§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Buchanan
This is a Clause which gives the Leader of the Opposition a salary of £2,000. It is my intention, along with my colleagues, to oppose the Clause. I think, with the exception of the time when I was present in the Factories Bill Committee to-day, from 4 to 6 o'clock, I have listened to practically all the speeches made on this Bill. The criticisms of the suggested payments have taken various forms. Some have taken the form that certain Ministers are overpaid for the work they have to do, and other Members have taken the view that while an increase could be justified this is a very inopportune time to do it in view of the country's financial position. Another view taken has been that while the House of Commons is demanding for many poor people in this country decent pensions and decent unemployment benefit, and while the Government see 614 fit constantly to oppose these things, it is the duty of those who have been advocating them to oppose any increase of Members' salary, while those in charge refuse to pay others a decent living allowance. I oppose the Clause for all those reasons, and for additional reasons.
I oppose the Clause on constitutional grounds. This is the first time that a payment has been made to a Leader of the Opposition. For a payment to he made to that Leader it must be justified on public grounds. Once you concede payment to the Leader of the Opposition, you automatically concede payment to other members of the Opposition as well. For example, we concede payment to members of the Government, and once we have done that we must concede payment to all the Members necessary for the machinery of Government, from the Whips and other persons upward. Once you concede the payment to an Opposition, you automatically concede that an Opposition provides certain functions in this House, not merely as an Opposition, but as servants of the country and of 615 the Crown, and that, therefore, every part of its machinery ought to be paid. There is no difference in essence between the chief Leader and the Whip. There may be a difference in the degree of payment; and it may be that he performs more important functions, but once you have conceded payment to the chief Leader, automatically the Whips should be paid, all Whips as well. Once you have conceded that, then the secretary of the party should be paid, because he is necessary for the machinery to carry on the Opposition.
If you grant a sum to the Leader of the Opposition, then that Leader is paid out of public funds, raised by the House of Commons, and as such he ought to be the servant, not of the Opposition, but of the House of Commons. The Leader of the Opposition to-day cannot be the servant of anyone but the Labour party. He cannot be the servant of the Opposition; he is the Leader of the Labour party and, by their constitutional rules, must carry out the decisions of that party. The constitution of the Labour party, for good or ill—it is not my purpose to criticise it or to praise or blame it; I take it as an accomplished fact—says that a person who is in it must sign what are called the standing orders, and must carry out what is decided on at its private meetings. The Leader must carry that out. He may run in contradiction to other parties of the Opposition, and he is not our servant as Leader of the Opposition, but the servant of the Labour party in the Opposition. As such, he has no more right to claim to be paid by us than has the secretary of the Labour party. If he is a leader of the Labour party, and has services to render to it, he ought to be paid by the machinery of that party, and no one else.
There used to be a theory in the House of Commons that the Leader of the Opposition was not merely Leader of the Opposition, but that he defended minority rights in the House of Commons. The theory was that the more unpopular a Member was, and the more he was disliked, that was all the more reason why, if he was unfairly treated by the House or anyone else here, the duty of the Leader of the Opposition was to safeguard his rights. I have seen that theory worked once or twice in my early days, but not now for many years. For years 616 it has completely vanished. I remember, in my early political days, that a small group of us wished to divide against the Government on a question of unemployment insurance, because we thought the Government were acting wrongly. Certain Members wanted to deny us the right to vote, and demanded that we should be made to stand up in our places. I remember that the Opposition at that time took the view that if we were to be treated like that it was not fair, and they decided, though not on the merits of the question, to vote with us on the ground that we were entitled to a Division. That is the only case I can recall in which the Opposition has in any way defended the rights of private Members.
Take last night. There was then, in my view, a need of defence of those rights. By arrangement, or at least without protest, the Government Chief Whip suddenly announced at 12 o'clock at night that the whole order of business for the next day was to be turned aside. That was an interference with the rights of the ordinary Member of the House of Commons. I go further on this issue and say that the Opposition here changes on certain issues. The Opposition is not always above or below the Gangway; sometimes it is across the Floor, and in most Governments the most serious opposition is from its own side. In the case of India it came from the Conservatives, and on the Budget there is a certain section which oppose. On the issue of the Monarchy, for good or ill, opposition came from two or three Conservatives; and on Free Trade the group of Members who sit behind me constantly change. When they change and a small group fights in this House, I have never noticed that the Leader of the Opposition defends the rights of that small group in any particular way. He has very often joined in taking from them, if he could, any of the rights they had.
We are proposing to grant £2,000. I listened to-day to what, I think, was one of the finest speeches I have ever heard for human interest and commonsense from the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey). Often I have heard sentimentalists in the House, but it will be a bad day for the House and for all of us when people lose a sentiment such as is possessed by the hon. Member. His speech contained sentiment at its best and noblest. It was as follows: "I have 617 asked for pensions. I have been refused; I have asked for decent treatment for the unemployed and I have been refused; and to-day you are granting increase after increase while, at the same time, you deny to these people what they are legitimately entitled to." Here to-day is an increase of £40 a week to be paid, while you are refusing pensions. If the argument is true as applied to the Prime Minister or to others, it is equally true as applied to the Leader of the Opposition. Here you are granting to one man an income of £40 a week, while you deny to the poorest of the poor a legitimate pension which they require.
I want to carry this further. When a person is granted public funds by the House of Commons, whether he be the chief of a Service Department, or of any Department on a Civil Vote, he is amenable to the House of Commons. I can move, if I am in order and get the time, to reduce the salary of any one of the Ministers; we have 20 Supply days practically all for that purpose. What is the position of the Leader of the Opposition? There will be no such privilege. His salary is to be placed on the Consolidated Fund. Who are on the Consolidated Fund? So far as I know the following three groups or persons: His Majesty's Judges, the theory being that the judges should be above political battle, that you should place them on a footing outside the political hurly-burly, and protected from political pressure by this or that party. Their salary is immune from political pressure. That is No. 1. I understand—I am not sure about this—that the Monarchy comes in the same category. In the third category is the Chairman of the Unemployment Assistance Board, Lord Rushcliffe. His Majesty's Judges and the Leader of the Opposition are in the same boat. We fought bitterly when Lord Rushcliffe was to be put outside Parliamentary criticism; to-day, there is the same proposal with regard to a person occupying a central political position, in some ways second in importance only to that of the Prime Minister. The Leader of the Opposition is kept in his place through political opinion, and yet his income is to be lifted on to the same plane as that of a judge, and no criticism will be levelled at him. He is immune from the ordinary House of Commons battle.
I take a serious view of this proposal, and I hope, in my opposition to it, I 618 have not been abusive or personal. I would have criticised whether the person who occupied the post were a Conservative or a member of any other party. I have no feeling against the present Leader of the Opposition, who carries out his duties honestly and faithfully. I thought that the leadership of the Opposition in the last Parliament, when the Opposition was much smaller, that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbuiy) was as fine a leadership as I have ever seen in the House of Commons. I have never opposed him, and, despite our differences, I like him as well as one human being can like another. The present issue is that we should subsidise by a payment, and put outside criticism the Leader whom the people have elected to oppose. The most fatal step in matters of this kind is always the first step. After that, you are liable to get into a steady drift. I have seen it happen in the trade union movement and in politics.
Most of the criticism of the last Labour Government was based upon its final acts, but to me those final acts were not so important as were the first steps, such as their Economy Committee. Once the Government had ventured upon that step, they had to go only a short distance before all the rest followed. Their opponents are now proposing to pay their Leader £2,000 and, whether they like the consequence or not, that is a first step towards putting the Opposition to some extent into a position of being bound to the Government. Even though we are the only group to do so, we shall vote against this proposition.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
On this Clause I speak with a great deal of reluctance, for a variety of reasons, but partly because, if I have the courage to do it, I am tempted to address the Committee at greater length than I have ever ventured upon before, not seeing how the case can be put shortly. I am reluctant because no one, I believe, is more anxious than I am to do everything that can be done to free political careers from the financial qualification. I am reluctant also because we have been told that this is particularly a proposal of the First Lord of the Treasury. Apart from all the other reasons for disliking opposition or doubt about a proposal of his, there is the reason that, in constitutional matters, I 619 think it fair to say, what can be put as reasoned, quantitative argument is very frequently less important than the feeling, that is, the sentiment, almost what one might call the hunch, which you have about a constitutional matter such as that which is in question. If that be true, it is clear that the hunch or inspiration of people of eminence and experience, and particularly the Prime Minister, must, on this subject, carry much more weight, and properly, than the hunches of private Members, Members so private as to be almost imperceptible.
Nevertheless I feel it necessary to resist this proposal. In the first place, it is clearly illogical that it should be proposed that the State should pay opposition; secondly, it clearly is an innovation; and, whatever we may think in other matters—I hope I shall carry the Committee with me—the presumption in constitutional matters must always be against innovation. The presumption is rebuttable, but the presumption must be there. Unless we have an absolutely fixed Constitution, or a presumption against innovation, we clearly have no Constitution at all. In this case the proposal runs counter to—I will not say a principle, but to a normal and very useful rule-of-thumb about taxation and representation, or the relationship between paying pipers and calling tunes. We must not forget that what is proposed is that a Parliamentary majority, which, because it is a Parliamentary majority, can use force to take pennies from people, shall use its authority to collect pennies from the people and give those pennies to a man whom the people have decided they do not want.
