§ 11.38 a.m.
§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Michael Foot)
I beg to move,That in the opinion of this House—
- (1) the salary payable to any Member at the rate of £5,750 a year and the salary payable to any Member at the rate of £3,700 a year while he is the Comptroller or Vice-Chamberlain of Her Majesty's Household, a Junior Lord of the Treasury or an Assistant Government or Opposition Whip should be increased by £312 a year from 13th June 1976;
- (2) the sum of £112.50 a year with which a Member is credited by way of supplement in pursuance of paragraph (5) of the resolution of the House of 22nd July 1975 about Members' salaries and pensions should, in the case of a Member who draws the increase in salary mentioned in paragraph (1) above, be reduced by £15.60 a year from 13th June 1976 and, in the case of a Member who draws a fraction only of the increase, be reduced by that fraction of £15.60 a year from that date;
- (3) the annual limit of £3,200 on secretarial allowance should be increased to £3,450 for the year ending on 31st March 1977 and to £3,512 for any subsequent year ending on 31st March.
§ Mr. Speaker
I have selected the amendment to paragraph (1) standing in the name of the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson), and with it the first amendment to paragraph (2) may be debated. I have not selected the second amendment to paragraph (2).
§ Mr. Foot
This and the other motion on the Order Paper, relating to junior Ministers, are designed to give effect to the proposals that I put before the House in my statement on 12th July. I believe that that statement was welcomed by most hon. Members, but a number of points have been raised on the Government's proposals, so I think that it might be helpful if I deal with those first before explaining briefly the substance of the two motions.
§ Mr. Ian Gow (Eastbourne)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are we having a single debate on both motions? If so, would you indicate whether you 2244 intend to select the amendment to the second motion?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman is quite right. If we are to discuss the two motions together—and if that is the will of the House, so be it—I should announce that I have not selected the amendment to the second motion standing in the name of the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley).
§ Mr. Gow
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I raised the matter with you because the Leader of the House indicated that he thought that we were taking both motions together. It seems to some of us that they represent different subject matters and that it would be for the convenience of the House if we were to have a separate debate on each.
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not know whether there has been any agreement about taking the two motions together.
§ Mr. Foot
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I fully appreciate what the hon. Member has said. It is certainly not my right or wish to exclude two debates if hon. Members want them and think that it is better to do it that way. I want to make my remarks at the beginning cover both motions because unfortunately I have to leave the debate for a short period. It is unavoidable and I hope to return later. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Privy Council Office, will be ready to intervene and to wind up the debate. It is for the House to decide whether it wants discussion on the two motions taken separately.
§ Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)
I understand the difficulty which the Leader of the House is in. If he applies his remarks to both motions there will be no objection from us, but it would be helpful if the debates, subject to that, could be separate.
§ Mr. Speaker
If the House is not agreed about taking the motions together, they must be taken separately.
§ Mr. Foot
I am most grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for what he has said. If some of my comments stray over the two motions, I hope that I shall be forgiven.
2245 Some Members have questioned the need for the £8,500 limit; others have asked how it will work. The short answer to the first question is that we need the limit to comply with the guidelines of the current pay policy. I explained that hon. Members who have earnings from other sources which together with their parliamentary emoluments take their total earnings to £8,500 or more would be asked to forgo the £6 increase in full. That statement was based on the understanding upon which the House accepted the Remuneration, Charges and Grants Bill. In that debate I said that no one earning £8,500 a year or more should take an increase of any kind in the coming year. Guidance to that effect has been issued by the Department of Employment and the Department has advised that the obligation to comply with the pay limits where earnings are derived from more than one source rests with the individual concerned. This is the general way in which the Department have given advice and I am sure that hon. Members would not expect to be treated any differently.
I would not seek to deny that under the present voluntary policy there may be some people in some walks of life who have received a £6 increase, when, strictly speaking, they should not have had it. An hon. Member's job is, however, unique. He is paid for full-time service but he can, quite properly, choose also to follow other remunerative pursuits. I think that MPs should be especially careful in this matter of outside earnings. Whatever views they may take about an incomes policy, I believe that all of us would wish to be especially careful in the application to ourselves of the policy we have sought to impose on others.
How then will the limit work? The responsibility for deciding whether the increase in salary would be paid or not will rest solely with hon. Members themselves and no one else. The Accountant will simply ask them to let him know whether the supplement should be withheld in full or in part. For this purpose parliamentary emoluments will include the Member's salary, London supplement, if payable, and the special pensions supplement introduced last July. Other earnings will include income from, for example, directorships, salaried appointments, professional fees and sponsorship 2246 payments. As I said in the House on 12th July, this does not mean that we are suggesting that differentiated rates should be a permanent feature of parliamentary remuneration. This question is a matter for the House itself to decide. At this moment the differentiated earnings are the consequence of the rough justice of the pay policy.
§ Sir John Hall (Wycombe)
Could the Leader of the House say whether other earnings will include journalism and appearances on television? The payments for these activities may vary from year to year and it is possible that in the current year an hon. Member may earn enough from these activities to bring his salary to £8,500 or more?
§ Mr. Foot
Yes, that would be covered. I shall say something about this matter later.
There is the question of over what period the total earnings should be assessed. The £6 is payable from 13th June 1976 and it becomes payable from that date provided Members' earnings were currently running at the rate of less than £8,500 a year. Where outside earnings are received on a regular basis it will be up to hon. Members to assess whether their total rate of all earnings at that date exceeded £8,500 or not. In the case of spasmodic earnings, such as fees—and I think this covers the hon. Member's point—Members would assess their total earnings over the previous 12 months, that is, from their last pay increase on 13th June 1975. I stress, however, that this is general guidance and that it is for Members themselves to assess whether they should forgo the pay increase, or part of it, in the light of this guidance.
Another question that has been asked is why the £312 should not be added to the proper rate of salary of £8,000 as the rate for pension purposes. When the proper rate of salary was increased last year from £4,500 to £8,000 the review body recommended that it should be reviewed biennially. The House accepted that the actual rate payable should be restricted to £5,750. The £312 increase now proposed is a further step towards implementing the full rate of £8,000. Meanwhile, the rate of £8,000 stands as the rate recommended by the Review Body as at 13th June 1975 on the basis 2247 that it should be reviewed biennially. The question of increasing it is a separate matter which will have to be considered at the appropriate time.
In that connection, may I refer to the motion which my predecessor put down last year to give hon. Members an opportunity to express their views on whether it was desirable in principle I emphasise in principle—to link Members' pay with that of a specified grade in the public service. The Review Body had recommended against any such linkage. The House nonetheless resolved that in its opinion it was desirable in principle that there should be a link 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 that annually until that date Members' salaries should be increased by not less than the amount Assistant Secretaries received. In the event, Assistant Secretaries have received nothing under the current round of the pay policy as they are caught by the £8,500 limit.
The point of substance, however, is that the resolution has, of itself, no enabling effect. My predecessor made it clear when he introduced the motion that the matter would have to be considered again by the House before any proposal could be implemented. He said that on 22nd July last year and in the light of the wording of the resolution as amended I think that must still be the situation.
The determination of the fundamental basis of hon. Members' pay is a matter which will have to be resolved by the House when circumstances permit, and the Government will pursue this question as soon as they can. At this time, however, incomes policy rules out any progress on this difficult question.
I now turn to the motions which I have put down to implement the action which the Government consider to be right at the present time. The first is designed to implement the £6 a week increase in Members' pay and their secretarial allowance. Paragraph (1) of the motion increases the Member's salary of £5,750 by £312. It also provides for the 16 Government and Opposition Whips who are paid an office-holder's salary of £4,000 to receive an increase of £312 in 2248 their parliamentary salary of £3,700. The motion does not include a reference to the £8,500 limit because, as I have explained to the House, we are applying these arrangements in accordance with the voluntary principle underlying the pay policy.
§ Mr. Peyton
Will the Leader of the House make clear that the arrangements are that certain people will be made specifically by law entitled to an increase, but that they will be told quietly and informally that they must not take it?
§ Mr. Foot
It could be described in that way, but I do not think that that is accurate and it omits the other part of the proposition, which derives from the policy which the House accepted a year ago, that there should be a voluntary arrangement to cover pay of all kinds for all people and that part of that arrangement should be a limit of £8,500. It is perfectly true that that was not a legally enforceable affair. The House came to the conclusion that it was better to put the policy on a voluntary basis.
The motion does not contain a reference to the £8,500 limit because the arrangements are being applied on voluntary basis—
§ Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
If one of the junior Whips or a Minister insists on taking his increase, to which he is entitled, even though that would be breaching the Government's incomes policy, will he be relieved of his office or will he be allowed to remain in office?
§ Mr. Foot
I do not think that any such question will arise and therefore I do not think that these difficulties need to be faced.
Paragraph (2) of the motion is necessary to reduce the pension contribution supplement which was introduced last year to provide for public funds to bear the Member's 5 per cent. pension contribution of £112.50 on the difference between the actual rate of £5,750 and the pensionable rate of £8,000. As that gap will now be reduced by £312, the special pension contribution must be correspondingly reduced by 5 per cent., that is by £15.60. Members who forgo the £6 a week increase will of course not suffer any reduction in contribution supplement, and those who take only part of the 2249 increase will surrender only the corresponding part of the supplement.
Paragraph (3) provides for a straight increase in the secretarial allowance rate, adjusted for accounting purposes to coincide with the financial year. The rules for reimbursement of expenditure are unchanged, and any increase paid to secretaries or research assistants within the total of the £6 limit for full-time assistance can be claimed within the new limit of £3,512 for the allowance.
Amendments to this motion have been tabled by the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) whereby Members would not benefit at all from the £6 policy but would wait until 1st October this year and then draw the £208 maximum allowable under the next round of the policy. As the £8,500 limit will not then apply, I recognise that what the hon. Member proposes would avoid differentiated rates. I do not, however, recommend that hon. Members should support the amendment or that the House should follow the course proposed by the hon. Member. The urgent need for many Members with little or no other source of outside earnings is an immediate increase of £312 a year. to which they are entitled under the pay policy. I do not believe that the House will wish, for other reasons, to deny the £6 a week increase where it is most needed.
§ Mr. Gow
Has the motion the force of law? Is the resolution sufficient to increase remuneration in the way the Leader of the House has been outlining, because we have a draft Statutory Instrument dealing with ministerial salaries? Does the motion authorise the spending of public money in the way the right hon. Gentleman has outlined?
§ Sir John Hall
The Leader of the House was expressing his opposition to the amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) on the ground that this would deny some hon Members the immediate help of £312 a year which in some cases could be urgently needed. The right hon. Gentleman will recall that this goes back 2250 only to 13th June this year, that the gap in time, therefore, will be a matter of a few months, and that after tax differences the amount will be very marginal. Would it not therefore be better to deter it in the way that my hon. Friend suggests?
§ Mr. Foot
The increase given to Members of Parliament last year dealt with a situation which had accumulated for many years. If we were to follow the course suggested by the hon. Member for Blaby, Members of Parliament would never have been entitled to the £6 increase, and they would have missed a whole year—
§ Mr. Foot
That would be unjust to the Members concerned and would give a false impression of the position. I believe that Members of Parliament were entitled last year to the increase they had then, and I believe that they are entitled to the £6 increase now so long as they do not offend the £8,500 limit. They will also be entitled next year to the 4½ per cent. increase, or whatever it may be, under the new policy. If we were to follow the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, it would confuse the arrangements and would suggest that Members were never entitled to the £6.
§ Sir John Hall
Is it not the case that it would be impossible for Members to get a further increase until 12 months after the last increase? In that case, unless it is proposed to have a stage 3 and to continue with a limit of this kind 12 months from now, the amendment would mean only deferment of a few months of the 4 per cent., with Members losing no more than a small fraction of the previous increase.
§ Mr. Foot
We would be applying a different principle to Members of Parliament from that applied to the rest of the country. Under the pay policy, Members will be entitled to the 4½ per cent. or the equivalent figure next year. The hon Member is proposing that this 2251 should happen sooner and that would be a different application of the policy for MPs. We are seeking to apply the policy to Members of Parliament just as it applies to everyone else.
I understand the grounds on which Members do not wish to embark upon differentiation. This question must be settled as an issue of principle, and not by a side wind. It would be a great mistake for the House to say that because of the introduction of differentiation we objected so strongly to the £8,500 limit that we were going to adopt a completely different system. That would be quite wrong, because since the principle has been applied in other cases, and since the Government have recommended it to other people, it would be very strange if the House of Commons took a different line.
§ Mr. Tim Rathbone (Lewes)
There is a somewhat different aspect to this point which could be even more important than the one that my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Sir J. Hall) was pursuing. Throughout his speech so far, the Lord President has used the word "entitlement". As I understand it, the £6 is a ceiling and the Government have denied repeatedly in the past that it is an entitlement. The Lord President may be deceiving the country yet again by using that word.
§ Mr. Foot
I am not deceiving the country. The Government will be paying the money and they will be applying the same principle, if the House approves, to hon. Members as they have applied in other cases. The Government were not bound to make the proposal for a £6 increase, but we think that it is a proper arrangement and that hon. Members should be dealt with in the same way as the overwhelming bulk of people in the country.
§ Mr. Ridley
If it is so important to apply the same principles to us as to people outside, why do we pay ourselves pensions on the basis of a very much higher salary than we actually receive?
§ Mr. Foot
All these matters were discussed last year. The report at that tin-le recommended considerably higher pay for hon. Members than the House thought desirable. However, hon. Mem- 2252 bers agreed that the pension increases should be implemented and there was a strong case for that, particularly in view of the injustice suffered by hon. Members in this respect in the past.
All this was dealt with last year. We now have to decide the application of the present policy. We had to consider whether to apply a different policy to hon. Members than to other people because of the objections to differentiation, but the Government thought that it was quite wrong to maintain such a distinction.
§ Mr. Rathbone
I did not understand the right hon. Gentleman's answer to my previous intervention. Is the £6 pay limit now to be regarded as an entitlement and is any future pay limit to be understood in that way in this Chamber and outside?
§ Mr. Foot
I do not want there to be any confusion. Under the pay policy, the £6 was a maximum, but it was not fixed by law. It did not mean that every employer was compelled to pay the £6. It would have been open to us not to make the £6 recommendation and to have suggested a lower figure within the pay policy. However, we are recommending that the £6 should be paid.
I understand what has been said about the wish to take the two motions separately, but I should like to comment on the second motion, not in an attempt to limit the debate but to anticipate it. I have to be away from the House soon after I have spoken, though I hope to hear the speech of the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) before I go.
The second motion seeks approval to a draft Order in Council which will authorise a salary increase of £312 for 13 junior Ministers and office holders in the House of Lords. The increase will be subject to the £8,500 limit on earnings from all sources in the same way as for Members of this House. The salaries of these appointments are controlled by the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 1975, but amendments to the rates in that Act may be effected by means of an Order in Council subject to a draft of the Order being approved by resolution in each House of Parliament.
