§ 3.29 p.m.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
I beg to move,That this House, having considered the Report of the Select Committee on Members Expenses, &c., is of opinion that the recommendations in respect of pensions should be referred to the trustees of the Members' Fund for further consideration and report; that the Members' allowances should be raised by £500 per annum; and that Her Majesty's Government should at an early date introduce legislation to improve the financial position of junior Ministers.The debate today is the natural sequence to the debate which was held in the House on 13th May. It seems to have been generally agreed that that debate was distinguished for its high tone, for the absence of rancour and for the sense of responsibility with which hon. Members from all sides of the House approached the delicate question of the expenses of Members. I earnestly hope it will be possible, during the course of this debate, for us to maintain the standard which was set on the 13th of this month.
31 This is not a party matter which we raise today. It is in the spirit of the Prime Minister's words in April last that hon. Members of the House have got together and agreed upon the terms of a Motion which we earnestly hope will prove acceptable to the entire House. I am already conscious that the House has indicated to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) and to the Select Committee the appreciation which we feel for the manner in which they faced up to this delicate task which the House set them, but I think it would be remiss if we were not to underline today that sense of gratitude which we feel.
It was clear from the previous debate, as it is clear from the Order Paper today, that there is, apparently, agreement by everyone in the House that there is hardship among hon. Members. Disagreement arises only on the method of dealing with the problem and also on the timing of the action which shall be taken. The question before us is not whether Members of Parliament shall be paid. I understand that there was one hon. Member who last year did not draw the full £1,000 which has been allowed to Members of the House since 1946.
Overwhelmingly, the House accepts the principle that Members should be paid allowances to help them in the task which they have to perform, and the question we have to ask is whether the present allowance is adequate to enable hon. Members to play their full part as hon. Members of this House. If the House is persuaded that the allowance is inadequate to allow hon. Members to play that part, we should be lacking in our duty if we did not reach a decision to have this matter put right.
I propose, first of all, to deal with the proposals in the Motion, and then to seek to answer some of the objections which have been raised against them. The House will appreciate that the Motion has been drawn in three parts, for definite reasons. The first part deals with the "old guard," who have given long and honourable service in this House, but who are no longer with us. Some have left us because they failed, due to age, to get readopted for their constituencies; others on account of infirmity and others for a variety of reasons. The "old guard" are now beyond the care of the 32 House, apparently, as the Select Committee has indicated to the House, and, I believe, to the country.
Amongst these older folks there are cases of wry real hardship indeed. Nothing moved me more in the previous debate than the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles), one of the trustees of the Members' Fund, who referred to the hardship of men who gave long years of honourable service in this House and then had to beg for some assistance from the House in their old age. The lack of a proper pensions scheme can work to the disadvantage of the House itself, for it is possible for Members to cling on here when they feel they should retire and ought to be able to retire, on account of age or ill-health.
When we ask the House to send the first part of this Motion to the trustees of the Members' Fund, it is certainly not because we want to shelve this question. It is simply because we feel that the trustees of the Members' Fund are the right people to examine this subject of pensions, to report back to the House and to tell us whether the non-contributory pension scheme, which has been criticised, but which also had the unanimous support of the Select Committee, is the best scheme, or whether we can improve on the contributory scheme which we now have.
We talk a great deal with justifiable pride in the dignity of Parliament. It is a strange dignity which can close its eyes to the suffering of its own honoured servants, and I hope that will be borne in mind. In passing, I would refer to the fact that there is no reference in the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) to the question of pensions, but it is a question to which I hope the House will give due consideration.
The second part of our Motion is that in which we propose that the recommendation of the Select Committee to increase Members' allowances by £500 a year should be accepted. It is on this point that there has been some hesitation in the House. Some hon. Members think that it would be better to grant an expenses allowance up to £500 a year; others have suggested an allowance of £750 and £750 as expenses. All sorts of schemes have been discussed privately and in groups, and every hon. Member in 33 the House should be aware of the various systems that have been considered.
My hon. Friends who have put their names to this Motion considered all these various proposals and, in the end, came down unanimously, as the Select Committee did, in favour of the straight increase in preference to the expenses allowance. This is a proposal which the public will understand. It is not one which places us in a different position from other people. The expenses proposal could mean that the £500 was free of tax, whereas the straight allowance will be taxable income.
The proposal to base an increase on expenses incurred wholly and exclusively in the performance of our duties here means that hon. Members would have to be saving up chits for expenses into which they had entered throughout the whole year. It could mean all sorts of embarrassing and awkward situations for the House, and, in the end, it could be far less desirable than dealing with this question as Parliament after Parliament has felt it necessary to deal with it.
This is not the first Parliament which has had to consider whether it would deal with the problem of allowances for Members of Parliament my way of expenses or of an allowance. I believe I am right in saying that, each time —in 1911, 1937 and 1946, as also this time—there have been suggestions that these allowances should be by way of expenses, in its wisdom each successive Parliament has rejected the idea of the expenses account as being not nearly as desirable as a straight increase which the public will appreciate.
This increase will enable hon. Members to spend their money as they think fit in doing their duty to this House and to their consituents. It may well he that one hon. Member will feel that he is now able to enjoy a secretary, and another may need to have a car in his county constituency to assist him move about. It would be a foolish thing to tie the hands of hon. Members and not to allow them freedom in dealing with the increased amount which is suggested.
There is another point in favour of this proposal. A straight increase does not differentiate between one hon. Member and another. Whether it is a London Member or a country Member, a wealthy Member or a poor Member, all are 34 treated by this Motion equally as hon. Members of this House. That is much to be preferred. The £500 increase is not open to abuse. An expenses account can lead to abuse which the whole House would regret. I could not do better than quote at this point the words of the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) who, on 13th May, said:I have thought a lot about the variations proposed. I think that the simplest way to do the job is to give the rise which the Select Committee itself suggested. It is justified by the economic facts. It is one of those measures which takes account of all the differences amongst us, because it leaves each of us to spend the money in the way that best helps the job along."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 13th May. 1954; Vol. 527. c. 1472.]As I move to the third section of our Motion I would point out that the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Ashford leaves out all reference to junior Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries. This question concerns us all, although we are not all junior Ministers. I never was a Parliamentary Secretary. I was a Parliamentary Private Secretary for a fortnight. The Labour Government fell at that point. [Laughter.] I hope hon. Gentlemen will keep that secret as well as I have kept it.
The Parliamentary Secretary appears to be the P.B.I. of any Government. He gets the worst of so many worlds. He cannot gain the expenses relief normal to the back bencher. Men of ability have felt obliged on occasion, in the interest of their families, to decline accepting the honour of serving the Government of the day as a Parliamentary Secretary. It is a crazy system which will deny to a Government the services of the men or women whom they want to hold office. Other objections are raised to our proposal for dealing with this question, and it is as well to bring them out into the open.
There is the suggestion that we have no mandate to deal with this question, which, therefore, ought to be postponed, at least in operation, until after the next General Election. It is strange how history repeats itself in this House. On every occasion that there has been an alteration in Members' salaries that proposal has been forthcoming. In 1937, the late Mr. Chamberlain had no mandate, but he recognised the need to deal with the matter. In 1946, the same applied to the Labour Administration. Parliament is expected by the nation to 35 deal with the problems and difficulties that are revealed during the lifetime of Parliament.
We have dealt with other issues where we did not feel it necessary to have a mandate. Hon. Members on all sides recognised the need to increase the salaries of judges without a mandate, and we went through the Lobbies without feeling our consciences disturbed. If we accept the need for action, the question of a mandate cannot possibly arise. We must accept our responsibility as Members of Parliament and have the courage to follow our decisions into the Lobbies.
The proposal to postpone the operation of the scheme until after a General Election has been dismissed by every Parliament where it has been made. We all know that the public are concerned at a General Election with the broad issues of the time. The question whether an hon. Member will be able to give his services for nothing, or for £1,000, or £2,000, is not likely to weigh with the community against the deeper issues and feelings aroused at Election times. It is not what Members are to get but what Members are to do which is likely to weigh in the mind of the people. Whether an hon. Member can manage without the Parliamentary salary, or requires half of it, or the whole of it, is the last question in which the British people are interested. They realise that it is an extraneous factor.
Some people are born rich—they are fortunate—some people achieve riches, and some people marry riches. [Laughter.] Yes, we live in hope. The House would be doing less than justice to itself if it thought that such extraneous factors ought to be considered when the dignity of the House is the issue at stake. To postpone the decision when we are convinced that the need is there is to show cowardice in face of our duty.
Superficially, a more serious argument is that which is advanced in the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore). What the Amendment amounts to is that no action shall be taken until all other needs that exist outside the House have been dealt with.
§ Mr. Thomas
It says:but. further, is of opinion that any increase in Members' allowances should be deferred until the needs of other particularly hard-pressed and needy members of the community have first been dealt with.This is another Amendment which has appeared every time there has been a proposal to deal with the allowances of Members of Parliament. The same case was presented in 1937, when the late Neville Chamberlain dismissed it very quickly by saying that if the need were there we must consider the duties, the responsibilities and the expenses of Members of Parliament in relation to this House and not to various factors outside.
I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) answered that question in his moving speech a week ago. He said he did not think that there was one old-age pensioner in the country who would sleep better at night if he thought that his Member for Parliament had been denied the increase which the Select Committee had recommended.
I only ask that the allowances of Members of Parliament shall be considered in relation to our responsibilities and duties and not in the setting of other people's needs. In the Welfare State, which is now acclaimed by both sides of the House, the machinery of the State touches the life of our people at almost every point. The Welfare State will function smoothly only if we have Members of Parliament who accept the necessity to be in close and constant touch with their constituents.
Unless there be a response to this challenge the human element will disappear from the Welfare State. For good or ill, we are the links between the people and the Executive—and it costs money. It cannot be done for nothing. It is not right, it is not fair, it is not British to tell such people that they must be poorer because they are rendering such an honourable service to the community.
Some people suggest that, after all, our duty here is part-time. It is part-time in some ways for some people because it is full-time for others. Nearly one-third of the hon. Members of the House are at present serving on Standing Committees which meet every Tuesday morning and every Thursday morning. Let 37 the House recall the Mines and Quarries Bill Committee, which has just finished, the Town and Country Planning Committee which will meet tomorrow morning, and the Scottish Grand Committee. These Committees demand the time and the ability of hon. Members. Hon. Members who served on the Committee of the Mines and Quarries Bill have already indicated to the House that some of my hon. Friends who were miners brought to that Committee experience with which the best universities in the country could not have provided them—experience which was invaluable to the House.
Are we to say to such people that they must continue to endure the hardship which is undoubtedly theirs simply because we do not want to deal with this question on the basis that some hon. Members are able to take up other occupations and be hon. Members here? As the late Mr. Lees-Smith once said, Parliament works on the basis that a proportion of its hon. Members will not take up other employment. That is the only basis on which we can run our Standing Committees.
This is the House of Commons—the House of the common people of the realm. Unless we take action by following the recommendation of the Select Committee we shall, so far as the House is concerned, be turning back the clock. We shall be giving notice that only those people with private incomes need stand for Parliament. We shall be saying that working people need never come here. I was a schoolmaster previously, but those of us who come from humble walks of life know that, financially, we should be better off outside than we are in this House.
I hope that the House will not feel it necessary to divide but that, in accordance with our best tradition we shall, after due debate, give unanimous support to these proposals.
§ 3.56 p.m.
§ Sir Robert Boothby (Aberdeenshire, East)
I beg to second the Motion.
This Motion has been moved, if I may say so, felicitously and charmingly by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas). I should like to associate myself with his tribute to the work of the Select Committee, whose chairman I am delighted to see here. From a Press 38 report this morning I was afraid that we might not have the pleasure of his presence.
This Motion was put down as the result of a series of informal meetings arranged by my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) to whom I, personally, feel greatly indebted, and to whom I think the House will feel indebted also. I do not know whether it commands the support of the party opposite as a whole, but there is one thing I would like to make quite plain at the outset. Those of us on this side who have signed it deliberately did not seek the approval of the Conservative Party—for one very good reason. We felt, and feel, that this is not, and ought not to be, a party issue. It is a matter for the House of Commons to decide. We have to do what we think is right; and we cannot shuffle off our responsibility today on to either Her Majesty's Government or the electorate.
I want to deal briefly, and at the beginning of my speech, with three major objections which have been made to the proposals for a straight increase in Members' allowances. It is said, first of all, that there is no mandate for such a proposal. With all respect, I want to suggest that in this there is an element of humbug. It is really an evasion, as "The Times" said this morning. There was no mandate for the original allowances or for either of the subsequent increases. How could there be?
Does anyone seriously suggest that this question should be made the principal issue at the next General Election? If it is not so made, how can the electorate express an opinion one way or the other, unless one has recourse to a referendum? That would be contrary to the custom and political tradition of this country. It would be a very marked innovation, and not altogether a desirable one. Our mandate is the unanimous report of the Select Committee which, on this sort of issue, I suggest is well qualified to pronounce judgment.
The second objection to which I wish to refer was summarised in the "Observer" yesterday when it said:It would be scandalous for Members to relieve their own distress without doing the same for old-age pensioners and others struggling with poverty.39 I want to grapple with this point right away, by saying that this House has been engaged for the past 50 years in legislating for social reforms which have completely transformed our society, and which have now culminated in the establishment of the Welfare State.
§ Sir R. Boothby
I agree that my hon. Friend and some others think that it is bad luck but, nevertheless, it is a fact. I welcome it; he deplores it. I am now merely stating the fact.
This may not command general assent, but it is statistically true to say that today there are fewer people living below the poverty line than at any time in our history. I would go further and say that today there are more people enjoying more prosperity that at any time in our history.
Adjustments to pensions have been, and still are, continuous. We raised one group of pensions only recently. I want to say quite frankly that if a further adjustment—because one or two have already been made—is now necessary in the case of old-age pensions, then it is the plain duty of this House, on the recommendation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to make it. I have absolute confidence in the judgment of my right hon. Friend on this issue, especially in view of what he has already said. If he comes to this conclusion he will not hesitate to recommend it to the House, and this House should not hesitate to accept it. But what has it got to do with the allowances of hon. Members? This argument, in my submission, is entirely irrelevant. This question has nothing to do with legislation, or any other administrative action which we may think it right to take.
The third point was made in "The Times" leading article this morning when it said that an increase of Members' allowances by £500 was insupportable because it was direct compensation for the rise in the cost of living for which, it went on to say, this House was entirely responsible. I do not think the Chancellor would entirely concur with that view. Certainly I do not. "The Times" went on to say:It is the Member's expenses as a Member which must be met.40 Again, I submit that this argument is false. We are concerned today not with the cost of living, but with the radical change which has taken place in the conditions of Parliamentary service. We have to consider not merely the expenses, but the continued existence of Members of this House in modern conditions. Take £600 as the average figure of expenses. I am not taking £750, which the Select Committee indicated; I am taking £600 which I think is, perhaps, fairer for my argument, at any rate, as the average figure of expenses.
I ask hon. Members, can a Member who has no other source of income maintain a wife and family on the remaining £400 a year? Manifestly he cannot. If we continue, therefore, as we are now doing, the conclusion is inescapable. It is, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, West pointed out, that membership of this House will shortly be confined to those who have private incomes of their own.
I want to take a very brief glance at the past. When I first entered this House, 30 years ago, it was possible to live quite comfortably on one's Parliamentary allowance. Happy days those were. It was also possible to work in another profession, and many Members did. I should say the majority did, and this was of great value to the House and to the country. In those days it was quite a thing to be a Member of Parliament. One had prestige and social cachet. The doors of a society which no longer exists, were open to one; and if one was so minded, one could eat and drink and spend one's holidays entirely at other people's expense. They were delighted and honoured to have you, and you were delighted and honoured to consume their food and drink.
Ministers were, of course, tremendous swells, occupying Olympian heights almost beyond the ken of ordinary mortals; and even Parliamentary Private Secretaries cut quite a dash. I was a Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1926—for longer than a fortnight; I was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, before the present Chancellor of the Exchequer entered this House. Just think of that, Mr. Speaker. Instead of being derided, as so many Parliamentary Private Secretaries are derided today, I was hailed and welcomed as a future Prime Minister. Moreover, despite the fact that the present 41 Prime Minister was my chief, my work was by no means excessive, and I had quite a lot of spare time.
Today, conditions have completely changed. I say without fear of contradiction that as against the 1920s, the work of the ordinary Member of Parliament has at least doubled. As the hon. Member for Cardiff, West pointed out, we are all welfare officers, discharging in that capacity an essential function of the Welfare State. At innumerable points we touch the lives of our constituents who seek our assistance and guidance, and expect us to know the answers. Only the other day I had a letter from a constituent asking me whether I was aware that the birth-rate of Peterhead was falling rapidly, and what action I proposed to take. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I must ask for further notice of this question.
Last but not least, the complexities of the modern State have enormously increased the burden of our Parliamentary work, as, again, the hon. Gentleman pointed out. Membership of this House is now a full-time job, in the sense that it is no longer possible to combine it with active membership of any other profession except journalism. For a long time the law held its own, but the law is now "out." Everybody will agree that it is no longer possible to build up a practice at the bar and combine it with active membership of this House. All this has brought no addition to the dignity or status enjoyed by Members of Parliament. On the contrary, they are subject to a sustained volume of public criticism, some of it reckless, which has greatly increased in recent years. As for Ministers, most of them now work themselves to death in comparative obscurity, until they are guilty of an error of judgment or one of their officials makes a mistake. They are then flayed alive in the Press. That is the life of a Minister these days.
In these conditions I maintain, as I have said before, that the terms of public life in this country are rapidly becoming unendurable, or very nearly so; and that the effect upon our democratic system is wholly evil. Good young Members are unobtrusively but steadily leaving this House, and this has been going on for a number of years. Any hon. Member who searches his recollection can remember one or two young Members 42 on both sides of the House who have recently left it, and who will be sadly missed. But, worse still, good young men and women are not coming in, or thinking of coming in.
I have been talking recently in some of our universities. In the old days, in the 1920s, any student or undergraduate of outstanding promise was at once considered as a potential candidate for this House, perhaps not in the immediate future but in the near future; and it was natural that he should consider entering public life, and be encouraged to do so by his tutors and by the heads of colleges and universities. I am assured that nowadays the question of public life simply does not enter in, in any of our universities. No young man however brilliant or promising who contemplates marriage and bringing up a family, even begins to think in terms of entering this House. I cannot help thinking that that is a great tragedy from the point of view of our democracy.
We are suffering today from the loss of what is called the missing generation—the generation that was killed between 1914 and 1918. It has left a terrific gap; nobody denies that. Are we certain that we are not now making sure of another missing generation in 20 or 30 years' time? That is what worries me. In fact, what worries me most is that we are gradually reaching a stage when membership of this House will be practically confined to company directors, trade union officials, journalists, and the rapidly diminishing number of those who have inherited wealth. That is about all it will come to.
At this point I want to make one quotation from the speech of Lord Hailsham, then Quintin Hogg, in the debate on 29th May, 1946. Having stated that, in his opinion, the allowance of £1,000 then proposed was inadequate and would certainly have to be increased, he said:…if we do not face this problem, far from dealing with this matter on proper public lines, we shall really be excluding the great bulk of the people from representation in this House in favour of a privileged minority, which exists in all parties, although the nature of the privilege differs from side to side."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th May, 1946; Vol. 423, c. 1252.]I think that that is quite true.
Now, I come very briefly to the question of methods, which was dealt with extremely well by the hon. Member for 43 Cardiff, West. First, there is the case of retired Members. I think it is generally agreed that the pensions proposals of the Select Committee are not acceptable in their present form. As I criticised "The Times" in the earlier part of my speech, perhaps I may quote with approval from another passage of their leader this morning, in which they say:The question of retired members' privations may now be passed to the trustees of the members' fund. They are the right people to consider it. The fund needs to be increased. As has been suggested before, there is no fiscal, humanitarian or constitutional reason why the Treasury should not come generously to its aid.I was delighted to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer say in his speech the other day that although he did not think we had found a solution, he would come into the question and discuss it further if it was thought that his services could be of any use. I am quite sure that his services will be of infinite use. That is all we are asking; that this question should now be referred to the trustees of the fund and that they, in turn, should have consultations with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
If I may make a personal suggestion—it is only a personal suggestion—I should hope that the means test might be made slightly less rigorous than it is at present. It is about the most rigorous means test in existence in this country today, and was described in evidence to the Select Committee as "harrowing" to those who had to conduct it. I do not think that the general sense of the House would feel that that is right.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, West has dealt with the question of Ministers. I think we all feel that Ministers should not be penalised simply because they are Ministers. I should have thought that the simple solution would be to treat all Ministers as Members of Parliament who are, in fact, Members of Parliament—just like that. It may involve, as the Select Committee pointed out, some reconsideration of Ministerial salaries, but surely that is the simple answer to this question. Ministers do not cease to be Members of Parliament, with responsibilities to their constituents, simply on account of the fact that they are Ministers.
Now I come to the question of whether it should be a direct increase in the allowance—and let me make it quite 44 clear that the allowance is, of course, the salary—or some kind of an expenses scheme. I read with great care the Chancellor's speech the other day and I thought that, with the best will in the world, he was getting into deepish water at the end of it. It seems to me quite impracticable to differentiate between, for example, telegrams and secretarial assistance, or between London Members and the rest. I do not think we can fiddle about with all these things. It would give rise to great suspicion, and would be susceptible to abuse at the same time.
As for a lump sum allowance, the danger of this is that it might well be thought to differentiate between Members and other taxpayers so far as taxation is concerned; and the Select Committee came down very heavily, and, in my opinion, quite rightly, against this. At present, expenses necessarily incurred by hon. Members are claimed and allowed for tax relief against their Parliamentary salary. This puts us on an equal footing with the public we serve. I do not believe that this system can be bettered, and I therefore think it should continue.
When it comes to the straight increase, I am not one of those hon. Members who regards the "Economist" as my bible; but last week it did come out with a paragraph upon which I base myself so far as this question is concerned:The most important point is that the method chosen should not merely be a means of pulling wool over the electorate's eyes. As Mr. Butler pointed out, a lump sum expense allowance would not be very different from a salary increase; and any expense allowance, particularly a subsistence allowance, would have the advantage that it would direct the extra money to where it is most needed. The Chancellor might have added that to taxpaying M.P.s such proposals could also be more profitable. The Government should reconsider whether these advantages really outweigh the disadvantages of departing from the stark simplicity of a straight salary increase.I sympathise with the point of view, although I do not agree with it, of those who say we should no nothing. But if something has to be done, I have no doubt that a straight increase of £500 a year is the best way to do it. It makes no attempt to fudge the issue, no attempt to deceive the public. Everybody knows exactly where we stand; and if we think it right, we ought to have the guts to do it. 45 Why £500? Not, as "The Times" said, because it represents the increase in the cost of living, but, so far as I am concerned, because I believe it to be the bare minimum. It would at least avert some impending personal tragedies; but it will not in itself—let us have no delusion on this point—solve the basic problem of future recruitment for this House, for which other remedies will, sooner rather than later, have to be sought and found.
I am one of the lucky ones. I earn my living by journalism and broadcasting. I must admit that the party machines have done their level best to put a stop to the latter. Nevertheless, I do quite well. I have no need for this increase myself, nor do I expect to get much out of it; the Chancellor of the Exchequer will take very good care of that. Incidentally, I would remind hon. Members, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) pointed out the other day, that there is no obligation upon any hon. Member to accept the extra £500 if he does not need it. A brief note to Mr. Moyes, in the Fees Office, is all that is required from anybody who conscientiously feels bound to forgo this addition.
In conclusion, I say that at present, the public are imposing on their servants, largely through ignorance, which has been in no way dispelled by a far from impoverished Press. As a result, the public are losing good servants, and if this continues they will not find it easy to replace them. This is one of the reasons, although not the most compelling, which has led me to support the Motion. The most compelling reason is that, like the Leader of the Opposition, I have seen hon. Members dying on their feet in this House because they could not afford to leave it. I know that some Members today, on both sides of the House, are so hard pressed that they are never free from financial anxiety. That does not enable them to do their job as it should be done. I am sure that it is not good for democracy, and I do not think it can be right.
