§ 2.47 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF HOME rose to move to resolve. That this House approves the proposals contained in the statement made on behalf of Her Majesty's Government on Thursday last, for enabling Members of the House to recover expenses incurred by them for the purpose of attendance at the House. The noble Earl said: My Lords, I think it: is probably unnecessary for me to repeat the statement which I made at some length to your Lordships on Thursday last. Briefly, the proposal before your Lordships to-day is that a Peer is to be reimbursed expenses which he incurs in connection with attendance at the House of Lords, up to a maximum of three guineas a day for each Sitting day. Each Peer will certify from time 767 to time that in connection with a specified number of attendances he has incurred such-and-such expenses, whatever they may be. The expenses contemplated in the claim exclude the cost of rail travel, which is already separately dealt with. They will therefore cover not only subsistence costs—that is hotel charges, meals and so forth—but also miscellaneous travelling costs, such as taxi-fares or charges for petrol and oil for journeys to and from the Palace of Westminster for the purpose of attending to the Business of the House or one of its Committees. The allowance will not be restricted to Peers who are regular attenders. If a Peer attends only one Sitting a year he will be entitled to claim allowance for that one day's Sitting.
§ I think it would be in accordance with your Lordships' wishes, as questions on the method of applying the new proposal will clearly arise in individual cases, that we should leave this scheme, if it is adopted, to be supervised in the same way as the travel scheme has been supervised in its administration, that is, by a Committee of the Chief Whips of the Parties. That Scheme has been run, I think, with satisfaction and success, and I have no reason to think that the Committee would not run this scheme equally successfully and be able to advise in the same way. If any of your Lordships is in difficulty over the scheme, I am sure he will be dealt with sympathetically and helpfully by the Clerk of the Parliaments and the Committee of Whips. So I think it would probably be best if I said no more at the moment but just commended this proposal to your Lordships. What I have been anxious to establish is that there are expenses which can reasonably be met by allowances of this kind in performance of your Lordships' duties, and having established that principle I think that (although some may feel that the figure of three guineas is too low, and others may think it too high) a fair balance has been achieved. I think it is fair beginning to this scheme and I can recommend it to your Lordships as such. I beg to move.
§ Moved to resolve, That this House approves the proposals contained in the statement made on behalf of Her Majesty's Government on Thursday last, for enabling Members of the House to 768 recover expenses incurred by them for the purpose of attendance at the House.—(The Earl of Home.)
§ 2.50 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, before I make some general comments upon the statement of the noble Earl the Leader of the House, may I ask one question which has been put to me by certain people? Is the basis of reimbursement of expenses to be confined to attendance at the House on the actual days on which the House is sitting, or will it include days on which a Member may be asked to attend for the business of the House when the House is not sitting?
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I think that any day which requires the attendance of a Peer would qualify. Perhaps I may be allowed to find out about this point, but I think that any day on which a Peer attends for any business would qualify.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Earl. I am sure that the whole House is indebted to the noble Earl for the statement he has made to-day, explaining one or two details of the much fuller statement which he made last week. I feel confident that the proposal which has been submitted to your Lordships on behalf of Her Majesty's Government is one which will be acceptable to your Lordships' House. I am confident also that we all know that in all Parties in your Lordships' House there are noble Lords who have not only willingly given a great deal of voluntary work, but who have at times been put to quite considerable financial strain in order to meet the expenses which arise from that work.
Obviously, the proposal now made is by no means one of payment for the services of Members of your Lordships' House. It is purely a reimbursement of their out-of-pocket expenses. Considering the extent to which the cost of such incidental expenses to Members has gone up—it has more than doubled in the last fourteen or fifteen years and has risen very steeply in the last few years—in my view, this is an action which is overdue, however much we may be thankful to the Government for it; and we are thankful to them for this proposal.
769 From my own point of view, I am glad that an opportunity has been found to do this without attaching to the proposal any strings with regard to what might be the constitutional future of your Lordships' House. Many sympathetic views about the payment of the costs to Members attending your Lordships' House for business have been expressed over several years, but there has always been the question of whether this was to wait for a reform of your Lordships' House and whether any reimbursement, or even possible future payment for services, ought to have strings attached with regard to any measures of reform that might be brought in. I am glad that an opportunity has been found to meet the present situation as we find it.
