Mr. Vyvyan Adams:
On a point of Order. Will you, Sir Dennis, indicate which Amendments you propose to call? There is a good deal of overlapping in some of the Amendments on the Paper. For example, on page 1130 there are some Amendments relating to the payment of Law Officers, and I have, on page 1133, two new Clauses which might be deemed to overlap them.
There was an occasion quite recently, which doubtless hon. Members will remember, on which I did, under certain special circumstances, indicate at the beginning of the Debate what Amendments I was then proposing to call, but I do not think that that would be an advisable practice generally. I propose to deal with the Amendments on this occasion as they come. Of course, as the hon. Member says, there is a considerable amount of overlapping, and in those cases I must be guided partly perhaps by what may be the course of the Debate, but I shall select from a number of Amendments one which, I think, will enable all hon. Members who have similar Amendments on the Paper to put forward their views. The hon. Member will realise that in the case of this Amendment, which proposes to leave out "five" and to insert "four," the question which, according to the ordinary practice, I shall put to the Committee will be, "That the word 'five' stand part of the Clause," and anybody can vote against that Motion, on the ground that he wishes to substitute either "four," or "three," or "two," or "one." I therefore think the hon. Member must leave the Chair to deal with these matters when we come to them.
Before actually moving the Amendment which stands in my name, may I ask, in the light of what you have just said, Sir Dennis, whether
you intend that a rather general discussion should take place on this Amendment so as to cover the next three Amendments on the Paper:
In page1, line 12, to leave out "five thousand pounds," and to insert:
four thousand pounds with the addition of an allowance in respect of expenses of such amount as may be determined by the Treasury in each case.
In line 12, at the end, to insert:
except in the case of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, whose salary shall be five thousand pounds annually.
In page 2, line 1, to leave out paragraph (b), and to insert:
(b) to each of the remaining Ministers of the Crown named in Part I of the said Schedule and one Minister named in Part II of the said Schedule shall be three thousand pounds.
Yes, it would cover the next three Amendments on the Paper, so far, at any rate, as those Amendments are in order. The right hon. Member will probably realise that one is not in order.
I beg to move, in page 1, line 12, to leave out "five," and to insert "four."
This would mean that the basic salary of a Minister of Cabinet rank, instead of being £5,000 a year, would be £4,000, and I move the Amendment because it is the most convenient manner in which to express the views that we have formed about this Bill. The Bill is based upon the reports of two Committees, one of which sat in 1920 and the other in 1930, and the Amendment expresses our agreement with one of the main proposals of these Committees, the proposal, namely, that there should be an equalisation of Cabinet Ministers' salaries—so to speak, a rationalisation of them—in order to avoid the difficulties which occur at present when, owing to a change from one office to another, a Minister finds that his whole income has been at the same time altered. Many Ministers have met with this rather peculiar feature of the situation. If I may mention my own experience, I was, at the beginning of the Labour Administration, outside the Cabinet, and then, after some time, a fairly long time, I was admitted inside the Cabinet, and I thought I had got promotion. I was told that I was going to have two private secretaries instead of one and a great number of other privileges, but, as a matter of fact, when I went to the Library and looked up "Whitaker's Almanack" I found that my income had gone down by one-fifth. Therefore, I am bound to say that I am very favourably impressed by this feature of the reports of these two Committees.
On the other hand, we also agree with these Committees in their recommendation that this equalisation should take place by increasing certain salaries and correspondingly lowering others so that there shall be no increase in the total charge. On the Second Reading of the Bill I made this point, and the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, replying, said that the Committees did not make any such recommendation, and indeed he was supported by the Home Secretary, who had looked up the point during the Debate, but if the Home Secretary will read Recommendation No. 14 of the report of the Committee of 1920 and paragraph IV of the report of the Committee of 1930, he will see that as a matter of fact the attitude that we are taking up is the attitude recommended to the House by both these Committees, so I think the right hon. Gentleman will see that I was correct in my original statement. Our view, then, is that there is no necessity for the greater number of the larger salaries, and in particular our view is that there is no necessity on the part of the Law Officers for the continuation of this racket by which the legal members of the Government claim that they have a right to nearly four times the income of the Foreign Secretary or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and by which, although many anomalies are being corrected in this Bill and great expenditure is being embarked upon, they have succeeded in, so to speak, bluffing the Government into still maintaining a position which gives them a privilege that no other Minister is allowed to possess.
This whole question of the scale of Ministers' salaries cannot be determined by any kind of economic measure with parallel occupations or economic considerations. We are not discussing the question of the appointment of, say, the commercial manager of a large undertaking, in regard to which you ask what you have to pay to get a man of that capacity. That is not the kind of discussion on which we can enter here, because it is obvious that if you are asking what you have to pay to get certain offices filled, no man asks himself or takes into account whether, if he becomes a Cabinet Minister, he will obtain £4,000 or £5,000 a year, when he is considering whether to try to enter this House or when the electors are considering whether to send him to this House. You cannot measure this by any ordinary economic comparison. The fact is that this particular group of salaries is really a symbol of the whole national outlook upon the distribution of wealth, and the difference of view upon this matter is a difference in ideas and in attitude to the whole question of what the scale of distinctions of wealth should be. This £5,000 scale was laid down in the days when a Cabinet Minister was regarded as a social leader, when he had to live upon the standard that that salary entailed. Nowadays it is possible, and indeed proper, that a Cabinet Minister should, if he wishes, live on the same standard as a quite simple citizen. A number of Ministers in the last Labour administration had been living as private individuals in a humble way, and they continued to live in exactly the same way when in the Government. Ministers who made the least change in their mode of life were those who commanded the greatest respect. In order to maintain the standard of living such as I am now describing, it is not necessary to have any larger salary than £4,000.
There is another feature of the present proposal which is raised by this Amendment. The Bill will not remove the anomalies even after the money has been spent. It will not remove the difficulty, which the Prime Minister has explained, that occurs when he wishes to move a Minister from one office to another, and he finds that a Minister may have to take into consideration that his salary will be reduced. The Bill will not remove that anomaly. It will remain because the Bill takes no account of the wide difference in the range of expenses which the different Ministerial offices necessitate. There are a good many offices in the Cabinet where the Minister need not spend £10 a year. As for these Law Officers, who will not manage on less than £17,000 a year, they do not need to give any one a bun. On the contrary, they receive far more entertainment than they ever give. On the other hand, the Foreign Secretary has considerable expenses. With the forth-corning Coronation and the Imperial Conference, the Dominions and Colonial Secretaries will have expenses. The Secretary of State for India also will have expenses, and the same applies, no doubt, to the Ministers of the Service Departments. In fact, the Chancellor of the Exchequer happens to be one of the Ministers whose expenses are not by any means the largest, yet I notice that the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Snowden, wrote a letter to the "Times" two or three weeks ago in which he stated that actually the expenses of the office in entertainment and the expenses of maintaining the house involved him in £2,000 a year. There we get the difference again. When this Bill is passed, a Minister like the President of the Board of Education, if he lives on a scale on which there is nothing to prevent his living, it will be easy for him to save between £2,000 and £3,000 of his salary a year.
Yes, and that will leave him sufficient, if he lives on the scale of the ordinary professional man, to save £2,000 or £3,000. Surely a man can live on £1,200 a year. On the other hand, a Minister like the First Lord of the Admiralty, with an expensive house to maintain and a great deal of entertainment for which he is responsible, will not be able to save anything. The Bill does not correct the anomalies at which it is aimed, and the Government have made a mistake in taking the line of least resistance. They have simply put down the salary and have not confronted the difficulties of so arranging them that the expenses of the various offices are taken into account. While they are embarking on an expenditure of £37,000 a year they are still leaving unsolved anomalies which will reassert themselves once more in a few years.
My hon. Friends and I are supporting this Amendment, and we intend, if it is carried, to move to add special provisions for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, and to differentiate their salaries from those of the rank and file of the Cabinet. My right hon. Friend the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) said on the Second Reading of the Bill why he proposes that differentiation. I am not going to defend any particular figure. It is easy to say that the right salary for a Cabinet Minister is £3,000 or £4,000 or £5,000, but one could spend a considerable time in trying to arrive at the proper figure. While I recognise the public spirit of the Prime Minister in choosing this time for making a change upwards in the salaries of certain Ministers, particularly of the Prime Minister, I am not sure that this is the happiest moment for proposing considerable increases in the salaries of Members of the Government. It has been pointed out that whenever such proposals were put forward there would be critics who would argue that it was the wrong moment. On the other hand, the nation is conscious of a serious financial situation, and the need for collecting exceptional revenue to meet the demands of the public purse; and new experiments in taxation have to be embarked upon in order to make the financial position sound. At the same time, the cost of living is steadily rising and Income Tax is 5s. in the £. The public is, therefore, likely to be suspicious of Parliament embarking on extra expenditure for its servants, however efficient they may be.
We are, therefore, bound to examine these proposals very closely. It is especially a House of Commons matter, and the Government should feel that they ought to be guided by their fellow-Members in regard to it. There is no particular magic in the figures £5,000 or £4,000, but we have to select something. If we agree that there should be one standard rate, is there any reason why £4,000 should not be substituted for £5,000? We have had excellent Ministers, first-class men occupying posts at £2,000 a year. The Board of Education has never lacked capable Presidents. An hon. Friend beside me reminds me of the present holder of the office of Minister of Labour. Whatever faults the right hon. Gentleman may have, the whole House will recognise that he is very diligent in carrying out his duties at £2,000 a year. The Bill proposes to raise that salary to £5,000. That is really going beyond what is needed. It is true that a few members of the Cabinet would be sufferers if the Amendment were carried, but in the general well-being, and in the desire to throw money into the common pool in order to improve the position of some of their colleagues, I have no doubt they would accept it. The case is put forward that we have to recognise that £5,000 a year means much less than it did before the War when the salaries were fixed. It is argued that Income Tax is now 5s. instead of 1s. 2d. But that applies to every rank of life. It applies to judges, to people in business and occupations. We are common sufferers from the heavy standard of taxation. There is no argument for suggesting that because Income Tax is high we should increase the salaries of Ministers.
We are prepared to accept the principle of variation. We recognise that the Prime Minister has special responsibilities, and is entitled to an addition to the ordinary standard salary. We also think that the Foreign Secretary, having special responsibility and a special status in the Cabinet, and also the liability to entertain, especially at Geneva, in a way that the ordinary Cabinet Minister has not to do, should have a higher rate than his other colleagues. In reference to the selection of the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, we have a good reason for proposing that he should have a higher sum than other colleagues who are responsible for the Defence Services. It is to give him that authority which he at present lacks to control the other Ministers, that we propose that he should have a higher rate of salary.
Later on in the discussion we shall be able to discuss other points, but I do think that if the Government's proposals are to go through it is necessary that the public should know that we have due regard to economy and that at this time the increased salaries of Ministers are not unduly adding to the cost of government. Friends of mine have said that it is rather petty, at a time when we are thinking in millions, to quarrel over a sum totalling not much more than £30,000 a year, and that we should not grudge hard-worked Ministers a generous salary. But there is something very much more than that in this question. There is the effect on the public. When everybody is being asked to bear heavy burdens, this House ought not so considerably to add to the salaries of Ministers.
The Amendment proposed by my right hon. Friend is reasonable, and I hope the Government will consider it on its merits, without prejudice. I am sure that the Home Secretary will do so, for I know that he has made great financial sacrifices in order to hold his present post. The idea that it is necessary to pay large salaries in order to induce public men to occupy positions of responsibility has been disproved over and over again. It is common knowledge that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary could go to the courts of law and easily earn £20,000 a year. The late Lord Birkenhead sacrificed very lucrative work at the Bar in order to take the position of Secretary of State for India. As the jury of the nation, we should consider what is the right figure to pay to the Cabinet, and I feel sure that Ministers will look at our suggestions in a broad and tolerant way.
I rise only for the purpose of saying something that I might have said if I had interrupted the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I am not concerned with the general principle, which was settled on the Second Reading of the Bill, and I hope that no one will think that I am making any unfair comment on the speeches that have been made when I say that in effect we have had another Second Reading discussion. All the arguments that have been used are arguments for or against the principle of raising salaries. I rise for the purpose of correcting a wrong expression used by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He used the very interesting argument that we are not in fact levelling up the salaries of Cabinet Ministers, because it is impossible for the draftsman to devise any form of Bill which would equalise the salaries from the point of view of the expenses which the Ministers incur. Surely, the right hon. Gentleman has forgotten the Government Hospitality Fund. I do not know whether he realises or whether the Committee realise the extent to which that fund is used, and very properly used, for entertainment. I was in the House when the proposal for this fund was first brought forward, and there was very much the same sort of discussion then that we are having on this Bill. Some people said that it was an invidious principle to enable Ministers to entertain people at public expense. The fact was that up to the establishment of that fund Ministers had no public fund from which a penny could be spent for entertainments.
The Government Hospitality Fund deals with nearly all the cases of entertaining to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. The Foreign Secretary, the Colonial Secretary, the Dominions Secretary, give entertainments on a large scale, such as luncheons, dinners and receptions, at the expense, and very properly so, of the Government Hospitality Fund. Equally, I should not be surprised to hear that Ministers at conferences are provided with funds, perfectly properly, to provide for entertainment. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman cannot draw the differentiation which he sought to do. A great many offices which the right hon. Gentleman did not mention one might call the offices of internal administration. If his argument was sound in regard to the expenses incurred by certain Ministers in giving luncheons, dinners, and so on, it is as a question of policy just as important for the President of the Board of Trade, the President of the Board of Education, and the Minister of Agriculture as for the Ministers in the external offices.
Therefore, one cannot make differentiation, and we come back to the argument which I understand is the main argument of the Government that, broadly speaking, the fairest and the most just proposal is to pay the heads of the big administrative Departments the same salary, and to add to that principle one further charge upon the taxpayer, that is, to give a uniform salary for all Cabinet Ministers. The justification for this course may be understood if I give one personal reference. When I was Under-Secretary of State for India it was customary for the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, representing the Secretary of State in this House, to have access to practically all Cabinet papers. That was necessary in order to carry on his duties in this House. Seeing those papers, I came to the conclusion that to read and fully apprehend all the issues put before the Cabinet is in itself a whole-time job, apart from any Departmental administrative duties. For that reason I support the payment of £5,000 to all Cabinet Ministers. The right hon. Gentleman opposite dealt with the matter in a tactful manner, but I think he was wrong in drawing the distinctions that he did.
I do not want to interrupt the Noble Lord, but I think he is entirely wrong about the Government Hospitality Fund. That fund has been very carefully limited by the Treasury to giving hospitality on behalf of the Government, and it does not cover the hospitality which a Minister gives, although it is directly connected with his official duties. During the Administration of which I was a member there were held the India Round Table Conference and the Naval Conference, and in connection with those Conferences the Prime Minister at that time gave daily luncheons to, I should think, 20 or 25 people. Those were distinctly official luncheons involving great expenditure, and there is no breach of confidence in stating, because the matter was inquired into by the Committee which sat in 1930, that all that entertainment was not charged to the Government Hospitality Fund but was given by the Prime Minister, although it was for official purposes.
That does not affect my argument. The right hon. Gentleman's point, which I was answering, was that there ought to be a differentiation between certain Ministers who were compelled to give hospitality in connection with their official duties. He is now speaking of the Prime Minister.
It would be a pity if our discussion was concentrated on a subordinate matter. I might give my small contribution as to my own experience of expenses in discharge of ministerial duties. I should like briefly to state the view that the Government take on the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman, which has been supported by the hon. Baronet the Member for Bethnal Green, South-West (Sir P. Harris). The actual issue is whether as the standard Cabinet figure of salary we should take the figure of £5,000 or the figure of £4,000. Let me give a few reasons to show that there can be no doubt that we should keep as the standard figure the acceptable
figure of £5,000. That figure was accepted by the committees which investigated the matter. The right hon. Gentleman has made reference to a statement on this matter by the Prime Minister at the end of the Second Reading Debate. The statement was that the committee in 1920 and the committee in 1930 did not seek to depart from the standard figure of £5,000, but on the contrary confirmed it. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman will challenge that statement if he has looked with any care at the reports of the committees. I find from the report of the committee of 1920, in paragraph 9, the following:
Your committee recommend the following…1st Class at £5,000 per annum.
When I look at the First Schedule at the bottom of the same page, I find:
Class 1—Salary £5,000 per annum.
Then there is a list of the persons affected. When I turn to page 7, table E, reference is made to "Ministers in present Cabinet" whose salary would have to be raised to £5,000 if the suggested rates were adopted, that is, the rates recommended by the committee, and the rates are in each relevant case for the different Departments, £6,500 £5,000 for each Cabinet Minister, and £1,500 for each Under-Secretary. There is not the slightest doubt that the Prime Minister was perfectly right when he made his statement. He was right when he said that the committee of 1920 did not propose to depart from the standard salary of £5,000. Exactly the same thing is true of the committee of 1930, which approved the suggestions made in the report of the committee of 1920 as far as this matter was concerned. Therefore, there is no question whatever that no responsible committee that has ever looked into this subject has ever proposed that there should be a reduction of the standard salary of £5,000. Paragraph 14 in the report of the committee of 1920, refers to the totals at the bottom of page 6 under which, although you do not get strict equality, you do not get great disparity in total. My right hon. Friend and I may differ about many things but we shall not differ about the reading of a document when we look at it closely.
Seeing that these were the views of the committees of 1920 and 1930, is there any reason for our taking a different view now? If the proposition is that we must in no circumstances alter the total payment under the head of Ministerial salaries, in order to make it bigger, then if we are to agree that some people must have their salaries raised it does not necessarily follow that some other people must have their salaries lowered. I ventured to say on the Second Reading, that there is nothing sacrosanct about this particular proposal. Either £5,000 a year is the proper standard salary for a Cabinet Minister or it is not. If it is the proper standard salary, there can be no reason for reducing it because you want to put some other Cabinet Ministers on the standard salary.
It is well to remember when the standard salary of £5,000 first came into operation. It certainly has been the standard for more than a century. 1831 was the year when a good deal of revision work was done. In 1831 there was no Income Tax or Super-tax at all I know that all have to bear additional burdens. But on the question of whether the remuneration of a Cabinet Minister, which was fixed 100 years ago at £5,000, has now become too much, it is relevant to observe that what was really and truly £5,000 a hundred years ago is to-day £3,555 12s. 6d., on the assumption that he has a wife and no children and no reliefs. I therefore submit to the Committee that really on this issue we ought, without very long Debate, to come to the conclusion that the standard figure should be maintained.
I postpone any observations I might otherwise wish to make on the speech of the right hon. Gentleman about the remuneration of Law Officers until we come to the Amendment which deals with the matter specifically. I promise him that, when that time comes, if he wants an answer to some of the things he has said, he shall have it. In the meantime, I have only one other point to make. My Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) referred to the question whether some Ministers holding some offices are exposed to a heavier outlay in the proper discharge of their office than other Cabinet Ministers are. My Noble Friend referred very usefully to the Government Hospitality Fund, and I will tell the House of my experience from my own knowledge of the subject. It certainly is not the case that the Government Hospitality Fund covers all the outlay which the Cabinet Minister holding a particular office may think right and proper to incur. I think that on that point the right hon. Gentleman opposite was right to draw the distinction that, if the entertainment is entertainment on behalf of His Majesty's Government, it is met out of Government funds. There may be exceptional cases where the Government Hospitality Fund is quite properly drawn from, with the approval of the Treasury, but it certainly is not the case that the expenses that are incurred by a Minister, if he can afford it in connection with a particular office, in the nature of hospitality are drawn from that fund.
I think that possibly I gave a wrong impression. I said that I did not believe it possible to differentiate in the way the right hon. Gentleman opposite did. I claim that the Minister representing the Home Department is put —it may not be so spectacular—to just as much effort of the kind to which the right hon. Gentleman refers in the matter of legitimate hospitality as the Minister for external affairs.
I do not wish to argue the point, but, as it happens, I am not a bad witness. I have been Foreign Secretary, and I have been Home Secretary, and I have no doubt at all that the amount of outlay of this sort does vary quite substantially between Minister and Minister. I do not at all dispute the proposition that there is a certain amount which nearly every Minister is bound to regard as the proper thing to meet. The right hon. Gentleman below the Gangway put upon the Order Paper an Amendment proposing to deal more generously with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, and originally the Home Secretary. [Interruption.] I say it was on the Order Paper. [An HON. MEMBER: "It was a misprint."] I thought how nice it was of him, but on examining the Order Paper to-day, I find that he has changed the Amendment. I have been struck out of the list, and he has substituted the Foreign Secretary instead.
