Treasury and Subordinate Departments.

Orders of the Day — Supply. – in the House of Commons at on 15 February 1929.

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Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, riot exceeding £437, he granted to H is Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1929, for the Salaries and other Expenses in the Department of His Majesty's Treasury and Subordinate Departments.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

Lord Onslow has been appointed Paymaster-General for the purpose of helping in the Debates while the Local Government Bill is being dealt with in the other House. This Supplementary Estimate is presented to the Committee because the post, which does not normally involve very substantial duties, has been shown in the Estimates as unpaid. Therefore it is necessary to lay this Estimate on the Table.

Mr. THOMAS:

I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.

This is the most amazing Estimate which has come before the Committee for a long time. A few years ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in announcing his Budget, proclaimed to the country in reply to pressure from his own side, and from outside the House, that as further evidence of their economy campaign the Government proposed to abolish two Ministries, the Department of Overseas Trade and the Ministry of Transport. Questions were put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to whether this proposal had received careful consideration, and whether he himself was satisfied that there was no further use for these Ministries, and the answer was, "Not only is it my view, but it is the considered view of the Cabinet." Since then nothing has happened. The Ministries are still in existence. The position of Paymaster-General was in existence at that time, but it was an unpaid position. It is an appointment which has been used by various Governments for various purposes. I notice that the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Health nods his head as acquiescing in that statement, but I have known it used for different purposes than those which, I think, he has in mind. I remember that it has been said that this was an easy portfolio, to be held by someone who could be a sort of Jack-of-all-trades.

The curious position, however, is that the Government, after having announced their intention to abolish two Ministerial positions, but having failed to do so, have now, towards the end of their life, decided that there is a new job for the occupant of the position of Paymaster-General, and that the position is now to be made a salaried one, though only temporarily and for one specific purpose. They have had to take this course, it seems, because there is no one in the other House who is capable of defending the Government. There can be no other explanation. The only object of making this a salaried position is that the Paymaster-General is to conduct the de-rating Bill through the other House. Is the right hon. Gentleman in a position to say that every effort was made to get someone in the other House to support the Bill, and are we to understand that there were no Ministers in the other House capable of dealing with it; or is the explanation that they all chucked up the job f At all events, we certainly do not accept the explanation which has been put forward.

We say that it is contrary to all the promises which have been made by the Government that at the end of their life they should come along with this proposal instead of abolishing Ministries and practising economy. Hitherto Conservative Governments have always been able to rely upon their friends in the other place taking up the required attitude towards any Measure, but now they have reached the stage where they have to pay someone to defend them there. We sympathise with them in their difficulty. I can quite understand that there are a number of Noble Peers who would refuse to touch this Bill. But while we can understand that reluctance, it is our duty to draw public attention to the fact that instead of abolishing Ministries the Government are creating this paid position for no other reason than to defend a Bill which nobody in the other place, I assume cares to touch.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

I have, much pleasure in supporting the reduction of this Vote. In doing so, I would say that I can understand the desirability of the person who may be chosen to defend the Local Government Bill in the House of Lords being paid a considerable sum. I think there are few people who would care to get up and defend by real argument and in a discussion this ill-founded, ramshackle pro- posal, which is, unfortunately, nearing the end of its career in this House. I have not noticed that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health has become thin and anaemic as the result of his attempt to defend the Bill here; but in another place it is quite possible that the defence will have to be conducted on sounder lines. In this House a great part of the Bill has never been discussed at all, and where inconvenient matters were likely to arise, it has been easy to have them brushed aside until the Guillotine fell. In another place it will be necessary to tackle each part of the Bill as it, comes along. For instance, the defence of the formula, which has never been made here, will have to be undertaken in another place; and perhaps an attempt will be made there to explain why the unemployed woman should count as only one-tenth of an unemployed man.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

(Mr. Dennis Herbert): I hope the hon. Member will resist the temptation to make a Third Reading speech about that Bill.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

