§ 4.5 P.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)
I beg to move,That, in the opinion of this House, the rate at which salaries are payable to Members of this House should be increased to six hundred pounds a year.
§ Colonel Gretton
On a point of Order. If hon. Members, after hearing the Debate, desire to vote against this Motion, will they have an opportunity of doing so, whether the Motion is amended or not amended?
§ Mr. Speaker
Hon. Members cannot vote against the Motion as it is, if it is amended. If it is not amended hon. Members will be able to vote against the Motion as it is on the Paper.
§ The Prime Minister
In this Resolution there is no question of principle involved. The present salary as now paid to Members of the House, with the exception of those who are in receipt of salaries as Officers of this House or as Ministers or as Officers of His Majesty's Household, was fixed in August, 1911. It, therefore, has been in operation for 26 years. What we have to consider now is, not whether there should be a salary for Members of Parliament, but whether the present salary is adequate for the purpose. In the year 1920 a Select Committee of the House was set up under the Chairmanship of the late Sir Godfrey Collins to inquire into the expenses of Members, and in the course of their recommendations the Committee said:Your Committee are agreed that if the sum of£400 per annum was necessary n 1914—and no evidence has been submitted to the contrary—such an amount is inadequate today.All the same, that committee did not recommend any change in the amount of salary as it then stood, but they added:Your committee were impressed by the evidence submitted and by their private information as to the difficult financial position of certain Members at the present time. They are satisfied that further consideration should be given to this matter in the near future, but in view of the present position consider it inadvisable to make any specific recommendation at this time.It may be added that that committee did make some recommendations other than an increase in the salary, the effect of which was somewhat to relieve the position of hon. Members by helping them 1050 with their railway fares to and from their constituencies. But as the cost of living fell considerably shortly after the time when the committee reported, and possibly also because no extra remuneration had been paid to Ministers or to judges to compensate them for the extra cost of living, the matter was allowed to drop for a very considerable time. However, in April of the present year the question as to whether the present salaries of Members of Parliament were sufficient for their purpose was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall), and he asked Mr. Baldwin, as he then was, whether he was prepared to consider the question, and he made some comparisons, which, however, Mr. Baldwin did not feel were really relevant to the point. The then Prime Minister, however, stated that he was going to make a further inquiry into the subject shortly afterwards. I would like to remind hon. Members of the words which were used by the Prime Minister at that time, because they are pertinent to the present Resolution. He said:I want either by myself, or possibly with one of my colleagues, to make my inquiries of one or two right hon. or hon. Members who can give me the information I require, and make up my mind as to whether there ought to be a change or not. I propose to do that as soon as I can. If I and whoever joins with me in these discussions are convinced that there is a real reason and case for some increase in the present amount, then I shall be prepared to recommend to my colleagues further action; if not convinced, then to drop it. But from what we have heard from making careful inquiries through the usual channels, I fancy that the general feeling of the House coincides very much with what I have indicated. I am quite convinced that if the House as a whole believe and realise that there is a necessity for such an increase, they will support me, and, after all, if anybody objects, supposing the Government should recommend some increase, it is always open to hon. Members to do as I did when the salaries were first paid, that is not to take the cheque."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th. April, 1937, cols. 749–50; Vol. 322.]On 27th May the right hon. Gentleman made an announcement that the Government proposed to move a Resolution to the effect of that which I now move. In this inquiry which was undertaken by Mr. Baldwin he was good enough to associate myself, and as a result I had the opportunity with him of looking into the budgets of a number of hon. Members who were good enough to submit them, of course in confidence, for the information of the Government, and as they were 1051 confidential of course it is impossible for me to disclose the figures which were revealed. But I would like to say to the House that both Mr. Baldwin and I were surprised and distressed to find, on examination of these budgets, a considerable number of cases of hon. Members not possessed of any other means than that afforded them by their salaries, who were reduced to expedients which we felt were entirely inappropriate and improper to be imposed upon a Member of this House.
We found cases where Members, with the most careful attention to all possible, and a great many undesirable, economies, nevertheless were living beyond their means and slowly wasting away the savings that they had accumulated before they entered this House. We found other cases where they were obliged to curtail or to diminish the amount of education that they were giving or hoping to give to their children. We found cases where they were actually giving themselves insufficient food in their anxiety to keep within their means, and there were quite a number of cases where Members admitted that they were unable to give that amount of time to their duties in this House which they would desire to do, and which they felt they ought to do, because they simply could not afford to spend the whole week in London, with the extra expense which that entailed upon them. This investigation convinced Mr. Baldwin and myself that the time had come when an alteration in the amount of the existing salary ought to be made.
I think there are some general considerations that might be borne in mind in considering how circumstances have changed since the salary was originally fixed at£400. In the first place, although the cost of living went down considerably in 1920, it is still 50 per cent. above what it was when the salary was fixed, but, in addition to that, there are other changes. There is the fact that the number of electors in many constituencies has enormously increased, and everyone knows that, with that increase in the electorate, there have increased also to a very considerable extent the demands upon Members by correspondence and otherwise, all of which entail extra expense. It must also be agreed that, during these 26 years while Members have been receiving 1052 this fixed sum of£400;the volume of our Parliamentary business has also greatly increased, and that, too, must have thrown an additional burden upon those who are carrying out their duties in this House. Being convinced by the examination of these confidential figures that£400, whatever it had been originally, was no longer sufficient for its purpose in the case of Members who had no other means, the question arose as to what should be the proper amount to fix. I do not think it is possible to say that one can exactly calculate what the figure should be.
It is obvious that the circumstances are different in the case of almost every individual Member. On the one hand, one does not want to fix the salary so high that it becomes an inducement to people to enter this House for the purpose of earning more than they would earn outside and, on the other, we do not want to fix it so low that men or women who could give valuable service to the House should be prevented from doing so merely by the fact that they have not sufficient means to afford I do not think it is possible to fix any figure and say that is the exact amount that is appropriate, but the late Prime Minister and I, having given the best consideration we could to the matter, came to the conclusion that of the alternative figures that we considered,£500 and£600,£500 still would not be sufficient for a certain number of Members, and that it would be better, therefore, to adopt a figure which would settle the matter for an indefinite period rather than fix again a sum which would give rise to complaints, and a feeling that sufficient allowance had not been made for the altered circumstances. After that consideration, therefore, we resolved to recommend to our colleagues in the Ministry, and subsequently to this House, the figure of£600, and the extra cost of that increased amount will be£112,000 a year.
I do not think that I need say any more upon the substantive part of the Motion, but there are two other things on which I should like to make one or two observations. First of all, I notice on the Order Paper an Amendment the effect of which would be to postpone the operation of the increased salary until after another General Election. I perfectly understand the feelings which have prompted some of my hon. and right hon. Friends to put 1053 their names to an Amendment of that kind, but I am bound to say that I cannot myself see why, if it is right to alter the salary from£400 to£600 because£400 is not enough, it is not right to do it now rather than wait for another two or three years. There is another consideration. Is it really advisable that an issue of this kind, so readily open to misrepresentation, so difficult to consider in a judicial atmosphere, as it ought to be considered, should be decided in the hurly-burly of a General Election. It seems to me, if hon. Members are sincerely convinced that this alteration is right—I am sure they would not vote for it unless they were because all of us have a sense of responsibility in the matter—we have better knowledge and better evidence of what is concerned in this matter than the electorate can possibly have and, after all, no one of the electors is going to feel himself any the worse off if he decides to vote this extra£112,000 a year.
The other point on which I want to say something is this. I am quite aware that a number of Members are very much concerned about cases which have come to their knowledge where a man has been a Member of this House for a number of years and, having ceased to be a Member, either through age or infirmity, or because he loses his seat, finds himself without means of employment and, therefore, without means of subsistence. I know that hon. Members think it would be a proper and a gracious thing if, on the occasion of raising the general level of salaries of this House, we were to institute at the same time some kind of pension fund to be contributed to by some compulsory deduction from the new salary from which a pension might be awarded to persons who had served a certain number of years in the House and had arrived at a certain age. The first thing I want to say about that is that, whatever its merits, it could not be carried into operation by means of a Resolution. It would require legislation. The second thing I want to say is that it is not a matter which, in my judgment, should be hastily decided. It is a matter which requires pretty careful investigation, because any scheme of pensions must be actuarially sound. It must not expose people to the belief that they are going to receive a pension some day, and then allow them to find, when the day comes, that, through some circumstances which 1054 had not been foreseen when the scheme was initiated, no pension is forthcoming.
I should, therefore, like to suggest that, if this matter is one which hon. Members feel should be proceeded with, some inquiry should be held, as to the form of which we should be very ready to consult Members in all parts of the House with a view to getting the most effective examination possible made. If eventually some scheme was evolved from such an inquiry, I do not exclude the possibility of introducing legislation to give effect to it, but I think I ought, having said that, to put to the House one or two considerations which, in my view, ought to be borne in mind, because I am a little afraid lest hon. Members' desires should carry them perhaps further than is warranted, and that it should seem to them an easier affair than it really is to find a scheme which is actuarially sound based upon certain deductions which have been suggested. In the first place, there is really very little analogy between such a pension scheme as I believe has been suggested and an ordinary pension scheme for employés. An ordinary pension to an employé is one of the inducements offered to him to enter employment and to give continuous and whole-time service. In this case a pension based on the salary that a Member receives would not be an inducement to him to enter the House. The question whether he would be in a position to obtain a pension is quite problematical, and is not one that depends upon himself, for his constituency may not always choose to return him, and, of course, there is no contract on the one side or the other for continuity or for wholetime service.
Therefore, there really is no analogy between the two, and, if you take a common form of pension, such, for example, as is now in existence in the case of civil servants, teachers and local government officials, there you have a pension which is either one-half the existing salary plus a lump sum, or two-thirds of the existing salary without a lump sum, the two being practically equivalent to one another, for service which has been continuous for 40 years. There is clearly nothing that you can compare with that in considering the position of Members of this House and, if you are going to fix an arbitrary number of years' service in this House as a condition to be fulfilled if a Member 1055 is to be eligible for a pension, I think you will get into difficulties at once. You will have the case of a man who was just short of the stated number of years because the Government had chosen to dissolve a few months earlier than they might otherwise have done. It does not seem as if this sort of hard cases, which I think have really given rise to this suggestion, would be met by a pension scheme of that character.
If hon. Members will cast their minds back to 1931, for example, at that time a great number of hon. Members lost their seats, and there was, as is well-known, a considerable amount of hardship among some of them, but supposing there had been then in operation a pension scheme giving a pension to a man who had been a certain number of years in the House—15 or 20 years—and had arrived at the age of 60 or 63, that would not have met the case of a great number of hon. Members who lost their seats in 1931. So it does seem to me that any scheme on the lines of the schemes in force in the Civil Service and in the local government service are really entirely inappropriate to the circumstances in which hon. Members find themselves in this House. That, of course, is not to say that it is impossible to find a scheme which would meet the hard cases, the sort of cases that hon. Members who have taken an interest in this subject have had in mind. All that I wanted to do was to make it clear that there were considerable difficulties in what seems the simplest and easiest way of introducing a scheme of this kind, and I would like to suggest that if this matter is to be proceeded with, it should be only after the most careful and thorough inquiry into the possible methods of dealing with it. I think that is 2.11 that I want to say, and I beg to move.
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
I find that when this subject first began to be talked about, a good many years ago, there were many Members on all sides of the House who thought it was rather a dangerous subject to touch, and in view of that fact I will begin by saying that I and my hon. Friends on this side of the House support this proposal, and we accept the responsibility for fully associating ourselves with the effort to carry it through the House. 1056 As a matter of fact, I have been watching what has been the attitude of the public since the statement on this question was first made by the late Prime Minister. There has been a good deal of time to do that, and my impression is that the public have not shown any feeling, either for the Motion or against it, but have shown on the whole that they are comparatively uninterested in the whole subject and have certainly shown no indication whatever that they grudge us the proposal which has been made.
When I was first getting interested in politics, I remember following very closely the discussions on the original Resolution granting the£400 a year early in 1911, a Resolution which I have been looking up and for which, I am glad to say, I notice that the hon. Member for Central Leeds (Mr. Denman) voted in those days. The same thing happened then. There was the same prediction that there would be a great public outcry, and with much more reason than to-day, because then it was a new proposal. There was the same kind of statements, such as the Prime Minister had made only one reference to it, and that in part of a sentence; there were the same arguments, such as that it would be carried by a sheer party vote, and the same belief that the Liberal party, in those days, would suffer heavily for their venturesome proposal, though in fact—I remember following it very closely—in a very short time everybody agreed with it, when once the Motion had been carried, and the public lost all further interest in it.
The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has made certain calculations as to the equivalent sum to-day to£400 a year in 1911. Those are interesting and valuable, but I would like to add to what he has said about the difference in the position of Members of Parliament to-day as compared with a generation ago. The fact is that our task is very much heavier and even more serious than it was in those days and, as a result of that, involves correspondingly heavier expenses. When I was first of all interested in politics, one regarded politics as a form almost of recreation. At elections you made rollicking and knockabout speeches. Elections were a kind of rag, and the whole thing was a rather enjoyable way of passing your time. But the 1057 whole spirit has changed. I cannot say that I find the atmosphere of constituencies and elections particularly enjoyable to-day, and the fact is that the whole thing is becoming too grim. The public are beginning to know that what the politicians do is going to decide the very lives of their children, and it is since those days, since 1911, that the whole of our social insurance, from beginning to end, has come into existence. The National Health Insurance Act, the beginning of it all, was passed at about the same time as the granting of salaries to Members of Parliament, and that has meant not only an immense increase in work, but, as the Prime Minister has pointed out, an increase in expense as well, because I do not myself see how to-day a Member of Parliament can give his attention to the wider issues which he has to discuss in this House unless he can pay for some kind of secretarial assistance to deal with the work which all this social insurance brings upon our heads.
That is the change. In those days, when it was introduced, it was stated that the£400 a year was merely an allowance, and it was assumed that Members would either have private means or that they would have the time—and this is what I wish to point out—to earn the greater part of their living outside this House. But that is no longer possible to Members whose homes and areas of influence are far away and who are now called upon to spend eight months of the year down in London. Autumn Sessions have come into existence since 1911, and that in itself makes it difficult for a Member to earn his living apart from his work here, if he has to be in London all that part of the year. The result is that this House has now, I suppose, a class of Members who constitute a new representative capacity in this House, Members without other resources; and I may say that they are on both sides of the House. I am sure that the Prime Minister's investigation showed him that, and I am sure also that those hon. Members who followed the discussions on the Factories Bill for the better part of last week will realise how great a contribution those Members have to make to the discussions of this House.