The first principle—and I hope that the Committee will be prepared to affirm it—is that, broadly speaking, we ought to get an equalisation of salary. The second question is as to what that amount should be. It has been said that we ought to have some method by which that can be provided not in the way of salary, but in the way of allowances or something of the kind. I doubt that method very much. It has a number of rather serious disadvantages. If it was an allowance, it would pay no tax; it would just be a lump sum without being liable to taxation. That might suit the recipient, but I do not think that it is a very good principle of finance, if you give allowances right and left which are exempt from tax. The second and very serious objection is that it is very difficult to see how you could fix that allowance, especially as the different offices vary. You could hardly hope in an Act of Parliament to put down in a schedule what the allowances should be for every office. It would be much too elaborate.
You would, therefore, have to provide some other means of fixing what the amount should be. I have very great difficulty in knowing how that should be done. It must depend upon the circumstances. One kind of man who holds an office with an allowance for expenses will be tempted perhaps to think that, if he spends the amount he is so given, he has done everything which he can possibly be called upon to do. That is not true. On the other hand, there is another kind of man who keeps very careful accounts, and who is extremely scrupulous where he has received an allowance for this purpose and has not used it. I do not believe that you get the best sort of service from public men in these matters if you treat them in that sort of way. You have to recognise that the salary should be one which should indicate the discharge of, no doubt, very onerous and sometimes very extensive work, and if you do that, you will probably maintain, on the whole, a better standard of public conduct, and will secure the public interest better than by any other system. But no system, I think, can be worse than a system by which you have a list of offices which are in fact, of equal importance but the salaries of which bear no relation to one another. That would make it extremely difficult to move people from one office to another without considering the financial circumstances of the persons concerned. Therefore, I ask the Committee, if they approve, to stand by the traditional, established standard Cabinet salary of £5,000 a year, and to reject the Amendment.
The issue of the Amendment is perfectly clear, and has hardly been touched upon by the Home Secretary. It is whether the Cabinet are to get this House to vote for the Cabinet more money, or whether they are to secure uniformity among the Cabinet by reducing some salaries and increasing others. The issue is whether the country is to find more money for right hon. Gentlemen opposite. An hon. Member behind me referred to the fact that this matter has come before the House and before Cabinets frequently in the past. It has always been postponed. It has always been the right, and, I think, the proper feeling of Cabinets in the past, that, if they made any change of this sort, it should not come into force in their own time, but should be postponed until after a subsequent General Election. That has been the position of Cabinets of both sides in the past. That decision was justified in the interests of this House and of the public. I should like very much to know from the right hon. Gentleman why the Cabinet are now raising their own salaries instead of, as previously, hoping that they might pass a Bill which would come into operation in the next Parliament.
That, of course, refers to the whole of the Bill. The point of the Amendment is, if it is carried that we shall get a new organisation of salaries which will not be liable to the charge that people have increased their own salaries. Every right hon. Member on the bench opposite has, over and over again, stated that at the present time there is no service which they could render to their country more important than seeing that democracy could work, that it was better, would produce better results and would retain the affection of the people better than other forms of government. The chief drawback to the Bill, as every hon. Member knows, is not that it is going to cost £39,000 or whatever it is, but that it will bring government by the people into contempt. The comments of the people in the country on this Measure are already pretty severe, but once you go to the country at an election, pointing out that the Government have increased their own salaries, have actually voted in the Lobby for an increase of their own salaries, you do great dis-service to democracy. Public service in this country is unpaid, this is about the only country where it is. Service in this House is unpaid. We get an allowance, it is true, but it barely covers the additional cost of living in London. Public service throughout the country is unpaid. There are men doing better work than us, better work, even, than many of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who are giving that service for nothing.
It seems to me, with due respect to you, Sir Dennis, that it is the gist of this Amendment. The Amendment raises the issue whether we are to spend more money on the administration of this country, or are to spend the same amount of money as now divided up in a different way between the recipients.
It is rather difficult on this main issue not to overstep your Ruling, Sir Dennis, but I will try to confine my argument to the question of reducing Cabinet Ministers' salaries from £5,000 a year to £4,000. The object of that proposal is that Ministers may be moved from one office to another without suffering inconvenience. The argument that it costs so much more to be a Cabinet Minister, that they could not not afford to take the office at £4,000 a year is, frankly, ridiculous. Candidates for posts in the Cabinet are innumerable. Those who arrive yet the "plums." The ques- tion is whether the value of those "plums" should be increased, and whether such an increase would be in the interests of this House and of democracy. We do not like place-men in this House. We do not want to have more Members here simply for what they can get out of it. The value of this House is in its unpaid service. The value of the Front Bench opposite is that Members sitting there are one of us. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Yes, all Members of Parliament are equal. All Members of Parliament sit in this House by reason of the fact that they represent some constituency in this country. Once you convert the Ministers of the Crown into a high-salaried body you injure this House and convert the Front Bench opposite into a branch of the Civil Service, like permanent officials in receipt of a salary, doing public work for pay, instead of doing public work for the benefit of the country.
I can imagine what Mr. Gladstone's fulminations would have been against the idea that Cabinet Ministers require more money. In his clay the idea of giving them £5,000 a year—or even £3,500 a year, which it comes to after deduction of taxation—would have shocked the country quite as much as the action of Ministers in proposing to raise their own salaries. We hear a great deal about the entertainment which a Cabinet Minister has to undertake. Believe me, Cabinet Ministers are entertained a great deal more than they entertain. The balance sheet to be struck on those lines would come out for them very well indeed. When I held office I saved all my salary, though it was not a big one. There is no difficulty in a Cabinet Minister maintaining exactly the sort of life which he maintained before he took office. There is the Government Hospitality Fund. If a Minister goes to Geneva, or visits Hitler, or makes any such expeditions, it is all at Government expense, and not at his own.
There is too much talk about this high cost of living for Cabinet Ministers. On this side of the House £5,000 a year is an undreamt-of godsend. If we voted a salary of £5,000 a year, my hon. Friend here would not spend it. What he would do, and quite rightly, would be to save it in order to provide himself with something when he left office. The difficulties of Cabinet Ministers when they go out of office are far greater than their diffi- culties when in office. If this Bill provided for the resuscitation of the old pensions scheme, under which there were 12 pensions of £2,000 or of £1,000 a year for ex-Ministers, that would serve the purpose better than raising salaries. Really, it all comes back to this: we are proposing to raise salaries now very largely because in the last 30 years we have prohibited Cabinet Ministers from holding directorships. I would ask the Committee to consider whether it would not be better that Ministers should hold directorships and thereby have an income independent of their official income, rather than that they should be dependent solely upon their salaries through being forced to give up their directorships if they take office.
I do not wish to press the point, but the question of £1,000 a year or a directorship is a very apposite one if the director of a railway company with £1,000 a year would not need an extra £1,000 a year as a Cabinet Minister. I protest to you, Sir Dennis, that there is no countervailing drawback to being a director of a railway company. He could not influence things in his own interest, as it would be well known that he was a director of the railway company.
It is rather difficult to bring us back to our own proper business when the Home Secretary evaded altogether the question at issue, which is whether we are to pay him and his colleagues £5,000 a year or £4,000. I maintain that all the arguments are in favour of £4,000 a year. The expenses of Cabinet Ministers are not an extravagant burden on their finances. My colleagues and I when in office did not spend all our salries; we saved most of the money —except certain Cabinet Ministers who made a mess of things. As to this vaunted hospitality, I have been in this House for 32 years and have never even been asked to a meal in Downing Street. Yet we are told that the burden of hospitality is so enormous. It is true that since the Debate the other day I have had an invitation to an entertainment at the Foreign Office, but that comes under the heading of Government Hospitality. I should be surprised if any right hon. Member opposite would dare to show their accounts in order to reveal how they have spent these very large sums on hospitality which no one discovers but themselves. I am against this Bill and in favour of this Amendment. First, I think it is immoral that Ministers should vote themselves an increase in salary. Secondly, I am against this Bill because the country is against it. Thirdly, I am against it because I consider it to be the worst blow to democracy that even a Conservative Government could compass.
I feel that it is unfortunate that private Members sitting on back benches should be asked at this time to decide questions of this kind. One would think that the payment of Ministers is eminently a question which should be agreed between the different parties in the House, and that increases of salary should not have to be carried by a party vote. I deplore the dilemma in which we are placed, and suggest to the Government that they might consider whether it would not be right, in the interests of the House and of themselves, to give private Members a free vote on the various questions arising. As to the Amendment before us, we do not get any guidance about the decision we should take from the Committee which sat in 1930 to inquire into the question. They merely carried forward a recital of the principal recommendations made by a committee which had sat in 1920 and refrained from making any observations on those recommendations, except to state that the time was not altogether opportune for dealing with this question and they hoped that the anomalies and inequalities might be dealt with at some future time. That is how the matter was left. The Committee in 1930 appeared to recognise that there were inequalities and anomalies, though they did not specify which they were, which ought to be remedied.
I think this is not the time to reduce the salaries of Cabinet Ministers. Their work is no less. Their requirements are greater probably, than they were in times past. If we are going to discuss the question of hospitality expenditure, it is an undoubted fact that the duties of Ministers entail upon them the provision of hospitality and entertainment which cannot be a charge on the Government Hospitality Fund, and the expenses in that respect do not tend to decrease. No doubt the expenses vary from year to year according to whether there is an Imperial Conference or a Coronation or jubilee celebrations. All matters of that kind entail on them expenses which cannot be brought into the public accounts. The decision which we have to make would be very much easier for us were it not for the implied coercion of the Government Whips. There are occasions when some of us are disposed to resent any appearance of pressure of that kind, though I do not class myself as one of those Members, because if I consider a matter to be one of principle I always vote one way or another, and I am not deterred by official pressure from taking the course which seems to me to be right.
With regard to the merits of the Amendment, I agree and so, I think, do most of the older Members of this Committee, that there are anomalies in salaries, and this Bill, if it is to provide a levelling of the salaries of Cabinet Ministers, should be a levelling up. The Amendment proposes a levelling down. I cannot support that Amendment, for the reasons which I have ventured to outline to the Committee. I urge upon the Government to let us have a free vote of the Committee, so that Members may themselves decide this matter.
The right hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) is not only one of the most experienced Members of this Committee but is one of the most faithful supporters of the Government, and I cannot but hope that his plea will receive the Government's earnest consideration. It would be more satisfactory, better for the House of Commons and better for the country, if this question were decided by a free vote than under pressure from the party Whips. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman said, and in saying it he was applauded from the Treasury Bench, that he would always say what he thought right irrespective of the pressure of the Whips; but we know that there are hon. Members who have not given to this subject the careful consideration which has been given to it by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in a lifetime of Parliamentary experience. Not a very large number of Members have been listening to the arguments which have been addressed to the Committee from both sides of the Chamber, and if the Government Whips are put on many Members will vote not on the merits of the question but largely oat of loyalty to the Government. I therefore associate myself with the plea which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has made that this issue should be decided by a free vote and that the Whips should be taken off.
Having listened to almost the whole of the Debate, I cannot help thinking that the Government have had very much the worse of the argument. The Home Secretary endeavoured, with his accustomed skill, to destroy the case made by the right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Front Opposition Bench, and who based his case partly upon the reports of the 1920 and 1930 Committees. I have read the reports of those Committees with care, and it seems clear that the interpretation of the right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Opposition Front Bench was more satisfactory than that of the Home Secretary.
I rather think he will say so when I have finished my speech. Perhaps the Home Secretary will be good enough to await the completion of my remarks before expressing an opinion on the views of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The 1920 Committee sat at a time of very high prices. Conditions then were very different from what they are now. Let us look at the recommendations which they made: They recommended that to 12 offices should be attached a salary of £5,000 a year. One of those offices was that of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, which no longer exists. There remain 11 offices to which the Committee recommended should be attached £5,000 a year. Then there were four other offices to which they recommended should be attached £3,000 a year, but £5,000 if the occupants of those offices were at the same time Members of the Cabinet. One of the offices is that of Postmaster-General, who is not now a Member of the Cabinet; so that, taking the Cabinet as it is at present constituted, there would be 14 offices to which would be attached, according to those recommendations, a salary of £5,000 a year. The Home Secretary did not refer to paragraph 8, in which we find a recommendation that the offices of First Lord of the Treasury, the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord President of the Council, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Ministers Without Portfolio should remain, but without any remuneration attached to them. The right hon. Gentleman did not mention that paragraph.
I mentioned what was relevant; that is a very different thing from mentioning what is irrelevant. What is relevant is the question: "Does the Committee of 1920 recommend a standard Cabinet salary of £5,000 a year?" No one can possibly have read the report with fairness and candour without saving that it does recommend a Cabinet standard of £5,000 a year. There are, of course, lots of other things in it.
No, I really must be allowed to complete an occasional sentence without interruption by the Secretary of State. I was saying that the issue before the Committee is whether the standard salary now should be £4,000 or £5,000 a year, and that it is relevant, to use the word which the Home Secretary quite properly used, to that issue, to consider what the total charge would have been if the recommendations of the 1920 Committee had been carried out and what it would be if the Government's recommendations were carried out; that is to say, if £5,000 a year were to be not only the standard charge but the salary paid to 21 or 22 Members of the Cabinet. I was just going to point this out when the Secretary of State tried to stop me before I got to the point, but I am not going to be put off by him. I am going on to point out that if those recommendations had been carried out, only 17 Members of the Cabinet at most would receive a salary of 5,000 a year. It is not the case that the Committee of 1920 recommended that all Members of the Cabinet should receive £5,000 a year. There were 15 Members who were to receive, under Classes I and II, £5,000. That included II—I am leaving out the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland—who were to receive it ex officio, and four more who would receive it if they were Members of the Cabinet. Then there were those sinecure offices which are dealt with in paragraph 8. In those cases, only £10,000 a year in all was to be paid. It was limited to that sum. It is not laid down in the recommendation that they were to receive equal salary, but if equal salaries were to be paid, only two holders of those offices could have been appointed to the Cabinet, at a salary of 5,000 a year.
I really must apologise for interrupting the right hon. Gentleman. I had not the slightest intention of doing so, but I must point out that he cannot have had as much time to read the report as I have had. Let me read to him one sentence, without any comment, from the report:
Your Committee have also agreed to the following recommendations:
(a) That all Members of the Cabinet, with the exception of the Prime Minister, should receive the same total salary, irrespective of the office held.
It is true that the Committee said that, but if the right hon. Gentleman goes on he will see how they applied that principle. They laid that down as the general principle, and they then went on to apply it in detail in the way which I have put it to the Committee. In what respect has my interpretation of their recommendations been inaccurate? On page it of the report are the II offices who are to receive 5,000 a year, and underneath it are the four offices, the occupants of which are to receive 5,000 a year only if they are members of the Cabinet; there is a note attached to it to that effect. In para- graph 8 are the sinecure offices, the total salary of which is to be not more than £10,000 a year. That is the way in which the Committee applied that general principle, and in fact it would have debarred the holders of more than 17 offices from receiving £5,000 a year.
I pass from the 1920 Committee to the 1930 Committee. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that the 1930 Committee had endorsed those recommendations. They only set them out. It is no good the Minister of Health shaking his head. I hold the 1930 report in my hand. It is not necessary for me to read it because every hon. Member can do so. The Committee's report set out a summary of the recommendations of the 1920 Committee. I will read their comment on them, which is as follows:
Since no action was taken on the report of 1920, the basis of remuneration remains unaltered. Your Committee have come to the conclusion that the existing scale of salaries is in some respects anomalous and in others inadequate, and that a proper adjustment would not involve any large increase of expenditure.
They go on:
Nevertheless they feel that the present time is inopportune for a general revision and hope that under more favourable conditions steps will be taken to remedy the defects to which the report of 1920 called attention.
Those of us who listened to the Chancellor of the Exchequer opening his Budget will hardly think that conditions to-day are any more favourable for a large increase of Ministerial salaries than when this committee reported in 1930.
I used the phrase in reference to the suggestion as to whether it was better to give an allowance instead of a salary. I explained to the Committee that on the whole it was better not to give an allowance. I thought that was the best method of dealing with this payment of public money.
I am very sorry if I misrepresented the right hon. Gentleman,
and I am much obliged to him for his explanation. All I can say is that I took the words down, and I am sorry if I used them in the wrong context. I apologise if I have quoted him in the wrong context, but these words were used by the Home Secretary:
Better standard of public conduct.
Those five words were used, but, as I now understand, in relation to allowances and not in relation to salaries. I demur altogether to the idea that the scale, either of salaries or of allowances, is going to affect the standard of public conduct in this country; I do not believe for one moment that it will. The right hon. Gentleman himself is a standing refutation of the argument. No salary that the House could vote could possibly affect his conduct, or make office more attractive to him; and he is not the only Member of the House to whom that applies. I do not believe it is true that the payment of salaries affects the honesty, integrity and ability of the service which Members of the House give when they enter the Government.
On the Second Reading I pointed out that the scale of salaries in France and in the United States of America, to take the other two great democracies, was lower, and in the case of France substantially lower, than in this country. The Prime Minister said that I was guilty of irresponsible conduct in using an argument of that kind, because the effect of under-payment might be to lower the standards of integrity in this country. I believe that idea to be wholly misconceived. If we cast our minds back over the history of the last 20 years in some other great countries, we can remember a certain scandal which staggered the world. I do not want to mention any names, but I think it will be in hon. Member's minds that there was a certain great Government scandal in another country, and the central figure of that scandal was paid a salary of no less than £15,000 a year. That shows how much there is in the idea that by paying bigger salaries you can protect the standards of your public life. I believe that idea to be wholly misconceived. I do not think for a moment that it would lower the standard of public life in this country if the normal salary for our Cabinet Ministers was £4,000 a year. I do not believe that a scale of salaries has any but a remote connection with the honesty and ability of our Cabinet Ministers.
There is just one point that I want to make in reply to what the Home Secretary said about an Amendment which we have on the Paper. I do not want to deal with it now; I should not be in order in doing so; I only want to answer what the Home Secretary said. Our intention was to exclude the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, for reasons which I gave in the Second Reading Debate, and to leave their salaries at £5,000. We make that suggestion for definite, positive reasons which I gave in the Second Reading Debate. We also propose to exclude the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, in order to assert his position as co-ordinating defence in relation to the heads of the Services. But, apart from these cases, we certainly think that a standard salary of £4,000 a year is ample. Indeed, we know that during the last 20 years we have got good service from Members of all parties in the House who have occupied the office of Minister of Labour and other offices where the salary was £2,000 a year. But we are not satisfied that that is enough, and I think that that is the general feeling all over the House. Here we have Cabinet Ministers who have been rendering these services for so many years for a salary of £2,000. We think that that should be doubled, and we say that, when it has been doubled, a standard of salary will have been fixed which should be ample for Cabinet Ministers, whatever their responsibilities. A time when heavy burdens are being placed upon the public, as they are under the present Budget—increasing burdens, as we have been warned they are likely to be—is not a time when the House of Commons should fix salaries on a lavish scale, and I suggest that the standard of £4,000 a year indicated in this Amendment is a standard of which the public would approve.
I support the Amendment. On the Second Reading my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) put very graphically to the House the point of view of those members of the Independent Labour Party who sit on this bench. We feel that these salaries are far too large. As re- gards the figure of £4,000, naturally we should choose it as against the figure of £5,000, but we believe that the figure of £4,000 also is greatly in excess of what is necessary. The Home Secretary says that this figure of £5,000 for the salary of a Cabinet Minister was fixed zoo years ago, and that there is no reason for reducing it now. But circumstances have changed very much in 100 years, and the responsibility of a Cabinet Minister, and the number of Cabinet Ministers, have varied very much in that period. One point that strikes me in connection with this matter is that the Minister of Transport is now in the Cabinet. Members of the Committee will recollect that he only came into the Cabinet because of the difficulties that the Prime Minister had in connection with the rearrangement that had to be made. It was felt that he ought to get some little compensation when the rearrangement was being made, and he is now put into the Cabinet class.
I speak subject to correction, but I think the Minister of Transport was not a member of the Cabinet at first. I think it is just possible that, when a rearrangement was made in that Government also, he may have got into the Cabinet as a little compensation because he was not made Lord Privy Seal. I think it was just a similar adventure on the part of the Labour Government, and I assure my hon. and gallant Friend that I did not give them very much support. The Mover of the Amendment pointed out that, if the sum were fixed, whether at £5,000 or £4,000, and then rearrangements were made and people were brought into the Cabinet, it would mean scaling down the incomes of some of those who were in the Cabinet, and so it might be a corrective in connection with this kind of rearrangement which was not due to the amount of work that was being done by the individuals concerned, but was simply because of particular party adjustments.
I am not sure whether, if we make the figure £5,000, it will be a permanent figure, or whether alterations will not be needed. I can visualise in the future the necessity for a little further rearrangement. The Ministry of Mines is becoming important. If the royalties are to be nationalised, is not the Minister of Mines going to get recognition by being taken into the Cabinet too? And so the process will go on, and the expense of the Cabinet will be increased more and more. I feel that we are paying far too much. I am not in the least impressed by the argument of the Home Secretary with regard to allowances as against salaries, and the difficulty of working them out. In the background of all this legislation there is the fact that these Ministers are the people who put the means test on the unemployed, and worked out scales of allowances. There was no difficulty about scales of allowances in that connection, and I cannot see why, when we are dealing with Cabinet Ministers who are getting thousands where the unemployed get pounds, allowances could not be arranged.
