HC Deb 25 March 1936 vol 310 cc1251-313

3.55 p.m.


I beg to move, That, in the opinion of this House, the anomalies in the existing scale of ministerial salaries should be removed as soon as possible, that all Members of the Cabinet, with the exception of the Prime Minister, should receive the same salary irrespective of the office held, that the salary of the Prime Minister should be increased, and that all offices held by Ministers should be classified on the lines recommended in 1920 by a Select Committee of this House.


May I ask a question about the procedure this afternoon? There is on the Paper an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams) and myself suggesting that the Leadership of the Opposition should become a salaried office. I want to ask you whether, if it appears in the Debate that there is a general desire that those words should be added, and if at a reasonable time the preceding Amendment is disposed of, you would in those circumstances call the Amendment to which I have referred?


I doubt whether the Amendment will be reached, but, in any case, it appears to me to be out of order, because the Motion of which notice has been given calls attention to Ministers' salaries, and the Leader of the Opposition is not a Minister.


This country is now passing through anxious and difficult days. The attention of the Government and the House is fully occupied by foreign and home affairs, and although it cannot be claimed that this Motion is vital among all those other problems, I think that among hon. Members in this House and a large section of the public outside there is a feeling that the question of the anomalies of Ministers' salaries should be taken up now and not be allowed to drift further. The next few years are likely to be just as busy ones for the Government had for Parliament as the past two years have been, and it will be no easier for any future Government to take up this matter than for the present one. If it can be shown by the Debate to-day that there are unjustifiable inequalities in Ministers' salaries and that it is the feeling of all parties in this country that they should be righted, and if there is a feeling that there have been sufficient committees to take evidence on this matter, I suggest that it is to be hoped that the Government and hon. Members will take action without delay.

There have been two Select Committees of this House to deal with this matter, the one in 1920 and the other, set up by the Labour party, in 1930. Evidence was taken from many representative persons who were fitted to evidence on the question. There were, for instance, such persons as the late Lord Oxford—Mr. Asquith, as he was, in 1920—the present Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), the present Lord President of the Council, the present Lord Chancellor and Sir Warren Fisher. The findings of the 1920 Committee were practically unanimous on all matters and the recommendations were generally along the lines of the Motion which I have put down, but no action whatsoever was taken. In response to a demand, another Select Committee was set up in 1930 and it reached the same conclusions, which may be generally summed up as being that the scale of salaries in some respects was anomalous, and in others was inadequate. The 1930 Committee recommended, however, that the time was inopportune for general revision, with one exception, which was that the Prime Minister's salary should be dealt with without delay. That happened five years ago and nothing has been done; even the Prime Minister's salary, which everyone agreed should be dealt with soon, has not been dealt with. I presume the reason is to be found in the economic conditions of the country in 1930 and 1931, and since that time and also there is the very natural reluctance of any Government to propose an increase in their own salaries. I would say, in the words of one of the leading daily papers of this morning, that the reluctance to face it, however honourable in motive, has become by this time the condonation of what is little short of a scandal. I do not think that is too strong language. Before coming to the actual anomalies, I would like to make one or-two general remarks in case some hon. Members have not had time to read any of the evidence of the two Committees. It should be quite clearly understood that Ministers' salaries are not an addition to their £400 as Members of Parliament, but include them, which is not the case in some foreign countries. It should also be realised that since a great many of the salaries were fixed the incidence of taxation has increased enormously. Some time before the War it was 4d. in the £. Upon £5,000 that meant that a Minister's salary was about £4,800 year. To-day, owing to the incidence of present-day taxation, that salary is fully £1,000 less. Five thousand pounds less tax represents about £3,800. The Select Committee found that there were no other financial benefits accruing to Ministers from any source whatever through their holding office. The Committee also found that it was necessary for some Ministers of State to incur considerable expenditure on entertaining which was not legitimately chargeable to the Government hospitality fund. This expense was specially heavy on persons like the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and one or two other Ministers.

With regard to the general level of Cabinet Ministers' salaries in other countries, it is a little difficult to find exact figures, but as far as I can gather the general level of Ministers' salaries is slightly below ours in most Dominions and foreign countries. But there are practically no cases of anomalies like those that we have here. In every case Cabinet salaries are on a flat scale, the Prime Minister being paid on a higher scale. The United States of America is the exception, but even there they pay their ordinary Members of Parliament the equivalent of £1,000 a year. I am not going to take up any time with the historical origins of any of these salaries, some of which go back a 100 and some 150 years. No salaries have the slightest relationship, from the business point of view, to the responsibility of the Ministers concerned.

Let me direct attention to some of the anomalies which exist under the present arrangement. There can be no excuse, from any point of view, for the very large differences that exist. The majority of the Cabinet receive salaries of £5,000 a year, including the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Health, but the following responsible Ministers, who also have seats in the Cabinet—I refer to the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Agriculture, the President of the Board of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland—all receive £3,000 less as salary. Their salary is £2,000 a year. I do not think it can be denied that all these Ministers have posts which involve heavy work and great responsibility; and no one can say that the responsibility to-day of a Minister of Labour or of a Minister of Agriculture is any less than that of a Minister of Health. Why then the difference in salary?

Let me refer briefly in detail to one or two of the Ministers who are paid on the lower scale. Take the Secretary of State for Scotland. A few years ago this office was raised to the dignity of a Secretary ship of State, which gave a great deal of pleasure to the people of Scotland. It was thought at that time that the salary would naturally be increased with the increase of status. But nothing has been done. It is as well to point out that the present Scottish Office covers the Departments of Health, the Home Office, Education and Agriculture, all of which have separate Cabinet posts in England. In Scotland, however, they are all under the one Minister. As far as salary is concerned the Secretary of State for Scotland remains at the same level as the Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade. He receives even less than the Postmaster-General. Apart from the feeling in Scotland that the dignity and the status of the Office call for equality with the other great offices of State, I venture to suggest to the House that the responsibility and the vastly increased work make out a case by themselves for an increase of salary. One other point with regard to the Secretary of State for Scotland is the heavy extra responsibility incurred by the Minister having to scrutinise all the legislation of such Departments as Agriculture and the Home Office, so as to see that the interests of Scotland and England do not conflict and that the interests of Scotland are not neglected. That is a heavy responsibility.

With regard to the Ministers of Agriculture and Labour and Education, all of whom are paid a salary of £2,000, I would like to give one short quotation. It is from the present Prime Minister's evidence before the Select Committee of 1930, when he stated: Some of the offices that are still receiving the lower salaries are offices that I think are grossly underpaid. I mean that to-day there is no more important office in the Ministry than the Ministry of Labour. It is one of the key situations. The work to-day in the Ministry of Labour is enough to exhaust any man in four or five years, however strong he may be. He is worked right out at the end of that time. He gets £2,000 a year. It is ridiculous. The same argument applies to the Ministers of Agriculture and Education. It is obviously unjust that these Cabinet posts should be on a lower scale by £3,000 than the posts of many other Cabinet Ministers. The case for equalizing is so obvious that there is no point in labouring it further. I do not know, Mr. Speaker, whether you are going to call the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for the Park Division of Sheffield (Mr. Lathan), but, if you are, I would like to make one reference to it. The hon. Member in his Amendment agrees, I think, that these anomalies should be removed, but he does not wish the aggregate expenditure to be increased. Naturally the effect of that must be that the salaries of the higher-paid posts would have to be dropped. All I can say is this: I am sure it is the feeling of almost everyone that the great offices of State in this country are not at present overpaid, and that if there is to be an equalising it will have to be in the main upwards.

It is difficult to give figures, and I am not sure whether it would be wise to do so. I do not know who is to reply for the Government. Roughly I estimate that the cost of the alterations along the lines of my Motion would be, less taxation, under £20,000 per annum, and I hope that after listening to the Debate the House will not favour the Amendment. Let me come to the general case for equality of salaries. The first point to make is that the doctrine of equal responsibility presents a strong case for equality of salaries. Some Ministers for a few years may be in greater prominence than others, or for a period of years some Ministers may be less prominent than others. But these things even themselves out. The evidence of all the Prime Ministers, with the exception of one, does indicate that there should be no discrimination between Cabinet salaries. When I read the evidence given before both Select Committees I found that there was one aspect which came very prominently before those Committees, and that was the difficulty of a Prime Minister in forming a Cabinet when salaries were so differ- ent. Let me give another short quotation, also from the present Prime Minister's evidence regarding this point. My right hon. Friend said: Most Prime Ministers hesitate to offer a £2,000 a year office to 4, man who has held a £5,000 a year office. To a man who has held a £5,000 a year office would hesitate before accepting a £2,000 a year office. He would feel that it was a step down. It is not a step down really, but he would feel that, as you can quite understand. There is no doubt that it would ease the task of Prime Ministers, when forming a Cabinet, if they had not this difficult and delicate question of salaries to consider as well. I think a strong case is made out from practically every point of view that salaries in the Cabinet, apart from those of the Prime Minister and the Law Officers, should be equal. Although it is not in the Motion, the inference is that a Minister when he leaves the Cabinet would revert to his ordinary salary.

Both Select Committees suggested that salaries should be drawn up in a certain classification. The 1920 Committee recommended—and the recommendation was agreed to by the 1930 Committee—that offices with the exception of those of the Prime Minister and the Law Officers should be classified in five different classes. In Class I was to be the £5,000 salary, which all Members of the Cabinet were to receive. Class II was to be £3,000 a year, which senior Ministers outside the Cabinet were to receive. Class III was to be £2,000 a year, and the suggestion was that junior Ministers and senior Under-Secretaries should receive it. Class IV was £1,500 a year, for Under-Secretaries. Class V was £1,000 a year, to be paid to such persons as Lords Commissioners. These, of course, are only examples and they were suggested in the year 1920. Obviously a list which was made up then, years ago, does not apply to-day.

Because the classification received the agreement of both Select Committees I have included it in my Motion. If we had a new classification such as is suggested, I venture to suggest that it would put an end to the present haphazard and anomalous position of the whole range of Ministers and junior Ministers. It would end such inequalities outside the Cabinet as that of the Minister of Transport with £2,000 a year receiving less than the Postmaster-General and the same as the Parliamentary Secretary and the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty. It would end the anomaly of the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland receiving £1,200 a year while other Under-Secretaries, including the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, receive higher salaries. It would also end the anomaly of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade and the Secretary for Mines, receiving less than the Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade. Finally, it would end the anomaly of Government Whips receiving £1,000 a year as Lords of the Treasury, while some of their seniors are receiving less as political Ministers of the Royal Household. These are only a few of the anomalies which I suggest would be eliminated by this classification. I venture to make one suggestion however which was not made by either of the Committees. It is that this classification would require to be reviewed automatically every few years, at specific dates, otherwise there will be the same reluctance on the part of Governments as has been displayed in the past, to alter the scales, and it is obvious that the importance of various offices must change over a period of years.

I now come to the question of the Prime Minister's salary. Both the 1920 Committee and the 1930 Committee specially recommended that the Prime Minister's salary should be dealt with immediately. The position of Prime Minister in this country carries special responsibility and special burdens. The case for a revision of the salary attaching to that office has been made out time and again in the last few years, and yet nothing has been done. The arguments were put concisely in the following passage from the recommendations of the 1930 Committee: This is a matter which should be dealt with at the earliest opportunity. Not only is the Prime Minister's remuneration actually less than that of two of his own colleagues but the circumstances of his position render his salary of less value than that of any other Minister. The house in Downing Street which he is practically compelled to occupy is, admittedly, very inconvenient and costly to maintain. He has to provide out of his salary for entertainments which cannot be classified as official entertainments properly chargeable to the Government Hospitality Fund. His position, great as it is, is at best temporary, and it must not be forgotten that when he goes out of office he probably becomes Leader of the Opposition at a salary of £400 a. year, with no pension, and while his colleagues as ex-Ministers may legitimately supplement their income in various ways, he alone is debarred from so doing. I believe the case contained in that recommendation is unchallengeable. I will give one more quotation, this time from the evidence of the late Lord Oxford—Mr. Asquith as he then was—in 1920: I confess I think the Prime Minister is underpaid. I was in office myself continuously for eleven years, almost nine as Prime Minister, and I do not suppose that my experience is in the least unique but I was a much poorer man when I left office than when I entered it. The office of Prime Minister cannot, I think, be discharged properly at the present salary unless a man has private means of his own. For many reasons it is not in the public interest that an ex-Prime Minister of this great country should find himself poorer as a result of having held office. I think there is a feeling throughout the country and certainly among all who have given any study to this question, that the conclusion stated in the quotations which I have just given must be accepted. If this House in the course of the Debate to-day shows agreement with that conclusion, I trust that the Government will take some action at an early date in regard to the matter.

