§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the Chancellor of the Duchy to move his motion, it might be convenient if I were to explain the course that we shall follow in the light of the business motion to which the House earlier agreed. Debate on the motions will continue until 10 o'clock tonight and during the course of it, it will be open to any Member to discuss the various amendments which stand on the paper. At 10 o'clock, the debate will conclude and I shall call on hon. Members in succession to move formally the first of each group of amendments shown on the selection list that has been published.
When the last of these amendments has been disposed of, I shall put the main Question, or the main Question, as amended. If any of the amendments that I have selected for Division is agreed to, I shall call the hon. Member concerned formally to move any consequential amendments within the group in the order in which they appear on the paper. I shall then call the Chancellor of the Duchy to move the second motion, to which the Queen's recommendation has been signified, and thereafter the three remaining motions.
§ Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are you saying that you will take only the first of a group of amendments and that if an hon. Member wishes to move to a Division on a second or third amendment within a group of amendments, that will not be possible?
§ Mr. Speaker
The main principle will be decided on the first amendment in each group. If the House decides against it, that is the end of the story. I should tell the House that I will ensure, to the best of my ability, that, in the course of the debate, everyone who has put down an amendment—that is the first name on each group—will be called. There are, of course, right hon. and hon. Members wishing to participate who have not tabled amendments.
§ Mr. James Wellbeloved (Erith and Crayford)
Will it be in order for hon. Members to discuss motion No. 5—the draft Ministerial and other Salaries and 477 Pensions Order—during the course of the main debate on the first motion?
|1||That, in the opinion of this House, the following provisions about salaries and pensions of Members of this House should be made:—|
|(1) The salary payable to Members of each of the descriptions in the first column of Table 1 below—|
|5||(a) in respect of service on and after 13th June 1979 and before 13th June 1980 shall be at the yearly rate specified in relation to that description in the second column of that Table; and|
|10||(b) in respect of service on and after 13th June 1980 and before 13th June 1981 shall be at the yearly rate specified in relation to that description in the third column of that Table; and|
|15||(c) in respect of service on and after 13th June 1981 shall be at the yearly rate specified in relation to that description in the fourth column of that Table.|
|20||Description of Member||Yearly rate of salary from 13th June 1979 to 12th June 1980||Yearly rate of salary from 13th June 1980 to 12th June 1981||Yearly rate of salary from 13th June 1981|
|1. Member not within any other paragraph.||£9,450||£10,725||£12,000|
|25||2. Member receiving a salary under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act||£5,820||£6,410||£7,000|
|30||1975 as Comptroller or Vice-Chamberlain of Her Majesty's Household, junior|
|35||Lord of the Treasury or Assistant Government or Opposition Whip.|
|40||3. Officer of this House or Member, other than Member of the Cabinet, receiv-||£5,650||£6,325||£7,000|
|45||ing any other salary under the Act of 1975, or receiving a pension under|
|50||section 26 of the Parliamentary and other Pensions Act 1972.|
|55||4. Member of the Cabinet receiving salary under the Act of 1975.||£5,265||£6,130||£7,000|
|60||(2) The ordinary salary of every Member in respect of service on and after 13th June 1979 shall be regarded for pension purposes as being at the rate of £12,000.|
|60||(3) Members of each of the descriptions in the first column of Table 2 shall be credited—|
|65||(a) by way of supplement to their salaries payable in respect of service on or after 13th June 1979 and before 13th June 1980 with amounts at the yearly rate specified|
|in relation to that description in the second column of that Table;|
|70||(b) by way of supplement to their salaries payable in respect of service on or after 13th June 1980 and before 13th June 1981 with amounts at the yearly rate specified in relation to that description in the third column of that Table.|
|75||Description of Member||Yearly rate of supplement from 13th June 1979 to 12th June 1980||Yearly rate of supplement from 13th June 1980 to 12th June 1981|
|1. Member within paragraph 1 or 2 of Table 1 who draws the whole of his salary.||£153.00||£76.50|
|85||2. Member within paragraph 1 or 2 of Table 1 who does not draw the whole of his salary.||£153.00 plus 6 per cent. of the amount forgone, but not together exceeding £173.59.||£76.50 plus 6 per cent. of the amount forgone, but not together exceeding £97.09.|
|90||3. Member within paragraph 3 or 4 of Table 1 except one in whose case no deduction is required to be||£173.59.||£97.09.|
|95||required to be made under section 3 or 4 of the Act of 1972.|
§ By common consent, the question of salaries for Members of Parliament is not an easy one to resolve. The most successful Government that I can recall in this sphere was that of the then Sir Alec Douglas-Home, in 1963. The proposals were made before the election and implemented by the successor Government. It is fair to say that the House of Commons is not always at its best when considering these matters. There is a paradox here which I think explains the difficulties. The House of Commons is virtually the only body in the country with power to determine fully the salary of its own Members. It is in that very fact that the source of the difficulty lies. The House is naturally reluctant to assert the fullness of its powers in matters which benefit itself directly.
