in receipt of a wage equal to that. The Mover of the Amendment said it was an enormous increase of a man's income from that of a wage-earner to £300. But he left out of account the enormous increase of expenditure which a man incurs when he leaves the bench or the loom in order to serve his fellow-workers in the position of a Member of Parliament. I venture to say, and I am quite sure that it is the experience of every one of my colleagues, that as trade unionists they would be better off with a wage of £2 per week than they would be with £300 or £350 a year, and having to meet all the incidental expenditure connected with a seat in this House.

Trade unionists cannot be charged with being extravagant or wasteful in the expenditure of their money, but they have come to the conclusion that a sum equalling, the salary and railway fare, more than £400, is not too much. I rose solely for the purpose of putting before the House the practical point of view, but before I sit down may I be allowed to say one or two words in reply to certain statements which were made, particularly by the hon. Member who moved this reduction (Mr. Peel). He made an appeal to Members sitting on these benches, and, on conditions, I am quite prepared to respond to that appeal. He urged the reduction of this Vote by a sum of £63,000, on the grounds of retrenchment and economy. That £63,000 is a sum equal to one-fiftieth of a penny in the £ upon the Income Tax. Now, if the hon. Member is so anxious to promote national retrenchment, I suggest to him that there are other places in which he might begin. For instance, I daresay the hon. Member may be familiar with the case of an ex-Speaker of this House who, during the ten years he occupied that Chair, drew £50,000 from the public funds, and, in addition to that, the free occupation of a House, and since his retirement from that well-paid position—the figure is rather singular seeing that it is proposed to reduce the amount by £63,000—that ex-Speaker has taken from the public taxation of this country during the last sixteen years a sum of £64,000. If he wants economy on the same lines, I can make another suggestion. The hon. Member who sits for but does not represent the resident voters of the Newton Division of Lancashire has been very prominent in opposition to payment of Members. It is possible to effect economies in matters in which he or members of his family have some interest. I find by a Return that was presented to this House that in nearly thirty years, between the years 1850 and 1883, twenty-four relatives of the Earl of Selborne took from the public taxes in salaries or pensions a sum of £316,750. I find that in the same thirty-three years 532 aristocratic families found 7,991 relatives 13,888 offices, and then took in these thirty-three years out of public taxes the sum of £108,000,000. I do not believe that during all these thirty years we have heard from the party opposite anything about the glorious principle of gratuitous public service. I do not believe that during all these years we have heard from those benches a plea for retrenchment or economy by the reduction of the sums that were paid to those families which were practically dependent upon the public purse. It is only when we want something which is going to open the doors of this House to the representatives of democracy that we hear these proposals. In supporting this proposal to pay Members of Parliament, I say it is a difficult task, but not because of any personal advantage to myself. It is more because I believe the proposal will be a great public advantage. I believe it is necessary in the interests of representative and democratic government. I believe it will add to the dignity of this House, and that it will provide just enough to give immeasurable benefit to every cause that means the welfare and progress of the people of this country.


I am sure the Committee will feel indebted to my hon. Friend for the speech which he has just addressed to this House. He gave us the case from a practical point of view, and I think that is exactly what the House desires to hear. The real difficulty is this: how many Members of this House realise exactly what it would mean to have to live in this House, to carry on their work, to perform their public services, on an amount of £300 or £400 a year? It is very useful in the consideration of this query to have the statement of fact which we have heard from my hon. Friend. He was evidently speaking not only from his own experience, but with knowledge of what happens to other Members of the party with whom he sits, and who really are best able to give us the real facts in connection with the amount required. The Government, of course, put to themselves this question: What was the amount which Parliament should be asked to vote as a fair and reasonable allowance to enable a Member to perform his public services, so that the door of this House might be thrown open and the area of selection of Members of this House might be considerably extended?

The object of the Government was not to attract men to this House by payment of a large salary. That, I think, is made perfectly plain by the amount suggested in the Vote. Equally it was not to find a niggardly amount that would not do what the Government intended. It was to give a sufficient amount to enable a man to live, as my hon. Friend the Member for Salford said, in the witty and humorous speech he made to the Committee. At the very least he thought that an amount of £l a day was what a man ought to have to live upon. Although he seconded this Motion for reduction, I really appeal to him to support us, because it is on the basis he suggested that the Government have arrived at their conclusion; it is on the basis that £l is necessary for a man to live upon, and that he cannot really do with less, that, in considering an allowance for services of this character, they were induced to put this forward. There are many other payments that a Member has to make—travelling expenses—of which we have heard so much to the point just now—payment for postage and telegrams and for visits to the constituencies. I think one must also include payment of cab fares on certain occasions. All this has to be taken into consideration, and the Government took care to ascertain as far as possible what would be that sum which would be this fair and sufficient allowance, without at the same time erring on the side of giving too much. The Government came to the conclusion that £400 a year was the right amount. On behalf of the Government I ask the Committee to accept that amount.

The Government do not ask the Committee to fix £400 a year without having made every investigation which it was open to them to make. They have not thrown this at the Committee without having weighed carefully what was the amount which, on the responsibility of the Government, should be submitted. They ask the Committee to accept that amount and to reject the Amendment on the ground that in fixing £400 the Government are really only doing what the Committee would desire once the Members come to the conclusion that the principle is right. I would remind the Committee also, although we have taken a standard so well explained by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, that it is not only for representatives of the Labour party that this payment is designed, or that this amount has been arrived at. It is a very good test by which to arrive at what is a proper amount. Once you have arrived at it it is a standard which will apply to all Members of the House. Might I add further: It is very easy for hon. Members in this House or for persons outside to say, "£,300 a year is quite enough; the extra £100 really ought not to be given," who do not realise that this is the only pocket out of which money will be received by many hon. Members of this House. As was explained by the hon. Member, and as will be apparent to this House when once the effect of the decision in the Osborne case and subsequent cases is recognised, it is no longer open to trade unions, as the law at present stands, to make compulsory levies to pay their Members. There are, consequently, difficulties in the way of those organisations supplementing the earnings, whatever they may be, of hon. Members who are dependent on payment from the trade unions. I think it is a very fair assumption—when you take into account what is to happen when this Vote has been passed—as I hope it will be—to assume that a Member has only his £400 a year as remuneration or allowance for his public services, out of which he has to find everything. I do ask the Committee to bear in mind when voting, if there is a Division upon this Amendment, that there is only one pocket out of which the money, whatever it is, is to come. Therefore it is not really too much. It is only what I would submit is a very fair sum. I do not intend to travel into the more general question, because that has already been discussed at some length. I am not suggesting, of course, that it would be out of order to discuss it, at any rate to some extent, because that is, I understand the view of the Chairman; also because an understanding has been arrived at. I only content myself with referring at the moment to one argument which has been adduced against this payment. It has been said that it will tempt——

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Emmott)

I do not want a wrong impression conveyed upon what I said. The whole question is open.


I hope I was not stating anything to the contrary.


I was not quite sure.


I intended certainly to state that. I did place a little limitation, inasmuch as I said that it was open, I thought by general agreement, and also by what I understood had fallen from you, to discuss the whole question, although I thought it was possible that the same latitude would not be allowed as on the original Resolution. I accept what you say, and will deal with the matter as if everything was open. Nevertheless, I do not intend to say more than one or two things upon the general question. I will deal with the proposition which was put forward: that payment for these services will tend to degrade us, and lower the position of the House of Commons in the eyes of the country. I utterly fail to understand that point. All services which are rendered, except in a very few instances, are services for which payment is accepted, and in which payment honours the recipient as well as the person who pays. I will only instance what happens, for example, with a minister of religion. Do politics stand so high in the estimation of hon. Members opposite? Is the political field one which stands so eminently above every other in which human beings are engaged that it is only in respect of these services that there is to be no payment, and that payment will degrade or lower the person who receives it in the estimation of those whom he represents? I would ask hon. Members to consider for a moment.

Does anyone suggest that the payment to a minister of religion has anything like that effect upon him? I will not instance all the various classes which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor referred to when he made his speech on Thursday. I only add the case which seems to me to be unanswerable. If it does not degrade the minister of religion to receive payment for his services, why should it degrade a Member of Parliament to receive payment for the services which he renders? I know, on the other hand, it has been said that this proposal is something utterly novel. I am not going to travel at any length into the history of this policy as it is now before the House of Commons. But may I just remind the House how it does really stand. As we know, it was part of the law of this country. There is the high authority of Lord Chief Justice Campbell, who was also Lord Chancellor, for the statement that it was part of the common law of England that Members should be paid for the services rendered in Parliament. We also know that it was part of the statute law of this country that payment should be made to Members. It is true, as hon. Members have said, that the payment was made by the constituents themselves. I am inclined to the view that the reason why in this country the practice was given up of exacting payment from the constituencies was because of the abuse into which this practice fell.

8.0 P.M.

What happened as time wore on? Gradually you had Members going down to the constituencies and offering themselves without payment, so that the constituencies would be able to keep the money in their own pockets. Equally, again, you have some Members, not only serving without payment, but making payment to their constituents to enable them to serve. Of course, it is not very difficult to see that that state of things could not continue. The consequence was that in 1677 a statute was passed to put an end to this practice. What happened afterwards? In 1678, by the way, Andrew Marvel was still drawing his pay from Hull, and in 1681 Mr. King issued a writ in respect of money for services rendered to the borough of Harwich. But from 1677 forward there was no longer direct payment. Indirect payment in many instances took its place, as was pointed out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That went on for a very long period, and the period subsequent to 1677 was one in which, I think, few persons could be found to defend the purity of public life as compared with what had been the state of things before 1677. It is a most curious thing, and well worthy of reflection, that when payment was made Parliamentary life was purer than it was after the abolition. That was up to 1780 when my right hon. Friend was dealing with indirect payment which followed direct payment made hitherto. What is it that we propose to do? Those who are suggesting that we are doing something so very new would do well to remember that in 1830 it was proposed that £2 per day should be paid to Members of the borough and £4 per day to Members of a county. Then there was a proposal of £500 per annum, to be paid out of the Treasury. That was some seventy years ago, when money was of quite a different standard from what it is now. Then we come down to a much more recent period, and we find that in 1893 and 1895 resolutions were proposed in this House, and the House voted upon them, and there was a majority in the first instance of forty-seven, and in the second instance of eighteen in favour of resolutions for the payment of Members. In 1906 there was a majority of 238 in favour of the resolution which was discussed, and in 1909, when the matter again came before the House, there was a majority of 150 in its favour, so that it is idle to say that this thing is new or that it is sprung upon the House. Then, again, the Osborne Judgment has had the effect of making the problem much more acute. It is useless for hon. Gentlemen to shut their eyes to that. They know very well that that made it imperative that something should be done, and done at once.