I am quite aware that it would be improper for me to proceed at any length with my argument, which I was only touching on in order to illustrate the task which is being set to a Noble Lord in another place in defending this Bill. I was trying to ascertain how this salary would be earned. We are confronted with an attempt to do something which is somewhat new, that is to pay a man on piece-work for defending a Government Measure. It is one of the general methods adopted in this country that a salary should be paid to a Minister for looking after his Department and conducting the Debates in one of the chambers of the Legislature. Here we are specifying that certain work must he done for which a payment is to be made, and we seem to be getting down to the position of a lawyer's office. We are all familiar with the sort of letter one gets from a lawyer containing a long bill which may run something like this: Writing letter, 3s. 6d.Calling upon you, £1. And so on. It seems to me that this proposal is based on something of that kind. I notice that two months have elapsed since this salary began. So far there has been no defence of this particular Measure in the House of Lords, although £250 salary has been incurred since the 17th December. I will use a colloquialism, and suggest that an account might be made out as follows: To mugging up the Bill, £50.To reading the speeches of the Minister of Health, £40.To reading the speeches of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, £20.To reading speeches of Members of the Opposition, £150.To inquiring what are the real answers to the speeches of the Opposition, £50. Now I come to the actual defence of the Measure in another place. I suppose in that case it will be so much a day whether the Bill comes on for discussion or not, so much for getting up, and so much for each speech made. Of course, these payments will continue until the Bill passes through the House of Lords and receives the Royal Assent, and that means that the longer the Bill is delayed the larger will be the salary paid to this gentleman. Hon. Members opposite are fond of saying that in some trade unions it is customary for the workmen to go slowly in order that a job may be protracted. If this is the way the Government are going to deal with this matter, then they may be open to the charge that they are giving a salary, not for genuine services to the country, but simply for defending a particular Bill in a particular place.

Coming down to the more serious side of the question, I would like to ask: Is not this new procedure rather a scandal, and is it not a rather curious criticism of the friends of right hon. Gentlemen opposite in another place. If anyone sitting on this side of the House had got up and said to the Government: "You have such a contemptible lot in another place that you cannot trust a single one of them to defend this particular Bill," that would have been called an insult, and probably the hon. Member who made such a statement would have been called upon to withdraw it. Although hon. Members opposite are not making that statement in words, that is really what they are doing by this proposal. Without any doubt, they are practically saying that there is not a single member of the Government in another place capable of defending this Bill, and therefore we have to find a man and fee him at the rate of £125 a month either because there is no other man competent in another place or because this Bill is such an extraordinary piece of legislation that we must have a man specially for this purpose.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

This proposal entails many reflections. The first is: What is going to accrue to the present Paymaster-General? We know of a Paymaster-General in the eighteenth century who made a profit of over £1,000,000. This Vote for a salary of £1,500 is not only a reflection upon the methods of the Paymaster-General, but it is a double reflection upon the Conservative personnel in the House of Lords. This kind of thing would not have been possible if Lord Birkenhead had not flown to the City, think Lord Birkenhead's criticism about his colleagues and first-class brains is borne out by this Estimate. We have had this Bill explained and defended in this House, first of all by a Cabinet Minister, and then by a potential Cabinet Minister, and yet in the House of Lords a minor member of the Government is considered sufficient to defend it. The Minister of Health and the Parliamentary Secretary have had the assistance, not of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—they have done without him—but also the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Agriculture, and various other Ministers affected by the Bill. If the Government had desired to be economical, they might have sent the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health to the House of Lords as the Marquess of Woolwich, and then I am sure the Bill would have been fully explained. If the Paymaster-General in the House of Lords is capable of understanding and explaining 127 complicated Clauses and 12 Schedules, it seems to me that £1,500 cannot be called an extravagant salary. I cannot take the serious view of this question which has been taken by those sitting on the Treasury Bench. This money might be saved by sending the Parliamentary Secretary to the House of Lords to defend this Measure.

Mr. THOMAS:

I am hardly surprised that the easy method of disposing of people which the Liberal party has adopted has not commended itself to the Government.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

May I remind the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas), that the first thing the Labour Government did was to create five Peers, and to do that they were obliged to take men who had left the Liberal party? I am not suggesting that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, or the Government, should go outside their own ranks to bestow honours, but I am suggesting that they should select, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health to do the job to which he has given many months of hard work in this House, and in regard to which he has displayed such great ability. I think the Paymaster-General will find before he gets this Bill through another place that he will need some assistance in explaining to the other Chamber the complicated details of this pantechnicon of a Measure.