So far as my Party are concerned, I say, without fear of any possible contradiction, that a good many of my noble friends—and we are not a large Party—are unable to attend because of the cost or because, there being nothing to meet the cost, it is necessary for them to give their time to earning a living. We ought not to arrive at a situation where the Second Chamber of Parliament as it exists to-day is solely to be carried on by those who can afford to come here and meet all expenses. Obviously, that does not lead to a proper basis for a pure, free democracy. So I am grateful that this has now been made clear.
The only other remark that I propose to make to-day is that if and when the question of the reform of the House should be raised, I hope that it will be recognised by all Parties that it is of such fundamental importance that the proposals ought to be submitted to the electorate in detail, for them to understand and vote upon them. In closing, I would say that I am grateful to a considerable number of noble Lords of my own small Party in your Lordships' House for the sacrifices they have made, year after year, in order to attend and make the business of the House as real as possible by trying to raise all reasonable criticism, revisions and arguments upon legislation. I hope that, as a result of the measures now proposed by Her Majesty's Government, the Opposition will be able to give the Government even more opposition than before.
§ 2.57 p.m.
§ LORD GRANTCHESTER
My Lords, although all noble Lords are indebted to the Government and to the noble Earl the Leader of the House for this attempt to meet a difficult position, I must say that I regard the recent announcements, of which the Motion before your Lordships' House is one, as the latest of a series of palliatives which are being applied in defiance of any good principle. There is a wasting disease from which all citizens of this country are suffering, so that they get less and less for their money. At the same time the Government are continuing to reduce the incomes of all citizens by excessive taxation. Every now and again the Government recognise this or have the plea of some group brought forcibly to their notice. What do they do? Make up their minds to find a radical cure? No; they come with a palliative. They discriminate; they select for relief. Discrimination starts in inequity and ends in corruption.
A man who builds wealth for himself serves the community in more ways than one, and I do not feel that those who offer their services in public work or in charitable organisations are in any sense superior to those who serve the State by working at their jobs particularly when they use their time to work a little harder. By so doing they contribute to the volume of saving; they contribute to taxes and to death duties. In general, therefore, I believe that it is more healthy for the individual, and more satisfactory for the State, for a man to earn sufficient to ensure that he and his family are first secure. After he has made a contribution in taxation, then is the time for him to offer his services or what time he can spare for service as distinct from employment. There can be few who are giving time to public service who do not pay some income tax. A reduction of this tax, rather than an increase in salary, is surely the right way for Government to help those who are not adequately rewarded, whether they serve the community in a public or a private capacity.
While this reduction is materialising, the Government could do something quite simple to encourage public service. I suggest that they could provide that expenses incurred in the exercise of public duties are allowable against taxable income. It is proper, I suggest, and appropriate that such expenses should be 771 allowable against income from savings—what is mistermed by the Treasury "unearned income". I am sure that most noble Lords would prefer such an arrangement to the proposals now before your Lordships' House, and I would suggest that such an alternative be considered. If something more is needed to meet a few cases where individuals are so self-sacrificing as to offer their services without being in receipt of a sufficient taxable income then I suggest that there should be at the disposal of the Government and of the Leader of the Opposition a small number of "research fellowships" which could be offered to these exceptional cases, so that, relieved of material anxiety, they could make a contribution, and I hope that it would be an artistic contribution, to public affairs.
§ 3.2 p.m.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
My Lords, I wish to offer a welcome to the proposals which have been made by the noble Earl who leads the House, but I am sorry to say that my welcome is a half-hearted one. I welcome the proposed allowance as an indication that those in authority realise that there is here a problem which must be dealt with, but I must tell your Lordships that, in my opinion, the proposed allowance is totally inadequate to meet the circumstances which exist. We must all recognise that this is a problem of a particularly difficult kind. No one who is not familiar with the way your Lordships' House works can understand quite how difficult it is.
The great difficulty resides, I think, in the complete difference between the way your Lordships' House works and the way the work is done in another place. In your Lordships' House we have a great body of expert opinion. It is hardly too much to say that there is perhaps no field of human endeavour or human experience in which we in this House do not have the advantage of real expert knowledge. It is patently absurd to expect noble Lords who have this wealth of expert knowledge in special subjects to attend every day—indeed, if every Member of your Lordships' House were to attend every day, we should, I fear, be reduced to a sad state of chaos; and nothing could be less desirable. This is the point that I want to make: that 772 continuous attendance, even of those Members of your Lordships' House who are experts, is not desirable. Every noble Lord will attend as often as he can, in order to help make a House, in addition to the occasions on which he has counsel to impart to your Lordships. But anything in the nature of what is known as an assiduity qualification (I apologise to your Lordships for the phrase, because it is a horrible one; but it is the only way I know of putting it in two words) is out of place. For that reason, I am thankful that the noble Earl the Leader of the House has made it clear that a single attendance in a Session will qualify for the three guineas.