The fact is that now—I doubt whether we realise it—the House, for ordinary work, assumes, takes it for granted, that there will be a large, an immense, propor 1058 tion of the Members who will not earn their living in any way outside this House, and if it were not for those Members to-day the work of this House could not be carried on. If that be the position, surely you are not going to say to those Members, "We will not give you enough to live in common, ordinary, decent comfort." I happened to be, a few weeks ago, on a Standing Committee upstairs, and one morning our Committee ended early, and I walked along the corridor. I found that that morning there were four Standing Committees meeting. One of them was on the Factories Bill and another was on the Livestock Industry Bill—very largely attended, indeed full. There were private Bill Committees meeting on the other side of the Lobby, and I do not know whether that particular morning there was not another Standing Committee meeting in Westminster Hall, so that in fact on that morning, walking along the corridor, I found that there were over 200 Members of Parliament whom the House took it for granted could be here from II in the morning till II at night.
That is to say, the business of this House could no longer be carried on unless between one-third and one-half of its Members were in a position to be full-time servants of this Assembly. Once you realise this change since 1911, you have to ask yourself, Is that what you are asking a Member to perform, depending upon it that he shall perform? Is it possible for such a Member to have two homes, to live in London and to meet the absolutely inevitable expenses of Members of Parliament on the present salary, unless he is going to sacrifice the very primary comforts of life? I will not point out—I do not think it is any longer necessary—that Members are sacrificing primary comforts. The investigation which the Prime Minister made, which gave him more information than is open to any other Member of the House, made that so clear that this proposal has been put forward as the result.
The Prime Minister referred to a certain suggestion which had been made, and to which I should like to devote the few remaining sentences of what I have to say. The hon. Member for East Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall) some time ago asked a question which contained the suggestion that there should be a deduction of£10 a year from this allowance, this 1059 income, towards a pension fund. He will no doubt explain his financial calculations, but it is perfectly clear that that deduction alone would provide somewhere between 25 and 30 pensions of a couple of hundred pounds a year each. I doubt whether there are at any one moment as many Members as that who would be wanting the pension, so that a very short calculation shows that it is financially perfectly easy. The hon. and gallant Member for Carlisle (Brigadier-General Spears), in a letter to the "Times" some little time ago, put forward another scheme for a pension, although I think he intended a rather larger pension, with a larger contribution. I would point out to the House that there might be many Members, who would resist the increased salary, who would not resist a proposal which imposed no charge whatever upon the public funds, but merely involved an arrangement among Members of the House themselves.
These proposals have been discussed by myself and my hon. Friends and we certainly would support them. Indeed, we would welcome them. I am not going to enter into the matter, and I am not saying this in a jocular fashion, but I would remind the House that ours is not an insurable occupation. I do not say that in a jocular fashion, because there are former Members of this House known to practically all here, old Members who have taken a considerable part in the work of the House, and have been on both sides of the House, who regret that it is not an insurable occupation and would be glad of unemployment benefit if they could get it to-day. If one went into it, I think that the House would be shocked if they knew what has happened to Members, either because they have grown old or have become ill, or have lost their seats, or more particularly because of those dependent upon them. The proposal put forward by the Prime Minister appears to be the right step to take. The whole matter depends upon actuarial considerations. It is not a simple matter, but if the Government would set up the appropriate committee it would give us all the facts and figures, and then the House could decide what the next step should be.
May I put to the House a reason for taking a special interest in this proposal 1060 for a pension fund, which, I think, perhaps goes even rather deeper than at first sight might be appreciated? I agree with it because it fits in with my whole idea of what the House of Commons is. In my view this House is a corporate body with a corporate spirit of which the country may well be glad in time of common difficulty, and indeed which, I think, it did appreciate in the common difficulty of a few months ago. I believe that that is our secret. I look over Europe for the last few years and I see Parliaments established which seem to be very much the same as our own in all their features, but they have not found out our secret. And where are most of them now? These proposals to establish a pension fund appear to be one of those deeds of inspired common sense, which shows that we have not lost our political touch, and I hope that the Government, by giving us the facts and figures, will enable us to put it upon a practical foundation.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ Sir Francis Acland
I speak under a slight handicap this afternoon because the hon. Member of my party who was expected to speak has suddenly found himself unable to do so, and I did not happen to have been present at cur party meeting last week when this matter was discussed. I was better employed in West Cornwall perhaps. It seems to be difficult to get away from the main point which the Prime Minister made, that if this was found to be right by the House of Commons in 1911, and if the work of the House has considerably increased since then, which is true, and the cost of living has increased since then, which is also true, a higher figure is justifiable and therefore should be granted. That was the point which he made, and I agree with him, and if it is right we ought not to be afraid of doing it now. I found, when I looked back at the Debate of August, 1911, that I voted for it then, and I am about to do the same now. I also found that it was opposed with the whole weight of the Conservative party, and it is rather interesting to find what a change has taken place. It may be interesting to hon. Members if I read the reasoned Amendment which was officially moved on behalf of the Opposition in those days, and ask them how. 1061 it is they have so definitely altered their view now? It says:To leave out from the word 'that,' to the end, and to add the words: 'this House declines to provide money for the payment of Members of Parliament, because such payment would be an indefensible violation of the principle of gratuitous public service, would involve the taxpayers in heavy and unnecessary expense, and would encourage a demand on the part of members of local bodies to be paid for their services, and further because in the opinion of this House, there would be a peculiar impropriety in Members of Parliament voting salaries to themselves—[OFFICIAL REPORT, l0th August, 1911; col. 1384, Vol. 29.]It is rather curious to find that the party which supported that Amendment then has now, I think, rightly, come to a different point of view.
§ Sir F. Acland
He did not speak on that day, but that may have been so at another stage. I looked carefully through the debate on that date, which was on ordinary party lines, and the Amendment which I have read was voted for by the late Sir Austen Chamberlain and Mr. Baldwin. It is an excellent thing that the view of the Government on this matter has been Liberalised, though whether it is due to the fact that the prognostications of those days have not turned out to be true, or whether it is due to certain elements which have joined the Government since then, is not for me to say. In addition to being, as I am bound to be, of the opinion that I have expressed, I believe that the idea of having an inquiry into the very difficult matter of pensions is right. It is clearly a matter which we could not decide now, and it is going to be a very difficult thing altogether, and, therefore, the suggestion of an inquiry is the correct one. With regard to the question of payment, I feel bound to say, on behalf of my party, that we take a general view in favour of it. It is a thing which all of us have had to think out rather for ourselves, and no doubt we shall have an opportunity when the further proceedings are before us of moving Amendments.
This is what sticks in my mind. None of us knows what salaries any of us 1062 salaries, but we do not know anybody else's. In this sense it may be£300 with the deduction of the full 5s. Income Tax, or it may be£400 with no Income Tax deduction allowed because no expenses are allowed. A Member may live in London and have no secretarial expenses. He may charge a little for postages, and. in that case there would be only a few pounds allowed for expenses. The only person who knows is the very courteous and efficient assessor of Income Tax who lives over the river, and whom, perhaps, some of us have interviewed before it has. been settled what was to be allowed on account of Income Tax. It is in my mind, and I am bound to put it before the House of Commons because I take rather a serious view of it, that we should allow the£600 without any question at all, to the Members whose expenses reach that: sum, but I do not see why we should. allow it to Members whose expenses do not reach that sum. By expenses I mean the expenses of maintaining a home away from Westminster as well as the expenses. of being at Westminster.
Certain Members of the House have to maintain two establishments. They have to be here during the week, but that does not in the least relieve them of having to, keep their wives and families going in the places where they live. They cannot include it in their expenses, and if we are: allowed to return for Income Tax purposes our expenses, including the expenses of maintaining a household in so far as that would not normally be covered by other income, then, certain Members of the House will automatically get the£600. Those of us who normally maintain a household somewhere else out of other income would continue on the£400 basis. Nobody would know what anybody was getting any more than is known now, but it would be limiting the£600 to those who, have expenses, including family expenses, and who really need it. Those of us who whatever our expenses may be in London, normally run our households somewhere else out of other income, would go on as we are. That would meet the grievance where it is felt.
I intensely dislike the feeling that there should be any Members of the House who cannot afford to give themselves proper food or live in comfortable lodgings because of the expense of maintaining their-wives and families somewhere else. The 1063 suggestion I have made would cover that position completely. I dislike going into the newspaper room, realising that quite a number of Members of the House get their meals in the tea room just because they want to spend less than they would have to spend in the dining room on a mid-day meal or an evening meal. Some of them may like it, but some of them clearly do it. because sixpences and shillings are important to them. The proper expenses of maintaining our families elsewhere should be allowed up to£600, but I do not think that a Member automatically should get the£600 whether his expenses of living away from his constituency or living in London really necessitate that sum or not. I should make it clear that I have not, owing to the circumstances I have explained, had an opportunity of talking the idea over with my party. I think that it is very necessary to meet the expenses of those who are now suffering, but I do not think that it is necessary automatically to give everybody the extra£200 a year in these difficult times. I thank the House for having listened to this suggestion, but on the whole, as between voting for or against this Resolution, I and my party are in favour of the proposal which the Prime Minister has made.
§ 4.59 P.m.
§ Mr. Lambert
The right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Opposition bench fills me with admiration. He regards a General Election as a kind of rag. I have never enjoyed a General Election. [An HON. MEMBER: "You never enjoy anything!"] There is one thing I enjoy more than another, and that is knocking the Socialist party on the head. I remember the late Sir William Harcourt saying to me that there was nothing the House of Commons disliked so much as a General Election. That is perfectly true. Payment of Members was introduced in 1911 by Mr. Asquith and the Liberal Government of that time. It was introduced in order to provide direct representation in this House for the wage earners, and it has been successful. Within 13 years a Labour Government was installed, and within 18 years, in 1929, the Labour party was the strongest party in the State. It was prognosticated that as a result of the introduction of the payment of Members 1064 the Liberal party would suffer. It has suffered. It has been broken up largely because of the payment of Members of Parliament. That is my considered opinion. I do not know whether the Conservative party is going to suffer in the same way for having proposed this increase. In 1911 there was considerable discussion as to whether the salary should be£300 or£400. It was fixed at the more generous sum. Since then railway passes have been granted.
My right hon. Friend the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) says, quite truly, that in 1911 the Conservatives furiously opposed the scheme for payment of Members. The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was accused at that time of corrupting the House of Commons. Now, apparently, the Prime Minister is following his lead. Nothing will surprise me in politics when we see the Prime Minister endorsing in this way the proposal of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. I should not be surprised if the Prime Minister later on invited the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs to join his Cabinet. We were told that the payment of Members would be an incentive to corruption. I never believed that allegation. This is the most wonderful assembly in the world. The very fact that we can cross-examine Ministers for an hour each day is the greatest safeguard against any corruption, and no other assembly has that safeguard.
§ Mr. Lambert
I said so, and I have said that we have suffered for it as a Liberal party. I was a Member of that Government. We were told then that payment of Members would bring in representatives of the working people. I am not sure that the House of Commons has been improved. Six hundred pounds a year may attract many young men. There is a good deal of glamour and notoriety about politics, but the politician lives dangerously. It is not very difficult to get into the House of Commons on certain occasions, but it is more difficult to stay in. That is the real test. Politicians are dependent not so much upon themselves but upon their leaders. Their 1065 leaders may take a wrong turning. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite will remember 1931.
§ Mr. Lambert
I do not know to what the hon. Member refers. We have heard a great deal about pensions. That is going to be a difficult scheme, I am told. I remember that in the old days political pensions were condemned by almost every party, and they have fallen into desuetude. Will the country be any the better for a score of Cabinet Ministers sitting with£5,000 a year, with a Leader of the Opposition getting£2,000, and with something like 600 Members of Parliament getting£600 a year? I notice that the£2,000 a year salary for the Leader of the Opposition has created some commotion in the placid pools over there. Perhaps we shall get more activity in the future. Even if this increase may be considered necessary, I say that it is extremely inopportune at the present time. The financial prospects of this country are distinctly alarming. I may be told that this proposition will cost only£112,000 a year, but expenditure is soaring, taxation is increasing, we have a huge debt, no sinking fund, we are borrowing£50,000,000 a year, there are no more hen-roosts to rob and many of the hens have been killed. Is this the moment, with all these financial liabilities, for us to vote an increase of our own salaries? I do not agree with it. We cannot spend ourselves into prosperity. The psychological effect upon the country may be disastrous. What about the great spending Departments? If we are to be economical in our administration, we must be economical ourselves. Look at the Civil Service. Will they be keen on economies in the future? They will say: "There is no necessity to economise; Parliament is voting increases of salaries to itself."
I entered the House in the days of Mr. Gladstone. [Laughter.] Is there anything bad in that? Is there anything to laugh a t in that? Will any hon. Members opposite be able to come down here when they have been a Member for 40 years, as I have been? My constituents have returned me, in spite of the fact that I 1066 have been opposed. I am attempting to present a serious argument to the House, and there is no need for interruptions. I am not ashamed of my record. I entered the House of Commons under the aegis of Mr. Gladstone. He was a statesman who not only practised economy but enforced it in Government Departments. It may be said that that is a thing of the past and does not matter now, but during that period we accumulated foreign investments upon the capital of which we are living to-day. In my opinion we are going on certainly to a period of inflation. We are borrowing, increasing taxation, spending enormous sums, necessary sums so far as armaments are concerned, and on other things. Where is it going to end? I would ask lion. Members on this side of the House, who will have to meet their constituents two or three years hence at a General Election, what will be their position then? They will be asked whether they will vote for increases in the old age pension, and whether they will vote for spinsters' pensions. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Hon. Members opposite say, "Yes," but it is the hon. Members on this side who will have to give the answer. Hon. Members opposite will be doing the attacking. What will be the reaction at meetings in the constituencies? You may say, "No," or "Yes." It is easy to promise. If you say, "No," they will immediately say: "You voted in the House of Commons to give£200 a year extra to yourselves."
I want to save the Government from itself. This will be one of the most unpopular proposals that they could put before the country. It is unnecessary to secure representation of the wage earners. It will encourage extravagance in all Departments of the State. It will certainly not enforce economy. It will give the Opposition, and I make them a present of it, a very powerful electoral advantage. I wonder at the Government bringing in this proposal. It will damage the Government in the country in the eyes of its own supporters and in the eyes of the electors generally to increase Parliamentary salaries at a time of heavily increasing taxation. As a friend of the Government and as one who wishes to support them, I regret their action, and if the Motion goes to a Division I shall vote against it.
