HC Deb 12 November 1969 vol 791 c403
37. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will give the reasons why he will not move for the granting to Members of Parliament of an allowance of 61s. 6d. for each night they have to stay in London on a similar basis to that now applied to the junior ranks of the Civil Service.

Mr. Peart

It would not be consistent with the basis on which Members' remuneration is fixed to pay them subsistence allowance in respect of their parliamentary duties in London.

Mr. Lewis

I thank the Lord President for that most unsatisfactory reply. Why is it that, apart from Members of Parliament, everyone—from the ordinary manual worker to the highest paid civil servant receives, either by trade union agreement or by negotiation, an allowance when he has to stay away from home because of his work or employment? When he gives this allowance to civil servants, why cannot he give it to Members of Parliament who have to stay away from home to carry out their Parliamentary duties? I have no interest in this matter.

Mr. Peart

The hon. Member may have no interest. I understand that. But the present basis follows the recommendations of the Lawrence Committee on remuneration, in 1964. A civil servant is not paid subsistence if his place of duty is in London. It is not possible to compare the two categories.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Would it not be better for the Leader of the House to make decisions on all these matters? Then we would not have to put Questions on the Order Paper and would not have to be discussing these matters constantly.

Mr. Peart

That may be so. It so happens that I am in a position where I must do so.