HL Deb 07 June 1921 vol 45 cc463-4

THE MARQUESS OF LINLITHGOW had given Notice to ask His Majesty's Government whether, in view of the recommendations of the Remuneration of Ministers Committee of the House of Commons, it is proposed during the present Session to raise the status of the Secretary for Scotland; and to move for Papers. The noble Marquess said: My Lords, in asking His Majesty's Government the Question which stands in my name, it is only necessary to remind the House that the point of status was fully conceded during last session, and that this change was recommended by the Remuneration of Ministers Committee of the House of Commons. We in Scotland are not unnaturally anxious to know that this project is going forward satisfactorily, and for that reason I approach His Majesty's Government at this moment. I beg to move.


My Lords, the larger question, which was raised in the course of the last session, was whether there should be a re-examination, perhaps a revision, of many Ministerial salaries. This question was examined by a Committee which had numerous sittings and then made a Report, but the taking of any steps in the more particular matter of which the noble Marquess has so often been the mouthpiece in this House was postponed until there had been leisure to examine the Report of that Committee. The whole matter raises a number of subjects which, unfortunately, in the course of discussion, have not been found to be free from controversy, and it will certainly not be possible to present any Bill upon the general subject in the present session of Parliament. It is, as your Lordships know, the determination of Ministers not to have an autumn session this year unless wholly unforeseen and unforeseeable developments occur, and, therefore, there is no chance of the general Bill in the present session.

Your Lordships, of course, are well aware that the grave industrial difficulties under which the country has recently laboured, and is still labouring, have made great inroads upon Parliamentary time, and I must, therefore, speak even more guardedly than I had hoped on the more limited matter. It is the intention of the Government at once to introduce in another place a Bill in the sense desired by the noble Marquess and his friends; that is to say, a Bill which will alter the position of the Secretary for Scotland and. make it equal to that of other Secretaries of State both in status and in emoluments, and generally, as I understand them, carry out the purposes of the noble Marquess. If that Bill is treated in another place, as we have some reason to believe it will be treated, as substantially an uncontroversial Bill, it is the hope and intention of the Government to pass it into law during the present session. If there should develop real and sustained opposition—which I do not in the least anticipate—I could not, at the present stage of the session and the actual condition of business in another place, be understood as making a more definite assurance, but I hope the expectation, long postponed, of the noble Marquess and his friends may at last be realised.


After the observations of the Lord Chancellor I do not wish to press my Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.