I have had experience in the House since 1922, with the exception of the last Parliament, and I have never been impressed by the stories that I heard with regard to the big sums that Ministers had to spend on entertaining. I believe that Ministers' entertaining is largely a myth. Indeed, in considering whether £5,000 or £.4,000 is the more adequate figure in regard to the extent to which Ministers entertain, I think one might put it the other way about, because there are so many people who are anxious to entertain a Cabinet Minister. I have been informed by some Cabinet Ministers with whom I have talked that one of their great difficulties is in dodging the invitations that they get. Consequently, I am not at all impressed by the argument with regard to entertaining. I know it may be said that they have to return these invitations, but they do not do it.
When we are speaking about the 5,000, or the £4,000, some hon. Member opposite immediately interjects that it is not really £5,000, or is not really £4,000, but is £3,500, or a similarly reduced sum in the case of the [4,000. I think that is a fatal way to take when hon. Members realise that it is they who impose taxes on other citizens in the country. I do not know exactly what is in their minds when they say it is only £3,500. They do not talk in that way about salaries of £5,000 a year for people outside. That really means £5,000 net, because people in the business world can pass the tax on to someone else, whereas the poor Cabinet Minister will not be able to put it on to the price of commodities. Ministers draw salaries and are, therefore, in a similar position to other individuals in the country. In view of the present situation with regard to taxation, and the position in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer finds himself, it is a shocking thing for Members of the Government to complain so bitterly about the taxes that apply to themselves when they are responsible for applying them to their fellow-citizens. I feel that £4,000 is much more than adequate, and the real figure for a Cabinet Minister should be much nearer what is paid to the ordinary Member of the House, with an allowance for any expense in carrying out the work of his Department. I believe these people are grossly overpaid, and I shall support the Amendment.
Mr. V. Adams:
I gave notice to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) that I was going to comment on what he said, but he has not been able to remain and listen to what I have to say. I thought that what he said was hardly consistent with the Amendment to which he and the hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) have put their names. He seemed to be arguing, in the early part of his speech, that all Members of the Cabinet, except four, should receive the same salary and those four should receive far less, if anything at all, whereas the Amendment says that all except four shall receive the same rate of pay and each of the four is to receive an extra £1,000 a year. I do not know whether the two hon. Baronets who have put their name to the Amendment wish us to support what they said or the Amendment. The hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green argued for the principle of variation. I think everyone will agree that in one case we must accept the principle of variation, and that is that of the man who carries the chief burden of the State, namely, the Prime Minister. He should receive a sum additional to that received by the ordinary member of the Cabinet.
The hon. Baronet went on to say that certain Members of the Cabinet should re- ceive extra payment, and he instanced the Foreign Secretary, who he said, for reasons which were quite obscure to me, enjoyed a special status in the Cabinet. In what respect does he enjoy a special status? I have always understood that all Members of the Cabinet are in the theory of our Constitution Members of the executive and are collectively responsible for the policy of the Government, domestic and foreign, at any particular moment, except I suppose when some of them, somewhat surprisingly and unconventionally, agree to differ. The Home Secretary established the case for the equalisation of a general Cabinet rate, but he and others who have spoken omitted to mention one particularly glaring case of inequality of remuneration. I refer to the Lord Chancellor.
I apologise, Sir, but I was under the impression that he was a Member of the Cabinet and was referred to as such in the terms of the Bill. I cannot understand on what principle the two hon. Baronets select the particular Members of the Cabinet whom they specify in their Amendment for extra payment. Surely the Minister of Health and the Minister of Labour carry a pretty considerable burden in the State. If times are reasonably good, I think they enjoy a far less comfortable time than, for example, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As the Minister of Labour is not present, I can say without the slightest vestige of offence that since his office was established it has been a political lethal chamber. It may be that it is only the outstanding qualities of the present occupant of the office that have enabled him to survive so long. Naturally, I wish him the best of good fortune, but it seems to me that, when you have an incomparably difficult office like that, with such tremendous social responsibilities, there is very little excuse for awarding a relatively lower rate, to the courageous occupant of a political death-trap.
I think I can inform the hon. Member that the reason why the Minister is fortunate in surviving is that he belongs to a hardier race than most Members of the House. He comes from Devon. Beyond that I should not like to endeavour to separate the various Ministers and say which are and which are not worth 5,000 a year. It seems to me that it is not for Members of Parliament to say which Minister shall be paid £5,000 and which £4,000. That is very largely a matter for the Government. I was extremely interested to hear the right hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) and the Home Secretary quoting at each other passages from one or two reports. They were both completely convinced that they were reading the arguments in the right way, and each was quite convinced that the other was wrong. I have always held that there is very little use in any report, or any Commission, except that it provides excellent ammunition to hurl across the House. We never had a better illustration of it than we have had to-day. It did not convince me a bit. I became somewhat unsettled in my mind when I found that for once in my life I was agreeing with the Leader of the Opposition. Shortly afterwards my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) also agreed with him. Their appeal was a very moderate one.
Here we are debating whether it is right at this particular time to raise the salaries of a large number of very excellent, very amiable—and possibly even more than that—members of the Front Bench. The appeal, which I think is a fair and a just one, is that if this is to secure the acceptance of the country it will be far better for the House of Commons to vote as private Members without any control from the authorities. After all, the money goes to the Government of the day, and they are voting it direct to themselves. We heard the Ruling from the Chair earlier in the day, but the man in the street does not understand House of Commons Rulings of that kind. A large number of taxpayers are being asked to accept additional burdens and it is a very inappropriate time to put extreme pressure on private Members, such as may be put on, to vote for this particular thing.
We heard earlier a most interesting discussion as to precisely how much various Ministers could count on their salaries to use for their own purposes and how much they might have to pay outside. It is a matter of almost common knowledge that there are many offices attached to the Crown whose occupants after a few years of office are worse off than if they had not accepted them. I find myself in grave difficulty with regard to the Amendment. I do not pretend that it is easy to say what the right sum should be, but for a very large number of Members of the Cabinet I do not think that £5,000 is too much. I think that £5,000 is the right figure for a large number of Members of the Cabinet, but not for all. I cannot for the life of me see why we should make all Cabinet Ministers equal.
The case for this increase has not been put forward on any sound argument such as an increase in the cost of living, but on the entirely unsound argument of the cost of taxation. How is the right hon. Gentleman to explain to other taxpayers that they must bear increased burdens when he uses that as an argument for giving some of his own colleagues in the Cabinet a higher salary? That is a hopeless argument. I hope some other hon. Member will help me out of my difficulty. I disagree with the Amendment—I have my own views on the matter. I should like to see certain Members of the Cabinet given this sum, but there are other Members of the Cabinet who, I think, should have a different amount. In these circumstances many of us are put in an extremely difficult position. If the Minister of Health is going to speak I hope he will not use the argument of the additional burden of taxation. Generally, the right hon. Gentleman is fairly sound, and I hope he will not use that particular argument. The right hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) said that at one stage in his interesting and varied career he thought he had obtained promotion when he went from one office to another and found that he had five secretaries instead of two.
I thought the right hon. Gentleman said five instead of two. At any rate, there was an increase in the number of secretaries. My point is that directly you raise the status of an office you automatically raise the standard of the whole staff of that office, not necessarily a salary increase. There is a tendency for all Government offices to-day to increase, quite regardless of the taxpayer. If we raise the salaries of the heads of Departments, surely there must be a tendency to increase that of the officials as well. I hope the Government will not insist on putting on the pressure they have the power to apply. I take very little notice of pressure of this kind, but there are certain people who have not perhaps attended the Debate who may be influenced. On a matter of this kind I cannot think it is right for the Government to use the ordinary method of procedure in the House. The right method is to leave it to a free vote of hon. Members. Many of us wish to pay Members of the Government well, but we do not think it is democratic for the Government to force hon. Members to vote a certain way on a question like this.
I should like to offer a few observations to the Committee on some of the speeches which have been made, and I hope to carry with me the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), whom I am sorry to see in such bad company this afternoon. Some observations which were made by the Select Committee which examined the question of the remuneration of Members of the Cabinet as long ago as 1830 are very applicable to the present case, and contained very sound advice.
There are probably few subjects open to more varieties of opinion than the precise amount of salary suited to any given office of government; and the Committee, disclaiming all pretensions to any infallible rule on a question necessarily so vague, will nevertheless submit some preliminary observations upon the general principles by which they have been governed in the conscientious discharge of an ungracious duty.
It is impossible not to recognise in its fullest extent the principle, that the people have a right to have their service done at the smallest possible expense consistent with its efficient performance. Whether public servants sit in Parliament or not, the principle is the same. The only justification for taxes of any sort, is either necessity or evident public utility. If, notwithstanding the consecutive gleanings of different committees of the House, any sinecures are still existing no time should be lost in abolishing them; and it will be seen in the course of this report, that the Committee have not failed to do their duty by more than one case of this description.
If any offices are overpaid they should be reformed. II any can be united with others with benefit to the public this useful species of economy should not be neglected
and several suggestions of this sort will be found in the evidence which it is not within the powers given to the Committee to follow up. In short, all departments of government should be watched with the same view to economy in general which any individual would apply to the management of his own affairs.
It is almost unnecessary to observe that these general principles do not lead to the absurd conclusion, sometimes imputed to them, that a willingness to accept low pay is any qualification for office. Economy, to deserve the name must be rational; and no consideration of mere money can be set in competition with the paramount evident necessity of securing for offices of great trust and confidence the highest class of intelligence and integrity. It has been frequently observed, and the observation being founded on truth and reason should never be lost sight of that offices in a free country should not be put beyond the reach of men of moderate fortune. If salaries should be fixed too low a monopoly would be created in the hands of the wealthy, the power of selection by the Crown would be most injuriously restricted, and the public would be deprived of the services of men of limited means, educated with a view to the pursuit of liberal professions, a class furnishing more than any other the talents and industry suited to official life.
It should be further considered, that the higher offices of government require an entire devotion of the whole time and attention of those who fill them; that their own private affairs must necessarily be neglected; and that if care should be taken on the one hand to avoid the scandal of private fortunes amassed at the public expense, it is neither for the interest nor for the honour of the country, on the other hand, that they should be ruined in its service.
I have one further quotation to make from the report which may interest some of my hon. Friends:
The Chancellor of the Exchequer who is necessarily one of the Lords of the Treasury, has at present, £5,398 a year, made up from different sources; he has also an official residence. This office being one of great trust and labour it is proposed to place it also in the First Class and assign to it a clear net salary of 5,000 a year doing away with the present complicated mode of payment.
As far as the Home Office is concerned they said:
The principal Secretary of State in this Department is reported to have derived in 1780 from his fees and emoluments the sum of £5,312 6s.8d., they subsequently increased considerably, and amounted in 1782 to £8,733 4s.3d.; out of which he had to pay about £1,500 for a portion of his clerks' salaries and for some tradesmen's bills. In 1795 this complicated and irregular mode of remuneration was put an end to and a fixed salary assigned to the office, of £6,000 a year. The Committee recommend that this sum be for the future further reduced to 5,000.
Apart from the actual figures, I think that the observations I have read to the Committee have a certain amount of truth to-day, and I cannot understand why hon. Members should seek to decry the examination of these matters made by the two committees, one in 1930 and the other in 1920. I do not think there can be any dispute, even by the right hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair), when I say that both these committees came to the general conclusion that in the first place it was desirable that all members of the Cabinet holding what is called in the report first-class offices should receive the same payment, and secondly, that that payment should be £5,000 a year.
On page 2 of the report the right hon. Member will see that one of their recommendations was:
That all members of the Cabinet, with the exception of the Prime Minister, should receive the same total salary irrespective of the office held.
That offices with the exception of those of the Prime Minister and the Law Officers should be classed as follows—First class at £5,000 per annum.
The right hon. Gentleman has made a mistake. He must look at the beginning of paragraph (3), where it says:
It may be convenient here to summarise the main recommendations made by the committee of 1920. Briefly they are as follows:
I am basing my case on paragraph (4) of that report:
Since no action was taken on the report of 1920, the basis of remuneration has remained unaltered. Your committee have come to the conclusion that the existing scale of salaries is in some respects anomalous and in others inadequate.
And having come to that conclusion they quoted the recommendation of the previous committee as what was likely to be done. The right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members opposite have asked why we do this now, and have said that this is certainly an inopportune time. I was very surprised to hear that observation from the right hon. Gentleman, for surely he must know that it was only on 25th March, 1936, that the House by a majority, including Members of his own party, passed the following resolution:
That, in the opinion of this House, the anomalies in the existing scale of ministerial salaries should be removed as soon as possible, that all members of the Cabinet, with the exception of the Prime Minister, should receive the same salary irrespective of the office held, that the salary of the Prime Minister should be increased, and that all offices held by Ministers should be classified on the lines recommended in 1920 by a Select Committee of this House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th March, 1936; col. 1313, Vol. 310.]
There is no doubt that the reference is to the £5,000 a year which was recommended by the 1920 Select Committee. I note that the first name in the "Ayes "list is the right hon. Sir F. Dyke Acland, who is no doubt an esteemed colleague of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal party.
I would point out that there is not any reference to the specific recommendations of those two committees in that resolution, and it is perfectly competent to interpret the resolution, with which I wholly agree, as meaning a general salary for all Ministers, except the Prime Minister, of £4,000.
The Select Committee in 1920 definitely recommended £5,000 a year. There is no doubt about that. I remember that one of my predecessors in my present office said that no man was worth more than £500 a year. Subsequently he received a salary of £5,000 a year. When lie was asked why, having made that previous statement, he was willing to receive a sum of £5,000 a year for that particular office, he gave what I think was a very good reply; he said: I have made inquiries and I find that those are the trade union terms for this office, and I am no blackleg." Therefore, resting on the expert examination of the two Committees of this House and resting upon the resolution which was passed by the House on a free vote on 25th March, 1936Ĥ consequent upon those proposals and that recommendation—the Government bring forward these proposals. The Government take full responsibility for this Bill and for putting the Clauses in, and ask the House to agree to them. For the reasons which I have given, I hope the Committee will now come to a decision on this particular matter.
This is the second time that this subject has been discussed by hon. Members, and I have listened as carefully as I could in order to hear some reason given as to why this Bill is necessary. From the history of the British House of Commons, I had always understood that when people aspired to do public service, the last thing in their minds was money. When reading hon. Member's speeches outside, one gathers that the last thing they want to do is to get money, but when they come to the House of Commons it seems that it is in order to get more than they earn elsewhere. I had always understood that the basis of British political life was to give public service because one loved to serve one's country. The last time I spoke on this matter, I pointed out the only fair basis upon which payments of any kind can be made. No one has yet given any proof of what is spent from arty salary given to a Front Bench man in carrying out his office. All people who render service ought to be paid for doing so. The difference between public service, such as that performed by a Member of Parliament, and service outside is that those who come to the House have offered their services to the public and the public have accepted them by giving Members a majority on votes. When hon. Members make speeches at elections, they will do anything if only they are returned to the House.
Let hon. Members reflect upon the honesty that underlies the suggestion I made. I suggested that all Members should have the same salary—I am not discussing how much it should be—and that Ministers who are supposed to have something special to do should have all the expenses attached to their offices paid by the offices, so that a Member appointed to position in the Government would have no financial responsibilities either for entertaining or anything else. All expenditure necessary in the carrying out of the work of the office would be paid directly by the office. Ministers would then be free of all these charges about making money, and they would not have to make the plea that they have to meet huge expenses because of their occupancy of the office. The question of allowances is open to the same charge, and would be dealt with simply by the suggestion I have made.
What happens when these salaries are attached to these offices? In those conditions one does not get the best brains. Outside the public service one has to pay for brains if one wants to employ them. At elections hon. Members offer their brains, if they have any, for the public service. They make promises that they do not do so because of the salaries or financial gain, but because of their love for their country; with great beatings, their hearts say, "I desire to serve my country." But when there is a change of Government, look at the disreputable scramble for offices. What is then the motive? Is it the desire to give brains to the service of the country for nothing? Not a bit. If all Members were paid the same salary there would gravitate to the Ministerial offices the best brains in the House. I know from experience in industry that when one wants special brains, one has to hunt for them. The people who are endowed with rare mental capacity are not those who are always scrambling and pushing, but are generally very modest people. Here we see the scramble going on.
If all Members were paid the same salaries, there would not be that scramble for office. The tendency would be that men who were most fitted for the positions would get them. Let hon. Members consider the Front Bench opposite, and see the misfits there. [Interruption.] I will prove it in a minute or two. It is often believed that any post in the Gov- ernment is open to any Member. It is not. Laymen cannot occupy two posts on the Front Bench because those posts are supposed to call for legal knowledge. The ordinary Member cannot approach the positions of Attorney-General or Solicitor-General unless he has the necessary qualifications; but any cloth jobber can be appointed to the highly technical post of Secretary for Mines. It is not considered necessary that there should be any skill attached to the office dealing with the safety of the miners underground.
I am dealing with the qualifications, which are connected with the claims made for payment. If £4,000 a year is to be justified, then the qualifications of the individual holding the position must justify it. Outside it is the qualification which is the basis of payment. If I can do so without going beyond your Ruling, I will give other instances. With regard to the post of Minister of Health, I wonder whether hon. Members know how many Departments are included under the Minister of Health. There are some Departments under the Minister of Health which a politician, Front Bench or Back Bench, has not visited for 60 years. How can any one man superintend 40, 50 or 60 Departments? It would take a lifetime to get to know all their technicalities. We ought to have a system of Government based upon utility and efficiency, instead of having this concentration with an Atlas who is supposed to be carrying the burdens of all upon his back. Now that we are discussing salaries and positions, why does not the Government make some division of this work? Let all hon. Members have the same salary, let the offices be divided up and instead of having back benchers kicking their heels in the Smoking Room and discussing the inefficiency of the Front Bench, let all hon. Members have something to do, in that way qualifying themselves to take part in the Government.
There is no business with which I have had anything to do which would for a moment consider as businesslike the way in which this House is run. It is the most unbusinesslike thing in the world. It is impossible even to organise the work that is to be done. A Minister is paid £5,000 a year, and when a simple back bencher puts a supplementary question, the Minister often has to say, "I must have notice of that, "which really means that he has no knowledge of the subject. Ministers should be in a position to give answers to questions that are put to them. That is the pride of a man who knows his job. If an engineer knows his job, he does not mind what questions are put to him on his particular job. The suggestions which I have made would give a basis not only for efficiency but for a great deal of that which is lacking in this House—independence. The Government shut the mouths of those who sit behind them. Hon. Members always have in their minds a hope that they may one day get on to the Front Bench, and that keeps a great many Members from saying what is in their minds. At elections they say they want only to serve the people, but they forget that when they come to the House. They are afraid of saying that which they said on the platform when they were elected because they might put something against their getting a seat on the Front Bench.
Captain A. Evans:
On a point of order. May I ask, especially in view of the large number of Amendments on the Paper, whether it is in order for the hon. Member to make a Second Reading speech on this occasion? Is it not the case that the principle has already been accepted and that the only question now under discussion is whether the figure shall be £4,000 or £5,000?
I will only say that I am sure the hon. and gallant Member who interrupted me does not run his business on the same lines as those on which the House of Commons is run. Payment should always be made for services rendered, but since all Members of Parliament are equal on election day, they ought to remain equal here, and whoever is called upon to fill one of these offices should feel that the honour of holding the office is payment for the services which he renders in it. The office itself ought to provide the means of meeting any expenses which are incurred pant. Thus, the question would not arise.
As one of the Committee which dealt with this matter in 1920, I would like to offer some observations. Much play has been made with the amount of the total extra cost involved in this increase of Ministerial salaries, and in that connection I wish to recall to hon. Members one point which was definitely in the minds of the 1920 Committee. It is not always the case that what appears in the report of a committee gives full expression to what that committee has thought on a particular subject, and the Committee in question had in view a consideration which so far has not been expressed in this Debate. They felt that the prestige and dignity of the office of a Cabinet Minister demanded that the salary attached to that office should not be less than £5,000 a year. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] That was the view of the Committee. They took evidence from every part of the House of Commons at that time. They considered what was paid in other countries and in other walks of life, and the opinion at which they arrived was that 5,000 a year was the lowest salary that Cabinet Ministers ought to have, in view of the prestige of their offices.
I was, unfortunately, prevented from hearing all the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair), but I understood his difficulty to be not that Cabinet Ministers were each to get £5,000 a year, but that the total cost of the increases would be higher than the sum which he desired to see fixed. From that point of view he would prefer to see each salary reduced to £4,000 a year in order to bring the total sum within the limit which he has in mind. Another view held by the 1920 committee was that it would be difficult for any Government to bring forward a Measure increasing their own salaries, and I have not the slightest doubt that the present Government have the same difficulty to face. The original idea of a revision of salaries came from the back benches, last year or the year before. At that time I, unfortunately, was incapacitaled from attending the House but I understand that the feeling was general that the time had arrived when this matter ought to be dealt with.