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

I only want to put one further point before the Committee. The work that is going to be done by the Paymaster-General will certainly be a great deal more adequate and less remunerative than that of his predecessors in this office two centuries ago. One may feel, also, that it will be at least equal in responsibility to the work of the two Ministers who together have been so ably conducting the Bill through the House of Commons. It must be recognised by the Committee that this is no passing requirement. The present payment, apparently, is simply to last for three and a half months, namely, to the end of March, but I suggest that there is an abiding need for this requirement, and that the need for an increase rather than a reduction is strongly supported by the precedent of the other Ministries which, at the present time are able to indulge in one Minister and two Under-Secretaries, or an Under-Secretary and a Financial Secretary, a practice which has already been recognised from time immemorial. Both the War Office and the Admiralty are thus privileged to have two Ministers of the rank of Under-Secretary, one of whom sits in this House and one in the other House.

It is a very useful provision, and it is one that seems to me to be required above all for the complicated and extraordinarily important work of the Min- istry of Health. If there is to be economy, as many of us wish there could be, in these as in other matters, I should have thought that there was a sufficient case for investigation as to whether this should not be made permanent, perhaps by reducing the number of Under-Secretaries at the War Office and at the Admiralty, and, instead, appointing one to represent the Ministry of Health. With that idea before me, I naturally support strongly this proposal, in view of the extremely important work that it represents at the present time in the Upper House, and accordingly, I shall oppose the Amendment.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Aberdeen North

There is so much unrecognised talent on the back benches opposite that I hope the Chief Whip has taken note of the plaintive and subtle support that he will get if he will create new Under-Secretaryships. If he will do that, I am perfectly certain that he will be able to constrain some of his followers to undertake the duties. With regard to this Vote, I should like the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to tell us whether it is intended that the office of Paymaster-General shall become a permanently paid post, or whether the salary is to terminate at the end of the proceedings on the Local Government Bill? [Interruption.] I do not think that we want any help from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health; the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is quite capable of answering my question, and I hope he will do so, because I do not want to take up the time of the Committee if the criticism is unjustified. May I ask him, is it proposed that the salary shall terminate with these duties, or that it shall persist? There does not seem to be any answer.

The other day there was a Debate in the House of Lords, in the course of which a question was put as to how many days would be required for the Bill. The Leader of the House said that a day or two would be required for the Second Reading, and a day or two for the Committee stage. If that be so, it seems to me that this sum of £437 is a substantial sum to pay to any Minister for defending a Bill in any House for only two or three days, especially when there are so many Ministers in the other House who presumably, within the limits of the leisure permitted to them by their existing offices, could take charge of Government business. I should like to ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury some further questions, and perhaps he would be good enough to indicate his assent or dissent by a gesture, because I have not been able to ascertain how many of these Noble Lords are paid and how many are not paid. I do not know whether there is any return on the subject, but we know of their existence, and these questions are often asked. Of the Noble Lords in the Upper House representing the Government at present, there is, first of all, the Lord Privy Seal. There are no duties attached to that office; may I ask whether he is a paid official? He is, of course, the Leader of the House, Lord Salisbury.

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

That is rather important.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Aberdeen North

Of course, but there are no duties attached to the office of Lord Privy Seal. Then there is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Since the return of the Foreign Secretary, the Chancellor of the Duchy has no duties to perform at the Foreign Office. Is he paid? He is a very capable defender of any Government Measure; would not he be available for this work? Then the Ministry of Agriculture is represented in the other House by a Noble Lord. Is he paid? Let me turn to other Noble Lords who seem to have even more leisure. There is the Lord Chamberlain. Could not he spare time for the four days required for this Bill? Then there is the Lord Steward. I do not know what onerous duties he performs it connection with his stewardship, but it may be supposed that he could pare an hour or two to take charge of the Measure. Ministers in this House who represent the Royal Household do perform arduous duties as Whips; why should not some of these Noble Lords defend these Bills if they receive salaries? Does the Lord Steward receive a salary? Perhaps the Financial Secretary can tell me. I am assuming that they all receive salaries; if there are any who do not, perhaps he will correct me. Otherwise, a substantial aggregate of money is being paid for merely ornamental duties in the other House.