Lastly, there is the question of the Law Officers' remuneration. This is really a separate problem, and there are no clear recommendations upon it by either of the Committees I have mentioned. I, personally, do not feel competent to say much on the subject, but other hon. Members will probably be able to speak upon it with knowledge. I agree, however, with the findings of the Committee in so far as they consider that the official salaries of the Law Officers should not be more than the salaries attaching to Ministers of Cabinet rank. With regard to the fees which the English Law Officers receive and which come to a very large figure, the evidence is that if those fees were not allowed, it would be doubtful whether the Government would obtain the services of the best men. Then the House must remember that a fairly large proportion of the fees do not come out of the taxpayers' pockets. When cases are won by the ability and skill of the Law Officers the costs are paid by the un- successful litigants. As regards the case of the Lord Chancellor, it is right to point out that while his remuneration is £10,000 a year his official salary out of the Consolidated Fund is £6,000 a year which, under the terms of my Motion, would come down to £5,000 a year. The other £4,000 a year he receives as Speaker in another place and the effect of this proposal would be to reduce his total remuneration to £9,000 a year.

There is one small point, but one of some importance, with which I should like the Minister who replies to deal, and that is in connection with taxation. The taxation on Ministers' salaries is deducted at source, and, as far as I am aware, it is not competent for them to put in any claims in respect of the deductions in the same way as a Member of Parliament. In the case of junior Ministers in receipt of the lower salaries this system works very unfairly. I can find no reason for it, but I hope that whoever replies for the Government in this Debate will be able to say that, if it is found that there is no special reason for it and that it works unjustly, they will at least consider the question with a view to making an alteration.

In conclusion, I believe there is a general feeling, so far as there can be any general feeling on a subject of this kind, in the country and certainly in the House of Commons, that the time has come to rectify the existing anomalies in Ministers' salaries. There is no necessity for appointing any further committees of inquiry. The position is well known, and I hope that if this Debate shows that there is good reason for criticism of the present position, the Government will not hesitate to act. It has been suggested in some quarters that if there was a strong feeling in favour of a revision the Government might propose alterations which would not come into force until the next Government assumed office. I think that would be a wrong course. If the Government feel that a fair case has been made out for revision, if it appears to be the general wish that revision should take place, I think they ought to take it upon themselves to act at once and bring to an end these anomalies as soon as possible.

4.24 p.m.


I beg to second the Motion.

It is not a Motion which covers a wide field, and therefore I hope that I shall not be guilty of traversing the same ground as my hon. Friend who moved it, but I approach some of the points which he has raised from a rather different angle. In the first place, may I say that I am sorry to see only one Cabinet Minister on the Front Bench to-day when this subject is under discussion. Whether that is due to delicacy, to reticence, or to the fear of a general demand for reduction of salaries, I do not know, but this is one of the few opportunities which we get of letting Cabinet Ministers know what back-bench Members think of their value, as expressed in terms of pounds, shillings and pence. Perhaps something more than the mere question of salary is at stake. We have to consider the position, the dignity and. the independence of those who happen to govern this country. It is difficult, of course, to dissociate the various offices of State from their existing holders, but I would like to assure my hon. Friends above the Gangway that, in the remarks I am about to make, I am thinking of the future holders of those offices just as much as I am thinking of the present holders. Unfortunately for my hon. Friend, not for four or five years, probably not for 10 years, will they have a chance of receiving the benefits which I wish to see conferred on the holders of certain Government offices.

It is always a delicate matter for Ministers to come to this House to propose increases in their own salaries. I believe that if a Government ever does take a decision on those lines, the usual practice is to propose that the change should only take effect when a new Government comes into office. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) when President of the Board of Trade received £2,000 a year, and that during his tenure of office he had the questionable pleasure of moving that his successor should get £5,000 a year. Some of the present salaries date from the seventeenth century and others from the eighteenth century. One was fixed in 1830 and another in 1856, and I think it has been clearly established that these salaries now have little relevance to the duties of the offices to which they are attached. I have studied the evidence of four Prime Ministers on this question. They are practically unanimous in support of the proposals which we are making to the House.

Before coming to actual figures, I wish to submit certain principles which I think ought to govern the salaries paid by the country to its Cabinet Ministers and other Ministers. First, I think it will be agreed that the salary should be sufficient to enable the holder while in office to be free from any financial or economic worry; that it should he commensurate with what he might earn elsewhere and that it should be compatible with the dignity of his position. In other words, by accepting office he should neither lose nor gain. Secondly, I think it will also be agreed that the salaries of all Cabinet Ministers should be the same. Personally, I would extend that principle to the salaries of Under-Secretaries as well. You cannot really say that one Department is more important than another. It is impossible to judge, from the fact that one Minister may make more speeches in the House of Commons than another, that therefore he should get a bigger salary. It is quite true that the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer hold special positions and have special responsibilities: on the other hand, they do not have Committee work in the House upstairs, and if they are to get any additional salary for their extra responsibilities, I think it ought to be through extra allowances and not through any differentiation in their pay.

Let us suppose for a moment that the Prime Minister wished, as he might easily do, to ask the Minister of Health, after he had performed some function or had piloted some Housing Bill through the House, to take on some very important work at, say, the Ministry of Agriculture. He could not do so to-day without that Minister losing £3,000 of salary. In the same way, if the Prime Minister wished to ask the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department to take on the Under-Secretaryship of Education, it might be that, although that Minister might be the sole representative of his office in this House, he could not do so without asking him, in taking on that job, to drop £800 a year. It is, I think, and it should be, the character of the individual that the Prime Minister considers when he is allocating offices, and he should be free to offer any office to any individual, if he thinks he is suitable for it, without having to consider the question of what salary he will get by taking that office.

The present system is not fair either to the Prime Minister, to the Minister in question, or to the office itself. It is quite wrong that certain Departments of State should be considered as second-class jobs merely because the salary attached to the Minister or the Under-Secretary is lower than that attached to others.


Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman make any differentiation between Cabinet Ministers with Departments and those without?


I shall deal later with those Cabinet Ministers, who form a special group by themselves. Here again is a subject on which we are all agreed, namely, the salary of the Prime Minister. All four ex-Prime Ministers, Lord Oxford, the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), the present Prime Minister, and the present Lord President of the Council, have given extensive evidence upon their experience as holders of the office of Prime Minister, and I think that, without any difference of opinion whatever, they have expressed the view that it is impossible for any Member of this House to hold the position of Prime Minister without incurring very considerable financial responsibilities which the salary of the office does not cover.

As to the figures, if changes are to be made, I think the Government should know what kind of salaries Members of the House think are reasonable in the circumstances. We all agree that Cabinet Ministers should pay tax on their salaries. There are countries where Ministers' salaries are exempt from taxation, but I think that is a totally wrong principle. Personally, I would suggest that Cabinet Ministers should all be paid £4,000 a year as salary and that, in addition, they should get £1,000 for what are known as frais de representation, which, being interpreted, means expenses. It is a principle which already prevails in the case of Ambassadors abroad, and I think it is suitable to and has certain merit in the case of Cabinet Ministers. It means that each Cabinet Minister would receive £4,000 as salary, upon which he would pay full tax, and in addition he would receive £1,000, on which he would not pay tax. That, in my opinion, would be for certain amenities which he should enjoy. He should be able to entertain to a certain degree, and he should have the use of a motor car. I wish to discourage, and I believe that other hon. Members would agree, the practice—all too common in foreign countries, though I do not say it is very prevalent in this country—of Ministers getting what are known as the "perks" of office. The salary should be sufficient in itself, and that is why I commend to hon. Members' attention and study the idea of a salary in addition to an extra payment for expenses.

Finally, as my hon. Friend pointed out, an ordinary Member of Parliament can, without any great ingenuity, manage to convince the Inland Revenue that the £400 which he receives all goes in expenses which are entailed by his being a Member of Parliament. If any hon. Member has not yet learned how to do that, I am sure there are many other hon. Members who will tell him. In other words, Members of Parliament do get £400 free of tax—[HON. MEMBERS: "No"]—Well, they are allowed in their tax returns to put their £400. [HON. MEMBER: "No"] I have done it myself for 12 years without any question from the authorities, and if I am wrong, I am sorry to have brought it up. I think hon. Members, instead of contradicting me, had better ask me for a little personal guidance. In any case, hon. Members are allowed to set expenses up to £400 against their salary. I think everybody agrees with that. But that does not apply to Cabinet Ministers or Ministers, and I do not know why. I believe that if any Cabinet Minister or Minister actually took the case to a court of appeal of some kind, he would win, but no Minister has yet done that. Therefore, the £1,000 for expenses which I am advocating would be in compensation for those expenses which every other Member of Parliament is allowed to put against his salary, as expenses to his constituencies, travelling expenses, and so on, and I think it only just that they should have the same treatment as ordinary Members of Parliament.

Now we come to Under-Secretaries, and certainly I would pay all Under-Secretaries, Parliamentary, Financial, and ordinary Under-Secretaries, the same, all £2,000 a year, with £500 for what are called frais de Représentation. I believe that, although you might possibly get certain anomalies by doing this, those anomalies would not be anything like as great as those which exist under the present system. Then there are those about whom my hon. Friend asked, namely, a group of Ministers who are not Under-Secretaries and who are not in the Cabinet, or who may not be in the Cabinet. For instance, there is the Patronage Secretary.


I referred to Ministers who were in the Cabinet and who did not have Departments, such as the Lord Privy Seal and the Minister without Portfolio.


The mere fact of holding Cabinet rank entitles you to a definite salary. It does not matter what office you occupy. That is a suggestion which is practically unanimously recommended in all the reports, that all Cabinet Ministers should receive the same, whether they hold office in a Department or not. As I was saying, there is this group headed by the Patronage Secretary. It is difficult for me to deal with his salary when he is sitting on the Front Bench, as he controls so much of our lives, both by day 'and by night. Then there are the Minister of Transport, the First Commissioner of Works, the Minister of Pensions, and the Postmaster-General. The position of these Ministers has changed very considerably since 1920. The Postmaster-General has now the whole of the British Broadcasting Corporation under his control. At any rate, he is responsible for the general direction of policy followed by the British Broadcasting Corporation. The Minister of Transport has the whole of the electricity supply of the country under his control. I only hope that as time goes on he will be able to do more about it than he does now; it is something which has a bearing on the lives of almost every member of the community, and it is an enormous additional responsibility of his office. For these Ministers I would recommend a salary—somewhat above that of Under-Secretaries, certainly less than that of Cabinet Minsters—of £3,000, with £500 for expenses The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is not paid by the House of Commons and, therefore, does not come under our purview to-day.

In the case of Junior Lords of the Treasury, some of them are Household appointments and special cases, but I would say that there ought to be no salary paid to Ministers, if they occupy the positions of Ministers, less than £1,500 a year.

With regard to the Law Officers, the case of the Lord Chancellor has been mentioned, and I think it should be remembered that when an individual accepts the position of Lord Chancellor he undertakes not to go—or, rather, I think there is no instance of a Lord Chancellor going—back to work at the Bar. Various Law Officers of the Crown have gone back to practise at the Bar, but the Lord Chancellor applies a, self-denying ordinance that he will not go back to practise at the Bar, and also, after he has vacated the position of Lord Chancellor, I do not say he is obliged, but he is expected to take his part as a Law Lord in the House of Lords and the Privy Council. Therefore, he fulfils very special functions, and in the evidence given in the report there was no desire in any way to decrease his salary or his pension.

In regard to the Law Officers of the Crown, I am very glad my hon. Friend made clear something which I did not know until I read these reports and which I think a great many other hon. Members might not have known. I will give the instance of the evidence given by the present Lord Chancellor, that the average fee which he received for four years was £15,000, and that of that, £11,000 to £12,000 was not paid by the Crown, but was paid by litigants who brought cases against the Government and who, through the forensic ability of the Law Officers, lost their cases and had to pay costs. I think that makes a very considerable difference when we are considering this matter and when many of us are surprised at the very large fees and salaries which they receive.


If the Crown had lost any of those cases, the Attorney-General would have got his fee all the same.


I do not want to go into that except to say that the fee for the Law Officers of the Crown are fixed, sometimes at half, sometimes at one-fifth, of what the barristers who are appearing for the other side would get in the ordinary practice of their profession. They are fixed at a maximum of, I think, £150, whereas very often the fees for well-known barristers go up to £700 or £800. That, I think, answers that point.

Now we come to the question of the Prime Minister, and this is a matter again which one approaches with a certain amount of delicacy. We all know the almost incredible indifference and self-sacrificing attitude of the present. holder of the office towards questions of salary. Personally, I think the Prime Minister should never receive less pay than any other Member of his Cabinet, and if the Lord Chancellor receives £10,000 a year, I think the Prime Minister should receive it also. I do not much care how it is paid, but I think it is very important that the Prime Minister should always be the First Lord of the Treasury, and whether you pay him a salary as First Lord of the Treasury and another as Prime Minister, or whether you pay him. £8,000 as salary and £2,000 for expenses, are details about which I have no very strong feelings.