The question has also been raised in this discussion of the cost of living. That is a factor but only a small one. We are not considering the actual question of the cost of living of Members of the Cabinet. We are considering the question of what is an adequate salary for Members of the Government holding those high offices. It is now 17 years since this matter was considered by the Select Committee, and I think it is high time that it was finally settled. For the sake of the dignity and prestige of the House of Commons, we should cease to wrangle over the payment of comparatively small sums such as these, although in the aggregate the amount involved may be large. I hope, therefore, we shall bring this matter, which has for so long been outstanding, to a definite conclusion by placing Ministers of the Crown in such a position that they can feel that their offices are worth holding, both by reason of the character of the offices themselves, which is what they consider most, and also by reason of the salaries attached to them. I hope we shall have this matter put on a proper basis finally and for ever, by fixing salaries adequate to these offices, and the figure of £5,000 a year is that which was considered suitable by the 1920 committee.
The hon. Member for Southampton (Sir C. Barrie) has raised a question of the greatest magnitude. He seemed to suggest that the prestige of these offices depended upon the salaries attached to them. I think that is an absolutely false basis on which to proceed. It is obvious that the prestige and dignity of these offices do not depend at all upon the salaries attaching to them. The salary of the Lord Chancellor, for instance, is far higher than that of any Minister, and yet the prestige and dignity of that office are not as high as the prestige and dignity attaching to the office of Prime Minister, not to mention several other Ministerial offices. The salaries of the Law Officers of the Crown are immense compared with the salaries of other Ministers of the Crown, but the prestige and dignity of those offices is not measured by the salaries accruing from them. Every Member of this House knows the names of all the Cabinet Ministers and the posts which they occupy. How many Members know the salary which attaches to each office? That is not a point which would occur to any Member of the House in considering the relative importance and dignity of these positions. Moreover, outside this House it is not true to say that the dignity of various positions are dependent upon the remuneration. In connection with local authorities and other bodies outside there are positions of dignity, the prestige of which is entirely independent of any salary which may be paid in connection with them.
Is it not the case that local councillors are not paid salaries and that mayors and lord mayors as a rule receive salaries only in order to meet the expenses of the offices?
I think in most cases there are allowances made to those occupying positions which entail a certain amount of expense, just as Members of Parliament here are paid so much a year to cover expenses. The point is that the prestige of those offices does not and never did depend upon salary. It is extremely appropriate at the moment to recall, as the hon. Member for Southampton did, the fact that the 1920 Committee did not recommend that the Government then in office should raise their own salaries. They recommended that it should be done in such a way that the increases would only take effect later on. That was an admirable recommendation and I wish that the present Government had acted in that way. If they were going to raise these salaries they should, for the sake of the respect of people outside have done it in such a way that the new salaries would come into effect only when there was a new Government or when a new House of Commons had been elected. The hon. Member also expressed the hope that whatever arrangement was made now would be final and for ever. There are few things in this world of which that can be said, and once it has been shown that Governments can successfully raise their own salaries, there may be further proposals of the same kind:
Future Governments will have this precedent on which to work, and I think that, from the point of view of prestige and precedent, the proper thing to do would be to carry this Amendment. At least the Government ought not to put on the Whips on this occasion. They ought to leave Members free to vote as they wish on this extremely delicate matter. I remember the previous occasion referred to by the Minister of Health. The office which the right hon. Gentleman now holds was then that of President of the Local Government Board. I remember the proposal that the salaries of the President of the Local Government Board and I think of the President of the Board of Trade should be raised from £2,000 a year to £5,000 a year. A Division was taken in the House on that question and my right hon. Friend the Member for Gorton (Mr. Benn) reminds me that the two Ministers concerned did not vote in that Division, but remained out on the Terrace in order to be clear of any charge of voting for an increase in their own salaries.
All the precedents are in favour of that attitude towards any Measure in which Members are personally interested. I remember the question of directorships of railway companies arising when we were considering the Measure amalgamating the railway companies. There are countless questions on which Members, whether compelled to do so by the Chair or induced to do so by their own sense of right and wrong, have abstained from voting because their own interests were in some way concerned.
The Chairman gave a perfectly clear Ruling at the beginning of the Debate as to the rights of Members in voting on this occasion. It is for the right hon. Gentlemen whose salaries are affected to consider whether or not they will vote, as a matter of propriety, and we cannot discuss it.
That is what I hoped would be said, and I am perfectly certain that it will be acted upon. But it is far more important, I think, that the Government should not put on the Whips. There is no point in abstaining from voting yourself, if you force everybody else to vote. I think, therefore, that the Whips ought to be withdrawn on this occasion. I thank the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health who gave us a very courteous reply, but he did not touch on that point, and I hope he will agree that Members should be allowed to vote freely upon this occasion.
The Government are proposing to raise the salaries of Members of the Government. Members of the Government, like all Members of Parliament, are here to represent the people. Is it not peculiar that while the Government propose to raise their own salaries, they refuse to do anything to get an increase for the engineers and apprentices in Glasgow? An hon. Member opposite talked about the dignity of these offices. Is there not a dignity of human life which is greater than the dignity of office? Would the arguments which have been used here to-day be used by the same hon. Members with reference to the means test? Many of the arguments advanced in favour of raising Ministerial salaries could be used effectively in discussions which concern human life and human well-being in relation to the means test. Can anyone supply me with a weekly budget of how this money is to be spent? How much of it is to be spent on food and drink? [Interruption.] I can live even better in Russia than here, but I have a job to do here. In Russia, if I wanted to go to the opera or if any worker goes to the opera, he does not have to wait a day and a night in a queue in order to get into the gallery.
I am sorry, but I am always in the midst of temptation. I cannot understand how it is possible to spend this salary. How much goes in food and clothing? I am positive that the great bulk of this money goes in champagne. Very often medical men, after a thorough examination, give out a budget for the working class. We have had budgets presented time and time again in connection with the fight against the means test, but here we have £5,000 a year, or £100 a week, given. How is it spent? I am working in London and I am living here in London on a salary under £3 a week. But I am not in a state of declining health. And so I would like some Member of the Government who is pressing for this £5,000 to explain why he needs it. I am supporting £4,000; I am sorry that it is not very much less which is put forward. I would support the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) that there should be a common salary and that any necessary expenses should be met, but only necessary expenses. I would like the Minister of Health, who is so good at picking out things from the literature of the past, to read out something from the present and to get some of these authorities who can tell us all about calories and vitamins to give us a budget showing how this money is spent.
I guarantee that there is not a Member of the Government Front Bench—some of them I would not pay in buttons—who could get up and give an intelligent explanation of how this money is spent and so, whether the Whips are put on or not, in view of the conditions that exist in the country, in view of the wages which are being paid to workers—who are more important than Cabinet Ministers, because you can do without Cabinet Ministers but you cannot do without workers—and in view of the operation of the means test, I ask every Member of the House to vote for the Amendment, with regret that the amount suggested is not much less than £4,000.
All that can he said has been said in connection with this subject and a great deal of irrelevant matter has been introduced. I intend to vote against the £5,000 because as long as the great mass of the people are living in the gutter in poverty, I will never cast a vote in favour of £5,000 for Ministers.
The point I am putting is than 10 Cabinet Ministers are included in Schedule I. We are asking that the salary of each of these should be £4,000 instead of £5,000, and in the aggregate that makes a saving of £10,000. If you take off the Income Tax there would be a saving to the Exchequer of £7,500. That money would be better spent in other forms of relief. It does seem to me to be ridiculous to be paying these exorbitant salaries to men who, I believe, even if the amount were much less, would be glad to accept Cabinet rank. It is not the amount of money behind Cabinet rank; it is the honour. If in serving the country there is sufficient money behind it to give men a decent standard of life, there is no need
to ask the House to give Ministers more. Quite frankly, my hon. Friend the Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) asked: Could we be given any reason at all, by family or weekly budget, why this money was required? We are entitled to some explanation like that before we go to a vote. I hope that the hon. Members on the other side will realise that on an occasion like this they ought to exercise their discretion, and if they feel that £5,000 is too much, they should then vote for £4,000. They will not leave Ministers in poverty; Ministers will still be very well off; and there will be no complaints from them if they get that amount. I, for one, shall go into the Lobby to vote for the Amendment.
|Division No. 167.]||AYES.||[7.10 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Eastwood, J. F.||Leigh, Sir J.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Edge, Sir W.||Levy, T.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Ellis, Sir G.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Cal. J. J.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Elmley, Viscount||Loftus, P. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Entwistle, Sir C. F.||M'Connell, Sir J.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Fildes, Sir H.||McKie, J. H.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Findlay, Sir E.||Maclay, Hon. J. P.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Fleming, E. L.||Magnay, T.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Furness, S. N.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Ganzoni, Sir J.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.|
|Blindell, Sir J.||Gibson, C. G (Pudsey and Otley)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Gluckstein, L. H.||Markham, S. F.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Goldie, N. B.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Gower, Sir R. V.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gretton, Col Rt. Hon. J.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Grimston, R. V.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Bull, B. B.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radner)||Moreing, A. C.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)|
|Butler, R. A.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Hanbury, Sir C.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Cary, R. A.||Harbord, A.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Harvey, Sir G.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Peake, O.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Penny, Sir G.|
|Channon, H.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Perkins. W. R. D.|
|Chorlton, A. E. L||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Clarke, F. E. (Dartford)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Petherick, M.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Holmes, J. S.||Radford, E. A.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)||Hopkinson, A.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Crooke, J. S.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir R. S.||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Rowlands, G.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)|
|Dodd, J. S.||Keeling, E. H.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Drewe, C.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Duekworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Dugdale, Major T. L.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Selley, H. R.|
|Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Smith, L. W. (Hallam)||Thomas, J. P. L.||Wise, A. R.|
|Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Titchfield, Marquess of||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)||Turton, R. H.||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Spans, W. P.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Warrender, Sir V.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)||Waterhouse, Captain C.||Commander Southby and Sir Hen r|
|Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.||Morris-Jones.|
|Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)||Wells, S. R.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Petts, J.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Price, M. P.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hardie, G. D.||Ridley, G.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Riley, B.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Ritson, J.|
|Barr, J.||Hayday, A.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Rowson, G.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Broad, F. A.||Heldsworth, H.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Bromfield, W.||Hopkin, D.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Shinwell, E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Short, A.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Cassells, T.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Chater, D.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|dynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Stephen, C.|
|Daggar, G.||Lathan, G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Leach, W.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lee, F.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Leonard, W.||Thorne, W.|
|Ede, J. C.||Leslie, J. R.||Thurtle, E.|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Logan, D. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lunn, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Walkden, A. G.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||McEntee, V. La T.||Walker, J.|
|Foot, D. M.||McGhee, H. G.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Frankel, D.||McGovern, J.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Gallacher, W.||MacLaren, A.||Welsh, J. C|
|Gardner, B. W.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Whiteley, W.|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Mander, G. le M.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Marshall, F.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Mathers, G.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Gibbins, J.||Messer, F.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Montague, F.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Muff, G.|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Oliver, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsfey (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Paling, W.||Mr. Groves and Mr. Charleton.|
I beg to move, in page 2, line 2, to leave out "three thousand," and to insert "two thousand five hundred."
This Sub-section (2, b) deals with the salaries of second-class Ministers, who are set out in Part II of the Bill, but only with their salaries if they are not in the Cabinet. Under Clause 3 of the Bill any Cabinet Minister, whatever his office, takes £5,000 a year. If they are not in the Cabinet, these four officers are to get £3,000 a year under the Bill. They are the Lord President of the Council, who at present gets £2,000 a year; the Lord Privy Seal, who at present gets £2,000 a year; the Postmaster-General, who at present has £2,500 a year, and his salary would be the same under this Amend- ment; and the First Commissioner of Works, who gets £2,000 a year at the present time. These are being raised to £3,000 in any case and to £5,000 if they are in the Cabinet. In these circumstances, I think we must consider what work is attached to these offices, both when they are in the Cabinet and when they are not.
I will do so as far as possible. The Postmaster-General is now getting £2,500 a year, and he will be raised to £3,000. He is a very special case. He is not often in the Cabinet, and he certainly earns his money now, but I think the position certainly does not require any rise. If the Postmaster-General would give us penny postage, we might consider it. Then I come to the First Commissioner of Works, who is now paid £2,000. I am not quite certain who he is, but he is not a member of the Cabinet. In any case it is an extra-Cabinet job, and the question is whether the work that he does is worth £3,000 a year instead of £2,000. He is not a great Cabinet Minister directing the policy of the country; he is merely directing the Office of Works and paid to find me adequate accommodation. The other two offices are those of the Lord President of the Council and the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President of the Council, if he is to preside over the Council, will obviously be in Cabinet, but supposing he is not, what on earth are the functions of a Lord President of the Council who is not in the Cabinet and who will then receive £3,000 a year? He will not even be able to be a Minister without Portfolio. He is not in the Cabinet; he has not got a bureau. I suppose he has a private secretary paid by the State, but otherwise the post is a pure sinecure, without any work attached to it whatsoever. I think we might have asked the Lord President of the Council to be present here to-day to explain why he thinks that his salary should be raised from £2,000 to £3,000 a year, if he leaves the Cabinet and if he retains that office.
The functions of the Lord Privy Seal are interesting historically, but of less importance nowadays than they used to be. I do not suppose he has ever used the Privy Seal. In the old days the Lord Privy Seal was of great importance, but that was before the King's Secretary took all his work away from him. To-day, however, the office of the Lord Privy Seal is, like that of the Lord President of the Council, a complete sinecure if he is not in the Cabinet, and if he is, his salary will be like that of other Cabinet Ministers. If he is not, what is he to do? I suppose he might act for the Foreign Office at Geneva as has been the case in the past, but the job has nothing to do with the Privy Seal, and if it has to be paid for, it should be paid for out of the Foreign Office Vote in the ordinary way.
These posts that we are being asked to raise are all posts that could in any case be filled by people capable of performing them at the salaries which we are paying at the present time. They are some of them posts which are complete sinecures if the men are not in the Cabinet, and the excuse for raising their salaries is not based, as in the case of Cabinet Ministers, on frequent reports, but on the views of the present Government as to what is the proper pay that they should give themselves. Later on we shall see far more valuable Under-Secretaries paid lower salaries, and we shall see the unforunate Officers of the Household provided with salaries which are not sufficient to buy them their uniform, but they are left as they are. Why should these two particular sinecures be raised, and why is it found necessary to raise the pay of the Postmaster-General and the First Commissioner of Works when their work is being done adequately at the present time at the present salaries?
I do not want to say more than a sentence or two on this Amendment. I have my name, with the of my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), to what is the same Amendment in essence lower on the Paper, and, therefore I have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment that has been moved. It has been put so well from my point of view, and we have already had so many hours of discussion on what is, after all, something like the same principle, that I, personally, am willing to leave it there. It strikes me forcibly, though I could not possibly put it better than it was put by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), that unless officers like the Lord President of the Council and the Lord Privy Seal are in the Cabinet, in which case we are to decide about their salaries later, it is difficult indeed to justify their getting more than they get now. It is true, as my right hon. and gallant Friend said, when we come to realise it, that if we knew about the work actually done by these Ministers, except when they were in the Cabinet, we should find that there were several of the Under-Secretaries who were doing a good deal more work than they would naturally he asked to do. The point, however, is obvious and more or less consequential on what the Committee has already decided, so I will not detain the Committee longer upon it.
As the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said, the general point raised by this Amendment has been very fully discussed on the earlier Amendment. The scheme of the Bill is to arrange these offices in a hierarchy. We have dealt with Part I, which deals with those offices which under the Bill will now all get £5,000 a year, and we come now to Part II, to the second range of the hierarchy. The present Amendment does not, even in the mind of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved it, raise any real question of principle. The difference between £3,000 a year and £2,500 is one, no doubt, on which some people may think that £3,000 is the right figure and others that £2,500 is the right figure, but it does not raise a matter which is susceptible of very much argument. It is one on which people will have made up their minds one way or the other, and I do not, therefore, propose to detain the Committee upon it.
With regard to the Lord President of the Council, as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman said, he would almost certainly be in the Cabinet. He is put in this class because that is tile appropriate group, in our view, in which this office should come, but I think it would be very unlikely that he would not in fact be in the Cabinet. The Lord Privy Seal is an office which in recent times was held by the present Foreign Secretary, carrying out extremely important work at a time when he was not in the Cabinet. I think our general experience goes to show that no Government will have any difficulty in finding special work of government which can be performed, and usefully performed, by the holders of these offices which do not in themselves entail any great labour or work. Therefore, there is no difficulty in finding work for those who hold these offices if they are held by people outside the Cabinet. The work they are likely to perform is, in our view, work which would justly entitle them to be placed in this class. The Postmaster-General is not in the Cabinet, but he deals with a vast organisation and has heavy responsibilities placed upon his shoulders. It is a position that demands industry and ability. With regard to the First Commissioner of Works, we have had many recent examples of the kind of important and responsible work which falls on his shoulders, and those who care for the preservation of amenities and that side of the First Commissioner's labours should not grudge for the holders of that office the difference which we are discussing, namely, the difference between £2,500 and 3,000 in cases where they are not in the Cabinet.
Can we have one word more from the Attorney-General? It would be useful if we knew what sort of work the Lord President of the Council is engaged on now. If he is to have £3,000 a year we should be told the sort of things he is expected to do and what he is actually doing now. At the present time he is engaged on the Coronation. They are going to charge us 3s. 6d. for breakfast and 10s. 6d. for lunch without wines—
He ought to be here to explain his duties. If he wants a rise he should let us know what he is doing. The job on which he seems now to be engaged is keeping us out of the Abbey.
|Division No. 168.]||AYES.||[7.34 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Moreing, A. C.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Entwittle, Sir C. F.||Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Everard, W. L.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Fildes, Sir H.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H H.|
|Assheton, R.||Findlay, Sir E.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Fleming, E. L.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Furness, S. N.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Ganzoni, Sir J.||Peake, O.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle Thanet)||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsoy and Otley)||Penny, Sir G.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Gluckstein, L. H.||Parkins, W. R. D.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Gower, Sir R. V.||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Petherick, M.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Grant-Ferris, R.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Power, Sir J. C.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Grimston, R. V.||Radford, E. A.|
|Blindell, Sir J.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hanbury, Sir C.||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Harbord, A.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Brass, Sir W.||Harvey, Sir G.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rowlands, G.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Russell, Ft. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Bull, B. B.||Holmes, J. S.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J||Selley, H. R.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Hopkinson, A.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hort-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Cary, R. A.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Channon, H.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Keeling, E. H.||Spens, W. P.|
|Clarke, F. E. (Dartford)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Stanley, Rt. Hen. Lord (Fylde)|
|Carry, Sir Reginald||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Leigh, Sir J.||Stuart, Lord C. Criohton- (N'thw'h)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)||Levy, T.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Crooke, J. S.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Loftus, P. C.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||M'Connell, Sir J.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||McKie, J. H.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Maclay, Hon. J. P.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Dodd, J. S.||Magnay, T.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Doland, G. F.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Wells, S. R.|
|Drewe, C.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Margessan, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Dugdale, Major T. L.||Markham, S. F.||Wise, A. R.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Wood, Rt. Han. Sir Kingsley|
|Dunglass, Lord||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)|
|Edge, Sir W.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||and Commander Southby.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Daggar, G.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)|
|Banfield, J. W.||Ede, J. C.||Groves, T. E.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Hardie, G. D.|
|Barr, J.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Harris, Sir P. A.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Foot, D. M.||Hayday, A.|
|Broad, F. A.||Frankel, D.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)|
|Bromfield, W.||Gallacher, W.||Holdsworth, H.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Gardner, B. W.||Hopkin, D.|
|Cassells, T.||Garro Jones, G. M.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)|
|Chater, D.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)|
|Cluse, W. S.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Gibbins, J.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Cove, W. G.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hen. T.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon, G.||Muff, G.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Lathan, G.||Oliver, G. H.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Leach, W.||Paling, W.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Lee, F.||Parkinson, J. A.||Thorne, W.|
|Leonard, W.||Potts, J.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Leslie, J. R.||Price, M. P.||Viant, S. P.|
|Logan, D. Q.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Walker, J.|
|Lunn, W.||Riley, B.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Ritson, J.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|McGhee, H. G||Rowson, G.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|McGovern, J.||Sanders, W. S.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|MacLaren, A.||Seely, Sir H. M.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Sexton, T. M.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Mander, G. le M.||Shinwell, E.||Woods, G. S. (Fintbury)|
|Marshall, F.||Short, A.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Milner, Major J.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Montague, F.||Smith, E. (Stoke)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.|
I beg to move, in page 2, line 6, at the end, to insert:
(2) The annual salaries payable to the Lord Chancellor, the Attorney-General, and the Solicitor-General shall be reduced—
I am sure that I shall secure the applause of Members of all parties in moving this Amendment, which covers ground not touched by previous Amendments. The Amendment proposes to reduce the salary of the Lord Chancellor from £10,000 to £5,000, that of the Attorney-General from £4,500 to £4,000, and that of the Solicitor-General from £4,000 to £3,000. I have been a trade union negotiator for many years and I feel therefore quite at home in suggesting this Amendment. Two Select Committees have dealt with this specific problem, and the 1920 Committee recommended that the salary of the Lord Chancellor should be £5,000, namely, that of a first-class Minister. I shall base most of my argument upon that recommendation. The other suggestions and recommendations of these two committees relating to the Law Officers were implemented some years ago, but the one that the Lord Chancellor's salary should be £5,000 has not been implemented yet. Consequently, we find that the salary of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor in this Bill are to be the same, namely, £10,000. I have been in this House for a number of years, and on occasions I have been in the other place to see what the Lord Chancellor has been doing—not that I have any hopes of reaching there myself
or any desires in that way. I do not think from the little I know of these elevated positions that the Lord Chancellor's office warrants as much salary as is paid to the Prime Minister. That is my second point, that I do not think we ought to rate any person who sits in the other place at as high a salary as the Prime Minister, who sits with us in the House of Commons and carries such heavy burdens.