There is the Master of the Horse. Why should he not do something? There are also other Noble Lords who would be eminently suited for this job, namely, Lords in Waiting, because they also serve. Then there is the Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms. Is he paid, and why should not he do a job of this sort? Then, again, there is a Noble Lord whose title I have not had time to write down—the Captain of the King's Bodyguard of Yeomen of the Guard. I am assuming, for lack of contradiction, that all of these Noble Lords are in receipt of salaries, which amount in the aggregate to tens of thousands of pounds every year, and yet it is necessary to revert, as was said by the hon. and gallant Member for St. Albans (Lieut.-Colonel Fremantle), to the practice of Lord Holland—I wonder that they did not go back to Sir Robert Walpole—and distribute these little titbits to supplement the resources of supporters of the Government. Could we not have an ex-Lord Chancellor who now earns a modicum by writing advertisements for foreign motor cars? I do suggest that, apart from its being a great joke, which it certainly is, it is a little bit of a scandal, and deserves some defence from the Government Benches.

Captain CROOKSHANK:

I think that the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. W. Benn), when he reads his speech, will think that, however amusing it may have been, his violent criticism of the other House is not quite worthy of him. There is one question which strikes me as requiring an answer from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and that is as to whether this Supplementary Vote involves an extra sum of £437, or whether it is merely a matter of accounting. It seems to me quite clear that it would be unfair that any Noble Lord holding office in one Department of the Government, who is asked to undertake a great deal more work, should be expected automatically for that reason to drop the salary which he has hitherto been enjoying. One understands something of accounting matters at the War Office, and it is quite possible that, in order to carry on the salary which the Noble Lord is to enjoy, an Estimate of this kind is required, although the net expenditure of the taxpayer is not in- creased. If we could have some consolation of that kind, we should be very glad.

Photo of Mr Arthur Ponsonby Mr Arthur Ponsonby , Sheffield, Brightside

I hope the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is going to reply, because this is rather a grave constitutional question, that the Government should be guilty of what is really a species of political corruption in giving special payment to a Noble Lord to do what they consider to be an ex tremely difficult bit of work for them. In addition to the salaried Lords, there are about 600 Peers who are supporters of the Government, and amongst them not one is to be found who would undertake this job and support the Government in a dilemma, although it was only for three or four days that they had to de it. The very sum specified in the Estimate rather savours of some bargain with the Noble Lord in question. It looks as though he wanted a little more for the job and he was cut down by the Treasury. At any rate, this will go out to the country as an instance of the extraordinary pass to which the Government have been brought and the methods they adopt at the last moment in a reckless way in order to carry them just to the end. The question we want an answer to has been asked more than once: whether this is a terminable sum of money, whether it is only given for this particular job and will terminate in the sum put down in the Estimate, or whether it is intended that the Paymaster-General shall be a salaried official.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The salary is for the specific purpose we are now discussing.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

Does that mean that the salary will terminate on the day the Bill passes, or is it intended to continue for some period beyond the life of the discussion of the Bill?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The salary is allocated to the Noble Lord who has been appointed for the purpose of assisting in the Debates on the Bill in the other House. When the duties connected with this matter terminate, no doubt the Noble Lord's salary will terminate. Underlying the pleasant irony of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) and the good-natured speeches on the other side, there was this suggestion, that no other Minister in the other House would accept this duty. Let us get down to the real facts. Lord Onslow has special specific knowledge and long-standing experience about these matters.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

Why does he not serve his country?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

