HC Deb 22 July 1975 vol 896 cc441-516

10.27 p.m.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Edward Short)

I beg to move, That in the opinion of this House it is desirable in principle that the salaries of Members should be regulated to correspond with the amounts of the salary paid to a specified grade in the Public Service.

Mr. Speaker

I hope that it will be for the convenience of the House if with this motion we take the two other motions in the name of the Leader of the House.

The first concerns parliamentary expenses: That, in the opinion of this House, further Provision with respect to allowances, facilities and other payments for Members of this House should be made as follows:—

  1. (1) the rate of the supplementary London allowance (£228 a year under the 1974 Resolution) to be £340 a year in respect of periods beginning on or after 13th June 1975, but as and when thereafter any change is made in the Civil Service rate of Inner London weighting, the rate payable in respect of Members entitled to the allowance to correspond to that Civil Service rate, omitting the element in it which represents the cost of travel to work;
  2. (2) the annual limit on the additional costs allowance (£1,050 under the 1974 Resolution) to be—
    1. (a) for the period 1st April 1979 to 31st March 1976, 1,639, and
    2. (b) for any subsequent period of twelve months ending with 31st March, an amount equal to 144 times the Class A(i) London rate (regular visitors) for a night's subsistence, as obtaining in the Civil Service in that period, and allowing for any 442 change in the rate in the period by taking a weighted average;
  3. (3) the annual limit on secretarial allowance (£1,750 under the 1974 Resolution) to be replaced by a limit of £2,910 for the period from 1st April 1975 to 31st March 1976, and £3,200 for any subsequent period of twelve months beginning with 1st April;
  4. (4) the car mileage allowance (7.7 pence a mile under the 1974 Resolution) to be 10.2 pence per mile for journeys commenced on or after 13th June 1975, but as from when the corresponding Civil Service rate is next altered thereafter, the allowance for Members of this House to be the same as that corresponding rate (which is the rate for cars over 1,750 cc used for journeys on official business);
  5. (5) the number of return journeys for which, in accordance with the 1971 Resolution, facilities for free travel are available to the spouses of Members of this House (ten journeys a year under that Resolution) to be fifteen for the period of twelve months ending with 31st December 1975 or any subsesequent period of twelve months beginning with 1st January.
In this Resolution— 'the 1971 Resolution' means the Resolution relating to Parliamentary Expenses which was passed by this House on 20th December 1971; 'the 1974 Resolution' means the Resolution relating to such expenses passed by this House on 30th July 1974. The second concerns parliamentary remuneration: That, in the opinion of this House, the following provision should be made with respect to the salaries and pensions of Members of this House:—
  1. (1) the salary payable to a Member (other than one who is for the time being an officer of the House or a salaried holder of Ministerial office) to be at the rate of £5,750 a year;
  2. (2) the salary payable to a Member who is for the time being an officer of the House or a salaried holder of Ministerial office, but is not a member of the Cabinet, to be at the rate of £3,700 a year;
  3. (3) the salary payable to a Member who is for the time being a holder of Ministerial office and a member of the Cabinet to continue at the rate of £3,000 a year, as under the resolution passed by this House on 20th December 1971;
  4. (4) the proper rate of salary under head (1) of this Resolution is £8,000 a year, and in the case of all Members their ordinary salary for pension purposes (and in particular for the purposes of enactments relating to contributory pensions and the deduction of contributions from salary) is to be regarded as being at the rate of 443 £8,000 a year notwithstanding that payment at that rate is not actually made;
  5. (5) each Member is, by way of supplement to his salary payable under head (1), (2) or (3) above, to be credited with £112–50 a year (that is to say a yearly amount equal to 5 per cent. of the difference between £5,750 and £8,000);
  6. (6) this Resolution has effect as respect service on and after 13th June 1975.
In this Resolution—
  1. (a) 'salaried' means for the time being in receipt of a salary under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975; and
  2. (b) 'Ministerial office' means the same as in section 2 of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, as that Act is for the time being in force.
The contents of all the amendments will be relevant to the discussion on the main Questions, but I have selected for Division the amendment to the first motion, in the name of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) and his hon. Friends, to leave out from 'with' to end and add 'a point on the scale paid to an Assistant Secretary in the public service, not later than three months after the next General Election, and annually until that date, the salaries of Members should be increased by not less than the same amount of increase as these Assistant Secretaries'. I have also selected the amendment to the motion on parliamentary remuneration, in the name of the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham), in paragraph (1), leave out '£5,750' and insert '£6,300'.

Finally, I have selected the amendment to the motion on parliamentary remuneration, in the name of the hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Johnson), in paragraph (1), leave out '£5,750 a year' and insert '£4,812 a year, being an increase of £6 a week'.

Mr. Edward Short

I have put down the first motion to give Members an opportunity to express their views on the important issue whether their salaries should be linked to that of a grade in the public service. If that were done, parliamentary salaries would automatically follow those of the particular grade.

The Review Body considered this and was not attracted to the idea of a pay link because of the unique nature of an MP's job and the absence of any real justification in terms of job comparability. However when I announced the Government's recommendations on Members' pay and allowances last week, I said that we would be carrying out consultations on whether or not the time had come to establish a link between the salaries of Members of Parliament and some other salary groups. This motion will give Members an opportunity to express their points of view on the issue of principle. If it is carried, we will have to consider the best way in which a linkage could be established, and I should he very glad to hear the views of hon. Members on this point. The matter will, of course, have to be considered again by the House before any proposal could be implemented.

A Civil Service grade is not the only possibility. A link might, for example, be made with one of the staff grades of this House. Progress in this direction will be subject to the constraints of the current counter-inflation policies, but we could be preparing for the time when it would be opportune to put a fresh motion before the House about parliamentary salaries. It is, I believe, common ground that a better way must be found for settling this difficult and sensitive pay problem—a way which commands the support both of the public and of Members themselves.

I should say a word here about the amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) and others. When I discussed this with my hon. Friend, I made it clear that the Government's first concern was to find out the view of the House on the issue of principle and that the implementation of any decision would have to be considered subsequently. I cannot therefore accept this amendment, which would tie the House and the Government to one particular Civil Service scale and a particular time scale —neither of which might be found to be appropriate.

I have honoured my promise that hon. Members would be able to express their views on the issue of principle. I have given the House the opportunity to decide this matter for the first time ever. I hope that the House will not try to take advantage of the opportunity I have given to force us into too hasty a conclusion on a very difficult subject. As I have already said, Members' salaries will for the future have to be subject to incomes policy and the constraints of our current economic situation, and the implementation of any linkage will have to be considered in relation to the difficult problem for all sectors of the economy of reentry from a period of severe pay restraint. When the Government have considered the matter in the light of all the circumstances, I will certainly undertake to bring proposals before the House. In view of this undertaking, I hope that my hon. Friend will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

The next two motions give effect to the proposals I put before the House on 16th July. That on parliamentary expenses deals with the improvements in Members' allowances recommended in the Boyle Report and accepted in full by the Government. It covers the increase in secretarial allowance, additional costs allowance, London supplement, car mileage allowance and the free travel warrants for the wife or husband of a Member. The secretarial allowance will now be available to provide any combination of secretarial and research assistance, as recommended by the Review Body. I hope that this will reassure the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone), whose amendment was not selected for discussion. General office expenses will, I understand, be dealt with by Lord Boyle in part 2 of his report later this year.

The implementation in full of the Review Body's recommendation on secretarial allowance will allow hon. Members who wish to do so to employ a fulltime secretary. This meets the substance of a major recommendation of the Select Committee on Assistance to Private Members under the chairmanship of the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee). I think it will be most appropriate for the other recommendations on the report to be considered at the same time as part 2 of the Review Body's Report which is to deal with the difficult question of pensions for secretarial and research assistants.

A number of Members have asked me about some of the more obscure figures in the motion. In the case of additional costs allowance and secretarial allowance, the annual limits are expressed in cash terms for the current financial year. These amounts are those which are obtained for the current financial year by implementing the increases recommended in the Boyle Report with effect from 13th June 1975 and, in the case of the additional costs allowance, take account of a further increase now being introduced with effect from 1st July in the Civil Service rate of night subsistence allowance. This means that the additional costs allowance will go up to £1,639 this year and to £1,814 in a full year on the basis of the current subsistence rate for the Civil Service. From now on, the additional cost will be calculated on the basis of the formula set out in paragraph 2(b) of the motion. The motion also provides for automatic increases in London supplement, additional costs allowance and car mileage allowance in line with corresponding Civil Service rates as recommended by the Review Body.

The motion on parliamentary remuneration increases parliamentary salaries to £5,750. Parliamentary salaries for Ministers outside the Cabinet go up to £3,700, but there will be no increase in the parliamentary salary drawn by Cabinet Ministers who are also Members of this House.

The third motion enables Members to have their pensions calculated on a salary of £8,000 in accordance with the proposal made in my statement. To achieve that end the motion accepts that £8,000 is the proper rate for the job. As I explained last Wednesday, the Government accept that the Boyle recommendation is justified although they cannot support its full implementation at this time when Members are being asked to make a contribution in the fight against inflation.

I am sure that many Members will ask when they will receive the £8,000 a year which the motion recognises is the proper rate for the job, and which will be promulgated as such if this motion is carried. I have said that the Government accept that this recommendation is justified, but in the light of the economic circumstances of the country I regret that I can give no firm date for its implementation.

Perhaps I may explain how this will work. In order to qualify for a pension based on £8,000, it will be necessary for Members to make contributions based on that figure. Provision is therefore being made in the motion to credit Members with the extra cost of the contributions they will have to pay to enable their pensions to be based on the full £8,000. This extra cost works out at £112.50 a year, that is to say 5 per cent. of the difference between £5,750 and £8,000. This extra sum will form part of the Members' taxable pay, but Members are entitled to tax relief on their contributions, so in practice there will be no extra tax to pay on this amount.

I should make it clear that in the next Session a retrospective amendment to the Parliamentary and other Pensions Act, 1972, will be necessary, among other reasons, in order to bring it into conformity with the terms of the motion which I am inviting the House to approve tonight. In the meantime, in the remote likelihood of any financial point arising on the construction and operation of the 1972 Act, payment of the extra pension would be deferred until the amendment had been made, but Parliament will be asked to make it in the next Session.

I am only to well aware that the increase in salary which the Government have felt able to recommend is a disappointment to many hon. Members. It will mean that they have had a smaller percentage increase since the beginning of 1972 than any other group of workers in the community. At the same time, they have to incur more expenses than almost any other group. And whilst the increases I am proposing in expense allowances are reasonable, it should be understood—and it is not—outside the House that not all of a M.P's expenses can be categorised, and certainly not all are covered by the allowances. I need only mention entertaining or the many subscriptions to the numerous good causes in our constituencies.

In the light of what has been said in the Press and elsewhere about the first salary increase which Members are being asked to award themselves after 3½ years, perhaps I could make it clear beyond any possible doubt that these increases are within current pay policy requirements. The new pay limit of £6 a week applies to settlements with an operative date from 1st August onwards. Agreements before this date may be settled within the existing social contract guidelines. Hon. Members will see what I mean from para. 3 of the Appendix to the White Paper.

Mr. Mike Thomas (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)

Will my right hon. Friend go a little further and answer the question I asked him when he made the announcement and say whether the whole of the award would have been within the guidelines?

Mr. Short

Yes. The whole of the award would have been within the guidelines.

I often wish that some of the nameless commentators in the Press would show a little more objectivity and honesty in reporting and commenting on these matters. I have in mind two leading articles which appeared in the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. Perhaps we might be told what percentage increases the leader writers on those two newspapers have had since 1972. I am quite sure that hon. Members would settle for the same percentage increases. Perhaps we can have a little more honesty in the reporting of these matters in the Press.

In the extremely grave economic situation in which we have only just reached agreement on a firm but voluntary policy to restrain incomes, these proposals form a rather harsh but, I believe, tolerable package. I commend them to the House and I ask hon. Members to carry them without amendment.

Mr. Speaker

The Leader of the House having moved the first motion, I want to make absolutely clear what the procedure will be. I intend to allow a debate on all three motions and on the three amendments that I have selected for Division. As I have said, the other amendments may be discussed but cannot be voted upon. I shall deal with the formalities of putting those three amendments later. The Question which I now propose relates to the first motion, which has been moved by the Leader of the House.

10.41 p.m.

Mr. Peter Emery (Honiton)

It is a culmination of the muddles made by the Government in dealing with the Boyle recommendations that we are discussing this matter at this hour of the night. I have tried to make my view quite clear in an amendment I have tabled to the motion dealing with parliamentary expenses.

The Boyle Committee is an independent Committee. No Member of this House sits on it and nor—as has frequently been suggested by the Press—have recommendations been made by hon. Members which will benefit themselves. The Government should make it absolutely clear that they will have carried out the recommendation before the last day of this Parliament—the last day on which this Parliament can act—because we cannot commit another Parliament that has not yet been elected.

If that is stated, it is right that the House should now give a better example to the country than they are asking of any wage or salary earner or worker. The dignity of the House would be preserved if we were to set a maximum limit for the next 12 months, which we are asking many other people to accept from 1st August, 1975 to 31st July, 1976.

The argument that it is understood by those outside this House, that we fall within the old social contract—heaven preserve us from whatever that may or may not mean—is just not correct. Therefore, we should be setting an example. It is an example that many hon. Members would follow if the Government were to give us a lead and if they knew that the Government had accepted, ultimately, within the aegis of this Parliament, the overall recommendation of the Boyle Committee.

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, Central)

If the hon. Gentleman is developing that point, would it not be proper for him to declare, first, what increases he has had in outside emoluments and, secondly, what outside interests he has?

Mr. Emery

I am more than delighted to do so. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to Who's Who, where everything that I do has, over—

Mr. Hamilton

How much?

Mr. Emery

—the last 15 years, been included. Secondly—[HON. MEMBERS: "Tell us how much."]—I have had no increase in salary since the position I took when I ceased to be a member—[HON. MEMBERS: "How much?"]—The interesting fact about this debate—

Mr. Peter Hardy (Rother Valley)

Give us a figure.

Mr. Emery

—is that surely we, as a House of Commons, ought to be in the position to lead, and not to have to fol- low. Surely we should be able to set an example which is accepted by everyone in the nation.

The last part of the amendment which I have placed on the Order Paper seeks to ensure that the expenses and allowances which Members could claim should be thoroughly understood by people outside the House as being only the reimbursement of expenditure which Members have incurred. Many people interpret the allowances as a mass amount which automatically is given and automatically, therefore, is an increase in salary. That is not true and it is well that it should be properly understood that allowances and expenses are paid to Members only to reimburse them for actual amounts they are claiming which they have properly spent in their parliamentary duties. That point needs to be hammered home.

