Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £8,800, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1931, for the Salaries and Expenses of the House of Commons.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence)
This Vote has arisen owing to the fact that two items of the original Estimate have eventuated in larger amounts than was anticipated. The first of these items relates to the travelling expenses of Members of Parliament. The original Estimate in this respect was £35,500, and it is now anticipated that the sum required will be in the neighbourhood of £42,000, involving a difference of £6,600. Of that difference about £4,000 is due to the fact that the original Estimate was based on the figures of last year, and that last year there was a General Election occupying about four weeks. That meant a saving in expenditure on travelling expenses for Members of something like £4,000 in that year and that sum of £4,000 is therefore an additional expenditure under this head for the current year. Apart from that, there is a deficiency of about £2,600 extending over the whole of the 12 months, and I can account for that also to the satisfaction of the Committee. The £4,000 difference is due to the General Election, and the balance of about £2,600 is covered over the whole period—
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
We are basing the Estimate on the figure of the previous year. With reference to the £2,600, in the new Parliament a larger 1978 number of Members make use of the vouchers every week. The reason is that in the old Parliament a larger proportion of Members had town residences where they lived during the Session. In the new Parliament a larger number of Members go down to their constituencies, which are their homes, every week-end. Whereas in the last Parliament about 460 Members made use of vouchers, in this Parliament the number is about 500. For the purposes of this Estimate, the year runs from February to January, and last year's figures included February, March and April of the old Parliament, whereas in the present year's figures are included February, March and April of the present Parliament. When these two discrepancies are taken into account, nearly the whole of the £6,600 has been accounted for. The excess under the other sub-head is accounted for by a lump sum payment of £4,380, which was paid into the estate of the late Clerk of the House, Sir Lonsdale Webster. The reason why the full amount does not appear in the Supplementary Estimate is that it is offset by the cessation of pensions on the death of pensioners.
§ Sir ASSHETON POWNALL
The Financial Secretary has given a delightful explanation for this increase in travelling expenses. Either he entirely forgot, in basing his Estimate on the 1929–30 figures, that there had been a General Election in May, 1929, or he expected a General Election in the year ending 31st March this year. We have been very near it once or twice, in which case the hon. Gentleman's figures would have come out much better, but it is very bad budgeting that, in estimating the figures for 12 months, the fact should be overlooked that in May, 1929, there were no Members of Parliament to have travel facilities. There are one or two points apart from this to which the attention of the Committee ought to be called. I happen to be one of the 115 Members who do not use these vouchers, my constituency being so near. Ten years ago, when this question was first debated, I was in favour of Members having free warrants for first-class tickets. Therefore, I have taken some interest in the question in the last 10 years, and I have noticed that the figure has been core tinually increasing. I have been into the matter on the Public Accounts Committee on more than one occasion.
1979 There has been a steady increase of £2,000 or £3,000 a year under this heading for a good many years. The General Election of 1929 altered the composition of the House, and it may be that some hon. Members in the last Parliament were railway directors, and in that capacity had free travel. If a railway director from the north of England were replaced by a Member who was not a railway director, it would make a difference of from £50 to £100 a year. Even allowing for that, there has been a steady increase of £2,000 or £3,000 a year. In these difficult times, an extra £2,000 a year is liable to be cavilled at by the public, who are very jealous of Parliament and of economics generally, and it is rather unfortunate that we should have a miscalculation of, £4,000 and this excess spending of £2,000 at this time. It is distinctly unhappy from a national point of view. Another point in connection with this question wants consideration. It has been considered on several occasions whether it would not be worth while for Members of Parliament to be given season tickets in place of the present system of warrants. At the time when this was gone into last by the Public Accounts Committee—
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is not the occasion for arguing for or against season tickets as compared with the present system.
§ Sir A. POWNALL
With all deference, this is a question of spending an extra sum of money, and I am trying to show a means by which such extra sum can be avoided in future.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It should be raised on some other occasion. All we have to deal with to-day are the circumstances that have arisen to cause the increase. We cannot in this Committee alter the arrangements.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I submit that there is nothing to prevent the Committee altering the arrangements. The Committee are asked to vote a sum of money for the travelling expenses of many Members between London and their constituencies. The Vote says nothing about vouchers, or prescribes in any way the manner in 1980 which the travelling expenses are to be incurred. The Executive is asking the House in Committee of Supply to vote a certain sum of money to pay the travelling expenses, and I submit that it is competent for the Committee to make known to the Government their desire that the payment should be made in some other fashion. If they do that, the change will be made next week or as soon as it can be brought into effect. There is nothing in the Vote which prescribes that the payment must be made in the way in which it is made at present.
§ Mr. HANNON
Is it not open to the Committee to discuss whether, in relation to this increased Vote, some alternative method can be introduced in order to reduce that sum?
§ Mr. DENMAN
These Estimates deal with the period ending March this year, and I suggest that any device that alters the method over a prolonged period cannot be discussed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Estimate is for an additional sum of money to meet expenses. This Committee, in my estimation, cannot argue whether there should be season tickets or vouchers. That argument would lead us very far indeed, and if it is to be raised I think it should come up on the Treasury Vote.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mr. CULVERWELL
Is it not the purpose of this Committee to discuss whether the expenditure is justified or not, and if we can by our criticism suggest to the Government some means by which this payment may become unnecessary, surely that is within the scope of the discussion?
In discussing the matter of this Estimate and the additional sum that has to be found in order to cover the expenditure, we are not discussing policy, and I take it that it has been the custom on previous occasions of this kind to discuss or suggest methods whereby savings can be made. I think the suggestion of the hon. Member has been put in the form of a saving by another method, and in that sense it is not a question of policy at all but of bringing before the Committee a method of saving money.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I understood that this Estimate of £35,500 was in respect of vouchers, and I take it that it is not open to us to discuss to-day whether the money is to be found by way of voucher or otherwise. We have only to decide whether the money provided is insufficient, and whether we should vote a further £6,600 for that purpose. That is really the only point before the Committee.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Arising out of what the right hon. Member has just said, I say that the House decided nothing of the kind. It decided that £35,500 should be spent on travelling expenses. How it is done is a purely administrative method.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The question does not arise here, but on the Treasury Vote, but I have this moment referred to the main Estimate and find the wording somewhat indefinite. I felt that a wide discussion on this matter should not take place for, as I say, we may have arguments for increased expenditure rather than reduced expenditure. However, I will see how the discussion goes.
§ Sir A. POWNALL
My point is purely an administrative one. I do not want to spend more money; I want to spend less, it may be by a different means of administering the money which each year the House votes for this purpose. I therefore submit that in that way I can keep within the bounds of order, and have a chance of ventilating the subject. I will confine my remarks merely to saying that any hon. Member who wants information on this point can find it in a, recent report of the Public Accounts Committee, where it will be found that had the season ticket plan been adopted some years ago, it would have imposed an extra expenditure of £15,000 or £20,000. All I say now is that the expenditure has gone up so much each year, that the question might be reviewed, owing to the altered figures before us, because to many Members season tickets would be a great convenience. I admit that there are pros and cons with regard 1982 to it. Members may, in fact, never use warrants at all, but travel by road. The pros and cons, however, might again be studied, in view of the fact that no longer a saving of £20,000 would be effected, but only a very small saving, and many hon. Members would greatly prefer season tickets to the present voucher plan. That was my only reason for calling attention to the report of the Public Accounts Committee and to ask Members to bear it in mind.
§ Mr. MILLS
Like the hon. Member for East Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall), I also was in the House at the time this question was discussed. I also represent a constituency which necessitates my having to pay a shilling to come up to London in order to travel down to my constituency, which is two miles further on. Therefore, I think I can speak on this matter with a certain amount of impartiality. The original intention of this House was to endeavour to revise the pre-War allowance to Members of Parliament, and I well remember the Select Committee being appointed and the evidence which was given. There were three Members of this House who were too poor to be assessable to Income Tax. One was Mr. Charles White, the Member at that time for North-East Derbyshire; the other was Mr. Myers, the then Member for Spen Valley; and the third was myself, and when all the investigations had been concluded, the Committee solemnly recommended that the £400 should be free of Income Tax, which left the three poorest Members of the House of Commons exactly where they were before.
Following that, the question of railway passes for Members of Parliament arose, and we understood from the beginning that it would take the form of an identity card. Like many other hon. Members, I have been out of this country, and well know that the question of identity is difficult. Everyone can present a card, and it carries no one any further. Getting to this House on a day such as that of the marriage of Princess Mary, or the opening of Parliament, we cannot get through the crowd, and a policeman looks with an air of suspicion if you try to push through the people. It seems to me that the production of a season ticket carrying the photograph of the recipient, or some 1983 other form of identification which would be valid in every other country as well as here, would be something more in accord with the dignity of Parliament. In view of what has happened, I believe it is the unanimous desire of all parties in this House to substitute something for the vicious and wasteful system of vouchers. Evidence has been given of people who have scrapped at one time half-a-dozen return tickets from the North of England which they have never used. In circumstances like that, it is obvious that the question of a season ticket which is valid for the use of the Member himself and no other person, is one that cries out for consideration by the House.