§ 5.rr p.m.
§ Sir Assheton Pownall
Before making the remarks that I intend to make, I must say a few words of reassurance and comfort to my right hon. Friend, who has taken such a very pessimistic view about the future electoral prospects of some of us. I happen to represent by far the largest electorate in London, 90,000 electors. My name happens to be rather prominent in the local Press in connection with this proposal, and I have so far not received one single letter of protest from my constituents. I can, therefore, reassure my right hon. Friend as to my electoral prospects. He tells us that he is going to vote the other way. I do not know what effect that will have. I warmly welcome the decision of the Government. When two months ago I raised this question when we were dealing with Minister's salaries, I said that as far as one could see the figure ought to be not less than£500 and not more than£600. I am delighted that the Government—as announced by Mr. Baldwin, as his last act in this House—have taken the larger figure.
In regard to salaries I always feel that as Members of Parliament we occupy an enviable and yet unenviable position. It is extremely difficult for us to do anything to put up our own salaries. We are employers and employed. I have been both in my career, but I have never before been able to vote for myself an increase in salary. We are in an unenviable position in view of the fact that capital may be made about our action, in the Press and elsewhere. I think that in this matter we have shown most proper and becoming modesty, for the very simple reason that it is common knowledge that there has been an increase in the cost of living, that the Army and the Navy after the War had appreciable increases in pay, that in 1921 Mr. Asquith, as he then was, presided over a committee which dealt with the remuneration of the senior civil servants, and that the increases then given to the heads of Departments were from£2,000 to£3,000 a year, an increase of 5o per cent. as compared with the proposed increase from£400 to£600 for Members of Parliament. I served on the Royal Commission on the Civil Service and after an exhaustive inquiry Civil servants' pay was stabilised at 51 or 52 per cent. above the pre-War figure.
1068 In other words for every other class of the. community except Judges steps have already been taken to increase their salaries. I quite agree that the Front Government Bench is in a rather different financial position, but as the House knows a Motion moved by a back-bencher a year ago has brought sufficient pressure to bear on Ministers to make them bring up their own remuneration to what is a fairer figure in view of the responsibilities involved and the difference in the cost of living and taxation. I think this House has shown a magnificent example in these matters, and to my mind it is high time that this question was dealt with. I venture to say that no employer in these days would insist on paying the same wages as he paid 26 years ago. Such an employer would be sweating his men. These increases being given in every form of industry now, and it is not right that we who have responsibilities in this matter should not have the courage to review the situation and make the increases we are now proposing. And a 50 per cent. increase, that is from£400 to£600, is exactly the right figure based on the cost of living figures. I cannot agree with right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland). His suggestion would involve every hon. Member submitting his position every year to the officer whose task it would be to scrutinise the accounts.
§ Sir A. Pownall
The only figures submitted now are those of expenses in connection with the position as Member of Parliament, but if the right hon. Member's proposal was carried out hon. Members would have to submit figures dealing with a desire that a boy should have his education at a certain school and other questions like that. That is a thing which no one would wish, No one would desire that Members of Parliament should have the humiliation of submitting personal figures like that, and I think the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman is totally impracticable.
There is one further point I want to make with regard to the possibilities of a pension fund. I quite agree with what the Prime Minister said with regard to this. It is obviously not a question that we can decide this afternoon, and I would suggest that a committee should be set up in the near future to consider the best method of tackling this very difficult 1069 subject. Industrial insurance figures are obviously no help at all to us, and my own view is that there should be a small unofficial committee of, say, three senior Members chosen from the different parties and some other officer, to consider this matter. It would mean probably an income of between£5,000 and£6,000 a year, which would be enough to provide 25 pensions at£200 a year, and in view of the fact that four-fifths of those who sit in the House would not normally expect or ask for pensions—many of them would not have the qualifications either as regards time or the length of service—it would be easy in a short time to provide an appreciable reserve fund and put it in a strong position. There would have to me a means test in connection with it, that is clearly understood.
When I hear of individuals who have been in this House and who to my personal knowledge have rendered long service, finding it difficult to make both ends meet with£400 a year and are nearing the age of 60, with the prospect of having to withdraw and with no private means at all, I think it is quite time that the House of Commons got on with the question and made things better. When I consider the analogous case of the Army, where a man with 15 years' service retires at an early age and gets£150 a year pension, I think we certainly ought to take the trouble and be sufficiently far-sighted——
§ Sir A. Pownall
And in this case it would be deferred pay. I am much obliged to the hon. and gallant Member for his interruption. If this proposal goes through, with the further suggestion for a pension, it will do much to alleviate a measure of hardship which is now suffered by an appreciable number of Members on both sides of the House who are colleagues of ours, and will enable them to retire without any financial apprehensions as to their future.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Colonel Gretton
I desire to offer only a few observations to the House. I voted against the Motion on the first Division when salaries were proposed to be paid to Members of Parliament. I voted on that occasion on principle, and I do not regret that vote. We are taking to-day a further step to create a new class of civil 1070 servants. The professional politician depending for his livelihood on the House of Commons; and the suggestion is now made that there should be a provision for pensions to be provided because of his services here. It is a very serious step. In the great days of the House of Commons, to which we all refer with pride, days when the liberties of the Commons were established and the great traditions of the House founded, service in this House was given by Members voluntarily, and they were not afraid to vote against the powers of those days in order to keep their seats and preserve their rights. A serious change in the whole spirit and aspect of the House of Commons is now in progress, and we are asked to make one further step to-day.
An order for a Dissolution is always most unpopular in the House of Commons. Naturally hon. Members do not wish to lose their seats or to be put to the expenses of a General Election. The Government of the day have always that great hold on their followers, and if you add to a substantial salary, amounting to a livelihood, a pension to follow, then the powers of discipline, coercion and pressure on hon. Members will be vastly increased and we are going to lose still more of that old spirit of independence. I do not want to use arguments which have already been used, but I would say that when we offered ourselves for election all those who now sit in the House knew the terms upon which we were going to serve,£400 a year, and there is no complaint to be made. We all regret that any fellow Member should find hardship after he has served in the House of Commons, but there is an old saying in law that hard cases make bad law, and I suggest that in this matter also that saying holds good.
I endorse everything said by the right hon. Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert) in regard to the care and caution with which we should vote ourselves more money. We are in a very peculiar position in this House. There is no one to revise our decisions, no one to say that we ought not to put our hands into the pockets of the taxpayer and pay ourselves what we choose to enact by legislation or resolution. I think the electors are well aware of that uncontrolled power which we possess, and we should exercise it only on those occasions when it is absolutely compulsory and necessary. 1071 I deprecate the further step we are taking to create an official class of Members of Parliament, on both sides. As an old Member who has taken a pride in a long membership of the House, I deplore the action we are now asked to take, which seems to me and to many of my colleagues a downward step which will tend to degrade the House of Commons from its great position, render it less amenable to the views of the country and more under the control of organised Governments and parties.
One of the great privileges of this House has been that every Member is free to exercise his vote and follow his own conscience. The question of pensions is a matter for the future, it is not before us to-day, but may I say that I think it is another step in the same direction in which this proposed increase is leading us? I shall vote, if I am able, against the increase in salary, and only as a counsel of despair shall I support the Amendment on the Paper to postpone the increase to a future Parliament. That at any rate would be dealing straightforwardly with the electors; we should not be putting money into our own pockets without having gone to the electors to authorise our return after having voted this increase.
§ 5.29 p.m.
§ Sir William Davison
It is always desirable for unofficial back-bench Members to sit up and take notice when the Leaders of the three Front Benches unanimously recommend something to the House, and therefore I think it would be well for the back-benchers to-day to consider this matter very carefully from every point of view. I associate myself with what has been said by the right hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) and the right hon. Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert). I think the present moment is most inopportune for the House of Commons to vote themselves a 50 per cent. addition to their salaries. We are now engaged in an immense scheme of rearmament. We are asking the country to make sacrifices and to endure increased taxation in order that this great scheme may be pushed through, for the safety of the country, with great speed. Some years ago, as soon as it was evident that the Disarmament Conference would not bear fruit and that no Great Power intended to follow our lead in dis 1072 arming, many hon. Members, I among them, urged upon the Government the desirability of making a start with this great plan for the rearmament of the country so that we might sleep in safety.
Notwithstanding the fact that two annual conferences of Conservatives, both in 1933 and 1934, carried resolutions expressing grave anxiety as to the inadequacy of Imperial Defence, no notice was taken of our views. I have alluded to that in order to make the point that it is necessary at the present moment for far greater sacrifices to be made than would have been necessary if we had dealt with the question of rearmament some years ago. We have now to deal with it as a matter of vital emergency. When we are asking our fellow citizens to make sacrifices, when we, as the governing body of this country, are imposing heavy taxation and when we are raising further sums of money by loan, I maintain that the time is not opportune for Members of Parliament to vote for themselves a 50 per cent. increase in salary. That is my main point, but there are other considerations.
Contrary to the views expressed by the right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Opposition Front Bench, I consider that nothing would be more disastrous for this country and for our democratic Constitution than to make politics a profession, a whole-time job. When a man is paid£600 a year, one gets very near the point at which the job is expected to be a whole-time job. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is a whole-time job."] One of my hon. Friends says that it is a whole-time job. I am urging, contrary to what was said from the Opposition Front Bench, that it is most undesirable that it should be so. We spend far too much time sitting in Committees upstairs. That takes away from the interest in the debates in the House, and causes the public to cease taking that vital interest in those debates which it used to take even when news papers were not as common and as cheap as they are to-day. The country used formerly to take far more interest in the debates in the House.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
How does the hon.Gentleman suggest that the work which is now done in Committee upstairs should be done? Should we have additional sittings or sit for longer hours in the House?
§ Sir W. Davison
My point is that it is very undesirable that we should have a class of professional politicians, and that a young man should say, "Shall I become a barrister, a solicitor or join one of the great trades, or shall I try to get£600 a year as a Member of Parliament?" Such a person necessarily loses independence. It would be impossible for a person who depended on the£600 a year and who had no outside job of any kind, to be independent. He would have to do as he was told by the Government of the day and by the Whips of the day who, as every one knows, have quite enough power as it is. Hon. Members may ask how the work could be done without its being a full-time job. As I have said, too much time is spent in sitting in Committees upstairs; there ought to be Committees of the Whole House. Moreover, we have far too much legislation. The country would be better off if there were far less legislation and if the laws there are were properly administered.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
On a point of Order. May I respectfully draw your attention to the fact that immediately I approached this subject you ruled it out of order, but that the hon. Member has now been permitted to pursue it?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I am following very carefully what is being said, and I do not require the hon. Member's assistance.
§ Sir W. Davison
I think I have made that very important point clear. Another argument which has been made, and with which hon. Members in every part of the House must sympathise, is that there are certain Members on all sides of the House who find it difficult to enjoy the amenities which other hon. Members have. There are very great difficulties with regard to that. As far as hon. Members opposite are concerned, I had always understood—I hope I shall be corrected if I am wrong—that many of them paid their official remuneration into a pool and received it back again increased either to£500 or£600 a year out of the trade unions' political fund. I do not suggest that there is anything discreditable in 1074 that, but I should like the House to be quite sure that if any additional salary is voted it will really benefit the hon. Members themselves, and will not merely save money for the trade unions which now, as I have been informed, increase the salaries of some hon. Members up to a particular sum.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I do not want to speak for the Opposition, and I have some diffidence in interrupting, but I am the chairman of a union. The practice to which the hon. Member referred may be the practice in the case of some unions, but the overwhelming bulk of the trade union Members who come to the House do not receive anything from the trade unions. For many years I have been connected with my union, and I have not had a penny piece from it.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
I can assure the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) that the majority of Members on this side of the House do not receive a halfpenny from a trade union, a cooperative society or any outside organisation.
§ Sir W. Davison
I am glad to know that. We all sympathise with the view that as far as possible, we should be as equal as possible in this assembly, but if the House votes an increase in Members' salaries, it should go to ameliorate the lot of the particular hon. Member and not to save the expenses of any outside organisation. I think there is a great deal in what was said by the right hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton). We had a succession of capable persons in the House for a long time without salary, and recently at a salary of£400 a year, and hon. Members who undertook the job knew what they were to be paid. I know that one of the most popular Members of the House—I do not intend to give any inkling as to who he is or on which side he sits—has all his expenses provided by his constituents. I quite agree that nobody makes a profit out of the '400 a year that is paid to hon. Members, for it does not anything like enable them to pay their way; bat it is at any rate a solatium; and therefore I do not disapprove of its continuance.
But having regard to present conditions and bearing in mind, as was said by the right hon. and gallant Member for Bur- 1075 ton, that no one can say "Nay" to us and no one can say "£600 is too much or you ought to vote yourselves only £500 "—for it is entirely of our own volition that we do it—I maintain that if there are hard cases, as no doubt there are, it is far more appropriate that the constituencies, which as a rule are very loyal to Members on all sides of the House who serve them faithfully, should provide the additional sum required to meet the difference between pinching and the enjoyment of ordinary amenities. With regard to a pensions fund, I think there is a great deal to be said for having some sort of pensions fund, in the same way that Cabinet Ministers in the old days could get a pension if they required it. As the Prime Minister said, I think that is a question which it is worth going into, and that there should be the nucleus of a fund in order that men who have given 10 or 12 years of their life in this very hard service and who, through no fault of their own, fall on to hard times, should be able to receive assistance from a Committee of the House, the proceedings of which would be secret.
§ 5.43 P.m.
§ Mr. Magnay
I intend to speak not only for myself but for those who cannot, from natural diffidence and the intimacy that is connected with their position in life, speak as freely as I can. I crave the indulgence of the House for that type of Members and for those Members who, after the 1931 Election, were placed in very hard circumstances indeed. I felt ashamed that the Mother of Parliaments should allow any one of her sons to fall into such circumstances. To me the whole question is whether Members of Parliament should receive a salary or not. If salaries or expenses are to be paid, they should be adequate. Therefore, the only question we have to settle is whether£400 or£600 is the right sum. I suggest to the House that if£600 was correct in 1911,£600 now, for the reasons given so adequately by the Prime Minister to-day, cannot be wrong.
