HC Deb 09 March 1915 vol 70 cc1257-8

The hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy) asked me a question yesterday which I was not able to answer fully at the moment. Perhaps he will allow me to supplement my reply to-day. It was with regard to inquiries which have been made with reference to the naval and military pay which a certain number of Members of Parliament are receiving. What happened was this: About the middle of January I received an intimation from the Treasury requesting me to ascertain what pay was now being received by nearly two hundred Members of Parliament who are serving His Majesty in various capacities, some of them for pay, and, I believe, some without any pay, and it was impossible, apparently, for the Treasury to discover that, and they requested me to ascertain. Therefore, I instructed the clerks in the Department charged with the pay of Members' salaries to make those inquiries. I ought to add that, so far, no deductions have been made from the salary of any Members, but the question will arise at the end of March. I pronounce no opinion as to whether any deductions are to be made or not, or whether I have any power to make any such deductions, or whether any Department has any power to make any such deductions. I offer no opinion.


May I ask whether Members of this House are reduced to the position of Civil servants, and that everyone who has accepted salary has vacated his seat?


As this House will not be sitting on 31st March, will it be in order for any deduction to be made from salaries without the House being given any opportunity to debate this subject?


These are some of the difficulties that will arise. I think the House will have to settle it.


Would it be in order to discuss the matter on the Third Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill?


Yes, I think it would.


May I ask whether the case did not arise last year, when salaries were paid and many Members were serving in the Territorial Force and for six or eight weeks received salary? Did not the case arise then, and was any inquiry or deduction made?


I understand no deductions have been made at all.