I believe that the Government would do a service to the House if, even at this time of economic problems for the nation, they would ask the House to do exactly what they are asking the rest of the country to do.

10.47 p.m.

Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)

I want to begin by making it clear that in common with, I suspect, most hon. Members who will take part in the debate, I speak only for myself. Even though I have consulted my colleagues about what I might say, I do not pretend that I shall carry all of them with me on every point.

First, I support the principle of linking. I think that the Boyle Committee was wrong in its conclusions on page 9 of its report, where it said, The adoption of such a link might well do no more than shift the focus of the political sensitivity which attaches to MP's pay to the pay of the group with which the link was established. I do not accept that for one moment. The basic flaw in the Boyle Committee's consideration was that it did not attach enough weight to the fact that we are the only group in this country who are left in the invidious position of deciding our own salaries. That is a grave weakness of the present system.

However, I am not certain that the motion moved by the Leader of the House is correct. Even though on balance I would vote for the first motion, I invite him to consider the possibility that instead of linking to some specified grade in the public service, by which I assume he means the Civil Service—and that would be an undesirable principle; I am glad to see the right hon. Gentleman shaking his head—there is another option. That is that we might be linked to some average of earnings of different groups of people in different areas of the public service, so that we are not clearly identified as being involved automatically in the wage negotiations of any one group. If that is in the mind of the Leader of the House—and I am glad to see him indicating some assent to this—one specific grade in the public service would not be the right solution. Some form of average may be the best approach.

Secondly, it is time that the House faced up to the difficult question of Members' outside earnings. We have just introduced a register of interests. There is no question that there is a big difference between the Member who has no outside interests, or virtually none, and who does a full-time job here, and other hon. Members who may, quite properly and possibly even to the benefit of Parliament. have substantial outside interests and who may therefore regard their membership of this House as part time, to a varying degree—a quarter of their time, four-fifths, or whatever it is.

One of my predecessors as Liberal Chief Whip in a previous Parliament, the then hon. Member for Orpington, Mr. Lubbock, now the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, put forward a very radical proposition when he suggested that Members of Parliament should be obliged to publish their tax returns. I do not necessarily go as far as that, but I believe that he was on to a good point. We in this House have inflicted on the nation as a whole about 44 different means tests. I see no reason in principle why the parliamentary salary should not be subject to some form of limited means test, why we should not establish a minimum salary to which every hon. Member is entitled but with a full-time salary much higher, to which Members who did not have an outside income should be entitled. There is no reason why a sliding scale could not be adopted.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

What the hon. Gentleman is talking about is not full-time and part-time Members. He is distinguishing between Members, whether full-time or not, who have an outside income, and Members whether full-time or not, who do not. Those who have outside incomes will lose in tax a substantial part of any salary award from here, particularly if it is high. Therefore, the point is taken care of, without the elaborate facade that the hon. Gentleman is developing.

Mr. Steel

That, is a point of argument. I am merely putting forward my view. It has been suggested outside the House, and may well be suggested in the debate, that there should be a differential in payment between those who serve on Standing Committees, for example, and those who do not. That would be an impossible situation. It is far better to look at the needs of Members as a whole.

Thirdly, whatever our views on the subject, the Government certainly cannot be congratulated on their handling of the question. There is no doubt that in a time of high inflation since the end of 1971 the whole matter should have been referred to the Boyle Committee much earlier. Moreover, when the committee reported, action should have been taken, instead of leaving us until we got into the most difficult of political and economic situations, in which it became impossible for the Government to act.

Having got into this situation, we start from here. I believe that it would be impossible for the House to accept the Boyle Committee's recommendations in full. We have no alternative but to accept as a temporary measure the Government's salary proposals.

It is extremely important that we look again at the whole question of parliamentary expenses. In a letter in The Scotsman the other day, one of the officials responsible for negotiating the salaries of chief executives of local authorities referred to parliamentary pay and to the non-taxable part of MPs' remuneration. There is no such thing as the non-taxable part of MPs' remuneration. But, sadly, the system of going on paying substantial expenses is open to that interpretation. The Government should wake up to the fact that if they go on extending the cash expenses and restricting the salary they are laying open temptations for abuse of that system which should not be encouraged.

The hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) made a fair point when the Leader of the House made his announcement. The chief executive of a local authority, or anyone else in a responsible position in the public service, has a secretary provided for him and not a cash payment out of which he is expected to pay a secretary. It is time we moved to such a system, with our secretaries on the public payroll, though with it still open to us to appoint or sack them.

I am convinced that the average member of the public who does not follow these matters closely believes that the member of any legislature is in a sufficiently important position to merit having a secretary on the public payroll to help him. I should like the cash allowances to be diminished, in return for the creation of the facilities we need to do our job. We should then have a proper cash salary, taxable like everybody else's assessed on the basis of the job, as the Boyle Committee attempted to assess it.

It is time we got the relation of salary and expenses right. I do not think that the Government have done that, but, faced with the present economic situation, we can do nothing else for the present but accept their proposals.

10.55 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (Newham, North-West)

The Leader of the House said that the proposed increase in Members' salaries was the first adjustment since 1972. I have corresponded with him. I now point out, especially for the benefit of the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery), that we waited from 1964 until 1972, a period of 8½ years, for the last award. It was not opportune then. Hon. Members were told that they should wait and that it was not economically wise to implement it then. The salaries of Members of Parliament have been adjusted on five occasions in the period 1937 to 1975. I include this award, which we have not yet received, in that total. There was a period of 8½ years between each review. Why? On every occasion we were either entering or coming out of an economic crisis. We have always responded to the request not to take the increases which were awarded.

The hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) mentioned the average wage. In 1937, Members of Parliament received a wage of £600 a year.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Thanet, West)

The hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) is not right. At that time it was expenses. It was not a salary. The sum was treated wholly as expenses. It was not until after the war that the salary was allowed.

Mr. Lewis

I am sorry that I gave way to the hon. and learned Gentleman. I have a document produced by the finest service—the House of Commons Library. Thanks to your excellent staff, Mr. Speaker, I have all the facts.

In 1937 Members of Parliament received £600 a year. The average wage was about £3 a week. Members of Parliament then received on average four times the national average wage. I do not know what is the current national average wage. It depends on the part of the country in which we live. It could vary between £30 and £50 a week. Members of Parliament do not at present receive four times the national average wage. No group of workers can say that their pay has been adjusted on only five occasions since 1937.

I asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he could state the position on wages. He said that on average the workers in almost every industry received an annual increment. That may or may not be true. We must thank the Civil Service for initiating the wage freeze and anti-inflation policies. My hon. Friends laugh. The last freeze was initiated by Mr. Armstrong. Before he did so he raised the salaries of the top civil servants. The freeze followed. He was knighted. He retired and became the chairman of a bank, at a salary of £20,000 a year, on top of a pension of about £20,000 a year.

I resent the fact that journalists, radio commentators and Members of Parliament who receive—I do not say earn—more as a result of their five-minute or 10-minute contributions on radio and television than the average worker earns in one week should come here and say that they are in favour of a wage freeze or an incomes policy and in favour of showing an example.

The Sunday Express has a rotation system whereby several Conservative right hon. Members and the ex-Lord Chancellor share the centre page of the newspaper. For the past 18 months they have been writing articles demanding a wage freeze, an anti-inflation policy and all the rest, for each of which they receive £300, £400 or £500.

The same applies to the most highly paid lawyers. Tonight the Shadow Chancellor told us that he is in favour of wage control and setting an example to the public. I am told that lawyers arrange their own fees. A big case is being heard in the courts at the moment which I must not mention, and I read in the newspaper that one of the great Liberal pioneers is to receive several thousands of pounds plus refreshers of £300 or £400 a day. I understand "refresher" to be trade union jargon. In industry it is known as beer money.

Let us have honesty in debating these issues. Any hon. Member who conscientiously feels that he does not need the increase can telephone or visit the Fees Office and say that he does not want it and ask for it to go to the Exchequer. I have heard this issue debated over many years, and each time it is debated many hon. Members on both sides of the House say that they will not draw the increase. I have taken the trouble to ask the Fees Office, and I have been told that only on one occasion did one hon. Member fail to draw the increase, and that was the former hon. Member for Wimbledon, Sir Cyril Black. I believe that he is a director of about 150 companies. Perhaps it was too much trouble for him to draw it.

Editors have suites in hotels for entertaining, and they receive virtually unlimited expenses. Then they have the audacity to write articles that they know are not true. They deliberately try to foster opinion against the House of Commons and against Members on both sides of the House.

I do not think that that is good for Parliament. By all means let us have criticism. Let constituents write to their Members of Parliament if they want to ask for information, but if anyone wants to criticise, let that person examine the facts. Let it be remembered that on average the elector pays about 1 p a week for his Member of Parliament. I think that most constituents will agree that on that basis, whatever the political persuasion of the Member of Parliament who represents their constituency, that they are getting value for money.

Some hon. Members are solicitors. What do solicitors charge for advice and for the sending of letters? I am sure that most of us have had constituents come to our surgeries when they have found that their solicitors or lawyers have led them into a bit of a muddle. That often happens after they have paid a lot of money. Constituents then expect their Member of Parliament to help them.

My approach is to support the recommendations of the Boyle Report without equivocation. I am disappointed in the attitude adopted by the Government on the whole subject.

11.7 p.m.

Mr. Evelyn King (Dorset, South)

I am sure that we have all been fascinated by the speech of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis). It is a good speech and I have heard it many times. It has more to do with the salaries and rates of pay of various other professions than with the remuneration of Members of Parliament. Perhaps I might bring the House back to the salaries of Members.

I must make the point that we are discussing two matters at once and that it would be better to separate them out. First, what remuneration is appropriate for a Member of Parliament in normal times? Secondly, if we are able to arrive at an answer to that question, how far should the figure be conditioned by existing circumstances?

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

Does my hon. Friend not think that normal times now are periods in the middle of economic crises?

Mr. King

That may be so, but what I said still stands.

I hold the view that it is not right for any man to fix his own salary. Insofar as it is possible to evade that position, we should evade it. The hon. Member for Newham, North-West and myself came into the House at approximately the same time and we know that on the five occasions on which Members' salaries have been discussed, and in progression, we have had a worse Press and we have done ourselves more harm. There has been unreasonable criticism and we have added more to the disrepute of the House on this matter than on any other. The five occasions have so far been widely separated out, but given the present state of inflation this is likely to become an annual or six-monthly debate.

The most important thing to do is to remove this area of debate from the Floor of the House. How can that best be done? I accept the Lord President's view that there should be linkage. However, I do not accept his view or the view of the Boyle Committee there should be at link with the Civil Service. Incidentally, I think the Civil Service is overpaid. That may be an unpopular view, but I am sure it is correct. I also believe that it is unwise to be linked to a professional occupation over which we have no direct control. Indeed, I believe that it is unwise to link it with any single scale. If there is to be a linkage, I believe that we should be linked with two or three professions. One could speculate as to which two or three it should be, but I need not be didactic.

My strong view is that never again in the lifetime of sitting Members of Parliament should this discussion be held on the Floor of the House. I would go to great length to achieve that situation. I believe that, above all, we should bring in the average national wage. At least if we take the national average wage, we are following what the rest of the country is doing.

I must now turn to the second and probably more difficult part of my argument. It is only a matter of weeks since the Government said that no wage increase after 1st August should exceed £6 per week. Therefore, it seems to me to be monstrous that we should seek to do something else for ourselves. I cannot defend this move because I regard it as wrong.

Mr. William Hamilton

What are the hon. Gentleman's outside interests?

Mr. King

I am happy to answer that question. As the hon. Gentleman well knows, our outside interests are declared on a register, and he can look at that register at any time he wishes.

Mr. William Hamilton rose

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

The hon. Gentleman does not desire to give way.

Mr. William Hamilton

He must de so.

Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)

Is it not possible, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for you to give a ruling at this stage? We cannot have speeches made in which there are constant cries about interests having to be declared. Serious points are being made in this debate and constant interventions asking for Member's outside interests to be declared are neither here nor there.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

It is entirely a matter for the discretion of the hon. Member concerned.

Mr. William Hamilton

Could you make a clear ruling on this important matter, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If we are to have to listen to lectures from Members of Parliament about our accepting £6 a week, surely it is right that we should know exactly the situation of hon. Members who make such a claim in relation to their outside interests in money terms.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. This debate is concerned with a matter of public policy, and it is for a Member to decide whether he should declare his interest during the debate which is now taking place.

Mr. King

I am obliged to both hon. Members for their interruptions, particularly the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead.) We have to vote tonight upon the legal and authorised salary of a Member of Parliament. We are not concerned to express an opinion on the earnings of the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton), my earnings, or anybody else's earnings, but on the salary of a Member of Parliament, and nothing else. I continue to express my view—which I believe is widely and rightly held in the country, and certainly in my constituency—that to ask other persons not to accept any wage increase beyond £6 a week and then to put ourselves in breach of that Governmental undertaking is a wrong and a foolish thing to do, and that it ought not to be done.

11 16 p.m.

Mr. Raphael Tuck (Watford)

The hon. Member for Dorset, South (Mr. King) and the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) are, I think, confusing two matters. The £6 beyond which nobody must go refers to prospective increases. The Members of Parliament who wish the Boyle Report to be implemented are referring to retrospective increases from 1972 onwards. From 1972, judges, lawyers, civil servants, miners, and so on, have received increases on three or four occasions. We are not referring to those increases when we refer to the £6 limit. The increases that Members of Parliament want are increases retrospective from 1972 to now. They are not demanding increases from now onwards.

Mr. Ridley

Will the hon. Gentleman tell the House how little he earns outside this House, so that we can understand why he is making such a big pay claim?

Mr. Tuck

I will. I find that my legal practice has gone down very much because of my parliamentary duties. I am earning enough to cover my legal expenses, which are somewhere between £2,000 and £2,500 a year, and before I earn one penny I have to pay that out. In some years I have made a loss at the Bar.

The hon. Member for Honiton has asked us to make a sacrifice and to show a lead in not accepting more than £6 a week above that which we were getting in 1972. I am willing to make that sacrifice provided that it is not only Members of Parliament who are asked to make it and provided that the sacrifice is general. That means that lord justices, for example, instead of receiving £18,675, would receive the salary they received in 1972—£15,750—plus £6 a week. Circuit judges would be in the same position. A permanent secretary in the Civil Service, instead of receiving £18,000, would receive £15,000 plus £6 a week. Miners, instead of receiving £61 a week, would receive £34.50 plus £6 a week. If we are all to receive no more than £6 a week above what we were receiving in 1972, then, and then only, I am willing to make that sacrifice. Members of Parliament should not be called upon to make that sacrifice alone. It should be a general sacrifice throughout the country.

11.20 p.m.