Then, of course, the question arises of the houses which the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the First Lord of the Admiralty are more or less compelled to live in by the fact that they occupy those posts in the Government. A great deal of evidence was given in regard to the expenses of these houses. In almost every case the addition of a house was by no means a benefit to the holder of the office, but a considerable liability. It might have been well if the wives of ex-Prime Ministers had been called to give evidence, but it was evident that the overhead expenses of the house of the Admiralty and 10, Downing Street are considerable items for those who live in them. The Prime Minister must entertain, and he is put to considerable additional expense to which other Cabinet Ministers are not.

The question of the Prime Minister's salary leads one to the question whether Cabinet Ministers should receive pensions. Here, again, very little evidence was given. The position is very different from what it was in days gone by. There are a large number of individuals to-day who have held Cabinet rank, and there will probably be an increasing number in future, without any private means. It would be wrong and an intolerable position that a man who has occupied a position of the dignity of Cabinet Minister should, when he goes out of office, find himself with nothing whatever. A single man, no doubt, could fend for himself. A man with a family and responsibilities who has had an income of £3,000 to £5,000 a year, who is suddenly deprived of all sources of income, is in an unfortunate position. It is only an extreme sense of patriotism which prevents them from immediately rushing into print and telling all the secrets of the past four years and their personal views of their colleagues in the late Cabinet. If they do not do that they have in some cases to accept directorships. A Member of this House who has been a, Cabinet Minister, who loses office and accepts a directorship, may become a Cabinet Minister again. It is unfortunate if in the meantime he identifies himself too closely with any sectional interest in the City. But, it may be asked, what are they to do if they cannot either write or take directorships? If they were given a pension there would be less excuse for their commercialising their past experience, either in print or in the City.

My suggestion is that the pension should be based at the rate of £250 a year for every year of office in Cabinet rank. This should not take effect unless the Minister has served three years, and there should be a maximum of five years; otherwise, there might be a tendency and temptation to hang on a little longer in order to get a bigger pension.


With or without a means test?


If a Minister felt that he ought to apply a means test to himself, there would be nothing against his returning his pension to the State. These pensions should be automatic unless, of course, they were voluntarily surrendered. It is intolerable that an ex-Cabinet Minister should have to go to the Prime Minister belonging, as he almost certainly would, to an opposing political party, and beg him for a pension. The evidence of Lord Balfour and the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs was very strong on this point. Pensions should be automatic and not dependent on the grace of the existing Prime Minister.


What would the hon. and gallant Gentleman do in the case of a coalition?


I do not know what the hon. Member's suggestion is. I am trying to make my suggestions general and not particular to this Government. Intimately connected with the question of a pension for the Prime Minister is the question of the Leader of the Opposition. When a Prime Minister goes out of office he automatically becomes Leader of the Opposition. As such, he is in a different position from that of his colleagues on the Opposition Benches. He may, and probably will, become Prime Minister again. It is impossible for him to write to the papers, and entirely wrong that he should take directorships if he to become Prime Minister again. As Leader of His Majesty's Opposition he is part of the constitution of this Houses and I think that he is entitled to a salary of £2,000. That is the salary paid in Australia and Canada.

There are other cognate matters which I do not wish to raise to-day, but which are pertinent to our discussion. For instance, if we are to discuss the salaries of Ministers, some attention should be paid to the duties of Ministers, and there are certain alterations that should be made. In the case of fuel, for example, coal comes under the Ministry of Mines, oil and gas under the Board of Trade, and electricity under the Ministry of Transport. I do not wish to develop that point, but it is worth the consideration of responsible authorities when studying the question of Ministers, their duties and salaries. Very germane to our discussion is the question of the salary of Members of Parliament. I am one of the fortunate people, like most of my colleagues, who have private means, and I can speak, therefore, freely on this matter. Why is the salary fixed at £4001 There is nothing sacrosanct about that amount. In Australia it is £1,000, and in Canada £800.

There have been, and probably are today, Members of Parliament representing constituencies a long way from London, who have to maintain a family home there and live in London, and who have to deprive themselves of some of the prime necessities of life in order to keep up the dignity of their position in this House. I believe that to be a fact, and I feel that those on our benches can afford to and should say so. If it were possible to raise the salaries of Members of Parliament to £600, it would be the right and wise thing to do, and I would not in the least mind the opposition which would be roused in the country, because it would help to establish the principle I want to see established, that no man or woman should be deprived of the privilege of becoming a Member of Parliament because on the salary of £400 he or she cannot maintain the position.

If the Government intend to do something, all these things ought to be done together. It is a delicate matter to bring up, and I do not suppose that it will come before the House again for another decade. It is a difficult thing for any Government to propose increases in their own salaries. My view is that if they can get a consensus of opinion in all quarters of the House, it should be left to a committee of back bench Members, assisted by Treasury officials, to make definite proposals. The Government would have to accept those proposals, except that they could decrease but not increase the amounts proposed by the committee. That would get the Government out of the difficulty of proposing increases themselves, and they would be able to say that they had thrown the responsibility on the House and that the House had made the proposals. If they do that, I do not think that it need necessarily be left until the next Parliament before alterations are made. The wish to become a Minister in this country is an entirely laudable ambition of any politician. The field is open for all, and none should be denied the prizes because they have no private means. If we can do something in this matter, we shall, I think, have added some small measure of material comfort to those overworked and underpaid Members of the House who are Ministers. We shall have done something more. We shall have done something to maintain and preserve the integrity and independence of those who have the honour and privilege of being His Majesty's Ministers.

4.57 p.m.


I beg to move, in line 2, to leave out from "possible" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: but without incurring any addition to the present aggregate expenditure. Although in the Amendment there is a measure of opposition to the proposal before the House, I hope that the Mover of the Motion will not consider it presumptuous on my part if I offer him a word of congratulation on the way in which he submitted the Motion and the temperate and persuasive way in which he argued in its support. I am sure the House feels a measure of indebtedness to him for helping them to understand what has been to many of us a somewhat involved and difficult problem. Similarly, the House is indebted to the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet), but in a special way for the information he has given to help us in our Income Tax returns. I am not sure whether the hon. and gallant Member is in favour of the proposals contained in the report of the Select Committee of 1920, because, although it was impossible as he proceeded to lay before the House his proposals in respect of particular salaries, to assess accurately what would be the financial responsibility attaching to them, I think that I am justified in saying that ho would go far beyond what was contemplated by the Select Committee.


I gave a figure,. but I am completely indifferent to what the figure is, because if it is right to increase the salaries of Ministers, this country can certainly afford to do it.


The ability of the country to afford additional expenditure is information of which we will take due note. With very much of what has been said by both the Mover and Seconder of the Motion I find no ground for obejction, and I believe I am speaking not only on my own behalf but on behalf of those associated with me on these benches. The present position is obviously unsatisfactory, and I think is capable of adjustment without any revolutionary action on the part of the Government or those who would be responsible for effecting the change. It is intolerable that hon. Members should be serving the country and this House and find themselves subject to financial as well as other penalties because of their doing so. I would remind the Mover and Seconder that that condition does not attach merely to Ministers. It is far more widespread, and it might surprise some hon. Members if we were able to inform them of the measure of sacrifice and loss sustained by some hon. Members in the discharge of their duty.

The main point of difference is whether in the present circumstances expenditure incidental to the proposal that is now before the House would be justified. We think it would not be justified, and it is because of that that the Amendment in my name has been put down. While we have indicated that we are quite prepared to consider any action involving the adjustment of the anomalies which exist to-day in so far as Ministerial salaries are concerned, we believe that can be done, and ought to be done, without incurring any addition to the present aggregate expenditure. The Motion is based upon the Select Committee's Report of 1920 and the speeches to which we have listened with pleasure show that that report and the subsequent report of 1930 have evidently been studied closely. It may account for the continued absence from the Library of the House of those documents and the difficulty I have had in obtaining information I required for the purpose of submitting such observations as I wish to make.

I have, however, managed to secure some information from another place. The Select Committee of 1920, composed of 15 members representative of all parties, had before them distinguished witnesses in the persons of Sir Warren Fisher and Mr. Asquith, but it is the report and recommendations of the Committee with which the House will be mainly concerned. They said that while the standard of pay was very different at that date from that which obtained at the date when the rates of Ministerial salaries were fixed, they still did not feel that that time—that was in 1920—was suitable to recommend a general increase, and thus a large addition to money allocated for the payment of Ministers. They confined themselves, therefore, to consideration of the relative positions, and I judged that that is the main object the Mover has in the Motion before us. There was agreement then, and I think there will be to-day, that the position so far the salary of the Prime Minister was concerned was entirely unsatisfactory. The recommendation of the special committee was that a salary of £8,000 per annum should attach to that position. To that we on these benches would offer no opposition. I recognise the truth of what has been said as to the special responsibilities and expenditure attaching to that position.

The Committee also proceeded to recommend that all other Members of the Cabinet should have salaries of equal amount irrespective of the offices they hold. I am not quite so sure that that proposal is unobjectionable. As I think it was suggested in connection with another aspect of the case by the Seconder of the Motion, we can see without difficulty the possibility of manoeuvring or adjustments if such an arrangement were brought into operation. The main consideration in connection with the proposals contained in the report was that Ministers were to be classified into five classes, with salaries ranging from £5,000, apart from the Prime Minister, down to £1,000. Hon. Members would probably find no difficulty in agreeing in particular cases that there would be justification for a sixth grade or lower salary. That must be made a matter of personal valuation or assessment. Speaking for those associated with me on these benches, there is no special objection to classification. It is the method of procedure adopted in regard to many thousands of responsible citizens in Government and other employment, but if one agrees to the principle itself, it is of the utmost importance that it should be understood that the classified individual and the position should be accurately related. My own disposition is to a system that would involve not a classification of tin individual or the Minister but the classification of the post, so that the occupant of that post, who presumably would not be appointed unless he were qualified for it, would receive the salary attaching to that post. My belief is—and it is based not only upon speculation in regard to the present problem but on experience of similar problems in employment outside—that that practice would be found more acceptable in the long run than if individuals were classified.

The situation to-day in respect of the posts to be provided for is very different from what it was in 1920. There is no longer a salary for the Chief Secretary for Ireland, but a number of other Ministries have been created in the meantime. Whatever saving might arise from that quarter would be swallowed up by responsibilities accepted in the meantime by the division of, say, the Dominions and the Colonies. There might be some doubt or difference as to the justification for that. Then there is the problem associated with Ministers without Portfolio. I do not think I am exaggerating the feeling there is in several quarters of the House when I say that a note of interrogation will arise in our minds in respect of Ministers such as the Minister for Thought. Just in what category he comes and how he would be classified is a matter of considerable speculation.

Such questions as that apart, no one can justify the anomalies. Certainly we on this side of the House would not seek to do so. It is a little difficult to understand how they have grown up, but research has shown that it is probably attributable to the varying dates on which the salaries were fixed. The salary of the First Lord of the Treasury was fixed in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and apparently is still regarded by the Government of the day as being proper in the present circumstances. There are other salaries dating back to the early part of the last century, and the fixation of the remainder was at various dates from 1851 to the early post-war years. No one desires to perpetuate these anomalies, and it is more than a little strange that successive Ministries and Parliaments have shown a reluctance to deal with them in a very emphatic way. The report of 1930 recommended that there should be a termination of the valuations to which we have indicated objection. I share the feelings already expressed. I resent, for instance, a scheme of valuation which attaches a salary of £5,000 a year to the Minister for War and allocates only £2,000 to the Minister for Education I believe a very large number of my fellow-citizens would take the view that the duties discharged by the one are of equal value and responsibility to those of the other. The Committee recommended that there should be a scaling down of the salaries of the Law Officers, including the Lord Chancellor, who gets double what is paid to other Ministers, and also a pension. I have no feeling personally against lawyers. I have worked with them for a number of years and I consider them very useful members of society, but, in common with most people, I could contemplate some, downward variation of the payments made to the Law Officers of the Crown, and believe that could be effected without any serious injustice being done either to them or to their successors.

In January, 1930, the Select Committee that was then set up was required to report upon the report of the Committee of 1920. The Committee of 1920 did not consider the time was then ripe for putting into operation their own scheme in so far as it involved any additional expenditure of public funds. The Committee of 1930 took precisely the same view so far as I am able to interpret what is contained in their report. But they recommended that the Prime Minister's salary should be increased immediately. They were not so courageous in regard to the Law Officers, but they said most definitely that any general revision involving increases was in their opinion unjustifiable at the time. That, in my submission, is the position to-day. The party for whom I speak would be quite prepared in happier circumstances to consider proposals involving additional expenditure upon those who serve the nation in this House, but such a proposal to be fully acceptable would not have to suffer the limitations of the proposal which is now before us. I and those associated with we would, in those circumstances, be prepared to contemplate a comprehensive review of the case not only of Ministers but of Members of Parliament, and particularly of the gentleman who serves the House and the country as Leader of His Majesty's Opposition. I hesitate to believe that Ministers of the Crown would consider that their case is more urgent than that of others who serve the country in this House.

