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Orders of the Day — Disqualifications Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 25th January 2000.

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"Any person who is elected as a member of both the Northern Ireland Assembly and the legislature of Ireland shall be paid 50 per cent. of the salary of a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly".—[Mr. William Ross.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross UUP, East Londonderry

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

With this it will be convenient to discuss new clause 5— Office costs allowanceAny person who is elected as a member of both the Northern Ireland Assembly and the legislature of Ireland shall receive no more than 50 per cent. of the office costs allowance payable to a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly".

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross UUP, East Londonderry

Anyone who has read the new clauses will know exactly what they entail. I do not propose to detain the Committee for long, unless others want to take part in the debate. New clause 4 relates to the salary paid to a person elected a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the legislature of Ireland. Such a person would be paid 50 per cent. of the salary of a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. I hope that he would be paid the same from the Dail, although I have no control over that.

Some might think new clause 4 to be rather harsh, but it is generous. I understand that those who are Members of the House and of the European Parliament receive a full salary from one place, but only a third of their salary from the other. In effect, they are no better off, but the real problem lies with new clause 5, which would cut the office costs allowance paid to a Member by 50 per cent. Members would receive half the full amount of salary and office costs allowance that they could claim. The trouble is that those who have a representative role in Europe can claim 100 per cent. of their allowances from the House and 100 per cent. of the office costs allowance from Europe. That is unreasonable, but it seems even less reasonable when we consider the situation in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

If a workman worked only two and a half days a week instead of five, one would not pay him for five days' work. This new clause is most reasonable, so I hope that the Minister will recognise the force of my argument and accept it. It is completely in line with the policy pursued by successive Governments. I hope that the Minister will apply this proposal or something close to it.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)

As the hon. Gentleman rightly said, the two new clauses would abate by 50 per cent. the salaries and allowances of Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly who are also Members of the Irish legislature. They would apply the abatement to Members of the Dail and the Seanad.

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman has examined section 47 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, but it requires that an Assembly Member's salary be abated if he is also a Member of the House of Commons. No such abatement is applied in respect of Members of the Irish Seanad, who may already sit as Members of the Assembly.

Since devolution on 2 December 1999, the Assembly has had the power under section 47 of the 1998 Act to determine the salaries and allowances of its Members. It is already within the Assembly's powers under those provisions to abate salaries and allowances in the manner proposed in the new clause if it so chooses. Given that the Assembly already has that power, the Government see no need to make special provision in the Bill.

I know that the hon. Gentleman takes a close interest in these matters. He will be aware that the Assembly has already chosen to use those powers. That being the case, the new clause is unnecessary, although it is important to express the principle. The Assembly has those powers, and that is the right place for them to be exercised.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross UUP, East Londonderry

I am afraid that I cannot agree with the Minister. I think that the place in which to put down the marker is this House. We are dealing with a subordinate legislature, and there is no guarantee that it will apply the principle that I have enunciated and that applies in Europe. I am setting out a general principle that should apply right across the board, which is that Members can draw a salary only for the amount of work they do, and they can draw only the secretarial allowances that apply to that work.

In all truth, it was the thought of some hon. Members not carrying out all their duties but drawing their salaries and lifting £100,000 or thereabouts in allowances that sparked off this amendment in my mind. The principle embodied in the new clause is sound. If the Minister is not prepared to be more reasonable than he has been hitherto, I shall press the new clause to a vote.

Photo of Patrick Cormack Patrick Cormack Conservative, South Staffordshire

The Minister has acknowledged the validity of the proposition tabled by my hon. Friend. The only difference between us is whether it should be enshrined in the Bill. We can see no good reason why it should not be, so we would advise right hon. and hon. Friends to support the new clause.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 139, Noes 337.

