Financial Provisions

Part of House of Commons (Administration) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1978.

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Photo of Mr Michael English Mr Michael English , Nottingham West 12:00 am, 27th June 1978

My right hon. Friend seems to think that it is obvious. I am grateful to him. I take it that he thinks that the subsection means that the Treasury's power over the Estimates of the House ceases once the Bill receives the Royal Assent, to the extent that Clause 3 (1) says. It is somewhat vague as to what that extent is.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary seems to be trying to evade the issue. He seems to be saying at one point that the Treasury's power continues and at another point that it ceases. Which is the case? That is all he has been asked by the hon. Member for Worthing and myself.

The object of the amendment is very simple. We, the majority of Members, wish to have the same power over the expenditure of the House as other legislatures in other countries have. We assumed that Clause 3 (1) gave that power to the Commission which would represent the House. My hon. Friend is not saying that that is so, nor, clearly, is he saying that it is not.

Will my hon. Friend clearly and specifically say whether the Treasury's former power over the Estimates of the House is transferred by the Bill, when it becomes an Act, to the Commission? It is a very clear question. It is a matter of great importance to every hon. Member, every Committee of the House and every officer of the House. Will my hon. Friend kindly answer it, clearly and simply?