My right hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Walton, was so impressed with that and as to the consequences of the Osborne Judgment, that he became an advocate for the payment of Members. It is quite true he said he did not like the proposal, but he came to the conclusion that it was inevitable, and that if the Osborne Judgment was to remain payment of Members must necessarily follow. That was the view not only taken by him, but it was the view to which he gave expression with that facile and graceful pen of which he is a master, in a letter to "The Times." Hon. Members upon the opposite side will no doubt remember that that produced some difference of opinion amongst them, but it at all events showed this: that so strong was the case for the payment of Members that my right hon. and learned Friend was in favour of it. I could produce a passage of a similar character from a speech or letter of the hon. Member for Worcester, and that very good supporter of the Conservative party, the hon. Member for Gravesend, also wrote a letter in which he stated, not so emphatically, I agree, his view in favour of the payment of Members. He gave eloquent testimony in favour of it from abroad, having spent considerable periods of his life in Canada and Australia, and at a later period in the United States, and his views are very well worthy of consideration by those who think that by giving effect to this Resolution we shall be lowering the standard of our public life in this country.

If we turn to what occurs in our own Dominions—and this is the last reference I wish to make upon this subject—we find that the payments made in Canada and in Australia and in South Africa are all at least as great, or are in excess of, the amount we ask the House to bear in this instance. I think I am right in stating that the lowest amount, £400 a year, is the amount paid to the Union Parliament in South Africa under its very recent constitution, and I am told that not only is £400 a year paid but that travelling expenses are also allowed. Of course, the railways are State railways there, and that is a very great assistance, as everyone will realise who studies the subject. In Canada the amount is £500 a year, with a considerable allowance for travelling expenses, and there are also some other expenses. If we look at Australia we find the amount is £600 a year. I take these as instances because we are dealing with our own Dominions, and with two of very recent creation. What we are carrying out is the principle which is carried out in our own Dominions, and we are not fixing the amount in this country in excess of what is paid by them. My submission is that, comparing the amount which we propose, £400 a year, with that paid in our Dominions, it is a very reasonable amount, and if the Government have erred at all they have not erred on the side of lavish-ness, and I ask the Committee to come to the conclusion that the amount fixed, the result arrived at after considerable amount of thought and consideration, is the right amount, and I ask them to reject this Amendment.


I do not wish to comment on the speech of the hon. Member for Blackburn because I did not hear it, nor do I desire to follow the arguments on the general question which the Attorney-General has put forward. I made my observations upon the general question last week and I do not wish to repeat them now. I desire to ask the Attorney-General a single question which springs directly from the only pertinent argument he has used in regard to the particular Amendment we are discussing. The Amendment proposes that salaries should be fixed at £300 instead of £400. The Attorney-General said that henceforth that is the only source from which Labour Members can be provided. Does he mean that? Have the Government decided to withdraw from their Bill dealing with the Osborne Judgment or modify the part which provides that further payments could be made out of trade union funds?


What I said was that if there is payment of £400 a year from the State the trade unions would not pay their Members the amounts which they hitherto paid them. Supposing a man was receiving £200 or £250 from his trade union for his maintenance in Parliament that sum would not continue to be paid if the State pays him £400.


The Attorney-General said this was the only fund from which a man should be paid. His answer now shows that the Government still intends to reverse that part of the Osborne Judgment.


I only rise for the object of making a few observations upon that part of the Attorney-General's speech which dealt with some part which I played two months ago in connection with the subject of the payment of Members. It is quite true, as the Attorney-General said, that I wrote two letters to the Press dealing with this question. The Postmaster-General quoted from the earlier of these two letters a little while ago. He did not deal with the conditions. I make no complaint of that. He quoted from one of the letters, but he did not in fact quite do justice to the circumstances under which I wrote that letter. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General in his speech anticipated my explanation, but as reference was twice made to my letters, I desire to make clear what was the position when I wrote those letters. The Osborne Judgment has been delivered, and so long as the Osborne Judgment remained unmodified it was not possible for any working man who became a Member of this House to have pecuniary support made him from his trade union. I formed the conclusion that the result of the decision, unless its consequences were corrected in some other matters, would have been to exclude direct representatives of labour from the House of Commons. I confess that would have been a circumstance which I for one would have contemplated with great dislike, and would have counted as a great misfortune both to the House of Commons and the country. I make no observation at this moment upon the special representation of labour which calls itself the Labour party in this House. I, of course, think that many who are not direct representatives in the sense that they support themselves by manual labour, but who nevertheless represent the working classes, are entitled to describe themselves as working-class representatives, although it is true that something new and fresh and something altogether desirable is contributed to the House when you have here, at any rate, some infusion by direct representation in the sense that you have some Members in the House who themselves have laboured with their hands, and acquire that close connection with the life of the working classes which can only be had by persons who attain that knowledge. I brought this prepossession to bear upon the Osborne Judgment. I for one was most desirous that the Osborne Judgment should be maintained in its integrity. I think it would be a great misfortune and a gross act of tyranny if the Osborne Judgment were in substance modified. I know this as the representative of a city where the trade unionists as a whole support the Conservative party, as, undoubtedly, in Liverpool they do; and I knew of the injustice which was occasioned when men who belonged to a party that voted for me in my own Constituency were compelled against their wishes to subscribe to the expenses of Labour candidates. I regarded that, as I said, as the greatest instance of tyranny conceivable. I had the idea of having that corrected, and corrected at once, and I was in great hopes from certain observations which fell from prominent Members of the Government that it was their intention to leave the Osborne Judgment in its integrity unaltered. In these circumstances, I, myself being an acquiescent party in this judgment, was face to face with this dilemma. I had to go to my Constituency and elsewhere, and had to answer this question, "How do you propose if you are opposed to the reversal of the Osborne Judgment that the direct representatives of labour should find a place in the House of Commons and should support themselves when they had found places in the House of Commons. I confess at once that I did not find myself able to make any answer to that question, and it was not a question which it was possible for me, holding my special views on politics, to leave unanswered. In these circumstances, I decided that, having regard to my desire that the Osborne Judgment should remain unaltered—and it was an object of more permanent importance—that the door of the House of Commons should not be flung in the faces of the direct representatives of labour, and I formed the conclusion that of the two evils, namely, the reversal of the Osborne Judgment or the payment of Members, the reversal of the Osborne Judgment would be immeasurably a greater calamity than the payment of Members. If the Attorney-General looks into the matter he will see that I stated very plainly in my first and in my second letter the reasons which led me to that conclusion. He will find that the very limited support I gave to payment of Members-depended upon the maintenance of the Osborne Judgment in its substance and in its entirety. Comment has been made upon my consistency when I state that under the changed circumstances I shall vote against the payment of Members. The condition upon which I supported the payment of Members was the maintenance of the Osborne Judgment. The Government have introduced a Bill, through the Attorney-General, on the Second Reading of which I made a speech clearly expressing my view. I will state almost in a sentence what is contained in the Osborne Bill which in my judgment makes a complete reversal on the only point which really matters, and which was very important in influencing my decision. Under the terms of the Osborne Bill it is necessary for any working man who wishes to be relieved from the obligation of contributing to the support of Labour candidates to indicate his dissent from the general policy of the union; in other words, the onus is thrown, not upon those who want to pay, but upon those who do not want to pay.

No one can have followed the recent history of the political activity of trade unions without being aware of the degree of pressure upon persons who do not wish to subscribe to the political expenses which the men's leaders desire which is brought to bear upon individuals upon whom the duty is thrown of signifying their dissent. You cannot ask any trade union to undergo the intimidation which immediately follows. I am not blaming the Labour Members of this House. I have not known in the six years I have been in the House of Commons which has coincided with the Parliamentary lifetime of the majority of the Labour party, of any case in which the Labour Members have not done their best to prevent cases of intimidation where specific cases have been brought to their knowledge. May I point out, however, that the Labour party have not the slightest control over the men, as the present situation shows. If that is true, then we are face to face with a difficult position. It is not so much so in Liverpool, because the Conservative party is very strong there, but there are places where the Unionist party is weak in the trade unions, and in those places it will be impossible for individual Conservatives to come forward and say "we won't pay," because they would be exposed to the same tyranny which non-unionists meet with now. I should not have troubled the House with a somewhat personal explanation if it had not been for the observation made by the Attorney-General. The House may come to the conclusion that I am right or wrong on the subject of payment of Members, but in face of the reversal of the Osborne Judgment, the one conclusion hon. Members are not entitled to come to is that there has been the slightest inconsistency on the part of one who wrote to the papers and advocated the view that payment of Members was a proper choice between two competing evils, if the Osborne Judgment is maintained, but when the Osborne Judgment is reversed, I do not involve myself by changing my view.

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

I wish to point out the remarkable position which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division, Liverpool, has placed himself in by his action in this matter. As I understand him—and I think there is no doubt as to the meaning of his speech which was delivered with his usual crispness and clearness—he would support payment of Members if the Osborne Judgment could be maintained.


If the right hon. Gentleman will announce that the Osborne Judgment is to be maintained and the Bill withdrawn, I shall not have the slightest objection for voting for the payment of Members.


The right hon. Gentleman confirms the accuracy of my view of his speech. He says that if the Osborne Judgment is maintained he will support payment of Members as a means of securing the direct representation of labour.


Because in my judgment there would be no other means of doing it.


On the other hand if the Osborne Judgment is repealed —and the right hon. Gentleman thinks that would be the effect of our Bill—then he thinks there will be a sufficient avenue for the direct representation of labour.


There will be an avenue.


Yes, an avenue which the right hon. Gentleman thinks it is not necessary to supplement by payment of Members to allow other men of small means to enter the House of Commons who are not trade unionists, and who are not the direct representatives of trade unions. It is rather a strange doctrine that there should be no assistance to the lower middle classes of small means to enter this House, no help to the farmer or the shopkeeper, and no help to the nonunion man to enter this House. It is only if the trade union itself is able to send its own paid Members that the right hon. Gentleman thinks we shall have a sufficient representation of that class of the community. It is strange to find the right hon. Gentleman advancing that argument and saying he is not willing to work with non-union labour.