In 1911, as we have been reminded by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland), it was stated in the House that payment of Members would be an incentive to corruption. As one of the working class, may I say that I thought, in my innocence of heart, 1076 that it was a proper and right ambition for the men and boys of my class to work to get into the House and that they should have the wherewithal which makes it possible for them to come into the House. I go back in my experience to a night in the old town hall in Newcastle-on-Tyne when a young man named Arthur Henderson proposed a vote of confidence in John Morley, the man at whose feet I sat, with Thomas Burt and J. M. Robertson—because I was brought up in the strictest sect of the Pharisees of Free Trade and Liberalism. On that occasion, John Morley asked who the young man was and expressed a desire that that young man should stand as joint candidate with him for Newcastle-on-Tyne. But Arthur Henderson was a working man and had no money. We must not speak anything but good of the dead and I only say that another person was brought in with nothing like the capability or political sagacity of Arthur Henderson, and Arthur Henderson went to Darlington to be Liberal agent for Sir Joseph Pease. In due time he thought he would have the reversion of the seat but when the time came, a relative of the hon. Member who put a question the other day in which I ventured to intervene with a supplementary, was preferred to Arthur Henderson.
Many a time I have wondered what would have been the effect upon the course of politics in this country if the advice of John Morley, given years ago in the old Newcastle town hall had been taken. The Labour party, in all probability, would never have been. Arthur Henderson was an able organiser of the Liberal party but because of lack of money he was not considered good enough to be a candidate for the Liberal party. Those things have ceased to he but when I was told that the payment of Members would be an incentive to corruption I was surprised, because I thought in my innocence, or if you like to call it my vanity, that it was a natural and manly ambition on the part of a young man to be a Member of Parliament. I thought that even I might, some day come to this Mother of Parliaments and represent my native constituency, and that it should not matter whether I had the money or not as long as I had the brains and the guts. I suggest that the payment of Members has been an incentive to proper 1077 ambition. After all, this is the House of Commons. It is the House of the common people. I have told my constituents that they had as much right to be in the House of Commons as I had and that the only reason why they could not go there, was because there was no room for them. There is no room for more than a pint in a pint pot.
I am sure that the last speaker is as sincere as I am in his concern for the quality and integrity of the House of Commons. I suggest, however, that we come here not as delegates but as representatives of our constituency. I have said to my constituents many a time "If you want a 'yes man' go to the other fellow, but I am not going to promise you this, that and the other, because you demand it. When I get to the House I am going to examine each question in the light of my own conscience and judgment, on the facts as they are presented." We must have representatives and not delegates. Let it not be imagined that we do not know that there are people retained on both sides of the House for certain powerful organisations. It is whispered all over the House and we know the men who get up for the B.I.F. as well as for the miners and the cooperative stores. I deprecate it very much that any man or woman in this House sent here as the free representative of a free people should be in the pocket of any society or organisation. It is just as true on this side as on the other side but whether it is the co-operative stores or the miners' associations or the B.I.F. or anything else outside this House—call it Transport House or anything else—it is all the same.
We are free men and it is sheer nonsense and humbug to say that any of us would be corrupted by receiving for working expenses£600 instead of£400. As a matter of fact, I thought when I came here that this was going to be the "canniest" job of my life. I thought I wad going to have a nice, quiet time in my old age—a sort of job like that of a policeman-in the park in which I would only have to walk round and would have very little to do. I never made a bigger mistake. This is a hard place. I am generally the first out of my hotel every morning and I am always the last in. There are many hon. Members opposite who know that full well because I go home 1078 with them and they will vouch for me that I go straight home. [Laughter.] This is a very serious matter, and if hon. Members think I am not speaking seriously I assure them that I always speak badly when I feel very deeply because I get rather hot under the collar. This is a whole-time job. I dare say that I do more than my share, working as I do on three Committees, but I have always been used to working hard at anything about which I was concerned.
It is not only the work in Parliament but the work in our constituencies which counts. The man who lives in his own constituency is the man whom constituents prefer to have as their representative. How is it that I am here representing the strongest Labour constituency in England? [An HON. MEMBER: "Heaven knows!"] I have not the slightest doubt Heaven does know, but the hon. Member who mentioned the fact ought to have done so with more respect. Those, like myself, who have lived in our own constituencies for 40 years have a great advantage over the carpet-baggers who come from far and wide, but those who live in their own constituency have all sorts of things to do every week-end. I have to see the town clerk or the mayor or open a fête or a lifeboat institution, or perform some service every week-end.
It is a whole-time job and I speak from the point of view of a Member who lives 40o miles away from this House. It is a simple matter for anybody who lives and works in London to work until half-past two every day and then to give the fag-end of the day to the deliberations of this House. That is all right for those who are making fortunes in the City of London in all sorts of ways—who never come here until after Questions and who never put in an appearance at Prayers. But for those of us who come here every Monday as you know very well, Mr. Deputy-speaker, and who remain here until Friday—the people who do the job—it is a very different thing. The voting lists show who do the work. Even to-day little over 200 voted on the Government side, and you will find that it is generally the people who live at considerable distances from the House who do the real work of the House. I suggest that their point of view rather than that of the people who live in the vicinity of the 1079 House of Commons ought to be considered.
If the opponents of this Motion are sincere, it is easy for them to refuse to pocket the insult. But when we have been making grants of various kinds to shipping and other things, I have never noticed that they had much to say about it. We have had considerable benefits conferred on cotton and shipping and other industries without any protest such as is being made against this proposal, and I think the difference between them is like the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. I am amazed that some of those who take that view expect us to believe in their sincerity. There is going to be no return to amateur status in this House. There are no two doors here as there are in the pavilion at Lord's cricket ground from which the amateurs and the professionals emerge separately. We all come in here on the same door and whether we have gone to Harrow or Eton or to an elementary school, as I did—getting up at half past five o'clock in the morning so as to be able to do my work and at the same time equip myself to be a fit representative in this House—once we conic through that door we are done with snobbery, and that ought to be understood I can understand an aristocracy of brains and knowing my own obvious limitations, I am ready to bow the knee to superior brains, but I will not bow to those who have merely chosen well their fathers and grandfathers and other relations. I had the best of fathers. There was never a better man lived and even if I had anything to do with it, I would not have swopped him for any other. I am proud to have sprung from the working class. I do not try to imitate the emasculated and insipid broadcasting English. I have, I expect, local colour in my speech and people know where I come from—the North where we breed men and not boys. We are proud of the men from the North and if people from Birmingham travel on the road selling dolls' eyes and chromium plate and bicycles and that sort of thing, get£1,000 a year, I am not going to be guilty of the false modesty of saying that I am not worth£600 a year. I am prepared to go before my 78,000 constituents and to tell them that Parliament thought I was getting too little and that I agreed with Parliament.
§ 5.57 P.m.
§ Mr. Wise
I find it difficult to dispute very much of what has been said by my hon. Friend who has just spoken. His personality is always most charming and his expressions forcible, but I do not propose to follow him too far into his autobiography, to which I listened with the greatest possible pleasure. If he will forgive me for saying so, however, he did not advance many cogent arguments in favour of this increase. His arguments possibly were cogent and convincing enough on the point that he himself is worth considerably more than the State now pays him, but that is a very different proposition to saying that it is right and proper that the general remuneration of Members of Parliament should be increased. What are the arguments which have been put forward? As one of my hon. Friends said, when the leaders of all three parties agree it is time for back-benchers to beware. All three agree on this increase and all three have used the same argument. They say that the difference between the conditions to-day and the conditions in 1911 is so great as to justify an increase of 50 per cent. That, of course, is presuming that the grant of£400 a year was justified in 1911, which is still a matter of some doubt in the minds of a number of hon. Members. Even assuming it to have been justified then, that sum was largely proposed as a contribution towards meeting the expenses of political life, and I question whether those expenses are any higher to-day than they were in 1911
Speaking from memory I think in those days Parliamentary candidates were expected to cover the returning officer's expenses which they are not expected to do now. In those days, Members of Parliament did not receive free railway travelling, which they receive now. To base this claim for an increase, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister did on the report of a committee sitting in 1920, is to ignore the general argument used by the Front Bench and triumphantly used by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health to-day, as to the enormous fall in the cost of living under our own administration. We are not entitled to have it both ways. We cannot at one moment say that the rise in the cost of living has been so large that we must give ourselves another 50 per cent., and then turn round 1081 to the unemployed man and say that the cost of living has gone down enormously and that he does not want any extra dole. That is not a consistent position, nor is it one which this House should adopt.
I want to put a point to hon. Members opposite, whose consciences may be clearer on this matter than they are possibly on this side of the House. It is possibly true that if they were in office unemployment relief would be higher, pensions would be increased, and much less would be spent on Defence. There would, however, be a limit somewhere and it would be rigidly enforced, and it would be just as difficult for them to go to their constituents and say, "We are not prepared to give you any more but we are prepared to give more to ourselves," as it is for us to-day. When we are increasing taxation on all sides, increasing the Income Tax, levying a special Surtax on industry, maintaining a fairly high rate of Customs duties, and a fairly high rate of Excise, all as a contribution towards the Defence of this country—a most necessary contribution which I would not like to see reduced by one penny—I do not think it is a proper time for us to make our contribution towards this expenditure by dipping into the public purse for another£112,000. That does not seem to me to be in any way consistent.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) justified the proposal by saying that Parliament had a heavier and more serious task now than it had when the payment of Members was first adopted. Is it fair to say that our task is heavier and more serious after the passage of the Statute of Westminster, which has relieved us of a large part of the work of the Dominions and Colonies, and after the passage of the Government of India Act, which has removed the responsibility for the administration of India from this House? There is a remark of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister which I feel misled the House. He said that this extra.£200 a year was decided on after long deliberation by himself and his colleagues because they thought that the larger sum would settle indefinitely the question of Members' salaries. Do they really think that any more than it was thought in 1911, when one of those who opposed the Measure was ridiculed because he said: 1082It is absolutely inevitable that once salaries are paid to Members of Parliament who have control over the amount of their salaries, like all other classes who are paid wages, they will seek to raise those wages whenever they get the opportunity."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th August, 1911; col. 1394, Vol. 29.]We sought to raise them once and we were told that it was a final grant. As night follows day we will seek to raise them again. This raising of the standard of salaries does not really produce any higher standard in either the intelligence or general assiduity of Members. No foreign legislature is paid as little as this, yet every Member who has spoken to-day has told us how much better we are than all the other legislatures put together. In the old debate on this question reference was made to the United States of America, where the remuneration of a Congressman is£2,000, together with a good deal of extra allowance for secretarial services. In a magnificent flourish and holding up that as an example, the late Lord President of the Council said:As a matter of fact, the tide that is flowing in America just now towards purity … is finding the payment of members helping it, because, as a result of the payment of members, it is able to bring to its assistance a body of clean-minded men."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th August, 1911; COL 1401, Vol. 29.]I do not think it is possible to say that Congress to-day is more clean-minded than the days of Washington or Adams, or less corrupt, or that the payment of members has assisted there. Is the standard of the French Chamber so much higher than ours because members are paid more? Is the standard of any Colonial legislature higher? The argument that higher payment produces a higher standard is not true. Everybody sympathises with hard cases on either side of the House, but there are hard cases in the service of the State in every profession and calling. Those hard cases must be taken as a necessity in the service of one's country. We are not the only people who are occasionally called upon to make sacrifices in the service of our country, nor do I think it desirable that we should cease to suffer some considerable inconvenience as a return for the privilege of being Members of this House. Remuneration is not solely a matter of cash. There is not merely prestige, which is worth something, but the remuneration which takes the shape of power is worth more. Surely, Members of this House cannot 1083 complain that they are not endowed with considerable remuneration in the authority and the power which they are entitled to claim.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ Mr. Barr
I hope I may without offence make the comment that for the most part those who have spoken against this Motion are those in very comfortable circumstances and, like the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison), have comfortable city constituencies. The hon. Member said that constituencies could help very much. I do not think that he has knowledge, as some of us have at first hand, of the distressed areas where we cannot look for help of that kind. At one time it vas the ancient law in England and Scotland that Members were paid by their constituencies. That system existed until 1681. I do not think that our public life was ever so pure, either in those times or in the time when Members were not paid, as it is to-day. Some hon. Members have shown a lack of proportion in speaking on this subject. The hon. Member for South Kensington referred to rearmament and showed a lack of perspective, in suggesting that this£112,000 could have any bearing on the sum of£1,500,000,000. Reference was made by other hon. Members to pensions, and we know that replies have been given from the Government bench showing that the cost of raising pensions from 10S. to£1 would be£83,000,000. It is irrelevant to compare these things.
§ Sir W. Davison
My point was not that there was any comparison between the cost of this increase and the cost of armaments, but that the community was being asked to make serious sacrifices in order to provide this immense sum of£1,500,000,000.
§ Mr. Barr
My point is that the£112,000 is not a serious sacrifice when it is divided among the millions of voters in the country. Almost all hon. Members who have spoken against the Motion have said that it is not opportune. It never was. That argument was used against the giving of vouchers in 1920. It was used in 1911. May I say with the utmost respect and reverence that one who has passed from us, whom we all honoured, used that argument in 1911. I refer to the late Sir Austen Chamberlain, 1084 but he made the most honourable amends, and I am not giving away any secret when I say that it is to his action in the later weeks and months of his life that this subject has advanced as it is to-day. I could not help thinking, when I heard the Prime Minister introducing the Motion to-day, that we were crowning the life of one who went before, Joseph Chamberlain, who said:You pay your Ministers, and I cannot for the life of me see why Members of Parliament are the only people who work for nothing.The Select Committee which sat in 1920 said in Article 7 of their report:In the course of our proceedings several members have stated frankly that, although they opposed the original resolution, experience has shown the public advantage of the present system.A good deal of reference has been made to Members voting their own salaries. I do not suppose there is a Member who is not called on from time to time to give a vote that will indirectly affect his own circumstances, such as subsidies for shipping, derating, agricultural subsidies, and the like, but the private interest of each of us must be kept in the background. On this point I would like to give the judgment of Mr. Speaker Gully in 1898 on the Local Government (Ireland) Bill:There must be a direct pecuniary interest of a private and particular and not of a public and general nature"—to prevent one voting—when the question before the House is of a public and general nature, and incidentally involves the pecuniary interest of a class which includes Members of the House, they are not prevented by the rules of the House from voting.The inadequacy of the present allowance has long been recognised, and in the Report of the Select Committee issued on 22nd December, 1920, recommendation No. 15 reads thus:Further consideration should be given in the near future to the difficult financial position of certain Members.And Recommendation No. 20 says that facilities should be provided to meet the very heavy postage of Members' letters.