Mr. A. G. F. Hall-Davis (Morecambe and Lonsdale)

I want to draw attention to one action in contemplation which I find wholly objectionable. It is the proposal in paragraph (4) of Motion No. 5 to relate the pensions of Members of this House to a notional salary of £8,000 a year. I believe that by doing this we shall create for ourselves a privilege which will be deeply resented outside this House when it is understood.

I have to declare an interest, because it explains why I feel so strongly on this subject. It is that I am chairman of the trustees of an occupational pension fund and for some years I have been concerned with the attempt to secure the best possible pension benefits for members of that fund.

By this motion, we are establishing for Members of this House a position of advantage which, as I understand it, is not available to the member of any occupational pension fund in the country. We are doing so by a resolution of this House relating to Members' remuneration and conditions, and not by an amendment of the general law of the land.

Mr. Mike Thomas

In fact, quite the reverse of what the hon. Gentleman is saying is the case. We are taking a pension that is our entitlement and forgoing the salary, rather than taking it the other way and suggesting that we are cheating on the pension. We are forgoing more than £2,000 of the salary which an independent arbitration tribunal has awarded us and which every other group in a similar position to us in the pipeline will get—and the £6.

Mr. Hall-Davis

I am interested to hear that comment. However, as I hope to illustrate, that is not how people outside this House will see it, nor do I think they will be very sympathetic with the hon. Gentleman's comment.

Members of pension schemes outside this House are governed by the Finance Acts and the Revenue Rules laid down under those Acts. So far as I know, there is no legal provision in any of those Acts for any occupational pension fund to pay a pension related to a salary which is not being paid and has not been paid to the member of the fund going on pension.

I wish to quote two specific examples of the kind of situation which will give rise to the resentment to which I refer. The first is the simple one which I am sure is evident to all hon. Members. It is the case of the man approaching pensionable age, perhaps anticipating retiring at this time next year. If he is on average industrial earnings, with a salary equivalent to £3,000 a year, under the interpretation of the social contract which was ruling until two or three weeks ago he could have anticipated an increase in salary of no less than £750 a year—25 per cent., in line with the increase in the cost of living—and that could have been reflected in a pension increase of £500 had he been fortunate enough to have a 40-year entitlement under his pension scheme. Now he will get an increase of £312 and a pension uplift over the next 12 months of £208. That is a very substantial forgoing of pension.

My other example is that of the man who is being made redundant, perhaps two years before his normal retirement date under the rules of his scheme. We have to remember that these rules are governed by Acts of Parliament. If he retires before his normal retiring date, there is no way by which his employer can give him his full anticipated pension if he has not at the time of retirement completed 40 years' pensionable service.

The simple solution which many employers would like to follow is the very course of action proposed by the Lord President. They would like to relate that man's pensionable salary to a notional salary—that which he would have expected to receive in two years' time. They are not able to do that because it is against the law of the land, which, as I understand it, is being overridden by a resolution of the House for the benefit of hon. Members and of hon. Members alone.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Is the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis) aware that at present there are civil servants who are forgoing incremental increases and are having their pensions based on increments which they are forgoing?

I appreciate the point about someone getting the sack or suffering redundancy, but I have done nearly 31 years in the House, and if my parliamentary seat were redistributed out of existence tomorrow—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—I hope hon. Members will try to be a little serious for a moment. If hon. Members, even the laughing hyenas behind me, have seats redistributed out of existence, they will find that they cannot draw pensions until they reach 65. They may well have difficulty in finding employment for the period before reaching pension age. It is regrettable for people in that situation. It is exactly the same for hon. Members.

Mr. Hall-Davis

I would not disagree with the hon. Member for Newham North-west (Mr. Lewis) that many occupational schemes in the private sector are more generous for their members than that in the House.

Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)

The hon. Member was protesting that this change in pension practice was being brought about in favour of hon. Members by resolution without a change in the law, but I should like to give him an assurance that legislation will have to be brought forward to effect this change and that it cannot be effected without that legislation.

Mr. Hall-Davis

If that is the case, I should like the Lord President to give an assurance that if legislation is brought forward, private occupational pension schemes will be able to anticipate this and be safe in doing so, as is apparently to be the case for Members of this House.

This proposal is objectionable because it conveys to Members of the House a benefit of a size not appreciated by those not conversant with these matters. The TUC document "The Development of the Social Contract", published as an appendix to the White Paper, said: Negotiators will be expected to offset any improvement in non-wage benefits against the pay figure I always hesitate in making a rough judgment on a pension costing, but if one looks at the pamphlet with which we are provided, it tells us that the Chancellor of the Exchequer contributes three times the Member's contribution to the Members' Pension Fund. I think the Actuary's report of April is not yet available. I have not, at any rate, been able to find it. But if one takes the notional figure of £2,250, 15 per cent., three times the Member's contribution conies to £337.50 in respect of each Member. More than that. We are not being called upon even to pay our own 5 per cent., so that this proposal means that the increase in cost falling on the Exchequer, in my approximate estimate, is no less than £450 per annum.

I do not know whether the Government will observe the TUC development guideline. If they do I shall find it totally unacceptable that we are making ourselves an exception of this kind.

To make it clear to hon. Members opposite—and this will be within the recollection of the Lord President—I said that the course of action I felt should be followed was that we should have had a resolution to pay a salary increase of £1,800 per annum, precisely in line with the statutory fixed increases and the strict interpretation of the social contract, and should have related our pensions to that figure until we had a higher salary.

Mr. Walter Johnson (Derby, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I think that it would be helpful to the House if you would guide us on how the debate is to be conducted, particularly as we are having a wide-ranging general discussion. You have said that we may speak to all the amendments. If we carry on like this it will be four or five o'clock in the morning before we get to the amendments which you have selected for Division, with an almost empty House debating the important aspects of this policy. I ask for your guidance on this matter.

Mr. Speaker

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this matter. It is present to my mind. I am at the disposal of the House. I am prepared to sit up all night, but I doubt whether that is what the House would wish. I think that we want to come to a conclusion by voting on these issues. I have selected three amendments to be voted upon. It was put to me that it would be the wish of the House to have a general debate on the three motions together. I hoped that we could soon dispose of those in one way or another and get on to other matters.

Another way, before voting on the first amendment, would be to present the arguments for all the amendments and then, as quickly as possible, having done that, come to the voting later and the formal proposals, and so on. I am very much in the hands of the House. I think that it is the general wish that these matters should be debated together. I am willing to hear what anybody has to say on the matter.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, Central)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have not yet had one of the amendments moved. I wonder whether it is possible to have some discussion by the protagonists on the amendments which you have selected.

Mr. Eric Ogden (Liverpool, West Derby)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Part of our difficulty might lie in the calling of speakers. This is no criticism of your predecessor in the Chair. Those hon. Members who have spoken have had to speak in ignorance, or at least in guesswork, of what the proposers of the three amendments will say in their support. We think we know what they will say, but it might be for the convenience of the House if those who are to speak to the three amendments were allowed to do so now. Then any comments on the amendments would be made on what they have said tonight, not on what we think they may have said.

Mr. Speaker

If that is what the House would like, I am willing to follow that course. That being so, I call the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton).

Mr. Michael English (Nottingham, West)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The House accepted your original suggestion and has been proceeding with an interesting debate. The first objection came from the prospective mover of one of the amendments, my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Johnson). I think that the House was prepared to and did accept your original ruling.

Mr. Ronald Bell (Beaconsfield)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I put it to you, that, since we have embarked on this procedure, it would be the worst of all possible worlds to change it now. I think that the procedure will work admirably if only we could have short speeches.

Mr. Speaker

I do not think there is any conflict. If I call the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) now, that will not prevent the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English) from speaking afterwards. I will allow the proposer of each amendment to develop his argument and then put the Questions to the vote as we come to them.

The hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Bell) made a most valid point about short speeches.

11.33 p.m.

Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)

I beg to move to leave out from "with" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof, 'a point on the scale paid to an Assistant Secretary in the public service, not later than three months after the next General Election, and annually until that date, the salaries of Members should he increased by not less than the same amount of increase as these Assistant Secretaries'. Earlier we listened to a major statement from the Leader of the House. As usual, in his courteous way, he tried to answer many of the points which might be made.

My colleagues and I have discussed this matter at length over many hours in the past two to three weeks. I refer not only to the 13 hon. Members whose names are down to my amendment but to perhaps 80 or 90 other back benchers.

The Leader of the House must be more specific. Some of us have become extremely wary of what we have been told and promised in the last two to three weeks in view of what has eventually turned out to be the case. I mean no disrespect to my right hon. Friend. However, the collective wisdom of back benchers on what would happen to Boyle was apparent in March when 142 of my hon. Friends signed a letter, which I personally handed to the Leader of the House, in which we said that we would run into trouble in the summer, because inflation would continue and Government measures would be necessary. We said that it was in the interests of everybody in the House, in politics and in general, that Boyle should produce an interim report by March which simply recommended a cost of living increase and left it at that.

I regret to say that that advice was not acted upon by the Boyle Committee. It was passed on to it but not acted upon. We ran into an unfortunate period of Tea Room winks and nods. There is no other phrase for it. It was the sort of inflection that suggested, "Boyle will be published after the referendum", "Keep quiet for a week or two because there looks like being a National Union of Railwaymen strike", "There is a Woolwich by-election next Thursday." It was not put quite as blatantly as that. It was, "It is in the interests of all politicians of all parties not to press too hard at this time." There is never a right time.

Suddenly, three weeks ago today, up got the Chancellor to make an announcement and the back benches on both sides could see the door beginning to close. That was probably the beginning of this so-called "shop stewards' committee" when 13 Members—those who have signed the amendment—sent an instant deputation to see my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. He met us courteously and asked us to see the Prime Minister. I regret to say that we did not see the Prime Minister.

It was an unfortunate action on the Prime Minister's part. I am trying to be fair. Maybe he was too busy to see us. I do not know what it was, but it rebounded instantly right across the back benches. Unfortunately Divisions were taking place when 75 angry back benchers met the Chief Whip and demanded to see the Prime Minister at once. It was not a very good way to conduct wage negotiations, when it was clear that Boyle would not be acted upon. Any personnel officer in any factory in the country would at least have met the lads from the shop floor when they were marching to see him.

We were told that it would be a Cabinet decision, that there was no one man who would make the decision, and that the way to go about it was to put pressure on members of the Cabinet to implement the Boyle Report in full. Of the 13 names, there were seven Parliamentary Private Secretaries to members of the Cabinet. But we were warned that we had better act quickly because the Cabinet were meeting the day after—Thursday morning—and on Wednesday evening they were all at Hampton Court at some big "do". We had to act pretty quickly.

In effect, it was the beginning of the charade. There is no other word for it. We went to see the Prime Minister at quarter to three. He said, "It has all been arranged. On Question No. 5 the leader of the liaison committee will stand up and catch Mr. Speaker's eye"— [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh".] I regret having to divulge this sort of information but I feel strongly that we ought to put this on the record. One of the reasons why we have tabled this amendment is that we are determined that this should not happen again.

Never ever again will I be a party to any sort of wage negotiation on the basis of the sort of promises we have had in the past three weeks. Some of us feel very angry about it and we are determined that this motion should be more specific.

I wrote down some of the things said at that meeting with the Prime Minister. "We cannot give you figures now but it will not be a bad settlement". "It is not the size of the package that is the problem, it is the timing. We are involved in delicate trade union negotiations on the White Paper". I am sorry if I am offending people by revealing this, but I have been a trade unionist since I was 15. I have sat around tables talking to employers since I was 15. I do not believe in conducting wage negotiations with inferences of this sort behind people's backs. I believe in doing it openly and above board.

When I give these quotations they are not quotations from the Leader of the House. This is the Prime Minister. A question was asked of the Prime Minister —did he realise that if MPs got even £1 a week rise it would bring down opprobrium from the Press? The answer was, "That will be opprobrium worth having".

Perhaps I am breaking the rules by divulging this sort of thing. I am sorry if I am, but perhaps I am an honest, open and gullible guy. I am disgusted at what has happened—the moulding of public opinion, the softening up of the Press and the demands by trade union leaders that Members of Parliament should have only modest pay rises when those leaders have had damned good pay rises themselves in the past three years. The popular Press has been conned. There were leaks that Cabinet Ministers would be accepting a cut of £2,000 a year in their pay. The so-called shop stewards have been the villians for standing up for a cost-of-living increase and those who were taking the £2,000-a-year cut have been the heroes.

We were being told that a statement would be made in the House within 10 days, within a week and within a day, but eventually my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Ogden) had to raise a point of order to get the statement. I have tremendous respect for my right hon. Friend. He has been saddled with a bad job by his Cabinet colleagues and has done his best. Even at this late stage he has made substantial amendments to the proposals in an attempt to help back benchers. I have no respect for those faceless men in the Cabinet who took a hard line and never appeared for questioning or met us round the table.

Our amendment is designed to make sure that this sort of disgraceful episode never happens again. I have been ashamed of what has happened. The shop stewards have had to take criticism from our constituents. We did not mind. We knew that we were representing a substantial body of opinion. I accept that we do not represent everybody in the House or even all back benchers on this side, but what I have said needed to be put on the record, and I hope that it helps to persuade hon. Members that the only way to stop this situation from arising is by linkage. As politicians, we cannot afford the loss of still more respect by having these debates and arguments.

We welcome the thoughts of the Leader of the House in bringing forward his amendment on linkage, but if we are to adopt the principle, we cannot have any more pie in the sky such as the Boyle Report. We do not want jam tomorrow. We are not fools. We know that the end of this period will be followed by wage ceilings of £7 or 8 per cent. or whatever. Most people would agree that we are going to have a wages policy for the rest of this Parliament and that the only way we can have proper linkage is to link after the next election. There is a good precedent from 1964 when the Lawrence Committee reviewed Members' pay. It was very near the election and both sides agreed that whoever was in power after the election would implement the report —and they did. It was a very delicate time for the Labour Government which had a majority of three or four, but the House implemented the report and stood by it. The Government kept their word, and that sort of action builds up respect.

If we pass the amendment we shall have a time scale. It would not be my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House who would have to worry about implementing it; it would be the next Parliament, but that Parliament would be committed. The second point therefore is to keep us in line with a grade until that situation arises. If we did nothing until three months after the next election, the grade with which we were linked would by then be receiving double what we were and our salaries would have to be doubled. That would again attract the opprobrium of the public and once more we should be in trouble. We therefore must hang on to the coat tails of the grade we select to be linked to until after the next General Election. That would mean that when they got £6 a week we would get it.

But we then come to the most important point of having to name a grade. Everybody in the House has a different idea of what we should link to. Some people say that we should set up a Select Committee, but that would sit for a couple of years and not come to a conclusive agreement. We should be in the position of trying to amend the £5,750.