Division No. 51][7.19 pm
Abbott, Ms DianeAnderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Ainger, NickAshdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Ashton, Joe
Alexander, DouglasAtkins, Charlotte
Allen, GrahamAustin, John
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)Ballard, Jackie
Banks, TonyDonohoe, Brian H
Barnes, HarryDoran, Frank
Battle, JohnDowd, Jim
Bayley, HughDrew, David
Beard, NigelEagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs MargaretEagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Bell, Martin (Tatton)Edwards, Huw
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)Efford, Clive
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)Ellman, Mrs Louise
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)Ennis, Jeff
Bennett, Andrew FFearn, Ronnie
Benton, JoeField, Rt Hon Frank
Bermingham, GeraldFisher, Mark
Berry, RogerFollett, Barbara
Best, HaroldFoster, Rt Hon Derek
Betts, CliveFoster, Don (Bath)
Blackman, LizFoster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Blears, Ms HazelFoster, Michael J (Worcester)
Blizzard, BobFoulkes, George
Borrow, DavidGalloway, George
Bradley, Keith (Withington)Gapes, Mike
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)Gardiner, Barry
Bradshaw, BenGeorge, Andrew (St Ives)
Breed, ColinGerrard, Neil
Brinton, Mrs HelenGibson, Dr Ian
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)Godsiff, Roger
Browne, DesmondGoggins, Paul
Burden, RichardGolding, Mrs Llin
Burgon, ColinGordon, Mrs Eileen
Burstow, PaulGriffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Butler, Mrs ChristineGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)Grocott, Bruce
Campbell-Savours, DaleGrogan, John
Canavan, DennisGunnell, John
Cann, JamieHain, Peter
Caplin, IvorHall, Patrick (Bedford)
Casale, RogerHamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Cawsey, IanHanson, David
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Chaytor, DavidHeal, Mrs Sylvia
Clapham, MichaelHeath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)Heppell, John
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)Hesford, Stephen
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)Hill, Keith
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)Hinchliffe, David
Clelland, DavidHodge, Ms Margaret
Clwyd, AnnHood, Jimmy
Coaker, VernonHope, Phil
Coffey, Ms AnnHopkins, Kelvin
Coleman, IainHowarth, George (Knowsley N)
Colman, TonyHoyle, Lindsay
Connarty, MichaelHughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Corbett, RobinHughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Corbyn, JeremyHurst, Alan
Corston, JeanIddon, Dr Brian
Cotter, BrianIllsley, Eric
Cranston, RossIngram, Rt Hon Adam
Crausby, DavidJackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)Jamieson, David
Cummings, JohnJenkins, Brian
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Darvill, KeithJones, Helen (Warrington N)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Davidson, IanJones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Dean, Mrs JanetKeeble, Ms Sally
Denham, JohnKeen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Dismore, AndrewKelly, Ms Ruth
Dobbin, JimKemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Kidney, DavidPrentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Kilfoyle, PeterPrimarolo, Dawn
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)Prosser, Gwyn
Kumar, Dr AshokPurchase, Ken
Ladyman, Dr StephenQuin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Laxton, BobQuinn, Lawrie
Lepper, DavidRadice, Rt Hon Giles
Leslie, ChristopherRammell, Bill
Levitt, TomReed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)Rendel, David
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs HelenRooney, Terry
Linton, MartinRoss, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)Roy, Frank
Llwyd, ElfynRuddock, Joan
Lock, DavidRussell, Bob (Colchester)
Love, AndrewRussell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McAvoy, ThomasRyan, Ms Joan
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
McDonagh, SiobhainSarwar, Mohammad
Macdonald, CalumSavidge, Malcolm
McDonnell, JohnSawford, Phil
McFall, JohnSedgemore, Brian
McGuire, Mrs AnneShaw, Jonathan
McIsaac, ShonaSheerman, Barry
Mackinlay, AndrewSheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Maclennan, Rt Hon RobertShipley, Ms Debra
McNulty, TonySimpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
MacShane, DenisSingh, Marsha
Mactaggart, FionaSkinner, Dennis
McWalter, TonySmith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
McWilliam, JohnSmith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Mahon, Mrs AliceSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Mallaber, JudySmith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)Snape, Peter