I should like to introduce a note of autobiography. The last speaker made reference to those who had made sacrifices. I hesitate to give my own experiences. I had a full time situation as the Home Mission Secretary of my Church. I was paid£650, and if I had continued 1085 I should have been able to retire long before now on£430. I came into this House and I made that sacrifice, and I have never regretted it, but it has meant that every week-end and during the week I am preaching and lecturing to make up an additional£150 a year, and when all is said and done I find myself going rather backwards than forwards. Therefore I may say with great gratitude that this is to me and to many in this House a most welcome Motion, and I should like to thank the Prime Minister for the action he has taken.
Some critics have said that a payment of£600 would depreciate the standing of hon. Members—I think one said that it would be "degrading" to the House. Does it degrade a minister of religion to have a full-time office and to receive a sum of£600? I look upon my calling here as no less a service of the Master than the service in which I was formerly engaged. Then there was a reference to professional politicians. Those who spoke against professional politicians spoke of Mr. Gladstone and the great men who had gone before. They were whole-time men and professional politicians, if we are going to use that phrase at all. The right hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) spoke of the great days of the House of Commons, of the great days of the past, and spoke also, as did others, of the more decadent times on which we have fallen. I recalled, as he was speaking, the anecdote of a man who was bewailing the passing of the great men of the past. "All the great men are dead and gone," he said, "and I am not feeling very well myself."
I should like to touch also upon another argument, about the independence we might surrender by accepting this payment. I was brought up to believe that the first foundation of independence was to be independent in livelihood and in means. If I may venture to quote, I am not saying from whom I am quoting, but hon. Members will know:Not for to hide it in a hedge,Not for a train attendant,But for the glorious privilegeOf being independent.I say that a man who is worthily paid for his work is more independent in every sense than a man who is unworthily paid. This argument has been used in every change that has taken place in the 1086 constitution of this House. The argument that the House was being degraded was used in connection with the Reform Bill. While we have less of brilliance than, perhaps, was shown by individual orators in the past, I venture to say that, taking the House as a whole, in its industry, its work and its service, it has never stood at a higher or more worthy level than it is to-day. In the "Reminiscences" of the Rev. T. Mozley there is a reference to the corrupt boroughs of old, and the argument was used, although it seems ludicrous to think of it, that they got better Members of Parliament under that old system, when representation was bought and sold, than you would get in any other form of representation. I ask the House to listen to this closing word from the Rev. T. Mozley, who is speaking of an interview he had with a man who for 40 years returned the Members for the corrupt borough of Old Sarum:I have been the Borough of Old Sarum and have returned two representatives to Parliament for 40 years, all honest men and gentlemen, not the sort of fellows they are sending to Parliament in these days.I prefer the sort of fellows they are sending to Parliament in these days, and will send, undiminished and, indeed, enhanced in character and in standing, because of this proposal.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Denman
I beg to move, in line 3, after "increased," to insert "as from the beginning of the next Parliament."
I do not want to follow into the general aspects of the question which have been under discussion, because I wish to pass to a particular problem. The Motion proposed by the Prime Minister omits to state one factor which is of great importance, and that is the date upon which the new salary is to come into force. I have put down an Amendment which will supply that omission. Being, as I am, in entire sympathy with the main objects of the Motion, it is not wholly a pleasant task to ask the House to postpone the application of that Motion to the next Parliament. I recognise that it is asking other people to accept what will for them be a far more serious sacrifice than it will be for me. If there were a needs test in connection with this extra£200 I could not qualify for it, but I know there are many Members to whom this 1087 extra£200 will be a Godsend—I will not say many Members, but a number—and I do not care to think of myself as moving an Amendment which would deprive them of what means so much more to them than it does to me. Nevertheless, I think that the argument that on the grounds of public decency we ought not now to vote ourselves this increase should be put in the House arid it comes fittingly perhaps from one who in 1911 supported the original Motion for the payment of Members and who is now a strong and convinced supporter of the present Government. Those who belong to that band are very few in number, I think there are perhaps not more than three or four in the whole House, among the Private Members, and it is perhaps fitting that one of us should state the case.
Before I come to the Amendment there are two short points I wish to put in connection with the figure of£600. That figure contains two factors: one part the pure salary and the other the allowance for expenses. I think the Government might give us more information on that latter head. We are entitled to know the average expenses of groups of Members. The figures are known, they are known to the Treasury, they are known, I suppose, to an officer of the House here, but when I ask for them I am told that they are secrets relating to Income Tax and cannot be divulged. Let me give the type of question I want answered. We know that there are a number of Members whose expenses absorb their whole salary. How many of them are there? Are there a couple of dozen? We know, also, that there are a large number of Members who make returns and claim exemptions in respect of their expenses. How many Members do that, and what is the average amount of expenses on which they get an allowance? Those figures are obviously of great importance to us when we want to explain the facts to our constituents. If we can tell them plainly that there are a couple of dozen Members whose salaries are all absorbed by expenses, and that there are 300 whose average expenses are£250, that would be a most convincing argument that there is a strong case for an increase over the present£400. It is the more ridiculous that the figures are denied to us because, were I still a member of the Public Accounts Committee, I could get them 1088 very quickly. It would be open to the Public Accounts Committee to examine the nature of the allowances made in respect of expenses. It would be open to the Public Accounts Committee to ask for information about that. Generalised information could be given which would reveal no secrets of individual incomes but yet give valuable facts.
§ Commander Sir Archibald Southby
Surely the hon. Member is not suggesting that the Public Accounts Committee are entitled to obtain, or are in the habit of obtaining, information from the Income Tax Commissioners?
§ Mr. Morgan Jones
As Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee this year I suggest to the hon. Member that the request for information which he has addressed to the Treasury, and which the Treasury say is not available on account of the public interest involved, would not be permitted in the Public Accounts Committee.
§ Mr. Denman
Then the Public Accounts Committee must have degenerated a good deal. I am not asking for any personal Income Tax returns to be revealed, but only for generalised figures which are of importance. Who is afraid of our knowing what are the average expenses of a Member of Parliament? Who objects to it?
§ Mr. Denman
I entirely agree with that, but I am equally sure that the Inland Revenue authorities and the Public Accounts Committee would not take that view of the public interest. The other point I wish to raise in connection with this figure of£600 will, I am sure, receive widespread sympathy. That figure for the payment of salaries is not the best way of dealing with this problem in this House. We have here a community in which a system of family allowances could be applied with almost perfect ease. I suggest a basic figure of£500 for everybody with allowances for wives and children, as far better suited to the needs of Members.
§ Mr. Denman
All he has. I wonder whether the Prime Minister will tell us what proportion, if any, of the hard cases submitted to him related to bachelors. On£500 a year, a bachelor Member of this House should exist without hardship, and if£600 is the right figure for a bachelor, it is far too low for a Member with a wife and family who have to live away in the provinces.
§ Mr. Denman
I turn now to the Amendment and suggest that it is somewhat indecent to add 50 per cent. to our salaries without giving the electorate a chance to object. Hon. Members seem to have forgotten the precedent of 1911. Let me quote from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer. He said:The Prime Minister, immediately before the last General Election, stated to the House of Commons that he proposed, if we got a majority in the new Parliament, to submit a Resolution … for the purpose of paying the Members." — [OFFICIAL. REPORT, l0th August, 1911; COL 1366, Vol. 29.]Later on in the Debate there was quoted the exact sentence that Mr. Asquith used:It is the intention of the Government, if they have the opportunity, and the requisite Parliamentary following, next year, to propose provision out of public funds for the payment of Members, and they think that that intention being announced before the General Election takes place, there will be no constitutional impropriety in the provision being made effective if Parliament sees fit to approve it, in the Parliament which will assemble after the General Election."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th August, 1911; COL 1401, Vol. 29.]Mr. Asquith was not a constitutional pedant, but a person with a finer sense of constitutional propriety than any of the leading men of our time. It is quite clear that in his mind it would have been constitutionally improper for this House to vote itself a salary if the electorate had not been given a chance, in advance, to express its views.
I heard the Prime Minister expressing alarm at the thought of this question being raised at a General Election; I must remind him that that actually happened, and no disaster occurred. A number of hon. Members went through that election. The question raised very little interest. The public mind will not be 1090 concerned with these matters, but the electorate will have the chance of saying: "We do not want that salary increased." There were Members who put the issue in their election addresses of 1911. The Master of Elibank testified that he mentioned it at almost all his meetings; so that it was before the country. Surely that is a precedent which we ought not to neglect. We have no doubt the power to vary the conditions, and even the rate, of our salaries. We have, in point of fact, made changes in relation to travel vouchers, and so on. We might make a grant to the refreshment department to enable meals to be cheaper; but when we are proposing to increase our salaries by 50 per cent., is it quite decent for us to do it without proper consultation? I ask the House to realise the substantial difference between the position which I occupied in 1911 and the position I occupy now. I then came to the House fully authorised to vote for the payment of Members' salaries, and I did so.
§ Sir John Haslam
Was the hon. Member authorised to vote for an increase in Ministers' salaries, and if he was how did he act?
§ Mr. Denman
That is a rather separate point, and I will come to it in one moment. I want to point out the difference in the authority of those who voted for payment of Members in 1911 and their position now. The position is that, in 1935, we were elected on the basis of a salary of£400, which went with the office. Every elector who sent us here had reason to think that the salary would be£400 for the duration—to use the language of War time. There was a quite reasonable anticipation that for the lifetime of Parliament we should go on at that salary. That position is completely different from that which we had in 1911.
The question of Ministers' salaries was raised by the hon. Gentleman who interrupted me. I am amazed that, with his experience and knowledge of the consitution, he should think that there is any real analogy between the control of Ministers' salaries and of our own. The Executive is a body for which Parliament is responsible; its personnel, its duties, its salary, are the continuing subjects of Parliamentary control.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore
Is not the back bencher just as much a part 1091 of the machinery of Parliament as the Executive, in a democratic country like ours?
§ Mr. Denman
I am saying that the Executive is under the control of Parliament as regards salaries, duties, and personnel. Think of all the differences of treatment in the two cases. In the case of the Ministers, we had two Select Committees. in 1920 and 1930. We had a Resolution of this House, upon which there were no Government Whips. We had a mention in the King's Speech and, finally, we had a Bill which went through prolonged debate and had to be approved by both Houses of Parliament. What comparison is there between that procedure and the procedure of a Motion debated upon a half day, upon which we solely decide, arid which requires no Bill and no consent from any other place?
§ Sir J. Haslam
I wanted only to point out that the hon. Member did not consult his electors about the matter of Ministers' salaries; that is his chief grievance, and the analogy still holds.
§ Mr. Denman
I am sorry that my argument still remains obscure, but it is quite simple. The control of the Executive is a function of Parliament, one of its normal functions, on which we do not require the specific and special authority of the electorate. On the other hand, on the question of payment of Members, we have, in the first place, consulted the electorate before we acted. That seems a sound precedent. In the question of our own salaries we have no other authority whatever to go to; in the case of the Ministers' salaries, we had Parliament as a whole.
§ Mr. Denman
Certainly; that was the principle which we decided in 1911 when we fixed the figure. We went before the electorate in 1935 and invited them to elect us on that figure.
§ Mr. Denman
It was never discussed, because no elector thought that we were going to increase our salaries.
1092 I do not want to exaggerate the importance of this matter, and I do not want to suggest that by increasing our own salaries we are doing something grossly indecent or acting in a way which would mean a serious blot upon our reputation; but I think it does mean a slight depreciation of the currency of Parliamentary practice. The whole subject, however, will pass from the public mind in quite a short time. The slight stain on our good name will fade. One of the most delightful features of this House is its almost cat-like quality of quietly licking itself clean after having done anything to besmirch itself. Nevertheless, I still ask why should we ladle out mud for our opponents to throw at us? This matter will be broadcast to-night all over the country. A great many people will think of us as sensible people who can probably decide fairly upon the question, but there will be quite a lot who take a different view. There will be some who will say: "How like a democratic assembly to vote itself money." There will be a larger number of people who will say: "I want this or that, but my Member can never find me the money for it; yet he can find£200 easily enough for himself." That is not the kind of thing we ought to encourage, and we ought not to give openings to have it said against us. We have a responsibility beyond this country. What goes on in this House sets standards, and is an example to bodies far outside our own country. I suggest we ought not to set this precedent or take a course which will not be consonant with the dignity and honour of this House. I believe that our true answer to this Motion is to accept it with thanks for our successors, and not for ourselves.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Sir Edward Grigg
I beg to second the Amendment.
Like my hon. Friend who moved it, I must confess that I do so with great reluctance. No one in the world likes to take what appears to be a high-minded line, knowing that the sacrifice involved will be much heavier for other people than for himself. I do not pretend in the least to be indifferent to the payment of another£200 a year to Members of this House, but I also recognise that, if Parliament decided not to pay that increase, other Members would 1093 suffer more by that decision than I should, and, therefore, I hope hon. Members will believe me when I say that I feel a very real embarrassment in taking this line. Another reason is that I am very sorry to find myself in complete disagreement on a matter, not of detail but of principle, with the Prime Minister and the Treasury Bench. I am a humble and docile person, who prefers to believe that his leaders are inspired, and, therefore, infallible, and I experience real discomfort when on a matter of principle I am compelled to disagree with them.
Those who are supporting the Amendment, or opposing the Motion itself, must feel that discomfort all the more strongly since this proposal was recommended to the House by a great House of Commons man, Lord Baldwin, who has now gone to the other House. In spite of that, and hating the business of doing it, I nevertheless feel it my duty to second this Amendment, and to second it purely on grounds of principle. I believe that the dignity of Parliament, and the esteem in which Parliament is held, will be affected in the long run by what we are doing this evening. I am not opposed to the payment of Members; it would be idle to be so; it is a thing that was decided long ago. Nor am I opposed to a 5o per cent. increase. I have not the figures or the knowledge myself, but I am quite ready to believe Lord Baldwin, and the present Prime Minister, and others who have looked into this matter, when they say that it is a proper increase. I oppose only the principle that Parliament should vote this increase to itself. I conceive that we are in the position of directors of a company, of which the country—the electorate—are the shareholders. Who can conceive of the directors of a company deciding to raise their own fees without consulting the shareholders? [Interruption.] Hon. Members above the Gangway laugh, but that would be a most improper procedure.