Now I come to what is, perhaps, more delicate ground still when I touch upon the salaries of the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General. We are not proposing to reduce their salaries very much, but we let one down a little more gently than the other. We propose that the Attorney-General should have a reduction of £500 and the Solicitor-General a reduction of £1,000. Speaking as a layman, with very little knowledge of the law, I have been interested in the argument often used outside and in this House that gentlemen who occupy the positions of Law Officers of the Crown can earn in private practice anything from £20,000 up to £30,000 a year, and that they give up these large emoluments to serve the State for a much smaller sum. A lust for martyrdom is apparently felt by everyone who accepts the position of Law Officer of the Crown. I have a feeling, however, that those earnings are exaggerated, and sometimes for dubious purposes.
There is this to be said in favour of the position which the Law Officers of the Crown occupy. When they come to these posts they can rely upon at least three or four years' security of employment. They have holidays with pay. They have salary during sickness, which they do not enjoy when they are in private practice. I think it is true to say that when a barrister falls ill, and some of them may be ill for months, his income stops. That cannot be said when he takes up a position as a Law Officer of the Crown. But there is a still more important point, and that is that they do not, like Cabinet Ministers, rely entirely on their salaries; they have other emoluments. Therefore, we are not speaking in terms of salaries of £4,000, £5,000 or even £10,000 a year. The combined salaries and emoluments of a Law Officer may go up to a score of thousands of pounds.
Our Amendment is based in some measure on the fact that these learned gentlemen do not subsist exclusively on the amount they receive as salary. In one year the Attorney-General received £19,513. That was in the year 1920, when the first Select Committee dealt with the matter. In 1936, the Attorney-General received £12,519, or £2,519 more than is to be paid to the Prime Minister of the greatest Empire in the world; an Empire, by the way, upon which the sun never sets, and in which wages seldom rise. The emoluments of the Solicitor-General last year were not £5,000 nor £8,000, but £10,006, which is £6 more than the Prime Minister will get under this Bill.
I do not understand the difference between the treatment meted out to these learned Gentlemen and those who do exactly the same work in Scotland. I understand that the Lord Advocate does not receive any emoluments at all apart from his salary. Under the Bill the Secretary of State for Scotland is to be placed in a Cabinet position at £5,000 a year. If it is right to equalise the salary of the Secretary of State for Scotland upwards with that of other Cabinet Ministers in England, how comes it that we are not entitled to equalise downwards and bring the remuneration of the Law Officers of the Crown in this country to that of the Lord Advocate?
They were not these Gentlemen. The Noble Lord the Member for
Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) waxed very eloquent on this subject the other day. He said:
A great tirade against the salaries of the Law Officers was delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal party. I remember congratulating a Member of the House on having become a Law Officer, and his answer was: 'It is all very well, but I have halved my salary by so doing.' When he became Lord Chancellor I congratulated him again, and he replied in the same terms: It is all very well, but I have halved my salary once again.'
I suppose if he had been elevated one stage higher he would have been working for nothing. Irrespective of our views on the value of the Law Officers of the Crown, I am firmly of opinion that it is anomalous that in Scotland the Lord Advocate should have no emoluments beyond his salary and in this country the Law Officers should receive them. I believe the Lord Advocate is entitled under the Constitution to carry on his private practice, but he has the decency not to do so. That is not the first time that the decencies of Scotland have been of a higher quality than those of either England or Wales. If there had been a Welsh Lord Advocate the standard would obviously be higher still. It does appear strange to the ordinary citizen that a person who is a Law Officer of the Crown, sitting in this House, should secure more for his services than even the Prime Minister. I do not think that is good enough.
I do not represent the interests of the legal profession in this House, and I am not going to say anything about the Law Officers of the Crown, who are present and able to explain their own position. I am, however, a little critical about the first part of the Amendment with respect to the Lord Chancellor. If the intention is to reduce all the emoluments which the Lord Chancellor gets to £5,000, a rather anomalous position will be created, because the Lord Chancellor, as head of the law in this country, will get £5,000 and will be reduced to the level in salary of a High Court Judge, whether of the King's Bench or the Chancery Division, and there will be other luminaries like the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary who will be getting more than their own superior. If, on the other hand, it is intended that the £4,000, which is, strictly speaking, paid to the Lord Chancellor as Speaker of the other House, is to be left untouched, then he will be receiving, with the proposed £5,000, a total sum of £9,000. That would mean only a reduction of £1,000, and it is a comparatively small matter. My authority is Whitakers' Almanack, which divides the salary of £6,000 paid to the Lord Chancellor in his legal capacity from the £4,000 paid as Speaker of the other House. I call attention to this matter because my distance from the Woolsack is sufficiently great to make it clear that I am disinterested.
Mr. V. Adams:
I have a new Clause down, which proposes that the Lord Chancellor should receive an annual inclusive salary of £6,000. It may be that I shall not be allowed to move that Clause, owing to some difficulties of procedure, and therefore I should like to speak now. I think that £6,000 would have been the better sum to have put in the Amendment which has been proposed. At present the Lord Chancellor receives a total inclusive sum of £10,000, made up of £4,000 as Speaker of the House of Lords and £6,000 from the Consolidated Fund. It has always astounded me why the Lord Chancellor should have been treated so long as being worth double the amount that the Prime Minister receives, and I am surprised now that he should be allowed to remain on a level with the man who will carry the burden which this and future Prime Ministers will have to sustain. If you examine the activities and the duties of the Lord Chancellor, as everybody in this Committee is well aware, the other place sits for only a fraction of the time during which we in this House sit, and, therefore, it is very difficult to understand why he enjoys a subvention as Speaker of the House of Lords.
The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) made a speech which entertained the whole House, but I hope that he will not think that I am offensive when I say the matter of the payment of the Law Officers should be treated very seriously indeed. I have always regarded it as one of the most objectionable features in our public life. When the hon. Member for Westhoughton said that the payment or re- muneration of the Law Officers amounted to scores of thousands of pounds, he may have been stretching the long bow as regards a single year, but if you stretch the calculation over comparatively short periods of time you get astronomical figures. If you take the total emoluments in terms of salaries and fees over the last 10 years enjoyed by the two English Law Officers —the Attorney-General and the SolicitorGeneral—you get a total sum which considerably exceeds £250,000. The only argument that has ever commanded a single scintilla of respect is that, unless you spoil the Law Officers of the Crown, you will not secure the best men.
In parenthesis let me say to my hon. and learned Friends on the Front Bench that nothing I now say is to be regarded, by any stretch of the imagination, in the nature of a personal attack upon them. I object strongly to the system by which the Law Officers are at present remunerated. The idea that it is only so that you can get the best men always seems a perfectly grotesque argument. It always pays a barrister-at-law to become a Law Officer. The Law Officer does not professionally perish and come to a fearful end when he ceases to hold his law officership. Ex-Law Officers are always with us. They may become Ministers of the Crown in the Cabinet. Many of them —those of great and outstanding efficiency —have subsequently occupied great offices of State. The Home Secretary, who is sitting on the Front Bench, is a conspicuous, distinguished, and indeed, a brilliant example. Not only can they hope to become Cabinet Ministers, but they have the reversion of the Lord Chancellorship, the Lord Chief Justice-ship, the Mastership of the Rolls and the Presidency of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Divisions. Those, in the vernacular, are regarded as the plums of the judicial and legal profession. If the worst comes to the worst, they return to their private practices at the Bar, and carry on their backs the best advertisement in the world—that of having been a Law Officer of the Crown.
Can you by any stretch of the imagination apply this argument, which is the only argument worth listening to with any respect whatever, to any of the other Ministers? Has the temptation to concentrate on commerce ever deterred Chan- cellors of the Exchequer and Presidents Of the Board of Trade from sustaining their high office with a reasonable competence? If we look back over the last century we see a number of illustrious names on the scroll of those offices. The holders of those honourable offices would, if they had directed their energies into different channels, have been able to command in the commercial world outside vast salaries and remunerations. I need merely mention such names as Gladstone, Chamberlain, Graham and Bonar Law. What a miserable sense of public duty would animate men who could only be bribed to accept so fruitful an office by remuneration three or four times as much as that which the Prime Minister has been enjoying hitherto.
It is true to say that the work of the Law Officers is necessary work, but with very great respect, it is riot work of the highest order, and not comparable, for example, with the work which has to be discharged by a single holder of Cabinet office. The Attorney-General can, as things are, reasonably expect to receive remuneration amounting to 50 times as much as an ordinary private Member of this House. Our work, as ordinary backbenchers, may be richly rewarded, but it is certainly one of the worst paid of the high vocations in the country. It is a very exacting thing, and yet our remuneration is a mere drop in the bucket compared with the remuneration of the Attorney-General. This talk of "sacrifice" on the part of Members of the legal profession who accept a Law Officership of England really passes my comprehension. Compare it with the instances of the highest self-sacrifice in history. Think, for example, of those men who, in the last War, gave everything they had to preserve what we cherish and value. How absurd it is to talk of the Law Officers sacrificing so much. Their remuneration may be reduced by £2,000 or £3,000, by their accepting such a profitable office under the Crown. It cannot be said of them as was said of the men who served in the last war:
Their shoulders held the skies suspended,
They stood and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended
And saved the sum of things for pay.
If it is said that only by this astronomical remuneration you can get the best men, perhaps potential Law Officers will
try to recapture some sense of proportion and consciousness of public duty.
For about 20 years I have always wondered why it is that Law Officers of the Crown obtain these very high fees, and, like my hon. Friend the Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams), I cast no aspersions whatever upon the present Law Officers, nor are my remarks intended to apply to them. I have always wondered how it was that the Lord Chancellor got £10,000, and the Prime Minister £5,000, and the Law Officers of the Crown these large fees. I would like a more satisfactory and complete answer than that which we have heard hitherto in previous Debates on this matter. It is always said that unless you pay these large fees you will not get the very best men. There have been innumerable cases of Law Officers being appointed with apparently small practices, who have instantly gone up by some thousands of pounds a year and obtained what might well be considered more than satisfactory emoluments. That has been the common experience in the past, for one reason or another.
It has been said that you have to pay these very big fees in order to get the very best men. A Member of Parliament who is a King's Counsellor is appointed Attorney-General or Solicitor-General. If he leaves that office to become Home Secretary, the argument no longer holds good. You no longer have to be the best brain in the country in order, necessarily, to be Home Secretary. Therefore, the ancient argument that you have to bribe the best lawyers to accept office under the Crown as Law Officers does not really convince me. I am willing to be convinced. There may be other arguments which the speaker on behalf of the Government may adduce, but I do not think that old argument will really hold water for very much longer. I should, therefore, be peculiarly interested if we could have a fuller explanation from the Government on this occasion. I am entirely in favour of the Bill—all Clauses of it—and this is the only point upon which I have any doubt.
I should like to start by thanking those who have brought forward this proposal for making it quite clear that their remarks are in no way directed against the present holders of the offices, but are designed to criticise the system that exists. As has been pointed out, the Lord Chancellor's remuneration of £10,000 a year is composed of two elements—one in his capacity as Lord Chancellor and the other as Speaker of another place. The hon. Gentleman the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith) anticipated one point that I thought of suggesting to the Committee, namely, that, since it is the fact that the Lord Chancellor is the head of the Judiciary, if the intention of the present Amendment is that his total salary from all sources should be £5,000, you would, in fact, bring about a state of affairs in which he would be getting a smaller sum than the Master of the Rolls, the Lord Chief Justice and the Lords of Appeal. He is not only the head of the Judiciary and presides in the Supreme Tribunal, but he is also Speaker of another place, and is the head of an Administrative Department with a great deal of work and very considerable responsibilities, as well as a Member of the Cabinet. It will be clear that his position is a very special one, and we suggest to the Committee that no sufficient grounds have been advanced for making any change.
I now turn to the other part of the Amendment which, perhaps, excites more interest and deals with the Law Officers. People may deplore it or not, and it may or may not have relevance to the subject we are discussing, but it is, no doubt, the fact that most people who are or who become skilled in the law, find that their professional services are remunerated on a high scale. Professions differ, and the scale of professional remuneration depends upon the demand in the market and the qualities for which remuneration is obtained.
And the strength of the trade union, no doubt. In the actual fees we get we are more competitive than some other unions. It depends on that, and, of course, anybody could, in a sense, applying perhaps more abstract and theoretical standards than are applied in the markets of the world when we are dealing with wage earners and others, criticise the scales of remuneration which are demanded. Take the case of that profession to which two members of my family belong—the schoolmaster. No one does greater and more responsible work than the schoolmaster, but we know that their remuneration is, on the whole, very much less than what others may obtain. There is no doubt that successful lawyers command a very high scale of remuneration, though there is another side to the picture, for there are, unfortunately, many unsuccessful lawyers in that very highly competitive profession, and those who make big professional fees have gone through a fairly hard mill in which they have proved their value to their clients in the services they have been called upon to perform.
I would like to say a word about this matter as I see it in its historical setting. I do not myself altogether agree with the view, which is no doubt sometimes put forward, that it is only on the basis of paying high remuneration that you can get the best men for these appointments. I am not speaking personally, but I am trying to put before the Committee the system as it has grown up, and, indeed, as it was approved by a committee, which did not consist of lawyers, in 1930. The original idea of having Law Officers of the Crown, which still exists and is still the basis of our position—there are many other things which have been added unto us—was that the Crown requires for the conduct of its cases and for professional advice the professional services of professional men. The idea was that it was an advantage to the State to have such men earmarked, as it were, to render services by conducting cases in court and by giving advice to Government Departments, and that their services should be available when required. From that point of view it does not seem to me that there is, primâ facie at any rate, any particular reason why, when the Crown requires professional services from professional men, it should not pay for them according to the scale of remuneration and the method of remuneration by which those professional services are paid for by other people. That is the basis and origin of the whole system.
Originally, the Law Officers were paid fees, ordinary fees—just as my hon. and learned Friends everywhere in the House get fees—for non-contentious work, that is for giving opinions and advice, as well as for contentious work, that is, litigation in court. They were paid for both classes of work in the way in which banisters are normally remunerated, and that is by fees. They were also entitled to take private practice. At that time they were ordinary barristers, as it were, who did advisory work for the Crown, for which they were paid as any other banister would be paid, and they were paid also for conducting contentious cases. Some time later, at a date which I have, for the moment, forgotten, the fees for non-contentious work ceased, being compounded for by salaries, which, of course, cover not only the actual work of advising, but the administrative work which we have to do.
Accepting that as the historical basis may I show—without in any way seeking to minimise the anomalies, if you like, which have been pointed out—how things work out in practice? Though the point is not actually raised by the Amendment, reference has been made by the hon. Member who moved it to the question of the fees received. I am happy to assure the Committee that the average fees earned by the Attorney-General and by the Solicitor-General are going down. Looking back eight or nine years one finds that the average fees earned by the Law Officers nowadays have been reduced by 40 to 45 per cent.
I do not think that is relevant to what I was saying. If the Law Officers' fees had gone up in the last eight years that would have been regarded as a relevant point to be brought out in the Debate, and I think it is, therefore, also relevant to show that in the last seven or eight years they have gone down by, I think, some 40 per cent. The general tendency in recent years has been downwards, and personally I welcome it. We have to consider what is a fair basis of remuneration for professional services in conduct- ing cases in court and what is the most advantageous system of payment. The effect of the present system is that the: fees which the Law Officers receive are, very substantially lower than the fees of those members of the legal profession whom they find opposed to them in the cases which they are called upon to conduct, and that is obviously right. For one thing, as has been pointed out, we have a secure position—security of tenure—and the best client in the country behind us—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member will allow me to proceed, I shall probably say all the things which he is now saying. So far from having to go into the market on every occasion to get an ordinary private practitioner, the State now gets the services of a member of the legal profession for a very much lower price than it could obtain him for in the market. That is a relevant point to make.
Reference has been made to Scotland. It is true that the Lord Advocate does not receive fees for such work as he does in court. Under the terms of his office he is entitled to take private work, though in practice that is not a practicable proposition. I believe he may take some small amount of work in private practice, but it is a negligible amount, and he cannot hope to make any substantial sum out of it. Fees or no fees, I believe that the English system is the better system. We can, of course, argue about the scale of fees and the amount of salary we receive, but I believe it is a better system, having regard to the special character of the litigation which we have to conduct in court and the other class of legal work we have to undertake. Be the scale what it may, I believe it is better to give the Law Officers fees for litigation, in the same way as other members of the legal profession entrusted with work in court are paid by fees.
I cannot deal with that point. I am dealing with the Amendment, and I am expressing a personal view. As the point was raised, I am giving the Committee my view on the comparative advantages of the one system as against the other. At the moment, owing to the fact that the Solicitor-General for Scotland is not in this Mouse, we know that the Lord Advocate has to spend the bulk of his time in this House and has very little opportunity of conducting cases in court. Our position in that respect is somewhat different.
As I understand it the Scottish Law Officers are not paid fees for work done in the courts. The Amendment does not deal with fees but simply with the question of salaries, and the point I wish to make is that the matter has been considered and obviously carefully considered by two Committees of this House. They were not people who approached the matter with a legal bias, nor were they place-hunters for the place of Law Officers. Listening to the hon. Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams) one would think that we are quite incapable of public spirit.
The proposal in 1920 was that the salaries of the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General should be reduced by £2,000 per annum to £5,000 and £4,000 respectively, and that fees for contentious business should remain. In 1930 the committee reported:
Your Committee have given very careful consideration to the question of the Law Officers remuneration, but have decided to make no recommendation in regard to it. Their salaries and fees together reach a high figure, but the evidence given by Lord Hail-sham and the Prime Minister went a long way to modify the view that they are excessive in proportion to the value of their services to the State. It should also be noted that the fees received are not wholly paid out of the Exchequer, a considerable percentage being recovered from unsuccessful litigants.
That Committee did not recommend a reduction. The history of the matter is that there were cuts in 1931 and the Law Officers suffered a 66 per cent. cut. The question of the cut being restored came up, and my predecessor and I then requested that the recommendation of the 1920 Committee with regard to our salaries should be brought into operation. It was brought into operation, and the present position is that the 1920 recommendations have been adopted and carried out. I do not think I can assist the Committee very much more. I have tried to give the reasons why I believe the system is a sound one. I would ask the Committee to pay attention to the fact that the matter has been considered by two Select Committees of the House, and that the present position is that the two offices are on the lower scale recommended by the Committees.
Apart from the speech made by my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, the chief case in criticism of the present position was presented very powerfully by the hon. Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams). The Attorney-General has, with great concealed art, given a reply which reduces itself to this argument: barristers, rightly or wrongly, had a profession which was very highly skilled and highly paid, and it was only reasonable that the Government, in employing them, should pay them at something like the ordinary professional rate. That argument implies that the great majority of banisters who obtain the position of Attorney-General or Solicitor-General get just about the same income as they obtained before; and perhaps—from certain of the hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks about Government economy—they made less income than they had been in the habit of obtaining before they took those offices. During the last couple of weeks I have made very considerable inquiries.
I asked whether it was necessary to pay this scale of remuneration and whether the majority of those who obtained that scale obtained the same or a lower income than they did as private individuals. The Attorney-General says that he has not made inquiries. I have made inquiries from those whom I know in the legal profession, and I am assured that, although exceptional cases may be cited, in the majority of cases counsel who obtain positions as Attorney-General or Solicitor-General very considerably increase their actual yearly income by so doing. The majority not only increase their income, but do so to a very large extent. The hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of counsel being remunerated merely on the professional scale, but we must not lose sight of the fact that they secure all manner of other advantages that they would not secure in private practice during the same period of time. They secure, in fact, by service in this House, a position at the Bar which practically enables them, when they leave, to earn as much as they like. I quote that from the evidence of Lord Hailsham, to which the Attorney-General has been referring. Lord Hailsham said, in answer to a ques-
tion as to whether a Law Officer, having left his private practice at the Bar, would find it difficult to regain his connection, said:
The prestige of his position at the Bar is such that he would very soon get all the work he wanted.
