HC Deb 19 December 1988 vol 144 cc18-20
78. Mr. Allen

To ask the Lord President of the Council what representations he has received regarding hon. Members' salaries and allowances.

Mr. Wakeham

I have received a number of such representations.

Mr. Allen

Now that Members' salaries are certainly adequate, will the Lord President of the Council advise those of us who wish to perform our duties effectively both here and at home how we can get adequate allowances to provide us with sufficient staff both here and in our constituencies?

Mr. Wakeham

It is quite clear from our recent debate on procedure that the hon. Gentleman has a special view of the role of Parliament, which I do not think is shared by any other right hon. or hon. Member. Anyway, I hope that he has a nice trip to America.

Sir John Stokes

Does my right hon. Friend agree that over the years we have debated our salaries, those of assistants, secretaries and office costs ad nauseam? Some time ago we settled on a proper basis how the matter should be dealt with, and there is therefore no reason to raise it again.

Mr. Wakeham

My hon. Friend is quite right, but I do not think that his advice will necessarily be accepted by all hon. Members. Salaries have been raised regularly and have now been placed on a more satisfactory basis and hon. Members must agree that the office costs allowance has been raised by a considerable amount in recent years.

Mr. Tony Banks

Is the Lord President of the Council aware that the Prime Minister and all her offices now cost the taxpayer more than the entire Civil List? Does he think that that represents value for money?

Mr. Wakeham

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Brandon-Bravo

My right hon. Friend will know that I, too, represent the city of Nottingham. Will he take it from me that the citizens of Nottingham will think that it comes ill from the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen), who has campaigned against the policies of the Government, to seek a higher salary and more financial help for the work that he does not do in the city of Nottingham?

Mr. Wakeham

I have enough difficulties in answering questions about Leicester in the House without getting involved in Nottingham. I can only say that my hon. Friend represents his constituents extremely well.

Mr. Marlow

May I put it to my right hon. Friend that the last thing we should do is to set up a system of allowances so that the Opposition can set up a vipers' nest of cadet apparatchiks in every Labour constituency in the country?

Mr. Wakeham

The present system has been discussed and approved in this House. The allowances are for the work of Members of Parliament, not for electioneering purposes.

Mr. Allen

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Brandon-Bravo) made an unpleasant and personal attack on me. It was imputed that I had asked for more salary for myself rather than put a question about the level of provision of service for Members of Parliament. Could that allegation be withdrawn?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The record will show exactly what the hon. Gentleman said.

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