However, there is an existing assiduity qualification in the matter of railway fares. I believe that railway fares are obtainable only by Peers who attend one-third of the Sittings of the House. That qualification is wrong, and I hope that it will be done away with. What we need to try to meet this extremely difficult problem is something with much greater flexibility than any day-to-day allowance. What we ought to have, in my submission, is a lump sum of money, which would be administered by a committee—such a committee as the noble Earl the Leader of the House has suggested would do admirably well; we should soon find by experience how it should be administered, and noble Lords would be able to obtain their proper expenses. The sort of position that we must seek to establish is that a noble Lord who lives in the country, possibly in Scotland, can come up to your Lordships' House for one debate or one Committee on a Bill and get his proper reasonable expenses. Under these proposals, he would not get his railway fare, but would get three guineas a day for one, two, or three days. That is quite insufficient.
THE EARL OF HOME
I do not want there to be any misunderstanding, so perhaps I may interrupt the noble Lord. Of course, he will get his railway fare. The railway fare is not affected. He will get the three guineas, or whatever his expenses may be, in addition to his railway fare.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
In that case, I am under a misapprehension. I am under the impression that no 773 Peer can get the railway fare unless he attends 33⅓ per cent. of the sittings.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
In that case, if the noble Lord came from Scotland for one sitting, he would get three guineas and no railway fare.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
That is really all I want to say. I am delighted that the assiduity qualification is departed from so far, but I hope it will be departed from entirely.
I should like to ask the noble Earl who leads the House one question on a matter which bothers me—I do not want an answer now, if he prefers to give it consideration. It has been emphasised that this is a reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses. What then is the situation of a noble Lord—and there must be many among your Lordships—who already has a London house, possibly for other purposes, such as to earn his living or to attend to his business? In many cases, no particular out-of-pocket expenses are incurred by such noble Lords in attending the House. Is it to be understood that they are automatically to draw this so-called "expenses allowance"? Finally, I should like to ask one further question on which I feel that we should be given some guidance. If three guineas is to be given for art attendance at your Lordships' House, what will be considered to constitute an attendance?
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
My Lords, perhaps I could put the point about which the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, has just spoken more specifically in the form of a question to the noble Earl the Leader of the House. Are Peers resident in London eligible for the allowance?
§ 3.9 p.m.
My Lords, the noble Earl the Leader of the House and the noble Viscount who leads the Opposition were very clear in their explanations of these proposals, yet I do not think their clarity has been conveyed to the general public of the country. Indeed, the tone of the popular Press that I have seen has been rather the opposite, and 774 I think the impression left on nineteen men or women in the street out of twenty would be that your Lordships in future are going to receive three guineas a day free of tax every time you attend the House. Perhaps I might read an extract to your Lordships to explain my meaning. It reads as follows:A sunny week for most of us, but sunniest of all for our Peers of the Realm, who are to have £3 3s. 0d. every day the House of Lords sits. As the three guineas will be untaxed the windfall equals about a fiver a day.That's certainly going to make our young lordlings much sought after escorts during the ' deb ' seasons. Taking the girls out on expenses will make life so much easier.And of course, best of all from their point of view, they are not expected to work for their pay. All they have to do is to sign on just like the less exalted National Assistance queues. With the little difference that we will also give free rail travel to the peers when they go to sign on.While there is something to be said for paying M. Ps to do a job we elect them to do, I fail to see why we should pay a nice, hefty, untaxed salary to a peer just because he was horn in a purple bed.If we are to pay peers, then it is time we began to elect them on a basis of worth and value, and disposed of the hereditary seat system.I think it would be fair to describe that piece of journalism as a scurrilous lie. Had it appeared in the Daily Worker one could readily understand it. But it is a pity to find it appearing in a Sunday newspaper which claims to be read by between 7 million and 8 million people every Sunday, and which is controlled by a Member of your Lordships' House.