What are the arguments which have been advanced to-day which suggest that Ave have a right to exempt ourselves from conditions and limitations which govern all other people on the question of voting advantages to themselves? The first argument is the argument with which it is 1094 most difficult of all to deal—the argument of the hard case. I think I have heard all the speeches that have been made in this Debate, and I have listened to them realising to the full how deeply people feel on this subject, and what good reasons they have for feeling deeply about it. But it is not only in this House that hard cases exist. We are constantly being told, and, indeed, it has been said by some speakers in this Debate, that legislation on hard cases makes bad law. Again and again in hard pension cases, in cases in connection with the Means Test, and so on, we are told that we can prove nothing by quoting hard cases. I have heard that answer again and again from the Treasury Bench. If that be the attitude in regard to other hard cases, what right have we to say that hard cases in this Parliament should count for more than hard cases elsewhere? If hon. Members suppose that that argument will not be spread throughout the country by those who want to undermine the authority of Parliament, I think they are very deeply mistaken.
I come now to the second argument for this Motion, an argument which was dealt with in part by my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, namely, the argument that we have already done this for Ministers. I must say I agree entirely with the way in which my hon. Friend dealt with that argument. I take full responsibility, and am prepared to do so before my constituents, for the rise in the salaries of Ministers. I have done nothing for myself; I have received no advantage in the matter; and I am prepared to say to my constituents that I believe it to be essential and desirable in the interests of government at the present time. But it is a very different matter to go and justify to your constituents doing the same thing for yourself—putting your own hand into the taxpayer's pocket. I can see no parallel whatever between voting an increase in the salaries of Ministers and voting an increase in one's own salary.
The only other argument that I have heard advanced in favour of this Motion being carried out at once is the old argument that was used for the murder of Macbeth:If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere wellIt were done quickly.1095 We have heard that argument a great deal, and, of course, there are precedents in Parliamentary history which suggest that, if it were done, it were better done quickly. I remember that in South Australia they desired to raise their own salaries, but decided that they could not do it with propriety without consulting the electorate; and, according to the Constitution of the State, they held a referendum, in which the increase of salaries was defeated by two votes to one. No doubt there is a danger in referring these things to the electorate, and it may be true that it is best, if you want to get these things through, to rush them as quickly as possible. But I dissent from my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister when he says that we are better able to decide these things than the electorate of the country. I think that the electorate is extremely fair-minded on these matters, and it is a little dangerous to suggest that we decide these things in this House in a judicial atmosphere when as a matter of fact we are making ourselves judges in our own case. That is not a description of a judicial atmosphere, and I think one has to be a little careful about arguments which magnify the authority and discretion of this House at the expense of the electorate on a subject of this kind.
I think, too, that the attitude which we are called upon to take here this evening contrasts unfavourably with the scruple which was shown by all parties and in all quarters of the House in 1911. I, like other Members, have been referring to that debate. My hon. Friend who moved the Amendment quoted Mr. Asquith's declaration. Mr. Asquith made it perfectly plain that it is impossible to consult the electorate specifically on this point at a General Election. It was certainly impossible then, when the election was being fought on the Parliament Bill, and much bigger issues were at stake. But at any rate the subject was mentioned; the Government announced that they were going to do this thing if they were returned to power; and Mr. Asquith therefore quite rightly said that there was no constitutional impropriety in the new Parliament carrying the payment of Members if it had been put before the electorate in that manner. But let the House observe that his declaration that there would be no constitutional impropriety in that 1096 action certainly means that he would have seen constitutional impropriety in passing a measure of this kind without any reference of any kind to the electorate. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald), who was recently Prime Minister, himself expressed a particular punctilio on this subject at that time. He said:I confess I felt rather unhappy about it myself and I therefore specifically mentioned it in my election address."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, l0th August, 1911; col. 1401, Vol. 29.]That punctilio, which was felt by a Labour Member at that time, was felt also on the Liberal Government benches and on the Conservative benches. One of the most respected Members of this House, who unfortunately is no longer with us, Sir Austen Chamberlain, then Mr. Austen Chamberlain, dealt with this matter, and expressed a great dislike for the Resolution, not merely on the ground that he was opposed to the payment of Members, but on two grounds—first of all, that he did not think it had been properly before the electorate, and also because he thought that, whether that was the case or not, it was not desirable that Members of Parliament should vote advantages to themselves in the same Parliament. He took that line then, and he contrasted the attitude of Parliament in voting salaries to itself with the line which Ministers were taking at that time in a Circular which they had issued to local authorities forbidding them to appoint to offices of profit persons who had held municipal office during the previous 12 months. Contrasting those two things, he said, and I really think that a voice so much respected in this House for so long should be listened to on this subject:I think there is something shocking in the proceeding. I am sorry that, though there be a majority in favour of the payment of Members of this House, they should not feel the same delicacy about making the payment applicable to themselves that has been felt by Ministers, and enforced by Ministers on the local authorities throughout the country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th August, 1911; col. 1462, Vol. 29.]Sir Herbert Samuel, who now speaks under the same name in another place, in winding up the Debate, put that point specially and, in the name of the Liberal party assured the House that the matter had been put clearly before the electorate 1097 in distinct and emphatic terms, amounting to a Parliamentary pledge, and that therefore there could be no impropriety. It will be observed that in that Debate great emphasis was laid, not only upon the principle of payment, but on the method by which it was done, and that the strongest opposition was on the ground that the electorate had not been adequately consulted, and that Parliament had no authority in any case to vote money to itself. I would remind the House once again of Mr. Austen Chamberlain's sentence:I think there is something shocking in the proceeding.
§ Sir Robert Young
Did not Sir Austen Chamberlain, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, give travel allowances to Members without consulting Parliament or the electorate, and was not that a large increase to many Mmbers of the House?
§ Sir E. Grigg
The hon. Gentleman may be right; I am afraid my memory does not go back to that. If we could have had the opinion of Sir Austen Chamberlain on this matter now——
§ Sir E. Grigg
I do not see that that affects the argument. In any case we have now a splendid opportunity of overcoming both the objections which were so strongly felt by Parliament in 1911. We can vote this increase now and thereby absolve the next Parliament from taking a course which I think it is undesirable for any Parliament to take; and we can also let the electorate have a chance of expressing some opinion on this matter, and objecting to it if they desire to do so. I have attempted to find out what is the opinion on this matter in my own constituency. It is a large constituency, larger than that of the hon. Member for East Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall). Its electorate at present is 106,000. It contains every kind of type; it is a microcosm of the country. I asked a friend of mine to make inquiries, without suggesting views at all. The main conclusion is complete indifference. That rather frightens me. There ought not to be so much indifference. It frightens me, especially 1098 as it is reflected in the poll of all parties in recent by-elections. I do not think that that is at all a healthy feature in the present state of our political life. Among people who have any kind of opinion, opinion appeared to break pretty evenly. Some said that it was all right, and some said that it was all wrong. The objections made were not to the increase but to our voting it for this Parliament. There was a retired military officer——
§ Sir E. Grigg
No doubt. HeFeels that a politician, if a good man, deserves£1,000 a year, but the numbers in the House could be considerably reduced, at least by half. The Conservative party would strongly have opposed the present proposition had it been introduced by a Socialist majority. Suspects leaders of Conservative and Labour parties have got their heads together and come to present arrangement.Then there was a draper, a Liberal:Thinks£400 a year is quite sufficient, but in any case Parliament has no right to vote itself an increase.The next was a boot and shoe salesman:Does not think a 5o per cent. increase justified. Would agree to£500 a year, but thinks Parliament should not vote it to itself.An agricultural labourer:Thinks the£600 quite reasonable, but thinks Parliament should not vote it to itself.An omnibus inspector:Members were elected to Parliament with their eyes open to the fact that they would be there for five years at£400 a year. They made the bargain with the electors and should stick to it.Then there was the squire:Agrees with proposed increase, but present Parliament should not vote it to itself.That seems to be a fairly wide cross section of English opinion. The objection is mostly not to the increase but to Parliament putting its own hand for its own advantage into the taxpayer's pocket. I wish the Government would accept the Amendment. There is no date mentioned in the Motion itself, and I think that it might be desirable to add a date to it.
I would make this appeal to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Would he and the Prime Minister not consider in any case leaving this to an open vote of the House? I can understand the objection to taking off the Whips in almost every question which affects this Parliament, especially on questions which are matters of Government 1099 policy. But this is not a subject on which supporters of the Government should be asked to take any special responsibility. If responsibility is taken, it should be taken by the House as a whole in the judgment and on the conscience of individual Members. I absolutely agree with the right hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) when he said that Parliament was a body corporate in matters of this kind, and because of that we do not want to have in this particular decision the intervention of the Whips, who are the instruments and officers of a party machine and whose interference, I think, in a matter of this kind is improper. It is a direct responsibility which rests upon every individual Member.
§ Sir E. Grigg
That is not a question which affects Parliament as a whole. I make that appeal, although I do not suppose that it will affect the result. I believe that there is a big majority which is quite prepared to take responsibilitw for passing this Motion. If that be the case, let it be shown to be the opinion of Parliament without pressure of any kind.
§ 7.7 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Williams
I make no apology for at once supporting the Government in the Motion which they have on the Order Paper. I almost feel that the hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) feels so keenly on this matter that if he were a Member of the Government he would retire from it.
§ Sir E. Grigg
I do not think that personal arguments of that kind ought to be used in a matter of this sort.
§ Mr. Williams
If the hon. Member objects to my manner of putting the argument I readily withdraw. I do not quite understand the hon. Gentleman, who, having expressed his profound sympathy with the proposal, then devises every argument he can to show why the increase ought not to be made. The arguments of the hon. Member for Central Leeds (Mr. Denman) were almost identical. He was overflowing with sympathy for those who deserved and needed this increase. Then he proceeded to give every reason he could think of why the increase ought not to be given. I do not think that the arguments so far 1100 advanced have been so substantial as to move in any sense the case submitted by the Prime Minister. The hon. Member for East Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall) put up such a positive case that all those who have spoken against the Motion have been answered by him. The right hon. Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert) tells the House that we cannot hope to spend ourselves into prosperity, and that if we want to restore prosperity we must be economical ourselves. I can see the right hon. Gentleman one day next week, when another£3,500,000 will be voted to a certain industry, complaining that the£3,500,000 was not£7,000,000, or even more. The right hon. Gentleman is an economist except when he wants money diverted into particular channels which suit his purpose, and I cannot appreciate his arguments.
§ Mr. Williams
I honestly believe that the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) is conscientiously opposed to any payment of Members. No Member who is living on very slender resources would expect the hon. Gentleman to argue otherwise than he did this afternoon. The right hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) referred to the great Parliamentary days of the past. I want to ask in all sincerity whether the so-called great Parliamentary days of the past, when millions of families in this country could scarcely get butter for their bread, were really great. I should prefer the small Parliamentary days of to-day when there is an element of prosperity from Land's End to John o' Groats to the so-called great Parliamentary days of the past. Hon. Members must face up to the fact that we are constantly boasting of the fact that we are a democracy, and that above all things we want to deserve this democracy. If universal suffrage means anything, it implies that any man or woman with the ability, whether Liberal, Conservative or Labour, should be permitted to come to this House to represent a constituency if he or she can secure the maximum number of votes. If we are not going to make it possible for a person of requisite ability to fulfil the functions assigned to him or her by a constituency, then democracy is cheated and hon. Members must fall up to this question from that point of view.
1101 But whether the case be argued from the point of view of the cost of living, or the increase of the amount of work, or from the point of view of independence, I think that the case for the Motion is almost unanswerable. It is obvious that the cost of living is such that it has made a material difference to the Member of this House who has no other income than that derived from the Treasury, and every decent-minded Member of this House is bound to appreciate that if a Member is to fulfil the functions for which he or she was elected, there must, of necessity, be an improvement on the present salary. The changes since 1911 have been referred to. I can remember that in 1922 when I first ca me here the cry from all industrialists in all parts of the House was, "Hands off industry." Since 1922 Parliament has had its hands on every industry. We have had import duties, subsidies, quotas, Government control, voluntary agreements and trade agreements and every industry—cotton, coal, steel, shipbuilding and agriculture—has been debated on the Floor of this House.
The amount of increased work, increased correspondence, increased interviews and deputations in which hon. Members have been involved has been enormous since 1922. As the right hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) said, all our social legislation has been produced since 1911—old age pensions, widows' and orphans' pensions, ex-servicemen pensions, national health insurance, unemployment insurance, unemployment assistance and so forth. Every Member must know that the amount of correspondence in 1937 is perhaps ten times what it was back in 1911, with this difference, as the late Prime Minister truly recognised before he left the House, that instead of the one letter reaching a Member of Parliament some 26 years since, which was never replied to, the ten letters that are received to-day must be answered post haste because, as the late Prime Minister said, there is a more intense political consciousness in all parts of the country to-day than there has been at any period in the history of the country.
Then we are confronted with the housing problem, problems affecting rates, problems affecting distressed areas, all causing additional work to the average Member, and for that reason, if it is the desire of the House that Members should give all their time—because membership 1102 of this House is to-day a full-time job—I do not see how they can escape the financial responsibility. It has been said that it is a very delicate question to deal with one's own salary. I represent approximately 68,000 electors. At my first election in 1922 there were 32,000. They have more than doubled in the intervening 15 years. I would not say that the work has doubled during the same period, but if those 68,000 electors, some 33,000 of whom voted for me at the last election, feel that, with all the obligations upon a Member of Parliament, their representative is worth no more than£400 per annum, I shall have no objection to retiring at the next Parliamentary election. It may very well be that my valuation of my own services is infinitely greater than that of anyone else, but if I cart speak for other Members, if they are prepared to fulfil the obligations for which, they were elected, I am convinced that no business man would attempt to pay a salary less than that referred to in the Motion. A first-rate clerk in a second-rate firm will get more than£400 per annum.
I do not think hon. and right hon. Gentlemen could stand up and justify the salary now paid if Members are expected to fulfil their duties. We appoint B.B.C. Governors in a part-time job and pay them£750 per annum. They may hold directorships in any number of other companies. We appoint part-time governors of the Electricity Board, at nearly double the salary of a Member of Parliament, and they can have half a dozen other appointments, and there is no complaint. We give salaries to Commissioners—the Tariff Advisory Commission, the Unemployment Assistance Board and all the rest—far greater than is given to a Member of Parliament. This Motion is long overdue. I am convinced that it will not tend to destroy the dignity of this House or to deteriorate its membership. Rather do I feel that it is calculated to encourage perhaps a better type of Member for, whatever we think of the Mother, of Parliaments in 1937, it certainly has become a definite legislative workshop. It is no longer a playground for the very rich or the less rich. It is a human institution ministering more to the needs of the millions than ever before, and if you obtain the right kind of personality, who is in daily touch with his constituency, and who is attempting to fulfil the mission for 1103 which he was sent to this House, you must, of necessity, make it financially possible for him to carry out his duties.
