HC Deb 17 March 1969 vol 780 cc36-7
49. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will refer the payment and expenses of Members of the House of Commons to the National Board for Prices and Incomes.

Mr. Hattersley

No, Sir.

Mr. Lewis

Can my hon. Friend explain why, because it seems that all other people are having their salaries and wages referred at some time or other? Surely this would be a good idea on the part of the Secretary of State, rather than referring the pay of some other groups?

Mr. Hattersley

The reasons why a reference would be inappropriate were outlined in very great detail by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 11th March, and I have nothing to add to what he said then.

Mr. Frederic Harris

When looking into this matter, will the hon. Gentleman knock down for all time the myth that constantly appears in the national Press that Members of Parliament get £1,250 expenses free of tax, because it is quite incorrect and they have to prove their expenses the same as anybody else does?

Mr. Hattersley

Like the hon. Gentleman, I am very anxious that that myth should be knocked down, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question has helped to do that.

Mr. Whitaker

Would not clocking in by hon. Members to show their attendance record be a matter of interest to other employees?

Mr. Hattersley

It might be a matter of interest, but I cannot believe that it would be a very fruitful indication of the industry of individual M.Ps.