To sum up, the position which I and those associated with me take up is this: At a time like this, when many hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens find it necessary to observe the most rigid economy; when multitudes of citizens are living in circumstances in which they regard the meagre salaries of Members of Parliament, let alone those of the Ministers of the Crown, as wealth beyond their dreams; when they have to observe such economy that the expenditure of a single penny has to be considered; when the least fortunate among them are under the harrow of a means test, which some hon. Gentlemen who will support this Motion would still maintain; when money for urgent social services is withheld; when educational development is restricted; when adequate pensions for the aged derelicts of industry are held to be too great a burden for our nation; when we are warned, also, to contemplate heavier taxation—at a time like this we take the view that, justifiable as is the proposal to adjust anomalies and remove unfairness to the extent suggested in the report and in the Motion, we cannot approve of additional aggregate expenditure out of public money for the purposes proposed.

5.18 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment.

The mere fact that so many years have elapsed since a Select Committee first inquired into this matter, that so recently as 1930 a further inquiry was held, and that up to the moment no steps have been taken in this matter, shows pretty conclusively that it is a very delicate subject. I listened to the two excellent speeches of the hon. Members who moved and seconded the Motion. They pointed out the anomalies which exist, they laid stress upon the duties of Ministers, they showed the hardships which occur in so many cases and the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet) declared that if their proposal was right he, for his part, would not take into account the possible cost. Further, the speeches have clearly indicated that a proposal of this kind cannot very well be kept within the limits of the Motion, that if Ministers' salaries are to he reviewed and the question of Ministers' pensions is to be raised it is obvious that the position of hon. Members of this House who are not Ministers must also be brought in.

But we must pay some attention to public opinion and have regard to those whom we represent, and I am satisfied that a proposal to increase the aggregate amount paid to Ministers would not receive very much support in the country. The country would be inclined to say, "It may be true that there are anomalies, that salaries are not adjusted as satisfactorily as they might be, but there is no reason why Ministers of the Crown should not pool their salaries and arrange a more equitable distribution of the money." To do that would, in my opinion, go some way to meet the needs of the situation. But if we have a proposal such as was put forward by the Seconder of the Motion, embracing various scales and various increases, I feel that millions of people outside would raise very strong objections to salary increases being granted to Ministers. Not only would the objections come from members of the working classes, but also from members of that vast body of lower middle-class people who have extreme difficulty in carrying on at all in these times, who for the riot part have no social services and have no pension—not even the small pension of 10s. a week—to which to look forward to.


I tried to point out that the position is not likely to be easier during the next few years, that whatever Government brought forward any such alterations would meet with exactly the same criticism as the hon. Member suggests would arise now, and, that being so, does the hon. Member think that the present anomalies should be allowed to continue for an indefinite number of years?


I gather that the point the hon. Member puts to me is, whether these anomalies should continue indefinitely, and the suggestion is that they cannot be removed without, providing a greater sum, in tie aggregate, for Ministers' salaries. I suggest, on the other hand, that it might; be possible to remove some of the anomalies by pooling the present salaries of Ministers. That is a practical suggestion. If there is really all this hardship to Ministers they have a possible and practical remedy in their own hands. I feel that hardly any Member of this House can approve of the enormous sum in salaries and fees which the Law Officers of the Crown draw from year to year, and it might be possible to bring those salaries and fees into the account.

I was very much surprised to hear the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham attempt to defend the present practice by declaring that unless we are prepared to offer the Law Officers these enormous fees, plus salaries, we shall be unable to get the right class of man. I regard that as a very bad argument. I am fairly certain in my own mind that there are many men occupying high positions in the law who would be very pleased indeed to serve as Law Officers of the Crown for many, many thousands a year less than we are paying at the present time. If hon. Members are looking for more money wherewith to pay Cabinet Ministers higher salaries there is something there which should receive their serious consideration.

A point that rather worries me is this. We have in this country old age pensioners, for instance, with only 10s. a week, who are finding it extremely difficult to live at all, and it has been said many times that even the £400 a, year paid to Members of Parliament—less Income Tax and less all their possible expenses—would seem wealth beyond their dreams to many people, and it would be extremely difficult to go to the ordinary man in the street and say, "My friend, we are very sorry for our Cabinet Ministers. They hardly have sufficient to live on, scarcely sufficient to keep up the dignity of their position. Won't you agree to make some contribution towards putting these Ministers of State in a position above want or above any economic trouble or worry."

It would be very wrong indeed if it should go out from this House that the salaries are the primary considerations which tempt men to serve as Cabinet Ministers. Perhaps I am taking an idealistic view of politicians and Cabinet Ministers, but I believe there are in this country to-day men who are quite prepared to serve their country, and that with them the salary is a secondary and not a primary consideration. A good deal has been said about the position of the Prime Minister. It seems to be generally agreed that the Prime Minister is not sufficiently well paid. The argument is that his position entails expenses for entertaining and that kind of thing, which make serious inroads not only upon his salary but also upon his private purse. If that be so, it should not be beyond the wit of the Government to remedy that state of affairs by making some allowance to the Prime Minister for expenses apart from his salary.

Even if the House were to pass this Motion I am satisfied that it would be 10th to see it implemented in present circumstances. We are confronted kith a period of high taxation. The policy of the Government means that there will be no relief from taxation for some years to come. The policy of the Government does not tend to bring great relief to unemployed people or old age pensioners. However inopportune this matter may have been 10 years ago, it is more inopportune now, having regard to the condition of the majority of the people of this country.

We should be doing very wrong indeed if we did not move an Amendment to limit this expenditure. We recognise the moderation of the case that has been put, and perhaps, in some measure, the justification for the Motion, but I beg the House not to take a step which will inevitably lead to the odious comparison that this House is prepared to spend time, and perhaps the money of the country, in remedying an anomaly affecting a few individuals but, when it is a question of remedying the position of, may be, a million people by adding a little money to old age pensions or unemployment benefit, will say: "We are very sorry for you and for the position in which you find yourselves, but we are unable to do anything for you because the country cannot afford to do so." Many people would say that a lot of people are worse off than Cabinet Ministers. Do not let it be said that we are prepared to apply a remedy in one case while saying that we cannot do anything in the other. I hope that the Amendment will be accepted.

5.33 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel SPENDER-CLAY

All speakers are in agreement so far that there are great anomalies in the rates of salaries of Cabinet Ministers and Ministers. I feel very strongly on this subject. It is a matter which ought to have been dealt with years ago. I can remember that before the War Cabinet Ministers and Ministers found considerable difficulty in making both ends meet, but the value of money is now considerably less than it was in 1913 and 1914, and the scale of taxation is almost doubled. This matter ought not to be shirked by successive Governments for reasons which were put to the House by the Proposer and Seconder of the Motion. It is difficult to justify an expenditure of more money on Cabinet Ministers or on Ministers generally, because other classes in the community are far worse off. I recognise that there are men in the country who are prepared to serve the country and with whom money is a secondary thought, but, in the interests of good government, the idea that a great country like this should be governed by men who give up their time to it and sacrifice thereby something which might have benefited them or their families in their old age is not satisfactory, and is the reason why I am speaking this afternoon.

I can speak with more freedom than, perhaps, any other Member of the House, certainly than the younger men who may fill offices in years to come. I can speak with greater freedom than Members of either Front Bench, because my Parliamentary life is behind me, and I am much more likely to be superannuated than to get a salary as a Minister. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet) mentioned the difficulty of changing Ministers from one position to another when their salaries are not alike. It is not easy for a Prime Minister to go to a colleague who may be Secretary of State for War or one of the £5,000-a-year Ministers, and say: "I want your help in the Ministry of Labour," or "I want you to go to the Ministry of Agriculture. You will drop £3,000 a year." It is not only important to the Minister himself but to his family, and to the children whom he may be educating, and there is also the Super-tax which he will be called upon to pay out of his reduced salary. All those things may make it extremely difficult for a Prime Minister to call upon a colleague to take another post.

A clear case occurred in the last Parliament. The present Prime Minister, when he was Lord President of the Council, was the head of the largest party in the State. He obviously had great influence as to whom he could nominate for the great posts of the State. He had a house in Downing Street which cost a considerable sum of money to keep up, but he was paid £2,000 a year, while a Secretary of State had £5,000 a year. As the head of the largest party in the State he had to do a good deal of entertaining in addition to his other expenses. That state of affairs is absurd. All Ministers, whatever their office, should have equal status and should receive the same pay. You would thus get away from that difficulty of asking a Member of the Cabinet to transfer hip work from one Department to another.

In this country we are indeed fortunate, in that we have a lot of men and women who come into this House because they are interested in politics or are altruistic enough to want to be of service to the community. There is a certain number of what I may call professional politicians. It is difficult to define the term " professional politician," but most of us know a professional politician when we meet him. The great majority of people come into this House with the idea of service. But that does not mean that they have private means. They have to live, and if they have not private means they may have to search for directorships; or perhaps they get into Parliament in order that they may receive higher fees for lectures. All those things are undesirable. In order to get the most efficient administration of the country, adequate payment as a remuneration should be given to Ministers. It is unthinkable that after years spent in the public service a man who has been in the Government for many years should look forward to a future in straitened circumstances. I appeal to anybody who has been in the position of receiving a large salary like £5,000 a year. They cannot save against old age on a sum like that.

If a Member of this House has the important position of Secretary of State, he has certain responsibilities, entailing expenditure, on behalf of himself and his family. He has to maintain some sort of position. In view of the taxation which exists to-day I do not believe that it is possible for any man, even if he is a considerable period in office as Secretary of State, to lay aside sufficient money so that in old age he can be free from anxiety of all kinds. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chippenham mentioned pensions for Ministers. In the Civil Service and the Army and Navy, men who have served the State receive a pension. It is just as necessary, if it is not mere necessary, that men who have devoted their lives to governing the country, and who probably might have made a great deal more outside the House of Commons, or outside the Government, should have similar consideration. It is essential that there should be some form of deferred payment in the way of pension, perhaps in the way suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend, so much a year for each year of service.

It is difficult, in arguing a, case of this kind, not to come to personalities. Many of us had the honour of serving in the same House with the late Lord Oxford and Asquith. Lord Asquith's transcendent abilities would have earned him a large capital sum on which to retire, if he had either continued his work at the Bar or had gone into business. Nobody would deny that. Yet when Lord Asquith had given up his Prime Ministership, after something like nine years, he was so hard up that—I do not think it is indelicate to say—many of his friends helped him to tide over some of his difficulties. That is a scandal, that a man who has been Prime Minister of this country should not have enough to live on. That is why I am speaking so strongly this afternoon.

What is the alternative? Mention was made of reminiscences. I see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) sitting on the Front Opposition Bench. His book was one of the most interesting books I have read for a long time, but I hate the idea of an ex-Minister of the Crown having to produce something rather highly coloured. If it is not highly coloured it will not sell. I say in front of his face—I would not have said it if he had not been here—that I do not like an ex-Prime Minister writing for the syndicated Press of America for gain. I should have liked him to have been able to put that on one side. No Prime Minister, not being so fortunately situated as the right hon. Gentleman, should be in a position of having to sell his experience, perhaps to the syndicated Press of a foreign country.


Ex-Presidents of the United States of America have done exactly the same.

Lieut.-Colonel SPENDER-CLAY

I do not think that makes any difference at all. It is very unfortunate. I do not know whether Presidents of the United States of America have pensions or not. That is not my argument. The point is that I do not think any man ought to he put in the position of having to do it. I believe that the present Government could bring about this reform far better than hon. Gentlemen opposite. I know it might be said that it was wrong that Ministers should vote themselves increased salaries, or give themselves pensions, when, while others are only getting 10 shillings a week, they are getting as many hundreds. We know that arguments of that kind will be brought forward, but, if we believe it, to be right, and in the best interests of the country, we have to take that risk. And for goodness' sake do not let us have any more Royal Commissions, do not let us have Any more Select Committees. Everything is known about the matter. Let us try to get agreement between the parties, to get them to work together and agree upon a policy. Do not let us say, "Put it off"; do not let this be another academic question which will crop up, perhaps, on a private Member's Motion next year; let us do something; and I think that this is the time at which to do it.

5.47 p.m.


My excuse for intervening in this Debate is that I had the privilege of being a member of the Select Committee which in 1930 examined the question involved in the Motion. Our terms of reference were very limited; we were only asked to consider the report that had been made in 1920, and see whether any modifications were necessary as a result of what had intervened between 1920 and 1930. Our report, like those of other committees on which I have sat, has never produced any result, but this is a matter of some importance, and I think we might expect some results from the Government at the present time. There are some matters on which private Members of the House of Commons may properly expect to receive a lead from the Government, but there are other occasions upon which private Members may give a lead to the Government, and I think that this is an example. I hope the House will give expression to-day to an opinion to which the Government will give effect, because it is called the National Government, and this is its first year of office, and if a National Government in its first year of office cannot do this, I am afraid that no other Government will do it for many years to come.