The Postmaster-General has said that in order to meet the necessities of those who are a small minority of this House, and who must be a small minority, you are going to force upon the great majority of this House a payment which they do not want and which the country ought not to be expected to make. The Attorney-General's speech did not amount to more than this, that in the opinion of the Government £400 is a fit and proper salary for a Member of Parliament because they think it so, and therefore the Committee ought to accept their estimate. I want to ask the Committee whether the Government are entitled to give advice of this sort to us, considering that there has been no Government in recent years which has been so profligate of personal expenditure as the Government which now sits on the Treasury Bench; no Government which has created so many paid posts; no Government which has raised the salaries of its own Members to the same extent. Considering the generous way in which they have looked at the question, and the manner in which they have been prepared to charge the public with expenses which I venture to say are in no way justified, I do not think the fact that they tell us that £400 a year is the least that ought to be given to a Member of Parliament for his services is in the least conclusive proof that the Committee ought to adopt their proposal.

I confess that the most unpleasant side of this question is the argumentum ad hominem. In the attractive form in. which the hon. Member for Blackburn put his case, I was sorry he marred his appeal by a personal attack which was not palatable to any portion of the House. He attacked the hon. Member for Taunton on the score of his father's services. Now, there is no Member of this side who sat under Speaker Peel who would begrudge him one penny of the money he so amply earned. The House of Commons, for very good reasons, decided to make a very liberal grant to their Speaker, and they gave him a very large pension. They did it to exalt the dignity of the office, and they did it in the old days to secure the independence of the Chair. I do not think it a fair charge delivered personally, as it was, against my hon. Friend, to cite his father's case in order to disprove the desire on this side of the House to limit national expenditure where, as most of us think, it was uncalled for. The other case was hardly less unfortunate. He dealt with the case of the Noble Lord who sits below the Gangway, and who is so intimately connected with the family of Cecil. The fact that in past days the family of Cecil has earned a very great deal of public money only shows they played a great part in British history. Those arguments do not amount to very much, and I am sorry they were introduced. I think we are all sorry they were introduced by an hon. Gentleman whom we are always glad to hear. If it were possible to meet the necessities of those who sit below the Gangway and others, there is hardly a man who would be so churlish as to oppose it, or would think it his duty to do so. The difficulty is we are asked to vote a quarter of a million of money to be given to the majority of Members who do not want it, and who are prepared to do their Parliamentary work without it. I venture to say the credit of the House of Commons certainly stands high among the representative assemblies of the world to-day. The answer to the argument of the Attorney-General is contained in a speech of Mr. Gladstone made in 1870, on the great Debate on the question. He himself spoke much more strongly against it than any hon. Member is likely to do to-night. He said:— The public enjoy the fortune and advantage of having plenty of persons who are ready to serve for nothing, and the public is entitled to that benefit. That is where the matter stands. Are we, who ought to be the guardians of the public purse, justified because of the necessities of a certain minority of our own Members in taking as much as a quarter of a million out of the public purse and devoting it to the purpose of our own payment? Mr. Gladstone held we were not, and he argued the question, not on high ground, but on the simple ground of expediency, and, economist as he was in regard to public money, he decided against it. Of course, there is no more worn chapter in Parliamentary annals than this question of the payment of Members. It has been discussed time after time. Mr. Gladstone's speech is conclusive, and it ought to appeal to hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. I listened with very great interest the other night to the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) when he tried to show that the work of this House had improved not only in quantity but in quality, not only, as he put it, quantitatively but qualitatively. I myself am not prepared to admit that the work of the House of Commons was bad, on the whole, though I quite admit the individual Member is giving far more time to his duties now than he did in the old days—not every Member, but the individual Member. Is it work? Surely "work" implies a continuous strain on one's mental or physical faculties, and, having served here and on many other public bodies for many years, I cannot honestly say the great part of the time we spend here is really consumed in intellectual work. Half of it is a laborious waste of time in and about the Lobbies of the House, and, unless we can establish our case on the ground of work done I differ from the hon. Gentleman opposite, and think we have no right to take money out of the public purse. We may be worthy of the money. I believe we are. Most Members of this House could earn far higher salaries and emoluments outside than in this House—but that is not the point. The point is: Is the work we do in the House worthy of the payment now proposed? Some hon. Members undoubtedly earn every penny of it, but I do not think the average Member gives to his work here anything like the same time the Civil servant is asked to give in the offices outside. I do not believe we can on that ground establish a claim that ought to be the determining factor.

The Government are asking for this salary without conditions. It will go to the Member who is only here half a dozen times in the Session to exactly the same degree as to the man who attends every day, and is to be found in his place not only here in the House, but in Grand Committee upstairs. That is not the old custom. The Attorney-General alluded to the ancient practice of this House, and that was the ground on which, in former debates, the case for payment was made out. When the salaries were paid by the constituencies continuous attendance was exacted of the individual Member. He had to be here in the House until the last day of every Session, and, unless he was here, his salary was stopped. I will not trouble the House with them, but there are many cases on record—and I have them here to show those who are curious to learn—of Members who were fined for non-attendance. If any Member left the House before the end of the Session without the leave of the Speaker he had no claim for wages. Knights of the Shire were fined £20 and burgesses £10 for non-attendance. It was not a question of finance only, but imprisonment was one of the penalties inflicted on a Member of the House who did not attend to his duties. I am not suggesting a return to those archaic penalties, but I would ask the representative of the Government whether it is intended to exact any condition of attendance whatsoever for the payment of this salary. Cases are notorious on both sides of Members who only put in a fitful attendance of ten days, and they are to draw public money to the same degree and to the same amount as those who never leave the House. I do not think, when it comes to it and when this payment has to be defended, the country will allow these men to have a claim on the public fund. We have the experience of other countries to guide us. You cannot draw on the American Commonwealth for example, but you can draw on the opinion expressed by our Ambassador there (Mr. Bryce), who is one of the great political philosophers of our day, as to what the effect has been on the payment of Members there and what justification there is for the payment of Members here. He says:— Its existence furnishes no argument for its introduction into a small country with a large leisured and wealthy class. It contributes to keep up a class of professional politicians for the salary, though small in comparison with the incomes earned by successful merchants or lawyers, is a prize to men of the class whence professional politicians mostly come.


Will you go on?


I have not the continuation of this particular quotation, but I took it myself from his book in the Library of the House. But he says:— Cynics defend the payment to Congressmen on another ground, namely, that they would steal worse if they did not get it, and would make politics, as Napoleon would make war support itself. Nobody pretends that would apply here, but at the same time it shows the arguments that have been used for payment elsewhere and perhaps in our own Dominions, though in a lesser degree, do not apply to this House. Surely if this is a great step, it is worth our while to look and see what has happened elsewhere. In the States of the American Union they pay their legislators by the day. It varies so much for every day for which the Session lasts from one dollar in Rhode Island to eight dollars in California or Nevada. Five dollars seems to be the average. There is also a small allowance for travelling expenses, but the length of the legislative Session, which now gonerally stands limited to a fixed number of days, varies from forty clays to 150 days. They have had to pass measures against prolonging the Session beyond a certain number of days, because, when paid in this way, legislators had been inclined to prolong them too far. They said the daily pay should diminish or should absolutely cease and determine at the expiry of a certain number of days, hoping thereby to expedite business and to check inordinate zeal for legislation. We do not propose any of these precautions. We are going to pay the salary without limit or condition. We are not going to ask a Member to put in any particular number of days, and we are doing this, I again say, in order to meet the necessities of a minority of the House, of what is at present a small minority. If by any way we can meet that grievance —for it is a grievance—without charging the public Exchequer to the extent proposed, and without forcing on those who do not want public money, or who may feel in many cases they do not earn or deserve it, I think it would be a very excellent thing. The hon. Member for Sal-ford said this was a first fruition of Radical seed. I think it is going to be an expensive fruition. It will diminish, he tells us, the unhealthy pressure of the constituencies. But does any hon. Member think that that unhealthy pressure will be diminished by this proposal? Is it not certain that in most cases hon. Gentlemen will be asked for larger subscriptions, and that there will be a constant reproach thrown on them if they do not pay more liberally, that they are taking the people's money and are doing nothing for the poor in their own midst. I am quite certain that those who know the conditions of political life in England will realise that that particular argument cannot be advanced with any reason for the provision of such a payment as is now proposed.

It is certain that as time goes on we shall be asked to vote more to ourselves. That has been the experience everywhere else, even in our own Dominions, and, as the Committee knows, there was a popular cry in France only the other day against the legislators there, who were given a nickname for the increased salaries they claimed from the public. Is this worth doing for exceptional cases? Hard cases make bad laws. The case of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway is a hard case. Their presence here is both valuable and important; no one is more pleased to see them here than I am. But it is not fair, in order to meet their case that we should do something which cannot confer much benefit on the community generally. Hon. Gentlemen are not stopped coming into this House; at this moment they are here in considerable numbers. If there is one thing which would tend to stop them it is not want of salary when they are here; it is the heavy entrance fee we charge in the way of election expenses. Personally I should vote cheerfully for throwing election expenses on the public funds. I think there is a good case for that. I do not see how this Bill deals with the real difficulty. Even although hon. Gentlemen look forward to a salary when they come here, they have to pay election expenses in order to get here, and those election expenses must be charged to the trade unions, or provided by those interested; therefore that grievance remains. It is a real grievance. If the Government had really cared for enlarging entrance to this House and making it easier for poor men to get here, that is the point they would have attacked; they would not have paid salaries to Members when they got here; they would have done away with the artificial barriers which prevent a man coming here in the first place. They have cited old traditions; they have tried to revive an old custom. But if anything was ever abolished through desuetude it was the payment of Members by their constituents. For years we have been working as the only unpaid Legislature in Europe. Those who have cared most for the honour of this House, men like Gladstone and John Stuart Mill—and nobody opposed the payment of Members more strenuously than John Stuart Mill— have always asserted it would be the beginning of our degradation if we abandoned a system that has been tried and has not been found wanting.

I personally am opposed to the whole proposal now made. But I make this reservation. If the Government can show us a plan by which the lot of those who come here from the great trades of the country can be made possible, if they will only lay on the Table of this House a legislative proposal to do away with the expenses which keep the poor man from coming here, I shall be on their side, and not against them. But, as at present framed, this proposal can do very little good, and I am afraid it is likely to do harm, not in lowering the social standard of membership—nobody cares for that—but in lowering the intellectual standard. I am afraid of this House being flooded by the failures of society; I am afraid that those who do not succeed in the professions will flock here; the money is not enough to induce those who do succeed; but it is enough to satisfy the ambitions of the briefless barrister and the practiceless doctor— those who having taken up professions for which they are ill fitted find that they had better turn their activities elsewhere. Those are men we do not want but those are the men who, I am afraid, will flock here under the new system, and whose entrance we shall have every cause to regret.