I welcome the Prime Minister's suggestion that an inquiry should be instituted into the possibility of providing a pension scheme. I appreciate the actuarial difficulty, but, since civil servants, the police, teachers and all local government officers in a very short time will be in receipt of pensions, a case can be made out for Members of the House. I hope the Prime Minister will take the general feeling that has been expressed in all parts of the House as a desire that a committee should be set up to examine the whole problem, and if we can prevent one Member falling by the wayside after having served his constituency and his country as a Member of this House, any scheme of the kind will be more than justified. I hope, despite the negligible opposition that there has been to the Motion, it will meet with general approval, and I am convinced that no Member of the House need fear returning to his division and being confronted with the jeer that he has been doing something for himself of which he ought not to have been guilty. Rather do I think that our constituents will welcome the proposal and will know that it is going to help us to carry on with the good work, and to that extent will feel we have done that for which we were elected.
§ 7.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Anstruther-Gray
I wish I could feel the same confidence as the hon. Gentleman that our constituents will be satisfied with us for voting to ourselves this increase. I have been in my division in the last three week-ends and I have found the greatest difficulty in putting it across. Perhaps it is rather different for Members on this side, because I so often find it my duty to preach against undue demands for rises in wages and in favour of regulations in relation to unemployment assistance and pensions which may seem cheese-paring and, after doing that, I dread having it flung in my face that I have raised my own screw by 50 per cent. I appreciate that hon. Members opposite are not quite in that difficulty, because they do not believe in the importance of financial stringency as firmly as we do. They are all for increasing insurance, pensions and everything else 1104 regardless of the cost. In that way they can much more easily justify increasing their salary. I seek a way out of this. I have been convinced that some hardship arises in the case of Members of the House who have no private means of their own. I seek a means of meeting this hardship without stirring up resentment in the country.
There are several expenses particular to Members of Parliament which could be very well met in kind. The first is postage. I see no great difficulty in making an allowance of 10s., or even£1 worth of stamped envelopes a week, and I do not think anyone would object to it. It seems most illogical that, when a constituent sends me a pension case, I should be allowed send it "O.H.M.S." to the Minister of Pensions but when I have his reply, I have to put a 1½d. stamp on before I can forward it to my constituent. The second point is food in the House. Someone said that more than 100 Members could not afford to dine in the House. I do not know if that is so. I do not want to make too much of it. Some people may prefer high tea, or may like to get out of the House for a change of atmosphere, or because the food is better and cheaper outside. I am quite prepared to admit that the food is very expensive here, and I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he could not consider making a grant towards providing a cheap House of Commons lunch and a cheap House of Commons dinner. I think the Government would be well advised to try to meet cases of hardship in this way rather than by an added cash payment.
§ Mr. Magnay
Would the hon. Member suggest that the Kitchen Committee should apply to the owners of proprietary articles to send their goods to the House out of charity?
§ 7.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I rise with possibly more diffidence than I have ever felt before in taking part in a Debate in this House. My personal view is that I would gladly have a pension scheme with no increase of salary. But that is not the issue before the House. I was strongly critical when this matter was first raised, and, since it has been raised, I have debated over and over again the line that I should take. We have three alternatives—to support the Government, to 1105 oppose it, or to abstain. It seems to me that it would be cowardly to abstain. The natural tendency of the small group to which I belong would be to oppose the Government. I take the view, after a great deal of consideration, that if I went into the Lobby against the Government on this occasion I ought not to take the increased salary. I hope hon. Members above the Gangway will not misunderstand me. It is the easiest thing for us to oppose the Government and to criticise the Labour party at the same time. There is always a tendency for a small group fighting for a place in the sun to do that kind of thing, but I feel that we have either to take the responsibility of voting for it or against it and, if we vote against it, we ought not to take the amount. I think I am the first to take part in this Debate who earns nothing beyond his Parliamentary salary. I entered the House 15 years ago and I have never augmented my salary, directly or indirectly, in any way. I have refused to write newspaper articles, and I have refused to take fees for speaking.
One of my reasons for supporting this is that I want to keep the House of Commons clean if I can. I know that men who are to go bad will go bad, but we ought to give them the opportunity to go straight. I have often felt that in some way the House was deteriorating when I have seen Members of Parliament —not that I blame them in any way—writing articles, praising a certain patent medicine, praising certain other articles. I knew they were doing it in order to add to their incomes and that they were using their House of Commons membership for that purpose, and I say that it would be much better for the House of Commons to grant them a decent increase of pay. When I see Members hawking about for lecturing engagements, often not minding for whom they lecture or what the purpose of the lecture is, in this great attempt to augment their incomes, I say that, for the sake of the dignity of the House of Commons, it would be much better to grant them a proper increase of salary.
I want now to say a word or two in regard to the Amendment that has been moved. This Amendment, to my mind, is not the right course to take. The hon. Member who moved it said it would delay the decision, but we do riot really delay it by delaying it till next Parliament. We 1106 are not passing a Bill to-day; it will be a Resolution only, and when the next Parliament meets that Resolution will have no effect, and Parliament would have to pass another Resolution. Who in this House thinks that when next we fight an election, which may be on the issue of war and peace in Europe, anybody will bother about this question? Why need we hand over our responsibility in this matter to men who will sit here two or three years afterwards? It is a funking of our public duty to postpone this decision. I represent in this House poverty in its worst form. If I vote for this Motion, the people in my constituency whom I know can say to me,"George, you voted for£200 extra for yourself," but if, instead of that, I put it off until next Parliament, all that I need say is that we decided that next Parliament should decide the question. The Amendment, to me, has no reality and does not meet the issue at all.
Now let me say a word or two to the right hon. Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert). To my mind he made the strongest case, because I was in doubt right up till the moment when he spoke as to how I should act in this matter. One passage from his speech more than any other convinced me that I ought to vote for this Motion, and that was when he said that since the payment of Members had come there had been the rise of another party; in other words, that before that date the wage-earning population were denied access here, and that since you have paid Members of Parliament that wage-earning population has come to be represented here. May I say to the Tories that I cannot understand them on this matter? Some 12 months ago I read a resolution passed at one of their conferences urging the need for Tory working men. I expect they were honest in passing that resolution, just as the Labour party are honest and just as we are honest in passing resolutions. What did that resolution that working men Tories should come in here mean? Such a Member would either have to be supported by the endowments of rich Tories or he would have to receive payment from the State. If he was supported by the endowments of rich Tories, he would be to that extent in the rich Tories' pockets.
I left my colleagues in the Labour party some time ago. I think I can impute to them honesty, and I hope that 1107 they will concede the same to me. I had been in their party since I was a boy, and I was connected with it in every way. Let me say that I only have my income as a Member of Parliament, and I have a postage bill which I do not think anybody beats and few equal. Only the other clay the Income Tax people said, "We cannot understand your letters; there are so many of them." I replied, "Go to the Unemployment Assistance Board in Glasgow and ask them." I have been blessed, and I have lived on my£400, and lived not badly, and, if I may be frank, I have actually made a small saving. I have a home in Glasgow, I have a wife in Glasgow, and I have lived here and made a small saving, but, as I say, I have been blessed and have never been a day ill, and my wife has never been ill. I have not a child. If I had been laid up, I could not have done it, but I have not had a holiday for 14 years. Is it anything degrading that I should have an income that will enable me to live properly? I am a professional politician, and if every professional man in this country could do his work as cleanly, I hope he does it. At the time when I left my colleagues in the Labour party. if I had been a trade unionist receiving£200 a year extra, and had had a wife and children, should I have left them? I do not think I should; I think I should have stayed with them. My opinions would have gone with my£200 a year. Give Members another£200 a year, and it will make them more independent Members of Parliament.
I am not keen about voting for this. I would sooner dodge this issue, and I would rather that Parliament had not raised it. I was going on quietly in my own way. I am chairman of a union some of whose members have a better income than I have, but I make no account of that, and I do not make a grumble about it. But if a Judge asks for an increase of salary, I say that he knew what his salary was when he took the position, and a professor in a university asks for an increase, although he knew what his emoluments were when he entered that position. That applies to us all. The only thing that concerns me is this: that I shall be richer to-morrow if this Motion passes.£600 means to me dreams that I can hardly speak of in the way of wealth. Down in my division 1108 there are people living in terrible poverty, but I know that few of them will grudge me an increase. I think their test of me is how I represent them. I hope that to-night the House of Commons will not stop in its work for the teeming people outside who are under-fed and under-clad, and that while we may grant£600 to Members of Parliament—and I shall vote for it—it will not stop any of us in our resolution and desire to see poverty abolished in this land.
§ 7.41 p.m.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)
I think most Members of the House will have felt that among the most interesting and intrepid speeches this evening is the one to which we have just listened. I intervene for a few moments only because I think the case was stated completely by the Prime Minister when he opened the Debate, and because I know that in many parts of the House there are hon. Members who feel that this is an anxious decision that we have to take and who take the view that there are considerations which ought to be weighed, the full strength of which is still not quite determined. I was in the House of Commons in the year 1911, and I remember the Debate that then took place on this question of the payment of Members. I have refreshed my memory by reading it to-day, and I say quite emphatically that in 1911 there was a great question of principle which was being decided by the House of Commons of that day, a question on which there was a sharp difference of opinion, largely represented, though not wholly, by the difference between the two sides of the House. But I altogether deny that there is any question of principle raised to-day.
As regards the question of principle that was raised in 1911, no one can re-read the Debates at that time without seeing that very much of the argument that has been urged to-day, most forcibly and sincerely, by hon. Members like my hon. Friend the Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison), or my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton), or my right hon. Friend the Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert), was represented in the speeches made in opposition 26 years ago—just the same arguments, just the same fears, honestly entertained. But I think it useful to ask ourselves, Were the fears expressed 26 1109 years ago justified? Is it true that the character of the House of Commons has been worsened? Is it true that the representative nature of our Parliament has been undermined? Is it true that the dignity of the House, the respect in which Parliament is held by the people, has really all been swept away by establishing the payment of Members? I say most confidently that it is not true, and I believe that on balance the really representative character of the House of Commons has been very greatly strengthened by that necessary change.
That being so, I would beg my hon. and right hon. Friends who have spoken on this matter to reflect. I do not say this, as a matter of reproach to them. Let them look again at the Debates of 26 years ago, and I think they will find that the anxieties that were expressed in 1911, which some of them still most honestly entertain, were proved to be unfounded by the light of experience. There was another speech that was made in those Debates in 1911. I still have a faint recollection of it, and I have reread it this afternoon with a great deal of interest. It was a speech made from the Labour benches by a man who had only recently reached the House of Commons—the late Philip Snowden. His speech was made because the question was discussed then as to whether£400 a year was too much and as to whether£300 a year would not be the wiser figure to adopt. If any hon. Member will go to the Library and look at Philip Snowden's speech on that occasion, he cannot but be affected by what was then said by him. He gave the House of Commons then an account, intimate, quiet, unemotional, of his own difficulties in maintaining himself as a Member of Parliament, when there was no salary for Members as such, and when, as far as he was concerned, he had to rely on, I think it was,£200 a year granted to him by a trade union and such small additional income as he could secure. Philip Snowden then gave, in 1911, an account of his struggles, not expressed with any desire to gain sympathy, because he was quite prepared to go on without the salary if it was not forthcoming, and I deny that anybody can read that speech now without feeling how much good has been done by the decision that was taken 26 years ago.
1110 If I may say so, I do not entirely agree with one observation of the hon. Member opposite when he contrasted payments made to Members with the great salaries which may be earned in various forms of public occupation. I do not think that is the standard that we ought to set up. It would be a good thing, if it was a practical thing, for nobody who served in Parliament to be paid anything at all, but it is not a practical thing, and if you insist upon that, not only, as it seems to me, are you drawing a distinction between the opportunities of one sort of person and another, which you have no right to do, but I believe you are depriving Parliament of contributions which Parliament cannot do without.
Another thing that has struck me in this Debate is that I really think that some hon. Members almost seem to forget the account which the Prime Minister gave of the detailed results of the confidential inquiry by Mr. Baldwin as he then was. Lord Baldwin was good enough to let me see these documents as a personal confidence, and, of course, as the Prime Minister said, they are confidential and there is no question at all of divulging them. But I can honestly say that until I had read them, I had never realised the extent of the difficulties of some of my colleagues in the House of Commons. Here this Session as it happens I have been taking part in a Committee upstairs on the Factories Bill week after week with hon. Members drawn from all parties, all working like good comrades and treating one another on terms of perfect equality. I did not realise that it might be that among those with whom I was working were some who were suffering from these handicaps which did not affect me. I therefore beg to repeat what the Prime Minister said at the beginning, that, having read those documents he was both surprised and distressed; that he found that some of our colleagues here who are not in possession of other means of sustenance were reduced to expedients entirely inappropriate to their work; that they were slowly wasting away in some cases their small savings, that the education of their children and food for themselves had to be stinted, and that some of them could not afford to do the service which we ought to do all the week in Parliament because it involved too great a strain on their finances.
1111 I think that the whole House of Commons will give full weight to these considerations, and I hope that I do not do wrong when I say for myself, and, I think, for a good many Members of the House, that there is something tremendously galling and completely distressing in the feeling that you are working side by side with other colleagues quite equal in every respect, and that some of them have to put up with these strains and difficulties. I shall be very deeply comforted if we can do something by passing this Motion to make their position easier. When I think of that I must say to the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise), who made a carefully phrased speech, that I feel that it is not sufficient to say, "Well, these are very sad cases, but it is better that we should suffer some considerable inconvenience than that we should increase this figure from£400 to£600." I do not think that that adequately expresses the degree of relief which it is in our power to confer.
Now I come to the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Central Leeds (Mr. Denman), seconded by the hon. and gallant Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg). Generally speaking, I would agree that in these matters which have a certain invidious air, it is a great comfort to feel that one has made a statement of one's intentions before a General Election, so that one then has the satisfaction when the General Election is over to know that the country has supported one's proposals. Though I know it is a case of conscience on the part of the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment, it does not seem to me that their remedy is a practical one. They say, "We are in favour of increasing the salary, but we do not want to do it now. We want to provide that it shall take place only after the General Election." Does anyone really suppose that a General Election is going to be fought on things of that sort? In 1911 the matter had been mentioned by Mr. Asquith before the General Election because at that time opinion was divided on the payment of Members, and it was very largely a division on party lines. There was great force and point in Mr. Asquith's claim, and he made plain what he and his friends were prepared to do. That situation cannot be reproduced to-day. If the topic were lightly to be raised, and 1112 candidates were asked whether they were in favour of£600 a year or in favour of£400 a year, most of them would hold the same view. In that event how would a General Election help matters?
