HC Deb 24 May 1962 vol 660 cc668-9
Q4. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the fact that Members of the House of Lords, who have no constituency expenses or correspondence similar to Members of the House of Commons, receive £3 3s. a day attendance money, whether he will initiate a similar scheme for Members of the House of Commons to enable them to meet the rising cost of the expenses necessarily incurred in carrying out their duties to their constituents.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. The maximum allowance of three guineas a day available to peers who are not remunerated for their services enables them to recover expenses incurred in attendance at the House of Lords. Quite different conditions apply to Members of this House.

Mr. Lewis

It is because there are quite different conditions that I put the Question down. I do not wish in any way to interfere with what the other House receives, but may I ask if the Prime Minister is aware that the other House does not have the day-to-day expenses which a Member of Parliament has in maintaining necessary expenditure incurred in carrying out his duties to his constituents? Is it not unfair that Members of Parliament who have to maintain two homes and other expenses—[Interruption.] Is it not unfair, when Members of Parliament must maintain their hotel expenses here—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Is it not unfair—[Interruption.] Mr. Speaker, if you yourself will not ask hon. Members to keep quiet, I must wait until I can get my Question in.

May I ask the Prime Minister whether it is not unfair that noble Lords should receive three guineas a day for attending their House when they have none of the day-to-day expenses incurred by hon. Members of this House? Would it not, at least, be fair that those hon. Members who do, in fact, turn up here every day and not occasionally—

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. In the general interest, let there be less noise so that we can get on.

Mr. Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Will the Prime Minister go into the matter again to see whether something can be done for those hon. Members who are in real need within the terms of my Question?

The Prime Minister

I should not like to be drawn into a consideration of the domestic difficulties or complications of either commoners or peers to which the hon. Gentleman referred. I remind the House that we did have this system, or a system not dissimilar, called, I think, the sessional allowance, and I believe that it was the general view of the House that that had better be abolished and concentrated in a single salary. I think that the House as a whole prefers that system.

Mr. Lipton

As an alternative, would the Prime Minister consider giving certain hon. Members three guineas a day for not coming here?

The Prime Minister

I am sure that the usual channels would be very ready to arrange that.