§ Commander SOUTHBY
I wish to offer only a brief observation in support of what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for East Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall), that surely the time has come to re-discuss this question of the season ticket as against the voucher system for Members of Parliament. The voucher system is open to obvious criticism, and it might be that if a system of season tickets were substituted, the necessity for a Supplementary Estimate would cease, because it would have the advantage that the exact amount would be known.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
As the Minister in the late Government who had to submit the memoranda to the Treasury about the allowances to Members of this House, perhaps I may be permitted to say a few words on the subject. As regards the preference for vouchers, that is to say a ticket for each journey, or for season tickets, I must confess that, personally, I was overwhelmingly in favour of season tickets. It seemed to me a waste of energy always having to get tickets, and that if Parliament decided—I think, unfortunately—that travelling allowances were to be given to Members and tickets provided for them, then they ought to be given to Members in the most convenient form for them. I sent memoranda in that sense, but I was always met with the answer that that would cost more, and that the cheapest form was to oblige each Member to take out a ticket for each individual journey or return journey. My own case was 1984 always cited against me, because I travel comparatively seldom.
I do not know that this is the time to defend increased expenditure. That, I think, must be left to the judgment of the House as a whole, but I will say that it is obviously more convenient to have season tickets. I, myself, am not quite convinced that the Treasury are correct that, taking the whole body of Members, it would cost more for season tickets. It is fortunate, I think, that this Vote has come before us, because it may bring about a re-examination of the whole question, and, perhaps, the hon. Gentleman will consider this later with a view to seeing that it does not cost any more. If that should be the case, Members should be given season tickets. It has been suggested that a reduction might be obtained by giving us third class tickets. I can dispose of that in one sentence. It would be ridiculous for a Minister to be given a third-class ticket when his private secretary or the head of his Department was travelling first-class on public duty.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
Why should a Minister be worthy of only a third-class fare, when his private secretary is worthy of a first-class fare?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
If it is a question of what he can afford, it would mean an inquisition into every man's income. As we are dealing with the question, could not the Financial Secretary and the Minister of Transport consider whether it would not be an economy, and certainly it is a fair thing that the ticket should be from the place of residence of the Member to London, and not from the constituency to London? These allowances are given to enable a Member to carry out his duties at Westminster, not to enable him to visit his constituency, and it seems ridiculous at the present time that the ticket should only be given from the constituency to London and not from the place of residence of the Member.
§ Mr. JAMES GARDNER
I rise to speak only because of the Public Accounts Committee's report on this subject. I understand that the contention that season tickets would cost more was based 1985 on ordinary season ticket rates. I have always understood that the railway companies when dealing with companies who put huge sums into their pockets attach special conditions to tickets for directors and managers of such companies. If that be so, I suggest that as the Government are the largest customer which the railways of this country have got—I may be wrong, but I think I am right—there is, for instance, the Post Office—the Financial Secretary might be asked to get quotations on the favourable terms which are now extended to private companies.
§ Captain GUNSTON
With reference to the suggestion just made by the hon. Member that the Government might be able to obtain special terms from the railway companies for these tickets, I would remind the House that when a railway Bill came up for consideration individual Members might feel in such a case that they were under an obligation to the railway companies, and I think we ought to put the hon. Member's suggestion out of our minds. As to what the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Mills) said, I think we must agree that though it may be desirable, from his point of view, to spend money on the social services, we ought to be as economical as possible on this service. Each of us is apt, to consider his own case in this matter, and I may mention that I live in my Division and on the average travel up to the House once a week in the year. Where a season ticket is used only once a week it does not, I believe, pay to buy one; one would have to use the ticket more frequently than that if there were to be any saving as compared with the use of voucher tickets.
A way out of the difficulty may be found, however, in the circumstance that the House is not sitting the whole year. Though season tickets for Members would probably cost more if they were available throughout the whole year, there might be a saving if they were available only while the House was sitting, and vouchers were supplied for the remainder of the year. I put that forward as a suggestion which might receive the consideration of the Treasury. Would there be any objection to going through the vouchers and seeing how many each Member has used—I am not suggesting that there has been anything wrong—in order to ascertain how many cases there are in which a saving would be effected by sub- 1986 stituting a season ticket for the vouchers? My own case, I believe, would be just on the border line. I am not suggesting that we should take any privileges away from Members, but there might be a saving in giving some Members a season ticket while the House was sitting and allowing them to get vouchers for any journeys when the House is not sitting.
§ Mr. OSWALD LEWIS
I wish to direct attention to the figures given to us by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. In explaining the necessity for this Supplementary Estimate of £6,600 he sought to get rid of £4,000 of it by reminding us that there was a General Election in 1929, although the Department must have been cognisant of that fact when the original estimate was drawn up. I do not know what period of time the Financial Secretary reckoned in respect of the General Election. If, as I understood him to say, the loss of Parliamentary time was estimated at four weeks, then the amount allowed in respect of that period ought to be £3,000 and not £4,000. The original Estimate for the year was £35,500 and if we knock off a month that would mean a reduction of about one-twelfth, which would be somewhere about £3,000. Then the Financial Secretary said that whereas 460 Members had been in the habit of using vouchers, owing to the change in the composition of the House, the number had increased to 500. He used those 40 additional. Members to account for the balance of £2,600 of the increase. If we divide £2,600 by £40 we get a sum of £65. I do not know whether that corresponds approximately to the average cost per Member. If it does, then the £2,600 would fairly cover the amount, but personally I should think that £65 is rather a high figure, and that would leave some part of the supplementary sum still to be accounted for. I was struck by the remark from an hon. Member opposite that in some cases return tickets had been thrown away unused. If hon. Members are careless in taking a return ticket without being certain that they will require the use of the return half, and afterwards throw it away, they are throwing an unnecessary charge upon the State. I think the suggestion of season tickets worthy of examination.
1987 There is one other point. It should not be overlooked that we are examining this Supplementary Estimate at a time of extreme financial stringency, and it is much more difficult to justify measures which might be accepted in normal times. Reference has been made to the question whether the vouchers should be for first-class tickets or third class. It has been pointed out that there are Members who cannot afford the expense of the extra travel which membership of the House imposes upon them and that it would be unfair not to pay their expenses. Such Members, when travelling on their own private affairs, would undoubtedly travel third-class, and in such cases I cannot see that it is any hardship upon them to travel third-class when somebody else is paying if they would travel third class if they were paying for themselves. In the financial circumstances in which we find ourselves there is a good deal to be said for substituting third-class travel for first-class as a temporary measure, although under normal conditions a strong case could be made out for allowing first-class travel.
I must confess that I was not impressed by the difficulty raised by the right hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest (Colonel Ashley) that a Minister might have to travel third-class while his private secretary rode first-class. Ministers could be dealt with separately when travelling on public business and have the privilege of a first-class voucher. That is a difficulty that could be got over in that way, or some other. In view of the speech on the national finances made the other day by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a strong case could be made out for us to set an example to the nation by showing that we are willing as a temporary measure to travel third-class.
§ Mr. JAMES HUDSON
I gather from the remarks of the late Minister of Transport and other speakers that there is a desire to study the convenience of hon. Members as well as taking into account the cost. The late Minister of Transport took the view that the convenience of Members generally would be served if they were supplied with contract tickets instead of being given a separate ticket for each journey.
§ Mr. HUDSON
I accept that; but the point I was proceeding to make was that in a great many cases it will not suit the convenience of Members to have a contract ticket. From many parts of the country hon. Members have the choice of travelling to London by two routes, and it is a great advantage to be able to select whichever route is more convenient in point of view of the train times on a particular occasion. A large number of Members will be greatly inconvenienced by contract tickets which bind them down to the use of one line only.
§ Mr. PYBUS
Is not the question before us more or less one of arithmetic? One presumes that the country would like to save money, and if any particular Member can show, on the basis of the number of vouchers which has been issued to him in a year, that it would be a saving for him to have a season ticket, is there any reason why the Government should turn down an offer from him to take a season ticket in place of the vouchers? As the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. O. Lewis) said, in these times we must save all the money we, and if an hon. Member will go to the Fees Office and offer to have a season ticket and prove that it would be cheaper, it is difficult to understand how the Treasury could refuse to take advantage of such an offer. In addition, I would point out that most of the travelling by Members is done at the week-ends, and it is well known that persons travelling on these cheap week-end tickets have a greatly reduced claim against a railway company in a case of accident happening to them on the journey. Hon. Members who have wives and families dependent upon them therefore take ordinary return tickets at a very much higher cost because they are not prepared to sacrifice what would come to their dependants in the case of a fatal accident. I suggest that if I went to the Financial Secretary and proved to him that the State would save £10 or £15 by giving me a season ticket it would be very difficult in these stringent times to justify the refusal of such an offer.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Those who were Members of the House when 1989 this question first came up will recall that I always said, frankly, that I was opposed to the institution of this privilege of free travel, but it is an accomplished fact, and, of course, we cannot go back upon it. I am sure, also, that it will be felt in all parts of the Committee that this is a time when this question should be looked into. It is fair to say that when this system of free travel was introduced the estimate of its cost was much higher than proved to be the case. I think the original estimate was for £75,000, whereas in point of fact the expenditure has been round about £30,000 or £34,000. The Financial Secretary did not mention the fact that last year the estimate was increased by £1,000, from £34,500 to £35,500. Now we have this increase of £6,600.