We looked at the grade which was nearest to the Boyle Report recommendations. That is the assistant secretary, who earns £8,000 and a few hundreds. We decided that since that figure was the nearest to what Boyle recommended we should be linked to that grade. That is a bit drastic and it ties the Government down, but in view of the happenings of the last few weeks I feel strongly that we have to tie down a little the people who are in charge of our salaries. I hope that arising out of this we might get some negotiations going so that we can get our proposals implemented in time.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are in difficulties here. Would it be a good idea if I first call hon. Members who wish to speak on the linkage question? We could then move on to the next point dealing with allowances and so on and then on to the third motion.

Mr. Edward Short

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I think that we should continue on the course which we have started. All these matters are closely related. My hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) dealt with all these matters. Can we not continue with a general debate and take all the votes separately at the end?

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)

I thought that we were to have a general debate in the sense that anyone could speak on any of the motions and any of the amendments and that no votes would be taken until the end, when all the various Questions would be put formally. What surprised some of us, Mr. Speaker, was that you did not call to speak at an early stage the hon. Members whose amendments you have selected. I understand that you will not want to call in series the three whose amendments you have selected because that would mean calling three Labour Members in succession, but if you could alternate in the normal way but bring those three hon. Members into the debate reasonably soon we would all be happy.

Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)

I agree with the lion. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham). What he suggests would be preferable to attempting artificially to segregate the three debates.

Mr. Speaker

All I shall say in my own defence is that there was an extremely strong representation by a mover of one of the amendments which led me to say what I said, but I am in the hands of the House in this matter.

11.50 p.m.

Mr. Peter Hordern (Horsham and Crawley)

I wish to address my remarks to the third motion, which concerns the pension proposals. As the House will be aware, we are proposing a pension which is based on a salary which we are not yet receiving, although we shall soon be receiving it.

I wish to refer to a group of people—a dwindling band of people—who were Members of Parliament, who retired before October, 1964 or who were defeated at the polls at that time, and who are not entitled to any form of pension. I hope that the House will allow some consideration to be given to what I consider to be an important part of our affairs. The position, as the House will know, is that those who served for ten years before 1964 and who remained Members of Parliament after 1964 are allowed pensions and are entitled to pensions reckonable as from 1954.

The position is that those who retired in 1964, however many years they may have served, are entitled to no form of pension of any kind. There are some Members in this House today who served in this House before 1964 for some years—perhaps for three or four years—but who were defeated at the polls in 1964 and who subsequently came back having, perhaps, been elected for another constituency. Those hon. Members are entitled to a pension which is reckonable from the time at which they first came to this House.

So far as I am aware, there is no group within the public service today which has no pension entitlement as of right. This small and dwindling group of people is the only one in the public service which is not entitled to this right.

Mr. English

I have every sympathy with the point that the hon. Gentleman is putting forward, but the Leader of the House has said that the second part of the Boyle Committee's deliberations would relate to pensions and that there would be another debate later in the year. The hon. Member is discussing the one subject that is not included within these motions.

Mr. Hordern

With respect, I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman and I am glad that you do not either. Mr. Speaker. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there will be time to return to this matter later —I hope.

It is right to draw attention to the condition of service of these people. When I first raised the subject with the Leader of the House he said that it was a matter for the Boyle Committee. When I raised it with the Boyle Committee I was told that it was not within its terms of reference. I am glad to say that as a result of pressure from several hon. Members on both sides of the House, the Leader of the House was able to persuade the Boyle Committee that it should consider this matter. I understand that it is to do so in the second part of its report.

The argument advanced by the Lord President's Office is that there are no precedents for short-term civil servants to have pensions granted in this way. There are people who come into the Civil Service for a short period, and they know that they will not be entitled to any pension at the end of that period. However, I draw the distinction that there is every difference between that situation and the situation of a Member of Parliament who may be here for a short space of time but for whom special provisions are now being made in respect of pensions.

It is right to make pensions available for Members of Parliament who have been here for some time and it is, surely right that some entitlement should be made available to those Members who retired before October 1964. Those hon. Members in that position are allowed to apply to what is known as the Members' Fund. Hon. Members will know that this is a procedure which does not appeal to many of those who retired in 1964, besides which, it is a means-tested benefit. This aspect of the matter is one which cannot appeal to hon. Members who have severe doubts about this sort of practice anyway. It should not apply to those who have served their country, many with distinction, and who deserve better consideration.

It may be said that there is no precedent for granting a section of the population a pension of this sort. I would only refer to the time when the Government whom I supported introduced a pension for the over-80s, who then had no entitlement whatsoever because they were too old to join the original National Insurance Scheme. There is a precedent which we can follow.

Therefore, I hope that when the time comes, as I hope and trust that it will on the second part of the Boyle Report, hon. Members on both sides of the House will feel that those ladies and gentlemen who retired before 1964, with a reckonable period of service of perhaps some 10 years, ought to be given proper consideration and some form of pension as of right.

11.56 p.m.

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)

I have tabled an amendment to the third motion in the trio that we are debating, which is in paragraph (1) of that motion, to leave out "£5,750" and insert "£6,300".

The manner in which we are considering these motions is necessarily confused because the Government's proposals depart from the proposals put forward by the Boyle Committee. Some hon. Members seem to be hoping for something which they can never have. They think that they can avoid taking decisions upon this matter by appointing either the Boyle Committee or a Select Committee, or by picking a basket of circuit judges and goodness knows what, to determine salary. One of those formulae might provide us with a guide for the decision which we take, but any Member who is elected to this place must face the fact that he is elected here to take all decisions.

This is one of the embarrassing decisions. My threshold for embarrassment may be higher than that of others. I do not find it embarrassing, but if others find it embarrassing they should remember that this is one of the decisions that they are elected here to take. We cannot have a decision as intimate to the legislature as this one taken in the end by anyone except the legislature.

Though I am a colleague of my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) in the discussions which took place, I shall not add to his revelations. I must say to him that I shall not do so because I believe that private discussions must be private and not revealed afterwards.

As I have said my amendment is to substitute for the figure of £5,750 the alternative figure of £6,300. There is nothing magic about the figure of £6,300. I shall try to explain, briefly, why I put forward that figure, and why I invite the serious support of hon. Members for it.

First, it is a modest figure. It is not the figure recommended by the independent review body which we set up particularly for the purpose, which was £8,000. It is not the figure said by Boyle to be needed to make up for inflation, which is about £7,500. It is not even within £1,000 of that second figure. By any standards it is, therefore, a modest figure. It is, for example, equivalent to £3,900 in January 1972, which is 13 per cent. less than we determined was proper for a Member of Parliament at that time. The Government's proposal for £5,750 is equivalent to £3,550 in January 1972, which is 20 per cent. below what we decided was proper at that time. Therefore, I make no apology for putting forward an increase. But it is a very modest figure indeed.

The second very serious point—which I am very glad the Lord President dealt with—is that it is not against any rules of the pay policy. The Lord President made that perfectly clear. The pay policy does not bite upon this demon. It precedes the pay policy. I should like to back up what the Lord President said by referring to a letter which I have received from the Secretary of State for Education and Science in respect of a similar situation concerning the pay of university teachers. Thet relevant paragraph of the letter stated that the board of arbitration on university teachers' pay announced its award on 2nd June, and that its decision will result, with effect from October 1975, in an overall increase of just over 21 per cent. in the present remuneration of university teachers. It also said that the salary scales determined by the Board of Arbitration would be implemented with effect from 1st October 1975.

We are not saying that Members of Parliament are a special, unique case. We are applying to ourselves the same rules as apply to others, but we are applying them much more ferociously. That is the main point that we must dispose of.

Then it is said that it may not be against the rules but that we have to set an example, particularly to the trade unions. The first point about that is that, if it is not against the rules, the problem technically does not arise. But let us face the broader background. How have the economic crisis and the pay policy arisen? Have they arisen because Members of Parliament have indulged themselves with excessive pay rises over the past three or four years? No. Some people say that the economic crisis is in part a result of excessive public expenditure. If the unions have expressed any view on that, it is to support the current levels of public expenditure.

Is our economic crisis perhaps attributable to excessive wage settlements? People differ about whether it is wholly attributable to them, or a bit attributable to them. But no one denies that it is attributable to them at least in part.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

I do.

Mr. Cunningham

I know that the right hon. Gentleman, with whom, to my surprise. I often find myself in agreement, disagrees with that. But he and his supporters are in a minority on that matter.

Many people believe that excessive wage settlements have played a significant part in the situation in which we find ourselves. We have set an example, and I find it obscene that any trade union leader should then tell Members "We have not followed your example. Please set us a more painful example, and maybe we shall follow it."

It is not part of my conception of the role of a Member that he should indulge in self-flagellation in public—[AN HON. MEMBER: "Or in private"]—and I do not think that the public would respect him for it. Is it a worthy spectacle for the public to see Members doing a sort of political striptease on their pay, with one saying "I'll take only £6", someone else being popular for taking only £5, and our ending up with no clothes? I do not think that that would be good for Members individually, and I am certain that it would not be good for the House and good government.

Next there is the question of public opinion in general. We all know what the public think of Members of Parliament. Whenever we knock on a door, the member of the public who answers says "You are all in it to feather your own nests." Then one asks "Am I in it to feather my nest?", and he replies "I don't mean it about you." The public never mean it about any Member whom they know. It is just habit for everyone to abuse Members, and we must put up with it but not take decisions as if that were a serious view.

If we are serious about good government, it is preposterous that a Member of Parliament should be paid less than an assistant borough secretary in a London borough. It is preposterous that he should be paid less than a person in a No. 4 position in a social services department in a local authority. It is preposterous that 29 political advisers to Ministers, advisers who have excited no public opprobrium, should be paid on average just under £6,000—more than a Member is paid now, and more than the Government propose that he should be paid in the future.

Mr. Hugh Dykes (Harrow, East)

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that in the last election campaign he made known to the constituents in his division his views on the level of pay of Members of Parliament?

Mr. Cunningham

The hon. Gentleman is one of my constituents. He bombards me with letters about council points. He is entitled to ask the question. I do not remember whether anyone asked me that question. If they asked it, or if I raised it, this is the kind of remark I should have made. If the hon. Gentleman can find any evidence of inconsistency on my part, let him go ahead. I do not think that he will find that evidence.

Broader implications of the pay of Members of Parliament must be faced. My amendment does not have an effect upon Ministers' salaries. I stress that. The justification which I put forward relates to Ministers' salaries. It does not affect Ministers' salaries. The salary of £6,300 is bearable and payable, even in present circumstances. If the Government feel that the situation is so serious, that relations with the unions are so delicate and that no addition to public expenditure can be borne, they can make a decision to find the cost of this increase by a modest abatement of ministerial salaries.

Ministerial salaries are the great untouched subject in this House. That is a most important subject for the working of the House. The ratio between the pay of ministerial and non-ministerial Members of Parliament is delicate and far reaching in its effect. A Cabinet Minister is now paid £16,200. A full Minister who is not in the Cabinet is paid £12,700. A Minister of State receives £10,700. A Parliamentary Secretary is paid £8,700. These sums include ministerial and parliamentary figures and the London allowance.

The Government proposal provides for a not insignificant increase in most of those salaries, although not in the case of a Cabinet Minister, except to an infinitesimal degree. The Government's proposal is that the pay of a full Minister outside the Cabinet should go up from £12,700 to £13,500, that of a Minister of State from £10,700 to £11,500, and that of a Parliamentary Secretary from £8,700 to £9,500—an increase in, the last case of 10 per cent.

It is not commensurate that a Member of Parliament who is not a Minister should be asked to forgo £2,250 of the Boyle recommendation if highly-paid Ministers are not proposing any reduction in their salaries.

Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)

I do not wish to come to the aid of some less competent members of the Government Front Bench. However, Ministers, of whatever level, are not able to take on outside appointments, as can back benchers. Indeed back benchers should, in the present economic climate, be encouraged to do so. After all, they have long holidays, which are not available to Ministers.

Mr. Cunningham

Of course any Minister has those restrictions which do not apply to back benchers. We all know that. There is no need to draw attention to it. To suggest that in present circumstances the situation of the country is so severe that Members of Parliament should take their attention away from this place and earn extra money elsewhere is an attitude towards the proper government of the country which is not my attitude. To suggest that they can do this by taking themselves off Committees—which is what it means—and taking a holiday job to supplement their salary is laughable.

The increase in Members' pay which I am suggesting could be paid for if necessary by an adaptation of ministerial remuneration—and I give what is only an illustration. It could be paid for by cutting the ministerial part of a Minister's remuneration by rather less than half and at the same time increasing his parliamentary salary to the proper level equivalent to a Member of Parliament's pay of £6,300, which is about £4,500. In their total remuneration Ministers would suffer decreases ranging from 30 per cent. for Cabinet Ministers down to only 6 per cent. for the most junior Ministers. Those are pre-tax figures. A member of the Cabinet would lose just under £5,000 gross salary, and he would lose in cash, after tax, under £2,000 upon any assumptions about allowances and outgoings.

The back-bench Member suffering £2,250 loss in his gross salary will at the basic rate of tax lose £1,500 in cash. At a time when Members are being asked to take that loss of £1,500 in cash, it is not incommensurate that Cabinet Ministers should be prepared to take a loss of less than £2,000 in cash.

In the last few months we have heard a lot about the broadest backs taking the strain, the need for sacrifice and the year for Britain. I resent the fact that the year for Britain will probably be a burden upon back-bench Members and not upon members of the Cabinet and junior Ministers unless my amendment is carried, as I hope it will be.

12.13 a.m.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

I wish to make three brief observations, one on each of the three motions. I am not in agreement, for the reasons given by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham), with the principle of linkage. The proposition which I wish to put to the Leader of the House, of which I have given him brief notice and to which I hope he may respond, is that whether or not the motion is carried in its present form, this matter should be maturely considered by a Select Committee of the House. It is inappropriate for us to take a snap decision on the motion. If the amendment is passed, the House will have bound itself to a specific method of dealing with the matter. I suggest that it is unwise and inappropriate for a matter of principle of this sort to be decided in the course of this debate alone, and that it is proper to be considered by a Select Committee of the House.

After considering the various ways in which linkage could be achieved, the Select Committee might come to the conclusion that linkage itself in principle did not have the attractions which at first sight it appeared to have. I hope that there will be some move in that respect from the Government Front Bench.

As regards parliamentary expenses, the point that I put to the House is that there are now considerable sums of public money being claimed by hon. Members for reimbursement. The House is the ultimate guardian of public money and it is to the House that the Comptroller and Auditor General is responsible. It is in no disrespect to the House and its Members—much to the contrary—that I suggest that it is no longer appropriate that such sums should be claimed on merely the ipse dixit of hon. Members. In every other case where sums of this magnitude are reimbursed, some form of voucher, evidence or receipt would be required to be produced. Certainly the Comptroller and Auditor General would return a severe comment to the House if he found payments being made in any other context as little vouched for as those that are made to hon. Members. I hope that that practice will be reconsidered. Indeed, it would be a protection to the House against the danger that the hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) has foreseen.