It may be said that £2,000 out of the pennies that people are going to pay is an insignificant proportion, but I do not think that, on these matters of constitutional principle, it is a good defence to say that the baby is a very little one, or that the essence of the matter is altered by putting it out to nurse to the Consolidated Fund. In any case, public payments to public men should be for public service, for service to the State. It is true, of course, in a sense, that the Leader of the Opposition performs a service to the State, but so does everybody else who does his work and does it properly. Have we not the authority of the poet for saying: 620Who sweeps a room, as for Thy laws, Makes that and th' action fine.Nevertheless, it would not be considered legitimate if the Archbishop of Canterbury paid the funds put at his disposal for ecclesiastical purposes to the cleaners of offices in Whitehall, on the ground that they were performing divine service when they swept out the dirt. It cannot be said to be in any sense a valid argument to say that the services which the Leader of the Opposition performs are public services in the sense that is meant.
That brings me to the point which was made in the very powerful speech of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) about the thin end of the wedge. If you look at the Financial Memorandum explaining the Bill, you see that it says:When a new Department is first created it is often of comparatively minor importance, and accordingly the salaries fixed by the statutes creating such Departments have usually been lower than the non-statutory salaries paid in the case of the older Departments.They have been fixed round about £2,000 a year. When I spoke on the Second Reading I ventured to say that this was a very good opportunity for using this thin end of the wedge argument, and the hon. Gentleman who alone among the Independent Liberals, in preferring me to his dinner has done me the honour to agree. He dotted my "i's" and crossed my "t's" by putting down an Amendment for the remuneration of the Deputy-Leader and of the Chief Opposition Whip.
No doubt it is convenient for the Government that the Opposition should be organised in a particular way, and that it should have one individual at its head, but that is not the Government's business. It is the Opposition's business how they are to be organised and led. How can you pay the Leader of the Opposition? Do you pay him on the justification of the last General Election, when the people decided that he was not wanted, or are you to pay him on the justification of the next General Election? You do not know whether he will be returned at the next election either; not merely because you may, on this side of the House, hope to be still here after the next General Election, but also because someone else, some third party, may very well cut in ahead of him before the next General Election is over. For 621 all those reasons I feel no doubt that there is an inescapable element of illogicality in the proposal.
Nor can I doubt that the degree of innovation in the proposal is considerable. We had an historical disquisition from the Home Secretary about Prime Ministers, Cabinets and so on. It may be held that the Prime Ministership is just about ripe for being put into an Act of Parliament but—I admit being by profession a pedant and by nature oldfashioned—we have had Prime Ministers for something like 400 years, and under their present name for something like 300 years. Perhaps that office is just about ripe to be put on the Statute Book; on the other hand the office of Leader of the Opposition is something very much newer. The Leader of the Opposition, in anything like the modern sense, is hardly older than the oldest man among us. I think that it was not until the late sixties, when Mr. Gladstone threw his hat into the ring in competition with Lord Stanley, that there was a Leader of the Opposition in the sense not of a man who most criticised the Government on the way they were doing their business and hoped that, in the long run, his criticism would get the Government out; but in the sense of a man who put up a different programme, with different subjects on which to base his programme and upon which he fought, who looks round to see what is likely to interest the public—the Irish Church or the means test.
The Leader of the Opposition, then, is not a very ancient or well established office. The Leader of the Opposition in a contemporary sense is absolutely new. If people mean what they say nowadays, we have an Opposition which not merely wants to turn out the Government but to pull up the roots of society, to alter the fundamental basis of family, country, property, and so on to which the majority of people, rightly or wrongly, have held and to which, as far as we can tell from recent elections, the majority still wish to hold.
§ Mr. Mathers
Will the hon. Member prove his statement that those who belong to the Labour party wish to alter the fundamental basis of the family?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
The fundamental basis of the family in the old days, surely, wa s the responsibility of the father for 622 the maintenance and direction of the children and, rightly or wrongly, the whole business of socialising the education and management and direction of children is a fundamental alteration. It will not be denied, surely, that the modern Opposition cuts at the basis of things. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not family life."] I am sorry if I have said anything more controversial than is necessary to my argument. I had no intention of raising party issues. It seems clear to me, then, that there are these negative presumptions, of a certain want of logic and a high degree of innovation, against the proposal and, if these presumptions are to be rebutted, it must be shown that the positive tendencies which the Clause is likely to set up will be good ones. What are the positive tendencies to be expected? Obviously, first of all an improvement in the financial position of the Leader of the Opposition, and no one, I suppose, is against that. Certainly, I am not in the least against it. Rut the improvement would be equally great if the money came from other sources, and, if the £2,000 cannot be got from his supporters, either in the House or out of it, it means that the majority of the taxpayers are being compelled to do for the man they have decided against what his own supporters are unwilling to do.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies
Have the taxpayers elected the Prime Minister as Prime Minister of the country? Did they nave the opportunity?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
The taxpayers did not elect the Prime Minister in a direct sense, but I do not think I should be helping the House if I pursued that question. The second positive tendency that must be set up is this. We have been told all through these discussions that the question of salary is not so much a question of money in itself, but that prestige and status are reckoned to a considerable extent in terms of money. That, no doubt, is true. The second positive tendency, therefore, must be to increase the importance of the Leader of the Opposition. I suggest that the importance of the Leader of the Opposition is already sufficient. It would be impertinent for me to praise the existing Leader of the Opposition, but I have no doubt that he is capable of making the position as important as it ought to be. Importance must be relative, therefore to take statutory action to increase the 623 importance of the Leader of the Opposition must really proportionally decrease the importance of private Members.
It what is necessary is to have an Opposition, you could not run an Opposition on £2,000 a year, and I cannot believe that that amount of contribution to the Opposition budget really makes very much difference. Nor can I believe that it makes very much difference that the money should come to the Leader of the Opposition not from his own followers, as I think it ought; but if it does not, there is this to be remembered, that the qualification to collect the money does come from them. There would be various effects. One would be a tendency against the selection of ex-Prime Ministers, on the ground that they were already getting £2,000 a year, and it was someone else's turn. Secondly, if it is said to be important that there should be no argument against selecting a man because he is poor, there is nothing in the Bill to prevent a bargain being made with any Leader of the Opposition that the money should go to general party funds.
I am very diffident about the next point that I want to make, because it may appear to concern, and, indeed, does concern, the business of the Chair. It seems to me, if I may just refer to Clause 10, without which this Clause is meaningless, because it defines the words that we are using, that the position of the Chair is going to be made very difficult by this business of deciding to what political leader public money shall be paid for leading his party. He is the person who is the leader for the time being; it is an annual salary. There are a great many factors which may change very rapidly. It is not merely that a party as a whole may change, or that the party may depose one leader and set up another, but any individual member of the party may at any moment withhold his support, either forming a new party, joining another party, or doing neither. The question of who is the leader of the largest party may be in a state of flux, and extremely difficult to watch.
Another effect of increasing the importance of the Leader of the Opposition would be, I think, to diminish the freedom of choice of Prime Minister. The 624 natural assumption is that, on a change of majority, it is always the Leader of the Opposition who succeeds the Prime Minister, but I think it will be found that the majority of the cases are anomalous cases, that there are more cases where things are not normal than where they are normal. If the Leader of the Opposition is to be an officially certificated and salaried person, I think he is going to have something very much more like a vested interest than he had before, and the State is going proportionately to lose that elasticity without which it would have found it very difficult to get on in the last century, and rather more difficult in the recent past than in the more remote past.
Connected with this tendency to give the Leader of the Opposition additional importance is another consideration. I am not sure whether it is a good or a bad consideration. It must, I think, tend to stereotype a two-party system. If the Leader of the Opposition is to be paid, the tendency will be more and more to regard his party as the only party other than the Government party, and it seems to me to be oddly paradoxical that, having for more than 20 years lived through an almost continual series of coalitions designed to replace the old way of getting the motive power by the tension between two parties, we should at the end of that period he invited to make sure of an Opposition by subsidising it.
§ Mr. Leslie Boyce
Does not the Parliamentary system of Government such as we have in this country pre-suppose two dominant groups within the House?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I could argue that point, but, honestly, I do not think a two-party division would carry us much further in the consideration of this Clause. I am not arguing whether it is good or not; my personal prejudices are in favour of it; but that would be one of the tendencies of this provision, and the Committee ought, therefore, to consider it. Why should we try to make sure of an Opposition by that method? If to have an Opposition organised with a single Leader be the way in which the democracy wishes Parliament to be worked, then there is no doubt that the democracy will see that the thing is done in that way; but I do not see why democracy should be coerced by all the forces of Government into having the thing done in that way.
625 There are more things that I could say, but I have already spoken for longer than I like to speak. I do not wish to put the considerations I have adduced too high. I do not say they are desperately terrifying, I do not believe that, if this Clause is passed, civilisation will come to an end. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] There are a great many hon. Members who are inclined to believe that, if this or that happens, civilisation will come to an end. I do, however, ask, what is the hope for which we are to run the risks which I believe to exist? Is it merely to stabilise the division into Right and Left? Is it merely to help a personage—I say "personage," because, as far as the person goes, I am sure we shall all wish to help him—who, I think, could be helped in other and better ways? I have heard it suggested that a Leader of the Opposition paid by Government—because, however much you tie it up with Consolidated Funds and so on, that is what it means—would make extraordinary efforts, more than normal efforts, to display his independence and effectiveness; but I do not believe it is wise to induce people to be so upright that they fall over backwards. If anyone thinks—as I myself do not think—that it is necessary to spur the zeal of Leaders of the Opposition, I would suggest that: they should get at it from the other end. The reward of a Leader of the Opposition, apart from the consciousness of duty done which he shares with all Members of the House, is the chance of office, the chance of bolting the other fellows out of the place where they sit; and I would suggest that that is his proper reward, and quite enough to spur his zeal.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Mander
I should like to congratulate the hon. Member who represents me in the House upon his very interesting speech, which I am sure I prefer immensely to any possible dinner within these precincts. I want shortly to express the views of those of us who sit here with regard to this proposal. We are entirely against this innovation, and very much regret that the Government, in a moment of generosity, or good will, or whatever it may be, should have thought it was a wise gesture to make. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), who dealt with the whole matter in such a masterly way, put his finger on the point when he said that you cannot stop there. 626 You cannot simply pick out the Leader of the Opposition and subsidise him.
