HL Deb 20 April 1885 vol 297 cc130-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the salary of the Lieutenant-Governor of Malta has been placed on the Civil List of the Island contrary to Her Majesty's instructions of 11th May 1849, to the promises of the Malta Government conveyed to the Elected Members of Council by letters dated 8th February and 1st April 18G8, to a Resolution in Council 7th April 1868, and to the despatches of the Duke of Buckingham of 20th March and 16th May 1868; and, whether any instructions on this subject have been given by the present Secretary of State to the Governor for the last occasion on which the matter was brought before the Council? The noble Lord explained that not long ago the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) proposed that a considerable addition should be made to the salary of the Chief Secretary of Malta, upon whom the title of Lieutenant Governor was conferred, and to the salary of the Chief Justice. Now, ever since 1848 it had been a part of the Constitution of Malta that any proposal to make additions to official salaries should be communicated to and made through the Council of the Island. This practice had not been adhered to in the case to which he wished to draw attention. The Elected Members of Council also complained that the noble Earl's plan was only ratified by the interposition of the Governor, who gave his casting vote in favour of it, their objection being that he ought not to have exercised his right to vote in connection with a matter of local, and not Imperial interest.


said, that he had no difficulty in giving the explanation which the noble Viscount asked for, and he thought it would be satisfactory. The question which was brought before the Council of Malta was not one involving an addition to the expenses of the Civil List. It was, in fact, of a contrary nature. According to the arrangement that prevailed two years ago, the Governor received £5,000 a-year, which came entirely from the local Revenues. The Colonial Secretary received £1,000. Some complaints were made that the salary of the Governor was received by him partly in respect of services rendered in his military capacity, and it was argued that such services ought to be paid for out of Imperial instead of local Revenues. Thinking that there was some justice in these complaints, and with the view of relieving the finances of Malta, he made the arrangement which came into operation two years ago. By that arrangement the duty of paying a part of the Governor's salary—namely, £2,000—was transferred to the War Department, and so far the salary became an Imperial instead of a local charge. That set free a sum of £2,000 a-year upon the Civil List; and as in consequence of the arrangement the duties of the Colonial Secretary were considerably increased, it seemed fair that some portion of the sum so set free should be used to increase his salary. He was accordingly given £1,600 a-year instead of £1,000; but the net result of the transaction was to benefit the local finances to the extent of £1,400 annually. As to the question whether the Governor had a right to vote on the occasion referred to, he had to say that he could not agree that questions involving the transfer of part of the Governor's functions and the creation of a Lieutenant Governor could be regarded as exclusively local, and not Imperial.