An hon. Member has stated that this is largely a matter of arithmetic, but there are other circumstances which we have to take into account. We have to start with the fundamental assumption that whatever we do must not involve any extra charge upon the public funds. We are all agreed about that. I have been trying to work out some of the arithmetical points which have been put before the Committee, and I started by taking the question of first-class travel-Eng. On the basis of 2½d. per mile with 500 travelling Members the cost would be £42,000 and that represents about 8,000 miles per member per year or the very respectable total of 4,000,000 miles a year. On the basis of a Session of 35 weeks it works out at about 228 miles for each of the 500 Members, a figure which seems to me to be rather high. I agree that you have to take long distances into account, and it is precisely from that point of view that I urge the Government to go into this question. Let the Financial Secretary find out in what proportion tickets have been used for long-distance journeys, and how the number of long-distance journeys compares with the number of short-distance journeys. I was horrified by the suggestion that occasionally people scrap a considerable number of tickets; that appears to me to have no possible defence. Surely there must be some provision under which tickets not used can be returned to the railway companies, and I should be very surprised to hear 1990 that the scrapping of these tickets was at all general. If that has been the practice, then it is a bad practice.
I would suggest that the Government might reconsider the question of travelling in the Recess. I always thought that these facilities in the Recess were rather illogical. I was always against this practice altogether, but I also took the position that, if you are going to have it, the practice was far more logical to have it between London and the Members' homes, as was first suggested, instead of between London and the Members' constituencies. It was eventually settled that the facilities should be granted between London and the Member's constituency, and, that having been settled, the logical basis of continuing it during the Recess goes. If the facilities were granted between London and the Member's home, then there would be something to be said for all-the-year-round facilities, but, when the House is not sitting, and the Member is not residing in his London home—an increasing number of hon. Members reside in their own constituency—there appears to be a strong argument for considering whether the Government should not suspend these travelling facilities except for one journey from London and one back again. If that were done, I think it would he found that the season ticket system would he cheaper than the existing basis of charges, and I am quite sure that it would he much more satisfactory and convenient for Members.
I believe that such an arrangement would save money to the Exchequer. I do not know of any other country where Members enjoy these facilities during the Recess. [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes, Germany."] But they do not enjoy the facilities all the year round in Germany. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I am only speaking from recollection, but I think it was found at the time when this question was first considered that in quite a number of countries the travelling facilities of Members of Parliament were only extended to the time when Parliament was sitting. At all events, it seems to me to be rather an illogical thing that we should have these facilities during the Recess. At a time when we are reconsidering this question, it is worth while the Government looking into the matter 1991 and telling us what the cost of season tickets would be all the year round on the assumption of a normal Parliament sitting for 25 weeks in the year; then we can see what is the difference, and we shall know exactly where we are. I submit to the Financial Secretary that the Committee are not satisfied that the present system is absolutely the best that can be devised for the convenience of Members or the saving of money, and I hope the matter will be reconsidered.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
Perhaps it will be convenient for me to reply now to the points which have been raised. I was very glad, Mr. Chairman, that you found yourself able to allow the discussion to proceed along these lines, because the House is very anxious to discuss this matter, and it is very important that we should have an opportunity of discussing it this afternoon. I am very glad to respond to the invitation of those hon. Members who have asked me to investigate this matter further to see whether any alternative method can be adopted in place of the system involved at the present time. There are other alternatives to that of season tickets. It has been suggested that Members should be provided with warrants instead of being able to exchange their vouchers at the booking office for an ordinary railway ticket, and it is claimed that that is what is done in other countries. I will consider whether that would not be an advantage over the present system.
The main point which has been mentioned this afternoon is that of the alternative of the season ticket, as against the present system. I should like to inform the Committee that there are a good many points to be taken into account which do not seem to me to have been realised by hon. Members. In the first place, there is the very salient point to which the right hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson) has referred. What is going to be the position during the Recesses? Is it suggested that the season ticket should not apply to the Recess, and, if not, it is suggested that during the interval we should go back to the voucher or warrant system? Do hon. Members wish to adopt the suggestion put forward by the right hon. Member for South Croydon that we should refuse to give any travelling facili- 1992 ties during the Recess? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]. I am afraid that point his not been made quite clear.
Another matter was raised by the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. J. Hudson) who suggested that the vouchers should be available on two or more railways which are not in the same group. Under the present system, I sometimes travel on one railway and come back on the other, and I think the voucher we have issued to us at present is admirably suited for that purpose. If I attend a meeting during the week end, I endeavour to go by one line and come back by the same line, which avoids taking single tickets. In the ordinary way, season tickets are not inter-changeable on two lines.
Sir G. HAMILTON
The ordinary traders' season ticket is available on any railway of any group when the railways run to the same town.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I am dealing with the ordinary season ticket, and that will only apply to a single railway and not to an alternative railway. I will come to traders' tickets later. Then there is the case which has been mentioned of the Member for a county constituency who wishes to, travel to several different points in his own constituency. Under the present system, the Member originally had to choose a single place in his constituency, and his voucher was made out for that place. During the last Parliament a further concession was given allowing a Member to travel to any place in his constituency on any particular day of the week. If we changed over to the season ticket system, it would involve considerable inconvenience and an increase in the cost.
It is quite true, as was stated by the hon. Member for East Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall) that the cost has been steadily rising. With regard to that point, may I state that the figure for the Estimate of this year was based on the 1928–29 figure, which was a whole year without a General Election, and the total was in the neighbourhood of £35,000. It was assumed by those who made that Estimate that the effect of the General Election would have been to reduce the amount below the 1928 figure, and it appeared that that was going to be the case when the Estimates were weighed 1993 up. The amounts becoming due in the heavier months of December and January of the present Parliament have shown themselves in time to be taken into account in the main Estimates, and that is why the figure was put down at the old amount, and was not increased as it should have been when it was realised that the cost had increased. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Croydon suggested that if we cut the season tickets down to the bone by having no facilities in the Recess, and only a single place in the constituencies, we should actually save money by changing over from the present system to the season ticket system. That is not the case. The very lowest estimate that I have before me is for the sum of £46,000, which the Committee will see is about £4,000 above the actual increased figure for which we are asking at the moment.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I was coming to that point. That is the lowest estimate put forward. It is an estimate based upon the number who had travelled when the Estimate was prepared. We have several additions to make to it. First of all, there is the larger number of Members travelling at the present time. Then, if we are to give the same facilities in the Recess, we get to £58,000, and if to that we add travelling to various points in the constituency, the amount would probably exceed £60,000, and it might be as high as £70,000, to carry out the full provision of season tickets throughout the year.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Is that based on ordinary season ticket rates or traders' season ticket rates? There is a great difference.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I was coming to that point also. That estimate is for season tickets at ordinary rates. A suggestion has been made in the. Debate that, instead of ordinary season tickets at the full rate, we should endeavour—I use the words in no discreditable sense—to strike a bargain with the railway companies by getting what might be traders' tickets or by taking some other means of reducing the cost of the tickets from the full season 1994 ticket amount. That suggestion was also considered when the original scheme was carried through, and it was then decided that it was not desirable for this House to make a bargain with the railway companies. I think there are obvious grounds for that objection. That is why the proposal fell through. Otherwise, I am quite aware that we could strike a bargain with the railway companies and probably get a reduction from the full amount. The Committee might take the view that that is the right thing to do, but the Government, following the lines of their predecessors all through the years, have taken the view that such a course is undesirable. Unless there is a very strong feeling to the contrary, I think we should adhere to that decision.
A further suggestion was made in the Debate. Hon. Members have suggested a hybrid method of dealing with the question. They say "Let us give vouchers to Members of Parliament who use only a few vouchers, but season tickets to Members who use many vouchers, if that means a reduction of cost." I have had that suggestion in various forms put before me by individual Members during the time that I have been Financial Secretary to the Treasury. On looking into it, I find that it would be very difficult to adopt, and I think the Committee will see that it would not be a very satisfactory method of dealing with this question. It would be a very delicate matter and very difficult to operate. The same criticism applies to the proposal that we should adopt a hybrid system of another kind—season tickets during the Session and vouchers during the Recess. I think the Committee will realise that when we are dealing with this matter we have to deal with it in a broad way and to adopt one system throughout. We cannot pick and choose between one Member and another, any more than we can do so between one period and another. We must throughout use season tickets, or bargain with the railways, or use traders' tickets, or use vouchers. Whatever the system adopted, we must stick to it throughout.
It will he open to the Committee to decide whether we should have tickets only during the Session, but the position that we have taken up to now is that 1995 the tickets should be available during the Recess, and short of an overwhelming expression of opinion to the contrary by the Committee the Government do not want to alter that arrangement. The right hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest (Colonel Ashley) made the suggestion that the tickets should be available between the House of Commons and the Member's residence instead of between the House of Commons and his constituency. I am afraid that it would not be in order to deal with that suggestion, because in the original Estimate it is specifically stated that the ticket is to be between the House of Commons and the constituency. Probably the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would not wish to press that point, as it is contrary to the original decision of the House in the matter. I have now dealt with most of the questions that have been put to me. I conclude by repeating what I said at the beginning. Up to the present I have made only a partial survey of this matter. I am quite willing to, and I gather that it is the wish of the Committee that I should, examine the question further, and to go into all the details, to see if I can suggest any method which, without costing inure, would be either more convenient to Members or in other ways more desirable, and in such an event I should recommend the change for the consideration of the Committee.