If you have once done that, you give away the whole case, and there will be the strongest arguments from time to time that other persons who may be associated with the conduct of the Opposition, playing, in their way, perhaps just as important a part as the Leader, should to some extent receive financial assistance. There is the Deputy-Leader, there is the Chief Whip, there are other Whips; and one can quite understand that arguments for an extension of the principle might well be put forward. If that were done, I should certainly think it would create the impression in the country, a quite untrue impression, of course, that after all there was not so very much between the Government and the Opposition—I am not talking about any particular Opposition—that they were all in the swim, that they were all salaried officers of the State; and it would tend to undermine confidence in the working of the British Constitution, which has been such a wonderful product of our genius and such a good example to all the other nations of the world. Unfortunately, they have not yet followed it as much as I hope they will in due course.
It has been argued that one of the best reasons for doing this is that it would be a gesture to Hitler that, at a moment when he is putting his Opposition in concentration camps, or dealing even more drastically with it, we are paying our Opposition Leader a salary. There are all sorts of ways of impressing a dictator, but I think I could suggest some that would be very much more effective than this proposal. Of course, I should be entirely out of order if I were to go into them, hut I cannot help thinking, for example, that a firm, consistent and clear foreign policy would be infinitely more impressive to the German Government than any proposal to give a salary to the Leader of the Opposition. There is the difficulty that may be created by the existence of more than one Opposition in this House. At the present time there is a great disparity in numbers between the Opposition parties. There is one of about 155, one of 20, one of three, and, I believe, one of one. There are at least four Oppositions. Perhaps it is rather difficult to foresee when they may come towards an equality in numbers.
627 Let me go back to the case which occurred in 1931, when the Labour party were the Official Opposition, being about 50 in number, and would have been entitled to the remuneration. But the party that came second in the House was the Liberal party, which was divided, some being in the Government and some outside. [Interruption.] I am trying to deal with the situation that might have developed under this Clause. That party at one time wholly supported the Government, the whole 70 of them, and about half of them came over here and were in a minority as regards the Labour party. If the other half had decided to come over, then they would have been the Official Opposition. They would have been 70, as against 50 of the Labour party. It would have been rather a humiliating position for the Leader of the Opposition to lose his emoluments and be displaced.
There is the possibility in the future of there being more than one Opposition party stronger in numbers than they are now, with distinctive points of view, because all attempts at a popular front seem to be entirely out of the picture. It would not seem fair that one particular section of the Opposition should be officially recognised and the others should receive no recognition at all. However that may be, perhaps it is not as important as some of the other arguments. The strongest argument against this innovation is that it is contrary to the traditions of our constitutional development. The only element that is recognised by the Constitution is that we all, as Members of Parliament, receive actually the same amount. Apart from that, the Government of the day is in possession of all the offices, the occupants of which are remunerated for the work they do. It might be said that at a General Election one of the things that the voters do is to select who shall be Leader of the Opposition. You might be in a position to say, "We want so-and-so as Prime Minister and so-and-so as Leader of the Opposition." We should have to be very careful so to adjust our votes in order to give the right people the right jobs, and not make the Prime Minister the Leader of the Opposition, and vice versa. It is contrary to the way we have developed, and introduces a complication, which there will be great pressure to extend as time goes on. It is necessary, 628 in order to avoid misunderstanding in the country, and in the interests of the Opposition parties themselves, that the position should remain what it has been up to the present time.
§ 8.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Annesley Somerville
It is very remarkable to hear the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) agreeing with one another. The hon. Member for Gorbals argued the case most convincingly on its merits, and the hon. Member for Cambridge University based it on tradition, and both of them appeared to make out an unanswerable case against this Measure. I have never liked it, but if I wanted to argue the matter from a party point of view I should agree to it. I have listened to arguments from the opposite side with respect to what we have already done. The chief argument has been that we are adding to the burden of the country at a time when there are depressed areas and the money ought to be spent on those areas. Hon. Members opposite must realise now that they cannot use that argument against us because they are accepting this principle. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] There are those who are prepared to accept the creation of a new post—quite unnecessary in my view —which entails an additional burden being placed upon the country at a time when hon. Members opposite are arguing against the means test. They must realise what kind of an argument they are putting into our hands. The hon. Member for Gorbals—and it was repeated by the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander)—pointed out that if you give the Leader of the Opposition £2,000 a year you do not go far enough. You give him £2,000 a year because you wish to make the machinery of the Opposition more effective. You cannot stop there. You must also give salaries to the Whips to make the Opposition more effective.
You are creating an artificial position. You may have, as has been pointed out, two Oppositions or even three, and one that is slightly inferior in numbers may be more influential in other respects. Why should one Opposition be paid and not the other? The House is on the point of creating a new post for a Member of this House and at the same time rendering him immune from criticism in the House. 629 The position will be anomalous. I wonder the Opposition do not recognise that in order to oppose effectively you have to be independent. This will affect their independence. The essence of the Opposition is independence. No case has been made out for this proposal, and I shall be very sorry to have to vote against it.
§ 8.53 p.m.
I support this proposal. I do not want to go into the history or traditions of the House or into the question of party government, but it does not really seem that there will be many cases in which it is difficult to decide who is the official Opposition. It is the Opposition themselves that decide on their leader, and I do not think that the difficulty is a real one. In any case, as far as things stand to-day, the Leader of the Opposition—more particularly in recent years—has become part of the Constitution. He is a public man; he holds a very definite position. I am not arguing whether it is right or wrong, but while he occupies that position he gives up the whole of his life to the fulfilment of it. Many of us, no doubt, regard it as very important that we ourselves should be present in the House, but we can all afford to take a day off now and then without anything very serious happening to Parliamentary business, but the Leader of the Opposition is in a peculiar position in that he has to give up the whole of his time if he wishes to fulfil his functions efficiently.
If that is the case, he has responsibilities—national, public, social, political —in order to maintain that position, and he cannot avoid them under our present system as Leader of the Opposition or as leader of the second largest political party in the country. Therefore, I think he deserves a salary of more than £400 a year. Whether £2,000 is the right figure or not, is a matter for Debate, but if he is to fulfil the functions of the office which he holds, with all the responsibilities which fall upon his shoulders, he certainly ought to have a salary of more than £400. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Chief Opposition Whip?"] The Chief Whip of the Opposition does occupy an important position, but he does not have the same responsibility. I undersand the Whips obey, or ought to obey, the Leader. Perhaps it is the 630 Leader who obeys the Whips. I have not been in the inner circles; therefore, I do not know, but I do not think the argument about the Chief Whip is valid. It is upon the Leader of the Opposition that the responsibility rests. If he cares to take half the salary and give the other half away, that is his business, but so far as the public are concerned the Leader of the Opposition is an individual to himself.
The Leader of the Opposition may have been Prime Minister, in which case he would get his £2,000 pension, but if he has not been Prime Minister, there is always the possibility that he may become the Prime Minister, and I think it is desirable that any man who may occupy the position of Prime Minister should be entirely independent of outside considerations as far as possible in this imperfect human world. My hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) said that this proposal would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from being independent. My view is that this will be the very means of making him independent. Every Member of Parliament, whether he has been in the Cabinet and is now a member of the Opposition, or whether he sits on the back benches, may write for the Press or attach himself to trade unions, to co-operative enterprises or other vested interests. He can go into the City and earn something in addition to the £400 a year salary, but it is absolutely vital that the man who is to be Prime Minister, in so far as it is possible, should not have to write for the newspapers or be closely associated with any vested interests. If that be true, then I do not believe that it is an exaggeration to say that the granting of this salary will definitely place the Leader of the Opposition in a position in which he will command even greater respect than he does to-day.
It is important in the interests of Parliamentary government, to which we pay so much lip service to-day, that the position of the Leader of the Opposition should be recognised. It is recognised in the House and outside, and this proposal merely confirms the position which public opinion has already given to the Leader of the Opposition. That being the case, his salary ought to be reasonable, adequate and automatic. There should be no possible question of its being debated, reduced or discussed in this 631 House, and I believe that this proposal gives him a salary which is reasonable and adequate. If it is paid in the method proposed, he will get it automatically, and there will be no discussion upon it. I hope that in the interests of Parliamentary government few Members will oppose the proposal. I am glad that it is a Conservative Government which has produced this Measure and this particular proposal.
It is a National Government. I was not using the word "Conservative" in a political sense, but in the sense that hon. Members use it. They refer to the capitalistic class. The representatives of the capitalistic class have introduced this Measure, and I hope that it will be a Socialist Leader of the Opposition who will be the first to get the salary.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Loftus
After the very eloquent speech to which we have just listened I find it rather difficult to oppose the proposal, and I find it still more difficult because it is a proposal brought forward by the Prime Minister in a special mariner. There is a second reason which makes me diffident to criticise the proposal, and that is the great respect which I bear, in common with all the House, the present Leader of the Opposition. When I first heard of the proposal I felt that it was right, because the arguments in its favour on the ground of expediency are overwhelming. The Leader of the Opposition holds a position of immense responsibility. He has to devote his whole time and energy to the office. Not only is it responsible work but it is expensive, and in order to carry it out properly he ought to have a staff of secretaries. Even those of us who are on the back benches, if we are to do our work properly require a couple of full-time secretaries, but very few of us can afford one.