Finally, I turn to remuneration. I have earlier today, in the course of my argument in the debate on the anti-inflation measures, expressed the view that as it is the House which has ultimate responsibility for inflation, it is inappropriate that we should now adjust our remuneration to take account of inflation. Therefore, it would be disingenuous of me not to indicate to the House that if Tellers are put in against the motion, I shall vote against it. Nevertheless, I do not wish to shelter behind that argument from making two further observations—

Mr. Peter Snape (West Bromwich, East)

I think that we all appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's sincerity in disagreeing so bitterly with the policies of the previous Conservative Government. We appreciate that he had the courage not to stand for re-election under the political banner of the Conservative Party. However, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that those of us on this side of the House who feel no responsibility for the current rate of inflation, and who have tried to share some part of his own courage by disagreeing in the House with the policies of our own Government, should regard ourselves as being worthy of an increase? Like the right hon. Gentleman, we have no responsibility for the present situation.

Mr. Powell

I hope that I chose my words in such a way as to show that I believe the conclusion which I have drawn, and which I hope I shall have an opportunity of drawing in the Lobby, to be one which is binding upon myself only.

I turn to two further observations from which I think I should not be stopped by the decision that I have just mentioned.

First, I agree most strongly with the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis). It is true, as the Father of the House has pointed out, that we shall have to give legislative sanction to what we are proposing to do, otherwise irregularly, in respect of our pensions. But the very fact that we have to make a special Act of Parliament to cover the situation goes very far to make his point. It will be in the literal sense of the term a private law, a special law for ourselves. It will be a privilege. I do not believe that it is the type of privilege that we should be enacting for ourselves.

Secondly, I do not believe—and we are all speaking for ourselves in this debate—that there is any justification for an increase in our parliamentary remuneration. The remuneration today is greater in purchasing power than it was when I first entered the House in 1950. I have ascertained that on the retail price index in June—the latest available—the present salary is still in purchasing power well above the remuneration of an hon. Member entering the House in the year 1950. I have therefore personally opposed every successive stage—

Mr. William Hamilton

Why has the right hon. Gentleman taken the money then?

Mr. Powell

I shall answer that before I sit down. I have opposed every stage at which there has been an increase proposed in that remuneration. The principle I have adopted in consequence is never to accept any increase in remuneration brought in during the course of a Parliament unless it was specifically indicated at the time of the election at which that Parliament began. I shall follow that principle on this occasion. I thought it better that I disclose that fact here rather than anywhere else.

12.22 a.m.

Mr. Michael English (Nottingham, West)

The logic of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) appears for once to have failed him. He compared the salary of an hon. Member with what it was in real terms in 1950. As one who came into the House in 1964, I can assure him that the salary in real terms has declined considerably since then. But that kind of chopping about with dates impresses nobody.

I do not think there can be said to be complete unanimity in this debate, except on the issue that the matter has been absolutely mishandled. That has been said from behind the Government as well as in front of them. It is equally true that there is not a single person in this House who wishes this system to continue. But the real mishandling I must attribute to the members of the Cabinet. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment on being one of the two members of Cabinet now present. I think that perhaps the right hon. Member for Antrim South (Mr. Molyneaux), the leader of the Unionist Party, should be congratulated. He is the only leader of any party in this House who did not walk out before the decision was taken on what his back benchers should be paid.

We are sitting here—and only the House of Commons could do it—discussing the first breach of a White Paper which we passed only at ten o'clock yesterday evening. It is not a breach people expected. It is not a breach by a trade union asking for a massive increase. It is a breach of the provision in relation to formal arbitration awards if they were referred, not merely adjudged, before the White Paper came out. This matter was not merely referred long before the White Paper. The judgment was made on 13th June—long before 1st August, the date in the White Paper. The Government with their usual savoir faire in these matters, are going forward saying "We said something at ten o'clock, but at about one o'clock we shall say something different". It does not inspire much trust in this House or outside it. In 1964 much the same thing happened. I remember it well. The Lawrence Committee reported on that earlier occasion and came up with a sum of money. Back benchers received the sum due, but Ministers had their award chopped by half. I do not remember at any subssequent election any citizen of this country mentioning to me that he was impressed by the fact that at one point a Labour Government said that it would cut recommended Ministers' salaries by half. I do not think it gained a vote. Now we have it the other way round.

When the Boyle Committee reported in 1971 it found, not unjustly, that Ministers were paid too little. Several of the Conservative Government's junior Ministers had stated that if they did not receive an increase they would have to cease to be Ministers. They simply could not support their wives and families on the salary then paid. The last Boyle Committee produced a reasonable recommendation for Ministers' pay, though, quite frankly, it was not particularly reasonable for back benchers by comparison.

I heard no one in this debate so far mention wives and families. I rather understand why that is so. Most Members are married and have families, and perhaps they felt a little too shy or embarrassed to speak for themselves. Maybe as a bachelor I can speak for them. Is any person seriously claiming that Members looking for this sum of money are doing so for themselves alone, or that they do not support their wives and children? If we should make a sacrifice, why is it that the wives and children of my honourable colleagues should be forced to make sacrifices too?

I feel a little sorry that several speakers in the debate have blamed the Press as a whole for some of the comments made. I think we have a certain responsibility, too. I also think that we should be fair to papers like The Guardian, The Sun, and even the News of the World, which have supported our case, unlike the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror, which have attacked it. If I might say so, the News of the World and The Sun are a great deal more successful in circulation terms than the papers which have attacked us. It may be relevant that one of the least successful editors in Fleet Street is one of our principal attackers.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Michael Foot)

For other reasons.

Mr. English

Perhaps he is struggling for readership and thinks that the cheapest method of getting it is the best. That may not be wholly dissociated from the reason.

But there is another group that we should mention. Several trade union secretaries have suggested that we should not get what their members and they themselves have got. I took the trouble, after Jack Jones made his speech about our pay to telephone his office, and I only wanted the answer to a simple question. I did not want to show a morbid interest in his income. I do not agree with those who have been shouting at Members to declare their income. I was always in favour of declaring interests but not income. I think it is very largely morbid curiosity that drives a mant to want to know whether someone else is earning more or less than he is himself.

I made it clear that I did not want to know Jack Jones' income but just the percentage change in it since 1st January 1972. For the benefit of Conservative Members, it is not fixed quite as publicly as ours. It is not fixed, as I understand it, at a Transport and General Workers' Union conference, meeting in public. It is at the National Executive Committee, which meets in private and contains a large number of trade union officers, who are also paid rates fixed in the same way. It will not, perhaps, surprise Members to know that Jack Jones did not provide the information, even though I did not want to know the exact sum. But perhaps I achieved my object, because he has not commented on our salaries since.

It really is a ludicrous system, and we should change it. While we are on the system, though I shall support the amendment from my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) to link us to the position of an Assistant Secretary in the Civil Service, I am doing that basically because the Leader of the House has suggested linking us to a grade in the public service.

I believe, as one Opposition Member said, that we should link ourselves to the average earnings index of the United Kingdom. The earnings index is much more subtle than people think. In the past few years, it would have done us slightly better than the Boyle recommendation. But, at the moment, the rate of increase in average earnings has dropped to zero, strangly enough, because it reflects matters like overtime, the level of production and so forth. However, it is a more accurate index than any other.

But I object to those hon. Members, even Ministers, who have suggested, "We shall not put up the salary because that would be inconvenient and bad publicity. But do not worry. We shall give you all of it in allowances. We shall put up your allowances." As the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) said, we are in danger of creating a world in which people seek for money in terms of allowances—a fiddler's paradise. I do not think that it has happened yet, but we are on the verge of it. If we continue to increase allowances and not salaries, we are in danger of creating a fiddler's paradise.

Only yesterday there was a letter in the Evening Standard from a taxi driver saying that he was allowed to charge only 7.7p a mile in London and that he could not understand how anyone could justify civil servants or Members of Parliament getting 10.2p a mile. We are in danger of getting these comments and of encouraging Members of Parliament to pay their secretaries less than their secretarial allowance and to siphon the extra money off elsewhere. Many of us do not wish to see that. Some of us do not wish to receive a secretarial allowance but simply to have a secretary, as everyone else does. I am sure that the editor of the Daily Express does not get a secretarial allowance and have to pay a secretary out of it. Lord Beaverbrook's Daily Express pays the secretary. That is all that we want.

I am sorry that Mr. Speaker did not select my amendment on this point. It had wide suport on both sides of the House. But the van Straubenzee Report, which was a unanimous one, is far more important in some ways than merely increasing the allowances, because it gives Members the option of having the Exchequer pay their secretaries just like a civil servant's secretary. We would not have to touch the money. I think that that would improve the conditions of secretaries. It was an altruistic proposal. It would not have made a penny for a single hon. Member, but it would have benefited secretaries in this House.

I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friend will assure us that he will bring that report forward as soon as possible after the Summer Recess. Meanwhile, the Government have acted in a way which shows that they are frightened of a little publicity which probably will be forgotten next week. What is more, when all is said and done, I think that they have acted rather cheaply.

12.34 a.m.

Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)

Anyone from either Front Bench who tenders advice on this subject at this hour would do well to be careful. If I were to be so bold, I would suggest that we might be misunderstood if we carried this discussion right on into the small hours of the morning. I do not recall a single occasion on which this subject has come up when the air has not become thick with charges and counter-charges of greed, hypocrisy and the rest of it. The only certain conclusion is that Parliament has not benefited as a result.

I do not recall ever before taking part in one of these debates, and I can say quite honestly that I do not greatly look forward to doing so tonight.

There are several propositions which, though there may be some conflict between them, command fairly general consent. The first is that there never is a good time to do these things, with the result that we get so nervous and wrought up about it that we tend to attract criticism and biting comment from rather predatory persons who take a lofty view of it all.

The least awful time to do it is at the very beginning of a Parliament when everybody says with a laugh which they almost enjoy, "Now we know why they were so keen to get in and we understand it very well"—and there is a bit of a cynical laugh and it is gone. However, I doubt the wisdom of having special reviews and getting into the habit of rejecting their conclusions.

I suggest also that the worst possible time is immediately following the announcement of restrictions, however necesary, in the national interest, because, no matter how clearly the small print is laid down to satisfy all those with legal minds, the public have received a different measure, and that invites the kind of comment we have had.

The Leader of the House has an unhappy rôle from time to time and never more so than in handling this problem. He has been saddled fairly and squarely by his colleagues with carrying out their edicts whatever his wishes may be. When he says that this issue should be settled in a way which commands the approval both of hon. Members and of the public, I think he is sailing into the area of Never-Never Land and of wishful thinking— an ideal world which will never exist. But we have to search for some means of making the clash a little less bitter and unpleasant.

I look very much askance at the idea of linking the salary of Members of Parliament with that of a particular rank in the Civil Service, for the reason given by the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) and by my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Mr. King). They both took exception to this on the ground that we ourselves were so near to being in control of the salaries of civil servants that it would look unpleasantly like a trick.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) was right in suggesting that we would make a mistake if we made a sudden snap decision on this motion at this hour. Much the best thing is to have it considered quickly by a Select Committee. I am talking now about linkage. That could be considered. The right hon. Member for Down, South is right in suggesting that this is a matter which could suitably be submitted to a Select Committee.

On the question of expenses, particularly secretarial expenses, I rather agree with those who have said that we have to tidy this up a bit. It should be made to look a little respectable. There should be the kind of proof of payment which would not be humiliating to Members of Parliament. It is a formality which we ought to be seen to require of ourselves.

On pensions, I echo the anxieties expressed by hon. Members who have called attention to the questionable proposals that a contribution should now be made by Members of Parliament as if they were being paid at the rate of £8,000 a year, and that the extra cost should be contributed by the taxpayer free of tax to Members of Parliament. That is creating a very privileged position and we should be careful about pursuing it. There are arguments on both sides. I am merely sounding a note of caution, and the House would do well to take note of it.

I do not wish to make a long speech, but I ought to refer to the passionate call made by the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) who said that we should examine the facts. The hon. Gentleman did so with the air of one who is determined to do nothing of the kind.

I think that many of us felt like intruders in a private discussion when the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) was on his feet. At least, one could not help but be fascinated by the quotation, "That will be opprobrium worth having". As if we could not guess the source of such gallant sentiments—the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister himself. Whether the Prime Minister will feel that his attempted gallantry and obvious confidence in the hon. Member for Bassetlaw have been reciprocated and welcomed in the manner he would like, I leave to him. It will be interesting to see how it is received. I am sorry that the Prime Minister was not here tonight, because that would have rounded the circle and made us all feel very happy.

I know that we are not discussing pensions tonight, but I should like to take this opportunity, since my hon. Friend the Member for Horsham and Crawley (Mr. Hordern) mentioned it, of saying that those who ceased to be Members of Parliament in 1964 and are without pensions of any kind are deserving of consideration even at times like this.

The hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) made one of his characteristically interesting contributions. I shall not follow him at any length. I do not think that he was particularly wise in wishing to impose upon Cabinet Ministers some punitive experience. I only wish that I had some grounds for praising Members of the present Cabinet, but I believe that it would be wrong to think that this country's interests would be well served if we persisted, as we have in the past, in under-paying Ministers.

Mr. George Cunningham

Or Members.

Mr. Peyton

I am not challenging that. I am just taking up the point made by the hon. Gentleman.

The hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English) commented that the matter had been badly handled. I think that we must all agree about that. The fact that there has been no consultation with the Opposition and the timing of the whole matter singles it out for that description. The House would be wrong to single out the Leader of the House, who has probably done his best in this matter, for special blame when it should be fully shared with his colleagues.

As I said when I started, this is a thoroughly unpleasant subject. The public discussion of it at great length, with heat, does no good to the House of Commons. Of that there can be no doubt, on whichever side of the controversy we may find ourselves. I repeat the advice I was bold enough to tender at the beginning of my remarks, namely that to carry this discussion into the small hours of the morning would serve ill the purposes of those who wish, for good reasons, to see Members properly paid.

12.45 a.m.

Mr. Walter Johnson (Derby. South)

I think it would be for the convenience of the House if I moved the amendments standing in my name—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. George Thomas)

Order. The hon. Gentleman may discuss the amendments. He can move them formally later.

Mr. Johnson

This debate has clearly been disgraceful. It is one of the worst debates ever to have taken place in the House. I agree with those who have said that some way must be found to take this subject out of the House, either by linking Members' pay with the salary levels of civil servants or deciding that this issue should be considered in the light of the average increase over the whole of the Civil Service. The Leader of the House might also like to consider the method whereby the House regularly enacts Pensions (Increase) Measures designed to compensate for the effect of the cost of living on Service pensioners and others similarly placed.