To my mind this is a matter of policy, for our attitude towards a question like this really represents our attitude towards our Parliamentary system in this country. I think the question of the salaries of the Prime Minister and the Ministers of the Government is one which affects the dignity and efficiency of Parliamentary government. Among the greatest of the pecularities which exists at the present time is in regard to the salary of the Prime Minister. Every speaker in the Debate has agreed that it is really inconsistent with the dignity of the office of Prime Minister of this great country that a man should be in the position which Lord Asquith described as a position in which a man leaves office poorer than he was when he entered it. There are two possible ways of dealing with the matter. One is to maintain the salary at £5,000 a year and give an extra allowance for expenses. This question was considered by the Select Committee of 1930, and I think that I myself put a question to the present Prime Minister which has a bearing on the point. I asked him whether it was his opinion that it would be preferable to raise the salary from £5,000 to ¢x, rather than to add to the £5,000 a certain amount in respect of expenses. His answer was: Oh, much better. You know where you are, and I do not think you could estimate the expenses. I think it is much better that you should see exactly what the income is, and that it should be subject to taxation the same as everybody else's. I rather think that that was also stated by other witnesses. The Committee heard not only the present Prime Minister, but also the Lord President of the Council who was then Prime Minister, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who was an ex-Prime Minister. I do not think anyone will contest the proposition that it is really not consistent with the dignity of this great country that its Prime Minister should be in the position in which he is at the present time. I think we can brush aside the suggestion that this country may not be able to get a Prime Minister by reason of financial considerations. I do not suppose that anybody is likely to refuse the office of Prime Minister because the acceptance of it might put him to the necessity of applying to his bank manager for an overdraft. I do not think that financial considerations are likely to prevent this country from having the Prime Minister it deserves; I do not think they would prevent the country from having the Prime Minister it wants—and, of course, he may be a very different man from the other. I think the point is that, if you believe in the system of Parliamentary Government, the Prime Minister, whoever he may be, should at least be free from the fretful and vexatious irritations of financial embarrassment.

That has a bearing on another matter in which I personally take a great interest, and that is that, a man, when he ceases to be Prime Minister, should be provided for. Therefore, I personally would welcome the suggestion that the Leader of the Opposition, who in normal circumstances is the ex-Prime Minister, should also have an allowance. I attach very great importance to that for two reasons. The, first is a practical one, namely, that the Leader of the Opposition has to devote a very great amount of time to the business of this House; and the second is that, if you gave a salary, or whatever you like to call it, to the Leader of the Opposition, you would be doing something to affirm what is really inherent in the Constitution of this country, namely, that he is the Leader of His Majesty's Opposition, and would be recognising thereby that the existence of an Opposition in this House is of as much importance to the good government of the country as the existence of the Government itself. That would be a valuable contribution to one of the most important principles of our constitutional Government.

In speaking of the other Ministers, apart from the Prime Minister, it may be that we are entering upon debatable ground, but it seems to me very extraordinary that there should be this differentiation between the salaries attached to different offices. I think, if I may say so without having in mind the present holders of the offices, it is rather ridiculous that a mart who occupies the position of Minister of Labour should have a much smaller salary than the Home Secretary, or that the President of the Board of Education should have the same salary as the First Com- missioner of Works. Those are only two illustrations of the ludicrous differentiation which exists at the present time between the salaries attaching to different offices. My suggestion, and I believe it is incorporated in the Motion, would be that the differentiation should be based on the principle of giving one salary to members of the Cabinet and another salary to Departmental chiefs. I do not know on what principle the Prime Minister makes up his Government, but it is quite a pleasant occupation to sit on the Opposition Benches and observe the conduct of various Members of the Government; and it is also a profitable occupation, because it gives one a great insight into the character of the Prime Minister and the influences which must control the policy of the pary which furnishes the Government at any particular time. I do not think anyone can be in this House for long without wondering why certain people have been put in certain Departments, or even in any Department, and why certain others have not been given office at all; but I feel that a Prime Minister, in forming his Government, must be embarrassed by the fact that there are certain offices the holders of which he thinks he must include in his Cabinet.

There are certain Members of the House from time to time who may be excellent departmental chiefs, and whom the Prime Minister would like to put in a particular department on account of their qualifications. But, while a man has these departmental qualifications, which would cause the Prime Minister to allot him to a particular office, he might not wish to include him in the Cabinet. On the other hand, there might he other men to whom close attention to the infinite detail attaching to a big office would be very irksome, but whose experience, character and knowledge might enable them to exert a powerful influence in the councils of the nation; but such a man cannot be put into the Cabinet unless he is also put into one of these offices. Therefore, while supporting the suggestion that Cabinet Ministers' salaries should he on one level scale, I think the number of Cabinet Ministers should be reduced.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Dennis Herbert)

If we get into a discussion on the question of the construction of the Cabinet generally, we shall get a very long way from the question raised by the Motion.


With great respect, I thought that that was the most fruitful topic of discussion, but of course I must obey your Ruling. I only introduced it for the purpose of pointing out that it has a bearing on the question of uniformity of salaries, in the sense that, while we are advocating uniformity of salaries for Cabinet Ministers, we are also anxious to assist and strengthen the arm of the Prime Minister by enabling him to choose for membership of the Cabinet those who possess qualities of knowledge and experience which may be of great value in matters of general policy, even though they may not be very well qualified for departmental duties. I am not very much enamoured of the idea of pensions for ex-Cabinet Ministers. If anything of that nature is required, the one thing to avoid is that it should be on the basis that existed before, when it was open to an ex-Cabinet Minister to apply for a pension but when he applied he had to show that he was in need of it. If it should be necessary at all to make provision for ex-Cabinet Ministers, it should be on a very small scale and should be open to everyone without a. means test.

I approach this problem from the point of view of its bearing on our system of Parliamentary government. The institutions of a nation are the institutions of its people, and we in this country have adopted the system of Parliamentary government as the institution which we believe best represents the spirit and the will of the British people. The success or failure of an instrument of that character must depend upon the faith that the people of the country have in it. If we wish to discard our Parliamentary system of government let us do it, but let us do it calmly and with due appreciation of the possibility that when we are discarding the instrument we may also be destroying the institution. But, if we still believe in Parliamentary government, let us be honest, let us be honourable and let us be generous to the servants of that institution. After all, Ministers of the Crown are our servants. One of the surest tests of our faith in our Parliamentary system of government is the treatment that we extend to our servants.

The British are not an ungenerous people. They have shown their generosity in many directions on many occasions. This Motion does not make a very great demand upon the generosity of the people, but it enables us to put our pride into practice, and the British people, in addition to being generous, are a proud people. I feel that the House of Commons to-day would be doing credit to itself if, either by accepting this Motion or in any other way, it took the opportunity of pressing the Government to take action which declared its belief in our system of Parliamentary government, which is the envy of many other countries and which I believe is one of our greatest assets.

6.5 p.m.


I am not completely in agreement with any of the views that have been put before us. In the first place, I do not accept the view that Cabinet Ministers and others are underpaid and are not fully recompensed for their services. There are differences of payment, but those anomalies run throughout the whole economic system. They are not confined to Parliamentary government or to Cabinet Ministers. Throughout the whole system of society there crop up anomalies which one finds it very difficult to defend. It may be said that the Prime Minister receives £5,000 a year while a person who writes or figures on the stage or the screen receives an income far in excess of that. One could quote barristers who receive large incomes while Members of the Government, who render greater service, may receive less, but viewed from my standard, with my perhaps limited knowledge, limited upbringing and limited outlook, I gasp at the rate at which they are remunerated.

When people talk about £5,000 a year being inadequate it makes me gasp. A salary of £5,000 a year is a tremendous sum, a sum which in my wildest dreams I could not conceive. [An HON. MEMBER: "Less Income Tax!"] Make all the deductions you like. Halve it. Make it £2,500. That is £50 a week. I cannot imagine a sum of such staggering dimensions. I am told about expenses. There used to be a legend in the House that Members of Parliament incurred great expenditure. They had to keep up the dignity of the House of Commons, and dress and entertain. I am told that the Prime Minister has to entertain at 10, Downing Street. Whom does he entertain? What is the kind of entertainment? I have searched through this 1920 report but I am yet to be impressed about entertaining. Why does he need to do it? As far as I can see, there is no more necessity for the Prime Minister doing all this entertaining than there was for the former Member of Parliament to keep up the so-called traditions. The Labour Government raised salaries and I remember, when I was a supporter of the Labour party, strenuously opposing an increase of salary from £2,000 to £5,000. I cannot follow this idea that Cabinet Ministers are underpaid. Throughout, the length and breadth of the country you have men rendering great service to the community on local authorities without a penny piece of payment.

If we are going into the question of salaries, we have not to start from the angle that the Cabinet Minister is the only man rendering service to the community. We have to examine the subject from the point of view of everyone who is upholding our democratic institutions, and examine the remuneration of the humble city councillors. I think Cabinet Ministers are overpaid. I was not keen to raise this subject. There are important things that we Mould concentrate upon, but this is not one of them, and I was prepared to allow sleeping dogs to lie, but if the question is to be raised I think Ministers are overpaid. If they have legitimate expenses let them at the end of each quarter submit a return of their expenditure to the proper Department. Every State servant has to do it. The permanent chief of the Ministry of Labour makes a return and is paid his expenses. Why should not Cabinet Ministers do the same? I would reduce every one of their salaries considerably.

We have been told time and again that we are passing through difficult times. I often wish they had a means test when I see the Lord President of the Council and his son both in the Cabinet because I do not see how either of them can be hard-up. I think they are very well off indeed. I know this will arouse annoyance, but it is going to be said. We are told that higher salaries might attract better men. In the picking of Cabinet Ministers if you doubled or trebled salaries you would not often change the occupancy. The Gentleman who occupies the Dominions Office only holds it because his father held office before him. In the ordinary run of political events, if it had not been for that he would have occupied a very minor back-bench position. Everyone knows it. There is nothing outstanding. I should be the last to penalise a man because of his father. I can conceive of a man who had a distinguished father and was also distinguished himself, but I can see nothing in this case.

Both the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet) and, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Maclay) made persuasive speeches. The hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham reached an eloquence which I have never heard him attain before, and I only wish it had been in a better cause. He stated that the salary of Members of Parliament was not sufficient and should be £600 a year, but, speaking for myself and. not for my colleagues, do not take the view that Members of Parliament are underpaid. I receive £400 a year as a Member of Parliament, and I suppose that I am one of the few hon. Members in this House who does not receive any added income. In addition to the expense of living in town, I have to keep a home in Glasgow, where I represent a division which contains a terrible amount of poverty. I have a volume of correspondence equal to that of any of my colleagues, and greater perhaps than that of most hon. Members. I live decently and well, and never grumble about my income. I get all the necessaries of life, and I do not envy anybody who is more highly paid. My one great desire is to see the people whom I represent bettered, and before demanding any increase of my salary, at least I ought to demand some kind of increase for the toiling people whom I represent. I do not think that a Member of Parliament, if he exercises ordinary care and observes the ordinary decencies of life, is in any way underpaid.

I was not altogether happy when I used to sit with colleagues in the Labour party because there were Members who also held other positions, thus receiving more than they had previously. I am not keen on making membership of Parliament any more attractive than it is. As far as hon. Members in the group to which I belong are concerned, no matter what Committee may be set up, we shall oppose any increase in salaries. Hon. Members who sit on this side used to agree with us. The "Forward" which was edited by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) carried on a campaign for years to reduce the salaries of Cabinet Ministers. But I am aware that that editor afterwards became a Cabinet Minister himself and somewhat altered his opinion, but that does not really matter. We were in agreement, and I still intend to abide by that position. The House of Commons, instead of discussing a Motion of this kind concerning Ministers' salaries, which I think are ample, and in many cases, possibly excessive, would have done itself greater credit if it had discussed other people with a greater claim. We shall support the Amendment, and if it is defeated, oppose the Motion.

6.20 p.m.


I intervene at this stage for a few minutes because I do not profess to be able to state the Government attitude on the question, except that the matter which has been the subject of consideration by two Select Committees is one upon which the Government are anxious to know the opinion of the House of Commons. The result of the discussion in the House to-day will be made a matter for serious and perhaps active consideration by the Government. It has emerged from the discussion that there is a great deal of unanimity on many points. It is true that the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) has delivered a speech in which he has raised practically a single voice against the arguments which have been used by other hon. Members. He will forgive me if I do not follow him into all the things he raised in his very interesting speech, because this is a question of getting the sense of the House.