While recognising the arguments in favour of the proposal, on consideration I have come to the conclusion that, quite reluctantly, I must oppose it for the reason that it appears to me wrong in principle. It appears to me to be absolutely in contradiction to the whole theory of our Constitution and our whole 632 traditions. Hon. Members may say: "If all the arguments of expediency are in favour of it, why quibble about a matter of principle and tradition?" but I feel that in these days, when so much of the old foundations and ideas are dissolving and so many of our young people have lost their standards, we must hold on where we can to the essential fundamental principles. What is the origin of the appointment of Ministers? The King originally appointed one secretary, whom he paid out of his own income to do a specific job. As time passed a second secretary was appointed. As the work increased more secretaries were appointed. The King's Secretaries are paid to-day to do a particular work for the King's Government. Surely, it is almost absurd to pay an individual to do everything he possibly can, as is his duty as Leader of the Opposition, to criticise and hinder the work of the King's Government, carried out by the King's paid servants. That is an anomaly.
Even on the question of pure expediency, we are to-day, as we always have been, the great Parliamentary institution of the world. Parliamentary institutions have been attacked in many countries. In the greater part of Europe parliaments have ceased to function. In other countries where they still exist they are being criticised and attacked, and we have to be very careful in this country to hold the Parliamentary institution, I will not say above suspicion, but rather above the suspicion of suspicion. We must not give the faintest opening, either at home or abroad, to the opponents of our Parliamentary institution. We must not give them any grounds for criticism. Hon. Members may think I exaggerate, but last Sunday in my constituency a meeting was held, attended by over 2,000 people. It was addressed by Sir Oswald Mosley and the great proof he produced for his attack on our Parliamentary institutions was this proposal.
I beg hon. Members to realise that this proposal will not only give grounds for criticism in this country to the extreme Right or the extreme Left who wish to destroy Parliament, but also to dictator countries, and particularly countries which wish to establish dictatorships. They will not understand our policy. They will say that it shows collusion for a Government to pay a man to oppose 633 its policy, and that it shows the folly of Parliamentary institutions. That is not true, of course, but they will not be able to believe that it is not true. I wish I could vote for the proposal, it is so desirable in many ways. I want the Leader of the Opposition to be above financial considerations, and I would suggest that it might be possible to achieve the result we all desire without this flagrant contradiction of paying a man to oppose the Government. Could we not do it in this way? There are pensions of £2,000 a year to retired Cabinet Ministers. Could it not be arranged that one of these pensions should always be held by the Leader of the Opposition? He may not have been in the Cabinet, but some of his colleagues might have been in the Cabinet, and we should get over the appearance of this absurdity. That is what I would suggest.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
When first I heard of this proposal I was instinctively against it, but I did not come to any definite conclusion until I had heard all points of view. I have listened to all points of view and have come to the conclusion that my first instinctive feeling against the proposal was the correct one. I have probably had as much experience, relatively, as any hon. Member of acting in a representative capacity in the working-class movement. I know how difficult it is to be true to the people you represent in certain circumstances. It is relatively easy to represent working-class men and women in this House, and outside. The test is when you are in the workshop and in the pit, when your living is at stake; that is when temptation besets one. Unless anyone has passed through such an experience he cannot realise how great these temptations are. I am convinced that one of the difficulties facing our movement at the present time is the continual sowing, by people who are organised against the working classes of this country, of the seeds of distrust in the ability of the people who represent them to bring about a government which will truly represent the people of the country.
Therefore, I look on this proposal with suspicion. It is a proposal made by a Government to which our movement is fundamentally opposed. I do not doubt the sincerity of hon. Members who sit on the Government Front Bench, but we do 634 not accept their philosophy and we cannot in any circumstances agree to support them. It is a Government which time after time has refused to deal with the anomalies which exist in widows' pensions, with the anomalies which exist among old age pensions, and which has continually administered a mean means test in a disgraceful way. It is a Government which has refused to listen to continual applications from these benches for an increase to old age pensioners who have to exist on a meagre allowance. Therefore, if we are to be true to these people and to be worthy of them we must look on this proposal as they would look upon it.
I for one, no matter what anybody else does, cannot agree to the proposal. In addition, anyone who has had anything to do with negotiations concerning piecework knows the bait which is always held out in order to obtain a compromise and create an atmosphere which will undermine the stand you are taking up. Having refused to accept such a bait, and having seen men subjected to victimisation for years and years, I am not prepared to accept the bait which is being held out now by the National Government. I hope there will be many hon. Members who will show that they are not prepared to support this proposal by going into the Division Lobby against it; who will show that they are determined to oppose a Government which deceived the people in 1931 and again in 1935. This proposal has for its object the undermining of the confidence of the people in our movement, and I hope we shall rally against it and maintain the confidence of the people we represent in this House.
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
I am going to vote for the proposal. The hon. Member has said that we have no right, when many people are suffering poverty and under-nourishment, to vote considerable sums for anybody. If the hon. Member was logical he would say that the situation was so bad that we should abolish all Parliamentary salaries. That is the only logical consequence of his remarks. But he does not propose that, because he recognises that if a man has to serve his country in Parliament some remuneration is necessary to cover his normal expenses. On the same principle I contend that the Leader of the Opposition is en- 635 titled to this sum of £2,000. I do not know how it has been arrived at, but I imagine it is the result of long and careful consideration and a calculation of what his proper expenses would be, just as in the case of our own salaries our expenses were no doubt examined. For that reason I was not impressed by the remarks of the hon. Member. Unfortunately I did not hear the speech of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), but I understand that he made a very impressive speech. I am not so much concerned with the traditions of our Constitution as with what we call democracy. The main point about democracy and its chief claim, as I understand it, is that it enables men of all classes and of all states of society to participate in the government of the country. I support this proposal mainly because it enables a man who is poor, but who has ability and who by his force of character has risen to be the leader of his party, to assume the very onerous responsibilities of leading an Opposition. I support this proposal because it is a method of ensuring that the door of this historic Assembly shall always remain open to the poorest men in the country.
I do not think the hon. Member is clear on that point. Naturally he will not be poor if he has £2,000 a year, but without that he might be quite unable to assume those responsibilities. I think it is idle talk to suggest that there is to be any collusion in this arrangement and to suggest, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Loftus), that the Government is to pay someone to oppose it.
§ Mr. Loftus
My suggestion was that this proposal will give a handle to the opponents of the Parliamentary system to bring that accusation. I did not make the accusation.
I do not think they will do so. This is not really a case of the Government paying someone to oppose it. I suggest that the proper analogy is that of a judge. The Leader of the Opposition is to be paid out of another fund altogether, a fund which is equivalent, as I understand it, to the fund out of which a judge is paid. A judge in the court 636 is entitled to, and very often does, completely upset an Act of Parliament of the Government, and in that way he may do as much damage as the Leader of the Opposition. I submit that in this case we are appointing an officer, and that the appointment is made not by His Majesty's Government, but by the Crown, by the State, by the nation. It is an appointment which we think is essential for the working of our system, and we attach to that appointment a salary without which we can no longer claim that democracy means the participation of all classes of men in the government of the country.
§ 9.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
This is a Clause on which it is necessary for the Opposition to state its views very definitely. It is not a very easy subject on which to formulate an opinion, but after consideration I and my hon. Friends on these Benches propose to express our approval of the principle of that payment, although, with reference to certain observations which have been made, I would point out that we have already expressed our objection to the whole scale and whole class of payments. In particular, I would explain to the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Somerville), in reply to some criticisms which he made, that we have stated our belief that, although some payments might be raised and others diminished, the total pool out of which this whole class of payments are made ought not to be increased.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
The Government pool in the sense that every Member of this House is paid out of Government funds.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
I think there is some misunderstanding. I am speaking now of this particular Clause, but I am reminding the House that I have already said, with regard to the whole range of salaries which is being discussed in con- 637 nection with this Bill, that I object to any increase in the total burden on the State as a result of the Bill. Therefore, although we have expressed our approval of the increase in certain payments, we have said that that increase should be secured by a diminution in other payments. The reason we do not find any great difficulty in supporting this principle is that we have always regarded it as a democratic doctrine that whole-time public service should be paid. The other doctrine which has been expressed, that those who give whole-time public service should somehow give it out of charity and benevolence to the public, we regard as the old Whig, aristocratic doctrine, which kept all poor men out of public service. We believe that those who laid down that doctrine got a great deal more in other directions than they gave up by not taking salaries.
§ Mr. Maxton
The right hon. Gentleman has referred to leaders in public life getting more in other directions than they would have got if salaries had been paid to them. Would that apply to the leaders of the Labour party in the past, men such as Keir Hardie, George Barnes, William Adamson, and the right hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury)?