I only wish to refer to one point, and I do so because the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has taken up a very advanced attitude upon it, much to my own surprise. No one has yet pointed out that this sum of £400 a year is really too small; it is too small unless the second part of the Government scheme for the payment of election expenses is a great deal more liberal than anything hitherto indicated. If £400 a year and the payment of official election expenses constitutes the limit of our proposal, then hon. Members opposite have really very little to fear, as there will still be the entrance fee of the General Election, and that entrance fee will range from £400 to £3,000. Of that sum the official election expenses will only represent about one-sixth, and, consequently, the political associations will still, in three cases out of four, have to choose their candidates from within the small circle of the wealthy and prosperous classes.

In the Debate on Thursday night, whenever any Member of this House attacked the system of party funds he met with unanimous expression of approval. But it must be remembered that the party fund is accumulated for election expenses, and, consequently, it will not disappear until we are willing to go a great deal further than to pay £400 a year and the Returning Officer's charges. If the road into this House is to be really open to the poor man it is not enough simply to pay him after he has passed this door; we have to secure him a straight and dignified road up to the door without any entrance fee for admission. On the first day of the Debate I put down an Amendment to the Resolution then before the House, pointing out that the payment of £400 a year, unless something else is done, would not really achieve the object we have in view. It ought to be followed by payment not only of the Returning Officer's charges, but of at least one-half of the remaining expenses of elections according to a scale to be laid down by law. This sum would not be given to any but genuine candidates running with a real chance of success; and I suggest it should only be given to those who poll at least 15 per cent. of the total electorate. This would bring up the payment to an equivalent of about £600 a year, and there would be absolutely nothing standing between Parliament and the poorest man in this country. The poorest man could come here and stand on his own feet absolutely independent of any party fund. The party fund, which has been attacked from all sides of the House, is certainly the ugliest thing that still lives in public life. It will no longer be a necessary part of British political machinery.


I rise to support the protest which has been made against the principle embodied in the proposals of the Government. The hon. Member (Mr. Lees-Smith) has really not dealt with what, to my mind, is the most objectionable feature in the proposal of the Government. Surely the representatives of the people for the time being are the last persons in the world in any Parliament who ought to abrogate a longstanding custom and vote themselves salaries at so much a year without a special authorisation to do so. Other hon. Members have shown with great force that it is bad statemanship to change the law all in this respect, and their contention, during the Debate of last week and to-day, seems to me unanswerable. But if the law has got to be altered it would be a more dignified procedure for hon. Members to vote salaries to become payable in some future Parliament and to take special care not to line their own pockets at the expense of the taxpayers, however much in the public weal they feel that action to be. A Member of this House has to resign his seat if he accepts an office of profit under the Crown, and I think most hon. Members will admit that this is an excellent custom. The principle that goes to the root of that custom is that the electorate who sent that particular Member to the House of Commons may be willing to send him here if he gives his services for nothing, but that they ought to be afforded an opportunity of expressing the opinion whether they still wish to retain his services when he becomes a public charge upon them as taxpayers of the country. But what are the Government doing here? They are asking Members to vote themselves salaries, but they are absolving them from the duty of submitting themselves for re-election by those who sent them here on the understanding that they would serve them for nothing. We have heard a good deal during the last day or two about mandates. Have hon. Members who are going to vote for the Government got really a colourable justification for voting for their own payment in this Parliament? If so, where is it? Is it really in their last election addresses? How many hon. Members put it into their election addresses last December and at the same time made it unmistakably clear to the electorate that it was to apply to this Parliament, and that it was to date back for services rendered before the proposal was even carried into law? Is there a single hon. Member opposite who had the courage to ask for his salary in his election address in this sense? Certainly there are very few. They ought to give those whom they represent an opportunity of re-electing them before they dip into the public purse for their own advantage. It is quite true that this would involve all the trouble and turmoil of another General Election, which might prove somewhat inconvenient to the party opposite. It is certainly the opinion of a great many Members that hon. Members opposite do not want to face the risks of a General Election at this moment. If so, surely the only proper alternative is to postpone this question, and when a suitable time arrives, submit it definitely in each election address to the electorate and let the electorate clearly understand that if one of the great political parties prevails at the polls their chosen representative will be a public charge upon them in the future to the tune of about £250,000.

There is another consideration. If the Government think they have a mandate for £400 this year, what really is to prevent them from thinking that they have a mandate for an increase of salary next year or the following year? Our value in this House, which is apparently to be assessed by ourselves, will, in all probability, go up. It is only in human nature. What has happened in other countries ought to be a warning to us. In the United States it has been a case of geometrical progression. In 1789 they paid £l 4s. to their Members of Parliament for every day's attendance. In 1818 it had risen to £l 12s. In 1856 it had risen to £600 a year. In 1866 it rose to £1,000 a year, and in 1873 it rose to £1,500 a year. In 1874 it was decreased to £1,000, but four years ago it was increased once more to £1,500, and it remains at that figure at the present moment. The same thing has happened in France and Denmark. In Denmark in 1903 the salary was raised from 6s. 8d. to 11s. a day, and in France, only four years ago, it was raised from £360 to £600 a year. The same thing has happened in other countries of Europe and in our own Dominions. In Tasmania only a very short time ago the salary was actually doubled. Is it really likely that it is going to stop at £400 a year in this country? Great efforts have been made abroad to stem the tide of this extravagance, but up to now practically without the slightest result. A highly instructive despatch, illustrative of this was written a few years ago by the Consul-General at Christiania to the British Minister at Stockholm. The Consul-General describes the rejection, in the Norwegian Parliament of five distinct Motions on the part of the Economists for the limitation of payments to members. His description is extremely graphic, and I will recommend its perusal to the Government. He says:— The proposal for the reduction of the Daily Sustenance Allowance from twelve kroner to five was rejected by a large majority and when Mr. Bangs got up and proposed that the scale of payment should be retained, Mr. Bangs gained the largest number of votes for his proposal. I think we should have our Mr. Bangs in this House in the future. Indeed, I foresee an unending vista of Mr. Bangs if this proposal is carried into law. But Members of Parliament abroad do not stop at salaries, and I do not see any likelihood of its stopping at salaries in this country. There are travelling expenses, and all kinds of extras. In fact, this Vote is merely a shy and tentative beginning of things. The same Consul-General—I take him as an illustration, other cases may be found elsewhere—says that members of the Norwegian Parliament have not only salaries, but, what would appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he were here, Medical Benefit. He says:— In the course of time the privilege of an allowance for nursing and medical treatment often became the object of a somewhat free and elastic interpretation on the part of members. Thus it is a well-known fact that under that privilege members have made the State Treasury pay for their baths, more or less medical, for courses of gymnastics or massage, for inhalation processes, for medical comforts (wine for the sick), for the drawing and stopping of teeth, etc. etc. What a prospect for hon. Members in this country! What is more encouraging still, according to some reports, they even bury their Members of Parliament at the cost of the Treasury if they happen to die during the course of the Session. May I submit once more that if the Government have irrevocably made up their mind to pay salaries to Members of Parliament, the particular manner in which they propose to do it is not only the most undignified but the most distasteful to every Member in this House that could possibly be chosen? This great change is being smuggled through at the end of a laborious Session under the cloak of other and better advertised measures. The Government have taken good care not to advertise payment of Members too much. I have not seen a single Radical leaflet on the subject. Why did they not take the opportunity of booming it at the recent by-elections? They did not boom it for the very good reason that they knew perfectly well the electors are not very enthusiastic about it. But however unpopular it may be—and I believe it is unpopular—the Irish party will give all their help. They voted for the Budget last year, although they loathed it. They voted down the Labour party on Clauses 10 and 11 of the Insurance Bill, although the Irish party did not mean to have them for their own country, and now they will vote for the payment of Members, although they have declaimed against it. They have said they do not want it for themselves, but they are willing to vote for it to give it to us.

The Government are proposing to give £400 all round, but surely it would have been, as my hon. Friend the Member for Mile End said, more politic and businesslike to give salaries according to attendance. Some hon. Members in this House, owing to the pressure of business and through no fault of their own, put in comparatively few attendances in this House. Why should £400 a year be squandered in their case for services which are rarely rendered? It is a sheer waste of public money. The Government have abolished the financial veto of the House of Lords. Is it quite certain that they themselves are to be trusted with the sole management of the public purse? It will read rather curiously in history that on 8th August, 1011, the House of Commons at the bidding of a Radical Government abolished the veto of the House of Lords, and that less than a week later they voted themselves £400 a year. If the Government had the courage of their opinion, they would bring in a Bill. The Prime Minister foreshadowed a measure, but this is not a measure. It is a temporary makeshift for this year's Members of Parliament. I do not think the Prime Minister is behaving very fairly to the Members of his own party. He has forced upon them the obligation of voting themselves salaries, whether they want them or not, while leaving it possible for a future House of Commons to be more disinterested and to recall the bait so temptingly dangled before them. I do not believe that a majority of hon. Members really want salaries to be given to them in this particular manner. I hope therefore that they will save the Government from themselves before it is too late.

9.0. P.M.

What does the Chancellor of the Exchequer think of all this? He made a brilliant speech last Thursday commending the proposal to the House of Commons, but has he forgotten that £250,000 would pay for several Amendments to the Insurance Bill which he refused to accept on the score of expenditure? Surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer would rather have this money for social reform. As everyone knows, this House is pledged to vast expenditure in future. Every year the burden rises. How far is it justified? In spite of certain exuberant speeches in the past, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is, I believe, genuinely anxious to keep the expenditure of the country within bounds, but the country desires social reform, and desires it passionately. If we are to have it, especially if we are to have it in a hurry, we shall have to pay for it, either by new taxes or by fresh economies, or both. Would it not be better to begin by economies? Cannot we save this £250,000? Some hon. Members who have recently learned to think in millions, may say that a quarter of a million is a small sum, but no nation or individual ever economised by saving big sums only. I hope the Members of the present House of Commons will have the courage to record their votes on this occasion in accordance with their convictions, and not according to a mistaken sense of party loyalty which is not-going to do their party any good. Let them justify their claim to be the sole trustees of the nation's finances by refusing to vote themselves a personal salary out of the national till. Finally, if it is irrevocably decided that the British House of Commons is to be salaried in future, then let the Government do it by bringing in an honest Bill, and not by setting up a dishonest precedent.