For my part, I am quite prepared to tell my constituents that if they do not think I am worth £1,500 a year they can find somebody else to represent them. I do not think they will, but I am willing to tell them. But it is not with 46 individual Members, or even with the hardest cases, that I am chiefly concerned today. What matters most in this debate—here I echo the words of Quintin Hogg in the debate of 1946—is the service of this House of Commons, now and in the future. That is what we have to think of more than anything else, because nothing else is of comparable importance.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)
I think the House will agree that we have listened to two extremely able speeches on the problem now before the House. It is often said that able speakers leave nothing for other people to say. I would say that the essence of the argument had been well and truly covered by the hon. Members for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) and East Aberdeenshire (Sir R. Boothby), the mover and seconder of the Motion. I rise to speak very briefly on this problem, and I want to touch on one or two matters that may help to settle the minds of all those who have to deal with what I would call the major propositions.
I am one of the Socialist Members of the House who has often put, and will continue to put, the country before any party. This country of ours has a constitutional way of life and the rights of the inhabitants are of paramount importance. The question of internal domestic difference is another matter. This particular problem is not one of internal domestic difference; it is a matter which will decide, as has been already hinted and, indeed, argument has been directed to it, what will be the quality and the standard of the future House of Commons.
History has recorded a lot about what this House used to be like. I am told that it used to be a place where wealthy people foregathered, passed the time of day, had something good to eat, something better to drink and, on the "nod," did a certain amount of legislation. Times have changed. I say that the important matter to which we should address our minds is not what happened yesterday so far as this House is concerned or even what is happening at the present time. We should direct our minds to what is to be the future standards of the House of Commons and 47 how will it be possible to improve the standards which have been set.
I believe in the Monarchy. There are some who do not agree with me, but I am not concerned with them. There are people who do not care for Monarchies at all, whereas I believe that we have in this country the finest Monarchy in the world—and we pay for it. We do not begrudge the money, because it gives returns. I could speak at length on what I know will be the effect upon the world at large of the recent expenditure of money on the great tour of Her Majesty and her husband, but I do not want to talk about that. Then there is the judiciary and the arguments about the judges' salaries.
I say that the legal standing of our country is higher than that of any other country, and is recognised as such. We pay for it, and rightly so. There are our local government services. There are those appointed to positions to guide and conduct the councils of the various local government bodies, and many of us believe that they should be paid the proper rate for the services which they render. In other words, considering the whole complex system under which we are all governed, we desire the highest possible standard, and it is to the maintenance of that standard in future that I want to address my remarks.
There are many on these benches who come from the trade union movement. In the past, there were hon. Members opposite who looked upon the advent of trade unionism with some suspicion, but I do not think that there is any hon. Member of the House today who is not prepared to admit that the great trade union movement of this country has come to stay. It is no secret that the great trade unions, in their own way and time, have tried to select the right type of person to be sent here to give that evidence on which we make the law of the land. I want to tell the House, in no uncertain terms, what I said during the last debate on this subject, that if the House wants the services of the best type of people from that great movement it has to make the conditions and remuneration of such a character that it will recommend itself to the best and not to the mediocre or the worst.
48 Time will prove that this country's problems are likely to increase rather than become less. I look at the global picture of unrest in the world today. There is a great common enemy of this Constitution. The great fundamental issue—the issue of whether our way of life shall remain with us will depend primarily upon the high quality of the personnel in this House—not quality so far as physique or looks are concerned, but integrity of character and love of our country—courage and guts, to put it in ordinary workman's language. We can only attract those people who love our country and who are prepared to defend its Constitution if we are prepared to face this simple issue: what does it cost to do the job properly and what should be the amount determined to give those called upon to do it?
Before I came here, I was a very highly paid artisan in my own trade. I was a very proud man because I felt that in my job I was able to compete with the best that the world had to offer. It was not altogether a case of making big wages, but of being proud of my occupation. Often, in my trade union experience, the lower paid people used to say to me, "Why are you interested, as one of the higher paid fellows, in being a trade union official and trying to look after our interests?" I thought that what was good for me was, if possible, not too good for them.
I say in regard to the argument of serving the needs of those whose needs should be looked after first, that a disgruntled House of Commons, worried and perplexed about its own economic conditions, is less likely to seek and to bring about good conditions for other people than would be the case if we could say, "We have attained a decent standard for ourselves, and what is good for us, relatively speaking, cannot be too good for the old-age pensioners."
What is it that gives us our social services and creates the wealth which our social services and the Chancellor of the Exchequer demand before it can be paid out to the people? The House of Commons has to be prepared to put forward evidence to influence the minds of those in industry so that, in turn, they are prepared to make the goods which the Chancellor wants, with reasonable profits taxed in a reasonable way, and 49 thus create the wealth to do what this House would wish to do for those in need. I suggest that if we do something to make the membership of the House of Commons properly paid, this will have a strong bearing in helping the old-age pensioners.
I had the privilege, with my hon. Friend the Member for Ince (Mr. T. Brown), whom we regard as the pensioners' M.P., of addressing a meeting of about 200 old-age pensioners last Friday night. We spoke to them about their own problems, and, at question time, it was said, "We hope that the Government will put their own particular problem right because if M.P.s can get their problem put right we shall expect them, in turn, to look after us".
I have said that this is a simple problem. In effect, it is the employees of the nation going to the financial representative of the nation, in the same way as the trade unionists went to their employers, and said to them that we cannot carry on in our present financial condition. I am not pleading poverty. I hate to think of people having to go, like cripples at a gate, begging for money. It ought never to have been necessary to put forward this case on the Floor of the House. Every hon. Member knows what it costs to be a good Member of Parliament. It is complete and utter nonsense to suggest that £1,000 a year will enable one to continue to do the job of a Member of Parliament for a big constituency, with clerical, travelling, entertainment and postage expenses, etc., and also do what is right and proper in one's own home.
I do not want to try to antagonise anybody. I feel sorry for young Members of Parliament who are married and have a family. We argue in this House for the highest possible standard of education for children. I want that for Tory children just as I do for Socialist children, for I want a better educated nation. It is completely impossible for a young Member of Parliament who is married and has a family to do his job here and also do what he should do in his constituency in the way of buying a house and giving his children the education which they deserve.
This House is pre-eminent in the world so far as doing a job of work is concerned. Many people do not like its 50 constitution. When I was young I looked at it and wondered what it was all about, but when I am now asked what I would put in its place I say there is no answer. I believe with conviction and sincerity that this House is a great institution. By and large, it attracts to it great-minded people; not perfect people, because none of us is perfect, but people who desire to do the best they can in the interests of their fellow men.
Some of us came to this House at great personal sacrifice, but we do not moan about it. We had a desire to do something decent and to create the system of society that almighty God intended all men and women to enjoy. To do our job and to bring about that state of affairs demands that we should maintain our own standards, and that can only be done by the adoption of the Motion which was so ably moved and so magnanimously seconded. I support the Motion with all the sincerity and conviction at my command.
§ 4.33 p.m.
§ Mr. W. F. Deedes (Ashford)
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:in the opinion of this House it is expedient to make provision for the reimbursement to honourable Members within a limit calculated at the rate of five hundred pounds for each financial year, of expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred by them in the performance of their duties as such.I accept most of what has been said by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) and my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby), for much of what they said was beyond dispute. However, I am a little dubious about the golden mist which surrounded the youth of my hon. Friend. Those who heard that passage in his speech will no doubt conclude that, in a Parliamentary sense, we have all been born 25 years too late and perhaps my hon. Friend has, in a Parliamentary sense, been born 200 years too late.
I apologise for again taking the time of the House to make a speech on this subject. I can truthfully say that I do so in part reluctantly. It is an extremely difficult subject to talk about, and this may be one of those rare occasions when silence is golden. It would be easier from many points of view, certainly from the point of one's constituents, to sit still and 51 say nothing, but from the start I have held a point of view about this matter, and, at the risk of some opposition, and certainly some considerable misunderstanding, I want to put that point of view again.
I accept unreservedly the statement made recently by the Prime Minister on this subject, when he said:There is no doubt, however, that a number of hon. Members are oppressed by serious difficulties because heavy and necessary expenses absorb so much of the Parliamentary salary.I accept, as I think we all accept, exactly what the Prime Minister said there, but I also accept what he also said, that… it would not be right in present circumstances to proceed in the particular manner recommended by the Select Committee. …"— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th April, 1954; Vol. 526, c. 1151.]That is why I move the Amendment.
I should like to say a word about two matters touched upon in the Motion which are omitted from the Amendment. They are the questions of pensions and the position of junior Ministers. The fact that those two matters are omitted from the Amendment does not mean that I do not feel sympathetic towards both questions and do not consider that action should be taken. I do not take issue with what the Motion says on those subjects, but I am most anxious in the Amendment to concentrate attention upon the main matter of the increase in salaries and not do anything to distract from it. While I accept the intentions of the Motion in both respects, that is my reason why those subjects are not included in my Amendment. Whatever happens to the Amendment or to the Motion, the Government would not be precluded from taking any recommended action which they thought fit.
For the benefit of hon. Members who are as bad at mathematics as I am, I shall try to explain what the effect of the Amendment would be. Over and above £1,000 a year Members would be entitled to receive up to £500 in respect of occupational expenses calculated, for the sake of argument, as now for Inland Revenue purposes. If the expenses were less, say £300, the hon. Member would get £1.000 taxed like the salary of everybody outside the House, and also £300. If his expenses were more than £500, say £700, then he 52 would get £500, the maximum allowance, and then £200 of his £1,000 tax free as he does now, paying tax on the remainder.
It may be said, and will be said by some of my hon. Friends, that there is little difference statistically between the Amendment and the proposal in the Motion. Statistically—without being side-tracked into a rather dubious argument on Income Tax law—that may well be so, but it is fair to add that those spending less than £500 would receive less than £1,500. I know that that seems to be unfair to some hon. Members opposite. Taking into account the range of expense which would be allowed, I really do not feel that it would be unfair. The range of expense allowed under the Amendment would include all the occupational expenses, including the cost of living in London, which now rank against Income Tax.
I think that this partly meets the point made in the intervention by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) in the debate 10 days ago, when he said:There is also this ironical situation, that the more active a Member he is the more expenses he is likely to have."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 1464.]That is true, and I believe that the Amendment goes some way towards meeting the point. I do not want to argue it here in detail, but would simply like to make two points in favour of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Douglas Houghton (Sowerby)
Is the hon. Member going to tell the House how the money should be claimed? Is he suggesting that the allowance agreed with the Inland Revenue for tax relief purposes should be the basis of a claim for reimbursement against the Exchequer?
§ Mr. Deedes
What I indicated was that the categories of expense which we know are now accepted by the Inland Revenue as occupational expenses might be accepted, for the sake of argument, as the categories of expenses to be accepted in this case.
My first point in support of the Amendment is that the majority of hon. Members who are living on £1,000 a year only, or would be living on £1,500 only, have two commitments. One commitment is their home, and the other is their occupational expense. It seems 53 very hard indeed that hon. Members should feel that what they spend on occupational costs has to come off their home costs. No professional or business man has to feel that because he has alternative arrangements. I am certain that there will be Members on both sides of the House who will stint themselves—I put it quite bluntly—on food and the standard of comfort that, as Members of this House who have to undergo the hours and conditions of employment that we do, they ought to have. I suggest that the struggle over that eternal choice between occupational costs and the home is less likely to arise when the allowance can be claimed only in respect of occupational expenses.
Reference was made in the last debate to the hours Members have to spend writing letters and so on when they have not secretaries. With an increase in salary to £1,500 there would be no guarantee, and we have no right to expect a guarantee, that a Member would automatically employ a secretary to assist him in his work. Many a Member would feel he should not employ a secretary if circumstances at home rendered it difficult for him to afford one. I can conceive the idea that this allowance could make a difference for some Members in spending £3 a week or £5 a week upon living in London. It is far better for him—and, in the long run, for the electors—that he should spend £5 and not £3, and that is where the allowance would be a help.
§ Mr. M. Follick (Loughborough)
If a Member is not allowed a secretary, how in the world can he deal efficiently with his correspondence?
§ Mr. Deedes
The hon. Gentleman underlines the point I have made.
It has been said that any form of accounting would be undignified for Members. That was an argument that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) stressed very much in the last debate. Every Member has to account now for expenses against his Income Tax. Do not let us have illusions of grandeur about this question of accounting for our expenses. We now submit an estimate each year of what we expect to spend each year on our Parliamentary duties, and we fortify that later with detailed statistics. Under the one 54 arrangement the amount is £1 for every £1 spent and under the other rather less than half that sum; but the idea is the same.
There is a view that we should not have to submit our private affairs to scrutiny. I entirely disagree. It is a personal view, but I entirely disagree. Surely it is a principle of leadership that the leader should be ready to undergo the conditions he imposes on those he aspires to lead. I maintain that in this respect it is important that we should. We cannot in this matter put ourselves above the law. I absolutely reject the suggestion that Members should be privileged in this respect and be able to do what others cannot.
§ Mr. Frank Bowles (Nuneaton)
Are these expenses accounts to be submitted to Officers of the House or to an Inland Revenue inspector?
§ Mr. Deedes
I rather thought that question would be asked. Since I am in no official capacity I cannot give the final answer, and I am not in a position to say what the answer should be. Clearly, it is a matter in the hands of the Administration.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
The hon. Gentleman is aware, of course, that in paragraph 55 of its Report, which we urge the House to accept, the Select Committee says:Your Committee would be strongly opposed to recommending any concession exclusive to Members that would differentiate them from other tax payers?That is why we propose a straight increase liable to taxation.
§ Mr. Deedes
The hon. Member will agree that it is a matter of opinion whether a straight salary increase is or is not a form of differentiation between ourselves and others.
I would say a word on other Amendments to the Motion in the names of my hon. Friends the Members for Westmorland (Mr. Vane) and Colchester (Mr. Alport) and others, the effect of which would be to postpone the effect of the Motion to the next Parliament. I have a certain amount of sympathy with those Amendments, but I do not think we make this matter any easier for ourselves or the country by postponing the issue. Indeed, postponing it might bedevil the next General Election, which, I think one can predict, will be troublesome enough without adding this issue.
55 My hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) has an Amendment to postpone any increase in our allowances until the needs of other needy members of the community have been dealt with. As to that, I would say that there always will be some who may appear to be worse off than Members of Parliament, and there will always be exceptions. That Amendment would not encourage the country to face the fundamental issue, which is the cost of the job. That is the issue that arises now and which will arise.
We are all on both sides of the House deeply concerned with one matter that has not, perhaps, been put as strongly as it might have been, and which, perhaps, will not appeal outside this House as strongly as it does here. It is the underlying sense of unity of this assembly. When I spoke before I expressed a fear that there might be a striking of attitudes over a refusal to accept the increased emoluments. I do not think that would be a good thing. I think that the striking of attitudes would be less likely if my Amendment were carried than if the Motion were carried, because an expense allowance is obtained on a claim which is optional, and claims will vary as the expenses themselves of Members vary. I greatly fear that there will be attitudes struck if the proposal for the gross £1,500 goes through, and I think that would be very grievous indeed.
I do beg hon. Members opposite to realise that it would be very natural, as many of my hon. Friends feel we ought not to vote ourselves more money unless it is essential to existence. That is the feeling, I am sure, of many of my hon. Friends. It would be a very bad thing from the Parliamentary point of view if, at the next Election, questions were put from the body of the hall to candidates, "Are you in favour of having an extra £500?" That would not enhance our dignity at all.
The problem would not arise over having an expenses allowance. We could not strike attitudes over that, over acceptance or non-acceptance, because it would be optional for a Member to claim his expenses or not, according to his need and to the dictate of his conscience.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, according to 56 the Inland Revenue, 84 per cent. of Members today claim £500 or more as expenses? Is he suggesting that in future everybody makes a claim to the Inland Revenue or to the Exchequer for £500 a year, as 84 per cent. of Members do, or that the 16 per cent., whose expenses at the moment are below £500 a year, should not?
§ Mr. Deedes
Those hon. Members who feel that they should not receive in any form an additional £500 a year will find it very much easier not to make claims for expenses than to write a letter to the accountant refusing the straight advance. If one refuses an increase in salary the question is whether it is refused as a private decision or a public decision. It is that very odious choice that I am seeking to avoid. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) does not take my point, but I assure him that there is a valid point there.
I want to add one word about my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whom little reference has been made but who, I think, hon. Members will agree has in this matter the hardest task of all. When my right hon. Friend spoke in the previous debate he told us that he was placing his high office at the disposal of the State. With great respect, I think that is not very true because I do not think that the functions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer are altogether susceptible to such dualism. Let me try to put it in this way, which will be beyond politics.
The main burden of the office of his predecessors—of Sir Stafford Cripps, and of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell)—has been the exercise of restraint in respect of salaries and wages. That would be so if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite were now in office, and I am sure they will be honest enough to admit it. They might have done things differently but there would still have been that pressure, and there will always be that pressure. Whatever the decision may be today, it will be implemented by the Treasury in the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and it cannot but have a heavy, and possibly adverse, effect on the policy which my right hon. Friend has sought to carry out in the last two years. I am not asking hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to shed 57 crocodile tears about that, but it is true and they should recognise it.
There are, I know, some hon. Members on this side of the House who think that whatever we say and do today will be quickly forgotten in the country and that, by the time of the next election, it will have passed from the public mind. I disagree profoundly. What we do here this afternoon I am certain will have consequences, that we cannot reckon now, upon the health and character of this institution. I am gravely in doubt, as I know some of my hon. Friends are in doubt, whether by enriching ourselves—[HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] That is how the public sees it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—we shall not make this a poorer place. We should think of that when the time comes to vote.
§ 4.52 p.m.
§ Mr. H. A. Price (Lewisham, West)
I beg to second the Amendment.
I take as my starting point the concluding sentences of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas), who moved the Motion. I am glad that he stressed the point, as did also my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby), because it was insufficiently emphasised on 13th May. At the very foundation of this issue is the question of the composition of this House. All parties adhere to the principle, or profess to do so, that membership of this House shall be open to all, irrespective of social position or wealth.
That is a principle in which I believe passionately, and I would have no hesitation in resigning from a party which did not subscribe to it. If we, in this House, believe in that principle, and if the people outside believe in it, then they must face its implications. The first implication is that if membership of this House is to be open to all, irrespective of financial consideration, we must make it possible for all who come here, even if they have no other source of income, to do their job efficiently and to support themselves and their families in something approaching decency.
May I first underline the word "efficiently." It is not sufficient for an hon. Member to be efficient; he must also be provided with the means to exercise that efficiency on behalf of his constituents.
58 And it is not efficiency for an hon. Member to spend half his time replying to his own letters by writing them by hand in an obscure corner of this building. Nor is it efficiency for the electorate to pay him £1,000 a year for doing so. That is a job which should be done by a typist, for £6 or £7 a week. That is at the foundation of my views upon this matter. Unless this House is to become the preserve of those who can obtain finances from some other source, we must provide sufficiently for those who cannot; otherwise, it ceases to be a democracy.
Let me deal first with some of the arguments. It has been said by hon. Members, both inside and outside this House, that such men ought not to come here. I disagree profoundly with that view but, even if I did not, I would say "That is not for us to say; that is for the electorate to decide." If a man can so impress a selection committee, and then sufficiently impress his personality upon the electorate to persuade them to send him here, it is not our duty to thwart the will of the electorate but to implement it, to give expression to it. We should be failing to do that if, by maintaining or perpetuating financial strictures, we prevented him from taking his place and doing his job.
The next point that is often made is that no hon. Member should be entirely dependent upon his Parliamentary salary, that he should have some other source of income. I agree that this is the ideal, but for a large section of the community it is not possible, and we must face that fact. One example has been mentioned today, other examples were mentioned on 13th May, and it would be easy to lengthen the list. What are we to do about them? Surely we must make it possible for them to live on their Parliamentary salary, if they cannot earn any money outside.
May I, in passing, say a word or two about one section which I am sure is represented in this House but which has so far been almost overlooked. Here I plead a personal interest. I am referring to an hon. Member with a small business of his own who finds it impossible to devote to that business the time necessary for prosperity and health because of his duties here. He makes sacrifices to perform his duties as a Member of Parliament. As one of those, may I say that 59 I have not the slightest hesitation in making those sacrifices, but I do not think that the public should expect hon. Members in that category, not only to make sacrifices themselves but to carry it to the point where their wives and families begin to suffer. Otherwise, we shall be driving that type of Member out of this House, too, and I suggest that he is a type of Member who has a very real contribution to make.
The next point which is often made is that we should alter our procedure to make it possible for men to earn a living outside the House. Those of us who have been giving any thought to that problem know how much easier it is to say than to do. But even if it were possible to alter the procedure of the House so that men with businesses outside could concentrate all their daytime hours on business and their evening hours on Parliamentary affairs, we should still not be catering for the type of man who, by virtue of the trade or profession to which he belonged before he became a Member, must work normal hours in a certain place. Miners are the obvious example, but there are many others. Even if Parliament did not meet until 6 o'clock at night, such men could not become Members of Parliament unless the financial rewards were sufficient.
Therefore, the case for a concession of some kind is made up to the hilt. The only question we have to decide is what form that concession is to take. Broadly speaking, we can divide the two: the straightforward salary increase which has been moved, and the proposition in this Amendment. I have a feeling that some of my hon. Friends on the opposite side of the House are rather surprised at my having supported this Amendment. I hope they will not mind my saying that and I feel that to them I owe an explanation. I am doing it for this reason.
Those who oppose the Amendment say that we shall be putting ourselves in a privileged position. Reference has been made to paragraph 55 of the Select Committee's Report, which states:Your Committee would be strongly opposed to recommending any concession exclusive to Members that would differentiate them from other taxpayers.I, too, would be opposed to such a measure, but I disagree profoundly with 60 those who say that the effect of the Amendment would be to differentiate us from other taxpayers. The expenses that we have in mind are the cost of our secretaries, the cost of our postages, telegrams, telephones and the cost of living away from home or business. I know of no business executive, sales manager, works manager, civil servant, or local government official who is expected to pay that kind of expenses out of his salary. All such expenses are paid for him by his employer.
We should not be putting ourselves in a specially favoured category if we put the same principle into operation here. On the contrary, we are in a specially unfavourable position now in that we are called upon to meet these items out of our so-called salary. All that the Amendment does is to ask that that position be recognised and that we be taken out of this specially unfavourable category and put on a par with the other categories to which I have referred.
This has important application on what I call the public relations level. Each hon. and right hon. Member must speak for himself but, speaking for myself, I find that in my constituency members of the public are very strongly opposed to an increase in Members' salaries. They consider a salary of £1,000 per annum is adequate. I entirely agree. A salary of £1,000, as a salary, is adequate. The point is that at present it is not a salary. I want to make it a salary and I want to have these expenses, which we ought not to be called upon to pay out of our salary, taken out and made reimbursable. Whenever I have discussed this point with constituents face to face and have told them that we have to meet these expenses out of our salaries, which is often very much to their surprise, they entirely agree. They say, "We agree with you. We did not know that that was the position. We thought that all these things were paid for you by somebody."
One of the most astonishing things about this matter is the appalling ignorance on the part of a vast majority of the public about the work we do, the hours of work, the conditions in which we do it and the rewards we get for it. Some sections of the Press ought to know better. I believe that they do know better, but why they do not print the truth only they can answer. I am certain 61 that none of the journalists who have written articles on this issue, whether accurate or otherwise, have to pay their secretaries, portages and cost of living away from home out of their salaries.
§ Mr. Price
That is an old journalistic trick which I think they must have learned from Ministers at the Dispatch Box.
I, too, wish that we were not in the position of having to vote ourselves an increase. I, too, wish that the matter could be taken out of our hands, for two reasons. First, because I am quite sure that if this issue were placed in the hands of an independent authority that authority would be far more generous to us than we dare be to ourselves. I wonder whether the public have thought of that. We dare not be generous to ourselves. The other point is that we simply cannot escape responsibility, because, in the end, we have to vote the money.
