HC Deb 13 March 1924 vol 170 cc2555-7

I desire to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether you are now in a position to give a reply to the question raised some days ago as to the rule whereby the salaries of Members date from the taking of the Oath; and whether there is any possibility of the rule being modified?


I am unable to give my countenance to the suggestion that Members should take the Oath elsewhere than here at the Table of the House, but I have arranged that, in the case of a General Election, Members after taking the Oath, shall be entitled to draw their salaries as from the date on which the Clerk of the Crown intimates to the Speaker that all the returns have been received by him, or, when Parliament assembles on a date on which all returns have not been so received, then the date on which Parliament assembles, in respect of all those Members who have then been returned, and in respect of Members who have not then been returned the date on which their return reaches the Office of the Clerk of the Crown.

In the case of bye-elections, Members shall draw their salaries as from the date on which the Member's return is certified by the Clerk of the Crown.

A Member who has not taken the Oath within six months of the return of his writ to the Clerk of the Crown shall not be entitled to claim any salary prior to the date of his taking the Oath.

This Order applies to Members elected to serve in the present Parliament.


May I take it that this will be retrospective?


I am not quite certain that I apprehended what your ruling was, Mr. Speaker, on a matter, as I conceive it, of great constitutional importance. Do I understand that, under your ruling, a Member might draw salary for six months, without taking the oath of allegiance which is required of all Members of the House?


I do not think that is a correct interpretation of what I said. I have found the matter rather technical and complicated, and that accounts for the rather technical language used. There were several points which had to be guarded against. Perhaps the right hon. Member will read what I have carefully prepared.


Arising out of the statement which you have made, Mr. Speaker, may I ask respectfully whether, in laying down the rule you have just announced to the House, you have regarded the salaries as emoluments or as payments for services rendered as Members of Parliament?


I have regarded the terms under which the "salaries," so-called, have been voted by the House.