The hon. Member opposite (Mr. G. Locker-Lamp-son), like many other previous speakers in the Debate, has done his best to make out a case against those who are supporting the Motion of the Government on the ground that we have never properly put this question before our constituents. In order to disabuse his mind I shall endeavour to show exactly what my own position has been on this question. I came into this House during 1903. At the election I placed the question of payment of Members prominently in my Election Address. In the early part of 1904 I took part in the ballot for Motions, and being fortunate I selected the subject of payment of Members and moved a resolution on that subject, which was debated for the tune allotted for private Members' Motions. At the election in 1906 I again placed the question prominently before my constituents in my election addresses and my speeches. At the two elections that took place last year I brought before my constituents, as the main item, the question that had been brought so prominently before the public, namely, the constitutional crisis; but in my election address I repeated that I stood by the whole of the questions I had set before them in my previous election addresses.

It seems to me that having in four elections directly and indirectly brought forward this subject both in my election addresses and my speeches, and having moved a resolution on the subject in 1904, and voted on the question every time that it has been submitted to a Division since 1904, I at any rate ought not to admit the soft impeachment that we have not placed this subject properly before those whom we have the honour to represent. Having regard to the whole of the circumstances under which the last two elections were taken, this question of the mandate can be pushed altogether too far. It was impossible to oblige hon. Members by putting every question in the very forefront. If we had sought to oblige them, if some of us had put Home Rule in the first place, and some had put Free Trade first, and others the payment of Members first, what would we have heard? Throughout the whole of the Debates on the constitutional question we should have heard from speaker after speaker that we had evaded the issue, that we had preferred to go to the country to ask for a renewal of the confidence of our constituents, in order to settle the constitutional question, and instead of putting that question in the very forefront we had diverted the attention of the electors from that great question by putting in the front some of the other questions to which I have just referred. Another point of which the hon. Member has made a great deal is that we are voting money to ourselves.


In this Parliament.


I do not know that that matters very much. It must be in this Parliament if it is to ourselves.


Not necessarily.


Well, we are going to vote it to ourselves. That is the point I want to come to. Are we the only people who have ever done that? Is this something entirely new in party politics? Does the hon. Member forget the time when his party proposed the measure known throughout the country as the Agricultural Ratings Act? Did none of the Members belonging to the party with which he is associated vote for the passing of the Agricultural Ratings Act, and did they delay its operation until another Parliament? But I may go further. Not only did they vote for it, and not only did they take the money, by its operation in that Parliament, but, what is more to the point, the party with which he is associated made themselves responsible for passing the Act without ever having given a word of notice to the electors at the previous General Election. After all, if we are open to the charge that we are passing it in this Parliament, and within a few hours of the settlement of the constitutional crisis, it is a very happy augury that the two questions are being settled so closely together, as they both have a very important bearing on the future of democracy in this country. But there is this to be said for the credit of those of us who are going to vote for the Motion to-night, unlike the party opposite when they passed the Agricultural Ratings Act, notice has been publicly given in language that was clear and unmistakable, and may I say here that if the Liberal Press had not been sufficiently alert and had not given sufficient notice of the question, I am quite convinced of this, that the Press of the party opposite made the fullest use of it in the election.

In my own case it was told on every platform that not only did I want to vote myself a salary, but the country would never know when we would be prepared to come forward and vote a substantial increase to that salary; and my opponent told this on every platform, after spending something like £1,100 for the satisfaction of taking five from the majority, on a smaller poll, which I had over him in the previous January. Another point that has been pressed very forcibly against us this evening by the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson) and the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Harry Lawson) is that the Government are passing this Estimate for giving £400 a year without associating with it any conditions. Both hon. Members said practically the same thing. They said, "Supposing a man only turns up for a few days, is he to be paid the whole £400 a year?" All I have got to say is this: the very fact that he has got £400 a year would probably be the means, if he took it under such conditions, of cutting short his Parliamentary career. I am prepared to leave such a Member who is so remiss in his attendance upon his Parliamentary duties in the hands of the constituents.


Does the hon. Member suggest that I am very remiss in my attendance?


No. My hon. Friend must remember his own speech. He was speaking of someone who had not attended very regularly, and I say I am prepared, if there are such Members, to leave them, and leave them with greater confidence when once this £400 a year is in operation, in the hands of the constituents; and I will tell you why. Those of us who have been associated with politics for a number of years know full well that many constituencies have been tied down to take the man who came to the House of Commons just when it pleased him. This is well known, and I know this subject not only as a Labour candidate and as a Labour Member, but as an old agent of one of the orthodox political parties. I know something of the conditions that are associated with the acceptance of candidates on both sides of the House. It has often not been a case of merit or a case of attending to their Parliamentary duties. It has often been: "How much are you prepared to pay?" That has limited the choice, and the choice has been so restricted that often the constituency could not help itself. It was Hobson's choice. It was tied up to the man who could put the most money down, and he pleased himself as to when he attended to vote or took any of the serious responsibilities associated with Parliamentary representation. I again repeat, I shall leave those who are remiss in their attendance upon their Parliamentary duties entirely in the hands of their constituents. Another point that has been made very strongly, especially by the hon. Member for Mile End, was that this step should not be taken, because at one time in his illustrious career Mr. Gladstone was supposed to be against the payment of Members. I may remind the Committee that in 1892 Mr. Gladstone came to this House and spoke in favour of the payment of Members. But I can quote somebody whom they have not yet quoted in this Debate. I Have not heard it once said in this House that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) up and down the country was very fond of saying in his Radical days—[An HON. MEMBER: "His palmy days."]—his palmy days, as someone reminds me— You pay your Ministers, and I cannot for the life of me see why Members of Parliament are the only people to work for nothing. I never heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) make the statement. I believe he did make a statement—at any rate, the other day—that certain things run. in the blood. He had evidently forgotten that there is some of that Radicalism in his blood when he made the speech against the Motion to which we listened only a couple of days ago. I want particularly, in my last point, to associate myself with the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden). He, I think, put before the Committee in a very practical way the position of many Members of this House. I have tried, to the very best of my ability, to serve my Constituency in this House, and I have tried it by keeping my home in the North of England and keeping up lodgings in London. Since 1906 I have tried it by bringing the whole of my family to live in London, and I can give a little practical experience on this subject. Perhaps if we can show some of these concrete cases hon. Members opposite will be more sympathetic with those of us who are on these benches. The first two years I kept my home in Darlington, and I am free to confess I lived according to my income. My rent was £18 10s., and the rates. I brought my family to live in London. I took a smaller house; there was only one room difference. What was my experience? My rent, instead of being £18 10s. and the rates was at once £45 and the rates for a smaller and almost exactly similar house; in fact, if I had to make a free selection between the two houses I would prefer to stick to the house that I had when I was living in Darlington for the £18 10s. rather than the house I had in Clapham for £45 and the rates upon the £45, which I was compelled to pay, being a resident in London. My coming to London simply meant that every time I went to my Constituency, which was further north than Darlington, I had to pay the railway fare.

I brought my family here because I thought it would raise the standard of my family's life by my being associated with it more closely than I had been by leaving it in the north of England. I thought it would enable me more freely to discharge my responsibility to my own children, and, therefore, I went to the extra cost solely on that account. It should be remembered that we have to pay the increased rent in London, or the extra railway fares when we have to go to our constituencies; or, if we do not live in London, as the hon. Member for Blackburn put it, still we have to keep up our lodgings here, and have to travel home once a fortnight, or, as I used to do in those days, once in three weeks. Really I could not afford to do it oftener. We have to keep up our homes in the country, with all the other incidental expenditure with regard to postage and other things that every Member on the other side knows equally as well as we do. Once you grant that Members ought to be paid—and, of course, you take up the issue on that ground—it seems to me it would be well-nigh impossible for men to do proper justice to the position that they occupy, and to their families, on a sum much less than the sum which the Government have been pleased to include in their Motion. A good deal is said with regard to the abandonment of gratuitous public service. It has been said as if there was a monopoly amongst certain classes in the way of rendering gratuitous public service. I want to take exception to any such inference. I myself— and I hope the Committee will pardon my referring to my own experience—was taken away, when I was twenty-nine years of age, from the foundry to enter into public service. For the first ten months of my public life I worked in the foundry and attended the best I could to my Committees as a member of the Newcastle City Council. I can look back to those days when I kept a suit of clothes in the foundry and changed in order to get away for two or three hours during the day, which the firm with which I was connected permitted me the liberty of enjoying. But, mark you, I lost my pay for every hour that I was away, and there was nothing to compensate me on the other side. And I wish to say on behalf of my colleagues on these benches, most of whom have had their training in connection with county councils and borough councils of this country—two of them serving on two borough councils and one on a county council, and all three on magisterial benches—that they have given some little share of gratuitous public service.

May I say that I have given the whole of that public service without a single halfpenny of reward of any kind, paying for it out of the weekly wages earned in the foundry in the first instance, and out of any small salary that I secured when I finally left the foundry to go more fully into the public service? We on these benches, I say, claim that not only have we given gratuitous public service, but have given it—and I hope the Members of the Committee will recognise that I say it without any degree of exaggeration—at a greater point of sacrifice than most members of public authorities belonging to classes in a higher or more superior social position. And at this very moment may I say that there are thousands of men associated with the Labour party in the country, who, as everybody knows who knows anything of public life, are rendering splendid service in connection with our local authorities, and they are most of them doing, at a point of sacrifice great to themselves, what is known as gratuitous public service. But why, I want to ask all those concerned on the other side, talk about the degradation of being associated with paid service? Do they seriously lead us,. to believe, or want us to believe, that they are opposed to every form of payment of Members? I am asking that question quite seriously. I go back a few months, and I take up my London newspaper. What do I find there? I find there the most stirring appeal. What for? For a fund. For what purpose? To pay Conservative working men, not only to get into this House, but to maintain them in the event of the constituencies returning them. Is it more degrading, openly and straightforwardly, to take from the Exchequer of this country payment for your political or parliamentary services than it is to take it from a political party fund; for it was nothing more than that—it was collected through the advertisement columns of a Tory newspaper? May I say further—and this is very surprising to many of us—that if you go back and examine the list of subscribers to "The Standard" fund for the return of Conservative working men to Parliament, what do you find? You find the names of hon. and right hon. Members on the other side who are opposed to the straightforward payment of Members out of the public funds. No, there has been too much cant in these Debates. If it is right to pay from the "Standard" fund for services rendered in this House, rendered not to a constituency but to a party, it must be more than right to pay directly and honestly and straightforwardly from the public funds. We on these benches are prepared to take our political careers in our hands and to go to our constituencies when the time arrives, and if we are wrong so much the better for hon. Members opposite. They tried to prove us wrong on Free Trade; they tried to prove us wrong on the House of Lords, and they can go and have a try to prove us wrong on the payment of Members. We are prepared to stand or fall according to the position of those that we represent. The very fact that we may foe personally interested in this is a small matter after all in the life of a nation, a very small matter, but we are supporting the payment of Members because we believe it is the only position consistent with democratic development and representative government.