§ Major GLYN
I am sure that the Committee has heard with great satisfaction that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is willing to consider this matter in all its aspects. I am certain that if he would consider the possibility of setting up a small committee to go into the method by which tickets are issued he would find that the railway companies would be only too anxious to co-operate with him. There is one aspect of the matter which has not been dealt with so far. I happened to be a member, in 1921, of the committee which considered this problem and came to the conclusion that it was right that, in addition to the £400 a year granted in 1911, hon. Members should have free travel facilities. There was great discussion then as between first class and third class. It was then considered right and proper that hon. Members journeying from their constituencies to London 1996 should have every facility for rest so as to be in good condition when they arrived at the House for business.
There is no doubt that since those facilities have been given there has been an enormous amount of extra travelling. That, I think, is only right and proper in the case of hon. Members who represent constituencies in the north, as it puts them on all fours with hon. Members who represent constituencies near London. Before the Committee of which I was a member we had evidence from one who has now ceased to be a Member of the House, that he was never able to see his family throughout the Session because he could not afford the journey to his home, which happened to be in his constituency. I am certain that hon. Members will realise that it is not right that any hon. Member should be put in a position of disadvantage of that sort. Therefore, if we are all agreed that there shall be these travelling facilities, the next problem we have to face is that it shall be done with the minimum of cost to the country. If we are decided upon that, we shall be all equally decided that there should be no abuse of the privilege. I believe that the time has come when the method of the present voucher system should be revised.
An hon. Member has said that he finds it is possible to convert the existing voucher into a warrant. I believe that that can be done. That would meet the objections of my right hon. Friend the Member for the New Forest (Colonel Ashley), who thinks that it takes a long time to exchange a voucher for a ticket. It also has the advantage that hon. Members can travel by any route they like. They would have to sign in each case the counterfoil of the warrant. Abroad, if you travel on a privilege ticket, you are asked by the collector to sign your name on the back of the voucher in order that he may ensure that the signature is the same as that of the person entitled to travel. That very small difficulty could be easily met by hon. Members themselves. There is the point about the difference between first and third class. I feel, and I have felt for a long time, that it is not right for hon. Members to travel in any discomfort, but I think we can say that since the privileges were granted the convenience and the advantages of the third class passenger have been very well looked after by the railway com- 1997 panies. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I shall stick to that point, because I believe it to be true.
There is a further point. In the case of hon. Members who sit for Midland constituencies it may not matter so much whether they travel first or third class, but in the case of hon. Members who sit for northern constituencies it is very important that they should get a night's rest when travelling. That is a matter which weighed with me in the original discussions of the Committee referred to. There are so many aspects of this question that, if the Financial Secretary would consider the best means of dealing with it by consulting the usual channels, the railway companies and representatives in different parts of the House, I am sure that a system could be devised which would be to the advantage of the Exchequer and a personal convenience to all Members.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
Considering the millions that we handle it would seem that we are devoting ridiculous attention to this Vote of £40,000 for the travelling expenses of hon. Members. It shows how sensitive the Committee is when a matter appears to affect the interests of hon. Members themselves. This is a very small sum indeed compared with what we spend on other purposes. If we travel on public business to our constituencies we ought to travel in comfort. I have, therefore, always supported first-class travel for Members of Parliament, for I hold that if there is any class in the community which ought to have comfort in travelling it is the Members of this House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] We nearly all of us do work in the trains when we are travelling, and, if we can get undisturbed room, without a crowd around us, we ought to have it. I am not very much in favour of any distinction being made between third and first-class, and, if the time comes for all travelling to be done at one class, I should still advocate separate corridors being reserved for Members of Parliament. I have not found the voucher system inconvenient. It is not much trouble 10 fill up the voucher. As to the Recess, that is a period when these tickets are most useful. Therefore, I do not think any case has been made out for doing away with the existing system.
1998 It is desirable that all Members should be treated alike; otherwise, I see no difficulty in giving season tickets to Members where it will pay to do so and of using the warrant system for others. There is not much in it. I agree that we should save what we can in view of the expenditure which is going on, but the House should not allow it to be supposed that we ought to approach this question in any shamefaced way as though we were asking for something to which we are not entitled. Against that attitude I want to enter my protest. We should get cheaper tickets where we can get them for our purposes, but, so far as the payment of Members is concerned, I think the part least requiring criticism is the expenditure devoted to travelling.
§ Mr. HARDIE
As one who comes from a long distance I wish to say a few words on this question. I have always held that whatever form of pass was used it ought to be one which would in no way be transferable. That is a matter which forms an undercurrent to this Deba[...]e, and I approach it quite straight forwardly. A statement was made by the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Mills)—I am sorry he is not in the House—which raised the question not only of his own honour but of the honour of all Members. I remember when I asked what world be done about the return half in the case of a Member taking a return ticket on going home, and the House going into Recess, I was told that he would put it in an envelope and send it back to the Treasury, who would get credit for it.
I have here in my hand a document which is not affected in any way by the class you are travelling, the date on which you travel, nor where you are travelling. On it is a photograph in the front and your signature. When a Member goes to a station, he has to fill in his voucher and get a ticket in the ordinary way. I am trying to avoid the issue of a ticket. With this system I have here in my hand, all a Member does is to sign his name across two sections, the outward and the return, and give the date. This will allow him to pass the check of the collector on his journey to his constituency and will supply a check again on his return journey when completed. It affords a complete record of the Member's travelling, and there is no possibility of any other use 1999 being made of it. That, I submit, is a much handier system than the voucher system.
§ Mr. HARDIE
On the railway journeys the railway company would tear off slips and they would have a record on their books. With regard to the question of the single journey, I would ask: Are there any single journeys in connection with Parliamentary duties? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Well, I am glad that this question has been raised. If circumstances are such in the case of some Members that they can come back by car. [HON. MEMBERS: "By omnibus."] Well, supposing you come back by boat. When I can travel by boat to Glasgow, I save about £3. Provision for this is made by the voucher. By boat or rail, as the Minister of Transport said, is the real basis of the arrangement.
I hope that the Treasury when they consider this matter will take what I have suggested into account for it seems to me, apart altogether from the question of inconvenience of the voucher system, that the system I am recommending, with a photograph of the Member on the front part of it together with his signature, affords full guarantee as to who is travelling. If there is any fault in our present system which would tempt anyone to do anything that is wrong, then I say let us perfect it.
§ Major LLEWELLIN
I rise to endorse what has been said by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. O. Lewis) and the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn). Personally, I am a little disappointed in the attitude that the Committee has taken this afternoon upon one point. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us that economy is absolutely necessary. I suppose there is a large number of Members on these benches who talk about economy, and I suppose there are still a few Members on the Liberal benches who also mention that subject in the country. I should have liked the Committee to have determined that Members should travel third-class and not first-class.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is not a point before the Committee. The Committee is 2000 not called upon to say whether Members should travel first-class or third-class.
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
On that point of Order. If the Committee should decide upon third-class instead of first-class, that would obviate this additional sum.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The question is not one of first-class or third-class tickets. The question before the Committee is that of an estimate.
§ Major LLEWELLIN
Perhaps I might say, then, that Members should travel in such a way that this Estimate would be reduced by rather more than half. When we are discussing economy the first thing to do is to economise in small things and to start with economy at home, and that is why I should have liked the Committee to have made the gesture this afternoon. The case has been mentioned by the right hon. and gallant Member for New Forest (Colonel Ashley) of Members of Parliament or perhaps Ministers having to travel at a lower class than that travelled by private secretaries or members of a Department. Well, I should cut down the price of travel tickets to civil servants rather than cut down their pay. All that it seems necessary to ensure by this Vote is that Members of Parliament should be able to travel to and from their constituencies. The right hon. Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones) who spoke from the Liberal Benches said that if any class of the community needed to travel in comfort it was that of Members of Parliament. I would reply by saying that if there is any class in this country who should consider economy it is that of Members of Parliament. When I travel to Scotland, as I usually do in the Autumn, I invariably go third-class and on a third-class sleeper. The third-class sleepers which are now provided are extremely comfortable and are quite as much as any Member of this House can afford for himself, or at any rate that the majority of Members can afford, if paying for it out of their own money. If we travel in that way when we do so with our own money, then we ought to travel the same class when we do it out of public expenditure. [Interruption.] Indignation was expressed at the idea of a Member taking a week-end 2001 ticket, but I say that, if we take weekend tickets when we pay for them ourselves, we should do the same when they are paid for by the State.
The only other point to which I want to refer is that of travelling during the Recess. There are some people, for instance Parliamentary private secretaries, who may naturally have to travel from a constituency back to London, but personally I would not allow an ordinary Member, unless he had a Parliamentary duty to perform, to travel during the Recess at the expense of the country.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Suppose that you had someone living 300 or 400 miles away from London who did not come within the category mentioned by the hon. Member and suppose in connection with some matter which he is fighting in his constituency that he finds it necessary to come up to London to get in touch with one of the Departments, would you say that he has no right to be afforded travelling facilities or that such a matter does not come within the definition of Parliamentary duty?
§ Major LLEWELLIN
If I were asked that question, I would say that, when it was right for him to come here in connection with any duty to his constituency, he should be allowed to travel at the expense of the State, but he should make some explanation to the Treasury saying that this was necessary for certain reasons. I would not, however, allow Members to travel from their constituency to London during the Recess for, say, a wedding.
§ Major LLEWELLIN
I was not suggesting that the hon. Member himself was going to use a warrant in that way, although, as the warrants are at present issued, he is perfectly entitled to do so.