It does give them an enormous advantage. They secure as a result an entirely different outlook for the rest of their professional career. In addition to that, they have traditional expectations of succeeding to certain offices. One of the observations of the Attorney-General confirms an impression that I have had for some time. I do not believe it is possible for a counsel to earn an income of this kind by fees outside the House of Commons, and at the same time to do his duty to the Government and to the House for which the ordinary salary is paid. An Attorney-General or Solicitor-General, when he takes office, is just about as busy in the courts of law as he was before. He spends the same amount of time in the courts of law as he did before. Indeed, the whole argument is that he is a successful full-time man. If he does that, I do not believe he can do the work for which we pay him £4,000 or £5,000 a year. It would be far better to pay him a salary and allow him to do a certain limited amount of work within that salary, and then to have as much command over his time as we expect to have in the case of other Ministers. We do not get that.
I recollect an instance in which one of the Law Officers—not either of the two present Law Officers, but one of their well-known predecessors—had some very delicate work to do in the House, in which I was rather closely interested at the time. It was necessary that he should prepare himself most carefully for a forthcoming Debate, but in the very middle of it he went off to a town in the South West of England to prosecute some man who had, I think, murdered his mother. The case lasted for days, and, as far as I could see, there was no need for the presence of a Law Officer, because the case against the man was so clear that the veriest tyro could have got a conviction. He came back exceedingly tired and exhausted, and the work that he had to do for the Government was not really very successfully done. That is a great disadvantage of the present situation. It is impossible for any man to do in the courts the work that is necessary to earn the fees received by the average "silk," and also to give the energy and attention to his work in the House that any other Cabinet Minister in a comparable position is expected to give.
There is another point that the Attorney-General did not take into account—did not, indeed, mention. If the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General get the average fees, which the hon. and learned Gentleman considers to be fair, why, in addition to that, does the House go on permitting the practice by which, quite apart from the public interest, the Law Officers of the Crown have established what is practically a traditional right to certain offices where our lives and fortunes are at stake on their judgment, not because of their particular capacity for those offices, but because they have been Law Officers of the Crown and have maintained and insisted on that traditional right? I quote Lord Hailsham again. He said, at page 44, of his evidence, in answer to the question:
As a rule the Attorney-General gets the offer of the Lord Chancellorship, and the Solicitor-General has in practice often been given the position of Master of the Rolls?"—"Yes. They have not quite a right, but they often get it.
I think that my phrase "traditional right" is an accurate description of what occurs. It appears to me that the House should not continue to tolerate the idea that, because lawyers come into this House and do a certain amount of work at what are admitted to be at any rate very fair fees, they should have the right to great public offices for which other men, who do not happen to have got a political pull by sitting in the House, may be better qualified. Generation after generation we go on giving to one occupation this particular privilege which we do not give to any other occupation in the House. Two or three speakers during the Debate have said with great pride that the position of the House of Commons in the eyes of the world depends upon the fact that Members do not come here for monetary reward, that they seek no glittering prizes; but an enormous proportion of the lawyers who come here, if they do not get either of the two offices I have specified, get judgeships, or county court judgeships, recorderships and so on; or, if they do not get them, they go about grumbling
that nobody is doing anything for them. The whole thing is a relic of the eighteenth century. The House is extraordinarily good-natured and old-fashioned about it. It is the last relic of the nepotism of the eighteenth century, and I hope that this Debate will be one step towards removing from our public life this nepotic influence.
There is no greater mistake that anybody can make than to endeavour to obtain legal advice "on the cheap." It is better to pay a good lawyer big fees than to pay a poor lawyer small fees. If this Amendment, and the subsequent Amendment which, I presume, is going to be moved, give to the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General a fixed salary and no fees, while those who at present occupy these offices may accept the reduction and still go on, it will lead to the best lawyers of the country who may be looking forward to the House of Commons remaining in private practice and going on being employed by commercial people at their toll fees. The Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General have to conduct on behalf of the Crown cases that involve many thousands of pounds to the revenue of this country. In the last few years there have been revenue cases which have involved a difference of millions of pounds as far as Income Tax and Super-tax are concerned, and it is essential that in such cases the country should be represented by the men who are best able to present the case. If hon. Members opposite got their way, the result might be that they would save a few thousand pounds a year in expenditure but would lose millions of pounds for the Revenue.
The hon. Member who has just sat down says, firstly, that it is a mistake, if you have to have lawyers, to have any but good ones, and that you cannot get good lawyers unless you pay proper fees for them. The Law Officers of the Crown have to conduct cases of the very greatest importance to the country. All those statements are, in substance, true, but there is a very good answer to all of them. In the first place, the existing system does not get us, except by happy accident, good lawyers. We have two happy accidents at the moment—two very good Law Officers of the Crown. We have had in the past, and I suppose we shall have in the future, Law Officers who have been from a legal point of view little less than disastrous. So the point that we must have good lawyers can only be met by some fundamental alteration in the present system. At present we often get them, but we get them by accident. It is true, of course, that they have to conduct cases of very great importance—not absolutely and wholly true, because there have been frequent occasions when the Crown, having weaker Law Officers than it has at the moment, has wisely had recourse to getting lawyers in what I may call the open market in order to be sure that they get the best for the job. But, even if it were true that you invariably get good lawyers for the Law Officerships —and it is true that in order to get good Law Officers you must pay for them—the question is, how much must you pay? The best test is this: Does anyone seriously believe that, if you cut down the salaries or fees, any lawyer worth his salt would refuse to accept a Law Officership which he was otherwise willing to accept? I do not think so badly of my profession as that.
I want to make two points in favour of the Amendment which have not been made already, and I will base the first on the infinite superiority of the lawyer in stating his case in the House of Commons and in Committee. They are paid fees and a salary. The two interests conflict. The more work they do outside, the less they are able to do in the House. I am quite unable to judge how they serve the country outside, but I am certain that we want more of them inside. In old days on Grand Committees there was always a Law Officer present to explain all that side of a Bill which the Departmental chief obviously could not tackle. There was always a Law Officer present to speak for the Bill, and a lawyer on the Opposition side to make the case against him. Now it is very rare that there is a Law Officer there at all.
And there are far more fees to be collected outside. Not only that, but there is a far less strong Prime Minister to tell the Law Officers that they must be there. Under the 1906 Government would any Law Officer have dared to miss a Grand Committee? Nowadays you are lucky if you get them one day in three. When they come, they have not been present on the two preceding days. They do not know what has been explained before. It all comes fresh to them, and they are not good at their job in consequence. This Amendment is justified as it is, but it would be far better justified if it reduced the fees and increased the salary, provided that we could get the attendance of the Law Officers not only in Grand Committee but in the House.
There is another argument in favour of reducing fees and salaries which will be more pleasant to hon. Members opposite. We have increasingly seen a Law Officer of the Crown receiving £17,000 a year or more, who was wanted for another post. He gave up the £17,000 and took £5,000 a year. More power to him. But it is not everyone who can stand up against that, and, if you give these gigantic fees and happen to get as one of your Law Officers the best man, all these enormous fees are a hindrance to you transferring that best man where he is most wanted. That is not the only case. I see another right hon. Gentleman present who during the War was a Law Officer of the Crown. He gave up his post and went out to fight in France—a very good example. But the higher you make the salary the more difficult you make it for a man to make a sacrifice for his country. I do not believe you get better service for a higher salary. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We get the best men, but because of their public spirit, and not because of the fees that they earn. A man of superior intelligence who can explain to the House of Commons—and what the House of Commons generally wants is explanation and not politics—if he is wanted for another job will go to it more readily if he has not come into the House as a legal careerist.
I cannot support the Amendment. At the same time I am going to voice what I know is the opinion of politicians and business men throughout the country, who have always felt very strongly that there is no justification at all for the three highest paid officers that the Government of our country can afford, being three lawyers: that the Lord Chancellor should have £10,000 a year and a pension and no other Minister of the Crown, apart from the Solicitor-General and Attorney-General, is deemed to be worth more than £5,000 and that the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General should in salary and fees earn three or four times as much as other Members of the Cabinet. I entirely differ from my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Holmes). I think he does an injustice to the legal profession in saying that we are not going to get the right men here unless they have an opportunity of getting positions in which they can make as much as in private practice. He is not adding to his income by coming here. I have not added to my income by coming here. I have reduced it. It is quite wrong to say that there must be this opportunity afforded of making at least as good an income as you can make in private practice a s a lawyer before you will get the best legal brains coming to the House. As for the argument that they should have an opportunity of earning such high fees, the presence of the Home Secretary and the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence is a sufficient answer to that. It is entirely incongruous that the Law Officers should have three times as much as any other Member of His Majesty's Government. This is a view which is very widely held in the country, and has been held for at least the past 3o years. At the same time I cannot support the Amendment, because I think the figures proposed are too niggardly.
If I am to understand that the second Amendment is not in order, and that the fees will remain, I shall have to reconsider my position. I am strongly of opinion that the Committee should not perpetuate this extraordinary incongruity, which the right hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) in his eloquent speech described as the survival of an anachronism of the past.
I propose to vote against the Amendment. Ever since I have been in the House there has been in all parties a considerable amount of—I will not use the word "resentment" —but surprise that there should be this immense difference between the amounts paid in the case of the Lord Chancellor and the two Law Officers of the Crown and other members of His Majesty's Government, and I think that a case has been made out for an inquiry into this matter. I cannot feel altogether convinced by the arguments used, and cannot judge the general opinion of hon. Members, but I think that, as far as the House is at present constituted, there is a great deal of misgiving on this matter, and that it would be wise to have an inquiry. I support the hon. Member for Rusholme (Mr. Radford) and the hon. and learned Member opposite. I refuse to believe that lawyers belonging to one of the most honoured professions in the world, of equal ability to those who have filled office in the last 50 years would refuse to take office even if the total emoluments were smaller. If that were not the case, it would be a complete reversal of the position with regard to Cabinet Ministers generally. It is well known that many Cabinet Ministers, including the Home Secretary, have made immense financial sacrifices in order to become Cabinet Ministers. Why should it only be the Law in which such sacrifices are not made? I have never heard that question answered.
I have known cases—I am not, of course, referring to anyone present—where it was notorious that the qualifications of one of the holders of a Law office were inferior to at least a dozen lawyers outside. What becomes of the argument that we should have the very best? I remember the case of a very distinguished Member of this House who did not happen to be persona grata to the Prime Minister of the day—this was years ago—who never held office at all, and the offices were held by two hon. Members who in the courts were regarded as much inferior. I think there should be an inquiry into this matter. I deprecate anything being done at the moment, and, therefore, shall not vote for the Amendment. It would be too serious a change to make without full inquiry. There may be arguments which cannot be put in debate, and reasons which can be given only before a committee of inquiry why it is necessary to make this vast differentiation. I do not agree with the right hon. Member opposite that lawyers always get the plums in this House. I think it is the other way about, and that, considering the many claims they have, not so many great lawyers reach Cabinet rank in this House. There is a case for inquiry, and I suggest that the Government should take the appropriate time to go into the question of the emoluments and pensions of the Law Officers of the Crown.
I shall support the Amendment, and I want to put the point to the Government that in a matter like this the Whips should be taken off and hon. Members left, on this particular issue, to vote according to their opinions. The hon. Member for Rushholme (Mr. Radford) is a typical case. It is a very unfortunate position for an hon. Member to be in, and the organisation of the party machine ought not to be put on in order to continue what is contrary to the wishes of the majority of hon. Members. During the years I have been in the House those who have held the position of Law Officers have always been people of great distinction. I cannot think of one who can be described as a legal disaster. At the same time there is not the slightest doubt that in every House there is one of the Law Officers quite inferior in his legal reputation and his capacity for handling matters to other legal members of his own party who are not in the Government. I believe that to be the case. In the 1925–29 Parliament it was fairly noticeable, because there were some very distinguished lawyers in the House who were not in the Government. It is true that over a long period of years very able lawyers have been holding those distinguished positions in the Government, but I think it has been plain that it was not the salaries that resulted in that being so.
It is a fact that the most distinguished lawyers of to-day would accept positions on the Front Bench, even though it meant a big sacrifice of income and the placing of restrictions on them in many different ways. The dignity of the position more than counterbalances any monetary sacrifices. It is the same with regard to the positions of Attorney-General and Solicitor-General. I do not think it is the financial aspect which is the important one from the point of view of the lawyers. Lawyers come to this House, spend a great deal of time here and pretty well sacrifice their practice, even though they have made good reputations in the legal profession, because of their interest in general political life. I do not believe there is anyone at the Bar who would not be willing to give up his practice in order to take on the job of Attorney-General or Solicitor-General.
One hon. Member said that although lawyers are capable, they do not get as many of the "plums" as one might expect. A brilliant lawyer does not necessarily become a brilliant House of Commons man. The jobs are different. Many of the most eminent leaders at the Bar whom I have seen have not been the greatest Parliamentary figures in the House when they were Members. The idea that this sum of money has to be paid in order to get the necessary legal advice is simply preposterous. It would be possible to get anyone in the profession to fill these offices, which put their occupants right at the head of the profession. Moreover, when a man has the prospect of becoming Attorney-General or Solicitor-General in the ordinary course of events, a matter of so many thousand pounds a year ceases to be of very great significance to him, because he has so much money. [An HON. MEMBER: "Don't you believe it."] It is obvious that there are many Members in the House who, if they spent in the City the time which they spend here would be making many thousands of pounds a year, possibly in a dirtier way than by being Members of Parliament. When people have so much money, the financial factor is not the determining one.
I am sorry that this Amendment does not go further in the way of reduction and that the later Amendment on the Paper is not in order. I think the Law Officers should be in a position similar to that of other Members of the Government. The Government have told us that, in spite of the state of the country and in spite of the new taxation that is to be imposed on the country, they must correct the anomalies in Ministers' salaries. But they are going to leave this greatest of all anomalies of the Law Officers being put in a privileged financial position. If the two hon. and learned Gentlemen were in the running for the succession to the Premiership, I wonder whether they would be unwilling to consider it because of the difference in the financial reward. I do not think any of the people who have held those offices in the past have been such that the House should go on the assumption that unless they are given these extra financial rewards, they will not play the game or take on the responsibility.
The only question which the Committee has to face is whether, in present circumstances, it is fair to ask those people to take on the job at a smaller financial reward which is in keeping with that which accrues to their colleagues in the Government. In view of what happens in the case of other Members of the same profession with regard to judicial appointments, I cannot see that there would be anything unfair in correcting this greatest of all anomalies in Ministers' salaries. I hope the Government will accept the Amendment. If they were to intimate that they would go the whole road and also introduce the necessary amending legislation in order to do away with this anomaly, I am sure they would gain the enthusiastic support of hon. Members. The matter is in the hands of the Government. I think the Government will put themselves in a very bad light in the country if, on this Bill dealing with their own salaries, they do not leave the decisions open to a free vote of the House untrammeled by the Whips of the party machine.
One point seems to have been forgotten. It is not only a question of salaries but of the work which the Law Officers are required to do under modern conditions. The real problem is not so much what they are receiving to-day as what ought to be done in the way of reforming the distribution of the work, and, until that question has been dealt with, it is idle to suggest that they are being overpaid for what they have to do and what in most cases they do very well.
I was just about to say that I fully appreciate the proposal of the Noble Lord, but I think that the inquiry would need to be more extensive than he suggested. What have the Law Officers to do to-day? In the first place, there is the work which they have to do in the House of Commons. That is a full-time job in itself. Secondly, there is the work of advising the Government on all the intricate matters which in these days crowd one upon another, in the business of Parliament. As everyone knows, Ministers have the right to remit questions of law to the Law Officers for their consideration and that right, 'in these days, is freely exercised. On top of all this, the Law Officers have the duty of conducting cases in the courts and other duties of that kind.
Does anyone suppose that if those outside duties were taken from the Law Officers, it would be possible to find among the leaders of the Bar, men who would undertake the work on the same basis of remuneration as that which the Treasury pays to the Law Officers to-day? Anyone who knows anything about the Bar knows that the fees obtainable today for such work, would be more than those paid by the Treasury to the Law Officers under existing conditions. This Amendment does not fairly represent the position. If the position, as it exists, is considered as a matter of practical politics the proposal of the Amendment should be not to reduce the salaries of the Law Officers but to change the whole system under which their duties are carried out at present. In view of the fact that the Law Officers have to do work which under any other conditions, would cost a great deal more, the remedy I suggest is not reduction of their fees but an examination of the whole position with a view to the reorganisation of these matters. We should do that first and deal with the Law Officers afterwards.
The speech to which we have just listened brings this Debate to a practical point. If the Law Officers of the Crown have to do, not only their work as Law Officers in the House of Commons but also outside legal work, I cannot see how the position of the Government in this matter can be justified. I think it is obvious that the position taken up by my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) on this matter is the only possible position. There should be some form of inquiry with a view to separating the outside legal work done by the Law Officers of the Crown, from the work which they do in the House of Commons and as the legal advisers of the Government.
My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) referred to the fact that the Law Officers rarely attended Standing Committees, and suggested that as a reason for paying them less. Since I have been a Member of the House of Commons it has been noticeable to me how rarely the Law Officers have the time to attend even the Debates in the House of Commons itself. Who began this system I do not know, but from what little I can learn and understand about this matter it is the case that they have to do so much departmental work—if it can so be termed—in the sense of having to conduct cases in the courts, that they are not given the time which they ought to have for attendance in the House of Commons. I say with all respect that nothing weakens a Government Front Bench more than not having adequate legal knowledge available during important Debates. I have seen evidence of that over and over again both in Committee and in the House of Commons. If this Debate has done nothing else it has drawn attention to one weakness of the present position in regard to the legal profession.
An hon. Member has said that the Law Officers have to conduct cases in which millions of pounds may be involved. No one denies that, but, equally, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has to take decisions involving great sums and so has the Minister of Health, and other Ministers. That, in itself, is no reason for paying these larger amounts. Those who heard the Attorney-General's speech a little while ago, must have realised the delicacy of the hon. and learned Gentleman's position in having to deal with a matter of this kind and I respectfully suggest that one of the other members of the Government ought to have been put up to discharge that duty. I think we had there an indication of a lack of delicacy which has been shown by the Government during a great deal of this Debate. The Attorney-General had to face an amazingly difficult position.
I do not think the actual terms of the Amendment are adequate or right. I do not think it right, for example, that the Lord Chancellor, who holds a unique position historically and in other respects, should be cut down to £5,000. Then, as regards many of the Cabinet Ministers whom I have seen in the last 10 or 15 years, I would say that if they are worth £5,000 a year, the average Attorney-General or Solicitor-General cannot be worth much less. Frankly, I think that while many Cabinet Ministers may be worth a great deal more, there are others not worth so much, and most of the Law Officers of whom I have had experience, have been worth as much as the average Cabinet Minister, particularly in view of the work which they have to do outside and also in advising Cabinet Ministers in the House of Commons.
I am in this difficulty: I dislike the Amendment, but I realise that the Government have not put up any real case against it. This is the position with which we are faced. If the Government can assure the House that they are going to take up the point made by my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham and have an inquiry into the whole question of reorganising these matters and doing away with anomalies, then I suppose it would not be in order to go further into the question now. But I think it would be in order to say that we cannot vote for the Government on the existing position, unless they give us some guarantee that they are going to take steps towards reorganisation. You can do almost anything in this world provided you do not explain, and that is a fairly true saying. The Government can do all the stupid things they like in this Bill provided they do not explain it, but when they have explained it they have given their case away every single time. They have made no case, and they do look ashamed of themselves, if I may say so.
On an occasion of this sort, when it is known that in every walk of life people do not understand why it is that a Prime Minister is paid so much and a Law Officer is paid much more, and when they think there is something wrong, why do not the Government come to the House and do the really handsome thing—reorganise the position, get other people to do the work outside and let the Law Officers give their advice to the Crown and come here and do their work in the House of Commons? It is customary to say that lawyers are not quite as good as other people.
There is an illustration. I have known good lawyers and bad lawyers. Only a few days ago I had to point out a question where a whole Bill was upset by an Amendment and no lawyer in the House had noticed it. If you look at the history of the lawyers of the country they have been something of which we can be proud. Many of them have done immensely valuable work, and to hold them up as the only people who are to have special positions if they are to do Government work is a gross libel on them. If the Government met the demands of the House they would take up my Noble Friend's suggestion that the Government should look into this question and try to appoint in the future proper people to do the outside work and give the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General adequate fees for doing their work here.