Another objection made to the expenses scheme is that it would be possible for it to be abused. I disregard that, in the main, for two reasons. The first is that every hon. Member has to submit a claim now for his expenses, which are set against his salary for Income Tax purposes. As far as I know, nobody suggests that that practice is abused and I see no reason why the new system should be abused. I also believe that some hon. Members fear that the form of attestation might be more onerous than the form of attestation which is necessary now. I find that difficult to accept, because if that were so it would amount to an admission of laxity in the past; and I do not think that that is 62 possible. I certainly cannot think that it is right.
I want to see broken the principle under which we, as far as I know, are the only about 600 people in the whole of the British Isles who are expected to pay out of our salaries expenses such as no business man or other comparable person is called upon to pay. That principle would be wrong even if our salary were £5,000. Our salary must remain intact as salary, inviolate whatever it is. Let the public see the truth as it is. It is suggested that an expense allowance is a back-door method. What could be more open than an Amendment on the Order Paper, a debate in the House of Commons reported in the Press, with all arguments for and against deployed? No one can suggest that we are trying to pull the wool over the public's eyes. The principle is at stake and it is the application of the principle that we want to see remedied.
My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East referred to the status of the House of Commons when he first came to the House. Incidentally, he mentioned the lot of the Parliamentary Private Secretary. Those who say that Parliament is not a full-time occupation should have a look at the diary of a P.P.S. I have been one for two-and-a-half years, and, incidentally, the Government have not yet fallen. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East mentioned that when he became a P.P.S. it was prophesied that he would become Prime Minister. That prophecy has not been made of me, but hope springs eternal.
My hon. Friend referred to the status of the House and of hon. Members 30 years' ago. I attach a great deal of importance to that. The status of this House and of its Members is of international importance. We are the representatives of a model democracy which, with all its faults, is the envy of the rest of the world; and there are very powerful forces in the world, and not least in this country, ever ready to attack democracies wherever they exist.
We must be on our guard and must do all we can to maintain the status and dignity of this House, but that depends on the status and dignity of its Members. I do not see how that status can be maintained while hon. Members are called upon to exercise personal and domestic economies quite inappropriate to the 63 status of Members of Parliament. The country treats hon. Members unfairly. It expects far too much of us. I do not see how it is possible for those of us who feel this burden to give objective consideration to the problems that are brought to us every day if we ourselves are oppressed by financial anxiety. I do not see how it is possible for the status and dignity of the House to be maintained in such circumstances. That is why I support wholeheartedly some measure of alleviation, and that is why, for the reasons which I have advanced, I support the method that is outlined in the Amendment.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas Houghton (Sowerby)
We shall all agree with the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. H. A. Price) in finding this a very heavy responsibility. If we were able to consult our personal inclinations, we should all desire to pass this unpalatable duty to someone else. If there were a Members of Parliament Arbitration Tribunal we should prefer to have an award from them. But, as the hon. Member said, it comes back to us in the end, because the overriding power of Parliament would have to be invoked to authorise an expenditure, even though it was awarded by an independent tribunal.
We have come as near as we can to an independent and at least detailed investigation. That was done by the appointment of a Select Committee. That Committee, composed of hon. Members from all sides of the House and of which I was a member, devoted a great deal of time to a thorough investigation into this difficult problem. It is a remarkable thing that we presented a unanimous Report to this House. That should not be lost sight of in debating the recommendations as a whole, or parts of them separately.
What I am not clear about is what the Amendment really means. I assume that the Amendment agrees with the original Motion in that it concedes that something should be done. So we are agreed on that. I also assume that the Amendment agrees with the original Motion regarding the maximum additional reimbursement of expenses to be made, because the sum mentioned is £500 in each case. So the point of disagreement—if one exists, and I believe it does—is, how is that 64 reimbursement to be made? The Select Committee, after examining all the alternatives—and we looked at them all—recommended a flat rate increase as being the most satisfactory, indeed the only satisfactory, way of recompensing Members of Parliament for their additional expenditure.
The Amendment proposes something different. There are three ways of making reimbursement of expenses. One is an allowance of £500, which is called expenses and which a Member may draw automatically with his monthly advances of the £1,000 a year. That £500, called an expenses allowance, could either be made tax free by certificate of the Treasury under the Ninth Schedule of the Income Tax Act, 1952, or it could be paid subject to taxation in the normal way. I do not think there is a single hon. Member who would propose that we should draw an expenses allowance of £500 tax free.
As to the second alternative, therefore, if we draw an expenses allowance in a lump sum without vouched expenditure, without questions asked, merely on the assumption that we shall spend £500 or more, and we are granted it automatically, that allowance must take its place with other income for taxation purposes; and under the Income Tax Act, as hon. Members know, expenses allowances of that kind paid to directors and senior executives is added to other remuneration and the gross sum is taxed subject to a claim for expenses under the Ninth Schedule.
§ Mr. Houghton
Under the heading:Expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of the office.The point I am making is that there is no difference between £500 expenses allowance paid subject to taxation and a straight increase in the £1,000 per year also subject to taxation. There is no difference between those two. Therefore, I dismiss the first suggestion—a tax-free allowance of £500—because that is not presumably what the Amendment means, and certainly not what the House would intend. I dismiss the second also because there is no real difference between paying an expenses allowance of £500 subject to tax and increasing the £1,000 a year 65 to £1,500, also subject to tax. Both have to go through precisely the same process of claiming tax relief under the Income Tax Act.
I come to what I believe to be the real intention of the Amendment. That is somehow or other to link the claim we make for tax relief with the additional reimbursement to be given. I am fortified in that belief more by what the seconder of the Amendment said than by what was said by the mover about the intention of the Amendment. With respect to the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), who moved the Amendment, we cannot dismiss these important questions of administration as if they were secondary to the adoption of the principle. We have seen many a good idea wrecked on administrative difficulties, and this is going to be one of them.
§ Mr. Deedes
I accept the point, but will the hon. Member also accept that it is a matter upon which I could not lay down the law with authority?
§ Mr. Houghton
Then, with greater respect, the hon. Member should not draft Amendments until he knows what they mean. I rather think that the hon. Member has been led astray by some ambiguous and, in my opinion, unguarded comments made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 13th May. The Chancellor said:The first possibility is to provide a sum—for the sake of argument, let it be somewhere between £100 and £500 a year—against which each Member would draw, free of tax, reimbursement of necessary expenses on showing that he had actually incurred the sum claimed. That is a straightforward and simple method of providing expenses.This is where I think possibly the difficulty came:If the expenses were less than the maximum, according to our Inland Revenue rules a Member would receive the amount actually spent. If the expenses were more, he would meet the balance from his £1,000 salary, and he could, of course, claim tax relief accordingly as at present."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 1492.]I do not think for a moment that the Chancellor meant to convey to this House that he was suggesting an expenses claim which could be met by the accountant of the House merely on production of the certificate of expenses admitted by the Inland Revenue authorities for tax purposes. If he did suggest that, I must condemn it root and branch, because I do not 66 believe that it is in accordance with our accepted standards of public expenditure. After all, a claim for tax relief is a claim for tax relief and nothing less. If that claim is to be the indirect means of adjusting the remuneration of hon. Members of this House I think it would be a practice open to serious objections.
We incur the expenditure before we know whether the Inland Revenue authorities will allow it as an expense. How are we to know when we incur expenditure, first, whether the Inland Revenue people will allow it? If they do not, we know that their refusal to allow it for Income Tax purposes will indirectly affect the level of our expenses claims. There will be a double penalty on any refusal by the Inland Revenue authority, and a double stake when we are arguing with them about the admissibility of expenses for Income Tax purposes.
Here I confess my own interest, because there are members of the Inland Revenue staff federation who mostly deal with expenses claims submitted by hon. Members of this House to the office at Cardiff. I do not think it would be right and proper, nor fair, to place on Inland Revenue officials the dual responsibility of safeguarding the Revenue on the one hand and indirectly fixing a scale of expenses allowances on the other. I think the Chancellor could not have meant that it was sufficient for his purpose for a simple certificate of allowances admitted for tax relief purposes to stand as a basis for reimbursement from the Exchequer. If the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to do that—
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)
May I ask this of the hon. Member—he is an expert on these matters—if it was true that they were expenses subject to the statement I made, it would surely be possible to frame a system under which they were liable under the law?
§ Mr. Houghton
Well, of course, it is possible in dealing with the Inland Revenue, to incur the expense first and to argue about it afterwards, or to ask before incurring such expense whether it would be admissible for Income Tax purposes. There is no difficulty in getting information from the Inland Revenue about the admissibility of certain types of expenditure, but there are occasions 67 when there is no time to get a reply to a question of that kind before actually incurring the expense. We all know the marginal difficulties which exist in regard to Income Tax expenses and claims.
§ Mr. Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)
Is there not a third—or rather a fourth—method whereby this could be done? We get our salary, or so-called allowance of £1,000 which is subject to tax; would not it be possible also for us to receive from our employer, the State, a certain number of stated items—such as secretarial items—up to a certain amount refunded to us? If so, I cannot see how the Inland Revenue need come into it at all.
§ Mr. Houghton
I was about to say that even if the Inland Revenue did not come into it, the Comptroller and Auditor-General would. I cannot conceive of the Comptroller and Auditor-General passing the accounts of this House without commenting on expenses claimed which were made against the Exchequer—either on an omnibus certificate from the Inland Revenue or on a comprehensive demand for reimbusement by an hon. Member—without supporting evidence. We have to pay regard to standards which we insist on Government Departments maintaining in the use of funds voted by this House and apply those standards in any matters concerning our own remuneration.
There is, of course, another alternative, a third possibility, which this Amendment might mean, that of reimbursing expenditure incurred on showing that it has been incurred, and subject to the framework of regulations and rules which it would be necessary to lay down for our guidance in incurring expenditure. But I warn hon. Members that this is what reimbursement of expenditure will mean when they once get into the hands of the Treasury, because this voluminous thing which I hold in my hand is an extract from the rules and regulations in the public services today governing claims for travelling and subsistence allowances. Here we see how every item has to be the subject of rules and regulations, of things one cannot do and things one can, and how expenditure incurred which is outside the authority cannot be balanced against expenditure not within the authority. Indeed, I can see nothing 68 more troublesome to hon. Members of this House than their having to sit down and study the rules and regulations governing the reimbursement of actual expenditure.
I would commend to the House the replies given by the accountant himself on pages 18, 19 and 20 of the evidence given by him to the Select Committee. When he was asked whether he would relish the task of dealing with expenses claims from hon. Members of this House, the accountant suggested to us that he had had quite a "bibfull" of difficulties when he had to deal with petrol rationing during the war and applications for petrol coupons from hon. Members of this House. It certainly looks as if the task of judgment upon the admissibility or refusal of claims for reimbursement would weigh heavily upon the authorities of this House.
It really comes to this, that whichever way we try to do this—as an alternative to the proposal made by the Select Committee—would land us into serious difficulties. Even were we prepared to submit to the most rigorous code of rules and regulations governing our expenditure, we should still find that much would fall outside those rules, and that there would be much argument within them. Supposing, for instance, I decided to spend the whole of the Summer Recess in my constituency, that I stayed at a local hotel, and then claimed that that expense was wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of my duty, and that I asked the accounts office to reimburse me at the approved rate of subsistence allowance. Who is to say that that was wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in the performance of this office? There are many difficulties of that kind—
§ Mr. H. A. Price
Would the hon. Gentleman claim such expenses now as relief against his income for taxation purposes?
§ Mr. Houghton
—as being necessarily incurred, although in certain circumstances it would be very difficult for the 69 Inland Revenue to say that it was not necessarily incurred. It would depend upon the circumstances of a particular hon. Member, the conditions inside his constituency and the work which he went there to do. But I am just indicating the range of disputation which could exist if there is to be claims submitted on that basis.
§ Mrs. Jean Mann (Coatbridge and Airdrie)
Even if my hon. Friend had to stay in his constituency during the Recess, as I have had often to do night after night—and no one would stay in my constituency two hours if he could get out of it; it is known as the Pittsburgh of Scotland—but if he did, expenses would not be allowed. I have to choose between the 34 weeks in London and the 18 weeks in my constituency.
§ Mr. Houghton
Yes, because the allowances are adjusted to the location of the residences of hon. Members and their constituencies. But my hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann) is merely underlining the difficulties we shall run into if this expense allowance is to be tied to the Income Tax relief, or if it is to be subject to the normal requirements of code and regulation. Then there are all the expenses that we mentioned in paragraph 24 of our Report, which are not at present allowable as a tax relief, and which presumably would be excluded from any reimbursement we could claim under any alternative plan, but which nevertheless are very important financial matters in the expenditure of hon. Members of this House.
We refer to the use of private cars for transport between home and the House; entertainment of constituents; a wife's expenses when visiting the constituency; the length of stay in the constituency, and all sorts of other things not admitted by the Inland Revenue as being wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of our office. What it comes down to is that, even if we accept the doctrine of the leader in "The Times" this morning, and relate this to the rise in our occupational costs, the evidence given to the Select Committee shows that the overwhelming majority of hon. Members of this House are already incurring more than the additional amount claimed; not only that, but they 70 are incurring it within the rules of Income Tax relief, leaving aside the many other expenses in which costs have risen and which are not provided for at all.
I hope that the hon. Member for Ashford and the hon. Member for Lewisham, West, who moved and seconded the Amendment, will realise that they are not assisting the House to solve this difficult problem. I thought the hon. Member for Ashford was far too sensitive of what he believed to be electoral criticism to approach this matter objectively. I think the public would far rather that we go forward with a straight increase, stand by it and explain it, than that we try to shelter behind something which they believe has a catch in it—or, at least, that is what they may believe unless they can be given a much clearer explanation than that given today by the hon. Member for Ashford and the hon. Member for Lewisham, West. I hope the House will bear that in mind in coming to its final decision.
§ 5.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
Like other hon. Members, I spent some time in the examination of this problem. None of us who has spent his time in examining it would underestimate either the difficulty or the sensitive nature of the task which we were asked to tackle. Certainly I had no desire to be placed on the Committee but. having been placed on it, I felt, like other hon. Members, in the position of a judge. We had to come to conclusions on the evidence submitted.
I think there is a feeling in the House that some improvement is necessary in the financial position of hon. Members today. The Amendment which we have been discussing is one method and, if I may say so in a word, it is just because of the complicated nature of the questions which would arise on the method suggested by the Amendment—which have been made all too clear by the detailed and informed speech of the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton)—that we eventually came down against it. A system which requires so much combing out and working over by Members of Parliament, themselves fairly well-educated people and highly interested in the matter, will not, I feel, commend itself to the ordinary man in the street.
71 At a moment when the Chancellor, in my view rightly, is doing his utmost to limit the expense accounts of certain big executives, who in the past have undoubtedly presumed far too far upon the privileges allowed them, I am not sure that the information that the House of Commons has decided to solve its problem by way of a fairly substantial expense account would necessarily commend itself to the people. At any rate, I am sure it would require explanation, and I am sure that an explanation of the type which we have just heard from the hon. Member for Sowerby would not clear their minds but would confuse their minds still further. I fear that they would be left with the impression that there was a catch in it somewhere and, when we are discussing this question, that is the one thing in the world which we desire to avoid.
I have every respect for my hon. Friends who have tabled this Amendment, but again I come back to the phrase of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—The effect of that possibility might not be very different from an increase in salary …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 1492.]If it is not to be very different from an increase in salary, I think it is better to use the method of an increase in salary and to stand up to the inevitable difficulties which it will produce and the inevitable ill-effect on many hon. Members, particularly, if I may say so, hon. Members on this side of the House. I could not agree more with my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) when he said, "Let us not suggest that this will be disposed of quickly or easily forgotten. What we do today will have a deep effect on the public mind." It will have a prejudicial effect upon the prospects of many of us on this side of the House, and possibly on hon. Members opposite. I am speaking only for this side of the House.
But there are moments when we have to stand up to these things. There are unpopular decisions which have to be taken and which fall upon the shoulders of the majority. The decision to introduce and maintain conscription, for instance, was one of them which hon. Members opposite shouldered, carried through and maintained, to their great 72 credit. There are other important decisions which they have taken in their time and which, I think, they should have credit for having taken. There were the bold statements by hon. Members last week on the unofficial railway dispute—statements which obviously would bring them unpopularity and difficulty in their constituencies and outside their constituencies. Yet they made these statements and faced the problem. Every now and again the time comes when we have to face such difficulties, when we have to stand up to the bowling, when we have to testify—and this afternoon I think I have to testify.
I would say, first of all, that an improvement is desirable. Secondly, that an improvement along the lines of a flat rate increase is also desirable. I say so because of the long consideration which the Select Committee gave to it, and the unanimous decision which the Select Committee reached. I do not intend to read again its decision to the House—it has been read already—but I signed it and stand by it.
What should the amount be? Hon Members who were with me on the Committee will remember that, in the first place, I thought a lower figure than that suggested today would be sufficient, but the discussion which took place and the evidence brought forward convinced me that the lower figure which I had in mind would not be justifiable on the evidence before me. The evidence which I was considering was not from the point of view of the present Members of the House. It may be said, "They asked for it. They got themselves elected. They have made a bargain, let them stand to it."
I was considering it from the point of view which was very strongly put by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby) and the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish)—that of recruitment to the House. We have to consider what we want. We want a House which will be a microcosm of the nation. It should be a section of the nation from top to bottom. I am all for every section being represented.
Indeed, in passing, I think it was a great pity and a weakening of the House when the House decided against university representation. which I thought brought an element into the House which 73 otherwise is withheld from its consultations. When Professor A. V. Hill was a Member of the House, the House was enriched, and when he left the House was weakened. I go no further on that line. It was an anomaly, but this House bristled with anomalies. Even the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition recently brought to our notice the awkward situation which arises when the Boundary Commission becomes too meticulous in slicing up constituencies and rectifying all the anomalies which may exist. This House is and has been a microcosm of the nation, and the nation is full of anomalies. Anomalies are the essence of this House as they are the essence of the nation.
We want a House which will represent the nation all through. It must represent the white-collared man, but it must also represent the black-handed man. At present the trend is falling more and more towards the white-collared man or to people who can make a living in white-collared jobs. The man who can make a living out of his fountain pen is as fortunate in the House as he is outside it. There is plenty of ink, plenty of paper, lots of blotting paper, and journals up and down the country which, if the hon. Member is fortunate enough, will receive and pay for the results of his toil.
But that is not the most important thing—or not the only thing—a man can do with his 10 fingers. There are also the great skills of our artisans and workmen, of the man who can swing a pick, who can work a machine, the riveter, the steel worker, these are amongst the people and skills which also must be in the House. Many of these men had to abandon their particular skill when they came to this House, and they had no chance of succeeding, in the afternoon or the tea-time of their lives, in some attempt at journalism. I do not think it is a good thing that we should talk so much of the dignity of manual labour and then adopt a policy which will militate against it.
I remember well when the Clydeside group first came down here—David Kirkwood, George Buchanan and the rest. Their fingers were mostly all the same length—the tips cut off in industrial accidents. Duncan Graham, whom many hon. Members will still remember, had 74 the blue marks of his trade all over his face, into which coal dust had been driven by explosions at the coal face. It was the hallmark of the old collier. These were the men who, in the difficult days after the war, were of great value and importance to this House in rounding the very many difficult corners which it had to negotiate.
When the General Strike came and bitter industrial disputes arose in this country, it was a great advantage to this country to have men in this House who could talk the language. I remember David Kirkwood, in a discussion on sabotage and the question whether the engineers in Russia had been justly or unjustly condemned, deliver a speech which thrilled the whole House. He spoke of occasions when something resembling sabotage had occurred in his industrial life—much of it purely accidental. He was talking of things he knew. He testified to the things he had seen, and the House listened with eagerness, as it always does on such occasions.
Such people are in danger of being excluded from this place. This is not a new problem. It was not just in the time of David Lloyd George that this House was first concerned with the payment of Members. I am a Tory, and I beg my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) to consider this. In 1323, under Edward III, the payment of Members was not merely in force, but they were paid on a scale which is quite comparable with the figures we are discussing today. They were paid on the basis of 2s. a day for a burgess, which was the equivalent of perhaps £2 a day now. For rural Members something like £4 a day was paid.
These figures are quite comparable to the figures we are discussing. They were paid in those days because Parliament wanted to get genuine representatives from all sections of the community from which these people came. The 2s. a day which was paid to the burgess was four times the rate of the skilled artisan of the masons. I do not think any hon. Member in the House today is getting into his own pocket four times the rate of a skilled artisan, that was the London rate. He was getting six times a higher payment than the provincial rate. The stonemason was, admittedly, king of the craftsmen of his day, in the year when 75 the payment of Members of Parliament was instituted.
This payment was eroded, and it eventually began to disappear. People began to lose interest in their Members. Other people came to take their places, and there came about a tendency for the working man to be squeezed out. This sort of thing went on until the time was reached when, first of all, people offered to do the job for nothing, and, later, people were offering scores of thousands of pounds in order to be elected to this House. Was that a good thing for the House?
Did we not find that the House was cut off from the great masses of the nation, and that it had to recapture its connection painfully and in a very troublesome time in the period of the Reform Bill? It rounded that corner, we know from our Parliamentary history, during the time of the Chartist riots, by a hair's breadth. When the Duke of Wellington was massing troops to protect London against a march of his own countrymen, we were then within a hair's breadth of the corner from which many Continental nations skidded to irreparable disaster.
There are still many hon. Members representative of every walk of life in this House today. But there is a strong tendency towards journalism. I have nothing against journalists, but I think that a House composed entirely of journalists would be a very bad House of Commons. There is also a tendency towards the "kept men" in this House, and a House composed entirely of "kept men" would be dangerous, especially if men are kept by bodies able to pay more than the State is willing to pay for their services. It would be a great risk. We pay a cashier very much more than other people, not because we like his beautiful eyes, but because we put a heavy strain upon his honesty which it would be dangerous for us to make too heavy.
A judge ought to be paid at such a rate as will make it impossible for a wealthy man to bribe the course of justice, and Many of us here are, to some extent, in the position of judges, and sometimes have to make even more important decisions than judges. It is dangerous that there should be such a strain on any Member 76 of Parliament which might deflect him from his course of duty. If the State wants good services, it must pay for them. If the State wants honest service, it must not put too much of a strain upon it. We do not want people saying to Members of Parliament, "I am not asking for anything, but, if you unfortunately lose your seat, there is a nice job for you inside the business." That is a dangerous thing. Such a man may not be able to supplement his income as some of us are fortunate enough to do, by shaking income out of a fountain pen, or by talking for the B.B.C., which most of us are perfectly willing to do for nothing. All these things though not often discussed, are germane to our decision.
We do not want this matter to be decided according to the will of some outside body, who shall say whether a Member Shall spend money on a secretary or in some other way, whether he should spend money on a good dinner for himself or do without a dinner to buy a book. Many of us in our time have gone without a dinner in order to buy a book. I do not want somebody from outside saying to me that I have so much to spend on this and that and how I should spend it. I want to see Members of Parliament with some discretion in the matter.
If they are not fit to exercise their discretion over a matter of £1,500 a year, then they are not fit to be Members of Parliament. I want them to use their discretion, and I do not want this matter to be divided up into part expenses allowance, with some grandmotherly body telling me that it is time that I had a good dinner or that I ought to spend more money on secretarial assistance and less on something else which I rather wanted to do.
This is the decision which we have to take tonight. It is a troublesome, difficult and distasteful decision. It is even an unpopular decision which we have to make—let there be no mistake about it—both for the House as a whole and for hon. Members in particular. At the same time, here is something we have got to do. If that is so, then let us face the music and do it.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)
I listened with the greatest interest to the speech just made by the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot), and I 77 agree that the decision that the House has to take is one which we must all share personally. I was very deeply moved by the courageous manner in which the right hon. Gentleman gave us a lead in taking that decision.
I heard with pleasure his references to David Kirkwood and Duncan Graham, whom I remember very well. Mention of them was especially appropriate in helping to drive home the point that there are still Members on the Government side of the House—I hope there are many of them—who do not care to engage in political conflict such as we conduct in the House of Commons feeling that those with whom they are struggling are at a disadvantage and are not on a footing of equality with them in the debates. That is a very important point, and we should keep it in mind.