I cannot follow the last hon. Member into the interesting details which he has given us of his career and of what he has done, but I join issue with him on one point when he says that when the Agricultural Bating Act was passed, that it was privileged and that we put the money into our own pockets. Every Bill, in some way I suppose, affects Members of this House indirectly or directly. If I vote for the reduction of the Income Tax, I suppose according to the hon. Member I should be accused of having voted for putting money into my own pocket. It is the same thing but I see a difference between voting for the reduction of the Income Tax and this proposal. There is nothing in comparison with that and voting for ourselves a considerable income which is not voted to anybody else. Of course, if we voted that everyone in England should have a pension or something of that kind, it might be said that we were personally affected, but when we are voting money to ourselves and ourselves alone, then to compare that with the Agricultural Rating Act seems to me almost an absurdity. I had an Amendment which I proposed to move, but the ground has been so fully covered by this Amendment that I do not now intend to do so. I will just mention why I put down an Amendment to reduce the vote by £152,000. When I took up the Supplementary Estimate I saw that we were proposing to vote a sum of £600,000, and that contained an item of £252,000 to ourselves and the sum of £100,000 for the unemployed. I said surely is this what we are proposing really to do? We are going to vote £252,000 to some 660 Members here, and for the unemployed, whatever their number may be this winter and next year, a sum of £100,000; while a year or two ago we used to vote £200,000 or £300,000. Even in that case I did not believe it was adequate, and I cannot see now with what decency we can propose, with all the unemployed there may be this winter, and there may be difficulties, to vote ourselves £250,000 and £100,000 for the unemployed. Even last year, which was considered a very good year, in my town there was a number of unemployed who were paid by the town and by voluntary subscriptions. The unemployed may number thousands or tens of thousands and they are to receive £100,000 and we shall receive £252,000. I wish the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Crooks) were present as he takes a great interest in this fund. I hoped I should have had his support in moving that there should be a considerable reduction on this proposal. I could not move an increase in the other Vote, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have had £152,000 in hand which he could have added to it. I am merely explaining the Amendment which I propose to move and which, under the circumstances, I shall not move now.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer went into great retrospect with regard to this payment, but he devoted very little time to what effect the payment of Members would have on this House, on the Members that make up this House, and their qualifications. He suggested that what I should call imaginary perfect Members were kept out at present and that they would be enabled to come in. Those perfect Members I believe do not exist; I am quite convinced of that. I have another idea of what those Members will be who will come in when we have this payment of Members. I was speaking to one of the Colonial Premiers three or four weeks ago. We were discussing politics, and he said to me, "You have a much more important proposal than any of those to come before you." I said, "What is it?" and he said "Payment of Members. It will have more effect than the Veto Bill." I said "Do you really mean that?" He said, "I do—I come from a country where we have payment of members and I tell you that in England, when you have payment of Members, you will have greatly changed for the future all your laws. You are going to change the nature of this House, and the laws will be different from what they are now." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I thought you were approving of the laws you were bringing in now.


They are not radical enough.


That Premier told me that payment of Members would bring about a greater change in this House than anything effected by any other Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad hon. Members think so. I thought we thought this House, the Mother of Parliaments, was, I will not say perfect, but that it could be amended as time went on to meet the times, and that we did not want to change it radically and get in new men, not the class we see represented here, but another class entirely. That Premier said to me: "You will have a crowd of briefless barristers in the House." [An HON. MEMBER: "We have them now."] "You will have a number of street orators in the House of Commons, but you will not have merchants, shipowners, bankers, financiers, and others you now have. Those men will be absent as they are in the Colonial Parliament. The briefless barristers will come in with the object of getting that £400 per year which will just keep them while they are hoping to get on, and, mark my words, it may not come yet, and may come gradually, but it will come." I was passing through one of the big towns in the South of France at election time, and I had a long talk with one of the candidates whom I knew. I asked, "How many candidates are there?" He replied, "There is one seat, and there are seven candidates, five of whom are barristers, and the others I do not know what." I asked, "What are your chances?" He said, "Our chances are about equal." "Then what is the object?" I asked. He replied, "Well, we are all trying to got the £600 which appertain to the place as member for this town." The election took place. The sucessful candidate did not secure a majority of the votes, and there had to be a second ballot. If you adopt payment of Members here, you will have to follow it up by the second ballot. We shall not only change the classes of men in this House, but we shall have the second ballot. [An HON. MEMBER: "And no Second Chamber."] I do not know whether we shall have a Second Chamber or not. I wish the Chancellor of the Exchequer had turned his attention to some extent to what would be the future composition of this House, and had told us whether he was in favour of the second ballot. In the countries where there is payment of members they have Government by groups. In America it does not follow so much, because there are two great caucus parties, and a considerable portion of the salary is paid into the caucus funds to work the party machinery in the most efficacious way. If payment of Members is introduced here, before many years are over groups will follow. Such groups will be able to use their votes to advantage, as we see done at present to some extent. The present Parliament consists of four or five groups, but if the number is increased and you have to negotiate with those different groups, then things will be very different. I shall, of course, vote for the reduction, but I wish the amount were nothing at all. It means that we shall be charging about 8d. to each elector in the Kingdom, and I think they would very much prefer that the money was spent on the unemployed rather than that we should vote it to ourselves.


I hope I may be allowed to say a few words on this question, not only because I speak on behalf of the Government, but because I am one who for many years have not only told my Constituents I was in favour of the payment of Members, but have constantly spoken in its favour all over the country. Although I agree that at the time of the last election many of us were not laying the matter very much before our Constituents, because they already knew that we were in favour of it. I say with certainty that the artisans in the North of England wanted this measure, that they have been expecting it, and that they are expecting us to pass it. It is extremely probable that in the South of England the question has not been discussed as much as it has been in the North; but in the West Hiding of Yorkshire I say confidently there is no industrial constituency that has not practically given its voice in favour of this measure. Those of us who are in favour of payment of Members will be ready to acknowledge that during the Debates of these two days the opposition to this proposal has been put forward in very moderate terms. The Members of the Opposition have not used to any extent the rather easy popular gibe that we are voting money for ourselves, and when that gibe is used it leaves us cold. In the first place the payment in this Parliament will, as a matter of fact, be a boon to many Members. And they have a right to it. After all, before the last election the Prime Minister announced that this measure would be introduced in the first Session of this Parliament. I know one or two Members, and one or two candidates, who stood for Parliament because they knew that payment of Members was coming. I say, therefore, it is perfectly reasonable that it should be voted in this Parliament. However many fears hon. Members may entertain in regard to this proposal, they must admit that it cannot change the character, quality, or personnel of this Parliament. Whatever harm it may do, if any, will be in future Parliaments. Therefore that is what we have to decide.

I am glad, too, that in these discussions there has not been much talk about gross corruption resulting from the payment of Members. But allusions have been made to the American Commonwealth. Mr. Bryce, who is suffering a good deal from quotation nowadays, has been called in aid of the Opposition. It is only fair to read what Mr. Bryce did say. I will read first of all what has been given as his view, and then I will continue the quotation. As a matter of fact, Mr. Bryce cannot be quoted on either side. He is an extraordinarily impartial person, and it is only fair that his views should be before the Committee. His words are: It (payment of Members) contributes to keep up a class of professional politicians for the salary, though small in comparison with the incomes earned by successful merchants or lawyers, is a prize to men of the class whence professional politicians mostly come. But those European writers who describe it as the formative cause of that class, are mistaken. That class would have existed had Members not been paid: would continue to exist if payment were withdrawn. I think it far better to judge this question from what we may reasonably believe will occur in our own country without considering what has occurred in other countries. I do not think that any opponent will say that our Colonial assemblies are in any sense as corrupt as some of the American assemblies are. They may have their failings, they may be rougher than some of the assemblies in Europe; but I think, as a matter of fact, Colonial politics are as honest as ours. There is a great deal less payment to the constituencies. There is in the Colonies what we want by this change, a greater opening to the talents. That is what we are driving at. Of course, in a sense the House of Commons is a very democratic assembly. Men are taken here upon their real merits. The House is not caught by mere smartness, nor is it alienated by unpopular opinions. Once a man is in this House his means are disregarded. A man with talents rises rapidly according to his conduct, his courage, his speaking ability, and his judgment. As soon as he is in this House, it is very true we regard his personality, and we are peculiarly little biassed by a man's social pursuits or pecuniary position. That is once he is in the House. We should all agree that in a rough-and-ready way the Cabinet of fifteen are the best men from one side or the other. The House of Commons could be truly said to be democratic if we were the 670 best of the political population, but what is the case? Any of us who go up and down the country know that there are to be found there numbers of men who are as good or better than ourselves, who are kept out of this House simply because they are poorer than we are.

Many of us have to do with electioneering, and we know what happens con- stantly when a constituency has to find a candidate. The party looks round first of all for the man whom it knows, the local man whose character it knows, whose position it knows, because he has taken a considerable part in local politics, and very often it happens that it is unable to get a single man out of the constituency or even in the neighbourhood. They have to go to some rich outsider. What happens then is that the constituency has to choose without knowing the man. They have to take his character from the party Whip. He may be a mere political adventurer, or he may come with one recommendation, the hall-mark of wealth. It is a mere dip in the bucket, and they may get a good one or a bad one. The constituencies do not like to do that. They would far sooner have men whom they really knew, who lived in the town, and not men who came from the outside. I admit there are advantages in the carpet-bag system. It is a good thing when an able man is rejected in his own district that he should be able to find a constituency in other parts of the country. If the Liberal leaders should have to find an asylum in the North the Conservative leaders have to find asylums in the south. But in any case, I think it would be an advantage if the Constituency had a clear choice, so that there would be more local representatives than at the present moment. The House has also to decide, in the vote which is to be taken, whether, given the principle of payment of Members we are giving an allowance which will make it possible for a man of small means to live in London and to do his duties in the House of Commons. Is the sum proposed sufficient, or is it too much? I think, after the speech to-night from the Member for Blackburn, it is very difficult for anyone to say that, given the principle, £400 is too much. He gave us the facts. Surely all must feel that that was the real truth of the case. If a man comes up here, and has to live in London and pay high rents here, and to do his duty not only here but by going down and speaking in the country and visiting his Constituents, if he has to keep his family in the constituency or the place from which he comes, and to have two houses or two homes, one in Blackburn or wherever it may be, and the other in London, I ask anyone to say that £400 a year is too much.