I wish to make no further comment under that head, but it is just as well to once more lay down with clarity, and I hope with accuracy, what this proposal really means. It means that no Member of your Lordships' House is going to receive a payment of salary of any kind. Your Lordships have for some years past been in receipt of a railway allowance to come up from the country, so there is there no new proposal. And no noble Lord will receive a payment of any kind unless he claims that payment and can show that he has justifiably incurred expenses to the limit of three guineas a day in enabling himself to attend your Lordships' House. That claim will be subject to a scrutiny of a Committee consisting of the; Chief Whips of the three Parties. We all know that those are 775 the circumstances, and I hope that the Press may be good enough to see that the general public is apprised of the real case.
I make no comment on the proposals themselves. It remains to be seen what their effect will be. Personally, I deplore the fact that Members of this House should be paid in any shape or form, even for the expenses which they incur. I know that it has been thus arranged because it is thought that certain Peers cannot afford to attend in any other way—and it is difficult to argue about that. If it is said to apply mainly to the Party of noble Lords opposite, all I can say is that, a great many of them, to my certain knowledge, are quite well-to-do and can come up on their own resources. I rather deplore the idea that we should go back to those days which were in force when I first had the honour of joining your Lordships' House about eleven years ago, when people appeared for about five minutes in order that the Clerks should jot down their name so that at the end of the month they could get about eight gallons of petrol. I hope, with the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, that that kind of thing will not recur. My only object in rising was in order to clarify, as a Bank Bencher, the true circumstances of these proposals.
§ 3.15 p.m.
§ LORD RATHCAVAN
My Lords, there is obviously a great deal to be said for this proposal, but it seems to me that one of the difficulties is that it comes in at a time when this country is going through a period of more violent inflation than any of us can remember in the past. One cannot help feeling that these extra payments, such as that proposed here to-day, and also the increase in the salaries of the Members of another place are a bad example to the country in these days of inflation. What I principally rose to say, however, was that if this payment is to be made, it strikes me that in these days the amount is ludicrously small. I have had some experience of expenses paid to people travelling on business, and I am sure your Lordships know quite well that in these days there is not an engineer who travels abroad for a company in England, or anybody who travels for any business, who does not get ten guineas a day. Here we are, the Second Chamber of the greatest democracy in the world, 776 proposing to pay expenses to our Members of three guineas a day. Does that mean that a bed-sitting room or a cheap lodging house is good enough for a Member of this House, whereas a business executive stays naturally at the best hotels? As I say, there is not a business to-day which would not allow those travelling for it at least ten guineas a day. That, I believe, is uncontrovertible.
With regard to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, about whether Peers who have houses in London can claim this expense, I think he will find, if it is dealt with as it used to be in another place, that that kind of thing settles itself, and that some proportion of the rent of the house would be allowed. The point that I make, and I hope have made, is that if a Peer is coming here at all, it is rather absurd that he should be given a sum which, in some respects, in these days is almost derisory.
§ LORD JESSEL
My Lords, I must contradict one phrase used by the noble Lord who has just sat down. To say that no respectable firm gives less than ten guineas a day to their executives as travelling expenses in this country, is quite untrue. I should not like your Lordships to think that that is the general case.
§ 3.19 p.m.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I should like to reinforce what has just been said by my noble friend Lord Jessel. I believe that there is no former junior Minister who does not recollect that occasionally it was his duty to travel on public business, but no such amount as ten guineas was ever dreamt of as an allowance for expenses. May I, if it is not too irrelevant, also congratulate this House on its treatment of the article in the Sunday Express of yesterday? We all know that, had this been another place, the editor would have been brought to the Bar of this House, and several days would have been employed in considering how he should be punished. I think the way in which the article has been dealt with in this House is equally effective and far more dignified. I would also suggest that this House has this further satisfaction—that the gentleman concerned was, for once, attacking us instead of the Royal Family.
§ 3.20 p.m.
§ LORD TEVIOT
My Lords, I have listened with great interest and much appreciation to what our noble Leader said in 777 his statement with regard to this proposed allowance. I entirely agree that there should be consideration of the matter to which my old friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh referred—the requirement that a Peer must attend one-third of the Sittings of the House before he gets his railway fare. I noticed that my noble Leader nodded his head about that.