I remember with gratitude that almost on the day in which I came into this House for the first time, in 1923, I had the good fortune to meet Sir Austen Chamberlain. He told me some of the things that I, as a young Member, would have to do and to remember, if I were to make a success of my work in the House of Commons. I was greatly astonished that a Conservative leader should trouble himself to tell a young Socialist entrant how to behave himself in Parliament. I remember that I went to another Labour Member, Neil Maclean, who had been equally struck by advice of the same sort that he got from old Sir Frederick Banbury. We went to tell Philip Snowden that these tories did not seem to be quite what we imagined them to be. Snowden said: "Always remember that there are gentlemen among these fellows who do not care to have you upon a basis of inequality in the fights that go on in Parliament and who would rather that you knew the rules as well as they know them. They will put you in possession of a knowledge of those rules in order to keep the fight fair amongst us all."
I think that is still the position among Members on the Government side who are fortunate—and indeed among Members who are fortunate on our side of the House—so far as worldly goods are concerned That view still continues among hon. Members who want to protect the dignities of this House and desire to justify this House in the eyes of the country.
78 I got up to say a word about the Motion which my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) moved very earnestly. He divided it, like Old Gaul, into three parts which to my mind are very closely associated, as Members of the Select Committee indicated when they talked about Members' pensions. It is on the subject of Members' pensions that I rise to express serious opposition. Of course, I must declare my interest, but do not think that the interest is very strong. I still hope, God and the electorate willing—and the Boundary Commission—to come back for another spell and do good work in the House of Commons. I am thinking about those who, like myself, are coming to the close of what I hope is an honourable career.
We have often heard about the old Members who die on their feet in this House rather than go to their rest in a proper way. My hon. Friend is now proposing to hand them over to the consideration of the Members' Fund trustees. Those trustees are a splendid lot of fellows, but they work under terms of reference which are as distasteful to them as they are to me. Parliament has decided that they are bound to consider the penury of former Members before anything can be done for them. I have gone very carefully into these terms of reference and the work of the Boundary Commission. [HON. MEMBERS: "The trustees."] Forgive me for mentioning the Boundary Commission but I have it very much in mind. It has nipped me hard once already and may do so again. I meant of course to refer to the trustees, who work very earnestly on behalf of older Members of this House who find it necessary, at the end of their careers, to go to the trustees for help.
The pensions granted are very small in comparison with what we have found it necessary to give to Members to carry on their duties, and the means test is very irksome. Indeed, as one who remembers the discussions in this House when the work of the trustees was decided upon, I say that it is very difficult to go to the trustees at all to ask for help. I hope that I shall never have to go to them.
Many Members have experienced an unlucky time when they must go out and take part in political work of a general character. There may then be years when nothing comes in at all; when the 79 bankbook, instead of showing a credit, becomes all debit; and in which they dispose of their homes or mortgage them in order to carry on. When they come back to this House it is not simply a question of receiving the stipend allowed but of paying off the debts they have been compelled to incur. How can they then save enough out of their stipend to be ready for old age?
What can we save out of a stipend that the Select Committee agreed was on the basis of £250 for salary and £750 for expenses? Does my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West really think that handing this matter over to the Members' Fund trustees is a fair way to treat the older Members of the House? I find it difficult to stand in the way of the general proposal of which so many Members feel the need, and I agree that I ought to support it, but there is no satisfactory undertaking at the present time, not even after what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said during the previous debate on the matter, that there is to be a real attempt to deal with the position of the older Members. Many admirable sentiments have been expressed about them in the course of the debate.
I would not be prepared to vote for this part of the proposal unless I could hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer or someone equally responsible, that no limit will be placed to the consideration of the trustees when a Member's pension is considered. Everyone in the House will realise that among the more hardly-treated members of the community are those hon. Members who have retired from Parliament with an income insufficient to maintain them in these present difficult times. I am sure the House will think that there is a special case for those hon. Members. I feel that unless we have some more effective statement with regard to them we shall be extremely unwise to leave the matter as it is in my hon. Friend's proposal.
§ Mr. Bowles
As one of the trustees, I should tell the House that it was laid down by Sir John Simon, as he then was, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and also by the late Mr. Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister, that there should be no charge whatever upon the taxpayer 80 for the support of the Members' Fund. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 13th May, said that we should have the services of his office at our disposal, and "The Times" this morning said there should be some financial assistance from the Treasury. I hope that today the Chancellor of the Exchequer will say something which will reverse—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
Order. The hon. Member intervened to explain a point, but is now asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question. That, I think, is going rather far.
§ Mr. Hudson
The remarks were addressed to me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. That is what I had in mind when I said that I hope it will be possible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider giving the trustees that sort of freedom.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ Major W. J. Anstruther-Gray (Berwick and East Lothian)
I hope that the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) will forgive me if I say that he fell into the error into which the House has tended to fall on both days when we have debated this subject—the error of looking at this purely as a House of Commons matter. That is very easy when one is speaking in the House, but there is a much wider issue.
It is the duty particularly of those who support the Government to bear in mind the repercussions upon Government policy and to consider the proposal against the background of what the Government and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have seen right and proper to do for the economic security of the country. There is its effect on our efforts to steady the rise in the cost of living and on the wage restraint which we are counselling other people to observe. There is the effect this increase would have if various trades were set the example of our granting ourselves a 50 per cent. increase at one stride, when the workers are being counselled not to press for even a 5 or 7 per cent. increase.
I hope that hon. Members opposite will not think that I am trying to kick goals against our own side as Members of Parliament in general. I have been a Member for about 17 years now. I have the highest regard for the House. I 81 believe that, irrespective of party, most hon. Members, by and large, serve their constituencies exceedingly well and do not get half the credit they deserve.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
Would not the hon. and gallant Gentleman explain to the House that he has always been against an increase, and voted against the £600?
§ Major Anstruther-Gray
Yes, but I do not think that it is illogical now to express views which I have always held. I am not ashamed of having been a Tory all my life, but I am sure that the House does not want to approach this problem purely from a partisan point of view.
How can I tell a meeting of old-age pensioners that although the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whom I support, will not grant them any more, he is, at the same time, granting hon. Members a salary increase of 50 per cent.? I am not blaming hon. Members opposite for the line they take. In general, they are declaring themselves in favour of an increase in old-age pensions, they are not fighting for care with regard to wage claims, and they are not fighting the battle to check the rise in the cost of living. They have not the responsibility that falls upon the Government. Hon. Members on this side must look upon this House of Commons problem against the background of its effect upon general Government policy.
I like the Motion a great deal better than I like the Report of the Select Committee. I am particularly glad that the Motion recommends that pensions should be looked into yet again. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), the chairman of the Select Committee, will not take it amiss if I say that I thought the Committee's proposals regarding pensions were half-baked.
"The Times" recently published a letter from the widow of a captain in the Royal Navy. It pointed out that the widow of a Member of Parliament with only 10 years' service in the House was to receive a larger pension than the widow of a captain in the Royal Navy who had served all his life in the Service. From that point of view I think it impossible to support the non-contributory pension proposal.
82 I think the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) in his initial speech on this subject 10 days ago that a pension should be granted at the highest rate to an hon. Member who had served only 15 years while another hon. Member has to serve 34 years was inequitable. The proposal was that up to the age of 40 no service in this House was to count at all. That fits in very ill with the cry to get young men into the House of Commons. Young men must have a future to which to look forward.
From my last remarks it will be seen how easy it is to look at this question from a House of Commons point of view. So long as I approach it from that point of view I believe that the House will listen, but if I try to approach it on broader lines I lose the attention of the House. I am fortified in my view because I spent last week-end and the week-end before in my constituency, where I spoke to some friends—not all of them were supporters of mine—about this matter, and I am bound to say that many of them will take it very ill if this proposal is approved. It is a thousand pities that it has come so much into the line of controversy. In the past much has been done without offending public opinion and without in the least pulling wool over everybody's eyes, but with general acquiescence throughout the country.
You yourself, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, will remember that it was in 1924 when free railway travel from the constituencies to the House was granted. That is not very long ago. I say to hon. Members who come from Scotland: what does that mean to us today? It means many hundreds of pounds. The public did not object at all to that. It was granted, and no controversy arose.
Then, in 1936, free sleeping berth accommodation was granted. That saved me personally £2 every week that the House sat, because I travelled north and south every week. The saving to me was about £60 a year. Nobody objected to that. We had public approbation for what we were doing in meeting our expenses. Finally, the Socialist Government extended, so rightly, free travel to journeys from London to our homes and from our homes to our constituencies.
That was another means of meeting our necessary expenditure, which the 83 country as a whole was prepared to accept without comment and which could do no harm at all to the policy of the Government at that time. I wonder whether we have gone quite as far as we can go in that direction. Am I wrong in thinking that the public would be prepared to accept an arrangement whereby a cheap, free, set meal could be eaten by Members of Parliament when in this House in the execution of their duties?
I know very well that in the Press we are sometimes pilloried a little because we are said to enjoy the benefits of subsidised meals. In fact, the Kitchen Committee will deny that the meals are subsidised. But be that as it may, if free meals were granted, hon. Members would be saved about 10s. a day each—about £2 for those who work four days a week here. That is not a negligible sum in meeting hardship, and that is what we are considering at the moment. I do not believe that we should awaken any criticism if that suggestion were put into effect.
There is another means of meeting expense which I think the House would readily be granted by the country—and, unlike most of the other suggestions which we have been considering, it would definitely increase the efficiency of hon. Members here. I refer to a reduction in the expense of long-distance telephone calls. I must plead guilty to the fact that, being a Scot, I am rather careful of my expenditure. There are frequently occasions when it would be in the public interest for me to put through a trunk call to the county council of one of the two counties that I represent, but it is expensive.
Time and again if one were to put through a call to, perhaps, the Coal Board or British Railways or the South-East Scotland Electricity Board, one could get a small matter cleared up promptly and to the benefit of one's constituent in a much better way than by sending a letter with a 2½d. stamp on it. I think, further, that in that way Members of the House would keep bureaucracy on its toes in a way which would be very good for the conduct of public affairs.
Now may I return to the question before us? The pity is that so much publicity has been attached to this matter that it has bedevilled the whole of our 84 discussions of it, and this is the more serious as we are now coming to the third year in office of this Government and we are coming to electoral considerations. We canont burk the fact. I thank the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes), who spoke from the Opposition Front Bench, for their goodness in making it quite clear that they unequivocally supported an increased salary of £1,500. That will do something to make it easier for us on this side to bear the burden of any increase that the Government may grant.
Let us be in no doubt that whoever may have started the movement for this increase in salaries, however unanimous one side of the House may be or however divided the other side may be upon this issue, the fact is that if anything is done, the Government and we who support the Government will have to face that responsibility. None of us can tell how close an effect that will have in any Election. The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans), among others, expressed the opinion that it would not have much effect on an Election. I do not want to be uncharitable and to say anything like "'Come into my parlour,' said the spider to the fly," but I would say that we have had no experience of this sort of thing within a short time of a General Election.
When hon. Members opposite in 1946 did this sort of thing, there were four years before a General Election. When Mr. Neville Chamberlain introduced the increase, which I opposed, there were eight years and a world war in which to forget it. In 1911, when Mr. Lloyd George introduced the first payment, there were seven years and a world war until an Election in 1918. Therefore, this has never been a live Election issue.
Elections are rough things. I accept that we in this House will not attempt to use this issue as a weapon, but our opponents whom we have got to fight in the country are not bound by the same feeling of a united House as we are today. They are free to use every weapon that comes to hand. If my experience of Elections is anything to go by, weapons are picked up and used very freely.
§ Mr. Jack Jones
Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman explain how my Tory 85 opponent at an Election in my constituency would be blamed for something that I myself have advocated and voted for?
§ Major Anstruther-Gray
The answer to that question is surely the point that I have made—that the hon. Member will not be responsible. It will be the Government which is responsible.
§ Major Anstruther-Gray
But it will. Hon. Members opposite cannot brush that aside, because it is a fact.
§ Mr. S. N. Evans (Wednesbury)
What is the purpose of a free vote if it is not to get an expression of opinion from the House as a whole? Is it not a fact that, there being a free vote, the onus will be removed from the Administration, which is the whole purpose of the free vote?
§ Major Anstruther-Gray
Yes; but I am afraid that the free vote will not remove the onus. The onus of expenditure can only fall upon the Government, in the person of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am sure that my right hon. Friend, if he speaks, will confirm that what I say is accurate.
Let me, in conclusion, call the House back to the knowledge that this is not going to be popular. It will not be popular with very many worthy sections of the community, "popular" not only in the sense of vote-catching but as to what people think is right and proper. Here is a letter I had only today:Dear Major Gray, May I please once more write to you expressing my entire disagreement with an increase of salary of £500 for Members of Parliament. Help over secretarial work or over necessary expenses is probably desirable, but I consider that it would be a scandal if M.P.s' salaries are raised. We—my husband and I—retired in 1944, as he was invalided out of the Colonial Service, and his pension has never been raised by a farthing since then.We therefore have to face the fact that if we take action along the lines of the Motion, we shall do a mischief to the Government. We shall be doing mischief to the Government in carrying out the policy of wage restraint and checking the cost of living, which is what they are trying to do, and we would do a mischief to the Government in their prospects of winning again at the next Election. I shall be forgiven if I think that that is important, but I do. I believe that this 86 Government is good, and it goes very hard with me that we should take any step for anything less than a matter of vital consequence which prejudices our position in the country.
§ 6.22 p.m.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)
This debate has, in some respects, followed the lines of the previous debate. We have had the advantage of hearing again the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) and he has, as usual, brought his honest sincerity to bear to the benefit of our discussion. The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) said that in his early days he had met Tories who had assisted him in his life in the House of Commons and that the late Philip Snowden had said that there were among the Tories gentlemen who would keep the fight fair.
I think the hon. Member will have found in the course of the debates on 13th May and today that on all sides of the House Members desire to keep the fight fair. Therefore, we may all be described in the House, I hope, as gentlemen. Even though some hon. Members may object to what my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Major Anstruther-Gray) said, they will still regard him as a gentleman, because there is no better example of one in the House.
Leaving that on one side, I hope that the hon. Member for Ealing, North will not need to think of the Boundary Commission in the rather sinister terms in which he thought of it—namely, that dark bourn from which no traveller returns. That was the sense into which the hon. Member unwittingly slipped in referring to the Boundary Commission. In his case we hope that no effects of the Boundary Commission's actions will prevent our seeing him for many years in future Parliaments. Perhaps his own moderate habits will help in that respect.
My hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir R. Boothby) told us that he has been receiving letters asking him how he can stop the birth rate of Peterhead from falling rapidly, but he gave no instance of how he proposes to proceed in that direction. I warn him that however the House decides this evening, that cannot, in the view of the 87 Inland Revenue, be regarded as an expense of Members. [Laughter.]
There have been other speeches with which I shall deal. In particular, I hope to answer the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton). Perhaps my knowledge is not as intimate as his, but I shall do my best to answer him on the question of the administration of an expenses scheme. I hope to answer my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot), and I shall deal in any case with the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) and seconded by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. H. A. Price). And so I shall hope, in the course of my remarks, to cover the speeches that have been made.
Before I come to the main issue of the question of an allowance or an increase, I want to deal with the two other matters referred to in the Motion—that is, the question of the Members' Fund and the question of junior Ministers. We all remember the speech made by the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) about the Members' Fund, and the dire straits in which some of our older Members are unfortunately on occasion to be found.
I cannot today add considerably to what I said in the debate on 13th May, but whatever emerges from the exchange, the vote, the expression of opinion this evening, whether that gets left out of some Resolution that is accepted or whether it does not—we cannot exactly see how the debate will end—it is the wish and intention of the Government to look at this matter. I again repeat my offer to put myself in touch with the trustees of the Members' Fund and consult on what is the best method of dealing with this problem. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] If the hon. Member for Ealing, North is not entirely satisfied, by all means let him also and any of the other older Members who are involved have a conversation with me.
I do not know how we shall reach a solution, but I am quite clear that the proposal for a non-contributory pension was not right. There are some arguments in the leading article of "The Times" today indicating that to make continuity of service, so to speak, an essential is 88 to tie a young Member too much. We do not want our young men to be pension-minded; we want them to be free. The idea of that sort of non-contributory pension, however carefully worked out by the Committee under the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), to whom we pay tribute, is not the right way of dealing with this matter. I must be excused if I cannot say the final word today.
§ Mr. J. Hudson
I take it that, while the non-contributory pension is ruled out, in any conversations later the Chancellor will not be averse to listening to suggestions about a share of responsibility by the Treasury for such a system of pensions as may be discussed.
§ Mr. Butler
One speaker earlier in the debate seemed to infer that I had actually given some such undertaking. That is not true. But the undertaking which I do give is that this possibility will in no sense be excluded. I do not want to take it further today, because it may require even more examination than I or the Government can give it after consultation with the trustees; but I do not exclude the possibility of further aid of the type mentioned by the hon. Member, provided that that is not taken to be any undertaking given by me or the Government today.
This means that this important matter, which affects the retirement and, indeed, the prospects of some of our greatest friends in the House, is still open. We have not yet found a solution, but a solution must be found on the right lines. Of course, I shall be only too glad to be in contact with hon. and right hon. Members opposite in this matter, and with the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery.
Now, I come to the second point, about Under-Secretaries. Whatever may be the results of any Motion carried or not carried today, as the result of our exchanges, it will be the intention of the Government to introduce what will have to be legislation to deal with the question of junior Ministers. I cannot give any date for that because it will involve some little argument about the time-table with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. I do not think it will be in the near future, but that fact will not mean that it is to be put off for ever.
89 This matter, too, will have to be dealt with with great care. The position of junior Ministers, even in relation to the civil servants who serve them, is really quite ridiculous. The labours that they undertake are very heavy. If those of us who are their bosses allow them, they are appearing more and more above the surface and doing better and better work than ever before.
My hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeenshire said that junior Ministers should be treated as Members of Parliament. By that I suppose he means that whatever conclusion the House comes to about Members' allowances or salaries, that allowance should be made available for junior Ministers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] By a strange coincidence, my mind was moving on the same lines. When we decide it, we shall have to deal with the question of Ministers of State and eventually the question of Cabinet Ministers, because it is very easy to work out a permutation and combination which will make a Minister of State very much better off than Cabinet Ministers, in which case people will desire to go backwards in their careers instead of forward. While this may aid party meetings and appeal to our more ambitious friends, I think it would be undesirable for that situation to develop.
The House will see that this question of the remuneration of Under-Secretaries, Ministers of State and various others of their kin will take a little time to work out, and I cannot undertake that it will be done in the near future—not necessarily this summer. But it will be done when we get the opportunity of working out the right plan, and the plan will be submitted to this House. [An HON. MEMBER: "Will it be retrospective?"] I think there is a great objection to retrospective legislation, at any rate, on this side of the House. I do not exclude any possibility. I simply say that a plan will be laid before the House.
It will simplify our exchanges if I now turn to the third and main question, which is whether to introduce an allowance or an increase of salary for Members of Parliament. Our previous debate indicated to the public, I think, a fairly wide degree of unanimity on this point, with one or two dissentient voices. I took the trouble in my last speech to draw the attention of the House to the fact there were many 90 hon. Members who did not like the idea of a salary increase. I said that on purpose, because I did not think, when I last spoke, that that feeling had been sufficiently voiced in the House, and I thought that, if we were to reach a solution, hon. Members on all sides must give credit to sincere views of the type expressed by the hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian today, and by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Air Commodore Harvey) on the last occasion.
We must not underestimate the sincerity of any of our colleagues and our friends when they speak on this matter.
The official position of the Opposition and the Government remains, I think, in general, clear, taking this to be a House of Commons matter. The Leader of the Opposition said:I propose to support the proposals, because I think they are right. I have never found my constituents and my friends, however poor, fail to realise that we have to give the man or the woman the rate for the job."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 1486.]That was said by the Leader of the Opposition.
The position of the Government has remained throughout on this difficult question absolutely the same as that expressed by the Prime Minister when he said that in his view it would not be right in the present circumstances to proceed in the particular manner recommended by the Select Committee. The Prime Minister went on to say:There is no doubt, however, that a number of hon. Members are oppressed by serious difficulties because heavy and necessary expenses aborb so much of the Parliamentary salary.The Prime Minister went on to suggest in his first statement on this, in answer to those who wanted to know the Government's point of view, that other methods might be found and,The House may wish to consider alternative methods of dealing with this problem."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th April, 1954; Vol. 526, c. 1151.]I think that the House can accept that the Government's position throughout has been perfectly clear, quite consecutive and logical on this matter. We have never questioned that there is need. I could follow the moving references of my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove to the need for keeping the right types here in the House of Commons. We 91 think that the question of need was proved by the Select Committee, when it found that on the average £750 of the salary was eaten up by expenses, leaving, as I drew to the attention of the public, only £5 a week for hon. Members and their wives to live on.
Many hon. Members accepted the recommendations of the Committee, and I do not think that many in the House, even though they disagree with the recommendations, would reject the facts of the situation as put to the Committee. If the Government feel that some alternative method is to be found, and we acknowledge there is the question of need, and we all accept, as voiced so movingly by hon. Members already, that this great institution needs to keep itself in such an atmosphere and frame of mind that it can act judiciously in our great public affairs—if we accept all that, it only remains for me to follow up the Government's course a little further by indicating which line we prefer.
The hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian seemed to be seeking an answer to the question as to whose responsibility this matter was. In the ultimate event, the imposition of a charge or the bringing in of an Estimate must be done by the Government of the day. No one attempts to avoid that responsibility, least of all myself. In fact, one of the reasons I have attempted to adopt as judicial a manner as possible in this matter is that I may have the ultimate responsibility of carrying out the request of the House. We have not yet got to that stage. I think that when a Government says that the matter must be treated as a House of Commons matter and allows a free vote and says that the free vote is the right way of settling it, it is a little exaggerated to say that the matter must then be regarded as having been settled by deliberate decision of the Government. Surely it is for the collective wisdom of the House to decide.
One hon. Member thought it was a scandal that I was so weak-minded as to have allowed this situation to arise, and that the Government had not decided to put on the Whips, treat the matter as a vote of confidence and cram a decision through. I think that a little common sense is necessary in this matter. The Government might have been quite right 92 to adopt such a Draconian policy had they been able to rely on an absolutely certain majority. We must accept the facts as we find them. The fact is that we find certain views expressed in all sincerity, judging by the speeches made today by the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire, the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove and by those whose names appear on the Order Paper as supporters of the Motion. We have become somewhat mathematical over a small majority, and the facts speak for themselves.
It would be somewhat difficult to maintain an absolutely solid front on this matter, even if we desired to do so. That is the situation from the point of view of tactics. The real point is that the Prime Minister and the Government as a whole, and certainly I myself, sincerely feel that this is a matter for the House of Commons, and that we should try to seek the view of the House of Commons generally, without any duress and in as free a manner as possible. I hope that the conclusion this afternoon will not leave us in too muddled a state, and that we shall have some indication of what really is the wish of the House of Commons.
When I spoke previously I attempted to give some indication of what the possibilities were. As was said by the hon. Member for Sowerby, I supported one scheme, as reported in the OFFICIAL REPORT, and I went over a variety of other schemes for expenses, as reported in a number of columns which I shall not traverse today. The one I put first, namely, the possibility of providing for a scheme for meeting expenses, was to provide a sum of, say, £500 a year against which a Member could draw, free of tax, reimbursement of necessary expenses on showing that he had actually incurred the sum claimed. That I put as No. 1. I said at the time, and I still feel, that this isa straightforward and simple method of providing expenses."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 1492.]On examining the matter the Government have come to the conclusion that the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Ashford is, therefore, the closest to the view of the Government, as expressed originally by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, when he asked for some method to be found, and the 93 closest to any of the alternatives put forward in my previous speech. Therefore, I rose at this stage of the debate to say that if hon. Members desire guidance from the Government, as I hope they always will, I hope that they will support this line for a few reasons which I am now going to give.
