- (1) The acceptance of a commission as an officer in His Majesty's Forces shall not vacate and shall be deemed not to have vacated the seat of any Member returned to serve in Parliament, and shall not render and shall be deemed not to have rendered a person accepting such a commission incapable of being elected to, or sitting or voting in, the Commons House of Parliament.
- (2) The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to and not in derogation of, any other enactment relating to any particular part of His Majesty's Forces, and having a similar effect, and nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to extend any provisions of the Succession to the Crown Act, 1707, to cases to which it does not otherwise extend.
Amendments made: In Sub-section (2), after "1707," insert,
or of the House of Commons (Disqualifications) Act, 1801, or of the Act of the Irish Parliament 33 Geo. III, cap. 31,
At the end of the same Section leave out the words "it does," and insert instead thereof the words "they do."
§ Mr. BOOTH
I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the following Subsection:—(3) That payments made for the salary of Members for the September quarter are to be made for that or the ensuing quarter in the case of hon. Members who are affected by this Bill, and shall be hereby authorised.I move this because I am not quite clear that the Bill puts this payment right. Of course I am prepared to accept the assurance of the Attorney-General that it does do so, if he can see his way to give it to the Committee. But it does seem to me, as a layman, that merely to provide that these hon. Members shall be deemed not to have vacated their seats is scarcely 748 strong enough language to convert a payment illegally made into a legal payment. At the end of September the Treasury sent out the salaries to hon. Gentlemen who, according to this Bill, were no longer Members of this House, and, indeed, are not now Members. It may be that this Bill puts that right. If so I think it might have done so in more specific terms, because it would be an unfortunate thing if an hon. Member who has accepted a commission and has served at the front were, on his return, to find himself subject to penalties in respect of this payment.
§ Sir J. SIMON
The hon. Gentleman is quite right, if I may say so, to put the question, because I wish to have this matter cleared up beyond all doubt. I have done my best to consult the authorities at the Treasury and elsewhere, and if I had any doubt at all I should certainly accept his proposal. It can be understood in all quarters as beyond the slightest question that by passing, as I trust we shall do with unanimous assent, the Clause you, Sir, have put from the Chair, we shall undoubtedly by that secure the complete legality of these payments.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. BOOTH
I desire to ask a question as to the first line of the Clause, which says "the acceptance of a commission as an officer." I want to know whether that will be held to include non-commissioned officers? One or two Members of this House have accepted appointments in the Forces as non-commissioned officers, and we should not treat those in any different way from that in which we treat commissioned officers.
§ Sir J. SIMON
This Bill is designed to correct a piece of humour on the part of the law of the Constitution. It is the humorous position of the law that a man who accepts a commission as officer in His Majesty's Forces for active service is thereby enjoying an office of profit under the Crown. That is the joke. The law of the Constitution does not go to the length 749 of saying that a man who accepts a position in the Army as a private or non-commissioned officer is thereby accepting an office of profit, therefore it is not necessary to provide for that case. It is only necessary to provide for the case of a commissioned officer.
§ Question put, and agreed to.