§ Sir W. Davison
Candidates are often asked for assurances at a General Election on all sorts of topics apart from general topics. A candidate might be asked, "Are you in favour of increasing Members' salaries?" and he would give a pledge one way or the other.
§ Sir J. Simon
I hope I make it plain to the hon. Gentleman that I perfectly appreciate that it would be very much simpler, certainly to some of us, to go to our constituencies and say, "This is what I am prepared to do." I would much prefer to do it myself. I cannot, however, really see that it should be a thing on which I must have a mandate. We have reached the conclusion—and I think the overwhelming majority of the House have reached the conclusion—that£400 is not enough, and that it should be raised to£600. Once we form that conclusion, and once we appreciate the urgency of the matter, I think that the vast majority of the House will take the view that the proposal should be carried out.
§ Sir E. Grigg
The right hon. Gentleman suggested just now that if this matter were to come up at the General Election no candidate could be found prepared to recommend the increase.
§ Sir J. Simon
What I meant to say was that it seems to me very probable that a candidate would say, "I am in favour of making the figure£600," and his opponent would get up and say, "And so am I." I feel myself that good sense in this matter is therefore this. The matter of principle whether or not Members should be paid, has been settled for a generation. We should most of us be entirely opposed to making some extravagant, large increase in order that Members might compare their salaries with those of very successful business or professional men. That is not at all what any of us wishes to do, but I believe that we have come generally to the conclusion that we must give an increase, and we should be wise to follow the figure arranged by Mr. Baldwin and the Prime Minister at£600. 1113 I think that we all appreciate how very urgent the matter is now because of the position of some of our colleagues, and, therefore, the whole House is suffering until it puts this matter right. That being so, I hope that the House is going, by an overwhelming vote, to support this Motion.
I want to say a few words on the interesting subject raised by the right hon. Gentleman opposite on the scheme of pensions. I am very happy that it is generally agreed that we should not try to follow out this scheme here by elaboration of the Motion or anything of that kind. At the moment I do not think that we ought to concern ourselves with what is the form of inquiry. We ought to regard ourselves as morally committed to an inquiry, and to a prompt inquiry, and, of course, before the form of inquiry is settled we shall do our best to ascertain views in all quarters of the House. I would only make this one contribution to the whole subject. It will obviously make a great deal of difference whether your pension scheme is going to lead to a pension being given to a recipient because he is entitled to it under the terms of the scheme, or whether the recipient is going to receive it because he is in some confidential way selected by a committee set up for the purpose. I should doubt very much whether it was possible to construct out of a system of deductions from Members' salaries, whether voluntary or compulsory, a scheme laying down the conditions under which Members of Parliament would be entitled to receive this or that amount as a right. I believe that probably there is much more hope in pursuing a scheme for pensions to be granted in necessitous cases. Such a scheme would be carried out under proper supervision, but none the less confidentially, by a very responsible committee, and the individuals selected for pensions would be chosen as seriously requiring the money. How this is to be done is entirely a matter for the future, and I only wish to state my own interest in this subject, and to say that I shall be most anxious to see the subject pursued to the end.
Lastly, let me observe as a general observation that I think it is impossible for us to realise the extent to which the real daily labour of Members of Parliament has increased compared with a generation or two ago. Mr. Gladstone 1114 once declared that the private Member of Parliament in his early days was expected to make one speech between one General Election and the next. I remember that when, in 1911, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed payment of Members, he produced here at this Table the volumes containing the division lists in various periods of our history, and pointed out how, in years when the most serious legislation had been carried, the list was only a tiny, narrow volume completely different from the sort of record which takes place today. The majority of Members of Parliament were usually not here, and the reason why we have made Parliament a much more active place is that it is directly connected with questions touching the lives of the people. It is the effect of the extension of the franchise, that every man and woman has a perfect right to call upon his or her representative. If the subjects which we discuss affect the lives of ordinary people, it is quite certain that the Member of Parliament who does not attend will hear about it from his constituents. We have to add to that the enormously increased pace of the work here due to all sorts of modern contrivances, typewriters, telephones and all the rest of it, and I do not believe for a single moment that we are in the position of diving our hands into the public bag merely in order to provide ourselves or private Members with a slightly larger salary.
The proposal is made to-day on behalf of the former Prime Minister and the present one, and I cannot agree with the hon. Member below the Gangway that it is an occasion for some sort of go-as-you-please. It is a proposal, after full inquiry, made by the head of the Government and supported by the Government, and which, I hope, is going to be supported in the Lobby by the supporters of the Government as well as by hon. Members opposite. There is no reason why the Debate should necessarily stop because I have addressed the House, but if the House is so0020disposed, perhaps we might take the vote now.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] I have been in the House all the time to-night—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] Hon. Members wish to divide, but I have stood up every time 1115 trying to get an opportunity to speak, and when six Tories in succession have been selected I think it is about time that a protest was made. I have listened to the arguments that have been put forward, and it is time that hon. Members listened to an argument on the other side. I listened to the Prime Minister introducing this proposal to increase the salaries of Members of Parliament. The Government were not prepared to introduce this proposal until they had passed the proposals for the raising of Ministers' salaries and the raising of the salaries of judges. Then this proposition was brought in. We are told that the Prime Minister was distressed over the position of certain hard-hit Members of this House. Are we to tolerate the statement that the Prime Minister was very distressed at the stories of hardship and that that is the reason why this proposal has been brought forward? The Chancellor of the Exchequer has repeated that statement to-night.
How can we go before the people of the country in our constituencies, people who are living on the means test, and say that the Prime Minister has been very distressed at the stories he has heard about the hardships of Members of Parliament, and that that is the reason why our salaries have been increased? If the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are to come here brokenhearted and tell us that they are very distressed at the stories that have been told to them about the hardships that we suffer, what about the men who have to live on 10s. a week? Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer listen to the pitiful story of the man who has to keep himself and his family on the unemployment allowance? [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide.": Yes, divide, while people are starving outside. They can tell stories of real distress, but do you listen to them? No.
I am supporting this proposal because there are hon. Members on this side who
§ suffer great hardship and who have more responsibility than I have—domestic and other responsibilities. Knowing of the hardship of their lot I am prepared to vote for this Motion, but at the same time I am prepared to fight for the poor people outside. I can use this business to good purpose. I got£100 the other day from the "Catholic Herald." Seeing the purpose to which it has been put it is the best money the "Catholic Herald" ever spent, and the extra£200 that I shall get will be the best£200 that this House ever spent. It will encourage and assist me in the work that I am carrying on. I am always ready to take as much good English gold as the Chancellor of the Exchequer is prepared to supply.
§ There are Members of this House who are millionaires, and others who have lots of money, who oppose this Motion, and who tell us that high salaries do not provide high standards. Was there any mention of that when Ministers' salaries were being discussed and when Judges' salaries were being discussed? It applies only when it comes to a question of the salaries of Members of Parliament and assistance for the working classes, whom Members on this side mostly represent. I support the proposition but I do not thank the Government for it. The Government have not produced this for any special purpose of assisting the hard-hit Members on this side of the House. It is part of the trick they have played for getting through additional salaries of£100 per week for Ministers and for getting through increased salaries for Judges. If there was any genuine feeling in their hearts they would not hesitate to consider the cases of the people outside who are suffering real hardship and poverty, people on the means test, and people who have to live on 10s. a week.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 31; Noes, 326.1119
|Division No. 233.]||AYES.||[8.6 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury)||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Brown, Col. D. C (Hexham)||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Storey, S.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Loftus, P. C.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Wise, A. R.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Nall, Sir J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Denman and Sir Edward Grigg.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Ellis, Sir G.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Leonard, W.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Emery, J. F.||Leslie, J. R.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Levy, T.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Lewis, O.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Liddall, W. S.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Fleming, E. L.||Little, Sir E. Graham.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Frankel, D.||Lloyd, G. W.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Logan, D. G.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Furness, S. N.||Lunn, W.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Gallacher, W.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Gardner, B. W.||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Garro Jones, G. M.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)|
|Barnes, A. J.||Gibson, R. (Greenock)||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Barr, J.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Gledhill, G.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Batey, J.||Gluckstein, L. H.||McGovern, J.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Maclay, Hon. J. P.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Goodman, Col. A. W.||Maclean, N.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Gower, Sir R. V.||MacNeill, Weir, L.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Magnay, T.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Marshall, F.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Grimston, R. V.||Mathers, G.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Maxton, J.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Groves, T. E.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Broad, F. A.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Messer, F.|
|Bromfield, W.||Guy, J. C. M.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Milner, Major J.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Hannah, I. C.||Montague, F.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.|
|Burke, W. A.||Harbord, A.||Morgan, R. H.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall.||Harvey, Sir G.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Cape, T.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Muff, G.|
|Cary, R. A.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.|
|Cassells, T.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Munro, P.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Nathan, Colonel H. L.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hepburn, P. G. T. Bushan.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Hepworth, J.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Chater, D.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Holdsworth, H.||Paling, W.|
|Cooks, F. S.||Hollins, A.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Holmes, J. S.||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Peake, O.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)||Hopkin, D.||Peat, C. U.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Hopkinson, A.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Plugge, Capt. L. F.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Hunter, T.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton|
|Critchley, A.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Price, M. P.|
|Crooke, J. S.||Jagger, J.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Daggar, G.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Radford, E. A.|
|Dalton, H.||Joel, D. J. B.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||John, W.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jones, J. J. (Silvertown)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Dawson, Sir P.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Day, H.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|De Chair, S. S.||Keeling, E. H.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Dobbie, W.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Renter, J. R.|
|Doland, G. F.||Kirby, B. V.||Richards. R. (Wrexham)|
|Donner, P. W.||Kirkwood, D.||Ridley, G.|
|Drewe, C.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Riley, B.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Ritson, J.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Lawson, J. J.||Roberts. Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Leach, W.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Ede, J. C.||Leckie, J. A.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lee, F.||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lees-Jones, J.||Rowlands, G.|
|Rowson, G.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Russell, Sir Alexander||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Spens, W. P.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)||Watt, G. S. H.|
|Salmon, Sir I.||Stephen, C.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)||Stewart, J, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Sanders, W. S.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)||Westwood, J.|
|Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.||White, H. Graham|
|Sandys, E. D.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Scott, Lord William||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Seely, Sir H. M.||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Sexton, T. M.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)||Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)|
|Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Shinwell, E.||Tasker, Sir R. I.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Short, A.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Silkin, L.||Taylor, R, J. (Morpeth)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Silverman, S. S.||Thomas, J. P. L.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.||Thorne, W.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st)||Thurtle, E.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Tinker, J. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Smith, E. (Stoke)||Tree, A. R. L. F.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Smith, L. W. (Hallam)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Smith, T. (Normanton)||Viant, S. P.|
|Somerset, T.||Wakefield, W. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)||Walkden, A. G.||Mr. James Stuart and Captain|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Dugdale,|
§ Main Question put.1120
§ The House divided: Ayes, 325; Noes, 17.1121
|Division No. 234.]||AYES.||[8.16 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Goodman, Col. A. W.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)||Gower, Sir R. V.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (Enburgh, W.)||Graham, D, M. (Hamilton)|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Adamson, W. M.||Cove, W. G.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr, P. G.||Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Critchley, A.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Crooke, J. S.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Crossley, A. C.||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Cruddas, Col. B.||Groves, T. E.|
|Apsley, Lord||Daggar, G.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Dalton, H.||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Guy, J. C. M.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)|
|Banfield, J. W.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hannah, I. C.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Dawson, Sir P.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Day, H.||Harbord, A.|
|Barr, J.||De Chair, S. S.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)|
|Batey, J.||Dobbie, W.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Doland, G. F.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Donner, P. W.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Drewe, C.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Dunglass, Lord||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buehan.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Hepworth, J.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Eckersley, P. T.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Ede, J. C.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Holdsworth, H.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Ellis, Sir G.||Hollins, A.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Holmes, J. S.|
|Broad, F. A.||Emery, J. F.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.|
|Bromfield, W.||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Hopkin, D.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Hopkinson, A.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)|
|Buchanan, G.||Fleming, E. L.||Hunter, T.|
|Burke, W. A.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall.||Foot, D. M.||Jagger, J.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Frankel, D.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)|
|Cary, R. A.||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Gallacher, W.||Joel, D. J. B.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Gardner, B. W.||John, W.|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Garro Jones, G. M.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)|
|Chater, D.||Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k Nw'gt'n)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, J. J. (Silvertown)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Gledhill, G.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Gluckstein, L. H.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Keeling, E. H.|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Kirby, B. V.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Oliver, G. H.||Somerset, T.|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Paling, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Lawson, J. J.||Palmer, G. E. H.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Leach, W.||Parkinson, J. A.||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Leckie, J. A.||Peake, O.||Spens, W. P.|
|Lee, F.||Peat, C. U.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Stephen, C.|
|Leonard, W.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Leslie, J. R.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Levy, T.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||Storey, S.|
|Lewie, O.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Liddall, W. S.||Price, M. P.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Little, Sir E. Graham.||Pritt, D. N.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Procter, Major H. A.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Lloyd, G. W.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Sueter, Roar-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Logan, D. G.||Radford, E. A.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Lunn, W.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Ramsbotham, H.||Thorne, W.|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Ramsden, Sir E.||Thurtle, E.|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Tinker, J. J.|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Remer, J. R.||Viant, S. P.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Richards, R. (Wrexham)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|McGovern, J.||Ridley, G.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Maclay, Hon. J. P.||Riley, B.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Maclean, N.||Ritson, J.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|MacNeill, Weir, L.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Watson, W. McL.|
|Magnay, T.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Watt, G. S. H.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Rothschild, J. A. de||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Rowlands, G.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Marshall, F.||Rowson, G.||Westwood, J.|
|Mathers, G.||Russell, Sir Alexander||White, H. Graham|
|Maxton, J.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Salmon, Sir I.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)||Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)|
|Messer, F.||Sanders, W. S.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Milner, Major J.||Sandys, E. D.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Montague, F.||Scolt, Lord William||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Seely, Sir H. M.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Morgan, R. H.||Sexton. T. M.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Shinwell, E.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Short, A.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Silkin, L.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Muff, G.||Silverman, S. S.||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Munro, P.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st)|
|Nathan, Colonel H. L.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Smith, E. (Stoke)||Mr. James Stuart and Captain|
|Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees.- (K'ly)||Dugdale.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Nail, Sir J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Mr. M. Beaumont and Mr. Wise.|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
Bill read a Second time.