Here we get into the very middle of the debate, because we find that the hon. Member for Sowerby, and the hon. Member for Cardiff, West in his opening speech, using these terms—that we "must not be different from other people"—that was said by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West; and "We must not draw a distinction between hon. Members and other citizens"; that was said by the hon. Member for Sowerby. The point of my previous intervention in the debate was to indicate that the position of a Member for Parliament is in fact today different from that of other citizens. It is different for this very reason—that the real and fundamental cause of the difficulty is not necessarily that the salary is not enough but that too many expenses have to be met by the hon. Member out of that salary.
That is why the Government feel that an effort to deal with the burden of expenses is the best way in which to deal with this problem. That burden is the dominating fact brought out by the Select Committee's Report and the dominating fact which strikes my mind on reading the Report. The Government feel that it is not unnatural, in giving guidance to the House, that they should recommend something towards saving hon. Members from having to meet out of their salary those heavy expenses which in no other profession are a charge against salary at all.
As I said, when speaking before, ordinarily people who are working in a profession may expect their employer to pay these costs for them. A Member of Parliament pays them himself—and, as I said, in our case our employers are often only too keen to get rid of us and do not pay any of these expenses which are an integral part of our working life.
§ Sir R. Boothby
That does not, of course, apply to self-employed people, of whom there are a large number in the country.
§ Mr. Butler
There is one similarity between us and self-employed people; each 94 of us has a free will in entering the profession. But when we are here we face heavy obligatory expenses without incurring which we cannot carry on our work. The self-employed man chooses his own task and he can choose where he does it and whether he pays his expenses or not.
In his public service, an hon. Member has to travel round his constituency, keep two homes—which the ordinary self-employed man does not have to do, and which is one of the great expenses—use a long-distance telephone and have a postbag which he cannot control. He is, in fact, rendering a public service, and in my view he is in a position different from that which obtains in any other profession in the country. That is recognised by the expenses system which is provided by overseas Legislatures.
I come to the next question on the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford. When I referred to it before in general terms I said it would not be very different in result from the proposal to have a fixed salary rise. I said that, and I have not gone back on it. Those words were quoted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove. But I went on to say this about the system of expenses:It would be founded on a different principle and the House might think that such a scheme would be defensible.That is the principle upon which the Government stand. We feel that it is a different principle to acknowledge that a Member of Parliament at present has heavy expenses and that those expenses must be met, whereas we have always found the greatest possible difficulty in reconciling our consciences to a straight rise in salary in the present circumstances, as the Prime Minister declared. We have stuck to our original line, we have never altered our view, and our solution would lie along the lines of the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford.
§ Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)
Does the right hon. Gentleman have in mind that the expenses to be allowed are those which an employer would normally allow for an employee or the very much more stringent Schedule E expense allowances which are referred to in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Ashford?
§ Mr. Butler
I was just coming to that point, in reply to the considerable speech on the subject by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton), with which I now propose to deal. The arrangement which he had in mind—and I warn the House that if this scheme is adopted it would have to be worked out in greater detail than is the case at present—was described by me as reported in the OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, in C. 1492 of my original speech, and I followed that up in c. 1497. We had in mind that hon. Members should deal with the Fees Office. We had in mind that rules should be laid down by the House, which of course would be related to and under the inspiration of the rules laid down by the Inland Revenue, because otherwise this would not constitute a proper definition of expenses; and we had in mind that those rules would be followed by hon. Members in putting in their claims for expenses.
This would be very much the same system as is already adopted in hon. Members' claims for expenses under their salaries. It would simply mean that there would be a £500 allowance—and this is the answer to the hon. Member for Sowerby—out of which expenses would be repaid on the basis of rules, and those rules would have to be consistent with the Inland Revenue rules.
When my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove asks, "Who is going to allow somebody from outside to come along or somebody grandmotherly to lay down the rules," I would only ask him for how many years he has been claiming expenses from the Inland Revenue without calling them "grandmotherly" or "Somebody coming along from outside." I claim, and hon. Members cannot deny, that if we make an extension of this system to take in an extra £500 on the lines so familiar to hon. Members already, we could work something out which I think would be thoroughly practical and which would commend itself to public opinion.
§ Mr. David Logan (Liverpool, Scotland Division)
Bearing in mind that many hon. Members have been putting in small amounts for their living expenses, would they not lose by this system because they could not live at any higher rate and get the benefit of the £500?
§ Mr. Butler
I do not think so. Repayment of expenses could not exceed £500, but if the expenses were below £500 they would all be repaid and the extra benefit would be felt in the salary, which in itself would be taxed, as I described when I spoke on the previous occasion.
I said:Shortening it, it would come to this, that for every additional £100 under any new proposal which an hon. Member might receive by way of contribution towards expenses, £100 of the Member's salary, which previously had been devoted to expenses, would then fall to be treated as salary."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 1492–97.]That is the technical position, and the result would be, as I explained, that if there were this extra amount available as salary, it would be taxed, and the poor man, especially the man with a family, would get more than the rich man.
§ Mr. Bowles
The Chancellor said—I do not know whether he meant this or not—that a Member could not claim more than £500 expenses. Does that mean that a Member must not spend more than £500? If we are to claim from the Fees Office up to £500, and then go to the Income Tax in the ordinary way for the remainder of the expenses, that will mean two people handling the same problem. Who will decide when we go to the Fees Office and when to the Inland Revenue?
§ Mr. Butler
It would be possible to claim expenses over and above the £500 allowed in this proposal, and that would be done in the ordinary way, against the Parliamentary salary, as is done today. But account would have to be taken by the Inland Revenue of the £500 which had been claimed, otherwise there would be overlapping in respect of the sum for expenses. There would have to be this dual process of application—to the Fees Office as well as a continuation of the application for an allowance against the £1,000 salary which takes place at present. I am glad of the opportunity to make that clear because it is important that hon. Members should not think that after receiving this extra expense allowance they could then double the claim, applying for the same expenses against the Inland Revenue.
§ Mr. Bowles
That was not my suggestion at all. Previously we have made claims for expenses against income to the 97 ordinary inspector of taxes. Why do part of it through the Fees Office and another part through the Inland Revenue? I am not suggesting any overlapping. That did not enter my mind. It is just a question of dealing with the matter through two people.
§ Mr. Butler
That is the plan which we had in mind, and that is the way in which we thought the extra expenses might be allowed to Members.
If, in the result, a clearer system could be worked out, I would gladly consider it, because the main point of the Amendment is to make available expenses over and above the present £1,000 salary to Members in the light of the work which they do. Its result might be much the same as an increase of taxed salary and it might result in nothing very much extra, in the case of the rich man. That is the result of this system, and I think it is a system which would commend itself most clearly to public opinion at present.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
When would this allowance on account of expenses be paid? Would it be paid at the end of the period when all claims had been proved, or would it be paid monthly, with the salary?
§ Mr. Butler
The right hon. Gentleman raises a point I was coming to in answering the hon. Member for Sowerby.
It would be impossible, I think, to draw expenses like this except at set periods. It might be at the end of the year. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I say that so that hon. Members may realise the system, because these expenses could not be claimed back unless they had been incurred. The hon. Member for Sowerby, who represents the staff of the Inland Revenue, will be on my side, I think, in saying that if it were done monthly it would be too complicated to carry out.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
A previous Government allowed Parliamentary Secretaries to charge £500 for expenses as Members against their salaries. That was the intention of the House. The Income Tax law made it impossible for them to charge their expenses against the £500, and they have never been able to do it.
§ Mr. Butler
I have been assured by the Financial Secretary that he can draw 98 expenses if he can prove expenses. All he has to do is to prove the expenses, and then he gets the allowance. That is what is happening at the present time.
I have explained to the hon. Member for Sowerby and to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove that this system will work. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It is not one of great ease, but hon. Members have to balance the administrative inconvenience of working this arrangement against the advantage that, I think, it has with public opinion. I have purposely read the evidence given by the Select Committee in pages xviii, xix and xx of its Report. The administrative inconvenience has to be weighed against the advantage with public opinion. At this stage the public comprehension of our duties as Members is very limited indeed. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian was right in saying that we need to do a little more educating of the public in this matter.
In my opinion, it would be easier for us to bring public opinion along with us if the public saw that what we were doing was meeting expenses. The result would come out very like the result of the other proposal, but even if it were to come out like that it would be better to bring public opinion along with us, and easier if the public saw that we were dealing with our expenses.
I have a great responsibility in this matter. I am as closely in touch with my constituency and other people's constituencies as anybody else, and I am aware of public opinion on this matter. I do think it needs to be brought along with us. It is not only the spirit and the traditions of this House and our joint, corporate life that matter, in the interests of our democracy we must bring public opinion along with us. It is my judgment and the judgment of the Government that this approach is more likely to bring public opinion along with us than is the Motion.
§ Mr. R. R. Stokes (Ipswich)
Would not public opinion come along very fast if somebody were to make it clear that this proposal has nothing whatever to do with the cost of living, and that it has been ascertained by the hardest taskmaster of all, the Inland Revenue Department, in a declared statement, that the average 99 expenses of Members are £750 each a year, leaving the average Member with £250 a year to live on?
§ Mr. Butler
That is precisely why I am recommending that the best way to deal with this matter is by an expenses allowance, rather than by a direct salary rise, which, I think, in many quarters would be misunderstood. That is why the Government take this line. I do not think that this method will be regarded as a catch. There is no desire to pull wool over anybody's eyes. The complexity of claiming expenses for tax relief was very great when we started, and I am sure we should get used to this system too if we gave it a chance. I therefore recommend support for the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, West asked us to decide this matter without a vote. I have already suggested that the House would be wise to give the expenses plan a run, because, I believe, we can make it work. If the main Motion is put, I do not think the hon. Member will get his wish. I think there will be a vote, because I am convinced that many of my hon. Friends on this side of the House will feel obliged to vote against it, not from a desire to deny better opportunities for Members but because they feel most sincerely about it. I put in a word for them now, because if there is a vote I want the hon. Member and the House to know that there is not any desire to break the spirit that has animated our debate but simply a desire to express very strongly felt convictions on this matter.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
What will be the right hon. Gentleman's attitude if the House in its wisdom decides by a free vote to accept the Motion?
§ Mr. Butler
The hon. Member asks what will be the attitude of the Government if the House decides to accept the Motion. I already indicated in the earlier part of my speech that the Government have not decided to drive their legions through to the Lobby in support of a particular line. We are awaiting the guidance of the House in the matter. It will clearly be necessary for the Government to consider the decision of the House before I can make any announcement. I must reserve the right of the 100 Government to consider the decision of the House. It would be most unfair to my colleagues if I did not. There is certainly no desire in our procedure to do other than take the view of the House. That is what we want to do.
§ 6.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Ede (South Shields)
I was rather perturbed when the Chancellor of the Exchequer alluded to the improvement that has taken place in the efficiency of Parliamentary Secretaries, for I had the doubtful privilege—doubtful in view of what he has said—of being his first Parliamentary Secretary. No man is a hero to his valet, and no Minister is a hero to his Parliamentary Secretary. However, when I was the right hon. Gentleman's Parliamentary Secretary the right hon. Gentleman came as near to being a hero as any Parliamentarian can be to a fellow Parliamentarian. This is the first time I have ever had to follow him in a debate. I had very great respect, when sitting beside him, for the way in which he could present an unpalatable case to the House. I do not think he has ever done it better than he has done it today. That, however, does not reconcile me to the proposition he has put forward.
I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman understands quite how the poorer Members live. As I understand his statement it is that, as far as the first £500 of expenses are concerned, they will be drawn at the end of the year. That is to say, we shall have to live during that year, steadily building up the expenses that we pay out of our Parliamentary salaries, and then, at the end of the year, our claims will be considered and, I am going to assume, will be granted.
That is part of the financial difficulty of those less well off. It is the problem of meeting the weekly grocer's bill and the payments that one has to make to one's wife or housekeeper for the ordinary running of the house. Of course, those hon. Members who employ secretaries will have to find the money to pay them weekly, and all the other expenses mount up in the same way.
I want to be quite frank with the House, because a great many personal statements have been made and accepted in good faith. The expenses that I claim do not amount to £500. I have a very democratic constituency. The hon. 101 Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) told us on 13th May of a colonel who presented a piece of gold plate to the Corporation as a result of haying represented them for 20 years and having amassed a large fortune. I want to give one illustration to the Chancellor as an indication of the different way in which some democratic constituencies now behave.
In 1950, my constituency celebrated the centenary of its incorporation. To mark the occasion I thought that I would give it what I had given my native town when it was incorporated, a mace. I inquired what the cost would be. In 1937, a mace cost £80; a duplicate of that mace in 1950 would have cost £330, so I decided that, much as I admire my constituency and would like to do it, I could not afford £330. I happened to mention this to the gentleman who would have been the mace bearer, and he said, "It would have been very wrong of you to give a mace; that would have been equivalent to bribing the constituency."
A constituency where that is the ruling spirit—it is the one borough constituency which has never returned a Conservative and which presented a jewelled sword to Garibaldi, which gives an indication of its history—is comparatively easy to represent from the point of view of expenses. But we all know that this matter differs very much from one constituency to another. Therefore, I want to make it plain that I am not speaking as one who is over-oppressed by the kind of expenses that I know tend to count for a very great deal in this matter.
Although I do not put myself forward as an example of extravagant living, I tell the right hon. Gentleman that at the end of every year I find my bank balance less than it was at the beginning. It seems to me that all the teetotallers are unlucky, because my hon. Friends the Members for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) and for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) both said that they neither smoked nor drank, but I understand that their position at the end of the year is the same as mine. [An HON. MEMBER: "Other vices?"] I have no doubt I have, and so perhaps have they, but I do not regard drinking as a vice. It a man wants to drink, let him; if he wants to smoke, let him—
§ Mr. Ede
I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) regards it as falling from grace to adopt that line, but I have no doubt that hon. Members have other expenses to meet.
I want the Chancellor to realise that the finding of the Select Committee was only an emphatic assertion of a state of affairs which had already become intolerable for a great many Members of the House. I am glad to find, also, that we are all supporters of democracy now. Even the right hon. Gentleman, in the concluding sentences of his speech pointed out how necessary it was that democracy should be preserved.
When Macaulay made the famous speech on the great Reform Bill he said of a certain Conservative who then spoke that if he could prove a statement which he had made about the impending dissolution of the Monarchy that would occur if reform was granted, he would have succeeded in bringing forward an argument for democracy infinitely stronger than any to be found in the works of Paine; but now we all accept the rights of man and the views of the rebellious needleman.
Today "The Times," I think quite rightly, starts a deplorable leading article by asking:What is a Member of Parliament meant to be? What is the kind of House of Commons the country needs?In the nearly 700 years that Parliament has been assembled, our representative institutions have steadily adapted themselves to the needs of the requirements of the age they were actually serving. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) said, they started off with the payment of Members, it was dropped, and in the 18th century payment was found in another way by providing for the place men.
§ Mr. Ede
Just consider the case of George Selwyn, the man who liked looking at corpses. When he went to call on Lord Holland in his last illness, and his card was sent up, it was said that he had inquired and would call again. Lord Holland said, "If he calls tomorrow and I am alive, show him up; I shall be pleased to see him. And if I am dead, show him up, he will be delighted to see 103 me." Selwyn is described in the dictionary of National Biography as a wit and politician, and it says:—Already, before 21, he had been appointed to the sinecures of Clerk of the Irons and Surveyor of the Meltings of the Mint, the work being performed by deputy, and his sole labour consisted in dining weekly at the public expense. His pay, and the allowance from his father, brought him a total of only £220 a year… .In 1747, he was returned to Parliament for the family borough of Ludgershall, of which he became the proprietor on the death of his father on 6th November, 1751. He also succeeded to the estate and mansion of Matson, and to influence which enabled him to sit for the City of Gloucester from 1754 to 1780, while he could nominate two Members for Ludgershall.In Parliament he was not merely silent, but nearly always asleep, except when taking part in a Division. He voted with the Court Party and was rewarded with the further sinecure of Registrar of the Court of Chancery in Barbados, and Paymaster of the Works, with a large salary. The latter office was abolished in 1782, but Selwyn was appointed by Pitt in the following year to the equally lucrative position of Surveyor General of the Works.So it is quite clear that throughout its history, in one way or another, provision has had to be made for meeting the expenses which membership of this House throws upon people. If anyone can make a difficult proposition clear, the Chancellor can be relied upon to do so, but, after listening to the right hon. Gentleman, I still think that if I were questioned at a public meeting on this matter—and I never have been—I would sooner rise to defend the straight £1,500 salary than the complicated arrangement which the right hon. Gentleman said he had made clear; because I might have in the audience my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) or one of his colleagues in the profession he used to follow, and they might put to me the questions that were raised in the details given in the speech of my hon. Friend, which seemed to me to be absolutely devastating as a criticism of the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman has commended to the House.
The hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Major Anstruther-Gray) rather over-stated the influence that this issue is likely to have at a General Election, whether we decide it one way or another. I wonder how many hon. Members opposite have been asked their views at a public meeting on 104 how they have voted with regard to past increases or will vote on the increase that is proposed in the Select Committee's Report. I believe that the country now expects that this House shall consist of people drawn from every walk of life. I believe that that is its adaptation to the things of our time.
In 1832, the problem was how to get the middle classes in, and Macaulay's speech was mainly directed to satirising those who said that people who lived in the neighbourhood of Regent's Park, where the middle classes had begun to take up their residence, would be likely to vote for the destruction of the Monarchy and the abolition of the House of Lords. They were brought in, and from 1867 onwards the franchise has been extended by successive Governments until now we have universal adult suffrage, and the representation of people from every walk of life is expected in this House.
It has been demonstrated conclusively that we cannot expect that representation to continue to be carried out by people who are willing to place their services at the disposal of the community without strings unless a substantial improvement is made in the position of hon. Members. As I gather, the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that this is admitted by the Government and it is merely a question of which of the two ways, the one enshrined in the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) or the one in the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) the House would prefer.
After listening to the speeches that have been made from the other side of the House, including those by the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) and the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby), I think that so far the weight of the argument has been in favour of the Motion in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West. I share with the Chancellor the view that we must believe that all the speeches in this debate, whether for the Amendment or for the Motion or whether by those who would have neither, have been sincere. Quite frankly, I never doubt the sincerity of an utterance that I hear in this House, because on most issues I find it so difficult to 105 make up my own mind that I am never surprised that an intelligent person, having considered the same facts, comes to a different conclusion. Therefore, I accept the views of the hon. Member for Ashford who, in the first debate, made a very powerful speech on the general issue of whether an increase in some form or another was necessary.
I recollect the time when the Select Committee was appointed and the way in which some of my hon. Friends studied the names of those who had been appointed from the other side of the House and expressed the gravest misgivings as to what would be the result. We had a Committee which consisted of six of my hon. and right hon. Friends and six right hon. and hon. Members from the party opposite, with the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) in the chair. They held 12 meetings. At the first five they heard evidence. Then they spent seven meetings to consider the Report that they were to make to the House.
They reported to us, in paragraph 52:The evidence leaves Your Committee no option but to report that the expenses necessarily entailed by Membership of Parliament are such that the present payment of £1,000 a year is not sufficient …The remaining paragraphs of the Report were very carefully analysed for us at our previous debate by the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery and, therefore, I do not need to go through them now. In those paragraphs the members of the Committee gave reasons for their recommendation, after considering all the schemes for dealing with expenses, including that which is now brought forward by the Government. They could not recommend other than a straight increase.
The House, to whom this matter has been left by the Chancellor, should not ignore the fact that 12 people, drawn equally from both sides of the House, after prolonged consideration reached such a decision. I can only hope that after what the right hon. Gentleman said in answer to the last question put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West before I rose to speak, he will be prepared to accept the view of the House and to find ways of implementing it should the House come down in favour of the Motion which has been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West.
106 I should like to add a few words about Members' pensions. As I read the Report, a much higher salary would have been recommended had the question of pension not been included among the recommendations. The Chancellor said on the occasion of our previous debate:… even if we read the rather vague paragraph 62 of the Select Committee's Report, …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 1490.]I ask him to pay particular attention to the second sub-paragraph of paragraph 62 of the Select Committee's Report. which states:This being so, Your Committee, despite the arguments which may be adduced in favour of a more substantial increase, based on the much heavier work and responsibilities which today fall upon Members, and on the much more generous arrangements existing overseas, consider that in all the circumstances, and on the understanding that their recommendation for a pension scheme is definitely linked with it, the increase should be one which will bring the annual payment to Members to £1,500, and Your Committee so recommend.I hope that when giving consideration to this matter of hon. Members' pensions the right hon. Gentleman and the Government will bear that sub-paragraph of the Report well in mind.
I hope that, no matter what else may be said of me when I am no longer a Member of this House, it will at least be said that I was a House of Commons man. I had the great honour of being, for a very few troublous months, the Leader of the House. What I have heard, and I think it is now generally repudiated, that making appropriate provision for aged Members would lead to an increase in the power of the Whips, is something which is quite unjustified. I am bound to say that such trouble as I had with hon. Members on my side was mainly with older Members and with Members who were by no means among the more wealthy.
I sincerely hope that we shall be able, in spite of what was said by the hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian, to think that there are occasions when we have to put the position of the House of Commons as an institution very much to the fore when thinking on these issues, for I believe that it is on the continued existence, as an efficient, working body of our country, that the future of democracy, not merely here but in many other parts of the world, depends. 107 Only last week I had the great privilege of entertaining three citizens of the United States here. They were astounded when I told them what the salary here was and what the arrangements were which were made for the comfort and convenience of hon. Members. We may be the Mother of Parliaments, but we seem to have had a very large number of children who have done a great deal better for themselves than we have ever done. That, I understand, is not uncommon as a relationship between parents and children. But, when one reads of what our Dominion Parliaments, with nothing like our responsibilities, regard as the appropriate remuneration and conveniences for Members I do not think we can be accused of asking for too much when we put forward this proposition.
Fortunately for us, I think that the writer of the first leader in "The Times" was well answered by the writer of the third leading article of that newspaper today. He was writing upon the visit of the Executive Council and Cabinet of New Zealand to Auckland today to celebrate the commencement of representative government there. A wretched deputy governor was left with a Parliament that had started, that got into difficulties, that had been prorogued and then, all sorts of complications having arisen, a Parliament which apparently had elected itself, had met. The leader says:But it took six months for Wynyard to consult Whitehall by post; and, before a friendly settlement had been reached on the Colonial Office ruling that responsible Government 'rested on no written law but on usage in England.'I hope that what has been said here today indicates that the usage in England, on which our original existence and our continued existence depend shows that through the ages we have steadily striven to become the mirror of the constituencies that we represent, bringing before the Government of the day their grievances and their support. Because of that this House has sustained, twice in our generation, a Government faced with overwhelming difficulties in war and in foreign affairs. We have survived because we were able to demonstrate that we represented the view of the whole of the people of the country.
108 When the Reform Act of 1832 was passed no one would have given 20 years' purchase of the Monarchy. We have lived to see the day when our streets are crowded in support of a Monarchy which is the treasure of all sections of the community. Everyone knows that on occasions of great public rejoicing the best beflagged streets in our constituencies are those in which the poorest people live, because they believe that in this great democracy—still the greatest nation in the world—they speak and count through us. It will be an ill day when they think that men who can speak from the bitter experiences that they themselves know exist cannot come to speak freely in this House because the expense is too great. I sincerely hope that the House will pass the Motion moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West.
§ 7.28 p.m.
§ Sir Thomas Moore (Ayr)
As the House will note by reading the Amendments on the Order Paper, many of my colleagues on this side of the House and myself have accepted—against the judgment and advice of the Chancellor—the Motion as moved so admirably by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas), but we have accepted it with one important reservation, with which I shall deal in a moment.