He has served his country and he is still serving it. Up to the time when he was asked to take on this duty, he was Under-Secretary of State for War, and he surrendered his salary by taking over the position of Paymaster-General. For more than two years, from 1921 to 1923, he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health. He, therefore, has very considerable specific knowledge of local government and, further, he has been and still is, Chairman of the Royal Commission on Local Government. There are certain points embodied in the Bill which have arisen from recommendations of the Royal Commission and its Chairman, Lord Onslow himself, will be able to give such assistance as may be asked for about these points. Someone talked about corrupt bargains. I am sorry the hon. Gentleman used that expression. In 1916, the right hon. Gentleman the present Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) who was then Paymaster-General, was appointed, very properly and usefully, Labour adviser to the Government. A salary was then allocated to his Office of Paymaster. I make no hostile comment about it, let us be just and fair. If a man is doing a duty, he should be paid for it. When another man was doing a duty he was paid for it. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley was appointed, the salary was allocated not at £1,500 a year but at the rate of £2,000 a year.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

We are entitled to know exactly the terms of this appointment in the matter of the termination of the salary. The hon. Gentleman says, no doubt this and no doubt that, but no doubts are not good enough. Here is a payment at the rate of £1,500 a year. What period is it for? Is it going to terminate when the Bill is through another place, is it going to terminate on 31st March or is it going on as long as the Government can go on, which is next May, when another Government will succeed it?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I can answer that specifically. When the duties terminate, the pay will terminate. He will do certain duties, and it is only right that he should be paid while he is doing them.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

Will the duties terminate with the passage of the Bill or will they go on after its passage through the other place, and possibly after its passage into law?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The Prime Minister gave an answer on 10th December. He said: It has been decided, as a strictly temporary measure, to attach a salary of £1,500 per annum to the office of His Majesty's Paymaster-General. A Supplementary Estimate will be presented in due course."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th December, 1928; cols. 1700–1; Vol. 223.] That is the position.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

That was a perfectly proper answer at the time but now, on the Supplementary Estimate, we are entitled to know exactly when the salary will terminate, and the Financial Secretary cannot tell us. It is rather an abuse of the principles of the House that we are to pass this Vote and are not to be told what the word "temporary" means. "Temporary" may be all right in the original statement, but when the Supplementary Estimate is before us we ought to know precisely what it means, and the hon. Gentleman cannot tell us.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

On the question of termination I hope the hon. Gentleman will not be afraid that the precedent of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley will be followed in this case. If there is any question of termination, perhaps he will consult with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). As far is I remember, on that occasion the termination took place in a rather sudden fashion, and it would be an unfortunate thing if that should be held to be a precedent. At any rate, I think possibly we may rest assured that when the actual work for which this Noble Lord is appointed comes to a conclusion, he will also vacate the office for which we are now voting this money.

Photo of Mr Henry Charleton Mr Henry Charleton , Leeds South

I should not have risen but for the reference of the Finan- cial Secretary to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson). I would remind the Committee that the two cases are not parallel. Everyone knows that the right hon. Member for Burnley had to earn his living —[Interruption.] That is nothing to laugh about. If he was applying his whole time to the services of the country, it was quite right that the country should remunerate him, but in this case the Noble Lord in question is in a different category. [HON MEMBERS: "Why?"] For this reason. He is being paid for a specific job which has never been paid for before on these lines in the history of this Parliament. The nobility serves under the motto—I am afraid my Latin will not allow me to pronounce it properly in that language—"Rank has its obligations." I have always been impressed with that. We have always been told by the party opposite that the necessity for a Second Chamber was to prevent hasty legislation. No one will deny that the Local Government Bill has been hasty legislation. There never has been more hasty legislation in the memory of man and yet, apparently, the Government had to go hawking the job round the other Chamber in order to get somebody to take it on, and they had at last to pay a salary in order to get this Bill through the House. That is an entirely different job from the post taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley. I do not think the comparison is a right one, but what we on this side of the Committee want to see is the House of Lords abolished.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

There is certainly an impression in the country that Members of the other House are very willing, whenever Bills are passed on to them, to give their services for the purpose of furthering that legislation. But it is evident that when this Government have to send Bills to their—

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

The hon. Gentleman must not discuss the general usefulness or otherwise of the House of Lords.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

I could not, because could find no usefulness at all in them.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

I told the hon. Member that he must not discuss either their usefulness or otherwise.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

