HC Deb 28 January 1981 vol 997 cc926-8
Mr. Roger Moate (Faversham)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This matter concerns the arrangements that have been made for the payment of Members' secretaries' pensions. I believe this to be a point of order for you, Sir, rather than an administrative matter for the authorities of the House, for two reasons. First, it is essentially a question whether a clear resolution of the House is being properly implemented. Secondly, the arrangements have been issued in a document described as a Speaker's memorandum.

On 21 July the House passed a clear resolution authorising the payment of certain moneys. The figure for this year is £786 and for subsequent years £800. In a subsequent memorandum we were advised that on that figure there would be an inner limit on that figure of 10 per cent. of whatever fees or amounts were paid to those secretaries. Nowhere in the original resolution was such a figure mentioned.

I wrote to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, who sent me a courteous reply in which he emphasised that these new arrangements had resulted from discussions with the 1922 Committee and with the Parliamentary Labour Party. He said that my suggestion that the intentions of the House were not being properly implemented was not sustainable because these discussions had taken place. However well meaning such intentions and arrangements, I suggest that discussions with other bodies do not necessarily conform with a resolution of the House. I shall not go into the merits of this point, but I suggest that a 10 per cent. limitation introduced in this way is less than generous to secretaries, many of whom have spent many years of non-pensionable employment in the service of hon. members.

I ask you Mr. Speaker, to examine this matter and to consider generally whether, as a matter of principle, such resolutions should be fully and properly implemented and, if they are to be amended or changed, whether that should be done only by a further resolution of the House.

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask you to direct your attention to column 180 of Hansard of 21 July last year, where this exact difficulty was predicted? The then Leader of the House—of whom most of us are fans, with one noticeable exception—was urged to correct it in the motion. In the motions to come up shortly it may be possible to make the correction that should have been made last July.

Mr. Speaker

Of course, I shall look into this matter to see whether there is anything that I can do. But hon.

Members will be aware that the House works by a weird and wonderful system of talks and relationships between both sides.

I shall write to the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate) about this matter.