The Members of the other place who are affected by this Order are, in the main. 2253 the Government and Opposition Whips, but I should like to draw attention to two points. The first is that the Solicitor-General for Scotland is not a Member of either House but his salary as a Law Officer of the Crown is controlled by the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act.
The second point is that the Order has to provide for an increase in salary for all Parliamentary Secretaries, but in practice it will be paid only to the two Parliamentary Secretaries who sit in the other place. To comply with the £8,500 limit, the salaries of Parliamentary Secretaries who sit in the Commons, and draw a parliamentary salary of £3,700, will remain at £5,500 a year under the powers in Section 4 (2) of that Act, which enable salaries to be restricted. The effective date of these increases will be the date when the Order is signed.
Finally, Members may wish to know that the Top Salaries Review Body's Report, about which questions may be asked, is likely to be available next week.
§ Mr. Peyton
I did not intend to intervene in the debate immediately after the right hon. Gentleman has spoken. I wish to hear first what some of my hon. Friends have to say.
I sympathise with the Leader of the House in his difficulty in explaining these matters to hon. Members, but I cannot understand why it is necessary to provide in law for the payment of all Parliamentary Secretaries when we know at the time of doing so that it is not the intention to let most of them have the money.
§ Mr. Foot
We are letting some of them have the money and, in order to be able to do so, we have to proceed in this manner, with a strict regard to the legal provisions that are required.
If an error has crept into my remarks on this subject, I am sure that it will be corrected later. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is a hybrid Bill."] Whatever else I understand, I certainly understand hybridity now.
In my statement on 12th July I had to indicate that we should not be able to accept any recommendations from the Top Salaries Review Body that would go outside the pay policy because I did not want to arouse any expectations in any quarter on that point. However, the 2254 report will be published soon and the House will be able to judge these matters.
I know that some hon. Members believe that the subject of our pay and salaries is a difficult and invidious matter for us to discuss in the House. I do not think that we should have so many hesitations. The demand for proper payment for hon. Members has a long and honourable history. There have been bicentennial celebrations in the United States this year, but 1776 should not be famous only for the Declaration of Independence.
In that year, Major John Cartwright wrote a pamphlet entitled "Take Your Choice" in which he demanded reforms of Parliament, universal suffrage and secret ballots—all causes which were fought for outside this House long before they were fought for inside. Major Cartwright also demanded in his pamphlet payment for hon. Members, but we had to wait a long time before that suggestion was put into effect.
That illustrates what I was saying earlier in the week, in a slightly more controversial atmosphere, that many of the liberties of hon. Members have had to be fought for. I make no apology for saying that the Government wish to ensure that hon. Members are fairly treated in the payments made to them. The House will want to look at these matters carefully and we shall take into account what is said by hon. Members in all parts of the House. However, we think that what we have suggested is a fair and sensible way of dealing with the problem this year.
§ 12.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Lawson (Blaby)
I beg to move, in paragraph (1), leave out from 'by' to the end of the paragraph and to add instead thereof:£208 a year from 1st October 1976'.The Leader of the House has said that Members' pay is perhaps an invidious and difficult subject. We would all agree with that. Incomes policy is an absurd and Alice-in-Wonderland subject and when the two are thrown together, reasoned debate becomes almost impossible.
I shall, however, begin by addressing myself directly to the amendment and then make one or two wider observations, all within a fairly brief span. The purpose 2255 of the amendment, as the Leader of the House fairly pointed out, is to get out of the acute difficulty into which he himself got when explaining how it was that there was to be one rate of pay for some hon. Members and another rate of pay for others and, moreover, that this would be applied in a curious way not being applied elsewhere.
This problem of how it should be applied is indeed difficult. But the principle is in any case so offensive—that different hon. Members should be paid a different salary—that it seems to be wholly right that we should get out of the difficulty by this simple device of going straight to stage 2 of the incomes policy on 1st October next.
§ Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that a worker in a factory who works full time should receive exactly the same as another who works part time?
§ Mr. Ridley
I have here the Register of Members' Interests and I presume that it defines the "full-timers and" part-timers "among us. Would the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maguire), who is always in the House to make a speech and who serves on every Committee, be called a full-timer or a part-timer?
§ Mr. Lawson
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that pertinent observation about the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maguire) who, I am sure, is the sort of full-time Member whom the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) has in mind. The House has never accepted the principle that so-called full-time Members should be paid more than so-called part-time Members. I know that it has often been discussed, and some hon. Members have made the suggestion, but it has not been accepted by the Boyle Committee or by the House. It has not been advocated by the Leader of the House today. I think that it is a red herring. The hon. Member for Keighley may pursue it as much as he likes. He may try to persuade the House that such a suggestion should be 2256 accepted, but I remind him that it has not been accepted by the House, or even by the Government.
There is implicit in what the hon. Gentleman said the assumption that hon. Members are full-time Members simply because they have no outside interests and, because of that, it is implied that they are doing a more worthwhile job in the House and serving their constituents better. Of course we can distinguish among hon. Members. It would be invidious and wholly wrong to mention instances, but we can distinguish between those hon. Members who serve their constituents and the House well and those who do not. However, I would say that there is no correlation between that and those hon. Members who happen to have outside interests and those who do not. The hon. Member for Keighley may make a distinction between genuine full-time Members and genuine part-time Members if he wishes, but it has nothing whatever to do with outside earnings.
The purpose of the amendment is to get out of the ridiculous muddle that the Leader of the House got into by suggesting that stage 1 of the incomes policy—the £6 increase with its cut-off point at £8,500—should be applied. The amendment suggests that we go straight to stage 2 on 1st October.
There are two objections to the Governments proposal quite apart from this invidious distinction. One is that it is retrospective: it applies from 13th June. I do not think that it is a good thing in principle that we should award ourselves retrospective pay increases of that sort. I know that the last increase was retrospective, but at least there was the argument that is was backdated to the date on which the Boyle Committee Report was published. There was an excuse then but there is no excuse in this instance. Furthermore, it is rather ironic that it was on 22nd July—almost exactly a year ago today—that we first had the debate and vote on the White Paper "The Attack on Inflation", which embodied the pay limit of £6 and the very next business of the House on that same evening was to award ourselves an increase very much in excess of that.
§ Mr. Foot
Whatever arguments the hon. Gentleman may wish to make, it 2257 would be quite wrong for him to suggest to people outside the House that retrospective payments are being made to Members of Parliament and that in some way this is an offence against the policy. The proposal is to make the £6 payable on exactly the same basis as it was made to the rest of the public. It is not retrospective at all in that sense.
§ Mr. Lawson
I am not suggesting that we should adopt the standards that apply elsewhere. I am aware that there are backdatings in payments elsewhere but as Members of Parliament we have to be particularly careful and, therefore, we are particularly open to censure when we award ourselves a pay increase which we then back date a month or more.
§ Sir John Hall
Generally speaking I would find myself in agreement with what my hon. Friend says, but on this occasion it seems to me that he wants to put Members of Parliament in a much worse position than most other employed persons. Most of the wage increases that we award ourselves are retrospective and go back a very long way indeed.
§ Mr. Lawson
I may not have carried my hon. Friend on my first point, but I hope that I shall be able to carry him on the rest of my argument. I was saying that we awarded ourselves an increase from £4,500 to £5,750 on 22nd July last year immediately after we had approved the White Paper embodying what in shorthand terms may be called a semi-statutory ceiling of £6 a week.
§ Mr. Lawson
The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) says that it was not semi-statutory. Since there is no strict definition of the term "semi-statutory" the right hon. Gentleman can use it in one way and I can use it in another. I was using it to mean a voluntary policy breaches of which would incur certain penalties.
§ Mr. Powell
That is not correct as far as the citizen is concerned. All that it did was to enable certain contracts to be broken without the natural consequences following in certain circumstances. That was all.
§ Mr. Lawson
With great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, it also contained provisions concerning the Price Code which affected the employers and paid certain increases above the limit. I think that my expression of semi-statutory, although it has no technically precise meaning, carries a clear description of the nature of the policy.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Beaconsfield)
Would not my hon. Friend get out of his difficulty by adopting the phrase "semi-voluntary"?
§ Mr. Lawson
I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for his helpful suggestion, and I am prepared to accept his amendment.
We agreed to pay ourselves £5,750 in place of £4,500 immediately after the debate on the incomes policy.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Privy Council Office (Mr. William Price)
Was not the problem with that pay increase that we had waited so long that it had to be much larger than the public were prepared to accept? It was argued from both sides of the House in that debate that we should ease it along a little each year, as happened with most people. That is exactly what we are proposing today. The House has approved the principle that one day we shall get £8,000. If we do not ease it along a little at a time, we shall at some stage be faced with an increase of £2,000, and we shall have the same problems as we had in the past.
§ Mr. Lawson
The Parliamentary Secretary may succeed in catering your eye later, Mr. Deputy Speaker, when he can deploy his argument more fully. I accept that some hon. Members on both sides of the House on that occasion said that we should have only £6, and the Parliamentary Secretary will remember that I did not agree with it. But we all thought that the increase we had was in place of the £6, with the addition of a further sum for catching up, and that the total wrapped up the £6; but now we discover that that is not so and that some are to be given the £6 in addition. That is wholly wrong.
I am grateful to the Leader of the House for addressing himself to my amendment, which I had not at that time moved. He said that we could not wait 2259 until 1st October for the £4 increase and that there was an urgent need. Is he really saying that hon. Members are so desperate to get their hands on the money that they cannot even wait 10 weeks? That is absolutely nonsense, and the right hon. Gentleman knows it.
Even more curious, the right hon. Gentleman went on to say that the pay should go where it was most needed. He started off by arguing that the only reason for the £8,500 limit was that that was on stage 1 of the pay policy and, if we have the £6, we have to adopt the whole pay policy and nothing but the pay policy. That was his line. Now he is saying that it has nothing to do with it. He says that there has to be a means test among hon. Members and the pay must go first to Members who need it. It is a curious means test anyway, since it takes no account of investment income or wealth. The social security people and the Supplementary Benefits Commission would be very surprised at that kind of means test. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will retract that suggestion, because it is not a principle that the House can possibly adopt.
The Leader of the House also said that my amendment denied hon. Members the £6 to which they are entitled, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone) pointed out, they are not entitled to it. The £6 is a ceiling; there is no entitlement and, therefore, no entitlement is being denied to hon. Members. The whole background to the way in which the Leader of the House presented his case was unfortunate. He said that the Government were applying the guidelines as an employer. It is clear that he had at the back of his mind that hon. Members were his employees. That we must reject out of hand.
The right hon. Gentleman's argument about differential pay was that Members of Parliament are paid for full-time service. They are not paid for full-time service. Members of Parliament are paid to serve their constituents and their country to the best of their ability. They are not paid for full-time service as defined by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) and his friends who spend all their time in the Tea Room. That is not what they are paid for.
2260 We should reject out of hand every contention put to the House by the Leader of the House. I do not claim that my amendment is perfect, but it will at least avoid some of the nonsenses, absurdities, difficulties and affronts to the House that are contained in the motion.
§ 12.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Max Madden (Sowerby)
The Lord President rightly said that the conditions of work and the salaries of Members of Parliament made them unique. That must be true. Hon. Members who have been or still are active trade unionists know that it is the trade union branch meetings at which members discuss the latest wage claim that often attract the largest attendances. As today we are attending a branch meeting of Members of Parliament to consider their salaries, it is not surprising that we have a fairly good attendance for a Friday.
I know of no other organisation whose members collectively decide what salary they shall receive and the terms and conditions under which they work. I believe that that is wrong. We need to undertake fundamental reforms of the way in which we seek to represent our constituents. My personal view is that that cannot be done so long as we tolerate a practice whereby hon. Members are free to undertake and perform as many jobs for outside organisations as they care to seek and receive as much for those jobs as they can get.
It is intolerable in this modern age for hon. Members to decide for themselves without recourse to anybody how much they will do in the House on behalf of their constituents. Many of us object to Members of Parliament performing pecuniary tasks for outside bodies, and we also object to their non-attendance here. I take the point made by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), but I wish to see prevailing in Parliament a practice similar to that which prevails in local government, which is that any member who is absent for a period of time is automatically disbarred from membership of the local authority. If any hon. Member is absent for a period of time from the House, it could be argued that he should automatically be disbarred as a Member of Parliament.
§ Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire, South-West)
After that extraordinary 2261 tirade, will the hon. Gentleman answer unequivocally this question: who is more likely to give dispassionate, honourable and independent service to his constituents, a Member who has a certain independence and outside interests, or a Member who is sponsored by a trade union which will crack the whip and tell him what to do and what to say? We know that that is true because it has happened in the past year.
§ Mr. Madden
I do not think that being a sponsored trade union member—as are many of my hon. Friends—makes a Member of Parliament any more or any less independent. I do not, however, believe that we can make the same claim for hon. Members who hold well-paid and numerous directorships in companies of all kinds. The three signatories of the amendment fall into that category.
According to the Register of Members' Interests the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) has two directorships outside the House for which, presumably, he receives fees. The hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), according to the register has five other jobs. The hon. Member, for Cirencester and Tewkesbury, again according to the register, has three directorships and two parliamentary consultancies.
§ Mr. Ridley
The hon. Gentleman referred to me. I have had many complaints from his colleagues that I am here too much, especially late at night, and I wonder whether he regards me as full time or part time, as on the financial definition he seems to think that I am part time. Some of his hon. Friends think that I am full time. Will he say which he thinks I am?
§ Mr. Madden rose—2262
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member must be allowed to continue his speech, or at least to answer the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley).
§ Mr. Madden
I regard the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury as an exceptional nuisance, but as a very exceptional parliamentarian and an assiduous attender.
§ Mr. Lawson
I wish to put the same question about myself, because the hon. Gentleman mentioned me specifically, too. He cannot get away by talking about nuisances. Does he consider me to be a full-time Member or a part-time Member? Many of my hon. Friends and Labour Members seem to think that I spend too much rather than too little time here.
§ Mr. Madden
Let me make my position clear. I believe that in the reforms of Parliament which I am suggesting we should ensure that Members receive, after independent review, what are generally considered to be realistic salaries. In doing that I believe that they should be automatically debarred from holding any outside financial interest for which they receive salaries in addition to their parliamentary salaries. I believe, too, that there should be clear provisions about attendance in the House and that hon. Members who do not fulfil those provisions should be automatically disbarred.
It is becoming a truism to say that there is never a good time to increase the salaries of Members of Parliament. I believe—this, again, is a personal view which I do not expect to be widely shared—that if there was ever a bad time, it is a bad time today to be confirming an increase in Members' salaries. Following as it does in the wake of yesterday's measures announced by the Chancellor, which will clearly impose great hardships on many far less privileged people than Members of Parliament, it is unreasonable to be granting an increase to Members today.
§ Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Does the Chair intend to permit this inter-discussion among various Members? Why 2263 do not hon. Members listen to my hon. Friend?