At any rate the Government have made careful inquiries, and they have come to the conclusion that £400 a year is what a man can just live on, and that much less would not enable him to live in London and do his duty. If any of my friends on this side of the House feel that it is too much there is a further consideration that I would put to them. My hon. Friend who seconded the reduction (Sir W. Byles) said, "You can increase it if you find it is too little." Well, we do not want to enter into a, career of increasing the amount. If you begin by giving a man less than would really allow him to live in London and do his duty you will have to increase it. I think the House will be well advised to start at a fairly high point rather than to begin at £300, where it would have to go up. I believe the strongest case against this proposal is really the sentiment which, I agree, we cannot afford to disregard, that unpaid service is a particularly honourable thing. I think the Member for Newton Division (Viscount Wolmer), said the last mark of our superiority over foreign Parliaments would be swept away if we pass this resolution. He suggested that our 600 Members of Parliament now serving for no reward would be replaced by mercenaries. But what does unpaid service really mean, stripped of all its glory? It means the service of men who happen to be so well off that they can, without inconvenience or sacrifice, work for nothing. The most they sacrifice is leisure. But in a very large number of cases there are people who would enter the service of the country, and who think that they have the same right to that honourable service as the rich people, but they cannot do so unless at the expense of the comfort of their families, or very likely the education of their children. For my part, I hope that the House will see to it that all public service here ought to be paid for; that it would be better service because it is paid for; and that the payment will be a symbol of the work which is to be expected. I think it is worth while also considering that here, in this century, we have passed out of the old system which my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General was speaking about the other evening when he referred to the aristocratic theory of Government under which we were governed. We have passed out of that. We have got a popular franchise; but we still have the limitation which, of necessity, the possession of wealth allows. Having got a popular franchise, the absolutely necessary corrollary of that is that the people should be allowed to choose the men whom they want to serve them. We are asking to-night simply for the completion of the system which has been begun.


The hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) began his speech by saying that he had some diffidence in supporting a measure for the payment of Members, seeing that he was one of those Members who hoped to benefit by it. I had considerable sympathy with him, because, although by no means able to do without this grant, I am perfectly prepared to serve those who send me here without any subvention. But at the conclusion of his speech my sympathy vanished from him altogether. I take it that his remarks amounted to this: that it was perfectly right for the State to pay him and those who agree with him, and very wrong for the State to pay persons who had discharged important and difficult functions. He particularly inveighed against the pensions paid to a former Speaker of this Assembly. Anyone who has been only a short while, as I have been, in this Assembly, knows that it must be an almost exceptional man to discharge the functions of the important position of the Chair. As to begrudging him his pension, all I can say is that I hope the Noble Lord will be spared many many years to enjoy his well-earned pension.


made an observation that was inaudible in the Gallery.


I am delighted to hear from the hon. Member opposite that nobody objects to the pension. I do not know how what he says will agree with what was said by the hon. Gentleman who habitually sits behind him. If he did not object to the pension there was no point whatever in his remarks. There was another allusion which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn made in reference to the speech of the Noble Lord who moved the reduction. He made equally disparaging remarks with regard to the sums which have been paid to-various members of the Noble Lord's family. When hon. Members who object can show a like record to the services rendered during many centuries to the Empire then it will be more fitting to put forward their objections. Meanwhile, as I say, this objection of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn simply amounts to this——

And, it being Ten of the clock, the Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the Vote under discussion.

Question put, "That a sum not exceeding £189,000, be granted for the said service."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 128; Noes, 237.

Division No. 323.] AYES. [10.0 p.m.
Aitken, Sir William Max Gardner, Ernest Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Amery, L. C. M. S. Gibbs, George Abraham Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Gilmour, Captain John Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Goldsmith, Frank Perkins, Walter Frank
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Peto, Basil Edward
Astor, Waldorf Grant, James Augustus Pollock, Ernest Murray
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Gretton, John Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Baird, John Lawrence Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Ronaldshay, Earl of
Balcarres, Lord Hamersley, Alfred St. George Rutherford, W. (Liverpool, W. Derby)
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington) Salter, Arthur Clavell
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Sanders, Robert A.
Bennt Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Sanderson, Robert Lancelot
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)
Bigland, Alfred Hills, John Waller Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Bird, Alfred Hill-Wood, Samuel Spear, Sir John Ward
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid.) Hoare, Samuel John Gurney Starkey, John Ralph
Boyton, James Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Staveley-Hill, Henry
Bridgeman, William Clive Horner, Andrew Long Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Burn, Colonel C. R. Houston, Robert Paterson Stewart, Gershom
Byles, Sir William Pollard Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East) Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)
Campion, W. R. Jessei, Captain Herbert M. Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Keswick, William Talbot, Lord Edmund
Cassel, Felix Kimber, Sir Henry Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)
Castlereagh, Viscount Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Cator, John Larmor, Sir J. Thynne, Lord Alexander
Cautley, Henry Strother Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Cave, George Lloyd, George Ambrose Touche, George Alexander
Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood) Locker-Lamnson, O. (Ramsey) Tullibardine, Marquess of
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Valentia, Viscount
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Wor. Droitwich) Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Mackinder, Halford J. Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Clynes, John R. Macmaster, Donald Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Craik, Sir Henry M'Laren, H. D. (Leics.) Wolmer, Viscount
Croft, Henry Page McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Magnus, Sir Philip Worthington-Evans, L.
Faber, George D. (Clapham) Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Yate, Col. C. E.
Fell, Arthur Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Younger, Sir George
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Mount, William Arthur
Fleming, Valentine Neville, Reginald J. N.
Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Newdegate, F. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Peel and Mr. Hayes Fisher.
Forster, Henry William Newton, Harry Kottingham
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Burns, Rt. Hon. John Donelan, Captain A.
Acland, Francis Dyke Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Doris, William
Adamson, William Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Duffy, William J.
Addison, Dr. Christopher Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Carr-Gomm, H. W. Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid.)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Chancellor, Henry George Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of
Alden, Percy Chapple, Dr. William Allen Essex, Richard Walter
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Falconer, James
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Clancy, John Joseph Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Clough, William Ferens, Thomas Robinson
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Ffrench, Peter
Barnes, George N. Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Field, William
Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward
Beale, William Phipson Condon, Thomas Joseph Flavin, Michael Joseph
Beck, Arthur Cecil Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd
Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Cotton, William Francis Gibson, Sir James Puckering
Bentham, George Jackson Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Gill, Alfred Henry
Bethell, Sir John Henry Cullinan, John Glanville, Harold James
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Boland, John Plus Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)
Booth, Frederick Handel Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)
Bowerman, Charles W. Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Brady, Patrick Joseph Dawes, James Arthur Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)
Brunner, John F. L. De Forest, Baron Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)
Bryce, John Annan Delany, William Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Burke, E. Haviland- Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Hackett, John
Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton) Marshall, Arthur Harold Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Hancock, John George Meagher, Michael Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Mond, Sir Alfred M. Rose, Sir Charles Day
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Montagu, Hon. E. S. Rowlands, James
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) Mooney, John J. Rowntree, Arnold
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Morgan, George Hay Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Morrell, Philip Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Muldoon, John Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Hayden, John Patrick Munro, Robert Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Hayward, Evan Munro-Ferquson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Shortt, Edward
Henry, Sir Charles Nannetti, Joseph P. Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Higham, John Sharp Neilson, Francis Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Nolan, Joseph Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Hodge, John Norton, Capt. Cecil W. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Nuttall, Harry Snowden, Philip
Hudson, Walter O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Hughes, Spencer Leigh O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Johnson, William O'Doherty, Philip Sutton, John E.
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) O'Donnell, Thomas Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Dowd, John Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Ogden, Fred Tennant, Harold John
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. Hmts., Stepney) O'Malley, William Thorne, William (West Ham)
Jowett, Frederick William O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Trevelyan, Charles Philip
Joyce, Michael O'Sullivan, Timothy Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Keating, Matthew Parker, James (Halifax) Verney, Sir Harry
Kellaway, Frederick George Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Wadsworth, John
Kennedy, Vincent Paul Pearce, William (Limehouse) Walters, John Tudor
Kilbride, Denis Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M. Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
King, Joseph (Somerset, North) Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Wardle, George J.
Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton) Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Pirie, Duncan V. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Lansbury, George Pointer, Joseph Webb, H.
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rl'nd, Cockerm'th) Power, Patrick Joseph Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Leach, Charles Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Levy, Sir Maurice Priestley Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)
Lewis, John Herbert Pringle, William M. R. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Logan, John William Pryce-Jones, Col. E. Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Radford, George Heynes Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Lundon, Thomas Raffan, Peter Wilson Wiles, Thomas
Lynch, Arthur Alfred Rainy, Adam Rolland Wilkie, Alexander
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Maclean, Donald Reddy, Michael Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Macpherson, James Ian Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Young, William (Perth, East)
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Roberts, George H. (Norwich) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
M'Callum, John M. Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
M'Curdy, Charles Albert Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.
McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Robinson, Sidney

Original Question put.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 241; Noes, 128.