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
I was not dealing with individuals, but was saying that the objection to what I called the old Whig, aristocratic principle was that in the long run and on the whole it led to the public losing more in other directions than it saved by not giving salaries. The suggestion has been made in a good many speeches that this salary, or allowance, should be paid by some political organisation. The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) rather suggested that, and I was surprised that the suggestion should have come from one who speaks with a very acutely developed Parliamentary sense. After all, there may be general political parties, but inside a political party there is a distinction between the organisation, the caucus if one may so call it, and the Members of Parliament of that party in this House. In all political parties the organisation is to some extent detached from the actual Members of Parliament. Most political parties are organised in that way. That being the case, it seems to me that obviously it is far more dignified and proper 638 that the Leader of the Opposition, who is selected by Members of Parliament and is the spokesman of Members of Parliament, should receive his allowance from the same source as his colleagues, and not be made into the paid servant of any external organisation.
A good many references have been made during this Debate, especially by the hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Loftus), to dictatorships and to Sir Oswald Mosley and to others of that point of view. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, this proposal is the logical result of our answer, of our whole alternative conception, to that of the totalitarian State. In a totalitarian State no minority is allowed, but we recognise that in any State where there is freedom of opinion, freedom to call your soul your own, a minority is inevitable, and indeed healthy. It is the duty of the Opposition to express broadly the outlook of the minority, and when the hon. Member for Lowestoft says that the Opposition merely hinders the Government, that is not the right perspective of the matter. The Opposition does not defeat the Government; it cannot do it. But it modifies legislation so as to adapt and adjust it to the reasonable demands of the minority of the country. We do modify it. This very Bill has been modified this evening. And in this task of modifying the legislation to suit the minority the Opposition is performing as much a part of the function of good government as the Government itself.
References have been made to dictatorships. The Opposition in a country such as ours is the alternative system to the system of government by civil war. In a dictatorship, if you want to get rid of the dictator there is only one way of doing so; you have to kill him and face civil war and the convulsions which inevitably follow. In this country, by means of an Opposition, you have an alternative Government and, when you want to get rid of the Government of the time, by a perfectly simple process the alternative Government is put in its place. Therefore, the function of an Opposition is to maintain what surely we believe to be the most civilised form of government which the brain of man has yet devised. The Leader of the Opposition is one of the foremost parts of this form of government. I noticed that the hon. Mem- 639 ber for Lowestoft said that dictators would not understand what we are doing. That is just so. They will not understand what we are doing. It is a thing of which they cannot conceive, because if the House accepts this principle we are exhibiting once again to the world one of those acts of inspired common sense by which we have led the way in Parliamentary government.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Sir J. Simon
There have been some interesting speeches made, and I would like to present to the Committee now as plainly as I can the view of the Government on the matter. It is no surprise to find that this particular proposal in the Bill should be regarded by some people —many people perhaps—as a surprising departure. What we have to consider is whether, when we have selected the considerations which really matter, this is in accord with the true constitutional course of our development. The Government regard this Clause as an integral part of the Bill. No one who heard the Prime Minister's speech on the Second Reading of the Bill will have forgotten the language he then used. He declared that this proposal in the Bill he regarded as his own child. He said that this proposal was one which he had hoped to see carried into law for many years. He said that it was a proposal which he had espoused and pressed on others 11 or 12 years ago, and he expressed his hope, as Leader of the House and a Prime Minister of great experience, that by means of this Bill we should pass it into law. I will invite hon. Friends of mine who have entertained doubts to dwell on that fact. I do not believe that they are likely to doubt the Prime Minister's devotion to Parliamentary institutions or the proper development of constitutional government.
I should like to say a few words about the main arguments that have been used. First may I refer to the line of argument as illustrated in the speech of the hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Loftus) when he said that this really appeared to amount to the payment of the Leader of the Opposition by the King's Government. A number of people outside, hearing that argument, would say, "How absurd of the Government to pay people to oppose it!" but this is not a proposal that the Government should pay anybody at all. 640 We are discussing here whether this is a proper use for a portion of public money. The Government is no more proposing to make this payment than when it makes a payment to Members of Parliament even when they belong to the Opposition. The question, therefore, has nothing to do with whether it is absurd or short-sighted or foolhardy or quixotic that the people who sit here should offer to pay the people who sit over there. It is an utterly false and indeed an insulting way of regarding the proposal.
The Leader of the Opposition has to discharge very heavy and constant duties and diligent attention to his work is essential to the proper functioning of this House, and he is entitled to something more than the £400 which others get. Suppose that somebody came forward and said, "We think that this £400 should be increased," would anybody say, "Here is a Government engaged in handing out money to Members of the Opposition"? All these things have to be judged from this point of view—whether we are all of us concerned in the administration of public money so as to maintain the proper carrying out of Parliamentary government. The issue is whether that will be best done by adopting this proposal. Is there not a great deal of force in the argument used by the Prime Minister on the Second Reading for recognising the special functions and duties of the Leader of the Opposition? Let me remind the Committee of what the Prime Minister said. The Leader of the Opposition is the one man who must always be here and available as Parliament sits day by day. He is the one man who speaks officially for the main Opposition. He is constantly called into consultation by the Leader of the House in connection with the business of the House. He is one of the principal supporters of the traditions of the House. When some distinguished statesman passes away and the time comes when observations are made by leading men in the House recalling the services of the man who has gone, immediately the Prime Minister sits down Mr. Speaker turns to the Leader of the Opposition, because he is an integral part of the work of the House and he speaks with the authority of those whom he leads. It appears to me that it is on those grounds that there is the strongest practicable reason for supporting this proposition.
641 There is one other consideration which the Prime Minister put forward, of which I would remind hon. Members. In the old days the House of Commons was a place where Members of sufficient private means were expected to support their existence here without any grant or salary.
§ Sir Geoffrey Ellis
The right hon. Gentleman forgets that wages used to be paid to Members of Parliament.
§ Sir J. Simon
I was thinking of times like the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. If my hon. Friend wants to go back to the beginning of things, it is true that there was a time when constituencies had to pay their Members of Parliament, and some constituencies preferred to be without representation rather than pay a Member. If we come down to more recent times, it is the case, even within my own life-time, when the whole conception of the House r f Commons was that it was a place where people were elected who were comfortably off and were able to play their different parts in the Parliamentary arena without any need of payment. Things have so changed—they have changed terrifically in the interest of the Constitution and of democratic Government—that for practical purposes nobody imagines that a man is not well qualified to serve his country here by any considerations of income. At the same time, we have step by step adopted methods which are not a contradiction of our old traditions at all, but a development of them, which have secured that Members who are elected may sit and serve in the House with the support of a modest salary.
I cannot take any other view than that, entirely consistently with that line of tradition, the Leader of the Opposition should be a man who, in view of the heavy work he has to do, is fairly entitled to a salary which is larger than the salary of an ordinary Member of Parliament. Is it right that we should leave uncorrected the possibility that a man who is called upon to hold that office may, because his private means are so small, be pinched and crushed in discharging what is really a public duty? I do not think so. I subscribe to the doctrine that a man who is doing a piece of public work which calls for the whole of his time and energies should properly be remunerated for it. It is certain that 642 the Leader of the Opposition in many respects has a heavier burden upon his shoulders, if you take the Session all through, than the burden which may fall upon people who sit on the Government Bench, because their work is more intermittent.
With regard to the question that some Members have raised, whether it will uphold or encourage the dictators of the world to support the totalitarian State and to undermine our own democratic institutions, I am certain of this—and the right hon. Gentleman opposite was right when he put it as he did, that the totalitarian States cannot understand it —that it is of the very essence of that totalitarian State for those who are in power to do everything and for everybody else to be swept away and crushed. It is the very essence of Parliamentary and democratic government that we should recognise, however acutely we may differ and however widely we are divided, that. everybody here is discharging to the best of his ability a useful public service. I cannot understand why people who have reflected on the division between the totalitarian theory and the Parliamentary theory can hesitate on which side of the line this particular proposal falls. The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) said that the Leader of the Opposition did not start until about 1860. I agree, but the conception that you were discharging a public duty when you were opposing is one of the oldest conceptions in the history of British politics. Will anybody say that Charles James Fox was not discharging a public duty when he was in Opposition? Will anybody suggest that when Mr. Gladstone was on one side of the Table and Mr. Disraeli on the other, one was discharging a public duty and that the other was not, and that when they changed places their respective roles were reversed?
The whole essence of Parliamentary life is that we should bear with such patience as we can the contributions which are made from the other side. Nobody imagines that because he is on this side in a majority he is necessarily written down in the pages of history as being always right—or on that side either. It is entirely plain that if we have regard to the fair application of this conception which we have developed gradually in this country, it must be on the lines of 643 recognising, as the Prime Minister urged the other day, that we ought to make this change. The Committee will perhaps allow me to read a short passage from my right hon. Friend's speech. He said:The time was, when I was a boy, when people hardly dreamed that the day would come when there would be large numbers of Members in this House who could not afford to perform their duties here unless they had an allowance; but I think, looking at the whole Continent of Europe, that, the more the basis of our liberty and our Constitution is broadened, the better for our country. Would anyone who remembers the old days here go back to them and give up what we have gained? This Chamber, the most famous Chamber in democratic government in the world, is now open to all, and, once you admit that everybody has a right to be elected to this House if he can, you cannot logically create or leave a financial bar. I am very glad indeed to find that responsible speakers on the benches opposite have realised something of what was in my mind when I first decided, if I were able, to get the remuneration of the Leader of the Opposition included in any Bill dealing with Ministers' salaries."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th April, 1937; cols. 745–6, Vol. 322.]I earnestly beg hon. Gentlemen, in whatever part of the House they sit, to weigh those words. They are the words of a man who is no revolutionary and no supporter of dictators, a man who has realised, as we all ought to realise, that our Constitution is a growing thing, and that if you want to make it work you must from time to time make certain adjustments. This adjustment I commend to the Committee with all my heart, because I am convinced that this proposal is one which is entirely consonant with our traditions and is calculated to uphold and strengthen Parliamentary government.