§ LORD TEVIOT
It may have been a physical jerk or a sigh or something like that, but it sometimes happens that in almost analogous cases of this sort certain retrospective payments are made After all, we have been doing this work for quite a long time. I was wondering whether the noble Earl would consider that aspect and, if he did think about it, work for it to be made retrospective to as far back as possible.
§ 3.21 p.m.
§ LORD STRABOLGI
My Lords, I should like to say just a few words about this proposal. I speak with some diffidence and crave your Lordships' indulgence because I am a fairly young Member of your Lordships' House, but I must say, with great respect to the noble Earl who leads this House, that I am rather surprised that these proposals for paying expenses should have been brought in before proposals for reform. I always understood during the time that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, was Leader of this House, that it was proposed to reform the House first and then pay expenses, or indeed even a salary, to the Members of that reformed House; but now it appears that the cart is being put before the horse.
So far as I remember, both in the Government's Election programme and in the last gracious Speech it was mentioned that they would take active and energetic measures to reform your Lordships' House. We have heard nothing of that. On the other hand, nothing was said to the effect that expenses would be paid, yet this proposal has now been put forward. I have been very interested for a number of years in the questions of the reform of your Lordships' House, have taken part in the discussions on it and have lectured on it in different parts of the country. I think I may say, with all 778 due modesty, that I know a little about what a few people throughout the country think about it. I have found that the people of this country have a great appreciation of the work done by your Lordships' House, and I think they respect this House because they realise that the work done here is on a voluntary and unpaid basis. I believe, too, that they would respect a reformed House on a paid basis, but I do not think that the electorate of this country will be prepared to tolerate for very long an un-reformed House whose Members are paid expenses of this kind. That is why I hope the Government will very soon bring in proposals for the reform of this House.
Speaking for myself, I think that the extra expenses will be very useful indeed, but one tries to look at these things objectively. I can see no justification for the fact that, just because one was born the son of one's father, one should be able to come here and collect a few pounds' expenses for doing so. Noble Lords have referred to the length of time that Peers will come and sit here. I cannot agree with the noble Lord, Lord Blackford, that Peers will come here, as he says they used to in the days of the war, merely in order to get their names ticked off. On the other hand, I think we all come here sometimes for a short while. It may be that a noble Lord has put down a Question on which one wants to ask a supplementary question and one comes here for a few moments and then goes away. On the other hand, although one may get a mention in the newspapers, one cannot say that that possibly justifies, an attendance. I think that there is probably a good deal of justification for paying expenses to Peers of the First Creation and Privy Counsellors—I think that as a first step one could approve that—but I cannot see that there is any justification for paying expenses to hereditary Peers. Indeed, we seem now to be the only Legislature in the world which proposes to pay Members because they happen to be the sons of their fathers.
§ 3.25 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT TEMPLEWOOD
My, Lords, I do not rise to follow the noble Lord in the homily that he has just addressed to us but, as probably one of the very few Members of this House who 779 remember the start of payment of Members, now a great many years ago, perhaps I may make one or two very short remarks. In the first place, I am a little nervous whether to-day I am not abandoning my amateur status. I have had a good deal to do with the definition of "amateur status" for a great many years, and I am beginning to wonder what the effect of this Resolution will be upon me. Apart from that, let me suggest to the Leader of the House that he would be very wise to keep the directions for this payment of expenses as simple as possible. No doubt, my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh is perfectly right that we ought all to be paid according to our individual merit—what I should be paid, I should not like to say! I would, however, venture to suggest that that will be a very difficult standard for the Committee of three Whips to apply. I should have thought that it would be much wiser to give a wide definition to this direction about expenses, for the Committee to think it out and then, possibly, accept a general rule that three guineas a day was a reasonable reimbursement for the Peers who were attending this House.
I am afraid that as soon as you go into details—for instance, questions have been raised in one or two speeches this afternoon of what is to happen to Peers who live in London and those who live in Scotland and so on—you will get into such inextricable confusion that, eventually, either nobody will get paid his expenses or, the other alternative, the Committee will be driven to let everybody have them. I venture, therefore, to suggest that the simpler these regulations can be kept, the better it will be for everybody concerned.