§ Major LLEWELLIN
I am glad to hear that the hon. Member views his voucher in that light, and, apparently, therefore, agrees with the point I am 2002 making, namely, that hon. Members should not be allowed to use their vouchers except for strictly Parliamentary duties. As I understand the Resolution of this House, so long as they are travelling between London and their constituencies, they are allowed to use their warrants, and no one is entitled to ask them, "What have you travelled for?"
§ Major LLEWELLIN
The point that I was making, and I am glad that the hon. Member agrees with me, was that there should be some Resolution laid down that Members should not travel during the Recess unless in connection with some Parliamentary duty. Our primary duty, as Members of the House of Commons, is to be economical with the moneys of the State, and, especially, to be economical when our own convenience or comfort is concerned. We should examine this Vote strictly, and I personally had hoped that this afternoon it would have been decided that the Vote could have been reduced by laying it down that, from now until the 31st March next, we should travel third class instead of first.
§ Mr. DENMAN
I am afraid that, on this Vote for money required before the end of March, I cannot persuade myself that the discussion of what is possible during the Recess can be in order, and so I will not follow the last speaker, or other speakers—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must point out to the hon. Member that that remark of his is a reflection on the Chair. I myself indicated that a wide discussion would be out of order, but I looked at the original Estimate and found that it was not very definite, and, therefore, I allowed a somewhat wider discussion when this suggestion was made to the Financial Secretary.
§ Mr. DENMAN
I apologise if my remark could have been taken, by any construction at all, as a reflection on the Chair. It was not so intended; it was only to explain why I did not feel entitled to embark on that particular subject of 2003 discussion. The point that I want to make is a simple one. What I would submit is really in order on this Estimate is any suggestion that will combine any convenience for Members with increased economy in our Estimates. Any suggestion that would enable us to lessen the amount spent in travelling is, I submit, in order, and, therefore, I want to suggest to the Financial Secretary that he might allow a somewhat wider range of possibilities than he seemed to be inclined to accept. He suggested that we must have a rather cast-iron system of one type or another, but I submit that it is possible to effect considerable economies by allowing to Members a reasonable amount of choice. Why should not a Member choose a cheaper method if it happens to be more convenient to him? The use of a third-class ticket would frequently be most convenient. Take the case of Pullmans. The third-class Pullman is quicker and even more comfortable than the first-class, but we cannot use our vouchers—
§ Mr. DENMAN
The Pullman ticket has to be paid for by oneself, and I suggest that it ought to be possible to allow a Member to adopt a method of travelling to his destination cheaper than his voucher indicates. For instance, as has already been mentioned, the third-class sleeper is cheaper than the first-class ordinary fare. The third-class "with trimmings" is really a preferable method, and in many cases is cheaper. Why should not a Member adopt that method?
§ Mr. DENMAN
I suggest that it is cheaper, and, therefore, while he gets greater comfort, there is an economy in the money spent by the State. Then, with regard to season tickets, why should not a third-class season ticket be allowed for anyone who wants it, instead of the first-class voucher system? That might be a convenience, and I submit it as a suggestion to the Financial Secretary. I do not see any reason why, if we want to make economies, we should not be allowed to do so.
§ Captain CROOKSHANK
I beg to move, to reduce the Vote by £6,590.
My object in moving this reduction is not to extinguish the Vote altogether because it still leaves in hand the normal token sum of 110 in case adjustment is required. I move it in order to call further attention to one point which has already been dealt with. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones) seemed to be a little surprised that the House should be so meticulously careful about this Estimate—[Interruption]—and he confirms that by saying, "Hear, hear!"; but the fact that the House has been fairly full, and that so many Members have taken part in the discussion, is due, I think, to what was said by the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie). I am sure he was right when he said that throughout this Debate there has been a sort of under-current, so many Members feeling that the honour of the House has been impugned by a certain misfortune, as we may call it, which recently occurred. That is quite correct. Last week I asked the Financial Secretary what would be the saving in the current year if the vouchers available for Members of the House had been third class instead of first class vouchers, and the estimate made by the Treasury under that head was £16,000. If we could adopt that arrangement forthwith, there would be no need for this Supplementary Estimate, and, therefore, the reduction which I am moving could be put into effect.
It is obviously difficult at any time to work out exactly how much these estimates may be according to the system of vouchers, season tickets and so on, but the hon. Gentleman's own figures show that there would be a saving of £16,000 as between third class and first class fares. After what we have heard from the Treasury Bench, after we have been warned that every section of the community will have to put up with some sacrifice, when even the Cabinet is going to do something—not yet described—in that direction, when social services hvae to be checked, when possibly the "dole" will have to be reduced—[Interruption]—when the Civil Service is going to have large reductions in its salaries, I put it to this Committee that, on the first possible occasion when the House can do something in the way of sacrifice for the common good, it is incumbent upon us to do so. The right hon. Gentleman the 2005 Member for Camborne says that, if there were only one class of railway travelling in this country, Members of Parliament ought to have some special privileges. I hope that those privileges will not be arranged by the United Kingdom Alliance, but I am not at all sure that there is anything in the argument that Members of Parliament should be treated differently from ordinary passengers. It would probably do hon. Members opposite a lot of good to travel between London and their constituencies third class, and get into touch with some of their constituents and hear what they think about the attitude and activities of the present Government; and I am sure it would assist hon. Members of the Opposition to travel third class and hear what people have to say about the Government and get more ammunition for their speeches. I put it to this Committee that it is important that we should give a lead in this matter of economy. [Interruption.] At present we are dealing with travelling facilities for Members of the House and that is sufficient for the time being.
The hon. Member for Central Leeds (Mr. Denman) really argued the case for me just now when he said that in many cases it was more comfortable to travel third class in a certain form than to travel first class. When a Socialist Member of the House says that, why should not we all agree and say that the amount paid by the State should be third-class fares, and that, if anyone wants any additional frills, they can get them at their own expense. The great bulk of the community travels third class, and Members of the House of Commons are only, roughly speaking, the same sort of average as the rest of the community. [Interruption.] It is a pity that in this House any effort for economy should be treated with derision by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I should think that many people in this country would be amazed to hear the kind of reception that is given by hon. Members opposite to a proposal that Members of Parliament should travel third class. I hope that the House may be given an opportunity to-day of registering an opinion by a free vote on this point. I would remind the Committee that this is the first time for, I think, seven years that this matter has come before the House in any shape or form. The last 2006 time, curiously enough, was when a Socialist administration was in office and when these privileges were granted. There has been no opportunity since that time—
§ The CHAIRMAN
There will be an opportunity on the main Estimate. To enter into it now would be out of order.
§ Captain CROOKSHANK
It is true, of course, that there is always an opportunity then, but the custom of the House is to take policy questions on main Estimates, and in actual fact there has been no expression of opinion on the matter in this House since 1924. In view of the parlous condition of the national finances, and of the fact that, although we have never yet reached the original Estimates for this charge, the cost has been going up year by year, I suggest that now is the time, seeing that we have the opportunity, when we should take a vote on the specific issue arising out of my proposed reduction, namely, as to whether in future it would not be adequate for Members to travel at the public expense third-class.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I am very interested M economy, because I have had to practise it all my life. When I hear hon. Members opposite talking about saving £6,000, and at the same time voting for the continuance of things that are costing the nation £1,000,000 a day in interest alone, I wonder what they mean by economy. They remind me of the story of the Scotsman who used a wart on the back of his neck for a collar stud. The hon. Member opposite, a great apostle of economy, forgets the possibility of saving some money by buying caps instead of hats. I have not used a voucher yet in the 12 years that I have been a Member of the House, not because I should not like to have one but because my business engagements as a trade union official compel me to travel to another part of London and not to the House of Commons to begin with. I get no financial advantage by signing vouchers or forms.
At the same time, I claim, as a public servant, that only the best is good enough for the people as a whole. I should like to see the abolition of all classes bar one, and that is the working class. We have only had these matters 2007 discussed since Labour became sufficiently strong to be important. All this talk about economy is at our expense. Those who go to their constituencies in their Rolls Royces forget about those of us who have only boiled rice. I can get to my constituency for 8d. at any time. Others are not so fortunately placed, and I am prepared to support them in getting the best possible facilities. If they travel all night, why should they not travel under comfortable conditions?
I sometimes go across to the Continent as a trade union delegate, and I find that Members of Continental Parliaments have passes which take them not merely to their constituencies but all over the country. The difference, generally speaking, is that the railways are nationally owned. Some Members who talk about economy are railway directors, and they have a gold medal that enables them to travel where they like, and over other systems as well. They do not even pay for their food on the train. Everything is "buckshee." They are going to save this enormous amount of money, and I can see the National Debt dwindling to nothing. The hon. Member's name will go down to history as the man who saved England, in the time of her greatest financial difficulties, £6,000 per annum. It is enough to make an angel weep.
First-class travelling, after all, is not as good as it should be, even when you are paying for it. In the picture paper that I sometimes read I see most luxurious aeroplanes. Why should not a Member be allowed to have an aeroplane ride through his constituency? Suppose that one of his constituents had consumption, or the doctor had given him up, why should he not be allowed to fly down to see how he is getting on? I have been told that a member of the diplomatic corps, if his wife has a pain in her big toe, can fly from Teheran to London at Government expense. But a Member of Parliament must travel third. It reminds me of a story about the great Prince Bismarck. When a friend met him at a railway station getting into a third-class carriage and asked him why, he said he was riding third because there was no fourth. He was an economist of the type that we have in this House.