Division No. 324.] AYES. [10.10 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Brunner, John F. L. Cullinan, John
Acland, Francis Dyke Bryce, J. Annan Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)
Adamson, William Burke, E. Haviland- Davies, E. William (Eifion)
Addison, Dr. C. Burns, Rt. Hon. John Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Dawes, J. A.
Alden, Percy Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) De Forest, Baron
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton) Byles, Sir William Pollard Delany, William
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Carr-Gomm, H. W. Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Donelan, Anthony Charles
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Chancellor, H. G. Doris, William
Barnes, G. N. Chapple, Dr. W. A. Duffy, William J.
Barry, Redmond John Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)
Beale, W. P. Clancy, John Joseph Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)
Beck, Arthur Cecil Clough, William Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of
Benn, W. (T. Hamlets, S. George) Clynes, J. R. Essex, Richard Walter
Bentham, G. J. Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Falconer, James
Bethell, Sir J. H. Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Ferens, T. R.
Boland, John Plus Condon, Thomas Joseph Ffrench, Peter
Booth, Frederick Handel Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Field, William
Bowerman, C. W. Cotton, William Francis Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward
Brady, Patrick (Mayo, North) Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Flavin, Michael Joseph
George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Gibson, Sir James Puckering Maclean, Donald Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Gill, A. H. Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Glanville, H. J. Macpherson, James Ian Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford MacVeagh, Jeremiah Robinson, Sidney
Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) M'Callum, John M. Roche, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) M'Curdy, Charles Albert Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke) M'Micking, Major Gilbert Rose, Sir Charles Day
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Manfield, Harry Rowlands, James
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Marshall, Arthur Harold Rowntree, Arnold
Hackett, J. Meagher, Michael Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Hall, Frederick (Normanton) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Hancock, J. G. Mond, Sir Alfred M. Samuel, J. (Stockton)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Montagu, Hon. E. S. Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Mooney, John J. Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Hardie, J. Keir Morgan, George Hay Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) Morrell, Philip Shortt, Edward
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Muldoon John Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Haslam, James (Derbyshire, N.) Munro, R. Smith, H. B. (Northampton)
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Smyth, Thomas F.
Hayden, John Patrick Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. Snowden, Philip
Hayward, Evan Nannetti, Joseph P. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Neilson, Francis Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Henry, Sir Charles Nolan, Joseph Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Higham, John Sharp Norton, Captain Cecil W. Sutton, John E.
Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Nuttall, Harry Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Hodge, John O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Tennant, Harold John
Hudson, Walter O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Hughes, S. L. O'Donnell, Thomas Thorne, William (West Ham)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus O'Doherty, Philip Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Johnson, W. O'Dowd, John Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Ogden, Fred Wadsworth, John
Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Walters, John Tudor
Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) O'Malley, William Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Wardle, George J.
Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney) O'Sullivan Timothy Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Jowett, F. W. Parker, James (Halifax) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Joyce, Michael Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Webb, H.
Keating, M. Pearce, William (Limehouse) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Kellaway, Frederick George Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M. White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Kennedy, Vincent Paul Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Kilbride, Denis Phillips, John (Longford, S.) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
King, J. (Somerset, N.) Pirie, Duncan V. Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton) Pointer, Joseph Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Power, Patrick Joseph Wiles, Thomas
Lansbury, George Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Wilkie, Alexander
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cocherm'th) Primrose, Hon. Neil James Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Leach, Charles Pringle, William M. R. Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Levy, Sir Maurice Radford, G. H. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Lewis, John Herbert Rattan, Peter Wilson Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Logan, John William Rainy, A. Holland Young, William (Perth, East)
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Lundon, T. Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Lynch, A. A. Reddy, M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Richardson, Albion (Peckham)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Cassel, Felix Grant, J. A.
Aitken, Sir William Max Castlereagh, Viscount Gretton, John
Amery, L. C. M. S. Cator, John Hall, Fred (Dulwich)
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Cautley, H. S. Hamersley, Alfred St. George
Arkwright, John Stanhope Cave, George Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)
Ashley, W. W. Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)
Astor, Waldorf Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r) Harrison-Broadley, H. B.
Bagot, Lieut.-Col. J. Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)
Baird, J. L. Clive, Captain Percy Archer Hills, John Waller
Baker, Sir R. L (Dorset, N.) Craik, Sir Henry Hill-Wood, Samuel
Balcarres, Lord Croft, Henry Page Hoare, S. J. G.
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Dalziel, D. (Brixton) Hohler, G. F.
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Horner, Andrew Long
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Faber, George D. (Clapham) Houston, Robert Paterson
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Fell, Arthur Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Jessel, Captain H. M.
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Keswick, William
Bigland, Alfred Fleming, Valentine Kimber, Sir Henry
Bird, A. Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid.) Forster, Henry William Larmor, Sir J.
Boyton, J. Gardner, Ernest Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)
Bridgeman, W. Clive Gibbs, G. A. Lloyd, George Ambrose
Burn, Colonel C. R. Gilmour, Captain J. Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Campion, W. R. Goldsmith, Frank Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)
Carlile, Sir Edward Mildred Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)
MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Mackinder, Halford J. Ronaldshay, Earl of Thynne, Lord Alexander
Macmaster, Donald Rothschild, Lionel de Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine) Rutherford, W. (Liverpool, W. Derby) Touche, George Alexander
Magnus, Sir Philip Salter, Arthur Clavell Tryon, Capt. George Clement
Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Sanders, Robert A. Tullibardine, Marquess of
Morrison Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Sanderson, Lancelot Valentia, Viscount
Mount, William Arthur Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Neville, Reginald J. N. Smith, Rt. Hon. E. F. (L'p'l, Walton) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Newdegate, F. A. Smith, Harold (Warrington) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Newton, Harry Kottingham Spear, Sir John Ward Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Starkey, John R. Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Staveley-Hill, Henry Worthington-Evans, L.
Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Steel-Maitland, A. D. Yate, Col. C. E.
Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton) Stewart, Gershom Younger, Sir George
Perkins, Walter F. Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)
Peto, Basil Edward Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Pollock, Ernest Murray Talbot, Lord Edmund TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Wolmer and Mr. Gwynne.
Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (M'tgom'y B'ghs.) Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)

J beg to move, "That the Vote of the hon. Member for the Wansbeck Division (Mr. C. Fenwick) be disallowed."

I want at once to raise a point which I think I can only raise at this moment and by a Motion to disallow a vote. I want to move to disallow the salary of a Member on the ground that he who voted for this Motion has a direct pecuniary and personal interest in it. I call your attention to the fact that this particular Vote applies to every Member of the present House. Therefore, every one who votes for it, is voting for the payment of £400 to himself. I have looked up the rulings on this point, and I only desire to quote one. The ruling of the Speaker of the day on the Vote for compensation to subscribers to what is called the Loyalty Loan. The point was raised then whether a subscriber to the Loan could vote for compensation to subscribers, and the Speaker's ruling was this:— Having been appealed in in so distinct a manner by the hon. Member, it is my duty to state what appears to me to be the rule and practice of the House in questions of this nature. I have always understood the rule and practice of this House to be that no Member can regularly, subject to some qualification, vote on any question which involves in ii the immediate interest of such Member. This, I have said is subject to some qualification. I will not detain the House by entering into the details of the qualification at present. But when any measure is submitted to the House, the substance of which is to confer a pecuniary advantage, or diminish a loss, which is the same thing I am satisfied it is not consistent with the mode of proceeding which the House has adopted on occasions of delicacy and importance, that any Member should vote on a measure by which he intends to derive any benefit in case that measure be carried into law. Mr. Maiming, whose vote was impeached, said he was much obliged to the Speaker for delivering so clear an opinion, and he should decline voting upon the question. The Speaker repeated his ruling in these distinct terms later on:— When a measure was proposed conferring a pecuniary advantage or diminishing a pecuniary loss, no Member who intended or expected to derive any benefit from it could vote. This is not a vote upon a public Bill; it is a vote in Committee for a direct Grant of money to Members who have voted. I desire to make it clear T raise no personal question, and for that purpose I desire to select a Member for whom we all have respect, and who, I know, voted for the Motion on general grounds. But he, like others, derives a money interest himself from the vote, and for that reason I best to move, "That the vote of the hon. Member for the Wansbeck Division (Mr. Fenwick) be disallowed."


I only learned from the hon. and learned Gentleman a few minutes ago that he intended to raise this question.


If you are ruling on a point of Order, I should like to draw your attention to one thing. May I point out this question was gone into very fully by a Select Committee, appointed I do not quite recollect the year.


Is this a point of Order?


It is a point of Order I am submitting to the Chair. I am going to read the Report of that Committee. It is a Committee appointed during the time the Unionist party were in power.


On a point of Order. Is not this a matter for the House, and ought not the Motion first to be put to the House and then debated?


There is no need to put the Motion to the House. I am going to state why I do not intend to put it to the House. I am perfectly familiar with the Report to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, and therefore perhaps it is not necessary for him to read it. I only heard a few minutes ago that the hon. and learned Gentleman intended to raise this question, but, naturally, I expected it would be raised, and therefore I have taken a good deal of trouble to look up the precedents, and particularly to look up the evidence and the report to which the right hon. Gentleman refers—the report of a very strong Select Committee appointed in 1898. The rule of the House is, of course, well known, "a Member is disqualified for voting"—I am quoting Mr. Speaker Cully's statement of the case— "on any question in which he has a direct personal pecuniary interest of a private and particular and not of a public and general nature." In this case, of course, Members may be said to have a private pecuniary interest, but also they have a public and general interest, and anybody who has listened to the Debate knows perfectly well that the matter has been discussed from the standpoint of public and general interest. The precedent which the hon. and learned Gentleman quoted comes from the year 1797. Of course, there are much more recent judgments on the question than that. The most recent rulings of importance of which I know are those of Mr. Speaker Gully, in 1898, and those of the present Speaker when he was Chairman of Committee in 1904. The ruling of Mr. Speaker Gully was on the Local Government (Ireland) Bill, and was on a question involving grants in. aid of rates to landlords. I should say Mr. Speaker Gully in that case refused to allow the question to be put to the House. His ruling was that "there must be a direct pecuniary interest of a private and particular and not of a public and general nature, and when the question before the House is of a public and general nature and incidentally involves the pecuniary interest to a class which includes Members of the House, they are not prevented by the rules of the House from voting." The ruling of the present Speaker, when he was Chairman of Committees in 1904, was on the Licensing Bill in regard to the question of Members interested in the licensing trade voting on the question of grants from the Compensation Fund for the extinction of licences. The present Speaker also on that occasion did not allow the question to be put to the House. These rulings seem to me to cover the present case. It does not matter to the question of principle whether the Members voting are few in number and representative of a larger class outside the House, or whether as in this case they represent a considerable proportion as compared with the total number of Members who are affected by the Vote given to-night. I am confirmed in this view by the fact that this point and a very analogous point were the subject of a paragraph in the report of the Select Committee to which I have already re ferred—a report which was founded, I think, on the opinions given by Mr. Speaker Gully and by Lord Peel, who had only very recently ceased to be Speaker of the House, to that Committee. The paragraph is this: On the other hand, it has always been held that members of the Government might vote on Motions for the reduction or their salaries made in order to censure their conduct, because the question of general and public policy involved would override the personal pecuniary interest. The same argument would doubtless apply to motions for a. general or individual reduction or Ministers' salaries on the ground of economy, or for the payment of Members of Parliament. Having regard to the precedents and opinions to which I have referred, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot put this Motion to the Committee.


Is it the fact that the statement in the report of the Committee is not founded on any statement either of Mr. Speaker Gully or Mr. Speaker Peel, the evidence of both of whom I have carefully read, and secondly, is it not the fact that in the case of none of the precedents that you have quoted was there a Vote before the House or the Committee for the direct payment of money to Members?


With regard to the first question I have very carefully read the evidence of the Speaker of the day and the ex-Speaker of the day, and the conclusions I have formed is that the paragraph does represent their opinions. That, of course, is a matter of opinion. With regard to the other question, I think the principle, as I have tried to explain, governing this case and those cases is the same.


then proceeded to put severally the Questions, That the total amounts of the Votes outstanding in each class of the Civil Service Estimates, including the Supplementary Estimates, and the total amount of the Votes outstanding for the Navy and Army (including Ordnance Factories) be granted for the said services as defined in those classes and Estimates.

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