We all realise, partly through the Report of the Select Committee, partly through our own knowledge, partly through the debate which took place 10 days ago, that there are many hon. Members who are in grave and great financial difficulties owing to their occupation. Among them are some of the most competent, faithful and devoted colleagues we have. Those who have put their names to the Amendment in my name were, however, troubled in their minds because, as already referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Major Anstruther-Gray), they realised that very many old-age and other pensioners have still greater financial difficulties than we have and those difficulties are not due to their occupation, but just to their age. And, finally, we know that the Chancellor has only a limited amount of money with which to help anyone, and therefore it obviously becomes a matter of priorities. 109 Despite the comfortable assurance felt by the Leader of the Opposition, who spoke during our last debate on this subject, I for one—and I am pretty certain that I am supported by a number of my hon. Friends—feel that I could not look an old-age pensioner friend in the face were we to put ourselves at the top of the Chancellor's queue. But, in our general examination of this problem, we must bear one or two further considerations in mind. First, we must remember that hon. Members adopted the profession of politics voluntarily, whereas old-age pensioners become old whether they like it or not.
It may be argued that Members of Parliament, with their wide responsibilities, are more affected by the alleged increase in the cost of goods and services necessary to their duties than are old-age pensioners. The answer to that, I imagine, is that those hon. Members who stood again in 1951 and that large number of hon. Members who entered the House for the first time in that year, did so with their eyes open and further, that according to our own knowledge, and as revealed by financial statistics, conditions generally have not altered but have more or less remained static since that year. It seems to me therefore that the validity of that argument is seriously diminished.
One can, of course, understand the difficulty of the Chancellor if he accepts our view about priorities. It is obvious that there is a far greater number of old-age pensioners affected than Members of Parliament, and that therefore the cost to the Treasury would be entirely disproportionate and in the end he may well be unable to help anyone at all, which I think would be a pity. But, notwithstanding all the considerations which I have mentioned, my hon. Friends and I still think that whatever money the Chancellor may have available during this year, and up to the end of this Parliament, should be devoted to easing the lot of hard pressed old-age and other needy pensioners. That is the primary emotion accompanying the conviction of hon. Members on this side of the House.
That brings me to the other main Amendments on the Order Paper. Speaking personally, I should have to reject the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) for a rather tragic reason. Great minds 110 all over the world are today thinking about and trying to devise means by which a third world war can be avoided. But supposing they fail. The last world war commenced in 1939 and we were unable to have a General Election for 10 years. Surely that dread thought cannot have been in the mind of my hon. Friend when he put down his Amendment.
For an entirely different reason, I must reject the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes). To me, at all exents, it would be quite intolerable to have to explain to the Inland Revenue why I had stayed at one hotel rather than at another when carrying out work in my constituency. It would also be quite intolerable to have to explain why I am using a Rover car, which I have, rather than a Bentley car, which I have not, when touring my constituency. I am sure too that it would cause great embarrassment to Inland Revenue officials were they put in the position of having to demand an explanation. I was not convinced by what was said by the Chancellor. He did not make the method clear to me, and I can visualise all kinds of difficulties arising in the operation of that process, besides the great difficulty of having any claims for expenses postponed for a year.
What therefore is the right course to adopt? I have tried to indicate that we believe that deferment is obviously essential in fairness and justice to those who are less well-off than ourselves. The Chancellor has indicated that he will be turning this matter over in his mind, that he still awaits further advice from the House of Commons. If our theory of priorities is accepted, and deferment of our salary increase is approved—as I trust it will be—what is the Chancellor to do?
I wish to suggest a way out which may meet the wishes of those who put down the Motion and those who object to it. When the last increase was approved in 1946 the basic rate was fixed at £1,000 a year. I wish to make clear that it was generally assumed that this £1,000 comprised both remuneration and expense allowance, though no definite assessment of the expenses was ever put on paper. Now we have a definite figure, because the Select Committee has told us that £750 is the average amount for the expenses of hon. Members. Very well, let 111 the grant be made in due course for £750 a year which would be free of Income Tax, it being allowed for expenses. Then we come back to the original £1,000 which we agree obviously included an expenses allowance, and so we have to deduct an amount from that figure to compensate for the expenses allowance as at 1946.
I cannot quote an arbitrary figure, but supposing that we estimate the 1946 expense allowance at £250. That gives us an expense allowance now of £750 tax free, and £750 which is subject to tax. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer will give that idea careful attention, I think he will find that it is easier, fairer and more simple to administer than any method so far described—and certainly better than the method he described. I feel that such an arrangement would commend itself to all hon. Members, irrespective of party in this House and, what is far more important, it would commend itself to their constituents outside. This is a matter in which one can only hope that the House will decide wisely.
§ 7.39 p.m.
§ Mrs. Jean Mann (Coatbridge and Airdrie)
I have listened with great interest to those hon. Members who spoke in favour of the Motion and those who spoke for the Amendments. It was obvious that there is a very healthy fear of public opinion among hon. Members. The arguments for the Amendments seemed to be based on this fear rather than on a conscientious anxiety to do justice whether it meets with the approval of public opinion or not.
If I dwelt on the items which appear to inspire fear on the part of hon. Members opposite one would be that the public expects its Members of Parliament to show restraint at this time. There is one thing wrong with that expression of opinion coming from hon. Members opposite. Those who desire restraint to be shown are usually those in receipt of a second, and probably a third, income. They wish hon. Members to show restraint knowing full well that since 1938 other members of the community have had salary and wage increases of 200 per cent. while M.Ps. have had an increase of only 60 per cent. Also, those who are saying that M.Ps. should show restraint voted for the increase in 112 judges' salaries. Those who are putting forward the case of the old-age pensioners seemed to forget all about the plight of the old-age pensioners when it came to the question of increases in judges' salaries.
I was amused at the hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Major Anstruther-Gray). He admitted that he voted against an increase being given to Members in 1938, and he says that he must now have some regard to the opinion expressed in his constituency. Such was the opinion in his constituency of his action in voting against an increase in 1938 that his constituents took the first opportunity they could of putting him out, choosing someone from the opposite platform. In other words, the hon. and gallant Member lost his seat. I forecast that he will lose his seat again even if he does vote against an increase at this time.
§ Mr. Nigel Fisher (Hitchin)
Surely the hon. Lady is not suggesting as a serious argument that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Major Anstruther-Gray) lost his seat seven years afterwards on that issue. The General Election of 1945 was fought on a totally different issue.
§ Mrs. Mann
The hon. Member for Hitchin (Mr. Fisher) apparently assumes that the next General Election will be fought on the issue Members' salaries; otherwise, why the interruption? None of us knows on what issue the next General Election will be fought, including the hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian.
As far as the public opinion is concerned, many of us feel that the public are not so much interested in this matter as they are about many other matters. We also feel that what fans public opinion is the Press, and the Press have generally been wrong about the whole aspect of this question. To begin with, one of the first newspapers issued after the Select Committee made its Report told its readers that the Select Committee was recommending free travel facilities to the wives of Members. The newspaper was fanning public opinion in the direction in which it wanted it to go, but if those responsible for the article had read the Report they would have known that they were wrong.
113 The much—quoted newspaper, "The Times," first came out against the Select Committee's Report, pointing out that every Member of Parliament ought to have a second job. But it found that public opinion just did not respond to the idea of M.Ps. having a second job. My constituents have told me straight that if I take a second job they will find another Member, for they expect me to devote my entire time to Parliamentary duties; and If I cannot promise to do that they will get someone who can.
Much has been said about ink flowing from fountain pens and how easy it is to obtain secondary remuneration if one writes articles. I have a standing invitation with two or three editors, one national and the other provincial, to write articles for them whenever I feel that I can do so. But I have not been able even to think of an article, much as I should like to write one, because of the pressure of work in this House. We work from 10 o'clock in the morning until 10.30 every night, and at the week-end we usually have two or three engagements. That indicates how a Member is pressed today.
If hon. Members opposite feel that this is not the time to ask for an increase, it is open to them not to take it. Others feel that the old-age pensioners should be attended to first. It is not the fault of the Opposition that the old-age pensioners were not attended to in the Budget. I do not want to be partisan, but we must put this on a proper basis. The amount which would be required to give effect to the Motion would give the old-age pensioners 3d. a week or even less than that, I am told.
§ Mr. Lewis
There are 600 M.Ps. Suppose the increase cost the Exchequer £300,000, which it would not, because many hon. Members pay highly in taxation. If my hon. Friend works the sum out on the basis of there being about four million pensioners, she will see that it would mean an infinitesimal amount to the old-age pensioners, working it out on a weekly or an annual basis.
§ Sir T. Moore
What has been said does not answer my point about Members putting themselves at the head of the queue for any money which becomes available.
§ Mrs. Mann
Many hon. Members feel for the old-age pensioners, because in 114 what they have left after they have paid their expenses they are very near to the position of the old-age pensioners. I suggest to hon. Members who feel that the old-age pensioners should be attended to first that if the increase comes to them before the old-age pensioners get something, they should pass it on as a donation to the funds of the old-age pensioners, who will be delighted to accept it.
§ Mrs. Mann
I do not want to become too personal.
I want now to deal with the Amendment which the Chancellor favoured. As a Member of the Select Committee, I was able to examine budgets and see a great many aspects of the question which have not occurred to the Chancellor. The Chancellor talked a lot about public opinion. I have here an extract from a newspaper. It says:Tomorrow our M.Ps. will vote on giving themselves bigger pay. It may be a straight £500-a-year rise or £500 tax-free expenses. Do you know what £500 tax-free expenses would really mean? Take an M.P., married with one child. His present £1,000 salary, plus £500 expenses, plus Income Tax on the £500 which he saves, would give him the equivalent of about £1,800 a year.That is how public opinion is being fanned against that proposal, and how it will be fanned. It is equally fantastic, because one might as well say that a farm labourer who has avoided all these Income Tax claims, is therefore, in reverse, a remarkably wealthy man.
I take another newspaper which is fanning public opinion—a responsible organ like the "Glasgow Herald," a very fair, informative newspaper. This does not appear in the editorial, which I have always found very fair, but it appears as coming from some political correspondent, who, I think, has not got the slightest realisation of what Members of Parliament have to face in regard to conducting the business of a constituency of 50,000 voters. The writer goes to this length, speaking of the Select Committee's Report:The Report may be searched in vain for any M.P.'s actual budget.115 We know that that is a travesty of the Select Committee's Report. We reported that we had examined over 300 budgets, and that we had been so meticulous in our examination that we had brought before the Committee an Inland Revenue official who could certify that these expenses in the budget which was before us, were expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of the M.P.'s duty. Yet this is the kind of public opinion to which hon. Members opposite give heed.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way. In answer to what she has just said, may I say that one may search the Report in vain for the budget of a single Member of Parliament. That is perfectly true, but I, as Chairman, gave an undertaking to every hon. Member to whom I wrote that, in no circumstances whatever, would the particulars given to me and handed over by me to Members of the Select Committee be published.
§ Mrs. Mann
Nevertheless, the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that we have made it clear in our Report that we examined the budgets of hundreds of Members, although we did not know at the time whose budgets we were examining. The name of the Member had become merely a number, and none of us knew anything at all about him other than the fact that the number represented a Member of Parliament. There is no excuse whatever for any newspaperman saying that we did not examine a single budget.
§ Mr. Follick
My hon. Friend says that the Committee examined 300 budgets. Do I understand her to say that only 300 budgets were asked for or that every hon. Member was asked to supply one?
§ Mrs. Mann
That is so. I hope I shall not be interrupted again, because I want to allow other hon. Members the opportunity to take part in the debate.
Over the weekend, there was a third example, and hon. Members will notice that they are all Scots who have given 116 these reports. They might recall another Scot, Robert Burns, who said:Here's freedom to him that wad read, Here's freedom to him that wad write; There's nane ever fear'd that the truth should be heard, But they wham the truth wad indict.Here is the third one, written by John Gordon, and that is certainly not an Irish name. He talks about unhappy Members of Parliament voting themselves a whacking increase, and says this:Here they are wondering how to give themselves a high rate of exemption on their tax expenses claims while a battle goes on in the law courts over whether a £10-a-week vicar should get £8 allowed for the expense of entertaining his visiting bishop.Obviously, the man does not know that there are many Members of the House, whose budgets we have examined, who spend some hundreds of pounds in entertaining their constituents, and who do not receive one penny of Income Tax relief under the heading of entertainment. That is one reason why I think the Chancellor's proposals were not quite fair, because, mostly, those who run into £300 for entertaining constituents are in and around London, and, therefore, do not have expenses like Scottish hon. Members in staying overnight in hotels. This Scotsman goes on to say:If vicars, like Members of Parliament, could have a State-subsidised canteen in which to do their entertaining, how much easier life would be for them. The Archbishop of Canterbury should look into the idea.Yes, the Archbishop should come down here and look into our Dining Room. He should come in any night, like some of my friends when I bring them in here, and who are afraid to ask for anything off the menu, but just say, "We will have fish and chips."
I brought three friends in one night for fish and chips, but before they put a knife and fork into the fish and chips, I had 3s. 6d. to pay—ls. each for my visitors, because they were not Members, and 2d. each to the staff fund-3s. 6d.altogether. Yet this chap writes about our State-subsidised canteen, and hon. Members opposite give weight to that sort of opinion, which really does not stand up to the truth of the matter.
What is the truth of the matter? I speak for myself. My family are now educated and retirement has no terrers for me. I am in a very fortunate position of having a family who would regard 117 keeping me as a responsibility which they would consider a privilege. I wish there was more of that spirit in the country today. Therefore, I have no personal axe to grind here. If an increase comes along, it certainly will be easier for me in the performance of my duties. I confess that, although members of my family each have cars, I have not got one, and that I often stand waiting for buses and see them passing me. Probably, I shall soon be able to afford a taxi and a great many other things, such as a telephone for my agent and more secretarial help. I could always do with more secretarial help.
But I feel for some of our university graduates on these benches who have come here from Scotland. Much has been said about the artisan type, like David Kirkwood, but I could name several hon. Members on these benches. It is more than 20 years since they graduated, but if they had stayed in the humble profession of teaching they would now be taking home to their wives £1,600 a year. They could easily have been headmasters by now. Instead, they are taking home to their wives about £8 a week.
My family are educated, but these hon. Members still have to educate their families. If a person has not a house by the time he is my age I am sorry for him. Long long ago the last mortgage on any property of mine was paid off, and I have no banker's overdraft. I would not like to be in debt to a banker. I can, therefore, talk on behalf of those who have to get into debt with a banker, who have still to repay mortgages or educate their children. They have the bias against them that they are earning £1,000 a year. "You are earning £1,000 a year? How dare you come to a local education authority and apply on behalf of your child?"
There is not another section of the community in our position. We start off in Scotland with a constituency of approximately 50,000 people on the voters' roll. In England, the Boundary Commission make it 57,000. Every one of those people is entitled to write to his M.P., and the M.P. is entitled to reply. If the 50,000 people on my voters' roll wrote to me only twice a year, and I replied, £14 more than my £1,000 of so-called salary would be absorbed. What 118 is now proposed would cost each of the 50,000 on my electoral roll a 2½d. stamp. I know that there are ever so many of them who think I am not worth a 2½d. stamp, and it is open to them to get their 2½d. back by simply writing to me. They can get their own back at any time. No wonder the Chancellor refers to Member's "allowances" and not to Member's "salaries." The Member has not a salary, but he has this responsibility to his constituents.
When we looked over the expenses, we found that it was not only a question of stamps. Thank goodness, the 50,000 electors do not write to me. If only half of them wrote to me four times a year it would be the same thing; they would absorb more than my salary. Sufficient numbers of one's constituency write to justify the employment of a secretary. Therefore, secretarial expenses ought to be included. Did hon. Gentlemen notice how shifty the Chancellor was when he came to talk of postal expenses and a secretarial pool? He could not face up to it. He ran into the difficulty we had discussed on the Select Committee. Fancy hon. Members all standing, waiting in a queue, for a secretary. Some hon. Members would require far more of that secretary's time than others, and some hon. Members would spend far more money on postages than on entertaining.
I notice that the newspapers constantly taunt us with the long Recess. Is it recognised how many Members get that long Recess? How many Members get even their weekends? As soon as the Recess is imminent, branches of the party, and everybody who is running a social—have the Recess dates noted. They are waiting on the Member of Parliament to come to the constituency. I spend at least a month of the Recess between my constituency and, perhaps, the constituencies of Government supporters—because the party expects a certain amount of propaganda to be done during the Recess.
If I am in my constituency night after night, I cannot get home. Any number of Members are in the same position. They have to stay at a hotel, but that does not count as an expense for Income Tax purposes. Can we imagine any of the gentlemen upstairs who are writing the articles in the newspapers being in that position? If they are ordered to stay 119 in a hotel night after night, the difficulty does not arise whether they were allowed the expense for Income Tax purposes. They would never be asked to pay it. The firm would pay it. The firm does not pay for us. If we asked that what we spent in a hotel in our constituencies to be paid for we should certainly be refused.
All these items of expenditure affect Members in varying degrees. What the Chancellor said about items of expenditure ranking for Income Tax deduction being taken into consideration in assessing the £500 cannot apply. Hon. Members are not allowed Income Tax reductions for entertaining or for staying in their constituencies. Some hon. Members take their wives because the people want to see their wives. The wives' expenses as well come into this. There are party conferences and donations. One of my hon. Friends has spent £200 a year in donations alone. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, and he is holding on to his seat. The Tory before him spent £400 a year. Even by cutting down on the Tory who represented the seat before him my hon. Friend still spends £200 a year. That certainly does not rank for Income Tax reduction. Neither does attendance at party conferences, nor affiliations.
The first thing we are asked to do when we come here is to affiliate to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Then there is the party in the House, the party wherever we are living and, in our case the Scottish party; and so on. All these things, naturally, bring a lot of disillusion to the Member of Parliament.
Then there are the expenses that we incur during an Election. Let no one tell the House that he can go through an Election from beginning to end without putting his hand in his pocket. Members frankly said that they had to put their hands in their pockets. I do not mean in the sense of engaging in bribery, but of going from place to place, telephoning to committee rooms, buying stamps, and all the rest of it. These things are unavoidable. When one weighs up, as we did on the Select Committee, the varied nature of Members' expenses it is very difficult to accede to the Chancellor's recommendations. The Chancellor said 120 his recommendation would follow the pattern of the Income Tax Schedule, but unfairness would be caused to many who were excluded from his list.
I do not suppose that I shall have many more than, say, 30 years in this House. I can remember, when I came into it, the wonderful fascination it had for me. It still fascinates me. I regret so much that I cannot always be in the House during any kind of debate. Many of us are at our desks in the Library, working off arrears of constituency work when we should like to be listening to the contributions made to debate by Members from all sections of the community.
Members opposite will perhaps forgive me if I say that, when we were in power and learned Members opposite who had had the advantage of an excellent education were putting questions to Labour Ministers, I was proud that those Labour Ministers had had an equally good education and could give a Roland for their Oliver. I am sure that hon. Members opposite with two or three salaries would not have it otherwise but wish that Labour, having, by tortuous routes, become Her Majesty's official Opposition, should provide opponents worthy of their skill and able to continue the great traditions of British democracy.
There are those with two salaries on both sides of the House. Some of them on this side have said, "I am not going to vote. I would not like to take anything more, because I feel that I have already enough. I have a grant from so and so, and I have this and that." To those Members I say, "Remember those who need this. Remember the traditions of the House. Vote for the increase. You need not accept it unless you wish, but there are some whose position in the House depends on their having an adequate salary commensurate with the dignity of their position as Members of Parliament." I ask the House to bear that in mind and to support the Motion.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. J. H. Hare (Sudbury and Woodbridge)
I will not follow the hon. Lady the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann) very closely. First of all, she tried to justify the need for increased allowances and at the same time indicted the Press for having led public opinion against any improvement in the condition of Members of Parliament. I think that 121 the hon. Lady is right in saying that the Press, on the whole, has been very much against the recommendations.
§ Mr. Hare
I gained the impression from the debate that the Press, on the whole, has been against the recommendations.
My concern is whether we are justified in accepting the argument put forward by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) with sincerity and charm, when he dismissed in a very few sentences the need for this House to have some form of mandate before granting itself an increase? That in 1937 or in 1946 there was no mandate provides no guidance for us in 1954.
Although I am convinced that at the moment the public is against an increase either in salary or in expenses I think that a case has been made out by the Select Committee. That Committee went into this in far greater detail than the public is aware. The public is not acquainted with the facts and is against the proposals. I therefore do not believe that hon. Members—who after all represent the public—should move ahead of that opinion now. I agree with the Chancellor that we must bring the people along with us. A case has been made out, but it has not been made out to the public. It is our duty to convince the electorate.
§ Mr. Percy Daines (East Ham, North)
The hon. Member will recall that a few weeks ago this House dealt with the judges' salaries. Can he say with any accuracy that public opinion supported that increase?
§ Mr. Hare
That is an irrelevant interruption. Public opinion is certainly far more against tonight's subject matter than it was against the judges' salary increase.
Our duty is to consider how the public are thinking I would say that the majority of Conservative supporters are not in favour—but I think that they are wrong, because the Select Committee has made out a case for hardship. There are also a number of loyal supporters of the Labour Party who are against this proposal. The public argue like this. They 122 say that the late Sir Stafford Cripps repeatedly urged wage restraints and that that line is being followed by the present Chancellor. They say that wage restraint was preached because it was thought to be the only hope of defeating inflation.
Members of Parliament had a two-thirds increase in 1946. In the terms of this Motion there will be another 50 per cent. addition. A further argument, which was used by the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) is that behind public opinion is the genuine concern that, somehow or other, Members of Parliament are jumping the queue. I do not think we are jumping the queue, but there is a genuine feeling among the public that we are doing down the old-age pensioners and the war disabled because we are contemplating voting ourselves something extra.
I believe that the leaders of the main political parties are probably prepared to say at the next Election each political party should recommend that Members' salaries should be increased. By doing it in that fashion I believe that we can avoid any question of party bickering affecting what is primarily a purely House of Commons matter. I know that people say, "The present situation is unfair, because hardship has been proved." I know that hardship has been proved, but it is only fair to say that every candidate at the last Election knew what the rate for the job was to be.
Rather than rush this matter through only slightly more than two-and-a-half years after our election, I believe that we should serve the interests of the House of Commons and maintain our high reputation as one of the greatest institutions in the world by saying that we must make no improvement in our salaries until the next Election, when all political parties could unite in saying that a case has been made for an increase in salary, and whoever gets into power should make some improvement on the general lines recommended by the Select Committee.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ Mr. M. Follick (Loughborough)
I support the Motion, and I do so completely without bias, because I shall not enjoy much of an increase in salary as this is to be my last Parliament.
§ Mr. Follick
I am very concerned about this matter. I have enjoyed my life in Parliament, and I shall leave it a very sad person.
I, possibly more than most Members, appreciate the value of this Parliament, because I have lived in so many other countries. I have known so many politicians, and important politicians, in other countries who have opened their hearts to me on the question of the British Parliament. I remember so well once discussing with Italian Ministers the question of corruption in their own Parliament. They were speaking of one Minister whom they all admired for his great honesty. I asked one of them, "What do you mean when you speak of his great honesty, when we know that he has been concerned in various transactions that we in the British House of Commons would not call honest?" He said, "Well, when I say that he is to be trusted and that he is honest, I mean that he is not so corruptible as most of our other Ministers." That is what they call honesty.
If we are to get the best class of man in this House, who is above corruption, then we have to ensure that he is able to maintain himself on the money that he receives. People come to this House to do service to the nation, knowing that there is no money in it. They are quite prepared to do it as a service to the nation, but it is a very hard thing to ask such people to get into debt in rendering their service to the nation. That is what we are asking them to do, and that is one of the surest ways to corruption.
I do not ever want to see this House lose the fine reputation that it has in the world. I have addressed many Parliaments in different languages, and I have always heard the highest compliments paid to this country. They say, "You breed the right sort of Parliamentarians," and I believe we do.
I am one of those persons in this House who mix with everybody. I find no difference between people in this House. They are all first-class Britishers. They are all doing their job, and we have to see that everybody can continue to do his job without financial anxiety. Membership of this House has always been a very heavy loss to me. I pay fairly high Income Tax, and so I have always had to pay heavily to be and remain a Member of Parliament. But I have always 124 considered it worth my while to do so, because it is the sort of life I like. One is rendering a service, and I have always felt that whenever I could render a service I was doing something to be proud of.