§ Mr. Madden
I am most grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Jones), who is my neighbour, for his consideration and protection and I hope in his interests to conclude my remarks shortly.
I was saying, although my good Friend from Burnley was obviously unable to hear me, that it is necessary for us seriously to consider what we are doing today in the light of yesterday's measures, which will clearly result in considerable unemployment. It is estimated that there will be 100,000 fewer jobs as a result of yesterday's measures. If many Members of Parliament gave up their other numerous jobs, they would make a small contribution to increasing employment.
The difficulties we always face in considering these matters derive from historical circumstances. If we had faced up to the issue of trying to resolve the problem of settling Members' salaries long ago, we should not have been continually placed in this highly embarrassing political situation every few years when we are asked to agree considerable increases which must take account of the fact that there have not been increases for several years preceding.
We must say that this is intolerable and that we shall reform the system. We must take this issue out of politics, but at the same time make highly political considerations in determining the pay of Members. I believe that we have a unique place and the Lord President was perfectly right when he said that this is a unique situation, because in the eyes of our constituents we are rather special people. We should take that into consideration in deciding our salaries.
The increase of 28 per cent. which we received in June of last year was a very large one. It was large because, again, it took account of the fact that we had not received an increase for a number of years. During that previous period I was not a Member of the House. At that time I considered the increase of £1,250 to be very large, particularly when compared with the pay increases received 2264 by constituents of mine who, in the period since then, have certainly not all received a £6 increase. Many of them have received far less than £6.
§ Mr. Madden
No, I must press on. Because of the size of the increase that we received in June of last year, it is unjustified for us to receive an increase of £6 a week this year. Such an increase is inappropriate and totally unjustified.
May I say a few words about the subject of secretaries, because, unfortunately, our parliamentary procedures mean that if we vote against the motion, we are also voting against an increase for secretaries? I deeply regret that, because I believe that an increase for secretaries is justified. Again, I suggest that there is an urgent need for reform regarding the employment of secretaries. It is an inheritance from the past which must be discarded and we must ensure that secretaries become employees of the House of Commons and receive proper salaries, standard conditions of employment, pension provision, and so on. I do not believe that that can be done given the unique and intolerable relationship that most secretaries have, as they are employed by Members of Parliament whose generosity varies greatly. All hon. Members know that to be so.
It must be regarded in that way because it is a personal relationship between a Member and his or her secretary. We all know that secretaries receive vastly differing sums for this work, and their conditions of employment vary still more. That is an intolerable relationship that we must seek to end at the earliest opportunity.
We are seeking to decide these matters in the wake of the Chancellor's measures of yesterday. I received a piece of paper in my mail telling me that the mileage allowances and the overnight expenses received by Members were to be increased as well. I know that this is an automatic response to provisions agreed by resolution of the House some time ago, but to the outside world—to our constituents—it is another little increase for Members of Parliament being slipped through quietly at a time when the circumstances of our constituents are very difficult. We should make these matters 2265 public and justify them publicly, if they can be justified.
§ Sir John Hall rose—
§ Mr. Lawson rose—
§ Mr. Madden
I will not give way. Both hon. Members will have their chance to say what they wish to say.
These are important matters. They cannot be swept under the carpet in the belief that they do not matter, that nobody cares, that nobody notices. We are always talking in the House about Parliament, politicians, political life and public life, being held in less regard than hitherto. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) has rightly said on many occasions that historically the outside world has always had a very low regard for Parliament. Historically, I think that could be justified.
However, if we continue in this way and attempt to deal with our salaries and conditions in the secrecy of Parliament, in the strange and curious way that we do, the regard in which we are held will inevitably decline at a very fast rate. The time for change has come and we must stand up and let the people know that not all of us in this place are prepared to accept these proposals without voicing objection or without voting against them.
§ 12.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)
It is worth while to be sufficient of a full-time Member to be here to listen to a speech like that just delivered by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden). I wish that he came here more often and treated us to some more of these quite curious and baroque remarks. I do not think that there is a word other than "baroque" to describe his speech.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I am sure that there are many others, but I have to stay within the rules of parliamentary order, which somewhat restricts me in describing such a speech.
The hon. Gentleman commented on full-time Members of the House. Where are all the full-time Members gone? I know where some of them are. I know where the National Union of Railway- 2266 men sponsored full-time Members are: they are writing their essays. Their union has told them that they have to write essays? They have to pass an examination. They are not to go to their electorates. They have to write essays for the NUR executive. These are the full-timers, the men without any outside interests.
I have outside interests, and I can do without any of them. I can put them aside whenever I wish. If anybody asks me to do something that I think is not proper, or that I do not want to do, even if I am offered money for doing it. I can refuse it. Can a trade union-sponsored Member defy his union? His union controls his nomination to this place. He does not even get to first post on polling day, let alone have any freedom of action, if he upsets his sponsors.
That is why the NUR-sponsored Members are today writing their essays. They are having an examination in political reliability. The union wants to make sure that they are sufficiently pliable so that when it comes to discussing expenditure cuts, they will be reliable chaps and will want the cuts to bear on the heads of the members of other trade unions and not on their own members.
§ Mr. Robert Mellish (Bermondsey)
I am a sponsored member of a trade union and, therefore, I can speak with some knowledge of this subject. To get the record straight, let me tell the hon. Gentleman that for 30 years during which time I have been a sponsored Member I have never been told to do what I did not wish to do; secondly, if I had been told, I should have resented it; thirdly, it is clearly understood that the first duty of a Member of Parliament, whether sponsored or not, is to this House. There is no doubt about that. I wish the hon. Gentleman would not, even by innuendo, suggest that orders are given to sponsored Members. They are not given, and they would not be obeyed if they were.
§ Mr. Tebbit
The right hon. Gentleman, of course, stands in this House almost unique. He would be a very unwise person who tried to twist the right hon. Gentleman's arm to force him to do anything. The right hon. Gentleman has too much experience of twisting the arms of other right hon. and hon. Members.
On the subject of innuendos, let us get the matter straight. Not long ago, an 2267 issue of privilege was raised in this House and it was a hair's breadth as to whether the trade union leader concerned was brought to the Bar of the House. [Interruption.] It is no use the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) mouthing away. He can go back to the Tea Room and to his other usual haunts.
The innuendo is all too frequently thrown around by the hon. Member for Sowerby that those who have outside interests are a prey to them. We are considerably freer than those whose nominations to this place as Labour candidates are controlled by people who may not always have been members of the Labour Party and who, in the past, even if they are today members of the Labour Party, may have been on the Labour Party's proscribed list.
Let us get this matter of outside interests clear. If it is suggested that Members should relinquish their outside interests, does it mean that the Prime Minister should give up the farm which he has acquired since he has been a Member of Parliament? Does it mean that the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) should have no more capital and assets than he could have acquired out of his income as a Member of Parliament while he has been in this House? It would be a very odd world if that were the case, and I do not think that would be a popular view on either side of the House.
I refer to the remarks of the hon. Member for Sowerby about allowances. He is wrong, all ends up. The arrangements for the mileage allowance and the allowance for the extra cost of living in London are not long standing. They have been in operation for the last year, when hon. Members linked those allowances to similar allowances paid to civil servants. In case the hon. Member has not noticed, let me emphasise that they are not a perk for Members, any more than salaries for secretaries are a perk. They are available for the reimbursement of expenditure actually incurred. If the hon. Gentleman thinks that they are available for something else, let me disabuse him. They are not.
If he thinks that hon. Members should not be allowed to draw a reasonable allowance in order to reimburse them- 2268 selves for costs actually incurred, I think that view is rather unfair to many hon. Members. It might not be too bad for those who represent constituencies in or near London, but if the hon. Gentleman believes that it should be made less expensive for me, with a constituency 12 miles away, to run my parliamentary affairs than for those who have to travel long distances to their constituencies, he is batting on an odd wicket, even for a Socialist.
§ Mr. Madden
I did not say that allowances that hon. Members can claim for mileage and overnight expenses were perks. Indeed, I have been in considerable correspondence with the Conservative agent in my constituency, who has been arguing that these allowances are perks, and I believe that I have persuaded him that they are not. What I was saying was that these allowances had been slipped through following the resolution passed in 1973 without a public statement. I was complaining that these allowances had been increased without a public statement. I did not say that they were perks.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has had an opportunity to make himself more clear the second time round. I shall leave the hon. Member now, because one cannot devote too much time going over the ground which he has managed to muddy in more ways than one.
I want to get back to the amendment, on which I wish to make two main points, first, about the principle of aggregation of incomes and, secondly, about the introduction of the two-tier pay structure for hon. Members. The amendment deals with both difficulties and it seeks to get rid of them.
We should ask who else suffers under the aggregation rule and, indeed, what the rule is. The Lord President described it briefly this morning. In essence, it states that no one earning more than £8,500 a year should receive an increase during the current uhase of the policy. The TUC's original proposal was that no one with an income of more than £7,000 a year should receive an increase. The Government made two changes when they transferred the proposal to the White Paper. They changed £7,000 to £8,500 and they 2269 changed the word "income" to "earnings".
As has already been pointed out, those hon. Members who were fortunate enough to be born in the right bed and were perhaps left by their parents substantial sums of money on the income from which they live comfortably are not affected by the aggregation rule, because it is income. It pays the bills but it is not earnings. Only those who have earnings will be affected in this way. Pensions are not affected either, and I am very glad of that: I draw a pension. But is it reasonable that I should receive the benefit of work that I have done in the past but not the benefit of the work that I do now? It seems an odd distinction.
Let us think of the other people who stand to be affected by aggregation as enunciated by the Lord President. For instance, let us think of a surgeon in the National Health Service with a private practice and with a total income above £8,500 a year. Should he have taken the National Health Service salary increase this year, or should he have drawn a lower salary than the salary received by the surgeon standing beside him? If in the current year that surgeon performs more operations than he did last year, must he refuse the fees, or should he reduce his National Health Service salary by a commensurate amount? Is it right that two doctors in a hospital doing precisely the same work should receive different salaries because one chooses to spend the weekend playing golf and the other chooses to sepend it doing his work as a surgeon? Is that what the incomes policy and the aggregation rule being imposed on Members are about?
Let us come nearer home. If a trade union official or director of a company was last year appointed to a Government patronage post, perhaps to sit on the board of a nationalised industry, with a salary taking his total income over £8,500 a year, should he have renounced part of that salary? Can he take the money? Does the aggregation rule apply to someone who takes an additional job in the current year? Are we to interpret it in that way?
Let us suppose that, for example, my hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. 2270 Lawson) had no outside interests at all last year, and during the current phase of the pay policy he was approached by a wise editor—perhaps of a good financial magazine or something of the sort—and asked to write an article of 1,000 words or so once a month, at a payment of £10,000 a year or something like that—[An HON. MEMBER: "More than that."] No, my hon. Friend is a modest fellow who would not want to overdo these things, and in any case he would not want to take any more because the tax man would take it away.
In such a case, where someone has acquired a new job in the relevant period, will the aggregation rule apply? If it applies in that hypothetical case, it must apply to the case of everyone who has been appointed to one of the Government patronage jobs, which are growing in number and in the richness of their perks day by day as we legislate for more and more of them. Seeing the Parliamentary Secretary rise so quickly to his feet, I thought that he was about to rush to the Dispatch Box with the answer, but I see that he is leaving to go where he hopes he may find it.
§ Mr. William Price
I assure the hon. Gentleman that I am going on a far more desperate errand than that and I shall be back in about 25 seconds.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I trust that the hon. Gentleman will find the answer to this problem in the Government's policy where I gather he is going, but it would be even more appropriate if he took their policy and this motion with him and did not bring it back. I fancy that the Lord President will say that all these difficult questions are for Members themselves to resolve, perhaps in the privacy of some small room where they can do so without being disturbed—if that is not an inappropriate remark at this point.
However, there is a better way of getting round the difficulty. We can get round it by not paying ourselves the £6, by supporting the amendment that my hon. Friends and I have tabled. We could wait for the end of this phase of the policy, and we could thus avoid embarrassing the Government by asking all these questions which others outside the House may suddenly realise have an application to their own affairs. That would be a great good service. After 2271 all, the Lord President has been in a bit of trouble during the past week and he does not want any more, just as the Government have been in trouble and do not want to get in any more.
Let me turn now to the question of two-tier pay for Members. The Lord President said that Members are paid for full-time service—
§ Mr. Mellish
I am following the hon. Gentleman's argument, and I think that he is putting it extremely well, but, in all fairness, he should recognise that this is not a matter to be treated frivolously. The incomes policy—if that is the right name for it—is full of anomalies. Everybody knows that. It is impossible, as the hon. Gentleman knows from the experience of his party when the Conservatives were in power, to produce any sort of policy in which there are no loopholes or anomalies.
There is substance in what the hon. Gentleman says, but he knows as well as I do that there is a general principle here that cannot be denied. Somehow there must be a limitation on increases in order to control inflation. Having accepted that principle, any of us can easily step in and say "There are a lot of anomalies". But let us be fair about it and not overstate the case.
§ Mr. Tebbit
The right hon. Gentleman puts his point with all the charm to which we are accustomed. [Interruption.] I wish that the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Jones) would stop making sedentary interjections which prevent others from hearing what is said.
I must tell the right hon. Gentleman that he is not quite right. It is not too difficult to have an incomes policy which does not have any loopholes. He will recall that that was a difficulty which my right hon. Friends found almost insuperable about two and a half years ago. We did not have enough holes in our policy to avoid some of the problems. If, on the other hand, one goes for the sort of incomes policy which this Government have adopted, one gets into difficulties—different difficulties, but difficulties none the less. It is not appropriate now to argue whether there should be an incomes policy at all, but some people may think that the difficulties make the 2272 policy not worth the candle. However, that is another argument.
I return to what I was about to say about two-tier pay for Members. The Lord President spoke of Members being paid for full-time service. He did not say what it was. What is full-time service? As my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) said, there was an atmosphere about the House, especially in and around the Treasury Bench, a week or so ago on Thursday night through to Friday morning implying that some of my hon. Friends were here when we should have been at home looking after some other business or, perhaps, out earning our pay somewhere else. But we were here defending our constituents' interests as we saw them, and great exception was taken to it.
Unfortunately for the Government, not having a very good Chief Whip nowadays, they did not have 100 Members on hand—they are short of full-timers on their side—to force the closure and send my hon. Friends and me back home, where we could not do any parliamentary work but where, perhaps, we might have been driven to writing articles or our memoirs for money—for money, believe it or not. Those are the difficulties, and if the Government had had their 100 Members here—those full-timers—they could have avoided putting us to the temptation of being driven away to earn money in some scandalous fashion.
What is "full time"? Does it mean that hon. Members should clock on and clock off? The Lord President quite often clocks off for a time. He can hardly tear himself away from Lockets and get into his chauffeur-driven limousine to come back in time for a Division. I hope that nobody asks him to clock in and out, because he would wear out his time card, being in and out so frequently.