§ There is another factor that we have to take into account. It is a cultural one. The tradition in this country is of unpaid and voluntary public service. Members of Parliament were not paid anything at all until 1911, when payment of £400 a year was first introduced. That tradition, although it is not sustainable in the conditions of today, dies hard. It influences public attitudes. It seems to me that the contemporary manifestation of it is that Members should be paid, but not 480 paid adequately. That is not a principle of great logical merit, but it is a principle of powerful effect.
§ I would make clear at the outset, both to the House and the country, that the Government's view is that Members of Parliament should be adequately paid. Hon Members occupy a position of prestigue, influence and responsibility and that position should be reflected in their remuneration.
§ Furthermore, the Government believe that ad hoc arrangements by which hon. Members' salaries are reviewed once in each Parliament are no longer satisfactory by themselves in inflationary periods. It is therefore the Government's intention that if the proposals that I have put before the House command support Lord Boyle's committee should be requested to find one or more professional analogues to which the pay of hon. Members should be linked between reviews.
§ That statement of Government policy has to be balanced against other considerations, including the economic needs of the country. Hence flow the Government's proposals for the phasing of the increase—three instalments over a two-year period. That is the phasing adopted 481 with other analogous groups—for example, senior civil servants, members of the Armed Forces and the judiciary, nationalised industry board members, doctors and dentists.
§ The principle that I enunciated in the House on 21 June when I put the Government's original proposals to hon. Members remains. It would be entirely wrong if we were to treat ourselves more favourably than we have treated others. That principle has been observed both in the Government's original proposals and in the motions before the House.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I shall be listening to the debate and I hope that hon. Members will make their points, in the main, during the debate. I shall reply to them at the conclusion of our discussion.
It must also be borne in mind that hon. Members do not seek election for the money. The primary motivation of all hon. Members, though there may be an accretion of lesser motivations, is to give service to the country through the legislature. Anyone who enters the House hoping to make any sort of financial profit will be rudely disappointed.
The words of Bagehot 100 years ago are still applicable. He said:If a man of ability wishes to make money he had better go anywhere else than into Parliament for there is much more to be spent than made there.I am sure that that is the experience of all hon. Members. It is certainly my experience. I have been an hon. Member for 15 years and I have never been offered anything—not even a day trip to Southend. I have never been able to decide whether that is because I am thought incorruptible or not worth corrupting, but those are the facts of my experience.
There is a further consideration. Hon. Members are free to undertake other employments. How they discharge their dual duties is a matter for them, but the parliamentary salary should be such as to enable those who do not wish to have an outside occupation not to have to seek it.
My belief is that the House benefits from having hon. Members actively engaged in other professions and interests, 482 but I recognise that the House could not discharge its work unless other hon. Members were prepared to forgo that option in the interests of Parliament. I note from the report of Lord Boyle's committee that when Parliament is sitting all hon. Members devote more than 40 hours' work a week to their parliamentary duties. That compares favourably with any other occupation.
There is another relevant matter. We cannot remunerate hon. Members by a system of payment by results. In that sense, an hon. Member is rather similar to a member of the clergy. He can do more than anyone else, or less, although, of course, we have no parson's freehold here. If an hon. Member neglects his duties the remedy is in the hands of his constituents, and they have exercised that ultimate deterrent.
There is a related point. Hon. Members are practically the only people who can be sacked nowadays. We enjoy a degree of job insecurity which is shared by no one else. An hon. Member in middle life, perhaps with heavy family responsibilities, may find himself literally penniless at three months' notice, and that is something to which the press and the public do not give sufficient weight.