I ask the Leader of the House to find some way of taking this subject away from the House. The effect of the two amendments standing in my name will be to limit the pay increase to £6, which seems to be the right and proper way of handling this subject. We completed our debate on the Government's policy for attacking inflation at ten o'clock this evening. The main provision in that policy is that the pay of workers should be restricted, across the board, to an increase of £6 from 1st August. By a masterly stroke of timing, having spent the past two days debating that important subject dealing with the interests of the entire nation, we then go on to debate our own salaries and allowances.

This is shocking, and those responsible bear a heavy burden for the tone of this debate. There have been a number of references to allowances. This is a package deal. We last had a pay increase in 1972. The secretarial allowance stood at £1,000 per annum at that time. The additional costs allowance stood at £750 when it was introduced in 1972. In August 1974 it was raised to £1,050. On the Order Paper today the figure is £1,639. Even leaving aside the secretarial allowance increase, which is substantial—and those who employ a full-time secretary or research assistance make full use of the £3,200—the House must take into account the improvement in the out-of-London allowance. As a result of further information that has come to us today, this allowance is known to represent £589 per annum. In other words, it is £11 a week free of tax. I believe that it was overdue.

If there has been any real hardship, it has been among hon. Members who have had to keep two homes going. At present tax rates, an £11-a-week increase is worth £15 a week and if the House agrees with my suggested amendment this will be increased by another £6 a week. This leaves aside the secretarial allowance which will help hon. Members because, when the figure was £1,000 hon. Members had to fork out of their own pockets to make up the difference, but the new figure is enough to pay for a full-time secretary.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

Will my hon. Friend not agree that the figures he has just given do not apply to hon. Members in the London area? Assuming that they pay their secretaries the full allowance, they face a cut in their purchasing power of 20 per cent. since 1972. Can he also say how many hon. Members who signed his amendment have other interests?

Mr. Johnson

I accept the point the hon. Member makes about London Members. They are paid a London allowance and are in a different position. However, they get the car allowance and one must take into account the fact that the secretarial allowance is the top rate and would allow an hon. Member to employ a first-class secretary, even with the high rates now being paid in the London area.

The amendment asks hon. Members to face the facts of life—

Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

My hon. Friend for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) asked which Members who signed the amendment in the name of my hon. Friend for Derby, South (Mr. Johnson) had outside interests. I hope to catch your eye and to speak in this debate, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I have an outside interest. I am paid just under £3,600 by the Post Office Engineering Union, and I hope, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to be able to explain in the debate why I feel that we should back the £6, even though I am more fortunate than many hon. Members on this side of the House.

Mr. Johnson

I was coming to the point about outside interests. I am honorary national officer of a trade union and for that I receive £100 honorarium a year plus meal expenses if I attend meetings on behalf of the union. That should clear up some of the points my hon. Friends have found a little disturbing.

We are asking hon. Members on both sides, at this very difficult time for our country, to support the £6 limit of the Government's policy. This is essential if we are to get the backing of the people of this country, particularly the trade union movement, for the policy.

I am as aware as anyone else of the way in which the cost of living has affected Members and I am aware that prices have risen by 65 per cent. since we had the last increase. I am aware that average earnings have gone up by 85 per cent., and were we not in the grip of one of the worst economic crises in our history there would be a very strong case for implementing the Boyle recommendations in full.

But we must win the battle of inflation. By setting an example to the nation we shall make it possible for the Government's policy on inflation to succeed. Our action would be a massive boost to the attack on inflation and it would be enthusiastically received by the country. It would make it far easier for trade union national officers to get the policy accepted. Only yesterday the finance and general purposes committee of the TUC gave its views on Members' salaries. I believe that it did so not in a spirit of selfishness, greed or vindictiveness. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]— That is my opinion and I probably have more dealings with members of the committee than many of the hon. Members who are making all the noises. The committee adopted that view because it could see the difficulty of getting the Government's policy accepted by the rank and file.

The amendment provides the House with a great opportunity to win back the confidence of the people who sent us here. It will mean sacrifice and in some cases real hardship, but if we are prepared to put the nation first we shall give a massive boost to the Government's policy for attacking inflation. I ask for support for the amendment.

12.58 p.m.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

There were moments when the hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Johnson) seemed to lose the sympathy of the House.

None of us seems to have gained much in stature or public affection from the way in which this affair has been handled. What an odd debate we have had. Sometimes we almost got round to talking about what Members of Parliament should be paid as Members of Parliament. All too often, however, we have drifted off into what Members of Parliament ought to earn in total with their other interests included. Some hon. Members, undoubtedly highly principled, think that we should take no more from this place but that it would be all right if we took as much as we could from outside. That is a reasonable principle.

I listened carefully to my right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), and, as always, I respect greatly the intellect that he brings to bear on these matters. The understanding on which I stood again for this Parliament was that there would be a Boyle Report, now, and that there would be one in each Parliament of normal length, or approximately every four years. I am not unduly timorous, therefore, when I say that Members are entitled to some increase in remuneration, in spite of my right hon. Friend's views.

The curious thing is that as usual most hon. Members who have spoken have seen the national interest coinciding closely with our own personal interests. We have had Members baring their breasts on the subject of their personal income, although one or two have not bared their breasts as fully as they might. After all, one did not have to say exactly what was the income of one's wife. All these things are rather important to the view that a man takes when he decides the extent of the sacrifice that he should make.

I confess that I have had a great deal of sympathy in recent weeks with the Leader of the House. He has just become a natural target for custard pies from every direction. I believe that he has done his best with the pretty ghastly mess that he has been offered. I welcome his proposal for linkages. Indeed, I welcome the proposal by the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) also, although I would not want us to be linked with a Civil Service grade. [AN HON. MEMBER: "What about the airline pilots?"] The hon. Gentleman suggests airline pilots. I confess that I should not mind that. There are two objections to being linked to the Civil Service. First, it is wrong that we should link our pay to salaries that we immediately and directly set. Secondly, it is unhealthy that when a Member of Parliament looks across the table at a civil servant, the latter should have at the back of his mind "This chap is two grades below me."

Mr. George Cunningham

That is what he thinks now.

Mr. Tebbit

With great respect, that is not what he thinks now. It was most certainly not what he thought when hon. Members received no pay whatever. However, that thought would be in his mind if we were linked directly to a Civil Service grade.

My own preference is for some form of linking to the judiciary. That is probably as near as we can get. It is not the easiest of things to do. The House would be wise this evening to take the view that our pay should be linked. I do not believe that this would be the all-time answer, because then a resolution of this House would be required to activate that complete linkage proposal on each and every occasion.

Mr. Evelyn King


Mr. Tebbit

My hon. Friend says "No". It would depend on how we legislated, but I believe that it would be proper, even if we linked our pay, that we should still leave ourselves the option of taking it or leaving it on every occasion. This would solve most of the problems and the power would still remain in our own hands.

There has been a great deal of comment on the proposal put forward by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) that if people had strong views on public expenditure and inflation, any increase that we might take could be covered by reducing the salaries of Ministers. I normally would have no sympathy with that view because I believe that, if anything, Ministers are under-paid. However, if the Prime Minister and the Cabinet hold the view, as seems to be the case, that being a Member of this House is a privilege for which hon. Members should pay out of their own pockets, I am driven to the conclusion that to be a Minister is an even greater privilege and that one should, therefore, pay even more for it —which is a pretty rough justice form of sauce for the goose and gander

I should certainly oppose any suggestion of two scales of pay for those who are so-called full-timers and those who are so-called part-timers. I believe myself to be more or less a full-timer. I have no real wish to do very much work outside this House, outside parliamentary affairs. I do some, primarily because I need to earn extra money in order to do my job as a Member of Parliament. That is probably the case with most of us.

I think that most of us find, as I do, that we subsidise our role as Members of Parliament out of our earnings from outside. Some of us subsidise it to a considerable extent. Some, like the hon. Member for Derby, South take the view that we ought not to pay ourselves any more than £6 a week more, or indeed, some say nothing more at all. They quote the public attitude about this. I wonder what the public attitude in fact is about this matter.

As hon. Members will know, I have not been reticent in saying that I believe that Members have more than given an example on pay restraint. I do not be- lieve that I have been reticent in saying that Members deserve at least that which the Government have recommended should be paid to them. I have received only one letter criticising my point of view. I have read in the newspapers far more accounts of how wicked I have been but only one letter from a member of the public criticising my view on this matter.

Perhaps the electorate is a little more sophisticated about this than we think. Perhaps the electorate has noted that it is not the cheapest assembly in Europe that has been the most successful assembly in controlling the problems of inflation. Perhaps they think that if we could concentrate our minds a little more on the business of the House, we would do a little better. Perhaps they think that if all of us were able to get in to attend Standing Committees and Select Committees, this place would run better and we might even have a better chance of controlling the executive from time to time.

My attitude to the whole of this problem can be summed up quite simply. Above all, I do not believe that this place ought to be a club only for rich men. We got rid of that concept some years ago. Each time we take a salary cut by allowing inflation to erode Members' salaries, we are moving back towards the days when this was a place for rich Members, or some sort of rag-tag popular image of what a trade union leader ought to be or what a Labour Member ought to be—a cloth-capped fellow eating cow-heel sandwiches in the Tea Room.

I should like to see a far more professional—in the best sense of that word —approach to the way we run this place. I do not believe that we shall get that approach while we continue to reduce the pay of Members.

1.9 a.m.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, Central)

I wonder whether I could be the first Member who has spoken in the debate to declare his interest? I have a parliamentary salary. I earn a little money from television and radio, and a little by illiterate scribblings. The total of those outside earnings does not amount to more than about £500 or £600 a year. I have two £1 shares in the Hull and East Riding Co-operative Society, five £1 shares in the Hull Kingston Rovers Football Club, and four family allowances. Only one of those sources of income—apart from tonight—can I see any prospect of increasing—and then, chance would be a fine opportunity.

But that is the lot of the provincial Member, the lot of most Members who have no outside interest, and who therefore do not take too kindly to Members who have substantial interests lecturing them on tightening their belts and setting an example, or telling their wives and children to set an example.

My wife shops at the same shops as my constituents. Costs have risen for her as they have for the rest of society. I am not claiming that we are on the poverty level or that we are starving, but we want a proper living standard. Our salary, worth £4,500 in 1972, is now worth £2,773 in 1972 terms. A salary to keep up with inflation, on the May figures, would be £7,302, and a salary to keep up with the increase in average earnings to April would be £7,849.

Our case is not based on how much better we are than the rest of society and that we must be a privileged class. It is simply that, having gone to arbitration, we should have received the rate for the job, the rate that we were denied by the Government, who allowed the matter to drift. The sacrifice will not be made by us. We shall have our invitations to free lunches and dinners and embassy parties. We can have our status and ride first class on the train. But our immediate families are being asked to bear the brunt. The Member is here five days a week.

It is not right to ask our wives and families to make the sacrifice, which is what hon. Members on both sides of the House are suggesting, whether they have two union incomes or union expenses, whether they are at the Bar, are directors, or whatever. They are saying to Members who basically want to do a job for which they were elected "You set the example, and we shall go along with increases in allowances, because increases in allowances are tax-free". I claim five children on my taxes—five legitimately, anyway. If thought were father to the deed—but unfortunately it is not.

What we have sought from the Government in justice, not something to take us above the poverty line. I do not see myself in penury compared with a man sleeping on the steps of Caxton Hall or at Charing Cross. I want just to live properly. That is why I bitterly resent the way in which the Government have treated us.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) has made a great step forward with the linkage amendment, to which my name is attached. I welcomed what he said about it, but if we are to have more revelations of secret talks let us give credit where it is due. The suggestion for the amendment came from my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister when we went to see him. Incidentally, I do not know how successful my hon. Friend was in his union negotiations, but whenever I negotiated with anyone I did not spill all the beans, because I might have to negotiate with him again.

My hon. Friend has said his piece. He is courageous, and I admire what he has done to help to organise us on the back benches. It is vital that we reject the advice of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House and support my hon. Friend's amendment. If we do not, we shall have debates of this nature again. We shall for ever wonder when to pluck up courage to ask what will be done about salaries, how long we shall have to wait, and how much the increase will be. Let us get rid of that.

I did not come here to spend my time debating what my wages would be. I came to Parliament to do a job. I do not even want allowances for secretaries. I want somebody else to pay them. I do not want to fill in forms for anybody else. We want a system which provides decency and certainty. The Government have not treated us decently. Our amendment gives back benchers certainty for the future.

1.16 a.m.

Mr. Tim Rathbone (Lewes)

I do not entirely agree with what was said by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, Central (Mr. McNamara). Nor do I believe that the debate has been disgusting or degrading. Members have stated their honestly held views. I should like to share my views with hon. Members as reflected in some of my amendments.

I declare the fact that I have a business interest outside the House, as indicated on the parliamentary register. It is a business interest. I do not depend entirely on a parliamentary salary.

I refer first to the linking of the pay of Members of Parliament to a level of pay in the Civil Service or elsewhere. The matter is dealt with on pages 8 and 9 of the Boyle Report. The report is right. I share the worries of other Members about linking our pay to that of a Civil Service sector. We should not link our pay to that of any other group of salaries elsewhere. If we did that we would give ourselves the advantage of protection against wage and price movements which the electorate do not enjoy.

The Boyle Report says that the frequency of review is at fault. If the frequency of review is increased to every two years, the review of our own pay will no longer be a problem.

The Government are flying in the face of many of the Boyle Committee recommendations by showing too little appreciation of the careful consideration and thought which the distinguished and objective members of that Committee brought to bear on the true costs of being a Member of Parliament and the justifiable salary for doing that job. By almost any comparison or assessment, the arguments for expenses and salary increases as recommended by the Boyle Committee are almost irrefutable. I hope that one day soon the increase will be fully implemented. However, I believe that that day is not now.

Before developing the reasons for my view I should like to separate the two elements which became muddled in many of the speeches this evening. They have also been muddled by Press and television commentators on this subject. I refer to the difference between recompense for some of the expenses of doing the job of a Member of Parliament and the remuneration due to him for doing that job. I do not believe that Mr. David Wood of The Times rendered a service in his article of a week ago.

Many of the so-called benefits described as being enjoyed by back benchers are simply the accepted services which go with any office job—a desk, a chair, no office for some, certainly no office for me, a telephone, stationery, postage, travel and expenses concerned with living away from home on parliamentary work. A secretary is essential for parliamentary work as for any office work, and that is why an allowance is given for secretarial assistance.

The amendment in my name is designed to draw attention to the fact that the new so-called secretarial allowance of £3,200 covers not only secretarial costs but general office expenses and, if there is anything left over, the cost of research assistance. Perhaps now there may be something left over for research assistance, which more than anything else might improve the efficiency of Members at a time when our efficiency should be at a premium providing, as it does, one of the most potent checks on the steadily increasing power of the executive.