§ Mr. Dan Jones
The hon. Gentleman wants to know who are full-timers. I suggest that the full-timers are those who regularly and unstintingly have served on Committees. both Standing Committees and Select Committees, during the years they have been in the House.
§ Mr. Tebbit
The hon. Gentleman has his view and he will no doubt develop it, 2273 but if that is right I am probably one of the great full-timers, despite my outside interests, and so are a good many of my right hon. and hon. Friends.
We all know what the Lord President really meant and wanted. He meant and wanted a pay rise for the Tea Room warriors—a pay rise exclusively for the Tea Room warriors. Those whom he regards as full-timers are those whom I regard as unemployable outside the precincts of this Palace—and some of them are darned near unemployable in the Palace, too, as the Prime Minister has found. He has had to sack some of them, and I have no doubt that he wishes that he could sack them entirely from this place.
The hon. Member for Keighley talked about the concept of paying the full-timer and the part-time worker different amounts. That is an interesting concept, but what about the concept of not paying overtime to those who do more than their share of work? What does he feel about the coal miner who goes home and makes a few bob out of breeding whippets? Does the hon. Gentleman feel that he should not take any money for breeding his whippets because he is a full-time coal miner? What about the chief executive of a borough council who has a seaside house that he rents out? Should he not take anything from that activity because he is a full-timer? I hope that the Prime Minister does not get any benefit from his farm and estates in Sussex. If he did so, that would be quite scandalous.
The hon. Member for Keighley and I, and a good many others, know about some of the ways in which colleagues manage to find an extra few bob. For instance, there are those Members who quite legitimately employ their wives as their secretaries. Provided that they have no other income, that privileged group will presumably be getting a rise in the family of £12 a week. There is nothing wrong with that. That is perfectly legitimate, but it turns our attention to the whole issue of family incomes.
No doubt before long the hon. Member for Keighley will want an incomes policy to control the income of the family. After all, if wives are earning money, it may be that some Members will be living better than others. Some chaps will be 2274 eating from the à la carte menu while others will be on the table d'hote. There may even be a few chaps who can afford only a bun in the Tea Room. That is contrary to the whole idea of Socialism. Sooner or later the hon. Gentleman will want to restrict us even further. He will do so in the name of full-time and part-time Members.
I am not afraid of paying Members decent salaries. That is something towards which we are right to move. But it is not right for the House to decide which Members deserve their salaries. Surely it is for Members' constituents to do that. The House has no right to pass a judgment on whether a Member performs his job. If we ever get to that stage, we are moving on to extremely dangerous ground.
We came near to it recently in the case of the right hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Stonehouse). I am glad that we drew away from it then. However, we may be getting close to it again now in passing judgments and taking action on them in respect of each other. Let us get away from that. We may think the judgments of some constituents in sending certain Members to this place are idiosyncratic, to say the least, but we must accept that and leave it to them to make their judgments.
§ Mr. Anthony Nelson (Chichester)
Perhaps my hon. Friend will explain more clearly by what mechanism constituents will set, increase or decrease Members' pay.
§ Mr. Tebbit
If I may say so, that was not the point. There is no way in which Members' pay can be set except by Members of Parliament. Whatever we set must be for all Members. It is up to our constituents to decide whether we are worth sending back here.
§ Mr. Dan Jones rose—
§ Mr. Tebbit
No. I have been longer than I intended, and I should prefer the hon. Gentleman to make his own speech if he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
The amendment gets us round most of the problems. It would avoid making judgments on aggregation. It avoids treading towards a situation in which we pass judgments on so-called full-timers and 2275 so-called part-timers. I support the amendment.
In case it interests any Labour Members or anyone else, I shall declare what I intend to do if the £6 motion is passed. I tell the House that my earnings are above £8,500 a year and that I shall not renounce the increase. I shall receive it because there is no law of the land that says I should not do so. I shall take it because I feel so strongly that we should not take the path towards two-tier membership. We should not punish those who do more than one job, or those who are more productive than others.
I accept that it would not be right to benefit personally from bucking a policy that the House has imposed on the rest of the country's citizens. After making a suitable deduction for tax, I shall give away the rest of the money, at least during the period of this policy, to a suitable charity. If anyone wants to know which charity, it will be the National Association for Freedom. That is a body that is doing a good deal to get rid of the sort of nonsenses proposed in this motion and by the Government generally.
§ 1.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)
I shall be brief, but after the contribution of the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), who seems to taint anything in a seedy fashion, I think that a few comments are required.
It is singularly in appropriate that the motion should be brought before the House the day after swingeing cuts have been announced in an anti-inflation package that will take about £2,000 million out of the economy and almost certainly cause more people to join the dole queue. It will appear to those outside that there are dual levels of attitudes and standards that allow a Labour Government to bring such a motion before the House the day after they have announced the cuts. I realise that this is essentially a House of Commons matter rather than a Government matter, but that fine distinction may not be immediately apparent to those who sent us here.
Another matter that concerns me is that with the £6 increase we shall be getting over £6,000 a year. To many people in this place that is not a great deal of 2276 money. They are earning well above that and they have always had a rather better position in society than the vast majority of those outside. However, those who earn £6,000 a year in my constituency are the exception rather than the rule.
It is not very long ago that I led a delegation from three factories in my constituency that employ slightly more than 2,000 people among them. The labourers in one of the factories, after they had done a full standard 40-hour week, were taking home slightly over £30. They were seeking an increase of about £3. The purpose of the delegation was to argue whether the claim was within the pay policy. In every case the Department of Employment had to say that it was outside the pay policy. Therefore, people in my constituency earning between 40 and 50 quid a week could not obtain the modest increase of a couple of quid a week. That was because of the complication of the negotiations and the general pattern of the pay policy.
Although many people are earning £6,000 a year and upwards within the House and regard it as a normal fact of life, that it not the position for many people outside. Average industrial earnings, excluding non-manual workers, are currently £3,380 a year. Therefore, even at current salary levels we are getting £2,370 per annum more than average industrial earnings. Those average earnings are received by people who create the wealth. Wherever there is a product, people are receiving just over that average. The figure includes bonuses and overtime. That is a factor that we must bear in mind.
Those of us on the Labour Benches take the view that society should not consist of a pyramid with a few at the top earning large sums and living a style of life that markedly differentiates them from the rest of society. Of course there will be differentials. If we argue within the trade union movement that they should not exist, we find that the AUEW is strongly of the view that there should be differentials between craftsmen and others, for example.
The aim of the Labour movement has been to get elected Members who can represent the attitudes and values of the working class. That is difficult to put into effect, because when we come into 2277 office we have a machine by and large staffed by people who are used to high earnings and who have an educational background different from that of most of the members of our movement. We inherit a system whereby we are made to feel over-important. We have to make important decisions and there is pressure to push the Government away from the grass roots, from the rank-and-file members who sent us here.
With a so-called top salary, a person may find that his style and values are weaned away from the movement. It does not happen in many cases but the process can happen in reverse, with the rank and file starting to say of such people "They do not quite belong to us."
§ Mr. Nigel Forman (Carshalton)
What does the hon. Gentleman think would happen were the impossible to happen and this society become indistinguishable from some societies which claim to be truly Socialist? The differences in life style in those societies which the hon. Gentleman would hold up as models are determined by other factors—bureaucratic and power factors, positions in the hierarchy and so on. Differences in life style between a top Soviet official and the average Soviet peasant are as marked, if not more so, as the differences between the top director of ICI—who, after tax, does not have such a staggering income as many Labour Members would think—and the average industrial worker.
§ Mr. Cryer
I do not hold out the Soviet Union as a model for everything, although that is the sort of remark that is constantly made by Conservative Members. I do not suggest that Soviet society is a pattern that we should follow. There are many undesirable aspects of Soviet society that I oppose root and branch and I should strongly object to their introduction here.
I am concerned that we should not widen and over-emphasise differentials. I realise that the Opposition believe in a markedly hierarchical society with a strongly elitist attitude and structure. I do not like that. Elitism is the curse of our nation. It tends to divide the nation and reject the ability and talent in the people. That is why we on this side of the House want to develop industrial democracy and participation to a much 2278 greater degree. Our attitudes towards salaries is part of the same philosophical attitude.
The subject of outside interests has been mentioned. Some hon. Members can have a number of outside interests and be extremely active within the House. I think of one hon. Member who probably has 20 or 30 directorships—I have not counted them recently—but who is an active, hard-working member of the Opposition. But I object to Conservative Members lecturing workers as they are frequently prone to do, about greater productivity and so on, when those workers cannot have several jobs at once and receive a high level of remuneration for all of them. Many of them have contractual obligations not to undertake outside employment which would interfere with their work.
There is a way in which outside interests can interfere with a Member. I am not saying that there are specific instances, but if the hon. Member receives money from an outside interest and happens to vote in conjunction with those interests, even though his motives may be pure as the driven snow people outside may well argue that his vote was motivated not by the interests of the people as a whole but by his financial reward.
It would be better and more straight forward if outside interests were removed on a person's entering the House. It would be better if he had to give them up, as a Minister must, for the duration of his office. Then there would be no argument and no obscurity about his motives.
§ Mr. Forman
In putting forward this imaginative idea, is the hon. Gentleman saying that Labour Members would give up their trade union sponsorship whilst they were in the House?
§ Mr. Cryer
I am coming to trade union sponsorship. The financial rewards of which I am talking are personal rewards. The trade unions do not pay individual hon. Members but pay a sum of money towards the constituency Labour Party expenses, and those payments are all set out in the declaration of Members' interests. The notion that the trade unions command hon. Members is totally wrong. Sometimes they become 2279 very worried about their total lack of influence on hon. Members.
There have been two occasions recently when trade unions have suggested that hon. Members should follow a particular policy which had been adopted by the trade union and put forward at the election. One was when the Yorkshire branch of the National Union of Mineworkers suggested that Yorkshire NUM-sponsored Members should follow a particular course, and that was held to be a breach of privilege. The other was when the general secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen said that if the Government did not pursue a particular line on transport, that union would instruct its Members not to vote for the Government. The next day he apologised. It had been said in the heat of the moment at an excited meeting with about 4,000 people present. It is possible for the odd word to be said maladvertently on such an occasion.
The notion that trade unions have constituencies in their pockets is also totally wrong. There have been many occasions when trade union sponsored candidates have not been chosen, when trade union delegates have ignored the trade union sponsored candidate, the panel candidate, and chosen somebody else. That has happened time and again. There was a sponsored candidate on the list when I was chosen, but the constituency party decided that I was the person it wanted. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am pleased that hon. Members approve.
In essence, the two-tier structure is good, because if we are having an incomes policy and are supposed to be setting an example to the nation at a time of grave economic difficulty, hon. Members earning more than £8,500 a year should be happy to make a sacrifice. That is how I would differentiate between outside interests and receiving money from the taxpayer.
By and large, the taxpayer regards £5,750 a year as an adequate salary. Indeed, it is for most people. However, in contrast to the jibes made earlier about my presence in the Tea Room, many Conservatives in the North feel that I ask too many Questions and they occasionally write to the local newspapers to that effect. Since I speak today with that 2280 attitude very much in mind, I shall now resume my seat.
§ 1.20 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)
I gather from the speech of the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) that he is opposed to the motion, at any rate so far as it relates to the remuneration of Members of Parliament. In that case I find myself in agreement with him, not entirely for all the same reasons, although for reasons which overlap those which he advanced.
There are two propositions before the House. One takes the form of a motion on the Order Paper moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, and the other is associated with the right hon. Gentleman and appears in the Official Report on 12th July 1976, at column 32. Of those two propositions I find the second much more objectionable than the first. However, to dispose of the motion on the Order Paper, I would be opposed to that even if unaccompanied by the much more objectionable features set out in Hansard on 12th July.
A year ago I indicated that I did not believe that the increase in Members' remuneration which was then decided was justified. I drew attention to the fact that the real value before that increase of the salary of Members was still higher than it had been—to take a year more or less at random, the year in which I happened to come into the House—in 1950. There has been a substantial erosion, although with decreasing rapidity, in the value of money in the last year. Nevertheless, when we take into account the fact that, as compared with earlier years, many expenditures of hon. Members which would previously only have been allowable against tax are now fully reimbursed separately from the remuneration, it is still true to say that the remuneration of hon. Members is today not less than it broadly has been over the last generation. Therefore, I do not consider it justified in present circumstances, and I doubt whether I would in different circumstances, that the remuneration should be increased.
§ Mr. William Price
Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the salaries paid to hon. Members when he came into the House in 1950 were adequate?
§ Mr. Powell
The salary certainly was adequate in 1950 to attract leading individuals, some of whom are no longer here to speak for themselves. That intake into the House was regarded by those who had been here before as one of the most distinguished. I do not restrict that to one side of the Chamber. It was not considered that the salary of a Member of Parliament, bearing in mind the honour and distinction of that calling, was any deterrent to a person putting himself forward as a candidate for membership of the House.
I shall continue to follow the principle which I have always followed, and which for the first time I disclosed in the debate a year ago. That principle is that I would not accept any increase in remuneration which was made during the course of a Parliament but would continue to draw only the remuneration offered at the time when I offered myself for election.
But, much more seriously, the course of the debate has shown up the ghost motion, as it were, which is not before the House but which lurks in the columns of Hansard to which I referred. That is an extremely remarkable and unprecedented development in regard to arrangements for the remuneration of Members. It is remarkable and indeed objectionable in more respects than one.
Let me take the words of the Leader of the House as reported in column 33 of the Official Report of 12th July. He said that hon. Members who have earnings from other sources which take their total earnings to £8,500 or more would be asked to forgo the increase in full. I do not believe that it is decent or becoming that Members should be self-assessed for the purposes of their remuneration or that, however honourable may be their intentions or behaviour, they should stand before the public and say that what hon. Members receive depends on their personal decision in complying with what the right hon. Gentleman called "general guidance". That is not the manner in which those whom we represent are remunerated and it is not the principle underlying the manner in which they are taxed.
There are some circumstances in which self-assessment is the basis of taxation in other countries. But one of the objections made by Labour Members to the earlier 2282 form of a certain type of capital taxation was that it amounted to a voluntary tax—namely, to self-assessment. I agree with them in objecting to the principle of a voluntary tax. What we have here, strictly for Members of Parliament only, is a voluntary assessment of one's income.
As I have quoted the words of the Lord President of the Council, perhaps I should express my pleasure that, as promised, he has now returned to the Chamber. That enables me to say that one of the most attractive characteristics of the right hon. Gentleman is that the House always knows exactly how much he likes or dislikes the proposition he is laying before the House. When the right hon. Gentleman, who is usually to be seen without a scrap of paper on the Dispatch Box, keeping the House in a state of delighted attention and entertainment for 15, 30 or 45 minutes, is reduced to reading, not always very well, pages of semi-gobbledegook, the House knows that something is amiss. So honourable, so straightforward and—I say this in the best possible sense—so transparent is the right hon. Gentleman that one can instantly tell by the tone in which he answers interventions whether his heart is or is not in the matter.