§ 3.28 p.m.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I very much agree with the noble Viscount who has just spoken, but I feel that so much nonsense has been talked about this from all sides of the House that it is perhaps right to get back to the fundamental reason why these expenses are being paid. The simple fact is that this is an ordinary act of justice. There may be wealthy Peers on the side of the House where the noble Lord, Lord Blackford, sits; there may even be wealthy Peers on this side of the House. But in these days nobody has a right to demand service from anybody 780 without paying at least the expenses which are necessarily incurred as the result of the giving of those services.
It is a fact that the failure to pay expenses is damaging this House. There are Peers who just cannot afford to come here because of the expense incurred. I regard the giving of this allowance merely as an ordinary act of justice. I do not think that this is the time to argue whether it is adequate or inadequate. The principle has been established, and if it is found hereafter that the amount needs revision, one way or the other, there will be ample opportunity to come forward and ask for a revision. The same applies to the payment of Members. That is an entirely new and different principle. The allowance now proposed is not a payment. If it is desired to pay Members, that may be an argument for looking at the constitution of the House, but there can be no justification for asking anybody to come here and incur expense without being reimbursed.
Finally, I would say that this is a measure for which we all accept responsibility. The Government have introduced it; we on this side have been consulted, and we agree. I think it is right and just, therefore, to say that this is not something which has been imposed on the House but something which has been agreed by all sides. I need not say much about the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. Perhaps he will explain to me outside the meaning of his suggestion about our working harder in order to justify payment of our expenses. Does he mean longer hours, or does he mean more intensively? I just do not understand.
§ LORD GRANTCHESTER
I did not refer to anybody working harder. I said that there were many people who worked harder in their businesses—I did not mean harder than noble Lords here. But if they work harder they earn more in their businesses; and, in so far as they were working harder, they would make greater contribution in taxation and in saving to the community, and to that extent they would be serving the community.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I am afraid I paid the noble Lord too great a compliment in assuming that his remarks were relevant to this particular Resolution.
§ 3.32 p.m.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I welcome the reception that has been given to this Resolution by noble Lords, who have been at their most ingenious and have been most persuasive, hoping for better benefits to come. But I agree with my noble friend Lord Templewood. I think that we all dislike the idea of any sort of payment or expense remuneration or anything of the kind; and we want, in his words, to retain our amateur status. That is what I think this proposal is really designed to allow us to do. This proposal stands on its merits, irrespective of anything to do with the Reform of the House of Lords or any proposals that may follow, because, as the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition said, and as Lord Silkin repeated just now, there is clear evidence of hardship on certain people in doing a duty the responsibility for which is laid upon them by their membership of one of the Houses of Parliament. That situation is wrong, and it is an attempt to meet it that has given rise to this Resolution. The three guineas may or may not prove to be enough—I do not know; but the principle is established that the out-of-pocket expenses, which nobody can avoid—I care not on which side of the House he sits—can reasonably be met in this way.
The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, took the opportunity of the debate on this Resolution to make us a little speech about inflation. Well, he was perfectly entitled to do so if he could get: it in. In effect, I understood him to say that he would prefer a reduction in taxation, which would be of more benefit to your Lordships than this expense allowance. If he will have patience and sustain the Government in office he will get: both. Again, I find myself in agreement with my noble friend Lord Templewood, who said that we should not try to-day to define too closely what expenses will qualify—in other words, to try to say what expenses should be put down by a noble Lord who lives in the country, and what expenses should be put down by a noble Lord living in London. All noble Lords, wherever they live, incur considerable out-of-pocket expenses by reason of their membership of this House, and I should not therefore propose this afternoon to try to go any more closely into the definition of what should or should 782 not qualify. I would suggest to your Lordships that this grant of expense allowances will not be abused any more than the travel allowance has been abused by your Lordships.
I should like to go into the point raised by my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh as to whether we need go on with the assiduity qualification in respect of travel. I will have a word with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that point. But I am quite sure that this House will not abuse this provision, because if any noble Lord should be tempted to do so then the Committee of the Chief Whips will be a sufficiently formidable body to restrain him from ever doing so again. There is certainly no excuse, as my noble friend Lord Blackford has pointed out, for the article in the Sunday Press to which he referred. I think my noble friend Lord Conesford said that we have treated that in the proper way and kept it in perspective. But if the author of the article will introduce me to the girl whose entertainment would be covered by the expense allowance of your Lordships I should be glad to know her. So, my Lords, I would hope that, subject to the administration by the Committee of the Chief Whips of the Parties, we might agree to this Resolution to-day.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.