2008 I am willing to travel on Shanks's pony if I cannot afford to pay the fare. The House of Commons is coming down to a very small thing when it is going to save the nation by reducing an Estimate by £6,000. It seems to me that the only object of this proposition is to give hon. Members opposite an opportunity of showing the "Daily Mail" and the "Daily Express" what a splendid knowledge they have of economy. I would undertake to say that to-night or some day this week they will spend more on one lunch than would pay for a Labour Member's railway fare to his consituency. I am sick and tired of it. I and some of my comrades have to pay out a lot more money than we can afford in expenses connected with being Members of this House. I do not think there are many Members who can represent their constituents for anything less than 15s. a day if they are going to do their duty at all. And we have this contemptible argument advanced that third-class is good enough for us. I say one class is good enough for all. We should get the best accommodation we can get, and the best you can get is what we are getting now. I do not get it, but I am not going to stop other people getting what I cannot have. I do not even begrudge the hon. and gallant Gentleman his top hat.
It is easy to lecture other people about economy, but real economy can only begin when you realise that it can start right at the top of the tree. If I ever want to discover where to start saving, I start with things that are not necessary. There are things which are not necessary for the stability and safety of the country, and that is where we ought to start, where we should save £1,000,000 a day and not £6,000 a year. I only hope hon. Members opposite will learn economy and will begin by trying to live as some of us have had to live. We know more about economy than those who have moved this Amendment. We saw one of our own Members the other day with a white wand in his hand, wearing a uniform that must have cost at least £50. He came in to tell us that something had happened in the House of Lords and to thank us for a Resolution that we had carried.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
On a point of Order. Is this relevant to the Vote for Members' travelling expenses?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The comparison is not apropos to the subject matter under discussion, but I think the hon. Member has about finished.
§ Mr. JONES
I have nearly finished, Sir. We can start economy in the right way and in the right place, but in this case it is simply putting a sticking-plaster on a wooden leg. The real issues have been left untouched. Hon. Members opposite will never tackle the real problem. This attack upon railway travelling is a contemptuous proposition mainly levelled at us. Hon. Members have had all the advantages of luxury in living generally, and they are the first to come forward with this proposition. They would not have thought of it in the days when they had a majority. For seven years they let it slide and we are going to let it slide for 700. When you want to cut down expenses, begin at the right end, and we will all walk into the Lobby behind you. But we know you will never start. You will never tackle the people who could really save the money.
I think we all realise that this is a topic which is extraordinarily difficult to settle. I do not agree with my hon. Friend who contended that railways and vouchers should not be used in the Recess. To my mind, when anyone desires to undertake the obligations of a Member of Parliament he should live either in London or in his constituency, wherever he can best look after the interest of his constituents, and it is absurd in my opinion to say that during the Recess he should not be able to keep in close touch both with London and with his constituency. I could not afford houses in two places, and I had to select the one that seemed to offer the best opportunity of serving both the House of Commons and my constituency.
There is one suggestion that I should like to make. Many of us who go to railway stations at night have some little difficulty because the man behind the grill asks, "Week-end or ordinary?" That depends, of course, on the period of the year. You can go on a Friday or a Saturday night or for the Whitsun holiday, but that conveys little or nothing to the man who is asking for a ticket. He does not know whether it means a 2010 saving or an expense and he says, "Give me the ordinary." Actually he is involving the State in £2 or £3 extra expense. There are a certain number of voucher users in the House and a certain number who never use them. London Members in districts served by tubes and the Underground never use them. Take the voucher users and find out exactly the amount that the vouchers come to annually. It might be several hundreds of pounds, or even run to a higher amount. This is a rough and ready suggestion which the hon. Member representing the Treasury might consider, and possibly whittle down to acceptable dimensions. Wash out the whole system of vouchers and tickets, whether first-class or third-class, and divide the money amongst the voucher users in addition to their £400 a. year. That would enable those who desired to travel first-class to do so, if they could afford it, and those who wanted to travel third-class could do so. They could use the money as they liked in visiting their constituents, or they need not visit their constituents at all, if they did not wish to do so. That would be a matter for their constituents and themselves. It would take away all the discussion on the question as to when a voucher should be used, and when a ticket was misused, and so on. It would be of further assistance to married Members of the House. There are occasions when Members travel to their constituencies with their wives and families, and they cannot afford a sufficient sum to enable their wives and families to go first-class, whereas they have a first-class ticket.
They go to the ticket office and hand in a voucher, and they are handed a first-class ticket, which they use, though they travel third-class with their wives and families. This is no doubt done in ignorance, but it means additional cost to the State. If we could wash out vouchers and tickets altogether and allow a Member to travel as he likes with a third-class ticket or a first-class ticket we should not add one penny to the cost. We should certainly, in my opinion, reduce it if we gave the right to Members to decide for themselves how they should travel, when they should travel and at what expense. This 2011 is only a rough-and-ready suggestion, but it might be devised into something really worth while.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
I rise to support the reduction of the Vote which was so ably moved by my hon. Friend, and at the outset I should like to say that I disagree with the suggestion made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs (Lieut.-Colonel Moore). It seems to me that he is getting away altogether from the original idea of free travel. What he is advocating is an increased allowance or an increased salary for certain Members of this House. He says that it is to give them the equivalent of railway travelling, but it does not necessarily follow at all.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think that the hon. and gallant Member should follow up the matter in that way. The hon. and gallant Member was making a suggestion to the Minister, and the hon. and gallant Member who is now addressing the Committee is not in order in replying to that suggestion.
§ Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
I bow to your Ruling at once, but I have always been under the impression that this Chamber was largely for the purposes of debate.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Certainly, it is for the purposes of debate. I said that discussion should only range over a very narrow field, but I agreed that suggestions might be made to the Minister, and the Minister has said he will consider the suggestions. I agreed to extend the discussion for that purpose, but not for the purpose of widening the discussion generally.
§ Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
If the Chairman considers that I have said anything which casts a reflection upon his Ruling I will certainly withdraw without a moment's hesitation. That is a great deal more than has been done on the other side of the Committee. I really think that the Committee are entitled to an explanation of something which fell from the Financial Secretary early in the Debate when he was presenting the Supplementary Estimate. 2012 Giving one of his reasons for the increased cost of these travelling allowances, he used the wordsFewer Members have London houses, and consequently more travelling is done.The Financial Secretary will correct me if I am wrong, but I am distinctly under the impression that those were his exact words. It seems to indicate that the Financial Secretary is suggest-that Members use those vouchers to travel between Westminster and their homes. I cannot see that there is any other logical interpretation to be put upon that remark. It is definitely stated that that is not allowed; that vouchers are to be used for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is for the purpose of travelling between London and their constituencies. [An HON. MEMBER: "Their homes are there!"] There is the case of which the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn) spoke when he said that on one occasion a Member was unable to visit his wife and family during the whole of the long Session because prior to the introduction of travelling warrants he had not the wherewithal to enable him to pay his railway fare. He entirely omitted the position of the poor man of to-day who does not live in his constituency and who is not able to visit his family the whole of the Session because he has not the wherewithal, and legitimately speaking the voucher does not entitle him to go to his home.
With regard to the mention made by the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Mills) of the case of a man who had destroyed at least half a dozen return tickets, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) said that this was a most iniquitous thing to do, and that the man ought to have known what to do. I would inform the hon. Member for Springburn that I should not have known what to do. It is possible that one might take a return ticket in London and that sometimes a friend, who might be better off, might give you a lift back to London in his car. You have the return ticket in your pocket and you may not visit your constituency for some time, and the ticket may become out-of-date. I admit that I should not know what to do with it. It would be contrary to the rules 2013 of the railway company to use it, and to throw it away would place an unnecessary burden upon the Treasury, and if you sent it back to the railway company and claimed a refund you would lay yourself open to the charge of taking the money—[An HON. MEMBER: "Return it to the Fees Office!"] Exactly. I know that perfectly well now that the hon. Member for Springburn has told us. I am quite sure that there are a large number of Members of the House who had no idea that the right thing to do was to return the ticket to the Fees Office.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Is it in order for an hon. Member to use a phrase, perhaps unknowingly, which might be seized upon by the Press outside, who are always ready to attack people, that when certain people have a return ticket which they do not use they can go to a railway company and get money refunded?
§ Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
I never made any suggestion of the kind, and the hon. Member knows perfectly well that I never intended to do so. I am going to suggest that in future a great deal of misunderstanding would be avoided if there was printed across the cover of the book of vouchers an instruction that if a. ticket was not used it must be returned to the Fees Office. That would tell everybody what ought to be done, and would not point the way to such misunderstandings as appear to have occurred.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
May I now appeal to the Committee to bring this discussion to an end? We have had a very full discussion lasting for two hours, and there is a great deal of other business to get through. I have not made any attempt to curtail what has been a very general Debate, and I feel that it is now time to bring it to an end. May I refer to a remark of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North-West Hull (Sir A. Lambert Ward) and draw his attention to the fact that on the book of vouchers there are these words:Should a Member not use the ticket issued in exchange for a voucher, he should immediately return the same to the Fees Office.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
It is quite plain, and I am glad to say that the point is already covered. The hon. and gallant Gentleman also took exception to something which I have said. He said I had pointed out that there was a considerable difference between the personnel of the last House of Commons and the present House of Commons, and that whereas in the last House of Commons many of the Members lived in London, at the present time there were many Members who had to travel every week, and he seemed to think that there is something peculiar about it. He forgets that a great many Members actually do reside in their constituencies, and that in the normal course of events they go back to their constituencies at the week-end. I was referring to the obvious fact that there was a difference, that whereas in the last Government a larger proportion of Members had houses in London, in the present case a larger proportion have their residences in the constituencies and go away from London every week-end. That fact is reflected in the Vote to which I have already referred. Whereas formerly the number using tickets was represented roughly as 460, it is represented more accurately now to be about 500. Since I spoke last several speeches have been made, and they have, nearly all of them, dealt with the one point of first or third-class.
The hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) went as far as to move a reduction in the Vote of nearly the whole sum of £6,000 and he alleged that that could all be saved if henceforth travelling was third-class instead of first-class. Even if the Estimate dealt with travelling up to the end of March, that amount could not be saved in that time. The real fact is, that what comes into the financial year is the travelling up to the end of January, and as that is already past, no saving could be effected in the present year even if the system were changed. Therefore, the proposal to cut down the Estimate on the ground that the amount could be saved by travelling third-class is really quite contrary to the facts, because it could not be so at all.
On the general question of substituting third-class for first-class. I would like 2015 to put this fact before the Committee. The larger commercial and business houses of this country recognise to-day that it is in the interests of their business that their principal commercial travellers should travel first-class, and they give their commercial travellers first-class tickets. The principal local authorities give their principal officials permission to travel first-class, and over a long period of time officials of the Civil Service travelling on behalf of the main Ministries have travelled first-class. It is really an absurd suggestion that we should give Members of Parliament third-class tickets. A great many Members have important work to do during their travelling, and it is only in accordance with the practice which is carried out by all these Departments to which I have referred that Members of Parliament should be given at least the same facilities as those bodies give to their servants. The time of a Member of Parliament ought not to be wasted when, for a comparatively small additional sum, he can be given the opportunity of really using his time to good advantage. The hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn) hoped that I would consult with Members of this House. We have had a good deal of consultation to-day, and I have heard a good many suggestions, all of which will be carefully considered. If there are any other suggestions which hon. Members wish to put before me, I shall be glad to consider them, and see what can be done, and, if the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon, knowing the position of the railway companies, chooses to bring forward any point, I shall be only too glad to pay full attention to anything that he may suggest. Now that we have had 2¼ hours of discussion, and we have a good deal of other business to get through, I hope that hon. Members will not think it necessary to continue the discussion.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I do not want to detain the Committee, but it is about time that something was said from this side in favour of first-class travelling as against third-class travelling. The conditions imposed upon people who go into public life in this country are as near intolerable as possible, and, if you make 2016 things much more difficult for them, nobody will ever go into public life. There is nothing to be got out of being a Member of Parliament. Hon. Members on both aides will agree with me in that statement. We have very onerous duties to perform, and I do not believe there is any section of the population in this country who are more overworked and worse paid than politicians of all parties. We get all the kicks, none of the praise, and no thanks of any sort or kind for anything that we may do. We have the very severe and onerous constitutional duty imposed upon us of interpreting government of the democracy to the democracy in a democratic country, and the only people who have to do that are Members of Parliament. I sit for a Scottish constituency, and I can only say that while it is quite all right to take a twopenny tube down to a local London constituency—it does not matter whether you travel first-class or third-class there—anyone can tell the difference between travelling to Aberdeen first-class or third-class. Travelling first-class, it is quite all right, but travelling third-class for 12 hours to Aberdeen is the nearest approach to hell that can be imagined. I can only say this to hon. Members: if you make us travel third-class you will have to give us a Parliament in Edinburgh, because we will not come to London.
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
I do not entirely agree with the reasoning of my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby). I rise chiefly in order to point out the implications of what the Financial Secretary said. He said that we ought to travel first-class because the Civil Service and the servants of municipal authorities travel first-class. I should have thought that one of the best ways of getting the Civil Service to cut down their already ponderous estimates, and to get the local authorities to cut down their estimates, is to set an example from this House. It is quite astonishing to hear the ribaldry and facetiousness with which any attempt at economy is received in this House. It is true that we are dealing only with a small sum to-day, just as we dealt with a very large sum yesterday, but it does not matter whether we deal with a large sum or a small sum, the facetiousness and ribaldry on the opposite benches is marked, and 2017 it is also marked by the taxpayers of this country.
With much of what the hon. Member for East Aberdeen said I am in entire agreement. I do not think anybody ought to be asked to take the long journey to Scotland on public business as a third-class passenger. Third-class travelling is not comfortable enough for that distance, and persons would probably travel first-class even if it involved financial sacrifice at their own expense, but I think the Treasury ought to be able to make a distinction between people who have to take these long journeys and people who have only to take short journeys. [Interruption.] Why do hon. Members opposite get this superiority complex? I am proud of the fact that I am one of His Majesty's counsel, and in the exercise of my professional duties I have to travel very considerable distances all over the South and West of England, and I always travel third-class. I always do a good deal of professional work on the way up and down to my places, while travelling third-class, but when I go on public business, which is no more onerous and certainly no more taxing to those cerebral resources which I possess, I have the pleasure of travelling first-class, although I see people perhaps of greater enlightenment and perhaps doing better work than myself travelling third-class.
Members of Parliament could do a service out of all proportion to the amount that we could save on this Vote by setting an example of a determination to accept the advice which was given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the need for ruthless and rigid economy. It is for that reason that I hope the Financial Secretary will not overlook the possibility of arranging that in cases where, for example, a night journey is to be taken, first-class facilities should still be afforded to Members of Parliament, but that in cases where there is no more than a few hours journey involved, third-class facilities, such as are enjoyed by the rest of the community, and taxpayers in particular, is all that a Member of Parliament ought to ask. [HON. MEMBERS: "You start it!"] Hon. Members suggest that I should start it. Possibly I am one of very few Members of this House who have this to his credit that I have, at least on one occasion, taken a third-class ticket with my first 2018 class voucher. I recommend that to hon. Members opposite. [HON. MEMBERS:" On one occasion!"] Yes. If one has it shoved under one's nose that one can have a first-class ticket for the asking, most of us are human enough to take what is offered.
There are one or two other ways in which this Vote might be cut down, and I would recommend them to the Financial Secretary. He seemed to be unduly sniffy, if I may use a vulgarism, about any idea of bargaining with the railway companies. Why not bargain? Why not say to the railway company: "Mr. X last year travelled to Nottingham so many dozen times. If he had taken a season ticket for the year it would have been cheaper. Only charge for Mr. X the season ticket rate for the year." I can see nothing wrong in a bargain of that kind, made at the end of the year. In that way the Treasury would be limited to the amount that would be represented by the season ticket charge, as if the season ticket rate had been entered into in the first instance. That seems to be one way in which to control the expenditure to the extent of, at any rate, the cost of the season ticket.
There is another way for saving money which is not possible under the present method. My home happens to be between my constituency and London. Although I may travel from London to my constituency I am not allowed to travel from my home to my constituency. That is a pure waste of money. As I have credited myself with some virtue in one respect I might as well admit that I have committed an apparent fraud in another respect, in that I have taken a ticket from London to my constituency, but only boarded the train half way to my constituency, because it was near my home, having journeyed to my home by car. In that way the taxpayers have been deprived of the value of the saving represented by the journey between one's home and London. That is a small matter, but there are many hon. Members who if the ticket were available between their homes and their constituency would be able to save small sums of money for the taxpayer. If this was a private business, and we were looking into this matter with a sincere desire to cut down expense, we should be able to do so in 2019 these ways, and I recommend them to the Financial Secretary. He need not be the least bit ashamed that the Committee have spent some time in discussing this matter, because it indicates a desire on the part of Members of Parliament that public money should not be wasted in travelling expenses.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
I am one of those Members of Parliament who represents a London constituency and lives near my constituency and who, therefore, never uses a voucher. I do not want to deal with this question on party lines, but I do think that the case put forward by the hon. and learned Member for Central Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor) deserves very careful consideration. I think the public who take any interest in the Debates in this House will feel that the proceedings this afternoon have been scandalous. The hon. Member for Silver-town (Mr. J. Jones) has made a number of his well-known jokes, and hon. Members opposite have indulged in a series of silly interjections—
§ Mr. BRACKEN
Hon. Members opposite have indulged in a series of silly interjections—[Interruption.] This is a very serious matter—[HON. MEMBERS: "Take your hands out of your pockets!"] I shall do what I think fit. If I had such manners as hon. Members opposite, I would—[Interruption.] This is the way that a very considerable sum of public money is thrown away. Hon. Members opposite take the line that it is impossible for a man to do public work when travelling in a third-class carriage. I was travelling on the Great Western Railway the other day and I saw the Archbishop of York who, I presume, was doing public work, travelling in a third-class carriage. When the Financial Secretary tells us, quite seriously, that because a number of commercial firms allow their employés to travel first-class, and a number of municipalities follow their example, that is a, reason why the House of Commons should do likewise. It was a most extraordinary argument. Has not the House of Commons to set an example to these wasteful local authorities? Is the Financial Secretary so careless of his duties that he seriously gets up in the House of Commons and declares 2020 that because a number of wealthy private firms pay first-class fares for their employés, the House of Commons must not ask its Members to travel third-class.