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)Southworth, Ms Helen
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Spellar, John
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Squire, Ms Rachel
Marshall-Andrews, RobertStarkey, Dr Phyllis
Martlew, EricSteinberg, Gerry
Maxton, JohnStevenson, George
Meale, AlanStewart, David (Inverness E)
Merron, GillianStinchcombe, Paul
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)Stoate, Dr Howard
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Miller, AndrewStuart, Ms Gisela
Mitchell, AustinStunell, Andrew
Moonie, Dr LewisSutcliffe, Gerry
Moore, MichaelTaylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Moran, Ms MargaretTaylor, David (NW Leics)
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Mountford, KaliTodd, Mark
Mudie, GeorgeTonge, Dr Jenny
Mullin, ChrisTrickett, Jon
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)Truswell, Paul
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Norris, DanTurner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)Turner, Neil (Wigan)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Olner, BillTwigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Osborne, Ms SandraTyler, Paul
Palmer, Dr NickTynan, Bill
Pearson, IanWard, Ms Claire
Pendry, TomWareing, Robert N
Pickthall, ColinWatts, David
Plaskitt, JamesWebb, Steve
Pollard, KerryWelsh, Andrew
Pond, ChrisWhite, Brian
Pope, GregWhitehead, Dr Alan
Powell, Sir RaymondWicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)Wray, James
Willis, PhilWright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wilson, BrianWright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)Tellers for the Ayes:
Wise, AudreyMr. Mike Hall and
Wood, MikeMr. Don Touhig.
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Amess, DavidEvans, Nigel
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon JamesFaber, David
Beggs, RoyFabricant, Michael
Bercow, JohnFallon, Michael
Beresford, Sir PaulFlight, Howard
Blunt, CrispinForsythe, Clifford
Body, Sir RichardForth, Rt Hon Eric
Boswell, TimFowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)Fox, Dr Liam
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs VirginiaFraser, Christopher
Brady, GrahamGale, Roger
Brazier, JulianGibb, Nick
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterGill, Christopher
Browning, Mrs AngelaGillan, Mrs Cheryl
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Burns, SimonGray, James
Butterfill, JohnGreen, Damian
Cash, WilliamGreenway, John
Chope, ChristopherGrieve, Dominic
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Clifton-Brown, GeoffreyHammond, Philip
Collins, TimHawkins, Nick
Cormack, Sir PatrickHayes, John
Cran, JamesHeald, Oliver
Curry, Rt Hon DavidHeathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)Horam, John
Day, StephenHoward, Rt Hon Michael
Donaldson, JeffreyHowarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Dorrell, Rt Hon StephenJack, Rt Hon Michael
Duncan, AlanJenkin, Bernard
Duncan Smith, IainKey, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)Roe, Mrs Marion (Btoxbourne)
Kirkbride, Miss JulieRoss, William (E Lond'y)
Lait, Mrs JacquiRowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Lansley, AndrewRuffley, David
Leigh, EdwardSt Aubyn, Nick
Letwin, OliverSayeed, Jonathan
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Lidington, DavidShepherd, Richard
Lilley, Rt Hon PeterSimpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Loughton, TimSoames, Nicholas
Luff, PeterSpelman, Mrs Caroline
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir NicholasSpicer, Sir Michael
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnSpring, Richard
McIntosh, Miss AnneStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
MacKay, Rt Hon AndrewSwayne, Desmond
Maclean, Rt Hon DavidSyms, Robert
McLoughlin, PatrickTapsell, Sir Peter
Madel, Sir DavidTaylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Maginnis, KenTaylor, John M (Solihull)
Major, Rt Hon JohnTaylor, Sir Teddy
Maples, JohnThompson, William
Maude, Rt Hon FrancisTredinnick, David
Mawhinnev Rt Hon Sir BrianTrend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
May, Mrs TheresaViggers, Peter
Moss, MalcolmWalter, Robert
Nicholls, PatrickWaterson, Nigel
Norman, ArchieWells, Bowen
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)Whitney, Sir Raymond
Ottaway, RichardWhittingdale, John
Page, RichardWilletts, David
Paice, JamesWinterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Paterson, OwenWinterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Pickles, EricYeo, Tim
Portillo, Rt Hon MichaelYoung, Rt Hon Sir George
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon JohnTellers for the Noes:
Robathan, AndrewMrs. Eleanor Laing and
Robertson. LaurenceMr. Peter Atkinson.

Question accordingly negatived.