§ The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:
§ 36. Mr. CALLAGHAN
To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if, under regulations, Members of Parliament are liable to tax on the full sum of £1,750 per annum received by them as salary and expenses; and to what extent, as regards deduction of expenses for Income Tax calculations, their position is comparable with the general body of salary and wage earners.
§ Mr. Callaghan
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, about our domestic procedures concerning the salaries and expenses of Members of Parliament. There has been considerable misrepresentation in the Press about Members' expenses which are, as I think everyone in this House knows, treated for taxation purposes in the same way as the expenses of any other P.A.Y.E. payer. I put down Question No. 36 in order that the position should be made clear in the House. I wonder whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be willing to make that position clear, and whether, if he made such a request to you, you would allow him to answer the Question?
§ Mr. Speaker
The test is whether a Minister asks for leave to answer a Question. The right hon. and learned Gentleman apparently does, and I give it.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer for that reply. May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to make it trebly clear that Members of Parliament are in exactly the same position, no better and no worse, as any other Schedule E taxpayer; that they have no privileges, and have to prove every penny of their expenses in the same way as has any other citizen in the country?