I intervene so rarely in the Debates that I trust the Committee will excuse me for a few moments. I put forward the view of the ordinary humble back-bencher who since 1931 has been trying to earn his living of the Bar and at the same time carry out his duties as a Member of Parliament. There is a suggestion that when a member of the legal profession comes into the House of Commons he is always there for an ulterior motive. I know it to my cost. In the last election there were bills in my constituency which read: "K.C. in the dock." I have had the honour of knowing the Law Officers for many years. I was a pupil of Mr. F. E. Smith as he then was, and we in the Temple realise to the full the debt of gratitude which we owe to those distinguished members of the Bar who accept Law Officerships.
When I find that the first Clause is "as respects the Lord Chancellor the sum of £5,000," I confess, in spite of the provisions of the Parliament Act, I find some difficulty in realising that we should dictate to another place what they should pay to the Lord Chancellor for acting as Lord Chancellor and (b) as Speaker of another place. The question of the Law Officerships is a different matter and it comes down to this: What is going to happen and what in fact does happen to the Law Officers who at the end of their term of office find themselves out in the cold, and have to resume their practice at the Bar? In my opinion such learned Members are faced with a very difficult position. I say without hesitation that the Law Officers, occupying the high position they do, deserve and earn most thoroughly what they are receiving, and I for one deprecate most strongly this Amendment.
The Debate has taken a turn in which a very important suggestion has emerged, mainly from the Government side, and on which, I think, the Committee is entitled to know what the Government's view is going to be. The suggestion was put forward first by the noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), that you will get better service if the Law Officers are paid a salary for their departmental work and the larger part of the work which they do in the Law Courts is provided for in another way. That is the particular line which has emerged. It was supported by other hon. Members, among them the hon. Member for Ecclesall (Sir G. Ellis). The House, as far as it can, has expressed approval of it by its attitude to these speeches. I do not know what the value of debate is if suggestions are made by Members of great authority and long service and then the Government just allow us to go to a Division, nothing happens and the whole thing ends in smoke. The Government would be well advised to give this suggestion consideration and to make a statement now.
I do not think that it would be fair to put me forward as a critic of the Government. I said that I did not think it would be fair to expect them to make a statement on the mattes at this moment.
I am not arguing now the pros and cons of the suggestion. I recognise the qualification in the Noble Lord's statement. I rose to say that, a Debate having taken place on a specific suggestion, I do not think that it would be right for that Debate to end without the Minister in charge making some observation.
I should like to make two observations on the discussion that has taken place. I should like it to be known that it was by the Attorney-General's own desire that he took part in this Debate to-night. I need hardly tell the Committee that any one of his colleagues would have been prepared to take part and present a case, but the Attorney-General desired specially himself to put the view of the Law Officers to the Committee. It was for that reason that he himself presented the case to the Committee. All that I can say at present—and I understand that my Noble Friend
the right hon. Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) so desires—is that obviously the Government will take into consideration the proposals that have been made in the Committee. No one would expect me to go farther than that on my own responsibility to-night, but obviously in an important Debate of this kind in which many Members who have a right to have their views presented to the Committee have taken part, it is only right that I should say that I will consult my colleagues on the matter and present to them the views that have been stated to-night. I cannot go farther than that, but I hope that, with that assurance, the Members of the Committee will now agree to take a division on this Amendment.
|Division No. 169.]||AYES.||[9.35 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Groves, T. E.||Paling, W.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Parker, J,|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hardie, G. D.||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Potts, J.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Hayday, A.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Batey, J.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Riley, B.|
|Bellinger, F. J.||Holdsworth, H.||Ritson, J.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hollins, A.||Rowson, G. '|
|Bromfield, W.||Hopkin, D.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Shinwell, E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Short, A.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Silkin, L.|
|Cassells, T.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Chater, D.||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Ccve, W. G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Lathan, G.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Daggar, G.||Leach, W.||Stephen, C.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lee, F.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Leonard, W.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Leslie, J. R.||Thurtle, E.|
|Day, H.||Logan, D. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Lunn, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Ede, J. C.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Walker, J.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||McEntee, V. La T.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||McGhee, H. G.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||MacLaren, A.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Frankel, D.||Maclean, N.||Williams, E. J, (Ogmore)|
|Gallacher, W.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Gardner, B. W.||MacNeill, Weir, L.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Marshall, F.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Gibbins, J.||Milner, Major J.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Montague, F.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Muff, G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Assheton, R.||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fuiham, E.)||Bennett, Sir E. N.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. p. G.||Atholl, Duchess of||Birchall, Sir J. D.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Blair, Sir R.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Blindell, Sir J.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Bossom, A. C.|
|Apsley, Lord||Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Boulton, W. W.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Baxter, A. Beverley||Bower, Comdr. R. T.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Hanbury, Sir C.||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Petherick, M.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Harbord, A.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Harvey, Sir G.||Pilkington, R.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Haslam, H. C. (Hornoastle)||Power, Sir J. C.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Radford, E. A.|
|Bull, B. B.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Cary, R. A.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Holmes, J. S.||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)|
|Channon, H.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Hopkinson, A.||Rickards, G. W- (Skipton)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Hume, Sir G. H.||Rowlands, G.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Selley, H. R.|
|Crooks, J. S.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Leigh, Sir J.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Levy, T.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J, J.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Loftus, P. C.||Smith. Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Dodd, J. S.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Doland, G. F.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G||Spent, W. P.|
|Drewe, C.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||McCorquodale, M. S.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Dugdale, Major T. L.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Duggan, H. J.||Magnay, T.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Mander, G. le M.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Edge, Sir W.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Mason, Ll.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Touche, G. C.|
|Emery, J. F.||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)||Turton, R. H.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Everard, W. L.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Foot, O. M.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Furness, S. N.||Moreing, A. C.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Ganzoni, Sir J.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Wells, S. R.|
|Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Goldie, N. B.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Wise, A. R.|
|Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.)||Palmer, G. E. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Peake, O.||Commander Southby and Captain|
|Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Penny, Sir G.||Waterhouse.|
I beg to move, in page 2, line 11, to leave out "three," and to insert "two."
The object of the Amendment is to move the reduction of the salary of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury from £3,000 to £2,000. When I put the Amendment on Paper, how was I to know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury was the Chief Whip? I always thought that the Chief Whip of the Conservative party was the Patronage Secretary, and, lo and behold, I find that it is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury. In any case I am confident that: £2,000 is quite enough for him. I know the arguments that will be brought forward. The Patronage Secretary works early and late distributing patronage. [Interruption.] I have known Patronage Secretaries who have distributed it more widely than others, but they did not get any more money for it. Some of them have raised enough to keep alive parties which would otherwise long since have been defunct. I have known Patronage Secretaries who have been the most popular Members of the Government, and yet I think £2,000 is quite enough.
The office of Patronage Secretary is the one office I have known to be refused. I have never known a Cabinet office to be refused. It was not refused because the pay was too low. It was refused by my right hon. Friend the Member for Gorton (Mr. Benn) because he preferred to remain fighting in the air rather than come back and be the Chief Whip of the Coalition party. In dealing with this almost secret subject of the Patronage Secretary, I would have the Committee observe that the salary is not the only thing that the Patronage Secretary gets. He has a well-established reversion. That reversion is the one regrettable thing about the office. They change so quickly because they get either elevation to another place or a seat in the Cabinet. The Patronage Secretary is never my Chief Whip, and I think he ought to do perfectly well on £2,000 a year.
I should have liked to have heard some explanation from the Government of this change, and I waited to see whether a Minister would rise. I cannot see any reason why the Chief Whip for the Government should have his salary increased by £1,000 a year. I do not deny that he has to be a regular attender at the House, but so have other people who occupy posts. The Chief Whip of the Opposition also has to be here very regularly and diligently, and at all times. Some Chief Whips have worked harder than others, but it is not hard work when the Government have a large majority. The Chief Whip in this Government and in most of the Governments formed by the party opposite, have never had much difficulty. They are always sure of substantial majorities, and are certain that their followers will never rebel. Seldom have I seen a Parliament in which there is less sign of rebellion. They talk about it, but it never comes, and the Chief Whip knows it will never come. To-night they have talked about the Attorney-General, but nothing will happen. They talk about the Excess Profits Tax, but nothing will happen in regard to that either. The Chief Whips for Conservative Governments have a comparative easy time. I differ from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) when he says that the Chief Whip was never his Chief Whip, because I know that in 1924 he whipped the right hon. and gallant Gentleman pretty badly. He stuck to it and so did the Chief Whip.
In most of the other cases of increases of salary we were told that Cabinet Ministers had expenses in entertaining and social functions, but no evidence has been produced that the Chief Whip has to do any social entertaining. If he did, it would be for members of his own party. If that be so, why should not the party pay for it? Those who are entertained may be Members of Parliament. He may have to entertain certain Members who threaten to rebel, but why should the country have to pay for that? I can understand his wanting to take a rebellious Member into the smoke-room and entertain him there. I have seen him doing it. Why should the House of Commons have to pay for these forms of entertainment, legitimate as they are so far as the party is concerned? I am not objecting to the Chief Whip doing it, but I am objecting to his salary being increased at the country's expense so that he can do it more efficiently than he has done it before.
Have the duties of the office increased? It has been argued in the cases of other Ministers that their duties have increased considerably during recent years. Is that true of the Chief Patronage Secretary? If so, let us hear where they have increased. I sit on the Standing Committee which is considering the Factories Bill, and when we propose to do small things for the working people we have to justify every point in detail. In the case of an unemployed man, any claim for an increase in his allowance has to be justified beyond a shadow of doubt. In this case the Government propose without any explanation an increase of £1,000 a year, in other words £20 a week, which to me is a staggering sum. To me it is a terrific income, and yet no explanation seems to be necessary.
The Home Secretary is prepared to allow the Vote to go through without giving any explanation why the increase should be made. I know of no reason why the Chief Whip should have his salary increased. I know of no added duties which he has had to perform in recent years. I know of no entertaining that he has had to undertake. He may have had to work a little harder, but if he works harder, there are good things to come. An apprentice works in order that he may become an efficient journeyman. The Chief Whip is an apprentice Cabinet Minister, and if he works hard there is the prospect of promotion. Therefore, his salary is not the only thing involved. I remember one Chief Whip who went to be a Colonial Governor. Others have occupied posts in the Cabinet before many years have elapsed. By working hard the Chief Whip gets the reward of promotion. There is no justification for an increase in the present case, but there are many reasons why the salary should be reduced.
It is with great pleasure that I can heartily support the Government in this proposal. The Chief Whip's work is very difficult. It is more difficult to-day than when the Chief Whip is merely concerned with one party. At the present time there are three parties who are concerned with the Government, the Conservatives, the Liberal Nationals, and National Labour. He has to get those three groups through the Lobby together, and he has kept them together all these years. The Opposition had not such a Chief Whip in 1929-31 and as a result they split up. More and more I have been amazed in this House at the way that the Opposition collapses at the right time. It would be unkind and rude if I said that it was due to the flimsy character of the opposition. It is due to one thing, and that is the tact and genius of the Chief Whip. He instils reason into the heads of the Opposition. That is something that their leaders have not been able to do.
The Chief Whip has far more work than was the case in the old days. In a Government office you may have a good Minister and a less good Under-Secretary, or you may have a good Under-Secretary and not so good a Minister. What happens then? The competent carries the incompetent, but if you have a Chief Whip who is no good the whole thing goes, although he may have a second in command who is good. But that is not quite the same thing. The job of the Chief Whip is to understand how to manipulate the business of the House and the job of the chief assistant is to look pleasant, which he always does. The lot of a Chief Whip is not a very easy one, especially in comparison with that of some Cabinet Ministers, who do not have to listen to awkward back bench Members. Indeed, some Cabinet Ministers hardly ever listen to a debate. The Chief Whip has to be here every day at Question Time, and he has an amazing series of duties to perform. If there is one human being who is worth his place in this Bill it is the Patronage Secretary. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) understands the House of Commons well and has a considerable knowledge of the duties of the Chief Whip, and has benefited enormously from the various Chief Whips. Therefore, I hope he will take a generous point of view and vote for an increase of salary for one who has done so much to help him and his group.
I would not seek to paint the lily after the admirable justification for this proposal to which we have just been honoured, were it not for what has been said by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). Of the different propositions in the Bill there can hardly be one more generally justified than that which we are now discussing. The Chief Whip is a very important person from the point of view of the Government's ranks and forces, and I think the House as a whole will consider that he is to-day, more than at any time in the past an absolutely essential, perhaps the most essential, officer in the machinery of conducting House of Commons business. If the Committee do not consider that aspect of the matter, they will not be doing justice to the proposal. The hon. Member opposite asked in what way the circumstances of to-day were different from those of the past. For one thing, the House of Commons sits for a much larger part of the year than in the old days. I would not say that it sits more often late at night, but certainly very often arrangements have to be made, very delicate arrangements, consulting interests in every part of the House for the purpose of getting through our business.
All the very difficult matters that are entrusted to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, together with the burdens which are in many respects continuous and difficult, completely justify this proposal. It may be the case that Chief Whips do sometimes find that they have other opportunities of public service, but that has nothing to do with the matter. The question is whether this office, which is an absolutely essential part of the machinery of a modern House of Commons, is one which can be properly and reasonably scaled at a figure less than is set down in the Bill. I submit that the good sense and fair judgment of the Committee as a whole ought plainly to point the way to the acceptance of the Government's proposal.
I wish to say a few words in support of the Amendment. I am quite unconvinced by the remarks of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), and equally unconvinced by what the Home Secretary has said. He has declared that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury is necessary to the working of the House of Commons. I think the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury makes the working of the House of Commons almost impossible. He makes the work of the Government possible, but he does not make the work of the House of Commons possible, because he is there to take out of the House of Commons all the virility and strength that ought to be there. If any hon. Member on the other side of the House seeks to exercise his intelligence he sees how at once the face of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury darkens, and how he turns and glares and tries to assume a Hitler-like attitude until all the intelligence of the hon. Member vanishes. Here is an opportunity for Members of the House at least to take the first step to get rid of this tyranny under which we are suffering. I have had experience of several Parliamentary Secretaries to the Treasury. They have been all obnoxious. They have all wanted their own way, and they have been subservient in the most shocking way to the Government, and have adopted the most bullying attitude towards the most patriotic and loyal Members of their own party. It is preposterous for the Government to ask Members of the House to vote an increase of salary to the most tyrannical Member in the Government. He is tyrannical because of his office. I believe that we would have far better Parliaments if we did not have Parliamentary Secretaries to the Treasury, and if we did not have Whips.
I thought it would be relevant to the extent that there is a proposal to increase the salary of this individual or this office' holder, and the essence of his office holding has come to be the way in which he strives to check the fruitful discussion of matters in this House. If hon. Members want to kiss the rod that smites them and wish to impress the man who chills the generosity of their souls and sends them home with the greatest speeches undelivered—speeches that were to have been delivered or might have been delivered, if they want to vote an increase to such an office holder, they are welcome to do it. One has only to read the volumes of the OFFICIAL REPORT of this House to realise how much wisdom and eloquence might have been delivered if it had not been for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury.
I do not know what suggested that question to the hon. Member, but I am always willing to answer a question put in such a respectful way. I would inform the hon. Member that there are no Whips in this party. The only office we have is that of leader. There is no Whip, and it would be to the good of the Debates in this House, I am sure, if, instead of granting this increase, we kept the figure down to what it was formerly and also let the Government know that we expect them to bring in a Measure to abolish this useless and obnoxious office of Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury.
I always look forward from time to time, or at any rate twice a year, to the publication of the Honours List, not that I have any personal interest in the matter at all, but in order to see what new figures will be presented for national recognition. I shall look, in view of the events of the last few minutes, with greater interest at the Coronation Honours, particularly in view of the really moving and eloquent speech by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams). I cannot help thinking that it will be very proper that some form of recognition should be meted out to him. The argument has been put forward by the Home Secretary that one of the reasons why the increase should be given is because of the now very laborious duties of the Chief Whip, and the great tact, skill and persuasion that have to be exercised. That is true, but it takes three or four persons to make the Whip business of the House operate, and if the Government Chief Whip is successful, it is because of the very amiable negotriators he finds on the other sides. If you are to pay salaries and give the Leader of the Opposition a salary, what about the Opposition Chief Whip? And there are other Chief Whips.
I was just using it as an illustration to show that you must not place the whole of the credit upon the shoulders of the Parliamentary Secretary. A great deal depends upon those with whom he has to co-operate. I am very sorry that the Home Secretary did not throw a little light on a matter raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay regarding one of the explanations of the increase in salary. It was suggested by him, though I do not know on what foundation, that one of the great difficulties of the Chief Whip at the present time is that he is not dealing simply with a body of well-behaved, docile, moderate members of the Conservative party, but has to deal with some very awkward customers not only in the National Liberal party but in the National Labour party. I should not like to give currency to such an idea, but it is suggested by my hon. Friend that they are very difficult and awkward people, almost impossible to manage, and always threatening resignation and rebellion.
I resent that attack upon any members of the Liberal party, whether they are for the time being supporters of the Government, or in the Government, or not. It is a most unfair suggestion, because I am sure that the Government have no more docile supporters than the members of the National Liberal party. I cannot think, therefore, that that argument is a very convincing one, and I hope we shall have some better reason given to us.
The Home Secretary was good enough to give us some indication of the duties carried out by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury in his capacity as a Member or an official of the House of Commons, but he has another title and other duties, and I make bold to say that it is in respect of that other title and those other duties that this increase in salary has been proposed—at least that it is to an equal extent on account of those duties. What precisely are his duties as Patronage Secretary to the Treasury? To what extent is he responsible for putting forward recommendations for honours for hon. Members, right hon. Members, and business men in the City and other places? That is recognised as a part of his duties. Are we to hear something about it? Are we to hear, for example, how many hon. Gentlemen opposite have applied to be put in a position to say, "I never sought this honour"? Indeed, I consider that his duties in the shadows are more important, almost, to the peace and the unity of the other side than his duties which are performed in the Lobbies of this House, because I am sure that if he did not have a carrot to hold in front of Members he would find it difficult, on the grounds of unanimity of opinion, to get them all into the same Lobby at times. There is an old American proverb that "Molasses catches more flies than vinegar." To what extent is he authorised by the Government to offer molasses to hon. Gentleman? I think the Home Secretary is treating the Committee with scant courtesy in giving us such a one-sided picture of the duties of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury. I confess that I have always had the most intense curiosity to learn what his official duties are in relation to the Government of the day, and I hope that hon. Members who feel as I do will insist on our having further elucidation along those lines.
|Division No.170.]||AYES.||[10.20 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. C. J.||Emery, J. F.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Everard, W. L.||Peake, O.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Fildes, Sir H.||Penny, Sir G.|
|Apsley, Lord||Fleming, E. L.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Furness, S. N.||Petherick, M.|
|Assheton, R.||Ganzoni, Sir J.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Pilkington, R.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Goldie, N. B.||Power, Sir J. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gower, Sir R. V.||Radford, E. A.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Grant-Ferris, R.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Grimston, R. V.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.)||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Blindell, Sir J.||Hanbury, Sir C.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Rowlands, G.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Harbord, A.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Harvey, Sir G.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Selley, H. R.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Bull, B. B.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Holmes, J. S.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Cary, R. A.||Hopkinson, A.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Channon, H.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Spens, W. P.|
|Christie, J. A.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Storey, S.|
|Clany Sir Reginald||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw h)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Leigh, Sir J.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Levy, T.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Loftus, P. C.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Crooke, J. S.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Touche, G. C.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Turton, R. H.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||McKie, J. H.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Magnay, T.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Dodd, J. S.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Wells, S. R.|
|Doland, G. F.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Drewe, C.||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Dugdale, Major T. L.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wise, A. R.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Dunglass, Lord||Moreing, A. C.||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ellisten, Capt. G. S.||Nail, Sir J.||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert|
|Elmley, Viscount||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Ward and Lieut.-Colonel Llewellin.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Broad, F. A.||Daggar, G.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Bromfield, W.||Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)|
|Adamson, W. M.||Buchanan, G.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Burke, W. A.||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Cape, T.||Ede, J. C.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Cassells, T.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)|
|Barnes, A. J.||Chater, D.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)|
|Barr, J.||Cluse, W. S.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.|
|Batey, J.||Cove, W. G.||Foot, D. M.|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Frankel, D.|
|Gallacher, W.||Lee, F.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Gardner, B. W.||Leonard, W.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Leslie, J. R.||Shinwell, E.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Logan, D. G.||Short, A.|
|Gibbins, J.||Lunn, W.||Silkin, L.|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||McEntee, V. La T.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||McGhee, H. G.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||McGovern, J.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||MacLaren, A.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Maclean, N.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Stephen, C.|
|Groves, T. E.||MacNeill, Weir, L.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Mander, G. le M.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Hardie, G. D.||Marshall, F.||Thurtle, E.|
|Harris, Sir P. A.||Milner, Major J.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Hayday, A.||Muff, G.||Walker, J.|
|Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Naylor, T. E.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Oliver, G. H.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Holdsworth, H.||Paling, W.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Hollins, A.||Parker, J.||White, H. Graham|
|Hopkin, D.||Parkinson, J. A.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Potts, J.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Pritt, D. N.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Quibell, D. J. K.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Ridley, G.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Riley, B.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Ritson, J.|
|Lathan, G.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Leach, W.||Rowson, G.||Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.|
I beg to move, in page 2, to leave out lines 25 to 32.