I applaud the suggestion which was made by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) for the provision of vouchers to support the expenses incurred. That is normal business practice outside the House and it would give greater credibility to the expenses incurred.

So much for the cost of doing the job. What of the timing of the Government's announcement of the increased rate for doing it? I am struck, as other hon. Members have been, by the peculiar juxtaposition of the introduction of the White Paper "The Attack on Inflation" one Friday morning, and the Government's suggestion on the following Wednesday that Members of Parliament should drive a gaping hole in the basic tenet of the attack and in the £6 a week wage increase. The small print in the White Paper may allow it, as it will allow many other increases between now and 1st August. Because the small print allows it, I believe that we have a special role to play as Members of Parliament in trying to lead the country out of the inflationary cycle.

Mr. Ogden

The hon Gentleman seems to be getting his past and future tenses mixed up. He eventually accepted that the proposals in the Boyle Report are entirely within the guidelines of any social contract or wages legislation in the past three-and-a-half years. We should still not get the back pay but merely be brought up to date. Will the hon. Gentleman please get his tenses right.

Mr. Rathbone

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his interjection, but I do not think that I am mixing up my tenses. I am making exactly that point. By accepting the suggested increase we should be showing ourselves not to be giving absolute priority to the fight against inflation. We should not be following the principle of no special cases, no exceptions, no jumping the queue before 1st August, which was so emphatically stated by the Prime Minister when he introduced the White Paper.

All hon. Members will accept that any limit to pay increases is rough justice and that injustice and anomalies will abound. That is perhaps a major reason why any pay limitation should be short and sharp. But if a national limit to pay increases is to sound sincere it must be applied at the level of those who dictate it. That is what is meant by leadership and trust in leadership. Hon. Members who have been in the House for three-and-a-half years have not set an example by not having an increase for three-and-a-half years because the statement was not made at the start of that period. This is the example we are setting.

I turn to the pension suggestions. This is a matter of importance not only for hon. Members but for the country. Others have had a chance to develop their arguments and I intend to develop mine. The Lord President suggested that a special pension deal be given to hon. Members, a deal the likes of which I rather doubt would be accepted by the Inland Revenue if it were suggested by a private employer.

I join my hon. Friend the Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis) in the views that he has expressed. Given the job that we do and the character of the job, the Government's recommendation on pay does not go far enough, but given the present economic conditions the Government's recommendation in this respect goes too far. To use the Prime Minister's own words, it is the Government who are now the rogue employer. It is the Government who are now in breach. This is an example of "Don't do as I do, do as I say". It is for that reason that I tabled the amendments to the motion. If it is called, I intend to support the amendment of the hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Johnson).

1.26 a.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Privy Council Office (Mr. William Price)

May I thank the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) for the way in which he approached the debate. I sense general support for his view that this discussion should not be prolonged for any longer than necessary.

This has been in many ways a miserable debate. It cannot be a happy spectacle when we have to argue about our own pay, given the wide differences of opinion amongst us. I suspect that if there is one matter on which we are all agreed it is that the sooner we end this nonsense the better. I could never understand why the House accepted the Boyle recommendation that there should be one review every Parliament. If that was not storing up trouble for ourselves it is difficult to know what was. It could be argued that no one at that time envisaged the inflation of the past three or four years and that the possibility of Boyle recommending an increase of £3,500 all in one go was remote, but it happened.

It was against a background of economic crisis, demands for sacrifices from many people and of cuts in public expenditure that my right hon. Friend the Lord President had to make his statement last week. I know that he expected to make few friends in the Chamber and even fewer outside. One matter on which many of my constituents are quite clear, although interestingly enough I have not had one letter about it, is that the award should be £6 and no more. That is the clear impression that I gained over the weekend. The Government recommended a compromise which satisfied few people.

I suggest that the three motions, taken together, are fair and realistic. Most important of all, they point the way forward. If we can once and for all take the question of pay out of public controversy, the argument over the current award will have served a useful purpose. The sooner we take an income of £4,500 away from the Top Salary Review Body the better. I wonder how it ever got there in the first place.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

We are top people.

Mr. Price

But we do not get top salaries.

I found the suggestion of the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) that our salary should be based on a set of averages rather than upon one specific grade an attractive proposition. That will be considered along with other proposals.

The hon. Member for Dorset, South (Mr. King) asked what was an appropriate salary in normal times. He knows as well as I do that there are no normal times for Members of Parliament. There never will be an occasion on which any increase, however small or large, will be popular in the country. The hon. Gentleman said that it was monstrous for us to award ourselves more than £6 a week. What he did not say was whether he himself intends to take the money.

My hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Mr. Tuck) talked of the need for general sacrifice. I agree, but I find it strange that certain hon. Members who want restraint upon our salaries did not deploy the same arguments about the salaries of judges, military personnel and consultants. [HON. MEMBERS: "We did."] Some did but not all.

The hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis) asked whether the same treatment on pensions will be conceded to other groups. I know that this is a matter that is worrying many hon. Members. There are those who wish to have their pensions related to what their pay might have been but for the Government's counter-inflation policy. The answer is that the circumstances are different. First, there was a three-and-a-half year interval since Members had their last increase, and there is the generally recognised fact that there is a unique, complex problem surrounding the proper determination of proper pay and pensions for hon. Members.

Paragraph (4) of the motion determines £8,000 a year as the rate for the job, even though the whole amount will not —and cannot—be paid at this time. That is the logical conclusion of the motion put to the House on 16th July in which the Government accepted the concept that the Boyle recommendations were justified. There are Civil Service precedents for basing pensions on the full amount of the pay award, even though part of it is temporarily deferred on incomes policy grounds. In particular, Assistant Secretaries have their pensions related to the full amount of the latest pay award, even though part of their award was deferred and at that time no date could be set for full implementation.

Mr. Michael McGuire (Ince)

Will there not be an anomaly in that the rate for the job is to be set at £8,000? Will the death benefit to hon. Members be based on a salary at that rate?

Mr. Price

Yes. My understanding is that that benefit will be based on the £8,000 figure.

Mr. Ogden

If any of us lives long enough to collect it.

Mr. Price

I agree—if hon. Members live long enough to collect it.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) wanted us to be more specific. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has made clear that the question of linkage will be urgently considered. I was at the meeting at which my right hon. Friend offered to discuss the matter in detail with shop stewards and many other Members in this House who wished to make representations. There are many opinions about linkage. It is right that they should be considered carefully, and my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council will bring forward proposals in due course. That seems to me to be sensible and logical.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) wanted a Select Committee. We shall have discussions to establish whether there is a general demand for such a move. The right hon. Gentleman argued that it was wrong to protect ourselves from inflation. We are entitled to remind him that we are not doing so. The retail price index has risen 66 per cent., whereas our salary has increased by 28 per cent. We are not protecting ourselves from the inflation we have seen since the last increase.

My hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Johnson) made a speech which I am sure he would agree was controversial. I respect his honesty and sincerity. Again, there was one element missing. He did not say whether he would take the money. If he believes that he should not take it, I put it to him that there is a simple remedy.

It is doubtful whether any pay increase in recent years has attracted as much attention as our own, and I make no complaint about that because we must expect to be scrutinised. But one wonders whether some of our friends in Fleet Street are as fair and objective as they might be. It is right to recognise, as my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English) did, that some newspapers have supported us. Others have approached this matter with a vindictiveness and a malice which ought not to go without reply, and I hope that the House will allow me a few minutes in which to explain to Members and to the empty Gallery just what I have in mind.

I speak as a journalist by trade. In the five years prior to my election to this House I was Midlands Secretary of the National Union of Journalists. I know what goes on in the newspaper business, and I am bound to say that on this matter some of my old colleagues are hypocrites.

We have suffered abuse from such august quarters as Mr. Alexander of the Daily Mail, a failed would-be Member of Parliament, and from Mr. Woodrow Wyatt, that well-known paupe from Bosworth, who made it twice and was kicked out twice.

We have suffered abuse, above all, from the Mirror group of newspapers. I am astonished how their journalists have been able to write those stories and those leader articles when they themselves have just received an extra £23 a week. I quote from this month's edition of The Journalist: "Mirror accept £1,167".

We have had to incur the wrath of the whole of the Mirror staff—none more so than Mr. Keith Waterhouse who I understands receives between £11,000 and £13,000 a year from the Mirror for two short pieces a week, and whose income from all sources, I suspect, puts him in the £40,000 a year pay bracket. It is difficult to take lectures on restraint from a man whose earnings, if I am right, are around 10 times that of the back-bench Members of Parliament upon whom he is laying his abuse.

We could also consider Mr. Alastair Burnet, Editor of the Daily Express, who produced quite the most wicked editorial of the lot, entitled "The Gravy Train". He described our performance as disgraceful. He said that we are all part-timers. We are, he said, in receipt of £5,000 worth of perks. It is quite astonishing how those expenses which to a newspaper editor are legitimate—secretary, postage, telephone, car mileage—become perks when applied to Members of this House. Mr. Burnet offered to take a salary cut if others would do the same. He can afford to do so. His contract has been variously reported as being worth between £20,000 and £35,000 a year, depending on which rival newspaper one happens to take.

There has been a lot of talk tonight about linkage with the Civil Service, or with some grade in this House. I think we have got it wrong.

Mr. Gorst

Surely the Minister is not going to compare the reputation that these journalists have with the public with the reputation that Members of Parliament have with the public?

Mr. Price

If I may say so, I would not be prepared to judge our success rate against that of the Daily Express.

I think we have the question of linkage all wrong. Here I can speak only for myself and not for the Government. I do not believe that we should link with the Civil Service at all but with Fleet Street editors.

Perhaps I might mention one final figure. It is difficult to know which increases these journalists have had in the last 3½ years, because they have replaced national negotiations with house agreements, but I have the basic salary for journalists on the Financial Times. It is about the only figure available in the Library. I am sorry, because this is one newspaper which has been supporting us, and it is right to recognise that, but I suspect that their increase is similar to the rest, and the figure given me by the Library is that since 1971 the basic rate for journalists on the Financial Times has increased by 131 per cent.

I have dealt with journalists at some length because I believe that they have done much to sour the attitude of our constituents towards the whole question of our pay. There are some honourable exceptions in the Gallery and I, for one, am grateful to them.

Mr. Tebbit

I do not differ very much from the hon. Gentleman, but there is one caveat which we should bear in mind. It is that these gentlemen are paid from private funds whereas we are paid from public funds. Therefore, although I do not differ from the hon. Gentleman, we have to be just a little careful before we carry this too far.

Mr. Price

I agree about that. I also think that there is a limit to what we should be expected to take here without someone, preferably one of them—and it happens to be me—giving them back some of their stick. In any case, I do not regard newspapers' money as private. It really is not. Newspapers are financed out of what I pay for my newspapers and out of what my wife pays for every commodity advertised in them. Therefore, it is as much public money as the salaries of Members of Parliament. But I agree that we should not overdo it.

My right hon. Friend has been well aware of the strength of feeling on both sides of the House for and against Boyle, and I believe that he has come as near a consensus as was possible. It is interesting that practically no one, certainly not the Government, has criticised the Boyle Report. The argument has been whether we could implement part of it, all of it, or what on a realistic assessment we thought was acceptable not only to hon. Members but to our constituents. We have a good case. We are setting an example and one for which some trade union leaders would do well to give us a little credit. How many of them would be prepared to go back to their members to tell them that they were to receive little more than a third of the amount recommended by an independent review body? Not one of them would dare try it.

Having listened to all the arguments—and it has been a good debate, although a miserable one—it is clear to me that this House is deeply divided over the matter. But I have come to the view after a lot of thought that possibly my right hon. Friend has it about right—and certainly I put it no higher than that. On that basis, I ask the House to accept the motions and to reject the amendments. If we do that, I for one will be quite prepared to argue my case this weekend in any pub in my constituency.

1.43 a.m.

Mr. John Stokes (Halesowen and Stourbridge) rose

Hon. Members


Mr. Stokes

I have been sitting here since the debate started. I have listened to every speech. I have not interrupted once. I have been asked to be brief, and I shall be brief. Therefore, I hope that, for a few minutes, Government supporters will have the courtesy to listen to what I have to say.

I speak only because I have spent many years of my life dealing professionally with salaries and salary levels—and I declare an interest in that respect. I am bound to say that the Government's handling of this matter and the subsequent debate are hardly in line with the highest standards of practice in personnel management. We seem, in fact, to have got the worst of all worlds and to have upset everyone.

My first comment is about Ministers salaries. These are far too low, being below the salaries of the top civil servants. That, in my view, is an absurdity. They are also far below those of many outside levels of jobs carrying comparable responsibility. For instance, surely the Prime Minister should receive at least £30,000 per anum and Ministers £20,000

My second comment is even more important. It is that Members' salaries cannot and should not strictly be compared with anyone else's. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that the job of a Member of Parliament is unique. For this reason, I am opposed to Members' salaries being tied by any linkage or other means to that of any other body. It might lead in time to an attempt to pay Members for attendance, for hours within the House—and all those things should be resisted. It is all part of an attempt to make us full-time salaried officials and we must hold out to the end against that.

I think that Lord Boyle got his £8,000 about right, and even that figure—no one else has made this point today—will still make the House of Commons one of the lowest-paid assemblies, in the Western world. I nevertheless believe that it would not be seemly for us to receive such an increase now.

We are unfortunately the victims of circumstances and of Government mishandling and we have to accept the £5,750 with a good grace. We have made a sacrifice and should not be ashamed to say so. I should like to know of another class of person who has made a similar sacrifice.

Nevertheless, we should make a contribution to try to lessen the increase in public expenditure and we must also never forget the self-employed, many of whose incomes have not kept pace with the cost of living.

I deplore the pension proposals. To earn one's salary and receive a pension entitlement based on a notional figure is not only unnecessarily complex but places us in an invidious and especially favoured category. Nevertheless, the whole pension scheme badly needs re-examination. It bears down particularly hardly on the older Members due to retire.

So strong is envy in some sections of our society now and so great is the force of egalitarianism that sometimes all salaries above average earnings come under attack. High taxation in any event so greatly reduces net take-home pay that the latter figure should always be quoted in addition to gross salary. I do not see why the arrangements which apply in so many private firms should not apply also in this House.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Robert Mellish)

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes, 128; Noes, 127.