The Motion is of interest to the Government. The first point which emerges upon which there is agreement, is the question of the Prime Minister's salary. That has been referred to by two previous Select Committees, and my hon. Friends who introduced this Motion and who treated the subject with such moderation seemed to follow the same line. The hon. Member for Gorbals takes the view that the Prime Minister's office at £5,000 a year is overpaid. Surely the fact is that, taking life as it is and not perhaps as it ought to be, it is a lamentable thing that the four last holders of that office, as one of them expressed it, left office after years of devoted service to the State each the poorer than when they entered it.

The House would no doubt agree that politics of any sort and concerns of State should never be made, as long as the Parliamentary system is in force, a money-making career. The man who goes into politics turns his back upon a great number of the monetary prizes which are held open to other vocations. At the same time, though that is true and right, I do not think that it could be the wish of this country or of the House that these great duties should be performed solely by reason of a subvention paid to the State out of a man's private pocket. For that reason there seems to be in the House general agreement that the office, being what it is and the calls upon it being what they are, is a matter worthy of Government consideration.

Hon. Members have noted the great anomalies and inequalities which exist in the salaries of Ministers. That is due, as the hon. Member for the Park Division of Sheffield (Mr. Lathan) mentioned, to' the fact that these salaries were fixed at different times when the offices were of different importance from what they are to-day. The general view seems to be, if I interpret it correctly, that the recommendation of the Select Committee of 1920 is probably a good line to follow, that when a Minister is a Cabinet Minister he should get the same salary no matter what particular office he holds. It is worth while to point out to the House the fact, of which no doubt hon. Members are well aware, that a great deal of the work of modern government is carried on by means of Cabinet Committees. Therefore, although the Minister may be attached for Departmental purposes to a certain office he has, if he is in the Cabinet, to acquaint himself with a vast variety of topics which lie outside the pale of that Department altogether. Consequently Members of the Cabinet have to work very hard upon matters quite distinct from their own Departments. As they share the responsibility, there seems to be a good case for some equalisation in the emoluments given to them by the State.

I was greatly impressed by what my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. Maclay) said about the Secretary of State for Scotland. He discharges in that office the functions for his own country which are discharged by four other first-class Ministers in England. A vast variety of administration passes through his hands. Here perhaps I am a little at variance with the hon. Member for Gorbals. Apart from his contribution to the Debate, there appears to be a general agreement that the salaries at present paid to Ministers are not excessive. I exclude him from that general agreement. I ask the House to notice one great fact which has considerably altered the value of the salaries since the time they were originally fixed. When a Cabinet Minister in Victorian times received a salary of £5,000 a year, he got away with the greater part of it, because at the time Income Tax was a very small affair; but the immense increase in the incidence of direct taxation has made very striking changes in the actual emoluments received by Ministers. Take a Minister, say, with £5,000 a year who is married and has one child, and suppose he has nothing but his £5,000 a year. The total emoluments he receives, after deduction of Income Tax, are £3,676. That means that by these fiscal changes the salaries of Ministers have in the last 100 years in actual fact undergone a progressive decrease. Therefore, I think that it will be agreed that the emoluments received are not excessive.

The Amendment moved by the hon. Member for the Park Division of Sheffield seeks to confine the action of the House in this matter to a mere pooling of the salaries at present paid. It would seek to fetter the Government in any action they might take by the proviso that the aggregate sum paid in salaries should not be increased. I do not believe that that is in accordance with the wish of the majority of Members who have spoken today, but I can see great difficulties in principle. Why should you take the total sum paid out to-day as the final word of wisdom on what the total of Minister' salaries should be? The State is by no means a static organisation, its activities develop and multiply in a most surprising fashion, and consequently, to say, "This would always have to do for the future" or, "We pay to-day in salaries to our servants so much, and we are never going to pay any more, no matter what the position is," would be a position that it would be impossible to defend.

The point raised by hon. Members, as to the impropriety of raising Ministerial salaries when there are, alas, so many of our fellow subjects who have not enough, struck a sympathetic chord in the hearts of hon. Members, but I suggest. that that is not relevant to the subject-matter of this issue. This is not a question of voting money for a particular purpose. The real question at issue is that the House are asking themselves, "Are we paying our servants enough?" The State employs a great number of servants, and I think that the hon. Member for the Park Division of Sheffield does not suggest that because there is poverty in some places in this country, we should not pay the civil servants, the industrious employés of the State, adequate remuneration. Surely that would be a position which would be contrary to every principle of Government. The Government in its industrial activities has to employ people and has always tried, and I hope will still try, to be in the front rank of employers in regard to wages and conditions. It is a poor suggestion to say that because there is poverty in some cases we should not pay adequate remuneration.

This is a private Member's Motion and the House is grateful to the hon. Member for raising the matter. We discuss matters which sometimes raise questions of policy affecting the world at large on private Members' Motions, and on those occasions the Government spokesman has to give an indication of the Government's view. This is a question which is properly raised by a private Member, and I can only say that the discussion will be taken into most serious consideration by the Government and may form the basis of action if they so decide.

6.32 p.m.


The House is indebted to the Mover and Seconder of the Motion for the way in which they have presented it to the House. They gave us some quite illuminating information in support of their case, but I, and I think other hon. Members, feel a little regret that the hon. Member gave notice of his Motion in such narrow terms. There are obviously other anomalies, in connection with our arrangements in this House, which equally call for attention. For instance, there is the difference between the pay of Minister and Minister in the Cabinet, and you also have the anomaly that in some cases a Minister in charge of a Department actually receives less than his Permanent Secretary. So far as our internal arrangements are concerned—I, of course, make no reflection whatever on the occupants of the office—I feel sure that there is no hon. Member who will logically defend the extraordinary difference in the matter of pay meted out to the Chairman of Ways and Means and the Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means. One gets £2,500 and the other £1,000. It seems to me a wholly illogical differentiation. Both these occupants serve the House with acceptance to all hon. Members, but there is this anomaly which exists in the case of these two highly respected hon. Members.

There are further anomalies—I will not speak of them in detail—in respect of the very onerous responsibilities which are discharged by some hon. Members of this House for which they get no recognition and no assistance. That is why I regret that the hon. Member has confined his attention to the anomalies which arise in connection with the salaries of Ministers, the Prime Minister in particular, and has not covered a wider field in order to deal with other anomalies which exist. If the Government are going to examine this question, and I rather gather that they will, I hope they will cast their eyes a little further afield than the confines of the Motion and remove some of the glaring and obvious anomalies which cry aloud for attention. Let me deal with another anomaly which occurs in regard to entertainment. I cannot accept entirely what the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) says. The lord mayors of cities and many mayors of other towns —


I used the term "Lord Provosts," and by law the Lord Provosts of Glasgow and of Edinburgh are given no allowance.


I had forgotten that Scotland is rather more economical than England. But in England lord mayors of cities, and very frequently, indeed almost invariably, the mayors of boroughs, get an allowance of £500 or £1,000, sometimes more, to enable them to discharge the function of entertaining which falls upon them in the discharge of their duties. There is an anomaly here. Some Ministers, qua Ministers, never have the responsibility of entertaining; other Ministers, qua Ministers, have a great deal of entertaining to discharge. For instance, the task of entertaining discharged by the President of the Board of Education and the Foreign Secretary simply cannot be compared. The Foreign Secretary, having to meet foreign representatives as he did last week, obviously has to show some hospitality, and, therefore, it seems to me that there is a case for this element of entertaining, but I submit—and here I think the hon. Member for Gorbals will agree—if he is to undertake entertaining at all it ought not to be part of his salary; it ought not to fall upon him personally, but should be an expense incurred through some form of government hospitality, a hospitality which the nation should bear and not the Minister concerned. I am in entire agreement with the Financial Secretary that it is a bad thing that payment for this hospitality should be provided by way of a subvention from the person's private pocket. Wherever it is desirable I think it should be an entirely separate item from the Minister's salary, an item which should fall directly upon public funds.


Does the hon. Member refer to the Government hospitality fund, because there is such a fund, which is used by Ministers for entertaining; or does he refer to private hospitality, which it may be desirable to extend?


It is rather difficult to determine at what point Government hospitality begins and private hospitality ends, but I am sure that some modus vivendi can be established whereby the Government hospitality fund should bear a certain part of the burden, leaving the other part of the burden to the Minister to bear, within certain well-defined rules. In regard to the case of the Prime Minister, I have heard from individual Prime Ministers the inevitable expenses which fall upon them because of their occupancy of No. 10, Downing Street, that I feel very sympathetic to them. What I am going to say now may send many persons who have a high regard for ancient monuments into a paroxysm of anger, but for my part I should get rid of No. 10, Downing Street as a residence for the Prime Minister. It is a hopelessly unsuitable place and a much more modern and acceptable place should be available as an official residence, leaving No. 10 to be used for conferences. There is indeed an anomaly in regard to residences. There is Admiralty House, which I am told is an exceedingly expensive place to maintain, and which entails a personal expenditure on the incumbent of that office apart from any other expenses he may incur on behalf of the Government. The same applies to the residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The whole question of residences ought to be considered as a separate item from the personal salary of the Minister concerned.

I think I should agree that the Prime Minister's case is somewhat different from that of the rest of the Cabinet, but if you except the item of entertainment and the question of residence, I do not think that there is a case at this particular moment for reconsidering Cabinet Minister's salaries. I express that view with some reluctance, because I have never had experience of Cabinet office, and those who have may throw more light upon the problem. But we must not forget this fact, and it is the dominating consideration for me. This House and the last House insisted for the general mass of the poor of this country that they should not get support except on the basis of a means test. How can a House which persists in maintaining that provision honestly go and increase Cabinet salaries in this way at this juncture? I do not think it is a desirable thing to do; I do not think it is quite a dafensible thing to do. I am all in favour of equalising the salaries of Cabinet Ministers. A Cabinet Minister may apparently occupy what seems to be a light job and a less onerous post than another, but such is the work of the modern Cabinet that Cabinet committees are set up on all sorts of subjects and Cabinet Ministers have to be conscripted for this and the other committee.

In these days, when we insist—I use the word "insist" without any diffidence, for we have challenged it and the House has insisted—that this money shall be spent only after the most meticulous and exhaustive examination, how can we go to the country and defend the proposition that we should increase salaries for those who have themselves conceived that machinery? Therefore, while we are in favour of the general proposal for a readjustment of salaries within the ambit of the present aggregate expenditure, plus special consideration for the Prime Minister, and plus some special form of provision for entertainment and inevitable expenditure of that sort, we are not convinced that there is an urgent case for the application of the Motion proposed by the hon. Gentleman.

I trust there will be no objection to my making a further observation. There are many who dislike speaking about their own salaries, but I do not see why Members of Parliament should be afraid to speak of their salaries. After all, we have a task to discharge and many of us, in carrying out our job of being Members of Parliament, undertake great risks. I do not speak for myself, since I am fortunate enough to have a very safe seat, but there are men who come into this House and who do not know what will be their chances of being in the next Parliament. They make a complete break with their profession, and they do not know what will happen to them politically at the end of four years. The risk is a very big one, and the older the man, the nearer to 45 or 50, the bigger the risk, for then he cannot return to his job and pick up the threads where he left them three or four years previously. Consequently, it seems to me that the case for the consideration of the remuneration of Members of Parliament is as insistent as that of the remuneration of Cabinet Ministers. If my memory does not play me false, I think I once heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for. West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) speak very eloquently any sympathetically on this matter. It is a matter which the House ought not to be ashamed to consider afresh in the most sympathetic terms.

There is one other side of this question which has so far not been mentioned in the Debate. I have never been a delegate on behalf of the Government at an international conference, but friends of mine have been, and I know of their experience. They have found that the scale of allowance given to our delegates when they go abroad, and have to return hospitality as they have to accept it during that time, is one which is hopelessly at variance with needs. Let us, if we wish, be mean to each other and to ourselves inside the boundaries of our own country—


What you want is that they should have a blow-out.


The hon. Gentleman must not talk such nonsense.


That is what you are asking for.


No, I am not. If hon. Gentlemen have to go abroad, they must meet other delegates, and very frequently the only opportunity of meeting them is around a table. That is something which cannot be avoided. Our delegates cannot always accept hospitality from other people and not give any in return, and if they return it they must obviously do so on the same scale. If they are not able to do so, their country is, so to speak, held up in an adverse light as compared with other countries. I am sure the hon. Gentleman the Member for Gorbals will acquit me of any desire to see men spending public money wildly or fruitlessly, but I want to see our representatives abroad able to maintain their position with dignity and without there being any possibility of adverse reflections upon the dignity of the country which they represent.

In conclusion, we feel obliged to support our Amendment in the Division Lobby to-night, because we feel that the circumstances of the time, while justifying the adjustment in the sense which we indicate, do not justify us in going the whole length of the Motion moved by the hon. Member.

6.52 p.m.


My hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said that he discerned on certain matters a degree of unanimity among speakers in this Debate. I would like to emphasise another matter on which I believe there is a great degree of agreement in the House. Speaking for the Government, my hon. Friend said that on entering a political career a man finally turns his back on great and glittering monetary prizes. I think that is true, except in one case—that of the Law Officers and any Member of the Government who eventually becomes Lord Chancellor. Indeed, I feel it is only a man such as the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet) who, in the matter of the remuneration of the Law Officers, would have the skill, the courage, or the charm so successfully to excuse the status quo. The recent promotion of the right hon. Member for Fareham (Sir T. Inskip) to be the ruler of the King's Navy, Army and Air Force has exposed the greatest anomaly of all. The right hon. Member is to receive as much as the Prime Minister and yet at the same time he has to sustain the loss of about three-quarters of his former emoluments.

It has always seemed to me to be a fantastic thing that the Law Officers of England should receive the one about four times and the other twice as much as the Prime Minister, without even holding office in the Cabinet, and both, in theory at least, occupying merely minor offices in the Government. In order that the House may realise the precise enormity of this anomaly, may I respectfully recall to their memory some information given to me to-day by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury at Question time? He said that the total emoluments in fees and salaries during the 10 financial years ended 31st March, 1935, were as follows: Attorneys-General, £188,067; Solicitors-General, £114,212. Let the House observe that those figures represent the remuneration received by the two Law Officers for a period of 10 years, including two or three years of acute industrial depression. The House is aware that the Attorney-General, now that his cut has been restored, receives £7,000 per annum, in addition to fees, and that the Solicitor-General again gets £6,000 per annum, also in addition to fees.


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The full scale to which he has referred was reduced at the time of the cuts in 1931, and each Law Officer received £2,500. When the other cuts were restored, the cuts of the Law Officers were restored only to the extent that the Attorney-General receives £5,000 a year and the Solicitor-General £4,000 a year. That is in addition to fees.


Any member of the Bar would be very happy indeed to be in receipt of sums of between £16,000 and £20,000 per annum.


May I point out that up to the time the present Lord Chancellor occupied the position of Attorney-General, the average life of a Law Officer in this country was one year and eight months. Thai has to be taken into consideration.


Yes, a short life and a very profitable one. An hon. Member had contended that a proportion of the fees which go to the Law Oficers come out of the costs paid by those litigating against the Crown when they lose their case, but a very small proportion comes from that source, because in many cases the Crown is not allowed to recover costs. Surely, the more sensible and equitable thing to do, when the costs are recovered by the counsel appearing on behalf of the Crown, would be to return them to the Exchequer. I think I have illustrated the magnitude of this particular enormity. If it be suggested that Law Officers forgo greater remuneration at the Bar by accepting office under the Crown, I must frankly state that that is an argument which has never impressed me. In the first place, it is by no means invariably true, and surely the holding of an office under the Crown should be some compensation for any hypothetical loss. It seems to me nothing short of a slur upon the honour of the members of my own profession to suggest that they are solely concentrating upon lining their own pockets. Moreover, do not other Ministers who had great commercial connections before entering the Government sacrifice them when entering the Cabinet or some subsidiary office? There is also the virtual certainty of a Law Officer eventually occupying some important position on the Bench.

My learned Friends the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General are not present at the moment, but if by accident they read my remarks, they must not re- gard that which I have been saying as in any way a personal attack. Their ability and integrity fully entitle them to receive as much as any of their predecessors. I hope they will forgive me when I say that the lop-sided good fortune which attends their offices seems to me nothing short of a public scandal. Nor have I ever been able to understand why the Lord Chancellor should not merely be certain of a pension of no less than £5,000, but during his tenure of office should receive double that which the Prime Minister receives. I think those are possibly the worst of the existing numerous anomalies.

There is one other example I would like to give the House before sitting down. Nobody in this House would dispute the proposition that the office of Minister of Labour is a most important one, carrying with it Cabinet rank and consequently involving special responsibility for Government policy. Hon. Members will recall the sad tale of that Ministry, and they will agree that it has become an historic death trap. It is only the possession of peculiar qualities and of a stubborn tenacity of life that has enabled former Ministers of Labour to emerge still breathing from that lethal chamber. But, no less than the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of Health, both of whom receive £5,000 a year, the Minister of Labour is to-day directly charged with the welfare of tens of millions of his fellow-citizens. He is the butt of every criticism, the victim of a thousand unpopularities. He has to spend most of his time squaring his shoulders, hardening his heart and keeping a stiff upper lip, while a relatively miserable £2,000 is his reward for voluntarily walking the political plank. I think that £5,000 is handsome, if not excessive, remuneration for any Minister, except perhaps the Prime Minister. There is one Member who, under our present dispensation, is most unfairly treated. I refer to the Leader of the Opposition. If the First Commissioner of Works is allowed to receive £2,000 a year, and the Secretary of State for War, who has now in some sense become subordinate to the Defence Minister, is in receipt of £5,000 a year, is it not reasonable to expect that one who is burdened with so many heavy responsibilities and multitudinous duties might receive public recognition to the extent of £2,000 a year?


I hope the hon. Member will not pursue that subject, because I ruled it out of order early in this Debate.


I am extremely sorry, and I submit to your Ruling. I had not heard, or I had overlooked what you had said. I hope the House will accept my apology for referring to what you have ruled to be irrelevant. I am not in favour of excessive remuneration for any Minister. Although I recognise that to-day it is impossible to resist the plea for the payment of Members of Parliament, I am even ideally opposed to that principle. To sit and to work in this, the first assembly in the world, where nothing but the best is good enough, should be in theory enough reward for any citizen. A fortiori, the duty and privilege of formulating and directing policy with which Ministers of the Crown are invested, and in particular the Ministers in the Cabinet, should go far towards being in itself a full, perfect, and sufficient reward.

7.4 p.m.


My qualifications for intervening in this Debate are not very substantial. I have not been a Minister, and if the prognostications of the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet) are correct, there is little likelihood of me being so for at least 10 years. I want to deal with the principles of this Motion. It is, that if we are to have Cabinet Ministers, what is an adequate salary to pay them? We on these benches are constantly insisting that the bottom-dog should be adequately paid for his job, and there is no reason that I can see why Cabinet Ministers should not also be adequately paid. Some hon. Members may say that they are being paid too much. I have no doubt that there are people in the constituency of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) who think that even he is paid too much. It is purely a question of imagination. When the hon. Member says he is aghast at £5,000 a year it is simply a question of his imagination, just as it is when one of his constituents, or one of mine, says, "You are getting too much when we give you £400." Personally, I do not think we are getting too much.

When we come to this question of Ministers' salaries we are in honour hound also to consider the question of private Members' salaries. I know that is not in this Motion, and I do not want to trespass outside it, but the Seconder of the Motion has suggested to the Government that if they consider this question a committee of back-bench Members should be set up to consider a wider aspect than Cabinet Ministers' salaries or the equalisation of those salaries. I have heard the principle of equalisation discussed before, and in different circumstances. I have heard it enunciated from many Labour platforms, and it is interesting to note the way the Mover of the Motion is going when he suggests that Cabinet Ministers' salaries should be equalised. The labourer is worthy of his hire, whether he is the lowest worker in the land, a Cabinet Minister or a Member of Parliament. Who will deny that Cabinet Ministers and Members of this House have very onerous duties? I am a new Member, but I am expected to stay up all hours of the day and night, to carry out my Parliamentary duties. If we are rendering a service to the State we ought to be adequately recompensed for those duties. I hope that the suggestion made by the Seconder will not be lost sight of. It would be a good procedure to set up a committee of back bench Members, guided by the proper officials, to decide what are proper salaries for Ministers and for private Members.

7.8 p.m.


I find myself in agreement with many things that the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) said. We are indebted to the Mover and Seconder of the Motion for bringing up this subject. With the onerous and increasing duties of Members of the Cabinet it cannot be said that they are highly paid in comparison with the remuneration in other fields. In selecting Ministers to carry out the various work that has to be done in the government of the country, men should not be required to accept salaries so very much below those paid in industry. There is a limit to the amount of sacrifice that should be imposed on these people holding high office, and anybody who reads the evidence of the two Committees on this subject must admit that the Prime Minister in particular has been greatly under-remunerated during past years. I find myself not altogether in agreement with the hon. Member for South-East Leeds (Mr. V. Adams) regarding the position of the Law Officers of the Crown. Everyone will agree that the remuneration that they receive is certainly high, but against that you have to remember that a man who rises to the top of the Bar has spent many years in which he has probably made little or nothing, and only for a comparatively short time is he in a position to earn these high fees. In accepting the post of Law Officer they make in the majority of cases a financial sacrifice, and they are being remunerated in representing the Crown at a lower rate than their opponents who are handling the cases on the other side. There is a good deal to be said in favour of their being remunerated at a high rate. While it is true that other Ministers may make sacrifices on taking cilice and giving up directorships and so on, there are few who are able to earn in directors fees or salaries anything like the few successful leaders of the Bar are earning.

I would favour consideration being given by the Government to the question of pensions. I do not see why a man who has served his country for many years in high office should afterwards, perhaps through having no opportunity to earn money for himself in other directions, find himself in the latter years of his life in somewhat difficult and straitened circumstances. There was a time when those holding office in the Government were mostly people with large private means. That time has passed away. The majority of people now are living under altogether different circumstances. I have looked at the salaries paid before the War to the various Ministers. In almost every case where the office remains the same the remuneration is identical with that which was being paid in 1913. I do not need to remind the House of the immense differences that have taken place since then in the cost of living, not to mention the great increase of taxation which Ministers have to bear. Most consideration has been given this afternoon to the position of the Prime Minister and the principal Cabinet Ministers. I think the attention of the Government should be drawn to the remuneration of the junior Ministers. They are probably worse paid in comparison to the amount of work and responsibility imposed on them even than Cabinet Ministers in some cases. Some junior Ministers are getting £1,200 a year. They lose their Parliamentary salary, and they probably lose also certain Income Tax rebates which they cannot obtain under their salaries as Ministers and which they might obtain under their Parliamentary salaries.

I welcome the setting up of a committee of back bench Members to draw up definite proposals on the whole problem. I can understand that the Government are naturally diffident about bringing in legislation of this kind, and particularly after the appeals that have been made similar to that of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). We all realise that it is not an easy thing for the Government to make proposals which will mean that its own Members may be more highly remunerated, but I think that some of the arguments that have been advanced go beyond that point. Because certain people in this country are not as highly paid as we would like them to be, I do not think it is an adequate reason for the Government not remunerating sufficiently those who give the best part of their lives to carrying on the work of government, which, after all, has to be done by somebody. I feel that if this change is to be effected, it must be done by a measure of co-operation between the Government and the Opposition. It would be impossible to carry out large alterations in the scales of payment of Ministers without a measure of agreement among all parties. It is a matter which merits consideration and consultation between the parties.

I hope the Government will face the need of getting something done. I believe, further, that a great responsibility in this matter is placed upon the private Members of the House. In most cases, the Government is expected to give a lead. In this case the lead must come from the back benches. Therefore, I welcome the amount of agreement which has been shown in this Debate. Not only ought we to urge the Government to act in this matter and to carry out the recommendations of these two committees, but, in addition, if proposals are made, we ought to justify those proposals and explain them to our constituents. If we do so, I believe we shall find the great mass of the people of all parties behind such proposals.

7.17 p.m.


I wish to give what little help I can to the House in connection with the position of the Law Officers. Before doing so, I desire to associate myself fully with what has fallen from the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and other hon. Members, on the gross inequality which exists between the earnings and salaries of the class from which Members of the Government are predominantly drawn, and the earnings of the mass of the people. I believe that gross inequality to be at the root of every social evil and to be indefensible and cruel, and, on principle, I would vote against any large salaries for any persons in order to mark my sense of that injustice. That does not prevent me giving what assistance I can to the House on this question of the Law Officers on the assumption that, not only is the labourer worthy of his hire but that some labourers, for some mysterious reason, are worthy of a hire which is 150 or 200 times greater than the hire of many other people who are just as good citizens.

The only reason why I intervene in the Debate is that I may be able to give some enlightenment to hon. Members, from the knowledge which I have gained as a member of the Bar, on the position of the Law Officers. To everybody it will seem that, judged by any scale, they are highly remunerated. It has, of course, to be remembered that anyone who is appointed a Law Officer at once goes right out of private practice and that he cannot resume his private practice until his term of office is finished, if he has riot become a judge in the meantime. That may be one reason for the very high remuneration of Law Officers, but it should be regarded with some caution. Except for the people why incur unpopularity with that section of the community which has the giving out of well-paid briefs—by, for instance, Socialist politics—the experience, ordinarily, of Law Officers is that they return to private practice with greatly increased prestige by reason of the fact that they have been Law Officers. That added prestige far outweighs the consequences of the temporary break in their private practice, caused by having accepted and held Law Officer ships. I do not think therefore the House need feel any particular sympathy with the Law Officer for having to give up his private practice.