The heart of the right hon. Gentleman is certainly not in this ghostly appendix to the motion on the Order Paper. As a parliamentarian he cannot approve the aspect which I have already mentioned—namely, that we are to be singled out to be the recipients of a request to forgo a part of the remuneration being made available to us in a formal resolution of the House. It it is considered proper that remuneration should be limited in certain circumstances, let it be put into the motion on the Order Paper. Let the House order its Members how they should behave. That is the only decent and honourable way in which to go about it. Let us see that due certification and authentication, according to the conditions the House has attached to the motion, are fulfilled.
My first ground of objection, then, to the ghost motion in column 33 of the Official Report of 12th July is its voluntary and private nature. We are asked in our private discretion to forgo the whole or part of this increase.
Then there is the principle underlying the whole proposition that Members' 2283 total earnings from parliamentary salary and other sources should limit the addition which is made to the parliamentary salary. The right hon. Gentleman claims that this is in implementation of the incomes policy instituted a year ago. But the curious, who have examined the White Paper, Command Paper 6151, which, like the Prayer Book of 1662, was annexed to a statute, will notice that the wording is not the same. In the extract from the TUC document which we have as an annex to a schedule to an Act of Parliament, paragraph 10 refers to an upper limit to the increases and says:the more prosperous can more easily bear the burden of helping the economy and should be prepared to take a cut in their current standards of consumption; those with incomes over £7,000 a year should forgo—the right hon. Gentleman's word—any increase in their incomes in the present period of difficulties".If the right hon. Gentleman wants to comply with the terms annexed to the statute dealing with the incomes policy of last year, it is not the earnings of right hon. and hon. Members which should form the limit; it is their income.
If I am told that "That is only the TUC annex", I turn to the body of the White Paper where for "£7,000" was substituted "£8,500". I find nothing at all about substituting "earnings" for "incomes". The fact is that, however a Government Department has interpreted it—and I do not believe that it has any business to interpret it as I am told it has been doing—the White Paper and the policy laid before the House and the country last year refers to incomes. Why has the right hon. Gentleman departed from this? Why have the Government not asked Members whose incomes from all sources exceed £8,500 to forgo receiving the whole or part of the increase?
The right hon. Gentleman disclosed the reason for that when he said—and I am sorry that he put it upon the record of the House—"He"—that is, the Member of Parliament—"is paid for full-time service". Those were the right hon. Gentleman's words and I noted them at the time. I will not enter the interminable labyrinth of the attempt to denote what is meant by full-time service in application to any Member of Parlia- 2284 ment. These were amusingly explored earlier, only some of them, by the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), to the entertainment of the House. What is really meant by those who talk about full-time service is exclusive service. They do not mean that it is their idea that hon. Members should sit here like dummies for eight hours a day, clocking in and out—that is not what they really mean; they really mean that those who are Members of Parliament should be Members of Parliament and nothing else, however they choose to discharge their functions as Members of Parliament—that is, irrespective of whether they choose to sit up all night or whether, like the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maguire), they do what they have a perfect right to do, and what, for all I know, his constituents, or some of them, expect him to do, and that is to absent himself from a great part of the proceedings of this House. To be absent from the proceedings of this House has been and can be one of the ways in which hon. Members represent their constituents.
The proposition, when it is correctly stated, of the right hon. Gentleman is that he regards the salary not as being—that was an anticipation of a hope—paid for exclusive service to this House, but that it ought to be so paid. That is why "earnings" is substituted in the ghost motion for "income" which is the word in the White Paper. "Income" it should be if it were means-tested. If this were egalitarianism it would be "income" which would be inserted. But, irony of ironies! Labour Members are harking back to the splendid days of the nineteenth century, when so many of the scions of the nobility, destined after a few years in this House—in my opinion to the advantage of both places, but let that pass—to be summoned to the places of their fathers and forefathers, gave their services meantime as Earls of Lincoln, Marquesses of Tavistock and viscounts of something else.
That was perfectly all right for the Labour Party, provided their income was drawn from investments, from gold mines in South Africa or from the broad acres on which the Palladian mansions stood. It would be quite right for such people to draw the full increase in the parliamentary salary, but let an hon. Member—
§ Mr. Powell
I will not enter into directorships. I will consider more blameless functions such as scribbling an occasional article for the newspapers, or even taking a fee for appearing on the screen. Let an hon. Member engage in such activities and the hackles of the Labour Party rise. "No", they say, "that is not our view of a House of Commons. A House of Commons should be pure, not in the sense that its Members do not have enormous interests but in the sense that they must not earn money in any other way than as Members of this House."
This carries us towards an intolerable deformation of the House of Commons. I believe, with the hon. Member for Chingford, that just as it is within the discretion, subject to our ultimate masters out-of-doors, and should remain within the discretion of an hon. Member, how much time he devotes and how he devotes it, if he devotes it at all, to the service of this House, so the manner in which he conducts his life otherwise, the manner in which he seeks to increase his income by earnings, is no concern of this House and no concern of the decisions which it takes on remuneration. Therefore I the more heartily join in objecting to this motion because at the same time one is understood to be objecting to and indeed rejecting the attached conditions contained in column 33 of Hansard of 12th July.
§ 1.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Boscawen (Wells)
But for the speeches that we have heard from the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) and my hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), I have found this a disagreeable, distasteful and miserable occasion. I do not like talking about our pay. Least of all do I like doing so on occasions such as this. It is never the right time for Members of Parliament to discuss their pay or to receive an increase in pay. Nevertheless, the crass incompetence displayed by the Lord President and his right hon. and hon. Friends in enabling this motion to come before us today of all days has seldom been exceeded.
What will people outside the House think? If the Government had brought ignominy upon themselves, I would not 2286 object. What I do object to is that they are bringing ignominy on us all by allowing this motion to come forward on the day after they have cut into the earnings and the standard of living of every other person. The Government have cut the standard of living of the governed and on the morn they ask us to approve a motion to pay ourselves more.
The reason, of course, is the crass bungling of last year. The House expressed its desire in principle to link our salaries with another body outside so that the matter would be taken out of our hands. That is what most of us wanted, and we showed as much. We did not wish to have this ignominious occasion, year after year. Despite the fact that we were tying our salary to that of an Assistant Secretary grade in receipt of a much higher salary than £8,500, we were right in our decision to avoid these miserable occasions.
Like the right hon. Member for Down, South, I do not believe that the increase of £6 is justified this year, and so I shall vote against it. It is not justified by the amount of extra work we have done, nor by the increase in the cost of living. We even told the pensioners that they could not have their full increase because the inflation rate was falling—and if the inflation rate is falling, I do not believe we deserve to pay ourselves an increase.
Least of all is it justified to go over to this ghost system, as the right hon. Member for Down, South so aptly described it, whereby some may get a rise or not depending on earnings outside the House. He pointed out that people can discount incomes from stately mansions, or whatever it may be. What about those of us on pension? Apparently, we can discount that and draw the increase if we want to. That is totally unacceptable.
But, having compounded the nonsense of last year, the Government have gone even further with the notional increase in salary for the purpose of drawing a higher pension, and that, too, is unacceptable. We do not allow it to anyone else. We would not dream of allowing any other body outside, public or private, to do it. We did not allow the Civil Service to do it when there was a pay freeze in 1972. We said that it could not have pensions in line with what the incremental increases would have been if they had been allowed.
2287 There is no case for the proposal to credit us with £.112.50 by way of supplement in order that we should be able get a higher pension than we are earning. That is not just nonsense, but bloody nonsense. It is immoral and wrong. If we will not allow it to anyone else, why should we allow it to ourselves? It is simply trying to treat ourselves on a higher plane than anyone else.
Indeed, I believe that there is tax evasion in this proposal. I am not an expert, but surely the fact that we are being paid a salary deemed to be higher than it really is for purpose of pension is an advantage at which the Inland Revenue should be looking. I think that there is a taxable element.
§ Mr. Rathbone
We shall be discussing that point when we come to the Parliamentary and Other Pensions and Salaries Bill later today.
§ Mr. Boscawen
I am glad to hear it. I hope that the House will oppose the motion. I hope that it will oppose that Bill. I hope that the House will treat these proposals with the contempt and disgust that I feel.
§ 1.46 p.m.
§ Mr. John Lee (Birmingham, Hands-worth)
With some at least of the strictures of the hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Boscawen) I am in a measure of agreement. There is always an element of embarrasment when we are discussing our salaries. That is why, I suspect, hon. Members are paid very much worse than members of other Parliaments of other democracies of a comparable stage of development. Because of it, over the years—and it is no good trying to burke the issue—a number of hon. Members have lived in straitened circumstances and have often found themselves in a fearful predicament if, as a result of a change in political fortunes, they have lost their seats. For that reason, although I understand the hon. Gentleman's sentiments and share them to some extent, I could not bring myself to vote against any increase.
There is another reason for my attitude. I practise at the Bar. I have never sought to play down that to my constituents, and my constituents in both seats I have represented have always 2288 accepted it. I can, if it is necessary to do so, as I believe it is, justify why I think it right for hon. Members if they can to maintain outside activities, always providing that those activities do not act to the detriment of their parliamentary duties.
But it does not behove an hon. Member who enjoys an income from an external source to deny those who do not the modest increase proposed here. What the hon. Gentleman said so scornfully about the pension situation is an apt product of the tortuous situation in which we have landed ourselves simply because we have failed time and again to equate to the Civil Service notional grading in order that the matter might be dealt with automatically instead of our finding ourselves in the ambarrassing situation of an introspective examination.
But I must say to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that this is just about the worst possible time for us to consider this matter, although I can think of no instance when Members' salaries have been under review when it has not been possible to argue cogently that that, too, was embarrassing. But to choose the day after the Chancellor's statement on public expenditure is not the way, as Dale Carnegie would put it, to win friends and influence people. It will be recieved with a certain amount of cynicism outside.
I do not often find myself in disagreement with my hon. Friends the Members for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) and Sowerby (Mr. Madden). We usually think very much alike and are in the same pressure group. I believe that, with the best motives in the world, they have misunderstood the situation. I share their views. We reject the idea that there should be marked discrepancies of income, and the differences, in life-styles which are permitted as a result. We are gradually moving away from this idea, however. One of the quiet revolutions over which this Government have presided is the telescoping of standards of living of all our people. If it continues, it will no longer be possible to talk in terms of a class-ridden society.
Having said all this, I think that my hon. Friends fail to take account of the fact that, whatever situation may apply to other occupations, ours is one occupation which can never be secure and should 2289 never be secure. We are always in danger of being sacked, and we should always be in danger of being sacked, whether it is by our constituents in the normal way or by our constituency parties or associations, which I know is not quite so acceptable to some hon. Members. The hazards of unemployment are always with us and we must take account of that fact.
It is right that Members should have outside interests provided they conduct them in a way which is not detrimental to their duties. In this way an hon. Member can cross-fertilise his experience with what is going on outside the House. We all come into the House bringing with us a measure of experience of outside occupations, but that experience dates with the passage of time. If one spends all one's time in this House, unless one picks someone else's brains one is relying on outdated personal experience.
I came here with experience of three occupations. I was a former colonial service officer, a former official of the BBC, and at the moment I am a practising lawyer. Unless I continue to maintain my outside occupation, I am in danger of becoming progressively more claustrophobic in my approach to my parliamentary duties.
There is another point which I do not suppose is so acceptable to the Government. If one has an independent source of income, one is in a far better position to tell the Whips to go to hell. I have the distinction of being the last Member of the Labour Party from whom it was seriously considered withdrawing the Whip. This occurred in 1969 after having, in the words of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson), my dog licence endorsed on numerous occasions. I repeated this "crime" on another occasion—I think it was over Selective Employment Tax. It was not a normal Left-Right issue. I do not regret doing so because I happened to believe that SET was a damned silly tax. The Parliamentary Liaison Committee wrote to me giving me a warning, and I wrote back an extremely rude letter which sparked off the situation in which the committee seriously considered withdrawing the Whip from me altogether. It did not happen, and tolerance prevailed.
2290 If one is a full-time Member and one loses the Whip or is expelled, as happened not infrequently in less tolerant days, one faces the prospect of unemloyment and very considerable difficulties. There are about 400 safe seats in this House and hon. Members who hold them are not in any danger of unemployment as long as they toe the line. If a Member is expelled from his party, he is in danger of unemployment irrespective of the safety of his seat. Very few hon. Members survive this House without major party backing. If they do, they usually survive only one election. I can think of only Dick Taverne and D. N. Pritt in recent years and in both cases they survived only one term.
It should be the duty of every Member of this House to defy his Whips if he feels that is necessary. If a Member has a secondary occupation, he has a greater moral obligation to defy his Whips. I am gradually digesting the contents of yesterday's White Paper and I am beginning to wonder whether I shall retain the Whip of my party for the rest of this Parliament. I am leaving the House of my own choice at the end of this Parliament. I do so with regret because I love this place and enjoy the privilege of being here, but I still have duties to perform in the meantime. It is easy for me to say this and I realise that if a Member is not retiring, he might have some reservations about defying his Whips.
I have doubts about some aspects of yesterday's White Paper, which envisages an increase in levels of unemployment which we on this side of the House already regard as intolerable. I think I have a duty to put my membership of this House at risk in the way I have suggested. It is easy for me because I have another occupation.
The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) annihilated the argument about two-tier membership. How on earth can anyone evaluate a Member of Parliament's duties? One might as well ask a firm of management and method consultants to do a time and motion study on hon. Members, breathe down their necks while they sit at their desks, and then go into the Chamber and evaluate the Questions they ask. But what 2291 about the answers? I have put down a lot of Questions lately about Lonrho, and I keep getting non-answers. Would any evaluation of my worth take account of the ministerial replies I receive?
I know why two-tier membership has come about and I have some sympathy with the Minister. My right hon. Friend is trying to demonstrate to the public that we are trying to be fair. He is trying to show the public that the House has recognised the difficulties of Members whose incomes have been eroded, but is doing so as modestly as possible so as to cause the least possible offence. But it will not do. We cannot talk in those terms.
It is not just a question of self-assessment. Most Members would behave honourably and honestly in that if required to do so. Nobody can evaluate a Member of Parliament except his constituents. They alone should decide.
§ 2.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire, South-West)
I am totally and implacably opposed to the two-tier system to which the hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Mr. Lee) referred. It is manifest and dangerous nonsense for Members of Parliament to be evaluated in that way. It is the thin end of the wedge. If the motion gets through we shall have taken a long step towards having two types of Members of Parliament. The empty Labour Benches are an eloquent testimony to the fact that certain full-time Members are not what some would consider to be full time.