§ 9.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Lansbury
I feel a little diffident in taking part in this discussion, but I hold very strongly a contrary view to that which the Home Secretary has just expressed, and very similar to that to which I gave expression on an Amendment a little while ago. When the right hon. Gentleman speaks of the duty and the work of the Leader of the Opposition, and tells us that it ought to be recognised by a grant of public money, I really do think that is rather an insult to the House of Commons and to any man concerned. I speak rather feelingly about this, because I hold very strongly indeed that it 644 would be better for this House if all of us were on that equal footing which the right hon. Gentleman has now and again said we are. We are not. We are told that if we occupy a certain position we must have more money, and I think that is a terrible doctrine for a democratic assembly. I think all and each of us ought to be willing to give our best service and remain, as we are, equal Members of the House of Commons. I would not pay a man on the Treasury Bench or on the Opposition Front Bench a penny more than the average Member receives. That is the only true democratic principle. But, I may be told, and it is true, a leader of a party has expenses—not for entertainment, but expenses connected with that position because it necessitates secretarial and other assistance. I think the party in opposition ought to pay for that themselves. I express that view very strongly indeed, and feel that any Leader of the Opposition, or of an Opposition, because there is more than one Opposition now, ought not to be paid money on the score that he is giving his fullest services either to the party or the country. If he gives service to the party he is giving it to the country, and I think democracy cannot exist, on the basis which the right hon. Gentleman has laid down, that you must pay because a man is giving fuller service.
I had experience on that Bench for nearly three years and it was not a very easy time or a very easy position, but if the Committee will believe me—and I am no more virtuous than any other Member—I never felt that I ought to be paid more money for doing it. I gloried in doing it, it was a piece of work which I felt rather proud to be able to do, and I think that is the right spirit. I am sorry that the party is going to vote for this. I shall not vote against it, because I believe in loyalty to a decision, but I shall not vote for it. I should not have spoken but for the emphasis which has been laid on money as something which you must have if you are filling a position of greater responsibility. I think that doctrine is much more deadly to the democratic cause than anything I have ever heard before, and I am very sorry indeed that the House of Commons is going to vote this money to-night. If money was needed during my own period in that position it is needed now, but I think that his party ought to find the 645 money for every expense that the Leader of an Opposition incurs. There ought not to be any question of paying him money because he is doing big service to the community. We ought to be very glad that we are given the opportunity to do it.
§ 9.51 p.m.
§ Sir G. Ellis
I rise because I have some difficulty, and I know that it is shared by a good many Members on this side of the Committee, about the principle involved in this question. I interrupted the right hon. Gentleman on one point because I wished to point out that there is continuity in what is happening to-night. The right hon. Gentleman will recall that after payment of Members by their constituents ceased it was not long before constituencies got into the hands of people who bought them up, and that practice only came to an end with the Reform Bill. By giving the vote to extended classes of people we got proper representation of the people in this House, until eventually we got, as we have to-day, not only the workers as voters but workers as Members of Parliament and obviously when we got to that stage Members had to be paid. As far as members of the Government and ex-members of the Government are concerned, one can well understand that special work by members of the Government should be paid for, and paid properly. One can understand, too, that Ministers who have carried out their work and for a certain number of years have given up other opportunities have thereby earned a pension, and a great many of us would not have any objection to seeing pensions extended, so that among the members of any Opposition sitting in this House, whether they sat in the seats of the regular Opposition or sat here below the Gangway, there would be somebody who was entitled to a pension who could then take on the duty of Leader of the Opposition.
I do not understand what is the principle, historical or otherwise, involved in the contention that we ought to pay somebody who is here purposely to oppose the Government. It is useless to say that one party which may be picked out is the interpreter of the opinion of the whole Opposition in this House. To-day there are three interpreters of Opposition opinion, and is it suggested that the salary should be divided among them, or that it should be given to the leader of 646 the Opposition which has the greatest number of Members. Is it suggested, further, that parties will always remain as they are to-day, or that we shall always have a two-party Government such as we have to-day? It is not only a question for ourselves in this House, but one which will be debated outside from much broader aspects than some of the aspects discussed to-night. I have listened anxiously to hear some definite principle which is involved, but I regret to say that I have not heard that principle, either logically or in any other way, and this is one of the occasions when I most regret that I must vote against the Government, because I have not been convinced that I should he right in doing otherwise.
§ 9.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot
I should like to say with what great interest I listened to the arguments of the Home Secretary a few moments ago. I was glad to hear from him that those who in this House are in opposition are performing a valuable constitutional function. It was only last week that I read a letter from the right hon. Gentleman to the Conservative candidate in a by-election. In that letter he referred to the choice for Liberals lying between co-operation on the one side and —I forget his exact words, but they were something like this—useless and sterile criticism on the other. It will be a great comfort to my hon. Friends and myself when we justify our actions in opposition in future to be able to quote the Home Secretary and say that we are performing an essential public task. I would like to say a word about the remarkable justification that we had from the Front Bench of the Official Opposition. The right hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) said that he did not object to the £2,000 being paid, but that he was not in favour of more money being spent as a result of this whole Bill.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
I said that I had already expressed my disagreement with the whole range of payments proposed, including that to the Leader of the Opposition.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
There is no contradiction in those two statements. I said that the total amount of the burden on the public ought not to be increased, and, therefore, I object to the whole scale of payments suggested by the Government, and in my objection to that scale there was included the payment to the Leader of the Opposition.
§ Mr. Foot
I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is putting forward two propositions. First, there must not be any increased burden on the taxpayer as a result of the Bill, and, secondly, the Leader of the Opposition should receive remuneration, whether £2,000 or a lesser sum, and the words that he used in his earlier speech were that the salary of the Leader of the Opposition must come out of the pool. What pool? The only existing pool is the sum total of the salaries that Ministers now receive. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman's speech meant anything, it simply meant that we should name some annual salary to be paid to the Leader of the Opposition, and that we should deduct it from the salary of the present Ministers of the Crown. I do not know whether he thinks any particular Minister should make this sacrifice, or whether he thinks that the hat ought to be passed round among all the Ministers on the Government Front Bench.
The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary said that the Leader of the Opposition should be paid because he is the spokesman of a number of his fellow Members, and that, because he is the spokesman of a number of Members of Parliament, he should receive a salary from the same source as Ministers receive theirs. Surely, if that argument applies, it must apply to anybody who is the spokesman of a number of Members, if they are in opposition. But you may have, and we have had before, in this House a position in which you have a number of Opposition parties who may be nearly equal in number. If hon. Members will cast their minds back to the position that arose after the General Election at the end of 1923, they will remember that at that time, I think it was, as a result of that election, there were some 250 or 260 Conservatives in the House, there were about 190 Labour Members, and there were about 150 Liberals, so that there was not a big gap between any of those parties, and the Leader of each one of the parties in those 648 circumstances was able to speak for a very considerable proportion of the House. We might easily have some situation like that in the future. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Whatever the division may be, I say that you might have three parties who would be nearly equal in numbers, and nobody surely will say that that could not happen. If there is any substance in the right hon. Gentleman's argument at all, it means that the Leader of every considerable body of opinion in this House would have to receive a salary on that basis.
When I first heard of this proposal, I was rather inclined to be in favour of it, and I think most of us will admit the validity of the arguments put forward from the Treasury Bench in its favour. We should all agree that His Majesty's Opposition discharge just as essential a function in the working of our Constitution as do His Majesty's Government, but it seems to us that there are objections in the working out of this proposal which are quite overwhelming. The principal objection is that this £2,000 is going to be paid in a way in which no other salary in this country will be paid. The hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Gallacher) a little time ago took the analogy of a judge and said that the Leader of the Opposition in future, with his salary paid out of the Consolidated Fund, would be in a similar position to that of a judge. But he would be in a much better position. A High Court Judge can be removed by an Address of this House, but under this Bill no Address of this House, by however large a majority it may be carried, can possibly remove the Leader of the Opposition. We are putting him in a position which is quite different from that of a judge, and we are putting him in a position which is quite different from that of any Minister, because it will be impossible for anyone to move on a Supply Day to reduce the Vote for the salary of the Leader of the Opposition.
It has been pointed out that in this Bill we introduce a number of constitutional innovations. For the first time we have recognised the existence of the Cabinet, and for the first or perhaps the second time in our Statute law we have recognised the existence of the Prime Minister. But there is a bigger constitutional innovation than that. This is the 649 first time in any Statute that we have recognised the existence of a party caucus, because we are placing this sum of £2,000 a year, payable out of the Consolidated Fund, within the gift of a party caucus. That seems to me the most remarkable innovation in this Bill.
The point is made, and rightly made, that the function of an Opposition is essential, and we should all agree with that, but in practice—and hon. Members need only look back over the last few year to see it—that opposition does not come invariably from the same quarter. Sometimes when the Government bring forward a Measure the principal objections, I quite agree, will come from above the Gangway here, but in a good many cases in the last few years the principal opposition has come, not from above the Gangway, but from those of us who sit below the Gangway. I will take one recent example. When the Government introduced the Public Order Bill there were a great many objections to it, which seemed to us right, but scarcely any of them were put by hon. Members above the Gangway, with the one exception of the hon. and learned Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Pritt), and when I raised one of the main objections to the Bill, I was answered, not by anybody from the Government Front Bench, but by the right hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison). It could not have been better done by anybody on the Government side. My point is that the Opposition does not always come from one quarter.
