HC Deb 19 July 1949 vol 467 cc1166-7

3.32 p.m.

The Minister of Town and Country Planning (Mr. Silkin)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 20, after "duties," to insert: (b) loss of remunerative time, or (c) additional expenses (other than as aforesaid) necessarily incurred by them for the purpose of enabling them to perform their duties, being expenses to which they would not otherwise have been subject. This Amendment will enable the members of the National Parks Commission to be paid for loss of time and for other expenses properly incurred in the course of their duties. As members of the Commission are to serve unpaid, it was thought reasonable that they should be entitled to receive payment for loss of remunerative time in the same way as members of local authorities are.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Silkin

I beg to move, in page 2, line 32, at the end, to add: (8) A member of the Commission, other than the chairman or deputy chairman, shall not by reason of his membership be rendered incapable of being elected, or of sitting and voting as, a member of the House of Commons. The effect of the last Amendment is that it may be held that membership of the National Parks Commission now becomes an office of profit under the Crown and that therefore Members of Parliament will be ineligible. On the Second Reading I expressed the hope that it would be found possible for Members of Parliament to serve on the Commission. The Amendment is therefore necessary in order that they shall not be disqualified.

Mr. Charles Williams (Torquay)

At the present time Members of Parliament have a fair share of work. I want to know what the Government policy is. Is it intended to encourage Members of Parliament to join this Commission or not? It is not a point on which there is a great matter of disagreement, but I think, and probably other people think, that at present it is not a good thing to encourage Members of Parliament to do this sort of thing. Occasionally we may have someone with particular knowledge whom we might want to act on the Commission, or somebody who has had experience, such as ex-Ministers, of whom there will be a lot in a short time. What is the general opinion of the right hon. Gentleman in this matter?

Mr. Silkin

I thought that if there was a Member of Parliament who was eminently qualified to serve on the Commission, it would be a pity if he were ineligible to do so. However, I would neither encourage nor discourage, and, other things being equal, I would certainly prefer someone who could give ample time to this work.

Mr. Williams

I thank the Minister very much.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.