I conclude my general considerations on the matter by saying that the public must be prepared to pay their legislators reasonable salaries. If they do not, a heavy price will be exacted elsewhere through the activities of dubious people, which will increase in order to take advantage of the straitened circumstances of hon. Members for those people's ends. In addition, men and women of high ability and dedication who should have the opportunity to enter the House will be debarred or discouraged from doing so.
Lord Boyle's committee concluded that a suitable salary—there can be no absolutes in this matter—was £12,000 a year; and, as I made clear on 21 June, the Government accept that recommendation. It is an increase of about £5,000, which looks like a large sum. However, if one considers it against the background of what has happened to hon. Members' pay over the past four or five years, or the past seven years, it appears in a different light.
483 It is more than seven years since a salary recommendation was fully implemented. Since 1972, prices have risen by 160 per cent., earnings have risen by 200 per cent. and the pay of hon. Members has risen by 53 per cent.
Lord Boyle's recommendations in June 1975, of a salary of £8,000, was not implemented then and has never been implemented. Instead, the then Government, for reasons that I understand, substituted the figure of £5,750 and, with various increases allowed by the succession of pay policies, we now have a parliamentary salary of £6,897. Hon. Members are still being paid £1,100 less than the figure recommended by Lord Boyle in 1975. A great deal has happened since then. Retail prices have risen by 56 per cent. and average earnings have risen by 60 per cent.
If ideal rules of justice prevailed, hon. Members would be looking for substantial back payments, because they were not given the level of salary recommended by the independent Review Body. In fact, if the £8,000 recommended in 1975 had been given to Members, and had the various increases been followed, as they have in the case of pensions, the salary today would be £9,372, and the increase proposed by the Government would be 28 per cent.
I hope that those figures put the matter in its proper perspective, and I hope also that those who comment on these questions will take them into account when they make their comments.
It is that background which has led to the expression of feeling in the House over the Government's proposals to stage the increase. The Government have accepted the figure of £12,000, in contradistinction to the action taken in 1975, when the figure then recommended was not accepted. But Members felt—anyone looking at past experience can hardly blame them—that if the staging was accepted just like that we should fall behind again and an anomaly would be perpetuated. That, I believe, lay at the basis of the protest that the House in general made, and on this point, while keeping to the principle outlined, we have been able to do our best to meet the wishes of Members.
Instead of a division in three stages of 33 per cent. we have substituted a first stage of 50 per cent., which will date 484 from 13 June, and two further stages of 25 per cent. each. Furthermore, it is agreed that the proposed second payment should be updated by the normal processes used in these matters in a manner analogous to that adopted in the case of other Review Body groups. It will be referred to the Boyle committee for its recommendation. Again, this does not break the principle, for it is precisely what was done for doctors and dentists. I hope, therefore, that what we propose will be found satisfactory by the House.
After the second stage, what about the third? I must make plain that the Government have not given a guarantee of updating in relation to the third stage. It was not given to doctors and dentists and it has not been given to other groups. But it is equally clear that it has not been ruled out by the Government. What they propose is a reference to Lord Boyle and his committee with the request that they make recommendations about one or more analogues in the professions to which Members' salaries may be related from 1981 onwards.
That arrangement will still mean that there will be periodical reviews, but it means also that there will be a linkage between the reviews, or, rather, that consideration will be given to a linkage between the reviews, according to the recommendations made by the Boyle committee.
I cannot go into more detail on that matter until we have the recommendations of the Boyle committee before us, but what the Government are seeking to do is to meet two real objections to the present system. First, if Members' pay is allowed to fall far behind they then have to receive what look like large increases, which conceal the fact that Members have been making real financial sacrifices in the interim. Secondly, we want to avoid or reduce the embarrassment that these parliamentary occasions undoubtedly cause to Members.
I must make plain that the Government are not proposing index-linked salaries. That is not so, although the matter has been presented by some people as though that were the proposition. The salary is not to be linked to the prices index, and neither is it to be linked to an earnings index. The review remains, but consideration is to be given to an interim 485 professional link. That is the proposal that the Government make.
§ Mr. Nick Budgen (Wolverhampton, South-West)
But this House is the body which ultimately creates inflation, so is it not right, when we have to take account of what we have done, that we should feel embarrassed?
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
—so I cannot accept my hon. Friend's conclusion. The Government take decisions in these matters, and perhaps the argument could be applied there, but I am afraid that, simple and attractive though that point may sound to some people, it is not one that could be made into a practical policy.
