§ 61. Mr. Bartle Bull
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will consider issuing passes or season tickets on the underground or railway to Members of Parliament whose constituencies are only a short distance from London.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Assheton)
No, Sir. I regret to say that I cannot fall in with my hon. Friend's suggestion. Any general issue of season tickets instead of vouchers would entail a considerable increase in the cost of Members' free travel facilities, and I should not feel able to justify preferential treatment for any particular group of Members.
§ Mr. Assheton
Perhaps my hon. Friend will recollect that the original object of this provision was to remedy the inequality of expenses between Members for London constituencies and Members whose constituencies are some distance away.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is it not time to reconsider this matter entirely? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in most democratic countries where there are similar institutions Members receive free railway warrants to any part of the country, and that the trifling additional amount involved here would not be regarded by the general public as serious?
§ Mr. Woodburn
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that Members of the House perform a double function? They are Members for their constituency and they are also Members for the whole country, and serve the whole country. Would not 1316 the sensible thing be to get rid of these silly little vouchers and have a complete pass?
§ Mr. Thorne
Is it not a fact that any Member of Parliament can go to the Fees Office and get a packet of vouchers and change them? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes we can. I put in a voucher every morning at my station, and get a ticket for Westminster.
§ Mr. Shinwell
In view of the representations which have been made by hon. Members, arising out of this Question, will the Financial Secretary take the matter up with the Chancellor of the Exchequer?