In the last Parliament we spent a whole Session on one of the biggest Measures, I suppose, which has ever passed through the House, the Government of India Bill. I know there was a certain amount of objection offered to some Clauses of the Bill by hon. Members above the Gangway, but no one who sat through the Debates on the Measure would dispute that the main opposition came from the other side of the House. The main opposition was offered throughout by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and his followers. It was they who were discharging the vital functions of the Opposition. It was they who brought to bear the detailed knowledge which we like to see in our Opposition parties, and who subjected not only the main outline of the Bill but almost every 650 Clause of the Bill to detailed, searching and consistent criticism, which is precisely what we expect from an Opposition party and precisely the function for which we are going to pay the Leader of one particular party. In spite of the obvious attractions of this proposal, and we all recognise how important the Opposition is, there are overwhelming objections to this proposal of a salary to the Leader of what Lord Snowden the other day very rightly called the least effective of the Opposition parties.
§ 10.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Stephen
The Home Secretary in his defence of this proposal made only one real argument which might appeal to hon. Members, and that was that the proposal came from the Prime Minister. Obviously the Home Secretary realised that on his own side of the House there is a great deal of misgiving with regard to this proposal, and he tried to take advantage of the popularity of the Prime Minister to enedavour to get the proposal carried. If that is a sound argument for this proposal from the point of view of the Government benches, I should say that it is correspondingly unsound from the point of view of the Labour benches. My hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) reminds me that it was the Prime Minister who introduced the miners' eight-hour day. I take it the Home Secretary would say that the Opposition in the House at that time performed a public duty in opposing the proposal. One of the points that worries me in connection with this proposal is the way in which the Leader of the Opposition in this House is to receive the salary. Although I am not a Member of the Labour party any longer, I still recognise that the Labour party has its great association with the working classes in the country.
§ Mr. Stephen
Yes, even with myself and my colleagues; and it has the advantage of the association of the hon. Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. McEntee) and others. The working classes have got to put up with it. I do not want to say anything to hurt the feelings of any hon. Member above the Gangway, but I sincerely say that I recognise that the Labour party, with its close association with the great organised working-class movement in this country, is a 651 very important organisation; and although I think that the party has taken a wrong turning, I recognise that it is an important part of the working-class movement. It is because of my sincere realisation of the importance of the Labour party in connection with the working-class movement that I feel the great dangers which are incurred in the way in which that party is taking the bait offered to it by the Prime Minister and the Government. After all, hon. Members above the Gangway must realise the interpretation which will be placed on this throughout the country. I think the speech made by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. E. Smith) will be a typical reaction of the sincere Labour party Member outside the House, and of the ordinary member of the working classes outside the House. All that is being received for the misrepresentation and the distortion that there will be in connection with this—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
It is often a little difficult to follow the argument of the hon. Member. Especially was it so at the beginning of his speech. He appeared to me to be giving some reason for opposing the proposal of the Government.
§ Mr. Stephen
I am suggesting to the Committee, and specially to hon. Members above the Gangway, that this is a very dangerous proposal, which will have a very adverse effect on the working-class movement in the country. I may be wrong or right in that respect, but I want the Committee to realise, as the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) has said, that this does introduce definitely into a Statute for, I think, the first time, the idea of a party. Consequently, I am trying to get hon. Members of the Committee, who hold that they represent more directly the working-class movement, to realise the dangers implicit in the acceptance of this proposal. After all, in the past, the Opposition has had to face the position that its leader was unpaid. There was never any indication from the Labour Opposition that they wanted this new 652 paid office in their party. Many difficulties will follow from the machinery which will be necessary to set up this office. In later parts of the Bill are definitions with regard to that machinery, and it is obvious that there will be many interesting situations in the future.
The Labour party are making a tremendous mistake, and the working class in this country will suffer as a consequence of that mistake. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) spoke about the functions of the Opposition being to modify the proposals of the Government, but that is not exactly the language which he would use on the platform, either at the next General Election or at a by-election. According to his statement they would make the means test a little less objectionable than it is, but on the platform their function would be defined as fighting the Government tooth and nail and driving them out, making an end of them. Now we are told that the function is to examine, moderate and limit the Government's proposals. As a result of exercising that censorship over the Government's proposals, the Leader of the Opposition is to receive £2,000 a year. I do not believe that the Labour party will gain anything from it. If the Labour party are willing to be bribed by the Government, for heaven's sake let them get a big enough price. [Laughter.] Yes, I say it deliberately. Do not let them sell themselves for a miserable £2,000.
§ Mr. Stephen
I believe this proposal of the Government will weaken the official Opposition in this House, and that there is no necessity for it. No member of the party has, in the past, been debarred by his poverty from being Leader of the Opposition. That has never occurred to them. I believe that the poor working-class folk will suffer because of the line that has been taken by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway, and I hope that even yet hon. Members will reconsider the position and go into the Lobby against this proposal of the National Government.
§ 10.19 p.m.
§ Mr. MacLaren
I want to express a personal feeling to-night on this matter. A difficulty has arisen, but it is not of our making; it has been rather placed upon us by the Government. I do not suggest 653 that the Prime Minister, in embodying this proposal in the Bill, had any ulterior motive. I believe that he was serious and genuine in his consideration for the financial obligations imposed upon the Leader of the Opposition. But look at the position of a member of the Labour party to-night. I have consistently, with others, opposed this Bill Clause by Clause. I have spoken against it, and the House has tolerated my saying something very vicious about it. But when we come to this Clause I find to my horror that there is an utter collapse of the opposition. I cannot help thinking, at least to myself, that, when hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are fighting their next General Election, they will be saying, "The Labour party fought this Bill, but, when it came to £2,000 for themselves—" I can hear them saying it. Quite frankly, I do not want to be charged in that way. I oppose this Clause as I have opposed the other Clauses of the Bill. If the principle is bad, it is bad all through.
Something constructive might be offered to the House. The Leader of the Opposition, whoever he may be, has a good deal of work thrown upon him, and I cannot see why the House should not come to some reasonable agreement that a staff, paid for by the State, should be put at the disposal of the Leader of the Opposition for the purpose of carrying on much of his secretarial work. I am only going as far as that, but I think something like that should be done. When, however, it comes to paying the person occupying the leadership of the Opposition in the House, I suggest that it would be far more honourable if that payment were made out of the funds of the party responsible for the leadership of the Opposition. I think that that would be far better, and I think it would be consistent to admit that in the debate on this point, seeing that we have taken the line that we have in criticising the Bill so far.
I want to say at once that the contribution of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) will stand out as one of the finest contributions to the discussion so far. I see no answer to it. I am more or less feeling my own personal way through the impasse into which we have been thrown by the Government, and I cannot help observing that, while the Whips have been operating to secure the 654 passage of the Bill so far, yet, when we come to this Clause, some loyal supporters of the Government have even to-night declared that they are going to refuse to abide by the Whips' dictate when the vote is called; so that politics are not altogether kept outside this discussion. In the second place, strong as my opposition was to the Bill at the outset, the longer I have listened to the Debate the more do I feel myself beginning to get converted. We heard the Home Secretary's eulogies of the Opposition; we heard him say how important it was, and why it was, that the Leader of the Opposition should get £2,000. We heard what was said about his lieutenants, the Whips, who are so necessary to help him maintain his Opposition. I begin to think that, if the Debate goes on much longer, we shall all have to vote ourselves £2,000 before we finish. In order to avoid that, I think it would be better that we should take an immediate decision on this question, because I want still to preserve my faith that this Bill is a bad Bill. It would be far better to try and enlist more voluntary effort on the part of men in this country to serve the State—voluntary effort such as was expressed in definite and clear terms by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). It would be far better that we should do that than that we should come to such a materialist conception of the functions of men who try to do something for the State and gauge their ability and their efforts in terms of monetary reward.
§ 10.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Raikes
I feel bound, as a Conservative, to support this Clause, and I do so for the following reason. There was a time when the Leaders of all Oppositions were men of means, men who had money of their own, and who were able and in a position to take on that leadership without feeling the pinch if they had to spend a definite amount of money. More and more as time goes on we are going to have poor men at the head of Departments, whatever they may be, and we want to give the fairest possible deal to whomsoever may happen to be Leader of the Opposition. He may have to live entirely upon his salary, which may be only £400, a year, and he may have a family to keep outside London. He has at the same time to be 655 in the position to have secretarial help, and he has always certain expenses to face which are not faced by the ordinary man. In the time that lies before us it would be a shame if the Leader of the Opposition had to be selected because he had private means or if he had to get the money from some other source. The hon. Member for Burslem (Mr. MacLaren) may suggest that his own party ought to subscribe the extra money, but it would be a poor thing if the Leader of a party was put in the position of a paid servant of the party because he was in Opposition and his party had to pay in order that he might have a living wage.