This Amendment is a necessary preliminary to dealing with the matters raised in. two Amendments to Clause 2 which stand in my name later on the Paper. The object is to remedy a very serious omission from the Bill, in that the Government, at a time when they are increasing a number of salaries, are not also going into the question of reducing a number of offices that are really redundant. Probably the House would agree with much greater alacrity to certain proposals which are being put forward for increases if they felt that every possible attention had been given to weeding out any duplicated or unnecessary offices that may exist. In order to show how serious this matter is becoming, I would remind the Committee that there are at the present time no fewer than 93 Members of the House who are dependent on the Government in one way or another for the appointments or positions which they occupy. It is true that many of them do not draw salaries, but many do, and they are all directly under Government influence.
The particular cases which I desire to bring to the attention of the Committee where I think redundancy exists occur particularly in the Defence Services. Surely it is quite wrong, at a time when we are more and more coming to appreciate that what we want is a Defence Ministry covering all three Service Departments, that there should be no fewer than nine Ministers, either in this or in the other House, representing the Service Departments. There are three for the War Office, three for the Admiralty, two for the Air Ministry, and there is the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, covering the whole lot. My proposition is that salaries should not be paid to more than two representatives of the War Office, the Admiralty, or the Foreign Office at any one time. There are two Under-Secretaries for the Foreign Office, one created within the last few years for purely incidental reasons, for the convenience of a particular Minister.
I said I was taking the Amendment in conjunction with two consequential Amendments at the bottom of the page. That was my object in putting it down. They are linked together. I suggest further that, instead of paying two additional Whips as proposed, we should retain them at the present figure.
I have really covered the ground explanatory of the Amendment. I think it deserves attention, because we should not be asked at the same time to grant increases in a large number of cases, for some of which we cannot find a very good reason, and at the same time be asked to continue in office a number of very admirable people whose work is really redundant to the work of the Government at present, and is increasing to an undue extent the power of the Executive over the House of Commons.
The hon. Member will, perhaps, agree to two propositions in answer to his suggestion. One is that, with regard to the War Office, the Admiralty and the Foreign Office in recent years there has been a considerable accession to the business and responsibility of those offices. The hon. Member's own activities and the numerous questions that he on occasion puts down are enough to occupy the whole time and attention of one Under-Secretary to the Foreign Office.
But, seriously, I think the hon. Member will agree that, as far as the Defence Services are concerned, it is essential, having regard to the additional responsibility that rests upon the Ministers in question at the moment, that they should have adequate assistance, and the same applies to the Foreign Office. It is quite possible, if the Government find reason and justification for dropping any one of these Ministries, to do so, but I think most Members who have followed the position of these Departments during the last few years must agree that additional responsibilities rest on the Ministers concerned, and they should have the assistance that is now provided. I think the hon. Member will see that this is a reasonable and proper number at the present time and I hope he will not press the Amendment.
|Division No. 171.]||AYES.||[10.34 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Hanbury, Sir C.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)||Hannon, Sir P. J. H|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr, P. G.||Critchley, A.||Harbord, A.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Crooke, J. S.||Harvey, Sir G.|
|Allen, Li.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cruddas, Col. B.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)|
|Apsley, Lord||Culverwell, C. T.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.|
|Assheton, R.||Davison, Sir W. H.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Doland, G. F.||Holmes, J. S.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Drewe, C.||Hopkinson, A.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Duggan, H. J.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Duncan, J. A. L.||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Dunglass, Lord||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Eckersley, P. T.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)|
|Blindell, Sir J.||Ellis, Sir G.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Elmley, Viscount||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Emery, J. F.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Leigh, Sir J.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Levy, T.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Everard, W. L.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Fildes, Sir H.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Fleming, E. L.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)|
|Bull, B. B.||Furness, S. N.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Ganzoni, Sir J||M'Connell, Sir J.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Cary, R. A.||Goldie, N. B.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Gower, Sir R. V.||McKie, J. H.|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Magnay, T.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Grant-Ferris, R.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.|
|Channon, H.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Gridlev, Sir A. B.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Christie, J. A.||Grimston, R. V.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'ra'll, N.W.)||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J||Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)|
|Moreing, A. C.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Ropner, Colonel L.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Rowlands, G.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Samuel, M. R. A.||Touche, G. C.|
|O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Selley, H. R.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Shakespeare, G. H.||Turton, R. H.|
|Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Palmer, G. E. H.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Peake, O.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Penny, Sir G.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.||Wells, S. R.|
|Petherick, M.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Pilkington, R.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Wise, A. R.|
|Power, Sir J. C.||Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Radford, E. A.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Spens, W. P.||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Ramsden, Sir E.||Storey, S,||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward|
|and Major Sir George Davies.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Parker, J.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Groves, T. E.||Potts, J.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Hardie, G. D.||Ridley, G.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Hayday, A.||Riley, B.|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Ritson, J.|
|Batey, J.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Holdsworth, H.||Rowson, G.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Hollins, A.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hopkin, D.||Silkin, L.|
|Bromfield, W.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cape, T.||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Cassells, T.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lathan, G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Chater, D.||Leach, W.||Stephen, C.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lee, F.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Cove, W. G.||Leonard, W.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth. N.)|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Leslie, J. R.||Thurtle, E.|
|Daggar, G.||Logan, D. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lunn, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Walker, J.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McEntee, V. La T.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||McGhee, H. G.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Ede, J. C.||McGovern, J.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||MacLaren, A.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Maclean, N.||White, H. Graham|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Foot, D. M.||MacNeill, Weir, L.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Frankel, D.||Mander, G. le M.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Gallacher, W.||Marshall, F.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Mathers, G.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Milner, Major J.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Gibbins, J.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Muff, G.|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Naylor, T. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Oliver, G. H.||Sir Percy Harris and Sir Hugh|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M ddl'sbro, W.)||Paling, W.||Seely.|
I beg to move, in page 2, line 34, after "each," to insert "of three."
This Amendment and the following Amendment in my name stand together. The Bill proposes that each of the Junior Lords of the Treasury shall receive salaries of £1,000 a year. At the present time three of the Junior Lords of the Treasury receive salaries and two are unpaid. I do not wish to interfere with the provision that the three senior Junior Lords of the Treasury shall be paid salaries of £1,000 a year. Their duties are heavy and we do not question the payment which it is proposed in the Bill to give to them. But when it comes to making payments to those who do not receive any payment at all under the existing arrangements, rather different considerations arise. What is the right amount and why should the junior members of this band be promoted at once to be on the same footing as those who have had longer experience and perform heavier duties? We propose that the two Junior Lords now unpaid should receive salaries of £600 per annum. We have to take into consideration the fact that as unpaid Junior Lords of the Treasury they receive the ordinary Parliamentary allowance on account of expenses, namely, £400 a year, which every Member is entitled to draw during his service in this House.
I am told it may happen that in some cases a man would be worse off if he received that salary than he would be if he received no salary at all and was still in receipt of the £400 a year allowance on account of expenses. In that case, I take it that it is not compulsory on any individual to draw the salary. There have been cases, and there should be cases in the future, where people have given their services without payment. It is also to be remembered that these Junior Lords of the Treasury are in a position in which it is possible for them to secure promotion to the office of Chief Whip, or, possibly, promotion to the office of an Under-Secretary. In fact, it is the first rung in the ladder of that hierarchy. I, therefore, think that in considering the pay to be given to junior Lords of the Treasury, we should have regard to their prospects and, generally, to the character of the position which they hold. This Bill does not deal with very large sums, but there is, nevertheless, a general feeling that some limit ought to be fixed to these amounts, and when we find the Whips, who constitute a part of the party organisation, also participating in the general share-out—if I may use that expression—it makes one wonder as to the policy and wisdom of such a proceeding. I do not propose to elaborate the arguments any further, but I suggest that this is an Amendment which ought to be accepted by the Committee.
My right hon. and gallant Friend has called the attention of the Committee to an interesting point. I am glad he has done so, because it gives me an opportunity of reminding the Com- mittee of one or two considerations which, I think, ought to be satisfied as far as this proposal is concerned. It is not always appreciated outside that a Minister whose office attracts a salary is not one of those who in addition gets the ordinary £400 a year. The fact that he has an office which attracts a salary quite properly bars him from receiving the £400 as well. If therefore you say of a Minister that he is to receive £600 a year, we must remember that he receives it without any right to deduct anything for expenses, that it is indeed taxed at the source for Income Tax and that he will receive it less tax. In many cases he will have Surtax to pay as well. Therefore the proposition that a Member of this House who is at present receiving £400 a year as a Member of the House not entitled to a Ministerial salary shall be dealt with by having that Member's salary taken away from him and be given instead £600 a year, with no right to deduct anything and with it taxed at the source, is not, on the face of it, a very attractive proposition.
There are at present five junior Lords of the Treasury, and they all do exactly the same work. They are on a rota. It seems to me a curious situation that three of them should be salaried Ministers and two of them should not be. We have, therefore, thought it right to put before the Committee the proposal that these five junior Lords, who do exactly the same work, should be paid exactly the same salary. There is no justification, as far as I can see, for putting them in two different categories of salary, because there is no difference in the work they do, and in the organisation of the business of the House they each play their share. Each Government in turn has its junior Whips and, whatever party is in power, the House as a whole has good reason to be grateful for all the help they get. I do not think that, on reflection, the Committee will feel that it is reasonable to say that there should be a difference in the amount of salary, and it would be a curious way to reward these gentlemen to say that they are no longer to get £400, with a right to any deduction, but £600, to be taxed up to the hilt.
The right hon. Gentleman says that in the event of two of these hon. Friends of most of us getting the £600 a year, because of the fact that they will have to pay Income Tax on the salary, they will get less. I am perfectly prepared, as one of those who have some part in the Amendment, to readjust the Amendment at a later stage so that they do not get less, and therefore that argument goes by the board. It would not be impossible to make such an adjustment that in the event of their preferring to take the £400 instead of the £600 they could do so, but not both in any circumstances. This Amendment is moved because we recognise the value of the junior Whips and the work they do, but, quite frankly, a good many of them are very much apprentices in this place. They are learning. For many of them it is a most excellent training in patience, tact and many of the other things which some of us do not possess.
If there is a Division, I shall stick to this Amendment. Unless I can see a first-class reason for raising a salary, I cannot be a party to doing it, and in this case I say quite frankly that I hope the Committee will stand by the Amendment. I feel sure that my hon. Friends who are affected by this proposal will not bear me any ill will. I recognise their good work, but I think it is absurd to pretend that your four or five junior Whips, although they may be sitting on the same seat at the door, are not put there, some of them, when people do not want to go home and others when people do want to go home; in other words, the Whips themselves make these distinctions. Therefore, when you have the apprenticeship system working throughout the country, and working well, I think you should have some apprenticeship system for the Ministerial offices in this House.
The name of "junior Lords of the Treasury" seems to me to be wrong. We are dealing here with people who are not in the public service, but are essentially in party service. The business of the Whips as a whole is partly public and partly party. Those Whips who organise the business in this House are, no doubt, performing a public service, but when it comes to the junior Whips, it is largely a question of service for a national party rather than for the public as a whole. Therefore, we must look upon this Amendment rather differently from those dealing with general rises in salary. The previous proposals have been increases of pay for public service, but here it is a question of pay for what is more party service than anything else. This is the first case in which people who have not been receiving salaries before are to receive them under this Bill. The other questions have been matters of increase, but these are two new additions to the ever-increasing army of the Government and their Under-Secretaries.
I think the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, my colleague in the representation of Staffordshire, is a fit and proper person to bring this matter forward, for really we who are more or less independent Members in this House must view with increasing disfavour the increasing strength of the Government and the Government ranks in this House. Then, on what grounds are you going to pay these two people who have not been paid before and at the same time leave out the equally deserving body of Members of this House who act as Parliamentary Private Secretaries, all working indefatigably by day and by night, and late at night, always behind their Ministers at Question Time, handing out the answers before they have been made, and all serving an apprenticeship, just as the Whips do? I am astonished at the moderation of the Government, who have increased all their salaries and then forgotten their Parliamentary Private Secretaries. Naturally that is the next instalment of justice for which the public will be required to pay in order to secure the permanent services of the National Government. If this Amendment goes to a Division I shall certainly vote for it. I regret that the Government are raising their salaries all round. I regret that fresh people are being introduced into the ranks of the placemen. The country will regret it as much as hon. Members opposite.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) has taken an egotistical line on this question because, in my short memory of his activities in Parliament, he has never answered to the crack of any whip, and he is not likely to do so. He can therefore speak from personal knowledge of what is going to happen in the future so far as he is concerned. I rarely disagree on any grounds with my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams). I hardly dare to do so; I do not know whether he is a voter in my division, but his father is. He said that he objected to the Junior Whips having any salary, on the ground that they were undergoing an apprenticeship. If that is the case, it is surely an argument in favour of new Members of Parliament who got in at the last election not receiving any salary. The fact of the matter is that these people are promoted to the position of Whips—and most of us sympathise with them very much in their unfortunate calling—after some years of experience because of their tact, or their knowledge, or for some other qualification. I do not see any valid reason for differentiation between classes of persons in the Government, such as Whips, all of whom do the same work. Some of them would, if this Amendment were accepted, be placed above the salt, while others would be placed below it. They all have to do precisely the same thing. They have to submit to sour looks and occasional insults—and sometimes severe insults—at the doors as Members go home at night. They have the same trouble in trying to get quorums for the Committees upstairs and of trying to conciliate various Members like my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay. For all these reasons the Lords of the Treasury are entitled to the same payment.
I am surprised at the words of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams). I listened earlier to his panegyric on the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, and now I hear him talk like this about the lads who do all the work. It strikes me as really not playing the game. He thought it necessary to increase by £1,000 the salary of the Chief Whip, who is able to sit in his room by the fire and have a comfortable time while the Junior Lords of the Treasury have to go prowling about doing the dirty work of the office. They have to sit in draughts, and it is noticeable how many of them go about with colds. The hon. Member for Torquay disregards all that and says they are only serving their apprenticeship and have to put up with all the discomforts and misfortunes in learning their job. I do not believe in the principle that the people who do the hard work and have to put up with the hardships should get the least for it.
When I was a teacher I sometimes used to say to boys: "When you go to work never go to work at anything where you will have to take your jacket off. If fortune is unkind to you and you have to take your jacket off, at least see that you don't have to take your vest off. If you have to work without your shirt, as a miner, it will be absolute misery for you." It seems to me that those who are doing the hard work are to get practically nothing for it. The doorkeepers in the House of God are very useful members, and the lads who keep the doors in this House are worthy of better treatment. I do not agree with the hon. Member for Torquay in making this distinction. I could have better understood it if the Parliamentary Secretary had been receiving £600 a year, plus the comfort of the fireside, the pipe and whatever else he has in his room. [interruption.] No, I am not receiving any invitations which might be brought forward afterwards to justify talk about the entertainment which Ministers have to provide. It is very unfair and unkind to propose to treat the young fellows in this fashion by putting them in such an inferior position as compared with the big chief.
The Home Secretary made an admission which is of some interest to the Front Bench in a justification as regards support of the contention that the junior Lords should be paid. That is a contention with which I entirely agree, but one of his grounds of his contention was that the Junior Lords are unable to gain allowances like any private Member in respect of the salaries which they receive. He said that it would be unfair, and I think rightly so, that a Junior Lord with £600 a year should be unable to deduct, like any private Member, the expenses of being a Member of Parliament. That is extraordinarily unfair, but if that is to be made a ground for increasing salaries, it is equally unfair to all the other Ministers of other Departments. All Members of the Executive who hold Ministerial appointments should be entitled to claim the usual allowances as members of the Legislature in respect of expenses which we are entitled to get. The Home Secretary, however, has cut away from the other Ministers of the Crown the grounds on which we hope to get allowances for them, if he uses that argument as the main grounds for increases of salary in the cases now before us. For that reason, while supporting this payment to the Junior Lords of the Treasury, I cannot agree with the argument of the Home Secretary, but we wish to correct this unfairness on a broader basis at a later stage.
I wish to oppose the Clause standing part of the Bill. I hope that the Patronage Secretary is not making up his mind to get this Clause before the Committee rises. If so, we are in for a long sitting. If it is possible to make an arrangement before the Debate starts, I will sit down.
We have been considering the matter, and it is evident that a great deal of time will be needed to finish the Committee stage on the second day. At the same time, the Committee will appreciate that this is a matter which we must get through, and, therefore, it is only a question of how much we can do conveniently to-night. There is no intention, as far as we are concerned, of keeping Members from leaving in good time to catch their trains, but we should be very glad if we could make some progress. Some time about 12 o'clock will be reasonable for us to consider adjourning. I would much sooner do it in cooperation with hon. Gentlemen opposite. We do not want, and have not the slightest intention, to make this a late night; at the same time I think that we might hope to make some progress before midnight.
I have got away from that. When the Committee were discussing the salaries of Cabinet Ministers, it was a question of reducing them from £5,000 to £4,000. As a trade unionist, I never like to agree to the reduction of salaries or wages. I object to that sort of thing. Therefore, I said nothing when the question was being discussed as between £5,000 and £4,000. But now that we come to the discussion of the £5,000 on the Question of the Clause standing part it is a different matter. It is difficult to understand how the Government could have brought forward the proposal that all the Ministers mentioned in Part I of the First Schedule should be paid £5,000 a year each. I can only think that they came to the conclusion that it was the easiest way out, and that they did not want to undertake an inquiry into the work of each Department to see whether the Minister at the head of it was worth £5,000 a year. In the Schedule we find four Secretaries of State who in my opinion, are not entitled to £5,000 a year. First there are the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Some of us can remember when the Dominions Office and the Colonial Office were one office and managed by one Minister. We remember how two Ministers came to be appointed. The offices were divided to oblige a gentleman who is no longer a Member of this House, a gentleman who said to me when he was going to be appointed to the Dominions Office: "Joe, I can do that job standing on my head." He had been in an office which kept him very busy, and he saw a chance of getting another appointment. I am prepared to admit that that was done under a Labour Government; but it was to oblige that gentleman that the Dominions Office and the Colonial Office were separated, and Mr. Thomas took one and Mr. Sidney Webb the other.
Now that the Government are dealing with the subject of Ministers' salaries, I submit that there can be no justification for continuing the Dominions Office and the Colonial Office each with a salary of £5,000 a year. Then there is the India Office. Who in this House will suggest the continuance of the office of Secretary of State for India at a salary of £5,000 a year? The same observation applies to the office of Secretary of State for Air. When considering this problem the Government ought to have dealt with it radically, and taken advantage of the opportunity to reconsider the offices of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Secretary of State for India and Secretary of State for Air. For none of those offices ought the Government to be asking us to vote £5,000 a year. Further, what justification is there for allotting the office of Minister of Agriculture a salary of £5,000 a year? I know that he is in charge of a large industry, but there is another large industry which, in my opinion, is just as important, and that is the mining industry. The office of Secretary for Mines is just as important as that of Minister of Agriculture, but he has to be paid £2,000 a year while the Minister of Agriculture is to get £5,000 a year and be in the Cabinet. As miners' representatives, we have been pleading that the office of Secretary for Mines should have Cabinet rank so that the Secretary might be able to do far more important work than he does at present. There is no justification for that differentiation. The same might be said about the £5,000 to be paid to the President of the Board of Education; that office does not warrant £5,000.
The only office in this list that merits £5,000 a year is that of the Ministry of Labour, which is a really arduous post. The Minister is always busy. The only argument used by the Government for raising all the Members of the Cabinet to £5,000 a year is based upon the Ministry of Labour. They have pointed to it as being an arduous post and as justifying the salary; we agree, but we do not agree to the use of that argument for the increasing of all the other salaries. It is proposed that the Minister of Transport, being in the Cabinet, should be paid £5,000 a year. I remember—
We had better keep this Debate a little in order. Certain questions in regard to the payment of £5,000 a year to certain Ministers have been disposed of by the Division. I would call the hon. Member's attention also to the fact that the Bill does not settle who is or is not to be in the Cabinet. The third point is that, from what the hon. Member said just now, he is discussing Part I of the First Schedule. A good deal of what he said is much more applicable to that Schedule than to the question which is before the Committee. The hon. Member should deal with the Clause as a whole.
I would direct your attention, Sir. Dennis, to Clause 1 (1, a); if these matters cannot be discussed under this paragraph they cannot be discussed at all. I am not debating the Schedule. My impression was that when we divided upon the Amendment for a reduction from £5,000 to £4,000, it was upon the £4,000 that we voted. We did not decide that Cabinet Ministers should be paid £5,000. I have waited all the evening to discuss this matter on this question, believing that this was the proper place to do so. Can I go on?