Select Committees (Chairmen), Liaison Committee and Green Book

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 8:10 pm on 3rd March 2009.

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Photo of Andrew MacKinlay Andrew MacKinlay Labour, Thurrock 8:10 pm, 3rd March 2009

I intend to divide the House on this point, because I believe that it is wrong in principle. I explained to Mr. Touhig, who would be the beneficiary of the motions, that it was nothing personal. I hope that he and the House will notice that I have argued consistently against the growth of additional emoluments for other Members in this House. I see this as another increment, and it is extremely unhealthy. In November, the House was with me, by a majority of two, in preventing the payment to Chairpersons of the regional Select Committees. I was very pleased about that, and I think that it was right. We have to bring a halt to this. Although the motion is a one-off and relates to one particular chairmanship, it is simply wrong.

That matter goes to the heart of our democracy and is creating two tiers of Members of Parliament. I understand from an answer that I received to a parliamentary question that, from memory, some 160 Members are paid differently from Back Benchers. We have to put a halt to that. If I win tonight, it will be unfortunate for the right hon. Member for Islwyn, but we need to put on the brakes.

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