Division No. 293.] AYES [1.49 a.m.
Atkinson, Norman Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Huckfield, Les Ovenden, John
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Park, George
Bates, Alf Hughes, Roy (Newport) Parker, John
Beith, A. J. Hunt, John Parry, Robert
Bottomley, Peter Hurd, Douglas Radice, Giles
Bray, Dr Jeremy Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Reid, George
Brotherton, Michael Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Buchanan, Richard Janner, Greville Richardson, Miss Jo
Buck, Antony Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Robertson, John (Paisley)
Cant, R B. Kilroy-Silk, Robert Roderick, Caerwyn
Cartwright, John Kinnock, Neil Rooker, J. W.
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffs) Kitson, Sir Timothy Roper, John
Cockcroft, John Knox, David Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Cohen, Stanley Lambie, David Sillars, James
Conlan, Bernard Lamond, James Sims, Roger
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Lamont, Norman Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Crawshaw, Richard Leadbitter, Ted Snape, Peter
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Spearing, Nigel
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Spriggs, Leslie
Doig, Peter Lyon, Alexander (York) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Stott, Roger
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McCartney, Hugh Swain, Thomas
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) MacCormick, Iain Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) McElhone, Frank Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
English, Michael McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Tinn, James
Evans, loan (Aberdare) McNamara, Kevin Tugendhat, Christopher
Evans, John (Newton) Mahon, Simon Urwin, T. W.
Faulds, Andrew Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Viggers, Peter
Fletcher Alex (Edinburgh N) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Mendelson, John Ward, Michael
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Mikardo, Ian Watkins, David
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Watkinson, John
Glyn, Dr Alan Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) White, Frank R (Bury)
Gourlay, Harry Miscampbell, Norman Wiggin, Jerry
Graham, Ted Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Gray, Hamish Molloy, William Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Nelson, Anthony Winterton, Nicholas
Hardy, Peter Newton, Tony
Hatton, Frank Noble, Mike TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hayhoe, Barney Ogden, Eric Mr. Joseph Ashton and
Henderson, Douglas O'Halloran, Michael Dr. John A. Cunningham.
Horam, John Orbach, Maurice
Archer, Peter Forrester, John Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Armstrong, Ernest Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Newens, Stanley
Arnold, Tom Fox, Marcus Page, John (Harrow West)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Pavitt, Laurie
Bishop, E. S. Freeson, Reginald Pendry, Tom
Blenkinsop, Arthur George, Bruce Penhaligon, David
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Golding, John Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Boscawen, Hon Robert Goodhart, Philip Price, William (Rugby)
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Gorst, John Rathbone, Tim
Bradford, Rev Robert Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Grant, John (Islington C) Rees-Devies, W. R.
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Canavan, Dennis Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Carmichael, Neil Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Carson, John Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Ross, William (Londonderry)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Hunter, Adam Sandelson, Neville
Channon, Paul Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Clemitson, Ivor John, Brynmor Silverman, Julius
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Johnson, James (Hull West) Skinner, Dennis
Coleman, Donald Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Small, William
Concannon, J. D. Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Costain, A. P. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Sproat, Iain
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Kaufman, Gerald Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Cryer, Bob Lamborn, Harry Stokes, John
Dalyell, Tam Lane, David Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Lawrence, Ivan Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Litterick, Tom Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) MacFarquhar, Roderick Tierney, Sydney
Dempsey, James MacGregor, John Tomlinson, John
Dormand, J. D. Madden, Max Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Mallalieu, J. P. W. Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Drayson, Burnaby Marks, Kenneth Wellbeloved, James
Dunlop, John Mason, Rt Hon Roy Whitehead, Phillip
Dunn, James A. Mates, Michael Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Durant, Tony Mather, Carol Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Dykes, Hugh Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Woof, Robert
Emery, Peter Millan, Bruce
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Fairbairn, Nicholas Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Mr. Joseph Harper and
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Molyneaux, James Mr. David Stoddart.
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put:

The House divided: Ayes 160, Noes 70.

Division No. 294.] AYES [2.00 a.m.
Aitken, Jonathan Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Archer, Peter Crawshaw, Richard Hardy, Peter
Arnold, Tom Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Hatton, Frank
Atkinson, Norman Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Hayhoe, Barney
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Dempsey, James Henderson, Douglas
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Doig, Peter Horam, John
Bates, Alf Duffy, A. E. P. Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Beith, A. J. Dunn, James A. Huckfield, Les
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Bitten, John Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Bottomley, Peter Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Hunt, John
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Hunter, Adam
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) English, Michael Hurd, Douglas
Bray, Dr Jeremy Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Brotherton, Michael Evans, John (Newton) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Buchanan, Richard Faulds, Andrew Janner, Greville
Buck, Antony Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Canavan, Dennis Fletcher Alex (Edinburgh N) Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Cant, R. B. Foot, Rt Hon Michael Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Carmichael, Neil Forrester, John Kinnock, Neil
Cartwright, John Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Kitson, Sir Timothy
Channon, Paul Gardiner, George (Reigate) Knox, David
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Garrett, John (Norwich S) Lambie, David
Clemitson, Ivor Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Lamborn, Harry
Cohen, Stanley Gourlay, Harry Lamond, James
Coleman, Donald Graham, Ted Lamont, Norman
Concannon, J. D. Grant, John (Islington C) Leadbitter, Ted
Conlan, Bernard Gray, Hamish Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)
Litterick, Tom O'Halloran, Michael Stanley, John
Lomas, Kenneth Orbach, Maurice Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Lyon, Alexander (York) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Ovenden, John Stott, Roger
McCartney, Hugh Park, George Swain, Thomas
MacCormick, Iain Parker, John Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
McElhone, Frank Parry, Robert Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
MacGregor, John Prescott, John Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Radice, Giles Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Rees-Davies, W. R. Tierney, Sydney
McNamara, Kevin Reid, George Tinn, James
Mahon, Simon Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Tugendhat, Christopher
Mallalieu, J. P. W. Richardson, Miss Jo Urwin, T. W.
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Robertson, John (Paisley) Viggers, Peter
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Roderick, Caerwyn Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Rodgers, George (Chorley) Ward, Michael
Mendelson, John Rooker, J. W. Watkins, David
Meyer, Sir Anthony Roper, John Watkinson, John
Mikardo, Ian Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Sandelson, Neville Wiggin, Jerry
Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Miscampbell, Norman Sillars, James Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Silverman, Julius Winterton, Nicholas
Molloy, William Sims, Roger Woof, Robert
Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Nelson, Anthony Snape, Peter TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Newton, Tony Spearing, Nigel Mr. Joseph Ashton and
Noble, Mike Spriggs, Leslie Dr. John A. Cunningham
Ogden, Eric Stallard, A. W.
Boscawen, Hon Robert Golding, John Pendry, Tom
Bradford, Rev Robert Goodhart, Philip Penhaligon, David
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Gorst, John Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Price, William (Rugby)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Carson, John Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Clegg, Walter Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Johnson, James (Hull West) Ross, William (Londonderry)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Costain, A. P. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Skinner, Dennis
Cryer, Bob King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Dalyell, Tam Lane, David Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Lawrence, Ivan Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) MacFarquhar, Roderick Stoddart, David
Dormand, J. D. Madden, Max Stokes, John
Dunlop, John Mason, Rt Hon Roy Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Durant, Tony Mather, Carol Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Dykes, Hugh Millan, Bruce Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Emery, Peter Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Fairbairn, Nicholas Molyneaux, James
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Freeson, Reginald Newens, Stanley Mr. Tim Rathbone and
George, Bruce Page, John (Harrow West) Mr. Michael Mates.
Glyn, Dr Alan Pavitt, Laurie

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That in the opinion of this House it is desirable in principle that the salaries of Members should be regulated to correspond with a point on the scale paid to an Assistant Secretary in the public service, not later than three months after the next General Election, and annually until that date, the salaries of Members should be increased by not less than the same amount of increase as these Assistant Secretaries.

Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, further Provision with respect to allowances, facilities and other payments for Members of this House should be made as follows:—

  1. (1) the rate of the supplementary London allowance (£228 a year under the 1974 Resolution) to be £340 a year in respect of periods 512 beginning on or after 13th June 1975, but as and when thereafter any change is made in the Civil Service rate of Inner London weighting, the rate payable in respect of Members entitled to the allowance to correspond to that Civil Service rate, omitting the element in it which represents the cost of travel to work;
  2. (2) the annual limit on the additional costs allowance (£1,050 under the 1974 Resolution) to be—
    1. (a) for the period 1st April 1975 to 31st March 1976, £1,639, and
    2. (b) for any subsequent period of twelve months ending with 31st March, an amount equal to 144 times the Class A(i) London rate (regular visitors) for a night's subsistence, as obtaining in the Civil Service in that period, and allowing for any change in the rate in the period by taking a weighted average;
  3. (3) the annual limit on the secretarial allowance (£1,750 under the 1974 Resolution) to be replaced by a limit of £2,910 for the period from 1st April 1975 to 31st March 1976, and £3,200 for any subsequent period of twelve months beginning with 1st April;
  4. (4) the car mileage allowance (7.7 pence a mile under the 1974 Resolution) to be 10.2 pence per mile for journeys commenced on or after 13th June 1975, but as from when the corresponding Civil Service rate is next altered thereafter, the allowance for Members of this House to be the same as that corresponding rate (which is the rate for cars over 1,750 cc used for journeys on official business);
  5. (5) the number of return journeys for which, in accordance with the 1971 Resolution, facilities for free travel are available to the spouses of Members of this House (ten journeys a year under that Resolution) to be fifteen for the period of twelve months ending with 31st December 1975 or any subsequent period of twelve months beginning with 1st January.
In this Resolution— 'the 1971 Resolution' means the Resolution relating to Parliamentary Expenses which was passed by this House on 20th December 1971; 'the 1974 Resolution' means the Resolution relating to such expenses passed by this House on 30th July 1974.—[Mr. Walter Harrison.]

Question proposed, That, in the opinion of this House, the following provision should be made with respect to the salaries and pensions of Members of this House:—

  1. (1) the salary payable to a Member (other than one who is for the time being an officer of the House or a salaried holder of Ministerial office) to be at the rate of £5,750 a year;
  2. (2) the salary payable to a Member who is for the time being an officer of the House or a salaried holder of Ministerial office, but is not a member of the Cabinet, to be at the rate of £3,700 a year;

(3) the salary payable to a Member who is for the time being a holder of Ministerial office and a member of the Cabinet to continue at the rate of £3,000 a year, as under the resolution passed by this House on 20th December 1971;

(4) the proper rate of salary under head (1) of this Resolution is £8,000 a year, and in the case of all Members of their ordinary salary for pension purposes (and in particular for the purposes of enactments relating to contributory pensions and the deduction of contributions from salary) is to be regarded as being at the rate of £8,000 a year notwithstanding that payment at that rate is not actually made;

(5) each Member is, by way of supplement to his salary payable under head (1), (2) or (3) above, to be credited with £112.50 a year (that is to say a yearly amount equal to 5 per cent. of the difference between £5,750 and £8,000).

(6) This Resolution has effect as respect service on and after 13th June 1975.

In this Resolution—

  1. (a) 'salaried' means for the time being in receipt of a salary under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975; and
  2. (b) 'Ministerial office' means the same as in section 2 of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, as that Act is for the time being in force.—[Mr. Walter Harrison.]

Amendment proposed: In paragraph (1), leave out '£5,750' and insert '£6,300'.—[Mr. George Cunningham.]

Question, That the amendment be made, put and negatived.

Amendment proposed: In paragraph (1), to leave out '£5,750 a year' and insert '£4,812 a year, being an increase of £6 a week'.—[Mr. Walter Johnson.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 37, Noes 197.

Division No. 295.] AYES [2.12 a.m.
Biffen, John King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Lane, David Sproat, Iain
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Litterick, Tom Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Canavan, Dennis MacFarquhar, Roderick Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Carson, John Mather, Carol Tierney, Sydney
Clegg, Walter Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Dunlop, John Meyer, Sir Anthony Viggers, Peter
Dykes, Hugh Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Wellbeloved, James
Emery, Peter Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Fox, Marcus Molyneaux, James
Goodhart, Philip Pattie, Geoffrey TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Penhaligon, David Mr. John Golding and
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Rathbone, Tim Mr. Phillip Whitehead.
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Skinner, Dennis
Aitken, Jonathan Arnold, Tom Bagier, Gordon A. T.
Archer, Peter Ashton, Joe Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)
Armstrong, Ernest Atkinson, Norman Bates, Alf
Beith, A. J. Hamilton, James (Bothwell) O'Halloran, Michael
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Orbach, Maurice
Bidwell, Sydney Hardy, Peter Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Bishop, E. S. Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Ovenden, John
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Park, George
Boscawen, Hon Robert Nation, Frank Parker, John
Bottomley, Peter Hayhoe, Barney Parry, Robert
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Henderson, Douglas Pavitt, Laurie
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Horam, John Pendry, Tom
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Price, William (Rugby)
Brotherton, Michael Huckfield, Les Radice, Giles
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Buchanan, Richard Hughes, Roy (Newport) Reid, George
Cant, R. B. Hunt, John Richardson, Miss Jo
Carmichael, Neil Hunter, Adam Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Cartwright, John Hurd, Douglas Robertson, John (Paisley)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Channon, Paul Janner, Greville Rooker, J. W.
Clemitson, Ivor Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Roper, John
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) John, Brynmor Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Cohen, Stanley Johnson, James (Hull West) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Coleman, Donald Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Sandelson, Neville
Concannon, J. D. Jones, Barry (East Flint) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Conlan, Bernard Jones, Dan (Burnley) Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Kaufman, Gerald Sillars, James
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Kilroy-Silk, Robert Silverman, Julius
Crawshaw, Richard Kinnock, Neil Sims, Roger
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Lambie, David Small, William
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Lamborn, Harry Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Dalyell, Tam Lamond, James Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Lamont, Norman Snape, Peter
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Leadbitter, Ted Spearing, Nigel
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Spriggs, Leslie
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Stanley, John
Dempsey, James Lomas, Kenneth Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Doig, peter McCartney, Hugh Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Dormand, J. D. MacCormick, Iain Stott, Roger
Drayson, Burnaby McElhone, Frank Strauss, Rt Hon G. R
Duffy, A. E. P. MacGregor, John Swain, Thomas
Dunn, James A. McGuire, Michael (Ince) Tebbit, Norman
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Durant, Tony McNamara, Kevin Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Mahon, Simon Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Mallalieu, J. P. W. Tinn, James
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Marks, Kenneth Tomlinson, John
English, Michael Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Tugendhat, Christopher
Evans,Ioan (Aberdare) Mason, Rt Hon Roy Urwin, T. W.
Evans, John (Newton) Mates, Michael Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Faulds, Andrew Mendelson, John Ward, Michael
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Mikardo, Ian Watkins, David
Fletcher Alex (Edinburgh N) Millan, Bruce Watkinson, John
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Forrester, John Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Wiggin, Jerry
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Miscampbell, Norman Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Freeson, Reginald Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Molloy, William Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Winterton, Nicholas
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Woof, Robert
Graham, Ted Nelson, Anthony
Grant, John (Islington C) Newton, Tony TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gray, Hamish Noble, Mike Mr. Joseph Harper and
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Ogden, Eric Mr. David Stoddart.

Question accordingly negatived.

Main Question put and agreed to.

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