I shall not refer to that matter again, at any rate this morning, but reference has been made to the position taken up by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson), during the War period. I do not know that that is a precedent upon which this Government should act. I do not know why a salary was accepted for that position. I think it would have been far better if those who cared to take up those positions during the War had taken them without troubling about salary, or at any rate about receiving a salary from the Government, because that was what a great many other people did in the country at that time. Many of them are now in the ranks of the Labour party. But if this is the only example that the Government can find, they must indeed he very hard pressed at this moment. Why, in order to take this Bill through the other House they have been compelled to create a paid office in the place of an office that had been unpaid during recent times. They are now making it a paid office, so that they can count upon the services of the Noble Lord who will be able to devote himself to this particular Measure. It certainly will not look well in the country for the general public to realise that Members of the House of Lords have to receive payment before they will do their duty as legislators.

1.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

May I ask one other question? I gather that the Vote that is now being discussed is one which merely has reference to the English Bill, and to nothing else. Do I understand that the Noble Lord who is to undertake this work will also take over the discussion on the Scottish Bill? That seems to me a very important matter. As I understand it, and if I am rightly informed, the Scottish Bill consists of some 60 Clauses and 7 Schedules. Most of us who were present during the discussion in Committee last week, know full well what a daring thing it is for a Minister who is an Englishman or a Welshman to have a word to say on the subject. Is this Noble Lord to be initiated into the mysteries of Scottish Local Government and to take over the job of speaking for the Government on this matter? I see the Secretary of State for Scotland in his place, and it would be very interesting to know what the answer to my question really is.

Might I ask one other question in order to clear up a remark made by the Financial Secretary He made some reference to the post which was occupied by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) during the year 1916. I would like to know whether, as a matter of fact, in that year the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley, in addition to the actual post which he occupied in the Government was also a Member of the War Cabinet at that time? I would like to know whether this particular sum to which the Financial Secretary referred did in fact cover the extra responsibility which membership of the War Cabinet involved? It may be said that that is a mere detail, but it is one which, I think, is rather important. I would especially like to have an answer in regard to my question on the Scottish Bill.

Photo of Mr John Gilmour Mr John Gilmour , Glasgow Pollok

The Scottish Bill will be dealt with by one of the Scottish Peers who will speak for Scotland on behalf of the Government, but no doubt the Noble Lord will also give some assistance from his great knowledge of local government.

Mr. THOMAS:

The situation grows more amazing. First one Noble Lord is to be paid for defending this Bill. This, as I have already said, is because they cannot get anyone else to do it. But when it comes to Scotland, it is to be a half-time job. [Hori. MEMBERS: "No!"] It is to be a half-time job in the sense that there is to be a Scottish Peer without pay. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] It occurs to me that I canot conceive of an English Peer being paid and a Scottish Peer not being paid. But I am quite sure they will get over that difficulty. I would like to refer to the point which has been put by the Financial Secretary in regard to my right hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson). That has been used as a similar illustration. It could not have been used by anyone with any knowledge of the facts, because the facts were that my right hon. Friend was appointed with four others as a member of the War Cabinet. The salary he re- ceived was as a member of the War Cabinet pure and simple, nothing else, and it is important that the Financial Secretary should have that quite clear in his mind.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

I am glad that the Secretary of State for Scotland has come into this discussion, because the position is quite a peculiar one. There seems to be some doubt about the giving of the gift. To begin with, the Bill is of such a character that it requires some Peer specially to explain it. Since the English Bill is to have someone to explain it, I want to know whether the Scotsman who is to explain the Scottish Bill in the House of Lords is also going to receive a salary, and I want to know how much.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

That is not in order on this Supplementary Estimate.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

We are discussing the question whether—

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

The hon. Member need not repeat himself. There is nothing in the Estimate in reference to the point which he is now approching.