I have outside interests which help to keep me in touch with the real world and with what is going on, as well as being financially helpful from time to time. The hon. Member for Handsworth has outside interests, but no one could be a more assiduous attender in this Chamber than he is. I am sorry that he is leaving the House because he makes a very real, albeit idiosyncratic contribution to our debates. How he manages to combine a busy legal practice with his attendance here I do not know, but his constituents are not left unrepresented in the Chamber. The hon. Member is here day after day putting Questions and making speeches, sometimes provocative and sometimes to the annoyance of his hon. Friends. So it is with many of us.
2292 I try to make sure that I am in the Chamber daily at least at Question Time and for most debates, and certainly for the major debates. I do not boast about that because it is my duty, but equally it should not prevent me from having outside interests or from increasing the remuneration I receive. I agree with the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell)—in his magnificent and witty speech—that it is inappropriate at the moment for us to have any increase but that if we are to have one it should be for all of us and that the tax man should be left to decide how much we receive.
I admired the statement by my hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) when he said that he intended, notwithstanding the result of today's deliberations, to take his £300, to deduct the appropriate sum of tax, and to give the rest to charity. I am tempted to follow his advice, but I have a crisis of conscience there because I do not wish to fly in the face of any resolution that the House might pass—
§ Mr. Cormack
No, the right hon. Gentleman is right, but it is implicit in it. I admire the courage of my hon. Friend the Member for Chingford, and I believe it is a course which many hon. Members might decide to adopt.
I remember as a prospective candidate trying to secure a seat going to a constituency selection committee. I will not give any clues as to the identity of the constituency of the Member concerned. Because I was an eager young candidate I boned up on the record of the retiring Member. He had sat in this House for more than 20 years, during which time he had asked 17 Questions. He had made four speeches, the last of which was in Committee when he requested that the windows should be closed. Nevertheless, he was a full-time Member within the normal meaning of the term. I believe that his constituents were very badly served, but they decided to send him back here, Parliament after Parliament, as they were fully entitled to do.
The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maguire) has an engaging personality when one manages to speak to him. But he has hardly 2293 appeared in this place since he was elected in October 1974. I do not complain about that. It is for his constituents to complain if they wish. Often absence in itself can be a form of service, and perhaps the hon. Member considers that he is serving his constituents best by not being here. They must decide, but to say that he is a full-time Member or that because his earnings do not exceed £8,500 he can have the £300 a year while I, the hon. Member for Hands-worth and my hon. Friend the Member for Chingford cannot is palpable nonsense. That should be resisted by hon. Members who pride themselves on having intelligence and integrity. The increase must be for everyone or for no one.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) is not here. I do not like referring in a critical spirit to someone who is absent. He made a damaging and dangerous speech which was quite the most ridiculous I have heard for some time. It was riddled with contradictions. He argued that our salaries should in some way be linked so that they were taken out of the realm of political controversy. I agree with that. He then went on, however, to argue about the increase in allowances announced yesterday and he criticised them for being hole and corner and for having been done quietly. But they were done that way because they have been so linked. His whole speech was a tissue of contradictions and nonsenses, and I am glad to see the Minister nodding. The Minister is a wise man. Before occupying his present distinguished position he had his own outside interests in journalism, and I am therefore sure that lie will agree with what I am saying.
§ Mr. Cormack
Yes, even Homer nods, but I do not see him present.
The hon. Member for Sowerby talked about the need for what amounts to exclusivity, and that worries me. It is the desire of many Labour Members, although not a majority I am glad to say, to ensure that Members of Parliament have no other duty but their duty here. They would prevent them from writing the odd article—although what happens in the case of memoirs I do not know—and presumably they would not 2294 be allowed to appear on television or the radio. They would be allowed to do nothing but sit in this House. That is a dangerous course to advocate. For Members to have no connection with legal, commercial or any other sort of interests would impoverish and diminish this place in its stature, importance and relevance to the affairs of the nation. Those of us who truly value democracy should oppose that suggestion. The hon. Member for Sowerby is unfortunately not here to defend himself. Being a full-time Member, he chooses to do something else at present.
Many people who come to witness our deliberations and proceedings are aghast when they see that the Benches on both sides are hardly occupied even on major debates. Even on some of our most important debates there is a period of three or four hours in which there are only 20 Back Benchers in the Chamber.
This is very regrettable, especially when one considers that there are so many hon. Members who have no other interests. I bet that of the 20 hon. Members in the Chamber at those times, 15 or 16 would have other interests, but would be here doing their parliamentary duties. In most cases, there is no conceivable connection between assiduity of attendance, conscientiousness of service and absence of outside interests.
I appreciate the motives behind the motion, but I feel very strongly that we should oppose it. If it is accepted, we shall be doing a disservice to Parliament, democracy and our constituents. I hope that all hon. Members at present in the Chamber will support the admirable amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson).
§ 2.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Roger Sims (Chislehurst)
I view the motion with less than enthusiasm. The amendment at least seeks to make the best of a rather bad job.
Twelve months ago, under Government guidance, we fixed our salaries at their present level in defiance of a recommendation of the Boyle Committee. I do not share the view of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) and my hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Boscawen) that we should have no increase. The Boyle Committee recommended that the salary of hon. Members 2295 should be £8,000 a year and, perhaps unusually, added the comment:We consider it to be of the highest importance that our recommendations both on Member's salaries and on their allowances, and on the Parliamentary salary of Ministers and office holders, should be implemented in full and wthout delay.I do not want to rehearse all the arguments of that time, but if that statement applied then, it applies even more strongly now. The whole business was very badly handled last year and the eventual decision was must unsatisfactory. This motion compounds the eror.
I particularly object to the Lord President's request—it cannot be an instruction—that some hon. Members should not draw the additional £312. I object not only to the fact that this creates two categories of hon. Members but also to the thinking behind it which was enunciated in the speeches of the hon. Members for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) and Keighley (Mr. Cryer). They reflected the view that it is somehow improper for an hon. Member to have another job.
If an hon. Member wishes to add to the extraordinary hours that we work in this place—which would be defined as full time by any standards—by pursuing another occupation, his remuneration for so doing is a matter between him and his employer. It has nothing to do with the Lord President. The House benefits from having hon. Members who take an active part in the real world outside. It benefits from the presence of people such as my hon. Friends the Members for Wycombe (Sir J. Hall), Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) and Blaby (Mr. Lawson).
§ Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)
Is the hon. Gentleman sure that it is legitimate to argue that the motion or the speech of the Leader of the House implies that there is something wrong with an hon. Member having outside interests and additional income? If that were true, it would follow that there was something wrong with an hon. Member accepting ministerial office above the minimum level because the total of his Member's and ministerial pay would exceed £8,500 and, under the present pay policy, he would not receive an increase. Yet no one in his right mind suggests that there is something 2296 improper about an hon. Member accepting ministerial office.
§ Mr. Sims
I realise that the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) may not be a full-time Member and may have been otherwise occupied, but if he had been here earlier he would have heard the speeches of his hon. Friends who were implying precisely what I have suggested. The Lord President also spoke of the salary being for a full-time job. The effect of the motion is to add weight to the view that there are two categories of hon. Members.
I believe that I can serve better as an hon. Member because, two or three times a week. I go to my office in the City and keep in touch with developments in the export trade which is so important to this country. In case hon. Members opposite should think that I receive a five-figure salary for this job, I can assure them that, under the Lord President's formula, I shall qualify for the £6.
My objection is therefore not on the grounds of personal financial interest or solely on the other grounds that I have outlined, but because I believe that the Lord President's approach is misguided and that we could be on a slippery slope if we let him get away with the principle that he has enunciated.
I hold no brief for the right hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Stonehouse) but I was very worried when we were contemplating his expulsion. We could have found ourselves, by implication if not actually, laying down terms of reference for hon. Members with sanctions if they failed to adhere to them, and that is almost precisely what some hon. Members opposite were seeking when they were talking about attendances here.
We are getting on extremely dangerous ground if we start to imply that an hon. Member who spends a lot of time with his constituents, looking after their interests, is not as effective as an hon. Member who drops in here and spends most of his time in the Tea Room or other parts of the House. I am glad that we did not follow the course that was being suggested in the case of the right hon. Member for Walsall, North.
We should realise that we are now approaching similar dangerous ground again. What the Government are, in 2297 effect, saying is that if an hon. Member has another occupation he is to be penalised as against other hon. Members. They are saying that this year there will be a penalty on such hon. Members of £312. What will it be next year? £500? And the following year? £1,000?
I believe that the motion is bad in that it perpetuates a profoundly unsatisfactory state of affairs and I hope that the Lord President will resolve this state of affairs as speedily as possible. I also believe that the right hon. Gentleman's edict of conditions, with which he has accompanied the motion, is one which is grossly misguided, and I hope that he will withdraw it.
I hope that the Minister, when replying, will lift the curtain a little more about what is in the second part of the Boyle Report which, I understand, is available to him but has not yet been published. The implication is that it carries further recommendations with regard to MPs' pay and allowances. I hope that there is something in that report in respect of MPs' travel facilities. It seems to me quite extraordinary that travel facilities for Members of Parliament are restricted to the conventional triangle of home, constituency and Westminster. The idea of Members' pay and allowances is that it should enable hon. Members to do their job properly, and yet we are precluded from doing so by not being able to travel anywhere outside that triangle unless we do so at our own expense.
I will give a small example. One of my interests is in the magistracy, having been a magistrate. This weekend I hope to attend the Magistrates' Association conference, but I shall have to do so at my own expense. If, as a Member of Parliament, I am interested in visiting a prison, unless I go on a parliamentary visit to a prison I have to organise it and to go at my own expense. I would have thought it not unreasonable for some sort of general season ticket on the railways, or something of that sort, to be introduced which would enable Members of Parliament to do their job more properly.
I hope that the Minister can give some indication of what is in the second part of the Boyle Report. I hope that that will be one of the recommendations. If it is not, I hope that such a proposal will 2298 come before the House without undue delay.
§ 2.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Forman (Carshalton)
I am grateful for this opportunity to squeeze briefly into this debate. I do so because I was provoked by an article that was drawn to my attention and that appeared in the Daily Mail on 16th July when Mr. Andrew Alexander wrote among other things:The main rÔle of MPs, outside that of dealing with constituents' problems—and there is scant evidence that they listen with real care to constituents in any case—is to scrutinise legisation, to watch the use of taxpayers' money and to keep a stern and watchful eye on Ministers and their policies. MPs fail abysmally at all three.I felt that was just a bit more than I, as a fairly senior new Member, could take. I wanted to say a few words about this subject in the light of that article.
§ Mr. Cryer
Would the hon. Gentleman also acknowledge perhaps that the commentator he is talking about, although he writes an interesting column, at one time wanted to join us on the Floor of the House, because he is an ex-Conservative parliamentary candidate? Maybe that contributes to his particular cynicism.
§ Mr. Forman
The reason I believe it right on balance to support this particular motion, particularly that part of it relating to Members' salaries, is that in the first place it would make it a little easier for the House to move upwards to the rate recommended either in the Boyle recommendations or the more ambitious recommendation of the House resolution of 22nd July 1975. We have to bear that in mind because, as other hon. Members have said, there is never a right time for hon. Members to influence the upward movement of their own salaries.
Unless we pay Members of Parliament better than they are paid now, we shall not get enough of the very best people coming into the House of Commons. I say that as one who has had recent contacts with the outside world. Many people in the business world feel that this is true.
Another reason is that we should no longer encourage the cult of the "part-timer" in politics. There is a sound place for a part-time MP, according to 2299 the definitions which have been given in this debate, but we do not want to turn it into a cult. If we are looking for more imaginative developments, we should be thinking more about the pattern in America regarding what they call "in and outers". By that are meant people who come into Congress—in the case of the United States—or into Parliament, maybe for only the equivalent of two or three Parliaments—a relatively short time—who may be lured in, as it were, by the prospect of a very good full-time salary which is roughly comparable with that which they have been obtaining outside.
I think that the House would probably benefit—and I am humble in saying this—from a higher turnover of fully paid full-time Members. This would mean that we should have perhaps more MPs arriving in their middle or late twenties, who are very under-represented at the moment, and, equally, we could have more coming in at the age of 55 or 60 when they have had a successful career in some other field and are able to bring all the weight and advantage of that experience to bear in our debates.
Another reason is that substantial sums are at last to be allocated to the secretarial/research staff. It is absolutely right that money of this kind should be earmarked for specific purposes and this ought to be reflected before very long in the higher quality and effectiveness of MPs' work, both in constituency welfare work and scrutinising legislation and countering the Executive, which must be one of the fundamental purposes of any good parliamentarian.
My final reason—and this is something that no one has mentioned so far—is that inadequately paid MPs are bound to be more vulnerable, with the best will in the world, to the wrong kind of outside pressure and outside connections and payment for services rendered. I am not going to name any names or make any specific allegations, because I am not qualified to do so. We now have the Register of Members' Interests and that is some protection, because at least the public can know what those interests are.
I believe that industrial, professional or trade union experience and connections are good and that the House should have 2300 that experience on which to draw. I equally believe that it is absolutely right that hon. Members should have the option of representing and speaking up for outside interests. I do not want any kind of House which is exclusive or seeks to proscribe certain activities, but, on the other hand, we should be much better served on the whole if we could encourage more fully paid full-time Members of Parliament.
I would end merely by quoting something Sir Winston Churchill was reputed to have said, as indicated in Lord Moran's book:It is all wrong when Members go about scratching a meal here and a meal there. I am certain that it is most dangerous to keep them in poverty; it is just asking for trouble.On my last point I can quote no one better than Sir Winston Churchill.
§ 2.30 p.m.
§ Sir John Hall (Wycombe)
I wish to make only two brief observations. The first relates to the statement by the Leader of the House, echoed by the Parliamentary Secretary, that the £312 envisaged in the motion was a contribution to moving towards the £8,000 recommended by Lord Boyle last year. I remind the House that in his report Lord Boyle attached the highest importance to the implementation in full and without delay of the recommendations on salaries and allowances. The £312 is by no means an advance towards the £8,000. It is a partial recognition of the fall in the value of money since our salaries were increased a year ago. It does nothing to move towards the £8,000 in real terms, as recommended by Lord Boyle.
In a premature reply to the amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) the Leader of the House said that it would be wrong to deny hon. Members the £312 recommended because many of them were in need of it. He said that if we accepted the amendment Members of Parliament would for ever be deprived of the extra £6 a week. That is untrue. The motion proposes that the increase should be backdated to 13th June. There is a period of about six weeks between then and 1st August, when the new pay round starts. It would be simpler to support the proposal in the amendment as from August this year on the 2301 basis of £4 a week. Members would lose only a small amount, representing the six weeks' increase less tax between 13th June and the time of the next pay round. If we accept the motion, Members will be denied any further increase until 12 months from the date of the last increase.
§ Mr. William Price
What I said earlier was that if we adopted the amendment we should be further away than ever from the £8,000 and if one day we decided to move to that figure it would be much more difficult to get it accepted by the public.
