HC Deb 31 December 1916 vol 88 cc1797-8

(1) The Minister of Pensions may appoint such secretaries, officers, and servants as the Minister may, with the sanction of the Treasury, determine.

(2) There shall be paid, out of moneys provided by Parliament, to the Minister of Pensions such annual salary not exceeding two thousand pounds, and to the secretaries, officers, and servants of the Ministry such salaries or remuneration as the Treasury may determine.

Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (2), leave out the words "one of the secretaries of the Ministry shall not by reason of his office be," and insert instead thereof the words "the office of Secretary in the Ministry shall not render the holder thereof."


I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

I desire to make this explanation. The Bill left this House on the understanding that there should be one Secretary, who might be a Member of Parliament. There has been a feeling that the work of the Pensions Committee might become so great, and the number of cases to be dealt with so large, that a second Secretary might be found necessary. It is not the intention of the Government at present to appoint more than one Secretary.


This arises on the next Amendment.


The next Amendment is consequential.


The next Amendment is consequential, and I take my point upon this. I want to make it clear that if my hon. Friends object to giving this power to appoint a Parliamentary Secretary, I will not carry the Amendment further.


I hope the Government will not ask us to agree with the other House in this Amendment. The Bill was carefully considered in this House, and as it left here it provided for the appointment of one Parliamentary Secretary, and I think the House of Commons is rather jealous of the multiplication of offices. It would be difficult to make out a substantial case for having three Ministers representing this one Department. Almost all the great Departments are represented in Parliament by two Ministers, and it would be difficult to show that the work of the Pensions Ministry is so vast and elaborate that it cannot be adequately performed by the Minister and one Parliamentary Secretary. I would point out that when the Bill was passing through this House, the right hon. Gentleman proposed to take power to appoint two Under-Secretaries to each of the three Ministries—Labour, Shipping and Food. Objection was taken to that proposal by my right hon. Friend (Mr. McKenna), and the Home Secretary, who was in charge of the Bill, said the Amendment limiting it to one Secretary was a very proper one. The same principle which applies to the three new Ministries, I think, should apply to the fourth.

Question put, and negatived.

Lords Amendment disagreed with.

Lords Amendment: After the word ["Parliament"] insert the words "but not more than two such Secretaries shall sit as Members of that House at the same time."—Disagreed with.

Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to certain of their Amendments to the Bill.

Committee nominated of Mr. Arthur Henderson, Mr. Henry, Mr. Hogge, Mr. Pollock, and Sir John Simon.

Three to be the quorum.

To withdraw immediately.—[Mr. James Hope.]

Reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords Amendments reported, and agreed to.

To be communicated to the Lords.—[Mr. Arthur Henderson.]