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

On a point of Order. Surely we are entitled to know whether the Minister who explains the Bill respecting Scotland is to be paid, seeing that it is part of the whole under taking.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

The question before the Committee is the salary of the Paymaster-General.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

Surely we are entitled to know what the salary covers?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

That may be so, but the hon. Member for Burslem (Mr. MacLaren) raised a point of Order which has nothing to do with the point on which I have called the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) to order.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

On a point of Order. In the English Bill there is Clause 127. That Clause applies to Scotland certain other Clauses, namely, Clause 76 (4) and Clause 125 of the English Bill, also Schedules 3 and 11 of the English Bill. The Secretary of State for Scotland will agree with me in that statement, because he gave me the information in an answer the other day. Are we not entitled to ask questions bearing on these four Clauses, one of which is a very large one, in the English Bill, and their bearing upon the Scottish Bill, and whether it will be the Paymaster-General, whose salary we are discussing, or some other Peer who will be paid in respect of the Scottish Bill?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

Order, order! Mr. Hardie.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

We were, in the first place, discussing on the Estimate the amount of money that was to be paid to someone who was to explain the Local Government Bill in the House of Lords. Then the fact was brought to light that because the Bill is in two parts, and one part refers to Scotland, someone in the House of Lords will take charge of the explanations on the Scottish Bill. Since money is to be paid to a Noble Lord who is to explain the English Bill, am I not in order in asking whether the same thing applies to the Noble Lord who is to be in charge of the Scottish Bill?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

This Estimate has no bearing upon any other Noble Lord.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

On a point of Order. I understood the Minister to say that a Scottish Peer would probably take charge of the Scottish Bill, but that the Paymaster-General would be there to assist. May I take it that while the Paymaster-General assists, the salary will cover the period of assistance?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

The hon. Member rose on a point of Order, but instead of that he has addressed a question to the Minister.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

A statement has been made by the Secretary of State for Scotland, and I should like to know whether when the Secretary of State for Scotland made that statement, seeing that there was nothing on the Estimate in regard to it, he was out of order. Will the right hon. Gentleman bring in another Estimate in order to deal with the payment for the getting through of the Scottish Bill in the Lords? If there is to be no other Estimate, how can the question be approached by the Secretary of State for Scotland? Otherwise, how could it be in order for the right hon. Gentleman to speak on an. Estimate which is not here?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

That is the point. That is what I have been suggesting to the hon. Member would not be in order for himself.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

That is why I brought my argument to this particular point, to show that the Secretary of State for Scotland when he made that statement was absolutely out or order. In the provisions that have been made for piloting through the Bill in the House of Lords, what are the provisions in regard to piloting through the Scottish Bill?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

The hon. Member must not return to that subject. The only question is the payment of the salary of a certain Member of the Government. It has been explained that that salary is in connection with certain work, and up to a point that is a legitimate subject of discussion; but the hon. Member must not ask what is the intention of the Government in regard to proceedings in the House of Lords not covered by this Estimate.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

Since the Bill is said to contain two sections, may I take it that the Scottish part is to be piloted through the House of Lords by one Noble Lord. If not, can we have an explanation? Since this Estimate refers to what is known as the English part of the Bill, may I ask what arrangements have been made in regard to piloting through the Scottish part?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

I must ask the hon. Member to devote himself to the Estimate before the Committee. He transgressed the Ruling on which I called him to order, and he must not repeat the same transgression.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

My point is that an English Lord is to be paid. I want to know why a Scottish Lord is not to be paid.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

A question has been asked as to how long a period this Vote covers the salary of a Noble Lord. If hon. Members opposite would take the trouble to look at the Estimate, and do a simple rule-of-three sum, they will find that the figure which we are discussing, namely, £437, carries the salary up to the 5th day of April.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

There is some confusion. I understood the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to say that this salary would lapse when the duties were done. I understood that the duties appertain to one Bill, namely, the English Bill. The Secretary of State for Scotland tells us that whilst Lord Onslow will not be responsible for the Scottish Bill, he will be there to assist, and I understood that the payment of the salary would continue during his service on the Scottish Bill. In that case, there is a plain contradiction between the two Ministers. If an English Peer is to be paid and a Scottish Peer explaining the Scottish Bill is not to be paid, it may embitter the relations between England and Scotland. I should like a plain statement as to when the duties of the Earl of Onslow will come to an end.

Question, "That a sum, not exceeding £337, be granted for the said Service," put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.