§ Sir J. Hall
With all respect, that is nonsense. The amount involved is so small that it represents no move towards the implementation of the £8,000. If the amendment is accepted, the difference will be marginal.
We are not moving towards the £8,000; we are in small part restoring the fall in the value of money since the salary was last increased. No one in the country, outside certain self-employed people who do not have the same control over their income, has not had his income restored to its January 1972 value. I can think of no organised body of workers in that position.
Those are the only two matters I wish to raise and I hope that they will be borne in mind when the Minister replies.
§ 2.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Beaconsfield)
There seems to be no satisfactory solution to the problem. My hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Forman) suggested a more rapid turnover of Members of Parliament. We are probably all interested in that idea in the abstract but prefer that the changeover should occur to others rather than to ourselves.
The way the Government are putting forward the case is that the £6 and the £4 next year are in aid of public presentation. The logic of that argument is that the recommendations of the Boyle Commission were independent of the £6 a week period. The recommendations came first and the £6 a week pay policy did not apply to them. The argument is that if we award ourselves £6 a week now and leave ourselves free to bring in the second phase in 12 months' time the move towards £8,000 will be more acceptable to the public.
2302 That is a self-deceiving argument. As my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Sir J. Hall) said, the £312 a year is a very small sum. When, ultimately, on one highly unpopular day, we move towards the Boyle recommendation it will not be, I hope, to £,800 but to £8,000 plus what has happened to the currency during the intervening years. So there will be a substantial problem, and that is what we let ourselves in for when by our lack of courage at the time we considered the Boyle recommendations.
The £312 is a fleabite. We might as well ask ourselves whether from the point of view of public presentation we would do better to forget about the £6 and move on to the £4. That solution lacks the complication of differential payments to Members and would be very much more acceptable. The public will regard the present proposals as slightly sharp because they thought that the £6 limit applied to the Boyle recommendations. They were wrong—or at least it is arguable. My hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) took the view that it did apply. It is a fine question whether we take the date of the report or the date of the resolution of the House. I think that we would be wiser to put that behind us and to write off the £6.
The lesson we can learn from the debate is that this is an awfully mucky business and the sooner we get rid of this procedure the better. The Leader of the House was under the impression that this was a fairly modern problem. He went back to 1776. But it goes back much further. Members of the House have been paid since the Middle Ages. That practice gradually fell into desuetude but was not altogether abolished until the beginning of last century. It fell into desuetude because it was so unpopular—hon. Members even took court action to enforce payment of their remuneration—because our remuneration was charged on local funds. There is an awful row now that we are paid out of the Consolidated Fund. If we imagine Members being paid out of the rates, we can understand how unpopular was that system. All through the centuries there was controversy and recrimination.
The Grand Jury of the County of Lancaster indicted the Sheriff for agreeing to pay the hon. Member for Lancaster £10 for the Session when a perfectly adequate 2303 man could have been got for £5. On another occasion, to avoid an unseemly brawl, a Member agreed to commute his demand for a barrel of salted herrings at Christmas. Wrangles of that sort went on all through the centuries until gradually the payment of Members was faded out. It is not long since it was abolished and it was later reintroduced. Let us not get the idea that there has ever been a time in the past 600 or 700 years when Members' pay has not been a quarrelsome, tiresome and unpopular question.
I see no escape from this quandary, except the link that the House looked for on the last occasion when we debated the matter. We must have that link. This sort of debate on a Friday or at any other time is undignified, embarrassing and useless. We all know that we have to do something today. The only question is which of two rather finely balanced systems we adopt.
When we reach the Bill, which most of us dislike, we shall say that this must never happen again, but we shall have to pass the Bill because it has been acted upon by the accountants for 10 months and we cannot unscramble it. The lesson is that we must not have another day like this next time. We must have the clear-cut courage to decide what is to be done, make the system automatic and forget about it.
§ 2.38 p.m.
§ Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)
I agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Bell) that next year we should have the courage to make up our minds and settle the matter properly. Whether or not we shall do that is just as doubtful as it has ever been.
I hope that I shall not emulate the Leader of the House in the confusion of his remarks. I say that in the kindest possible way. I have never heard him more diffident or more uncertain of the treacherous ground on which he was walking.
The sombre fact behind today's debate is that Members of Parliament are not greatly loved, nor are their hardships a cause of widespread public sympathy or anguish. On the whole, the public endure with remarkable equanimity the fact that Members of Parliament from time to time suffer hardship. It is even sadder that 2304 Parliament itself is not greatly cherished by the public. That is a much more serious matter. Only too often—it is easy to say this from the Opposition Benches—Parliament takes much of the blame that belongs to the Executive, which it no longer effectively controls and which it barely seems to influence. The only exception to that is the left wing of the Labour Party which, despite the impoverished quality of its arguments, seems to have, and has had for 25 years, a singularly sombre influence over Government policies.
The subject of Members' salaries and pensions is never an agreeable one. When, as my hon. Friends have pointed out, it becomes intermingled with pay policy, it becomes a quite intolerably awkward subject with which to deal.
Of course, as many of my hon. Friends and some Labour Members have said, the timing is never right. But today the timing is very exceptionally wrong. It is singularly unfortunate for us to be debating this subject today immediately after the statement made by the Chancellor yesterday and all the arguments which have been taking place behind closed doors on that subject. It will hardly be understood outside Parliament.
Further, this measure immediately precedes the publication of the Boyle Report, which is even now available and in the hands of the Prime Minister. One of the most stupid characteristics of public life is the trouble we take to persuade eminent and able people to give us the benefit of their advice and then either put it in pigeon holes or even deny ourselves the opportunity of reading it before we take action. It is to be hoped that when the Boyle Report does come out it will at least be seriously considered; and, if its conclusions are rejected, let us reject them for clear and good reasons.
§ Mr. Dan Jones
The right hon. Gentleman's colleagues have offered the immaculate solution. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether Her Majesty's Opposition have made up their minds as to what the linkage should be with? It is within my memory that about 15 years ago my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) suggested a precise linkage.
§ Mr. Peyton
I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the acknowledgement 2305 that the suggestions of my hon. Friends are immaculate. Indeed, they always are. I shall come later to the question of linkage. I want for the moment to discuss the question of having two classes of Members of Parliament which has worried many hon. Members on both sides. Differing views have been expressed, but most speakers have come out clearly against this.
I warmly endorse the views of those who say that we ought not to lay down some ridiculous rule that Members should be limited to their one occupation of being Members of Parliament. Incidentally, this place would be the poorer for it. Before anybody interrupts me unkindly, let me admit that I certainly earn money outside this place.
My hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) has pointed out that if it is true that this increase is made on the basis, as the Leader of the House said, of a need, it is exceedingly odd that in judging that need neither unearned income nor inherited wealth is taken into consideration. The right hon. Gentleman cannot possibly continue to seek to justify that part of his proposal.
It would be exceedingly undesirable to lay down any rule about Members devoting their whole time here. Anybody who had the opportunity of listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) had the point made very clear to him. My hon. Friend rightly poured ridicule on the suggestion.
I agree entirely with the suggestion that if a Member of Parliament does not satisfy his constituents—it is only his constituents that he has to satisfy—they have the remedy. However, the degree of satisfaction or otherwise that he gives to his colleagues is, relatively speaking, unimportant. The last people who should presume to judge the performance of a Member are his colleagues, though they often do so.
I should like to inquire a little further: by what standards or criteria should we judge the work of a Member devoting his full time to Parliament? Is it to be by the number of speeches he makes? From some of the speeches I have heard I would greatly like to reward Members who do not make speeches at all, despite the unkind remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, 2306 South-West (Mr. Cormack) about one hon. Member who had been rather sparing in his remarks in this place.
Members could be rewarded on the basis of sheer volume of sound. Their attendance in this place obviously is not one of the major criteria because often those who talk about the merits of full-time Members are not particularly conspicuous by their presence in the Chamber.
There could be all sorts of ways of arriving at judgments of the usefulness or the harmlessness of Members. There would be a category for whom I would design a special rate of reward which would handsomely repay them for staying away. Though I am well aware that not all our selections to fit that category would be identical, it is nevertheless an idea which I am sure we should all like to pursue if the proposal to have two-tier Members of Parliament goes any further.
I shall not take any of the salary increase proposed under this measure, whatever the outcome. I think it right to say that in case it should be represented that the way I vote today is in any way influenced by personal consideration.
The question of the salaries of Members of Parliament is always a very disagreeable one, but we have now got ourselves into a quite intolerable tangle. This has arisen from the admixture of pay policy into an already difficult subject. We are now confronted with the idea of having a second tier of Members. We have the very complicated pension adjustment which is necessary to adjust the adjustment of last year. We have on top of that the other rather strange result of the next motion, namely, that some members of the Administration are to be told that provision for money is to be made for them today but they must not take it.
This is a very odd way of conducting our affairs and I hope that the Lord President, with whose discomforture I unusually sympathise today, will share it with his legal advisers and impress upon them that on other occasions the thing should not be done in quite such a ridiculous fashion.
The idea of linking the salaries of Members with those of outsiders was rejected by the Review Body and on the whole for good reasons. I do not believe that it would produce that kind of conceivable solution which would relieve us 2307 of worry as we are sometimes tempted to think. I personally reject the notion and stress that I am expressing only a personal view here.
We have had an interesting debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Blaby moved an amendment designed to comply strictly with incomes policy. In present circumstances I think that is very desirable. It is also designed to obviate the two-tier membership which emerges from the Government's proposal. It has another effect of getting away from the automatic and annual increase which makes it look like a routine. On the whole, particularly bearing in mind the rather disappointing comments of the Lord President on what the amendment would do, I think we shall be well advised to support it in the Lobby unless the Government can produce a much more powerful argument than they have yet done.
My hon. Friend the Member for Chingford, as I have already said, poured some refreshing scorn on the very facile idea of whole-time Members of Parliament. I go back to what I was saying just now. He made it very clear that there was no way in which this question could be decided save by ourselves and that we ought to have the courage to do it properly and to face this question with more candour and frankness than we have in the past.
The hon. Members for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) and for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) found the two-tier idea wholly acceptable. I rather enjoyed the spectacle of the hon. Member for Keighley, who is a proud militant egalitarian, struggling with the idea of differentials which he had to admit were acceptable and, indeed, inevitable in any form of human existence. The hon. Member made a notable move forward this afternoon into a field which could be called common sense.
I very much regret that I missed the speech of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). As I understand it, I would have agreed with most of what he said, and in particular his casting of doubt on whether the quality of Members of Parliament had risen comparably with the salaries and other rewards. I think he was absolutely right in saying that. I believe he was right 2308 also to pour scorn on the idea of second-tier Members of Parliament.
Others beside my hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Boscawen) have called attention to the question of the timing—the really disastrously unfortunate timing—of the introduction of this proposal.
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Mr. Lee) made a somewhat autobiographical speech but came out firmly in favour of Members of Parliament being free to engage in outside activities. The point has again and again been made on both sides of the House that to pursue the idea of whole-time Members of Parliament would land us in one of the most disastrous, barren and interminable arguments without the possibility of reward which anyone could contemplate even in this place.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Sir J. Hall) pointed out a most important thing that we should remember, that this is certainly not a significant step forward towards the £8,000 which the Review Body recommended. It is instead a very half-hearted step in recovering the ground which has been lost. I agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield, who made the perfectly justified charge that in this matter we were very much given to self-deception and to a lack of courage, and that we were now paying the price for that lack of courage.
As I have said, I believe that the best course for the House this afternoon would be to vote for the amendment which was proposed so ably by my hon. Friend the Member for Blaby, though we shall listen with attention to what the Government say in reply.
§ 2.55 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Privy Council Office (Mr. William Price)
I agree with the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) that this is always a difficult and in many ways miserable debate. It is not easy to determine one's own salary. It is always a difficult judgment to make. I have listened to all the debates on Members' pay and allowances since I have been in the House, and the one thing of which I am certain is that each one is even more distasteful than the one that preceded it.
2309 I wonder whether we get a truly representative debate. I suspect that there are many hon. Members on both sides of the House who need the increase but who are too embarrassed to say so. I believe that to be the position, and I have talked to many hon. Members in recent weeks.
I also know that the matter of the £6 increase is not likely to be regarded as of top priority by most of our constituents. I appreciate, as many have pointed out, that there is anxiety about timing. I doubt whether the time will ever be right.
To my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) and many others who took up this point I would say that, as I understood it, this was not intended to be a debate about whether Members of Parliament should be full time or whether they should have outside interests. I did not understand my right hon. Friend the Lord President to say anything in his opening speech that would have led people along that path. I understand the debate to be about financial assistance to those who do not have substantial outside interests and the fact that those who do should comply with the £8,500 limit.
§ Mr. Peyton
The hon. Gentleman has laid his finger on the point unintentionally. The increase in salary was intended as assistance. That is precisely what a salary is not intended to be. A salary is intended as a reward for services rendered, and nothing else.
§ Mr. Price
I have no wish to fall out with the right hon. Gentleman. I agree with practically everything that he said earlier.
I am not entirely sure whether the Opposition are arguing that we should not have any money now, or whether we should implement Boyle today. That point is not clear to me. I have listened to the debate for four hours and I am no more clear now on the matter than I was when we began.
§ Sir John Hall
The point made by my right hon. Friend with great clarity is that if this is intended to help those in most need of help, it is surprising, to say the least, that incomes received by hon. Members from other sources—dividends 2310 and other forms of wealth—are not taken into account.
§ Mr. Tebbit
The hon. Gentleman has a difficulty here. It is only 12 months ago that the Government's recommendation was that a salary of £5,750 a year was adequate for Members of Parliament. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that in the intervening 12 months poverty has struck so widely and unexpectedly amongst our colleagues that they are now desperate for another £6 a week and could not even wait another month or so to receive £4, as my hon. Friends and I suggest?
§ Mr. Price
I do not accept that. Some Members need money more than others. I put it no higher than that. I shall deal a little later with the point that the hon. Gentleman has made.
Many Opposition Members have, quite rightly, spoken about the two-tier system of payment. I thought that the Lord President had made clear—I share his view—that this is not particularly satisfactory, and I can only repeat his assurance that it will not be a permanent feature of our pay structure.
I wish to express agreement with the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) if I may—if I have to ask permission to do that—since I thought that he was absolutely right to take offence when the London living allowance and mileage allowance were described as perks. They are not perks, as he rightly pointed out. They are a claim against what we believe to be legitimate expenses.
The hon. Member for Chingford asked about aggregation and the £8,500 limit. I understand that anyone receiving more than £8,500, whether from one job, two jobs or three, has been expected to comply with the limit.
The hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Boscawen) wanted an outside body. We should not, he said, do it ourselves. If I may say so, that is why we gave it to Boyle. We have had an outside body. The trouble was that, for reasons best known to the House, we decided that it was not appropriate at that time to implement what the outside body asked for 2311 by the hon. Gentleman had recommended. It is interesting to note that, if we did what Boyle recommended, we should today be talking about an increase of more than £40 a week, not the £6 to which the hon. Gentleman takes exception.