Before these vouchers were granted Members of all parties always travelled third-class. Yet hon. Members come to the House this afternoon and indulge in a long series of silly jokes about public money. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) told us, in a very agreeable speech, that we are charged with the duty of interpreting democracy to the people and that, therefore, we ought to travel in first-class carriages. I should have thought that we could interpret democracy better if we talked to them in third-class carriages. Every hon. Member who wishes to save public money ought to accept the suggestion of the hon. Member for Central Nottingham. I hope that hon. Members will vote for the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank—[Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite may think this is a very funny subject—[Interruption.] The Financial Secretary asked us to get on with the business, but we are interrupted by the gruff guffaw of the Under-Secretary of State for Air who if he is not insulting Lady Houston is behaving like a yahoo. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!] I hope the Amendment will be pressed to a Division.
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order, and as a matter of information, can you inform us Mr. Dunnico whether the word "yahoo" is disorderly or not?
§ The DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN (Mr. Dunnico)
The word "yahoo" is very vague and indefinite in its application.
§ Mr. SKELTON
Is there not, a difference between saying that an hon. Member is behaving like a yahoo and that he is a yahoo?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I do not think that the word "yahoo" is out of order unless it was intended to be offensive, but such expressions do not add to the tone of the Debate.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
I rise to say that if the zoological description I used offended any hon. Member I withdraw it, but I 2021 would remind you Mr. Deputy-Chairman, that I was being grossly interrupted by hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Should not an hon. Member who uses the word "yahoo" try to know exactly what it implies, because it is a word which refers to a certain animal who does certain things.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
After that slight interruption, may I congratulate the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) on his speech. However great the force of example may be I think we should realise that if this House of Commons, the greatest institution of its kind in the world, as the first act of economy decided to cut down its travelling allowance from first class to third class it would not be good business in any sense of the word so far as the outside world is concerned. I know of no great firm which would consider it good business, and I congratulate the hon. Member for East Aberdeen on getting a wider and more intelligent outlook on life. He may soon rise to the intelligence of an ordinary Englishman. I want to make one suggestion to the Financial Secretary. I do not understand why the Treasury should not come to some agreement with the railway companies. I should have thought it possible to take a block of hon. Members, say from Glasgow or Birmingham, and say to the railway companies that for a period of years so many hon. Members would be coming from Glasgow or Birmingham, practically from the same station, and issue something in the nature of an annual ticket which would take the hon. Member to and from his constituency, and that the ticket should be available over any line. There is no
§ great harm in that and it could be easily done. It would be much more difficult in the case of hon. Members from large and scattered constituencies, like Ross and Cornwall, you have a different proposition to face there, but in the case of a' block of Members living in a comparatively small area something possible on these lines might be done.
§ There is one point in the original Estimate which the Financial Secretary has twice tried to explain and has not yet succeeded in. explaining to the satisfaction of many hon. Members. That is the £4,000 which he forgot about in the original Estimate. He attributes this to the fact that there was a General Election at the time. He has entirely failed to explain why he made this gross omission, and this fact alone entitles us to vote for the reduction. The difference between the original Estimate and the new is £6,000, about one-sixth of the Estimate. That is so large a proportion that it is quite clear that the Treasury are not exercising the care they should or that something quite unexpected has happened. We have heard nothing to lead us to suppose that anything really unexpected has happened, and we are therefore led to the conclusion that the Treasury in administering their own Estimates are loose and slack. It is the clear duty of this Committee to vote for the reduction to show that we are determined that this kind of loose bad budgetting, typical of the Financial Secretary and his leader the Chancellor of the Exchequer, shall be stopped at the earliest possible moment.
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £2,210, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 130; Noes, 258.2025
|Division No. 166.]||AYES.||[6.25 p.m.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Campbell, E. T.||Duckworth, G. A. V.|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Dugdale, Capt. T. L.|
|Balniel, Lord||Christie, J. A.||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Edmondson, Major A. J,|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Wetton-s-M.)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Colfox, Major William Philip||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Colman, N. C. D.||Ferguson, Sir John|
|Bracken, B.||Colville, Major D. J.||Fermoy, Lord|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Fielden, E. B.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Buchan, John||Dalkeith, Earl of||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Butler, R. A.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Dawson, Sir Philip||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Granville, E.||Longden, F.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Marjoribanks, Edward||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Markham, S. F.||Smithen, Waldron|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Hanbury, C.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Clrencester)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Train, J.|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd,Henley)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Penny, Sir George||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Power, Sir John Cecil||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Ramsbotham, H.||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Salmon, Major I.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Savery, S. S.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Simms, Major-General J.||Captain Crookshank and Captain|
|Llewellin, Major J. J.||Skelton, A. N.||Cazalet.|
|Locker-Lampion, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jenkins, Sir William|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Devlin, Joseph||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M.||Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Dukes, C.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)|
|Angell, Sir Norman||Ede, James Chuter||Jones, Rt. Hon Lell (Camborne)|
|Arnott, John||Edmunds, J. E.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Atkinson, C.||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Egan, W. H.||Jowitt Sir W. A. (Preston)|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Eimley, Viscount||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Foot, Isaac||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Barr, James||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Kinley, J.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)||Knight, Holford|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon, George|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Gibbins, Joseph||Lathan, G.|
|Benson, G.||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Law, Albert (Bolton)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Gill, T. H.||Law, A. (Rossendale)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Glassey, A. E.||Lawrence, Susan|
|Bowen, J. W.||Gossling, A. G.||Lawrle, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Gray, Milner||Lawson, John James|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)|
|Bromfield, William||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Leach, W.|
|Brooke, W.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)|
|Brothers, M.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Lees, J.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Lindley, Fred W.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Buchanan, G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Burgess, F. G.||Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Lowth, Thomas|
|Cameron, A. G.||Harbord, A.||Lunn, William|
|Cape, Thomas||Hardie, George D.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Mac Donald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||McElwee, A.|
|Chater, Daniel||Haycock, A. W.||McEntee, V. L.|
|Church, Major A. G.||Hayday, Arthur||McKinlay, A.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Cluse, W. S.||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||McShane, John James|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Herrlotts, J.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (Nthampton)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hirst, G. H. (York, W. R.,Wentworth)||Manning, E. L.|
|Compton, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||March, S.|
|Cove, William G.||Hoffman, P. C.||Marcus, M.|
|Cowan, D. M.||Hopkin, Daniel||Marley, J.|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Marshall, Fred|
|Daggar, George||Horrabin, J. F.||Mathers, George|
|Dallas, George||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Matters, L. W.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Maxton, James|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Isaacs, George||Mills, J. E.|
|Milner, Major J.||Romeril, H. G.||Taylor R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Montague, Frederick||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Rowson, Guy||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Morley, Ralph||Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Sanders, W. S.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Sandham, E.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Sawyer, G. F.||Tools, Joseph|
|Mort, D. L.||Scott, James||Tout, W. J.|
|Muggerldge, H. T.||Scrymgeour, E.||Townend, A. E.|
|Murnin, Hugh||Scurr, John||Vaughan, David|
|Naylor, T. E.||Sexton, Sir James||Viant, S. P.|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Noel Baker, P. J.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Walker, J.|
|Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Sherwood, G. H.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Oldfield, J. R.||Shield, George William||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Tudor|
|Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Watkins, F. C.|
|Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Shillaker, J. F.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermling)|
|Palin, John Henry||Shinwell, E.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Paling, Wilfrid||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Palmer, E. T.||Simmons, C. J.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Sitch, Charles H.||Weish, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Perry, S. F.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||West, F. R.|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Lndywood)|
|Phillips, Dr. Marion||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Pole, Major D. G.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Potts, John S.||Snell, Harry||Wilson C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Price, M. P.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Pybus, Percy John||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Quibell, D. J. K.||Sorensen, R.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Stamford, Thomas W.||Wise, E. F.|
|Raynes, W. R.||Stephen, Campbell||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Sullivan, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ritson, J.||Sutton, J. E.||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Hayes.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. McSHANE
On a point of Order. I should like you, Mr. Dunnico, to give me some information upon this point. Is it still possible for hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have voted for third-class tickets, to make a request to the Treasury that they shall be supplied with third-class tickets, and, if so, will that be done?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I do not think that that is a point of Order. It is always open to an hon. Member to make any application to a Minister, and it is for the Minister either to grant that application or decline to do so.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I can only give a Ruling upon a point of Order, but no point of Order arises here.
§ Mr. WISE
I wish to put this point of Order, Mr. Dunnico. Is it not the case that under the Vote which we have just taken, if an hon. Member travels to his constituency third-class and on a third-class ticket, only third-class fare is 2026 charged up to the Treasury, and that therefore it is open to any hon. Member who desires to do so, to make that saving?
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
On a point of Order. Is it not the case that those who voted for third-class voted for third-class travelling for us, but travel first-class themselves—[Interruption].
§ The DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN
The Chair is being appealed to on points of Order, and hon. Members must remain silent if I am to hear what are the points of Order. It is perfectly clear, however, that no point of Order can now be raised on the Vote which has already been taken. That matter is ended.
§ Colonel GRETTON
My point of Order is quite different. I wish to ask if hon. Members who desire to raise this question again, will be able to so on the Report stage of the Vote?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It is always open to hon. Members to raise a question on the Report stage of a Vote if it is in order.