§ Mr. Raikes
Whoever paid Disraeli has nothing to do with the year 1937. We are dealing with the present, and not with the past. There is the possibility that a Leader of an Opposition without much money will receive temptation from vested interests to which no Member ought to be subjected. There are some vested interests—I do not mind whether they are capitalist or co-operative—always looking out for an opportunity of making their power felt. It would be an extraordinarily bad thing if a Leader of an Opposition, however honest he might be, should have a hint raised against him by his political opponents that he was being subsidised by some interest outside. The Leader of the Opposition plays a constitutional part in Parliament, because under our system of party Government you have to have a Leader of the Opposition, and it is not at all a bad thing that the State should see that he is in a position to play his part without having any sneers cast against him by any other party in the State. If the Leader of the Opposition were freed from the bonds which attach to a great many men without much money of their own, it would be good not only for the Opposition but for the nation as a whole to realise that the best man can lead any party in opposition irrespective of what his finance, or lack of it, may be.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
It is with very great regret that I find myself unable to support the proposal of a salary for the Leader of the Opposition, not because I 656 think that £2,000 a year is too much remuneration, but because I consider it to be antagonistic to every constitutional principle that the Leader of the Opposition should be paid a salary under our present system. There was no argument used by the hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes) but would apply equally to any hon. Member of this House carrying out his duties as a Member for the full time. At least 70 per cent. of the Members of Parliament have to give practically their whole time to these duties. If, therefore, the remuneration which they receive is not sufficient, the remedy is to raise the salary of every Member of Parliament until it is sufficient upon which to live in decency.
I listened with great patience to what was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and I really wondered why his tongue did not cleave to the roof of his mouth. Would he, if he were in this position, be supporting the acceptance of that salary? Would the present Prime Minister, if he were in this position be supporting it? Would the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) or the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) be supporting it? I am glad to think that the Leader of the Opposition has not expressed his support of this proposal, and is leaving it to the general and unfettered opinion of Members of the House. I sincerely hope that hon. Members on the other side and on this side will vote against it.
We have heard all sorts of ridiculous talk about His Majesty's Opposition. That was a phrase conceived as a joke, and as a joke it has been used ever since. I heard that denied by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary the other day. When the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Captain Balfour) claimed that the phrase originated in Gilbert and Sullivan's opera he said that it was Mr. John Hobhouse who originated that phrase. I have been at some pains to look up its origin and I find that though that was correct, it was a phrase which was, in fact, originated as a joke in the year 1871. The original reference to it concludes with the words:The joke originated with Mr. Hobhouse.I am extremely sorry that I cannot agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for 657 Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) when he says that the duty of the Opposition is to modify. We might as well resolve ourselves into a Council of State where hon. Members all do their best to persuade, mould and reflect in some slight degree the policy of the Government. My conception of the duty of the Opposition is not to go as far as one authority had it, namely, to watch the Government in their progress and to trip them up even before they fell. That might be carrying it too far, but it is certainly to resist with all our strength, both on the Floor of the House, by every permissible party means, and in the country, a proposal which we believe to be unsatisfactory from the point of view of public policy. If it is to be the subject of reward and pay to criticise and propose, why do we not carry the principle further and pay those who spend their whole time endeavouring to displace each one of us in elections throughout the country? What is there in the argument used which does not apply to payment being made to the candidates who oppose each one of us in the country? We are paid here in our representative capacity. We are not paid because we belong to the Opposition or to the Government. We are paid because we represent our constituencies in this House, and it is an entirely new principle to put forward a proposal that the Leader of the Opposition should be paid.
There is one subsidiary matter to which I would draw attention, and that is that the Speaker of the House of Commons is to have cast upon him the duty of deciding who is the Leader of the Opposition.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
There is an Amendment on the Order Paper to deal with that question. If the hon. Member talks on that now, I shall be unable to select that Amendment.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
I have not given any indication what my argument is going to be. It generally takes two or three sentences in order to indicate what point an hon. Member is trying to develop. This is my point. If the Speaker is to be asked to choose who is the Leader of the Opposition, at the same time that the Opposition are to have a voice in choosing who the Speaker is to be—those will be the circumstances in which these difficulties will arise and they will synchronise at the same time that both parties—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Member had better put that point when we come to the specific Amendment. It appears to be more appropriate to the Amendment.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
I will leave that point and, with great respect, will put my point in this way. I believe that the Leader of the Opposition and every other Member of the House ought to be paid a salary to live upon in reasonable comfort. I would, in passing, comment upon the strange paradox by which a large number of Members of the Conservative 1922 Committee, who are supporting this proposal—I hope with their tongues in their cheeks—spoke with great vigour at their meeting, according to Press reports, against the raising of salaries of Members of Parliament. I hope they will be able to reconcile those differing views, inconsistent as they appear to be, with their consciences.
The policy of the Government for the time being is the policy of the State. The Prime Minister is at the helm and he is paid to conduct the ship of State—to use a very old metaphor—in a certain direction, and we are now going to pay the Leader of the Opposition for his duties in endeavouring to steer that ship a different way. I think the position is a ludicrous one. It is most unfortunate that it has been accepted, if it has been accepted by this party, and for my part I shall vote against it in the sincere hope that the proposal will be defeated.
§ 10.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Ede
I think it is only right that those members of this party who intend to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) should have the opportunity of saying, in a few sentences, why they intend to take that course, after the speeches of hon. Members who take a different view. In view of the very cheap party point which the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) tried to make and the views of the Noble Lord, who used to belong to us but now finds himself more at home with the hon. and learned Gentleman and his friends, we are entitled to say a few words. 659 [HON. MEMBERS: "Who is the Noble Lord?"] Lord Snowden. The only people who use invective now are the leader writer of the "Morning Post," dealing with his opponents, and Lord Snowden dealing with the people who, he thinks, are his friends. We have to face the logic of the history of this House. One hundred years ago there was a property qualification before a man could be a Member. It is true that it was evaded in many ways, and some of the most distinguished men who sat in this House when the property qualification was in existence had property provided for them by people who desired to see them in Parliament. When Macaulay was defending the Reform Bill of 1831 he said that he could not defend it if it meant giving power to the working classes, and he gave as he thought good reasons, in strict accordance with the principles of Liberalism, for denying the working classes opportunity for political power. We have seen that disappear. There is now no property qualification for this House. Men have come into this House from receiving unemployment benefit, and have left the House to start drawing unemployment benefit again. It is useless to try to defend, in a House which can be so constituted, things which might have been quite applicable 100 years ago.
§ The Leader of the Opposition has to face expenses which do not fall upon other Members of the House. He is largely responsible for selecting such things as Supply days, which is really an effective way of keeping the control of the House over the ordinary administration of the Executive. He has to perform a great many duties which involve expenses of a secretarial kind which he cannot avoid. Are we to say that the man who is to hold this position shall have an income of his own which will enable him to meet the expenditure, or is he to get it from some party fund? Shall members of his party pay £10 or £15 a year towards providing him with the necessary funds? Is the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Garro Jones) prepared to pay his L15? Or are we to have the money provided by the State. I am in favour of the State doing it, because I shall then pay my share in the ordinary taxation of the country. In view of the history of the development of this House we are doing the logical thing in supporting the proposal which has been placed before us by the Government, and I shall have no hesitation in following the lead given us by the right hon. Member for Keighley.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 215; Noes, 41.661
|Division No. 177.]||AYES.||[10.43 p.m.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Emery, J. F.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Channon, H.||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Charleton, H, C.||Fildes, Sir H.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Charlton, A. E. L.||Findlay, Sir E.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Cluse, W. S.||Furness, S. N.|
|Amnion, C. G.||Colfax, Major W. P.||Fyfe, D. P. M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Ganzoni, Sir J.|
|Apsley, Lord||Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)||Gibson, R. (Greeneck)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.||Gluckstein, L. H.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Craven-Ellis, W.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)|
|Balniel, Lord||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Grant-Ferris, R.|
|Barr, J.||Crooke, J. S.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Ctuddas, Col. B.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Culverwell, C. T.||Gridley, Sir A. B.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Dalton, H.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Groves, T. E.|
|Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdara)|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Donner, P. W.||Hanbury, Sir C.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.||Hannah, I. C.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Drewe, C.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Harbord, A.|
|Broad, F. A.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Dugdale, Major T. L.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)|
|Burke, W. A.||Duggan, H. J.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Butler, R. A.||Eastwood, J. F.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Ede, J. C.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Cassells, T.||Elmley, Viscount||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)|
|Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Penny, Sir G.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)|
|Holmes, J. S.||Petherick, M.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hopkinson, A.||Pilkington, R.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Porritt, R. W.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Price, M. P.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Latham, Sir P.||Procter, Major H. A.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Lathan, G.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Leach, W.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Leckie, J. A.||Ramsbotham, H.||Thurtle, E.|
|Lees-Jones, J.||Ramsden, Sir E.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Liddall, W. S.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Logan, D. G.||Remer, J. R.||Turton, R. H.|
|Mac Andrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|McCorquodate, M. S.||Ridley, G.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Ross, Major Sir R. O. (Londonderry)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Rowlands, G.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)||Walkins, F. C.|
|MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Watt, G. S. H.|
|Magnay, T.||Salt, E. W.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Marshall, F.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Selley, H. R.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Shakespeare, G. H||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||Wilson, C. H. (Attereliffe)|
|Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Short, A.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Simpson, F. B.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Oliver, G. H.||Somervell. Sir D, B. (Crewe)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Paling, W.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Palmer, G. E. H.||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert|
|Parker, J.||Spens. W. P.||Ward and Captain Hope.|
|Parkinson, J. A.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Acland, R. T. 0. (Barnstaple)||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Potts, J.|
|Batey, J.||Griffiths, G- A. (Hemsworth)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Harris, Sir P. A.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Daggar, G.||Hollins, A.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Kelly, W. T.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Loftus, P. C.||Stephen, G,|
|Ellis, Sir G.||McGhee, H. G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||MacLaren, A.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Foot, D. M.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||White, H. Graham|
|Gallacher, W.||Mander, G. le M.|
|Garro Jones, G. M||Maxton, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Sir Hugh Seely and Mr. Buchanan.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause 6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.