Is it not a fact that those who were the Law Officers in the last Labour Government, have been received back into private practice?


If we are to go into personalities, it is a fact that one of them received no briefs of any description for four months after leaving office. I do not want to go into personalities, but since the hon. Member has raised the question I may say that it is also a fact that, while you may be received back into practice, you may not get many briefs because of your politics. I discovered that a few years ago when I was conducting a very well-paid case for a client who had withdrawn it from an ex-Law Officer of a Socialist Government, because he would not allow any money to go near any Socialist. Of course, like most people who hold those views, he was stupid and did not know what he was doing. The difficulty is to know on what scale the payment of Law Officers ought to be based. In practice there are many instances of people becoming more highly paid as a result of having been Law Officers. There are also many instances of people making large immediate pecuniary sacrifices by becoming Law Offices.

I respectfully agree with what was said by the hon. Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams). I do not believe that any member of the Bar would refuse a Law Officership on the ground that his income was being diminished thereby. Apart from the prestige, there is a greatly increased prospect of receiving some of the higher judicial appointments. That is to put the case at the lowest but, regarding the matter from the more honourable point of view, I do not think any member of the Bar would refuse to act as a Law Officer in the service of a party with whose principles he thoroughly agreed. Indeed I think the only instance of anybody refusing a Law Officership, was that of the late Lord James of Hereford. But on what basis is a Law Officer to be paid? As a general rule, while the scale of fees paid in private practice has gone up and down, not only with rises and falls of prosperity but even with fads and fashions, the fees of Law Officers have been, on the whole, a good deal lower than the fees in private practice. In recent years, however, the fees of Law Officers have tended to rise. There is a common view that the actual salary paid to a Law Officer is by way of compensation for the lower scale of fees, but I believe the historical reason is quite a simple one, namely, that in the nineties of the last century it was found necessary to retain the Law Officers, who had hitherto been allowed to engage in private practice, solely for the service of the Crown. They had to be paid something in the nature of compensation accordingly.

I am not able to give the House much help or enlightenment as to exactly what is the fair thing to do in respect of Law Officers' fees. If the Motion is adopted, Ministers' salaries, in gene rat, are being put on a fairly level sc ale or series of scales. I would suggest that the Law Officers ought to be paid salaries like other Ministers, and no fees. The question of how large those salaries should be is a matter for consideration. There is a great distinction between the position of the Law Officers and that of the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor is an eminent officer who gives up a high position at the Bar, generally speaking, although he may already be holding judicial office. Normally, however, he goes to the Woolsack from a high position at the Bar and he gives up for ever his prospects of earning at the Bar. He cannot go back, whereas the Law Officer, as soon as his term of office is finished, if he does not go on to the Bench, can go back to the Bar in the circumstances already described. I do not desire to travel over any other part of the ground already covered in this Debate.

7.25 p.m.


Several hon. Members have said that the country's dignity is directly bound up with the question of the adequate remuneration of those who hold high offices of State. I desire to support that point of view, and that is Ian gel why I oppose the Amendment. I agree that to iron out some of the inequalities which exist would be a very good work. It is an impossible position that certain Cabinet Ministers, holding highly responsible positions, should be paid lower salaries than other Cabinet Ministers who are doing no more responsible work. I also think that the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford (Mr. Mitchell), that the salaries of junior Ministers should be increased is worth consideration.

Comparisons have been made between the salaries paid to Ministers in this country and the salaries of Ministers in other countries and also the salaries obtainable in other walks of life. There is one comparison, however, which brings out the fact that the Amendment would not go far enough if we wish to maintain the dignity of the central government in this country. Many local authorities pay their principal officials higher salaries than are paid to Cabinet Ministers and Under-Secretaries. There is one county clerk in Scotland who gets a higher salary than my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and a, far higher salary than the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. One does not grudge those salaries to the county clerks, who are hard-working people, but clearly, it is wrong that their standard should be higher than that of the people who are at the centre and who have to carry much greater responsibilities.

No doubt there is a great deal in the point that the "under-dog" requires more consideration. At the same time, I think the Opposition have stressed that point too much. The sum involved is

comparatively small. It is not as if they suggested that we should hand this sum out to the poorer people. No one will be a penny the better if we refuse to give these suggested increases. But I think, as was said in the "Times" this morning, that it is little short of a scandal that a great rich country should not pay adequate salaries to those who are doing its principal business. I think it is vital that the Prime Minister should receive an adequate pension. I am not sure that I like the suggestion that it should be increased according to the number of years of office. I think it would be better to say that when a Prime Minister has held office for a certain period he should become entitled to a certain fixed pension, and that that pension should be of such a kind as to place him beyond the necessity of doing any journalistic or other work for a living. I am not sure that in the case of other Ministers the necessity is so great, but it is clearly undesirable that an ex-Prime Minister should have to do work of that sort in order to obtain a living. I hope the Government, as a result of this Debate, will not hesitate but will take action quickly to end a state of affairs which is no credit to a great country.

Question put, " That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 157; Noes, 101.

Division No. 119.] AYES. [7.30 p.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Fremantle, Sir F. E.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Christie, J. A. George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Clarry, R. G. Gibson, C. G.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Cobb, Sir C. S. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Colfox, Major W. P. Gridley, Sir A. B.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Guinness, T. L. E. B.
Apsley, Lord Cross, R. H. Gunston, Capt. D. W.
Aske, Sir R. W. Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil) Hanbury, Sir C.
Assheton, R. De Chair, S. S. Hannah, I. C.
Atholl, Duchess of Denville, Alfred Hannon, Sir P. J. H.
Balniel, Lord Dodd, J. S. Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Donner, P. W. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Drewe, C. Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)
Beaumont. Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Holdsworth, H.
Beit, Sir A. L. Dugdale, Major T. L. Holmes, J. S.
Bernays, R. H.. Duggan, H. J. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.
Birchall, Sir J. D. Eastwood, J. F. Hopkinson, A.
Bird, Sir R. B. Edmondson, Major Sir J. Horsbrugh, Florence
Boulton, W. W. Ellis, Sir G. Hunter, T.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W. Elmley, Viscount Jackson, Sir H.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Emmott, C. E. G. C. James, Wing-Commander A. W.
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Erskine Hill, A. G. Joel, D. J. B.
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.) Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)
Bull, B. B. Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)
Campbell, Sir E. T. Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)
Carver, Major W. H. Findlay, Sir E. Kerr, J. G. (Scottish Universities)
Cary, R. A. Fleming, E. L. Leech, Dr. J. W.
Channon, H. Foot, D. M. Lees-Jones, J.
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Penny, Sir G. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Spender-Clay Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.
Loftus, P. C. Pownall, Sir A. Assheton Spens, W. P.
Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Procter, Major H. A. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Ramsden, Sir E. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G. Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.) Sueter, Rear-Admiral sir M. F.
McCorquodale, M. S. Reed, A. C. (Exeter) Sutcliffe, H.
Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees) Reid, Sir D. D. (Down) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J. Ropner, Colonel L. Train. Sir J.
Magnay, T. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry) Tree, A. R. L. F.
Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) Turton, R. H.
Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Rowlands, G. Wakefield, w. W.
Maxwell, S. A. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Salmon, Sir I. Ward, Irene (Wallsend)
Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Samuel, Sir A. M, (Farnham) Waterhouse, Captain C.
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Sanderson, Sir F. B. White, H. Graham
Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Scott, Lord William Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Seely, Sir H. M. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Selley, H. R. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Shepperson, Sir E. W. Withers, Sir J. J.
Munro, P. M. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. Young, A. S. L. (Patrick)
Orr-Ewing, I. L. Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Owen, Major G. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) TELLERS POR THE AYES.—
Mr. Maclay and Captain Cazalet.
Adams, D. (Consett) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Ritson, J.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Groves, T. E. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Adamson, W. M. Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Rowson, G.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Salter, Or. A.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Sanders, W. S.
Banfield, J. W. Hopkin, D. Sexton, T. M.
Benson, G. Jagger, J. Shinwell, E.
Broad, F. A. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Silverman, S. S.
Bromfield, W. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Simpson, F. B.
Brooke, W. Kelly, W. T. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Buchanan, G. Kirby, B. V. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Burke, W. A. Leach, W. Sorensen, R. W.
Cape, T. Leonard, W. Stephen, C.
Cassells, T. Leslie, J. R. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Charleton, H. C. Logan, D. G. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Cluse, W. S. McEntee, V. La T. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Cocks, F. S. McGovern, J. Thorne, W.
Daggar, G. Maclean, N. Thurtle, E.
Dalton, H. Mainwaring, W. H. Viant, S. P.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Marklew, E. Walkden, A. G.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Mathers, G. Walker, J.
Day, H. Maxton, J. Watkins, F. C.
Dobble, W. Milner, Major J. Watson, W. McL.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Montague, F. Westwood, J.
Ede, J. C. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.) Whiteley, W.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Naylor, T. E. Wilkinson, Ellen
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Oliver, G. H. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Gallacher, W. Paling, W. Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Gardner, B. W. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Garro-Jones, G. M. Potts, J. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Pritt, D. N.
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Quibell, J. D. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Richards, R. (Wrexham) Mr. Lathan and Mr. Tinker.
Grenfell, D. R. Rlley, B.

Main Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 150; Noes, 56.

Division No. 120.] AYES. [7.40 p.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Bird, Sir R. B. Cross, R. H.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Boulton, W. W. Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil)
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W. De Chair, S. S.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Brocklebank, C. E. R. Denville, Alfred
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Dodd, J. S.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Donner, P. W.
Aske, Sir R. W. Bull, B. B. Drewe, C.
Assheton, R. Campbell, Sir E. T. Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)
Atholl, Duchess of Carver, Major W. H. Duckworth W. R. (Moss Side)
Balniel, Lord Cary, R. A. Duggan, H. J.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Channon, H. Eastwood, J. F.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Christie, J. A. Edmondson, Major Sir J.
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Clarry, R. G. Ellis, Sir G.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Cobb, Sir C. S. Elmley, Viscount
Belt, Sir A. L. Colfox, Major W. P. Emmott, C. E. G. C.
Bernays, R. H. Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)
Birchall, Sir J. D. Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)
Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) Lees-Jones, J. Salmon, Sir I.
Findlay, Sir E. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)
Fleming, E. L. Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Foot, D. M. Loftus, P. C. Scott, Lord William
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Seely, Sir H. M.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Selley, H. R.
Gibson, C. G. MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. McCorquodale, M. S. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Gridley, Sir A. B. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Guinness, T. L. E. B. Maxwell, S. A. Spender-Clay, Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.
Gunston, Capt. D. W. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Spens, W. P.
Hanbury, Sir C. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Hannah, I. C. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Harbord, A. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Sutcliffe, H.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Munro, P. Titchfield, Marquess of
Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Orr-Ewing, I. L. Train, Sir J.
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Owen, Major G. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Holdsworth, H. Penny, Sir G. Turton, R. H.
Holmes, J. S. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Wakefield, W. W.
Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Ward, Irene (Wallsend)
Hopkinson, A. Pownall, Sir A, Assheton Waterhouse, Captain C.
Horsbrugh, Florence Procter, Major H. A. Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Hunter, T. Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.) White, H. Graham
Jackson, Sir H. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. H.
James, Wing-commander A. W. Reed, A. C. (Exeter) Williams, C. (Torquay)
Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Reid, Sir D. D. (Down) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Jones, L. (Swansea, W.) Ropner, Colonel L. Withers, Sir J. J.
Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)
Kerr, J. G. (Scottish Universities) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) TELLERS FOR THE AYES —
Leech, Dr. J. W. Rowlands, G. Mr. Maclay and Captain Cazalet.
Adams, D. (Consett) Kelly, W. T. Stephen, c.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Leonard, W. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Adamson, W. M. Leslie, J. R. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) McEntee, V. La T. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Charleton, H. C. Mainwaring, W. H. Thorne, W.
Daggar, G. Marklew, E. Thurtle, E.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Mathers, G. Tinker, J. J.
Ede, J. C. Maxton, J. Viant, S. P.
Gardner, B. W. Potts, J. Walker, J.
Garro-Jones, G. M. Pritt, D. N. Watkins, F. C.
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Quibell, J. D. Westwood, J.
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Rlley, B. Whiteley, W.
Groves, T. E. Ritson, J. Wilkinson, Ellen
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Rowson, G. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Sanders, W. S. Wilson. C. H. (Attercliffe)
Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Sexton, T. M. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Hopkin, D. Shinwell, E. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Jagger, J. Silverman, S. S.
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Sorensen, R, W. Mr. Buchanan and Mr. McGovern.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the anomalies in the existing scale of ministerial salaries should be removed as soon as possible, that all Members of the Cabinet, with the exception of the Prime Minister, should receive the same salary irrespective of the office held, that the salary of the Prime Minister should be increased, and that all offices held by Ministers should be classified on the lines recommended in 1920 by a Select Committee of this House.