HC Deb 04 December 1919 vol 122 cc764-5

The salary of the Secretary of State, the salaries of his Under-Secretaries, and any other expenses of his Department may, notwithstanding anything in the principal Act, instead of being paid out of the revenues of India, be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament, and the salary of the Secretary of State shall be so paid.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


I have an Amendment on this Clause.


The hon. Member cannot move it if I do not select it.


This Clause pubs the salary of the Secretary of State upon the estimates of this country, and that for the first time brings India under the control of this Parliament. We can now direct Indian politics by moving a reduction of the Secretary of State's salary, just as we can move a reduction of the salary of the Secretary of State for the Colonies or of any other Department. While we do that, the whole question of the Under-Secretary remains open. We are fortunate in having an Indian as Under-Secretary now. Unfortunately he has to sit in the Upper House. It would be wise in future, now that we are beginning responsible Government in India, to have two Under-Secretaries for India, one an Indian sitting in the Upper House and the other a Member of this House. Very few things have done more, I will not say to reconcile India to British rule, but to please all thinking Indians, than the appointment of Lord Sinha to the past of Under-Secretary, and we ought to do all we can to make that sort of appointment a permanent part of our Constitution. Lord Sinha has done excellent work on the Committee as a member of the House of Lords, and it would be unfortunate if we went back now to the old system of an English Secretary of State and an English Under-Secretary. We shall keep up this valuable innovation that the right hon. Gentleman has made. Although it is out of order to move any Amendment, I feel it right to voice a tribute to the excellent work that Lord Sinha has done, and to express the hope that either Lord Sinha or somebody else in his position may continue to sit in the House of Lords as an Indian to look after Indian affairs.

Colonel YATE

I can realise the point of the hon. Member's remarks. I have been reading a paper which is very much quoted to us by the Secretary of State, "The Servant of India." In that paper I saw the following extract, which is particularly applicable to what the hon Member has just said: The Secretary of State's salary is now to be placed on the British estimates. It is going to be possible for Members of the House of Commons to raise a debate on any question of Indian administration in Committee of Supply. This will be an invaluable lever in the hands of the British democracy to check the vagaries of the Executive in India. So I congratulate the Secretary of State on the great possibilities which the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme has found to stimulate the Secretary of State on every possible occasion, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will enjoy the situation.

Question put, and agreed to.