I listened carefully to the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Major Anstruther-Gray), and I believe that he was perfectly sincere. I am not doubting his sincerity. He said that he voted against the increase in 1938. He voted against the increase in 1946.
§ Mr. Follick
I have been corrected, and I accept the correction. But I should like to know whether he took the increase, having objected to it.
§ Mr. Follick
I remember an opponent of mine in West Fulham—Cyril Cobb, who was in this House for a very long time—and he objected to Members being paid, but he did not take the salary himself. I should like to know if that was the case with the hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian, who I am sorry to see is not in his place at the moment. If not, there is no merit in voting against the rise.
We have heard a lot of lip service today to the old-age pensioner, and we heard that on the last occasion of the debate in the House. We were told how our hearts bleed for the old-age pensioners. But there is no difficulty in overcoming that. Any Member who feels, with me, that it is hard to take this rise when the old-age pensioner does not get a rise, can hand over the increase to his local old-age pensioners' association. What is more, if any Member allows the increase to go to his old-age pensioners' association, will the Chancellor of the Exchequer exempt that amount from Income Tax and Surtax? If not, in the majority of cases the old-age pensioners will get very little indeed by the time Income Tax and Surtax have been taken off. 125 The Chancellor's proposal of an expense allowance of from £100 to £500 will favour the man with an income of £10,000 or £15,000, because he will be getting an Income Tax-free allowance. The man with the big income, who pays 17s. or 18s. in the £ tax, will be getting £500 a year tax-free. Surely, that is not the way to treat this House, when people with really small incomes, who give the whole of their time to the service of the country, will not have this benefit.
In 1929 I could have had a seat in this House, but I was then the head of my school and I told Mr. Ramsay Macdonald that I could not give the time necessary to the House as I had my school to look after. I had a big institution with 100 on the staff. I said that what I would like to do was to fight seats which were impossible to win so that I could help those backward areas. But in 1932, when things were easier and I had my organisation better developed, I went to Transport House and asked for a winnable seat; and so I was provided with it. I knew then that I could give the time necessary for the work in the House, not for what anybody would pay me for doing it, but because I could give the time.
Those people who have 20, 25 or 30 directorships can well refuse the increase in salary, but are they at the same time giving sufficient time to the work of the House, or are they giving to their directorships the time that they should be giving to the work of the House? That is the question that must be answered.
Last Sunday in the "Sunday Times" the case was quoted of the new President of the National Union of Mineworkers, Mr. Ernest Jones. It said quite openly that he had refused a position carrying £5,000 a year and had taken the presidency of the union, which would bring him in only £1,200 a year. He preferred to take a job at £1,200 a year, with national work and national service, rather than a higher paid one in which he would not be bringing any great benefit to the nation but would bring greater benefit to himself.
That is the case with my hon. Friends on this side of the House. There are very few of them who could not make much more money in private business or in their own professions than they will make here, even with an increase in 126 salary, but they come here to do their service to the nation and we have to be told various tales about why they should not receive a salary, not commensurate with their work, but which will keep them in decency without running into debt.
Every sort of excuse is put forward. We are told about the old-age pensioners, that we should leave it to the next Election, that we dare not face public opinion and that the Press is against an increase. But the thing is this. If we want to have them here we have to give them the monetary remuneration that will allow them to come here without anxiety and running into debt. Hon. Members will know that to do their work properly and adequately in this House Members have to keep a proper filing system, a secretary and adequate offices in which to put the secretary. I hear one hon. Member opposite say, "£6 a week for a secretary." I do not know what sort of secretary he will get for £6 a week. If that is what hon. Members opposite pay their secretaries, I can understand their wanting hon. Members to be paid in a similar way. I am afraid that it will have to be a 50 per cent. increase on the salary of the secretary if an hon. Member wants to get an efficient secretary and not one who types with one finger or who cannot take a satisfactory shorthand note.
I have kept my constituency affairs in good order because I have had the means to do it. Without the means one cannot do it. I say that if we are stingy in this matter we are being stingy with the nation. We shall not encourage the right type of people to put up for Parliament. We have to give them at least the amount of money on which they can live in reasonable circumstances.
I am not married, and I have never been able to save anything out of the money which I have received as a Member of Parliament. How can hon. Members outside London live in reasonable comfort if they have three or four children who have to be brought up decently? After all, the children of Members have to be brought up decently, otherwise all the neighbours know about it and lose respect for their Member.
In answer to the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Hare) let me tell him that although they know in 127 my constituency that I am not putting up for Parliament again, and they have known that for over a year, I have not yet received a single letter from any of my constituents, either Tory or Labour, concerning this proposed increase in salary. They seem to ignore the matter. For them, it does not even come among their important topics of conversation. To those hon. Members who say that this question will have some sway in the elections, let me tell them that they have very little confidence in themselves. I have fought a great number of elections since 1923. I have always put myself over to the electorate. I have fought for the programme of my party, and I have not had to worry about what the electorate thought about the remuneration I received. I think that this is the case with all of us.
I do not know how many letters any Tory Member has received, or how many letters any Labour Member has received—so why come forward with this silly tale?
§ Mr. Follick
Those who want to help the old-age pensioners should take the increase and give it to their local old-age pensioners' association. If hon. Members do not want this increase of £500 a year, I beg the Chancellor of the Exchequer to let that money be given in full, exempt of Income Tax and Surtax, to the old-age pensioners' associations and then he will be able to satisfy everyone's demands at the same time.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ Mr. J. E. S. Simon (Middlesbrough, West)
It is with considerable diffidence that I rise to intervene in the debate, because in the first place I am fortunate in being able to pursue what is still, in spite of the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir R. Boothby), one of those professions which one can combine with service in the House. That is because a greater burden of the Committee work is borne by other hon. Members.
§ Mr. Simon
The second reason is that I am junior in experience in the House, and in a matter like this, which is a 128 House of Commons matter, we listen with respect to the views of the senior Members of the House, who have made such notable contributions to this debate and to the last debate which we had on the subject.
On the other hand, this is not purely a House of Commons matter in the narrower sense. It affects something wider and something which all Members in all parts of the House treasure even more highly—and that is the well-being of our whole system of Parliamentary democracy. It is not merely the composition of the House which is at stake, important as that is. The hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Follick) made a very just point that it is of high importance that we should consider the quality of future recruitment to the House, but something more important is at stake—the relationship of the House to the electorate.
I suggest that this is essentially a matter in which, for the well-being and the safety of our system of Parliamentary democracy, we must carry the electorate with us. It is probable that different hon. Members have had different experiences of the reaction of their constituents to this proposal. I have been left in little doubt that at the moment the country is not in favour of this increase. That does not mean that I believe that should be conclusive, but it may very seriously affect the timing of this move.
As I came into the Chamber, my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Miss Ward) handed me a telegram which she had received from the Southern Area Council of the British Legion, following a meeting on Saturday representing 1,280 branches with a membership of approximately 200,000. In this telegram the council deprecated the granting of any further increase in the salaries or allowances of Members of Parliament before the war-disabled or the war widows receive a further increase in their pensions.
§ Mr. Simon
I will deal with that point, because it was made by the hon. Member for Loughborough.
This matter raises something much wider than the relationship of any hon. Member to his constituents. It is a matter 129 of the relationship of the House to our electorate as a whole. It is because I have been made aware of these feelings and because I believe there is a great deal to be said about the timing of the move, that I thought it right to give expression to these views in the debate.
The first problem is what sort of House of Commons do we want? There are conflicting principles here which are difficult to reconcile. First, in the words of the Select Committee, we do not want a House of Commons composed principally of full-time politicians in the sense of men and women cut off from any practical share in the work of the nation. The hon. Member for Loughborough came very close to arguing that we should have whole-time Members here. That was not the view of our Select Committee, nor do I believe it to be the view of the majority of hon. Members. It is not relevant to rehearse all the reasons for that; but one of the reasons is that it is not for the good health of our Parliamentary democracy to have a body of men concerned with government who are cut off and form a separate body—a college, so to speak, at the centre of government—sharply distinguished in composition and in calling and in privilege from the bulk of the electorate.
Whatever increase we think it right to make in Members' emoluments, concomitantly with that we should examine the problem of how to make it easier for Members to pursue a calling outside Parliamentary work. [HON. MEMBERS: "Miners."] Hon. Members ask why. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO. Miners."] If hon. Members will allow me, I shall come to that. This House must be fully and effectively representative of every important interest and class in the community. It should, in other words, be a cross section of the community, represented by its most able members in every sphere. That necessarily means that some Members will have to be whole-time Members who cannot effectively pursue the career for which they were trained. The hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), in his admirable speech in the last debate, gave illustrations. The miner was one. Obviously, one cannot expect him to pursue the career for which he was trained while he is carrying on duties in this House.
If we are to have some full-time Members, those Members cannot do their job 130 here effectively if they are continually subject to the sharp spur of financial necessity. There is no need to expatiate on that. It has been very well put by a number of hon. Members. It was put with great cogency in the Select Committee's Report, and, unfortunately, it is within the personal knowledge of every Member who is aware of the circumstances of some of his personal friends in the House. So, to my mind, a case has been made out for an increase.
Two questions then arise. The first relates to its form and the second to its timing. I came here today with an open mind to hear the arguments for a straight increase balanced against an increase by way of expense allowance. I have been completely convinced that if there is to be an increase it should take the form of a straight increase. I thought the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) particularly made a most effective speech, and, with great respect to my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) and the admirable way he put his argument, to my mind if there is to be an increase, at whatever time it comes, it should be in the form of a straight increase.
What I am much more concerned with is the timing. There are two proposals relating to that. The first is that my hon. Friends the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) and Westmorland (Mr. Vane) suggest that the increase should not take place until after a General Election. I cannot support that.
§ Mr. Alport
There is no mention in the Amendment in my name of a General Election. It refers to this Parliament specifically merely to exclude any reference to the necessity for applying for a mandate.
§ Mr. Simon
I understand very well the delicacy of feeling which prompted my hon. Friends to put the Amendment forward in that way. On the other hand, even with that explanation, it savours very much of the doctrine of the mandate. As my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir R. Boothby) said, it is in effect a referendum on this issue—[HON. MEMBERS: "No"]—and there is a conception quite alien to our constitution. What is far more, it is not a matter on which the electorate at a General Election would be able to pronounce any clear opinion.
The Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend and myself does not ask the electors to pronounce on anything. What we hope this House will consider is that we should decide something now for our successors.
§ Mr. Simon
As I have said, I understand well the feelings that prompted that Amendment, but I feel that if it is right to do it now, it should be done now, and if it is right to postpone, that is not the time to which it should be postponed. My own feeling is that this is an increase which ought to be postponed, and I hope that hon. Members will bear with me while I give my reasons.
I have indicated the background which prompts me to form that view. It is that this is far more important than the composition of the House of Commons. It goes right down to the relationship of this House to the electorate. It is because I do not believe that the electorate has yet come to the understanding which would lead to a necessary increase that I feel it would be damaging to introduce it at this time. Therefore, I find myself in agreement with my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) in his approach.
I do not want to mention any special class of the community. We all know, however, that hon. Members are by no means the only members of the community who are suffering hardship at this time. In particular, there are important classes to whom we have had to say, "We recognise your hardship but, owing to the fact that we have set up inquiries to examine the implications of steps which might be taken to mitigate your lot, we are impelled to say that at this moment your case cannot be dealt with."
My own view is that the country would resent it intensely if we mitigated the hardship of our own Members before dealing with that of the classes to whom I have referred. The hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas), in a speech which in delicacy of feeling and eloquence it would be difficult to praise too highly, said that we should not examine this problem in the setting of the needs of other people. I cannot agree with that. In every political, economic or social problem we have to establish priorities. I do not believe that it is the economic priority which is important here; and therefore I do not think that the hon.
132 Lady the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann) met the point when she said that this is a comparatively small sum and that it would not satisfy the needs even of the old-age pensioners.
This is not a question of economic priorities, it is a question of social and political priorities, in that we appear to be voting an increase to ourselves before we pass on to vote an increase for those who are suffering very real hardship.
§ Mr. Stokes
Is not the hon. and learned Member confused in his argument? He is arguing that this is a cost-of-living matter. It is not anything of the kind. The Inland Revenue has ascertained that the average basic expenditure of a Member of Parliament is £750 and the average balance left to live on is £250. That is the way in which it should be put to the country.
§ Mr. Simon
I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that that is the way in which it should be put to the country; but I was not dealing with it in any way as a cost-of-living matter, but solely as a matter of political priorities.
A large portion of the community whose lot we know demands improvement have had to have that mitigation postponed, for good reasons as we believe, and it would be damaging to this House and to our political democracy to vote ourselves an increase first. The hon. Member for Loughborough said that no hon. Member need take the increase and that it could be passed on. That is really no answer. This is not a matter between an individual Member and an individual pensioner or any other class of the community which is suffering hardship.
§ Mr. Græme Finlay (Epping)
Will my hon. and learned Friend not agree that it is damaging to have a House in which a class of the community who should be represented, such as doctors or miners, cannot be represented because of the financial conditions?
§ Mr. Simon
I have already mentioned that point. I see that the right hon. Gentleman opposite agrees that, as I said, this is not a question between an individual Member of this House and some individual constituent. I put it on the much wider ground that it is a question of the relationship of this House as a whole with our democracy. Mention was made of judges' salaries. Again that 133 misses the point which lies at the basis of the objection of those hon. Members who feel as I do, because the judges did not vote themselves an increase.
It must not be thought that I am suggesting, or that it is a fact that my suggestion would mean, postponing an increase for all time. I am convinced that a case for an increase has been made out. We believe that the needs of those particularly hard pressed and needy members of the community whom we have in mind will be met in the not distant future. I appreciate—and it is an unpleasant thought—that that means continuance of hardship for hon. Members. But for the sake of the standing of the House of Commons as a whole and the well-being of our system of Parliamentary democracy let us determine that an increase is called for, but postpone it until the needs of the neediest and hardest pressed members of the community have been dealt with. In that way we shall ultimately best serve the interests of our democracy and of this House, which is one of the country's greatest gifts to the world.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. S. P. Viant (Willesden, West)
I have listened attentively to this debate and my mind has gone back to at least two other occasions when similar debates have taken place in this House. It is now more than 30 years since I first came into this House and I well recall debates of this kind. I well recall similar statements as those expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. Simon).
It has been admitted that a case has been made out for an increase. That has been generally agreed by most of those who have spoken today, but quite a number of them, apparently, are quite nervous about voting in favour of the Motion. If we are to take into consideration the need for waiting until all the pressing needs of other sections of the community are remedied, there will be no recompense whatever for hon. Members of this House.
The findings of and evidence before the Select Committee made quite clear that on the £1,000 salary of today and expenses, if we were to bring the purchasing power to what it was in 1946 we would require the sum of £1,466. The Select Committee agreed that Members 134 of Parliament were entitled to feel the effects of the increased cost of living the same as other members of the community, but they said that these additional expenses which have been incurred are a matter which must receive immediate attention by this House.
After considering 377 budgets a case was made showing that there was an average expense incurred of £750 a year. The Select Committee did not make a recommendation that there should be an increase of £750, but it said that after having considered the functions of the Members' Fund it was of opinion that the Fund should be changed into a pensions scheme. In order that that should be done the Select Committee said that we should be prepared to forfeit the claim to £250, making the total £1,500 instead of £1,700, the £250 being taken into consideration as a contribution towards the pension fund. I consider the establishment of a pension fund to be of prime importance.
When I first came to this House the allowance was £400 a year. After I had been here for some time my wife said to me, "I think it would have been far better if you had retained your former job. We knew what our income was then; we knew what were the demands upon that income, but the demands on your Parliamentary salary seem to be inexhaustible. They come in from innumerable sources." That has continued through the years and they are continually growing.
The position of a Member of Parliament today bears no comparison with what it was 30 years ago, when I first came to this House. The duties have grown enormously. They have not doubled or trebled; they have quadrupled. The general public has little or no conception of the demands made upon the purse or upon the time of a Member of Parliament. It is unfortunate that they are not mere knowledgeable in that respect and I hope that this and the previous debate will have enlightened them. I hope, also, that it will have enlightened some sections of the Press, because that will be all to the good.
A case has been made out for the £1,500. The proposals of the Chancellor are unacceptable. No one who reads the findings of the Select Committee can fail to realise that this matter was analysed 135 thoroughly and they came to a unanimous view about the round figure. I hope that tonight we shall vote for the £1,500.
I wish to refer to the Members' Fund. We often see it mentioned in the Press that there exists a pensions fund for Members of Parliament. There is no such fund. There is no pension for any Member of Parliament. All that this House has established is a benevolent fund, which was brought into being in 1937. I wish here to pay tribute to the late Lord Baldwin and the late Mr. H. B. Lees-Smith for the part they played in the establishment of that fund. It fell to me to make the preliminary inquiries among my colleagues to ascertain the number likely to be entitled to a pension. That number was negligible. The late Lord Baldwin said that the prestige of this House was such that we must ensure that no hon. Member, on leaving this House, would be overcome by infirmity or old age and find himself in need.
We contribute to that fund. The means test which is applied before a payment is made is distasteful to the receiver and to those who have to administer the fund. I could have hoped that this House bad sufficient civic and personal pride to decide that there should be established a definite pension. Do not imagine that it is only hon. Members of this side of the House who are overtaken by adversity. As chairman of a Select Committee which amended the original Act and brought in the 1948 Act with its remodelled proposals, I well remember hon. Members saying to me, "I have made provision for myself. I shall not need this fund. Why should I contribute?" I am sorry to say that two, if not three, who took up that attitude, thinking that they had made provision, were disappointed. They were overtaken by death, and their widows had to come on the fund. There are Members from both sides of the House on the fund.
I hope that, with the assistance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, we shall be able to obliterate the means test and inaugurate a pensions fund so that hon. Members who are overtaken by adversity may benefit as of right and not as a matter of charity.
§ 9.11 p.m.
§ Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)
I am very much interested in what the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Viant) has been saying. I very much agree with the generous remarks which have been passed concerning those who have founded and been administering the Members' Fund. Since part of my proposal would be an extension of that idea, it is a happy coincidence to me that I should have caught Mr. Speaker's eye at this time. I propose to vote against the Motion and all the Amendments, and it is very fortunate for me that I should have this opportunity of giving my reasons.
I am not lacking in sympathy about the situation under discussion, and I propose to give specific proposals for dealing individually with hard cases, but my main point is that, as well as agreeing with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. Simon) in many of his excellent philosophic points, I desire to emphasise the clear distinction between our problem as it affects future recruitment, which concerns candidates who will present themselves at future nomination days, and our problem as it affects Members of this present House who are in hard circumstances.
I want, in distinguishing very clearly between those two issues, to say that I can see in that context overwhelming reasons why we should not seek now to solve the problems of future candidates. We would all agree that we need to have a plentiful supply of first-class candidates for election to this House presenting themselves at nomination day, but what is the right time at which to settle what is going to be attractive to future candidates so that the quality of this House may be maintained and no suitable candidate be deterred financially? Surely the right time will be nearer a General Election. I hope and believe that several years may pass before that situation arises. To deal with that problem now will show a precipitate desire to settle a problem of the availability of future candidates at a time which will have an effect in benefiting all hon. Members. Surely in the meantime, until there is prospect of a General Election we ought to make it perfectly clear that we are going to postpone the issue until then and so avoid benefiting ourselves earlier 137 than need be in a cause which is that of our successors.
If we were to postpone the issue of catering for future candidates, we should get two very great benefits. First, we should at that later date know more about the recruitment of future candidates and what they are likely to regard as sufficiently attractive remuneration for them to continue to be willing to present themselves. Let us face it; we have been concerning ourselves exclusively so far with what we ourselves think and not with what will be thought by the candidates themselves at a future nomination day. Some good "market research" ought to be carried out to discover the views of potential recruits who are coming forward, and we should then and only then settle the issue of what is to be paid in the future in the light of the information then obtained and not in the absence of information on that point, which has hitherto been our position. Secondly, it would have this enormous advantage—
§ Mr. William Shepherd (Cheadle)
Will my hon. Friend allow me? I am not clear what is the point that he is making. At what stage ought the candidate to be made aware of the conditions.
§ Mr. Pitman
I am coming to that point.
The second advantage is that those of us who are now Members of this House but who will not be seeking nomination at the next General Election could be the people who could settle this question of how much the amount is to be, how it should be payable and in what form. There seems to be a very strong point that the people who vote this should, in practice, be those who will not themselves benefit from it, and, immediately before a General Election, there will be the maximum number of people in that situation as well as the maximum amount of knowledge about what the rate ought then to be.
It will be asked at what time we clear up the uncertainty for the potential candidate. I would say that, as far as he is concerned, hope and uncertainty can work both ways. It may well be that, in the light of the market research as to what candidates will be influenced by, there may be an even larger figure than 138 this one which, because of its roundness, seems, at this date, to have been taken out of the hat. It is true that it may be more or less than the figure now suggested, but the point is that it would be established by people who were not themselves interested and after the market research had been done and candidates could well be confident that the amount would be such as to continue the selectivity which we desire.
§ Mr. Harold Lever (Manchester, Cheetham)
I understand that the hon. Gentleman is urging the House to defer a decision on this question until market research has been conducted among the prospective candidates, who should be chosen for lack of experience, hence the need to wait until the next General Election. But who is to conduct this market research on which the hon. Gentleman will rely? Has the hon. Gentleman selected a body to conduct this investigation, and would he prefer the conclusions of that body to those of the Select Committee?
§ Mr. Pitman
Obviously, the hon. Gentleman will have presumed that the Select Committee should do this research. It is, moreover, quite apparent that the people who wish to be elected must be people of real quality who can give an opinion and judgment on what is likely to be acceptable remuneration. Do not let us imply that any of us in this House came into this position except with our eyes open. Nobody asked us to be nominated, and we have accepted nomination only because, in our wisdom, we wanted to become members at the conditions now in force. So far as the variation of the terms for the future is concerned, that will be the concern of people other than ourselves; that is to say, the candidates at future elections.
Coming to the question of the hardship of some present Members, there are undoubtedly cases of hardship, and I think that these cases should and could be dealt with ad hoc by the Fund which, the hon. Member mentioned. I suggest that the Fund should be given a considerable vote by the Treasury for the specific purpose of meeting such hard cases during the present Parliament. I would not put it out of the question that all Members in the House should be subjected to a deduction of a 10 per cent. contribution to that fund, so that 90 per cent. would 139 come from the Government and 10 per cent. from Members. It may well be that the total so produced would not be sufficient—I do not know—to meet all cases of hardship, and, if it were not, the Select Committee would go again for more money.
I think that scheme would give two advantages. First of all it would make it easier for those in hard circumstances to make the best of their situation and to brace themselves to the challenge which they hopefully, but nevertheless freely, accepted when they became Members of this House. We all know that a 100 per. cent. Treasury grant is a great temptation in local government towards expenditure, and we know that even a small amount of a local contribution does enable that temptation to be greatly resisted. Undoubtedly it is the marginal expenses of Members that turn the balance of success in mastery of expenditure. It would be a great help to Members drawing from such a fund for them to know that their fellow-Members were making some such contribution to what they were drawing.
Secondly, it would be very healthy for those Members who would be paying the 10 per cent. contribution—myself included—because equally that would fall too on their marginal expenditure.
It is good and very wise for us to make a distinction between the candidates of the future, to let Members of Parliament who will not be standing again settle the terms for the oncoming Members, and for us to deal domestically now within our own Parliament only for those who are the hard cases, and who present the immediate difficulty in our problem.
§ 9.22 p.m.
§ Sir Hartley Shawcross (St. Helens)
I had not intended to speak upon this Motion but, having had the advantage of listening to some of the speeches from both sides of the House, I should like to make a short contribution to the debate. I can, perhaps, do it in a spirit of personal detachment because, by reason of the fates and chances of life if my Parliamentary salary is to be increased the Chancellor of the Exchequer will very promptly have the satisfaction of taking away with one hand what he has previously given me with the other. While, for that reason, the matter is not one 140 of immediate concern to me, I believe it is a matter of the most immediate and grave concern to all who have the interest and future of this great Parliamentary institution at heart. And although unfortunately I am not able to take part so often as I would wish in the activities of this House, I am not least in my belief in the great part it plays in our democratic society, and, indeed, in the democracy of the world.