We are, therefore, in difficulty over that matter, and I think that I am entitled to say that those who feel as gravely offended as the hon. Gentleman does—he used some powerful language, and I do not object to that—are entitled to do what the right hon. Member for Yeovil has just done and say that they will not draw the money.
§ Mr. Boscawen
I do not propose to make that matter public because I regard it as private to myself, but I may say that that would be my inclination. When I refer to an outside body, I mean an outside body which we cannot ignore. We ignored Boyle; we put it aside. I mean an outside body of which we have to take notice.
§ Mr. Price
I am delighted to say that that would be a matter for the House, not for me.
What the House is being asked to support today seems to me to be perfectly reasonable and a far more sensible way of dealing with Members' pay than we have had in the past. I believe that we have suffered more than all else from a crazy system under which we have given ourselves an increase every four or five years and made it a relatively big one. People know all about the size of the increase. What they are not fully aware of is the length of the wait which preceded it.
There is a problem here, but, having listened to these debates over so long, as I said earlier, I have the clear impression that what most hon. Members would have preferred was a system according to which we moved as fast as we could, perhaps, but no faster than we ought, a system whereby we rewarded ourselves adequately, and this is where I have to point out—I shall not convince the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson), though I thought that his hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Forman) did very well—that what worries me is that, even if it is a relatively small amount this time, according to his amendment, it would have the effect of setting us even 2312 further back from the £8,000. The day will come, presumably, when the House will decide that it will implement Boyle, and all that I am saying is that the narrower the gap between what we receive at that moment and the £8,000, the better it will be for all of us. That is the only argument which I have with the hon. Member for Blaby.
§ Mr. Forman
Since the hon. Gentleman referred to me directly, will he throw some light on a matter which greatly concerns me? I share the view of my hon. Friends that the two-tier element in this situation is most unsatisfactory, and the Minister has agreed. But does he agree that doubly unsatisfactory is the distinction between earnings and income, which I regard as just not sustainable? Why has he not used the notion of income rather than earnings?
§ Mr. Price
All I can say is that I am given the job of talking about a pay policy, so far as it is my responsibility at all, which makes that position fairly clear, and I thought that the Lord President dealt with it. If the hon. Gentleman believes that the policy is wrong, that is not, I believe, a matter for this debate or for me.
§ Mr. Lawson
The hon. Gentleman is resisting my amendment, I gather, on the ground that he wants to go gradually towards the £8,000. My amendment would enable us to go by £208 towards the £8,000. Therefore, it should be acceptable to the Minister. Moreover, it would eliminate the two-tier Membership which he agrees is undesirable. So why not accept the amendment?
§ Mr. Price
I shall tell the hon. Gentleman why. The best reason for accepting his amendment is that it gets over the difficulty of the two-tier system. That I accept. But what I find objectionable and wrong about it is that we should lose a complete year—[HON. MEMBERS: "No"]—yes, and we shall be £312 down on what we receive, as there is every reason to believe that we shall have a right to 4½ per cent. next year. The hon. Gentleman's amendment asks us to lose a complete year.
§ Sir John Hall rose—
§ Sir John Hall
I am sorry to intervene, but I am sure that, on reflection, the Minister will agree that he is mistaken. In the first place, what would be lost would be the increase between 13th June and 1st August, which, after tax even at the minimum rate would be about £16. Then there is the difference between the amount which would be awarded on 1st August of £208 and the other amount which would otherwise be £312, which would be only about £100, which, after tax, is about £65. I cannot, therefore, see where the hon. Gentleman gets his figures.
§ Mr. Price
Whichever way we do it, we shall lose one or the other, and that makes the gap between what we get and what Boyle recommended even wider. I think that it is far better to treat ourselves as the rest of the country expects to be treated, that is, with relatively small increases at regular intervals. In my view, there is no reason why we should this year receive a penny more than others, and, on the same basis, I see no reason why we should receive less.
There are, of course, those who believe that we should not have any increase at all—in the past, in the present, or in the future. There are some who believe that we should not be paid, and I fear that some of them have seats in the Press Gallery. To them and their £25,000-a-year editors, anyone wishing to serve in the House of Commons should, apparently, prove his good intentions by committing himself, his wife and his family to permanent and self-inflicted penury—that good government and honest competent politicians go hand in hand with poverty.
I do not propose to spend much time on my colleagues in the Gallery or those in Fleet Street, save that I wish to say that what has always struck me as odd is that those who approach Members of Parliament with the maximum bitterness are those who are either trying to find a seat for themselves or have given up hope. Those such as Mr. Woodrow Wyatt, I may say, treat us with even greater bitterness when they have lost 2314 two safe seats, so we do not pay too much attention to them.
However, I suspect that Mr. Andrew Alexander of the Daily Mail—[HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] I shall deal with his attendance record in a moment, if I may. Mr. Alexander comes into the category of those who fail, though I could be wrong about that and, wishing to be charitable, I suppose that there is somewhere a Conservative association which shares his views. What I do know, however, is that last week Mr. Alexander wrote the most scurrilous piece about Members of Parliament since Alastair Burnet produced an editorial on Members' pay headed "The Gravy Train." But Mr. Burnet, who when lecturing Members of Parliament earning less than £5,000 a year, was collecting £30,000 for helping to bankrupt the Daily Express, has, thankfully, moved to greener pastures, and we are spared his abuse.
Mr. Alexander, however, is more than willing, full of honesty, hope and charity, to write:Wakey, wakey. If the voters knew how little their MP does for his money would they be quite so happy to give him yet another rise "—and then we have 1,500 highly paid words of sheer total abuse. Much of it was opinion. I took exception to one of the paragraphs already quoted:The main role of MPs outside that of dealing with constituents' problems—and there is scant evidence that they listen with real care to constituents in any case".I regard that as a deliberate and offensive lie.
§ Mr. Price
He had a good deal to say about attendance in the Chamber. No one would argue that it could not be better. For instance, I think that there should be a far larger attendance when I am speaking.
The next paragraph I shall quote is a classic. It reads:Yet the cry of visitors to the House of Commons these days is constantly: 'But where are all the MPs?' They may well ask.But those who come here ask a second question—namely, "Why are there all those empty seats up above Mr. Speaker's 2315 chair?" That is what they ask me. I say "Comrades"—"most of my people belong to my party—those are for absent journalists." I tell my old associates that one day I intend to do some serious research into the attendance of journalists. I note that Mr. Andrew Alexander has not been with us all day. The editors might like to see the results of my research.
I shall deal briefly with Members' perks, a matter that stimulates great concern in the newspaper business. There is continual reference to MPs having looked after their perks. I accept, as the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said, that we have made substantial improvements. Most of those improvements have taken place in the past seven or eight years. When I first came to the House—it was not all that long ago, but I have been here much longer than some of my colleagues—and I made a phone call to the Rugby town clerk on urgent constituency business, it cost me money. The more telephone calls we made in those days, the more it cost us. There used to be a man from the Post Office sitting outside the kiosk. The clock would go round and we paid when we came out. I suggest that we should not moan too much about what we get now. The system I have described was operating only eight years ago.
It is true that things are better than they were, but I am astonished that what to a Member are supposed to be perks—for example, telephones, postage, car mileage and secretarial help—are to anybody else legitimate business expenses. I have known many newspaper men at all levels and I have yet to meet one who paid out
§ of his own pocket for his secretary, his postage and his telephone bill.
§ Mr. Price
Yes, but, having earned my living for 12 years in the newspaper industry, I do not propose to follow that one. If we told a newspaper man that such items were his perks, he would give us a rough answer. However, when they are related to us, they become part of our income.
I put it to the House that what we are doing today is right. It was the least we could do, but, for reasons that the House knows only too well, it was also the most. That is why we are in difficulty, and I recognise the difficulties about the two-tier system. I hope that those outside the House who criticise us will bear in mind that most of us are receiving £2,000 a year less than was recommended by an independent review body 18 months ago. Very few people in the country would have tolerated that sort of treatment. We have done so for reasons that I do not need to spell out.
I believe that £6 is a modest step towards a rate for the job. More important than that, it is intended to help those of our colleagues who need help most. I ask the House to accept it.
§ Mr. Ridley rose—
§ Mr. Walter Harrison (Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household)
rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 115, Noes 31.2317
|Division No. 273.]||AYES||[3.14 p.m.|
|Atkinson, Norman||Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Hart, Rt Hon Judith|
|Bates, Alf||Dormand, J. D.||Heller, Eric S.|
|Bean, R. E.||Dunn, James A.||Huckfield, Les|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Eadle, Alex||Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)|
|Boardman, H.||Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)||Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||English, Michael||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Boyden, James (Blsh Auck)||Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Judd, Frank|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.||Kelley, Richard|
|Cartwright, John||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)||Kerr, Russell|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)||Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston)||Kilfedder, James|
|Cohen, Stanley||Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Kinnock, Nell|
|Coleman, Donald||Fraser, John (Lambeth, N 'w' d)||Lamborn, Harry|
|Crowther, Stan (Rotherham)||Freeson, Reginald||Latham, Arthur (Paddington)|
|Cryer, Bob||Gilbert, Dr John||Lee, John|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington S)||Ginsburg, David||Lipton, Marcus|
|Davidson, Arthur||Golding, John||Luard, Evan|
|Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)||Graham, Ted||Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)|
|Davies, Denzil (Lianelli)||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||McCartney, Hugh|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Harper, Joseph||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Deakins, Eric||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||MacKenzie, Gregor|
|Maclennan, Robert||Price, C. (Lewisham W)||Strauss, Rt. Hon G. R.|
|Madden, Max||Price, William (Rugby)||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)|
|Mahon, Simon||Richardson, Miss Jo||Tinn, James|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Torney, Tom|
|Marks, Kenneth||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Meacher, Michael||Roper, John||Wainwrlght, Edwin (Dearne V)|
|Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Sandelson, Neville||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Miller, Mra Millie (Ilford N)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)||Walker, Terry (Kingswood)|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter||Ward, Michael|
|Moyle, Roland||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)||Weitzman, David|
|Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)'||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Noble, Mike||Silverman, Julius||Williams, Alan (Swansea W)|
|Orbach, Maurice||Skinner, Dennis||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)|
|Owen, Dr David||Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)||Woof, Robert|
|Park, George||Snape, Peter|
|Parry, Robert||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Pavitt, Laurie||Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)||Mr. A. W. Stallard and|
|Pendry, Tom||Stoddart, David||Mr Thomas Cox.|
|Perry, Ernest||Strang, Gavin|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Lawson, Nigel||Sims, Roger|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Lester, Jim (Beeston)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Bottomley, Peter||Luce, Richard||Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Mather, Carol||Stradling, Thomas J.|
|Eyre, Reginald||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)||Tebbit, Norman|
|Forman, Nigel||Neave, Airey||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Peyton, Rt Hon Johr||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)||Rathbone, Tim||Mr Roger Moate and|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Mr Nicholas Ridley.|
|Question accordingly agreed to.|
|Question put accordingly, That the amendment be made:—|
|The House divided: Ayes 35, Noes 110.|
|Division No. 274.]||AYES||[3.25 p.m.|
|Bell, Ronald||Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)||Sims, Roger|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Lester, Jim||Skinner, Dennis|
|Cormack, Patrick||Luce, Richard||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Dykes, Hugh||Mather, Carol||Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Stradling, Thomas J.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Moate, Roger||Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)|
|Forman, Nigel||Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)||Tebbit. Norman|
|Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Neave, Airey||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)|
|Grylls, Michael||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Hall, Sir John||Peyton, Rt Hon John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Rathbone, Tim||Mr. Nigel Lawson and|
|Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'df'd)||Ridley. Hon Nicholas||Mr. John Lee.|
|Atkinson, Norman||Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.||Luard, Evan|
|Bates, Alf||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)||McCartney, Hugh|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston)||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Bishop, E. S.||Foot, Rt Hon Michael||MacKenzie, Gregor|
|Boardman, H.||Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)||Madden, Max|
|Boyden, James (Bish Auck)||Freeson, Reginald||Mahon, Simon|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Gilbert, Dr John||Mallalieu, J. P. W.|
|Cartwright, John||Ginsburg, David||Marks, Kenneth|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)||Golding, John||Meacher, Michael|
|Cohen, Stanley||Graham, Ted||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert|
|Coleman, Donald||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)|
|Crowther, Stan (Rotherham)||Harper, Joseph||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Cryer, Bob||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Moyle, Roland|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington S)||Hart, Rt Hon Judith||Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Davidson, Arthur||Heffer, Eric S.||Noble, Mike|
|Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)||Huckfield, Les||Orbach, Maurice|
|Davies, Denzil (Lianelli)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Owen, Dr David|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)||Park, George|
|Deakins, Eric||Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)||Parry, Robert|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Dormand, J. D.||Judd, Frank||Pendry, Tom|
|Dunn, James A.||Kelley, Richard||Price, C. (Lewisham W)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Kerr, Russell||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Eadie, Alex||Kilfedder, James||Richardson, Miss Jo|
|Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)||Kinnock, Neil||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|English, Michael||Lamborn, Harry||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Lipton, Marcus||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Roper, John||Stoddart, David||Ward, Michael|
|Sandelson, Neville||Strang, Gavin||Weitzman, David|
|Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)||Strauss, Rt. Hon G. R.||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Shore, Rt Hon Peter||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)||Williams, Alan (Swansea W)|
|Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)||Tinn, James||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)|
|Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)'||Tomney, Frank||Woof, Robert|
|Silverman, Julius||Urwin, T. W.|
|Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Snape, Peter||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Mr. Thomas Cox and|
|Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)||Walker, Terry (Kingswood)||Mr. A. W. Stallard.|
|Question accordingly negatived.|
The parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Michael Cocks): I claim the main Question be now put.
|Main Question put accordingly:|
|The House divided: Ayes 111, Noes 17.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ That in the opinion of this House—
§ (1) the salary payable to any Member at the rate of £5,750 a year and the salary payable to any Member at the rate of £3,750 a year while he is the Comptroller or Vice- 2320 Chamberlain of Her Majesty's Household, a Junior Lord of the Treasury or an Assistant Government or Opposition Whip should be increased by £312 a year from 13th June 1976;
§ (2) the sum of £112.50 a year with which a Member is credited by way of supplement in pursuance of paragraph (5) of the resolution of the House of 22nd July 1975 about 2321 Members' salaries and pensions should, in the case of a Member who draws the increase in salary mentioned in paragraph (1) above, be reduced by £15.60 a year from 13th June 1976 and, in the case of a Member who draws a fraction only of the increase, be reduced by that fraction of £15.60 a year from that date;
§ (3) the annual limit of £3,200 on secretarial allowance should be increased to £3,450 for the year ending on 31st March 1977 and to £3,512 for any subsequent year ending on 31st March.