HC Deb 27 November 1967 vol 755 cc22-4
35. Dr. David Kerr

asked the Lord President of the Council what proposals he has for establishing a regular review of Members' salaries.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Richard Crossman)

None, Sir.

Dr. Kerr

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that a very large part of the Lawrence Committee award was made up of an expense factor, and as that expense factor does not meet the rising cost of providing services, nor the greater conscientiousness with which younger and better Members are now pursuing those services, does he not think that there is a case for reviewing the possibility of a regular review?

Mr. Crossman

There is always a case for doing everything, but I should have thought that it was an ill-timed case at this moment.

Mr. van Straubenzee

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that his last sentence carries behind him the overwhelming view, I suspect, of hon. Members on both sides of the House who would thoroughly deprecate a specialised position at a time of financial stringency.

Mr. Crossman

I am experienced enough as Leader of the House to know that the remarks of any hon. Member of the House do not carry with them unanimous consent from any part of the House.

Mr. Tinn

Without accepting that there is a need for an adjustment in Members' salaries at the present time, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he does not agree with that part of the Lawrence Committee Report which proposed that Members' salaries should in future be fixed by an independent body rather than the House itself?

Mr. Crossman

I personally thought that there was a great deal to commend that view. But I was asked a specific Question about a regular review of Members' salaries, and it was to this that I gave a negative.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with one main point? Constantly the Press puts it over that Members receive £1,250 a year free of expenses. This is an entirely incorrect statement. Will he ensure that the public get the true aspect, that there are no free expenses?

Mr. Crossman

I think it is for each of us to tell the public in our own con stituencies how matters are run. We have no public relations department in the House of Commons.

Sir G. Nabarro

Send it to Aubrey Jones; that is the answer!