As I listened to the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman), I realised that there were two views touching upon this matter which may at first sight appear to be in conflict, although so far as the present proposals go I do not think they really be. I do not want to see, and I gathered that the hon. Member did not wish to see, hon. Members paid salaries so low that when their necessary expenses have been met they are not even able to buy themselves a decent meal. I know that that happens to quite a number of my colleagues in this House.
On the other hand, I do not want to see—I gathered that the hon. Member for Bath did—anything done to attract people to this House simply as a lucrative profession. I distrust the professional politician—but I shall not pursue the hon. Member's speech because, obviously, he was putting forward his various suggestions in a friendly spirit of levity. If this were a proposal to raise the salaries of Members of Parliament to £3,000 or £4,000 a year—a figure which would not be altogether incommensurate with the responsibilities of the job and which would, in fact, be comparable to the salaries paid to members of legislatures in other parts of the world—I should be against it. No one, I think, is likely to suggest that this modest increase of £500 a year will attract to this House, as merely professional Members of Parliament, people anxious to earn a good salary and nothing else.
What, then, is the position which the House has to face? From the debate to which I have listened I understand that almost all Members on both sides are agreed that the present position is intolerable and is, indeed, a shame upon our Parliamentary institution. There has been talk about the view held by the public. I have no doubt, myself, that informed public opinion takes the view that those who have the responsibility— 141 and it is a heavy and an arduous one—of carrying out the duties of membership of this House should be provided with remuneration which, first of all, will enable them to incur all necessary and proper expenses. Members cannot discharge their full duties as Members unless they are free to incur reasonable and proper expenditure.
Over and above that, their remuneration should leave them with a modest amount—not an extravagant, but a reasonable amount—to provide for their livelihood and that of their families. I am afraid that I do not really understand the contrary argument. It is to the honour of this House that very few hon. Members have put any contrary argument at all. It is in ill-informed discussion outside that one sometimes hears contrary views expressed.
Is it to be suggested that membership of this House is to be restricted to those whose personal wealth enables them to become sometimes rather dilettante politicians? That is an argument that certainly no one in this House would dream of putting forward, but if reasonable measures are not taken to increase the present remuneration it is one of the alternatives that have to be faced.
Or is it to be said that membership of this House is to be restricted to those who are in possession of a subsidy of some kind or another—sometimes secret, sometimes public but generally in either case, I would have suggested, equally undesirable? The truth is—as all hon. Members know but as I am afraid many members of the public outside do not sufficiently realise—that it has now been well established by the Inland Revenue authorities that a Member's average expenses are £750 a year. Many are more. My own are more.
It is, clearly, a public scandal, and a public scandal which we all ought to recognise and seek in one way or another to remedy—and I will speak presently about the method—that some of our Members should be left with only £5 or £6 a week with which to keep themselves. How are they to keep themselves? How can they hope to keep a decent home on that? How can they hope to build up a family and have children? I think it is a very good thing for Members of Parliament to have children. It takes out some of the arrogant stuffing and pomposity which 142 M.Ps. sometimes possess. When I see some of my colleagues going into the Tea Room and literally unable to afford to buy themselves a decent meal—and all of us in this House know that there are a number of persons so placed—I feel ashamed; I feel ashamed for myself and ashamed that we in this House should have allowed such a state of affairs to arise.
What, then, are the objections to action on the lines of the Motion proposed here and supported by the Report of the Select Committee? I suggest that we should reject as altogether unworthy and wholly fallacious the suggestion that the adoption of this Motion and its carrying into effect by the legislation which, in loyalty to the decision of the House, the Government would naturally thereafter introduce, would affect the electoral prospects of hon. Members opposite. I am quite sure that the hon. and gallant Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Major Anstruther-Gray), who put forward that suggestion, will recognise that it was first, a wholly fallacious one, and secondly, one on which nobody ought to be invited to act.
§ Major Anstruther-Gray
I apologise for not having heard the beginning of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech. He referred to me. I do not think that he or any Member of this House is in a position to prove that my contention is wholly fallacious. The last time there was a rise, in 1946, about four years followed before there was an Election. The time before, in 1937 some eight years and a great war followed before an Election, and in 1911 seven years and a great war.
§ Sir H. Shawcross
The hon. and gallant Gentleman seems to have a very low opinion of the intelligence of those who might otherwise be expected to vote for him. How can it really be thought that any Labour candidate at the next Election, or any supporter of the Labour Party, could throw blame upon the present Government because, in obedience and loyalty to a free vote of this House, that Government had introduced a Measure which was known to be supported most strongly on the Labour side? I take the view that in these days the electorate is, on the whole, reasonably capable of judging these matters. I 143 agree, if I may say so with respect, with what the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that we can safely rely both on this House and on the intelligence of the electorate outside to know that this Measure, when it is introduced, as I hope it will be introduced, is a Measure in which all parties concur and the passage of which can in no way be used electorally against one party or another.
Even if I were mistaken in that confident view, it would be wholly unworthy that in deciding today whether it is right or wrong to increase the salaries of Members, we should have regard to the possibility that the votes we might receive at some Election at some future date might be affected. I did not know that that was the way in which hon. Members conducted our affairs. I thought it was our task to decide on the merits—and I shall come back to this in a slightly different context—what is right, and then to pass it, and pass it courageously and not allow ourselves to be deterred from the right by the fear that we might lose our seats at a future General Election. [An HON. MEMBER: "Humbug."] Hon. Members opposite who say "Humbug" must judge from their own experience. It may be that the hon. Member who said "Humbug"—I failed to observe who it was—is the kind of hon. Member who thinks before he votes, "Will this affect my electoral prospects in my constituency?" Honest and sincere and responsible Members of Parliament do not conduct themselves in that way.
Now I come to something which is closely allied to that, because on that point the argument which was put forward by the hon. and gallant Member was sufficiently demolished by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and perhaps it was quite unnecessary for me to attempt to demolish it further. It was rejected, and rejected in the nicest possible way, and with the most obvious contumely, by the right hon. Gentleman.
I pass then to another aspect connected, perhaps, in a small sense with that: the argument, which I invite the House to reject, that public opinion is against this proposal. I canvassed this matter a great deal a few months go when we were discussing the question of raising judges' salaries. That was a proposal of which 144 I was strongly in favour, and I made it my business at a great many public meetings that I addressed to state the reasons why I thought it was desirable to increase the salaries of the judges. I took care at the same time to canvass the problem of Members of Parliament. Over that period, which is now some months ago, I addressed a good many meetings and I do not recall a single meeting at which I found any opposition to the view that Members' salaries ought also to be increased.
It is our duty now, and especially, perhaps, the duty of those, on both sides of the House, who do not so much need the increase in salary themselves, to explain to the public how an average Member of Parliament has to spend £750 out of his Parliamentary salary and is left with only £250 to keep his family, unless he happens to be possessed of private means.
Even if public opinion were against this increase, I would hope that the House would not think that that was a conclusive reason for not introducing it. On many great occasions in the past, this House has had to take a decision, in the face of the risk of considerable unpopularity, as to what is right; that is the duty of this House in the discharge of its public responsibilities. If this House is satisfied that it is right in itself by one means or another to provide an increase in the salaries of Members of Parliament, it ought not to allow a view—as I suggest, a mistaken view—of public opinion to deflect it from that course which it knows to be right.
I hope that all of us are agreed about this. One of the happy things about this debate has been the wide measure of agreement between both sides of the House and the fact that particular views, whether in favour of the Motion or of the Amendment, have been put forward quite regardless of political considerations. I hope that it is the fact that the House has always considered in the past that its duty is to decide what, on its merits, is the right course to pursue, and then to pursue that course courageously, even if it does seem to some likely to be not altogether a popular course.
This is a matter which we and only we can decide and must decide on its intrinsic merits. Having decided it, we should all of us, irrespective of our political and 145 party affiliations, lead public opinion on it—that is our duty in this as in so many other matters—and explain to the public the circumstances which led first the Select Committee and then this House to realise that an increase in salaries is essential.
It is not, as one of the daily newspapers sought to suggest in a leading article this morning, simply a question of an increase in the cost of living, nor is it a matter the gravity of which can be side-tracked by rather fanciful arguments that increases in the cost of living have been due to those Members who now seek an increase in their salaries. I am not going to introduce any controversial note about this, but there does remain the fact that, at any rate, those who are in Opposition at one time or another cannot be responsible for the increase in the cost of living, even if the Government were. And all fair-minded people know that both Governments have been greatly affected by external causes and world considerations in this matter of the cost of living.
That is really a complete irrelevance, and it ought to be pointed out to the public that Members of Parliament are, I think, alone among all persons receiving salaries under public control or from public sources of £1,000 a year or under who have not received any increase in their salaries since 1946. I have myself no doubt that if that is explained to the public, and if it is made clear to the public that the average expenses of a Member are £750 a year, they will have no difficulty in accepting the obvious necessity of some method of increase. So I come to the question of method.
There is this suggestion put forward in the Amendment, tabled by the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), that Members should go to the Fees Office and claim reimbursement of expenses up to £500 at the end of the year. That is a proposal which was, I think, damned with faint praise by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But what a petty-fogging, niggling, miserable scheme it is, and what complications and confusion it would be bound to lead to. I say nothing of the fact, although it is a serious and an important fact to those who are not possessed of other means, as the more fortunate of us are, that there would be a very considerable time-lag in the reimbursement of these expenses. They 146 cannot be claimed until the end of the financial or Parliamentary year.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
When I was speaking on this, I said that it might have to be as long as a year, and that is based on the advice of ordinary Inland Revenue practice behind the Fees Office. I think that we could make arrangements to have it paid more frequently. It is always best to give the House the worst aspect rather than the best on these matters, but I think we could make a better arrangement than that.
§ Sir H. Shawcross
I am very glad to hear what the right hon. Gentleman says, but as expenses could be claimed both from the Fees Office and from the Inland Revenue office, I should have thought—and no doubt this is the view hitherto taken by the right hon. Gentleman's officials—that it would be very difficult to arrange for the payment in a period shorter than a year. I suppose one would have to have concurrent periods and an examination of both claims at the end of the year by both officials.
At all events, it is perfectly clear as a matter of ordinary, sensible administration that reimbursement could take place only at intervals considerably after the incurring of the expenses. Many hon. Members on this side of the House, people not the less worthy for it, find it difficult to manage from month to month on the salaries they receive, and they could not afford to wait for three months or six months in order to obtain their reimbursement.
I say nothing about the confusion which might result from some expenses being claimed at the Fees Office and some being claimed against salary or what a muddle that would cause, but what will the public think of another expense allowance introduced, indeed, rather to hoodwink the public who, it is thought, would be averse to a straight rise? There are very few things in the present system of taxation which are regarded with more suspicion and dislike than this system of expense allowances—and often very rightly. They are jokes on every music hall. Everyone knows that not infrequently they are what is called a "fiddle" for escaping taxation.
And think how the method would work out as between different Members. 147 The richer Members generally have the largest expenses. That is inevitably so, I think. Some spend £1,500 a year on their Parliamentary expenses; 24 per cent. of us spend over £1,000. Take the Member who spends £1,500 a year. He will still get his £1,000 entirely free of tax and he will draw an extra £500 cash, free of tax. Compare that with the hon. Member who is poor and who spends only £200 a year on Parliamentary expenses because he has to have the other £800 to keep his wife and family and, perhaps, to run two homes. He would benefit only to the extent of £200, paid some time after he has incurred the expenditure for which it is a reimbursement.
§ Mr. Butler
May I ask why the right hon. and learned Gentleman argues that a man who has to spend £800 on his family, because he can afford only £200 for expenses, will draw only £200 on expenses?
§ Sir H. Shawcross
To claim the £500 to help his family would indeed be a "fiddle," I should think. I thought the £500 was to be claimed only in respect of carefully vouched expenses.
§ Mr. Butler
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is quite right. If he had listened to my speech he would have heard me say that to the extent to which the Member claims the money he will have extra salary left which, although it would be taxed, would be an extra help for his family.
§ Sir H. Shawcross
Everybody knows that. I am coming to that, if the right hon. Gentleman would not anticipate the obvious. Of course he will have £200 more in his salary. The whole of it will be subject to taxation and he will receive that money on the basis that it is not subject to any deductions for expenses.
I am only drawing the contrast between a Member whose expenses are £1,500 a year and a Member whose expenses are only £200 a year. I understand that 24 per cent. of hon. Members draw over £1,000 in expenses. If anyone wants to see the statistics, they are in the Report. I am taking the £1,500 ones—
§ Mr. Elliot
When the right hon. and learned Gentleman says that this is in 148 the Report I think he exaggerates. We gave instances of £1,000, but, naturally, we had no figures for anything beyond that amount.
§ Sir H. Shawcross
I must correct myself to this extent. Of course, they cannot draw them. They can only claim them, but they claim £1,500 or £1,200 or :1,000. Let us take the case of hon. Members claiming £1,000. There are 24 per cent. of our Members who claim £1,000, so they get the whole of their salary tax free. They will now get an extra £500 and they will draw that £500 in cash, and to the extent that their actual expenses exceed £1,000 or exceed £500 they will be able to claim the balance up to £1,000 against their Parliamentary salary.
Obviously, this is a system—hon. Members opposite have not realised it, I dare say—that will work out in a most discriminatory way. I would suggest that it is a discriminatory method in practice—of course, it was not intended to be one, but that is how it will work out—that it is an undignified method; that it is a method which will create suspicion in the minds of the public, and will make material for jest on the music halls. It is a method that is unworthy of our House. If it is right—I say, if it is right, and that the House will have to decide—that Members should have this extra £500, and it seems to be conceded by everybody that they should have it in one form or another let us not cover it up and conceal it by these discrediting devices of expense allowances, but let us do it in an open, straightforward way, and face public opinion about it.
Let me read just once more that paragraph 27 in the Report:In their answers to the questionnaire, a considerable number of Members have made it clear, beyond any doubt, that they cannot, on the £1,000, afford the expenses which they deem necessary for carrying out their Parliamentary duties efficiently and, at the same time, maintain a reasonable standard of living for themselves and their families. Some have sold or mortgaged their homes: the savings that others had made before entering Parliament are now exhausted and debts are accummulating: others have sacrificed pension rights which they had established with a company or firm, in whose employ they were before entering Parliament, and are now at an age when it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to find employment when they leave the House of Commons: some have to refuse invitations to public functions which 149 they ought to attend; in some cases, in order to supplement the family income, the wife of the Member has had to find employment; for a long time"—and all of us know of some of these cases—some have not been able to afford lunch or dinner in the dining room of the House of Commons and use only the tea room.I hope that we all now do our duty, not, perhaps, so much to ourselves and our colleagues here as to the dignity and the very survival of this honourable House. We must conduct ourselves, as the Prime Minister, in those felicitously chosen words, said we should conduct ourselves in connection with the matter of the judges' salaries, in regard to the
§ long-term interests and welfare and the character of this great institution for whose future in this matter we are now responsible. I hope that Members will vote courageously and responsibly for the Motion.
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 276; Noes, 205.151
|Division No. 113.||AYES||[9.55 p.m|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Deer, G.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)|
|Adams, Richard||Delargy, H. J||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Albu, A. H.||Dodds, N. N.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Donnelly, D. L.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich;||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly||Janner, B.|
|Baird, J.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)|
|Bence, C. R.||Ferynhough, E.||Johnson, Howard (Kempton)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Fienburgh, W.||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Benson, G.||Finch, H. J.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Beswick, F.||Finlay, Graeme||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Jones Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Follick, M.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Blackburn, F.||Foot, M. M.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Keenan, W.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Kenyon, C.|
|Boardman, H.||Freeman, John (Watford)||Key, Rt. Hon. C W|
|Bowen, E. R.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Kinley, J.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Lambton, Viscount|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lawson, G. M.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Gibson, C. W.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Glanville, James||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Gooch, E. G.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gower, H. R.||Logan, D. G.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Burke, W. A.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Grey, C. F.||McGhee, H. G|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Griffiths, David (Rather Valley)||McGovern, J.|
|Carmichael, J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McInnes, J.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Mckay, John (Wallsend)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hale, Leslie||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Champion, A. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||McLeavy, F.|
|Channon, H.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Hamilton, W. W.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Clunie, J.||Hannan, W.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Coldrick, W.||Hargreaves, A.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Corbel, Mrs. Freda||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Mallalieu J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hastings, S.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Hay, John||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hayman, F. H.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Mason, Roy|
|Daines, P.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Messer, Sir F.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Herbison, Miss M.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hobson, C. R.||Mitchison, G. R|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Holman, P.||Monslow, W.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Holmes, Horace||Moody, A. S.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Houghton, Douglas||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Hoy, J. H.||Morley, R.|
|Hubbard, T. F.|
|Moyle, A.||Robson-Brown, W.||Thornton, E.|
|Mulley, F. W.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Tomney, F.|
|Murray, J. D.||Ross, William||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Nally, W.||Royle, C.||Ungoed-Thomas Sir Lynn|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Wallace, H. W|
|O'Brien, T.||Shepherd, William||Warbey, W. N.|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Short, E. W.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Orbach, M.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Weitzman, D.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Oswald, T.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Paget, R. T.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||West, D. G.|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Skeffington, A. M.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgfield)||Whiteley, Rt Hon. W.|
|Pannell, Charles||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wigg, George|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C A. B.|
|Parker, J.||Snow, J. W.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Parkin, B. T||Sorensen, R. W.||Willey, F. T.|
|Pearson, A.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Sparks, J. A.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Popplewell, E.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Porter, G.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Stokes, Rt. Hon R. R.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Pryde, D. J.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Raikes, Sir Victer||Stross, Dr. Barnett||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Rankin, John||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Sylvester, G. O.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Reid, William (Camlachie)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Yates, V. F.|
|Rhodes, H.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Robertson, Sir David||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Sir Robert Boothby and Mr. Lewis.|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Duthie, W. S.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Erroll, F. J.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Fisher, Nigel||Kaberry, D.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Fort, R.||Kerr, H. W.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Foster, John||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Barber, Anthony||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Gammans, L. D.||Lindsay, Martin|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Linstead, Sir H. N.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Godber, J. B.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)|
|Birch, Nigel||Gough, C. F. H.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.|
|Black, C. W.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Low, A. R. W.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Brains, B. R.||Harden, J. R. E.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Bullard, D. G.||Harvey, Air Cdr. A. V. (Macclesfield)||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Carr, Robert||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Heath, Edward||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Marples, A. E.|
|Cole, Norman||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Maude, Angus|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Maudling, R.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Mellor, Sir John|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Horobin, I. M.||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Donner, Sir P. W.||Hurd, A. R.||Neave, Airey|
|Drewe, Sir C.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Iremonger, T. L.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Roper, Sir Harold||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Nield, Basil (Chester)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Russell, R. S.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Tilney, John|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Scott, R. Donald||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Turton, R. H.|
|Osborne, C.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Vane, W. M. F|
|Page, R. G.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Vaughan-Morgan, J K.|
|Peaks, Rt. Hon. O.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Perkins, Sir Robert||Soames, Capt. C.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Spearman, A. C. M.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Speir, R. M.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Pitman, I. J.||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)||Wall, P. H. S.|
|Pitt, Miss E. M.||Stevens, Geoffrey||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Profumo, J. D.||Storey, S.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Ramsden, J. E.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Redmayne, M.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Studholme, H. G.||Wills, G.|
|Renton, D. L. M.||Summers, G. S.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Ridsdale, J. E.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES: Mr. Deedes and Mr. H. A. Price.|
Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question put.154
§ The House divided: Ayes, 280; Noes. 166.155
|Division No. 114.]||AYES||[10.9 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Hay, John|
|Adams, Richard||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Hayman, F. H.|
|Albu, A. H.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Deer, G.||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Delargy, H. J.||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Attlee Rt. Hon. C. R.||Dodds, N. N.||Hobson, C. R.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Donnelly, D. L.||Holman, P.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Doughty, C. J. A.||Holmes, Horace|
|Baird, J.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Houghton, Douglas|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hoy, J. H.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hubbard, T. F.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)|
|Bence, C. R.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Benson, G.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Beswick, F.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Fernyhough, E.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Blackburn, F.||Fienburgh, W.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Finch, H. J.||Janner, B.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Finlay, Graeme||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Boardman, H.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Follick, M.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena|
|Bowles, F. G.||Foot, M. M.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Freeman, John (Watford)||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Garner-Evans, E. H||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Burke, W. A.||Gibson, C. W.||Keenan, W.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Glanville, James||Kenyon, C.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Gooch, E. G.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W|
|Carmichael, J.||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Kinley, J.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gower, H. R.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Lawson, G. M.|
|Champion, A. J.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Channon, H.||Grey, C. F.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Chapman, W. D||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Clunie, J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Coldrick, W.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Logan, D. G.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hale, Leslie||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||MacColl, J. E.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Hamilton, W. W.||McGovern, J.|
|Grossman, R. H. S.||Hannan, W.||McInnes, J.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Hargreaves, A.||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Daines, P.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||McLeavy, F.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hastings, S.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. H|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Rankin, John||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Rhodes, H.||Thornton, E.|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Tomney, F.|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Tuner-Samuels, M.|
|Mason, Roy||Robertson, Sir David||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Messer, Sir F.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Mikardo, Ian||Robson-Brown, W.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Monslow, W.||Ross, William||Watkins, T. E.|
|Moody, A. S.||Royle, C.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Weitzman, D.|
|Morley, R.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Moyle, A.||Shepherd, William||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Mulley, F. W.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||West, D. G.|
|Murray, J. D.||Short, E. W.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Nally, W.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wigg, George|
|O'Brien, T.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Skeffington, A. M.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Willey, F. T.|
|Orbach, M.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Han. W. D.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Oswald, T.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Paget, R. T.||Snow, J. W.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. D. (Dearne Valley)||Sorensen, R. W.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Sparks, J. A.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Pannell, Charles||Speir, R. M.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Parker, J.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Parkin, B. T.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Pearson, A.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Yates, V. F.|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Popplewell, E.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Porter, G.||Stross, Dr. Barnett||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Sir Robert Boothby and|
|Proctor, W. T.||Sylvester, G. O.||Mr. Arthur Lewis.|
|Pryde, D. J.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Foster, John||Kerr, H. W.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Lindsay, Martin|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Gammans, L. D.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.|
|Barber, Anthony||Godber, J. B.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Barlow, Sir John||Gough, C. F. H.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Graham, Sir Fergus||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Birch, Nigel||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Black, C. W.||Harden, J. R. E.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Braine, B. R.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Marples, A. E.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Maude, Angus|
|Carr, Robert||Heath, Edward||Maudling, R.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maydon, Lt.Comdr. S. L. C|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Mellor, Sir John|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Cole, Norman||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Horobin, I. M.||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Neave, Airey|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Donner, Sir P. W.||Hurd, A. R.||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Drewe, Sir C.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Iremonger, T. L.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrm, N.)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Kaberry, D.||Orr-Ewng, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Fort, R.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Page, R. G.|
|Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Perkins, Sir Robert||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Turton, R. H.|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M||Soames, Capt. C.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Pitman, I. J.||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Pitt, Miss E. M.||Stevens, Geoffrey||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Profumo, J. D.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Ramsden, J. E.||Storey, S.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Redmayne, M.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Renton, D. L. M.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Studholme, H. G.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Summers, G. S.||Wills, G.|
|Russell, R. S.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Sandys, Rt. Hon. D||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Schofield, LI.-Col. W||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)||Major Anstruther-Gray and|
|Scott, R. Donald||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)||Mr. Arbuthnot.|
|Scott-Miller, Comdr. R.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ That this House, having considered the Report of the Select Committee on Members Expenses, &c., is of opinion that the recommendations in respect of pensions should be referred to the trustees of the Members' Fund for further consideration and report; that the Members' allowances should be raised by £500 per annum; and that Her Majesty's Government should at an early date introduce legislation to improve the financial position of junior Ministers.