HC Deb 07 June 1944 vol 400 cc1355-6
60. Commander Sir Archibald Southby

asked the Minister of Information how many Members of Parliament are drawing money payments from his Ministry for services rendered for work done; and whether such Members have been granted immunity under any Act of Parliament.

Mr. Bracken

I find that since the establishment of the Ministry, fees have been paid to 13 Members of Parliament who have supplied feature articles, scripts and such like for publication. The Ministry has been advised that in such cases the question of disqualification under the House of Commons Disqualification Act does not arise.

Sir A. Southby

Could my right hon. Friend say whether the articles in Service papers are arranged for by his Ministry and, if so, who selects the writers? Are any Members of Parliament among them, are they paid and, if so, how much?

Mr. Bracken

I think the Service papers get their material from the War Office, but I cannot answer my hon. and gallant Friend's question because I have no details.

Sir A. Southby

Have Members of Parliament in fact been paid by my right hon. Friend's Department for writing articles for papers?

Mr. Bracken

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Granville

In view of the fact that we could not hear the original answer, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman said he Intended to publish the names in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Mr. Bracken

I am quite willing.

Mr. George Griffiths

Has the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Baxter) received any payment from this source?

Sir H. Williams

Surely an hon. Member who writes for this Ministry has a contract with the Ministry, and accordingly the Disqualification Act must apply.

Mr. Bracken

I have been fortified by legal advice which I have read to the House.

Mr. Shinwell

Shall we be permitted to inquire into the sources of income of hon. Members opposite?