Not only Members' salaries but Ministers' salaries are to be increased. Here again, the increases look large, but, of course, they have been even more distorted by the passage of time. Lord Boyle's recommendations on ministerial salaries were not implemented at all. Cabinet Ministers were excluded—no recommendations of the committee of 1972 were acted on in their case—and in respect of other Ministers the recommendations were acted on in only a minor way.
It cannot be right in our system that a Cabinet Minister, who bears responsibilities for the government of the country, should be paid less than an assistant secretary in the Civil Service is paid. That is the position that we have reached, and it must be put right. The position of junior Ministers—I am thinking here of Parliamentary Secretaries, in particular—is exceptionally difficult.
I should make plain that all the changes will be subject to staging. The staging for Ministers will be the same as that for Members of Parliament, and it will apply to that part of the parliamentary salary which is drawn by Ministers. Furthermore, it is proposed that there should be a biennial review of Ministers' salaries.
That sets out, I hope with reasonable clarity, what lies behind the Government's 486 proposals, and I turn now to the details of the motions themselves.
Hon. Members will have noted that there are two broadly similar motions relating to Members' salaries, one being subject to the Queen's recommendation. The reason for this is rather technical, but basically it derives from the fact that, unintentionally, the Ministerial Salaries and Members' Pensions Act 1965 removed the right that Members traditionally enjoyed to move or to amend abstract motions on their own salaries. Under that Act and the 1972 Act that replaced it, every resolution of the House to increase Members' salaries automatically leads to an increase in Exchequer contributions to the pension fund. Accordingly, any motion or amendment leading to such an increase formally requires the Queen's recommendation.
However, a provision in the Parliamentary Pensions Act of last year has ensured that the operation of the 1972 Act will be dependent on effective motions rather than motions framed as expressions of opinion, and this therefore restores to Members their freedom to propose salary increases by the use of abstract motions. The procedure now is that a motion with the Queen's recommendation on which the Accountant can act will be moved immediately following the corresponding abstract motion if that finds favour with the House.
The first paragraph of these motions increases parliamentary pay from £6,897 to the half-way point of the recommended increase—that is, £9,450—with effect from 13 June. The 1980 and 1981 stages also are given in the table, although, as I have explained, the intention is that the 1980 figure will be subject to updating by the use of the review body process. Corresponding increases are given in the abated parliamentary salaries of Ministers and office holders.
Paragraph 2 ensures that the full recommended salary of £12,000 will be used for pension purposes. The table in paragraph 3 prescribes the supplements payable as previously to cover the 6 per cent. pension contribution on the difference between actual and pensionable pay. For ministerial salaries the corresponding supplement is provided for in the third motion on the Order Paper. 487 The fourth motion simply increases the reimbursement limit for the secretarial allowance from £4,300 to £4,600, in line with the Review Body's recommendation, but it is essential that that recommendation be recognised as an interim one pending the more detailed study and recommendations that we have been promised by the Review Body.
The final motion seeks approval of a draft Order in Council to implement increases in Ministers' and office holders' salaries for this year on the same basis as that proposed for Members. The order also specifies the full recommended salary levels for use for pension purposes. As I announced previously, the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor have said that they will not currently draw any increase in salary. Consequently, the order does not provide for an increase in their case.
§ Mr. Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler (Norfolk, North-West)
When does my right hon. Friend expect Lord Boyle to report on secretarial and research allowances, and what undertaking will the Government give that they intend to implement the Boyle recommendations without delay?
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I cannot bind Lord Boyle to a particular date, but his review on these matters has begun and I hope that it will be completed soon. Once we have the recommendations we shall proceed to a decision expeditiously, although I cannot bind the Government to accept the recommendations before we have seen them.
§ Mr. Michael English (Nottingham, West)
I may have misheard the right hon. Gentleman, but we all understood that the right hon. Lady the Prime Minister did not intend to take the increase recommended by Boyle. However, the right hon. Gentleman said that the order would not provide for the increase in her salary or that of the Lord Chancellor. There is a difference. Any hon. Member is entitled not to take a salary—that is within his or her discretion—but not to increase the salary of an office may cause difficulties for one's successor.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
It is intended that the reduction in salary will apply only to the present holders of the office.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
Will Boyle also examine pension rights and redundancy payments for secretaries? I regard those matters as far more important than our salaries. I believe that the way in which we treat our secretaries in this House is a scandal. Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that that aspect is also being examined?
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I am sympathetic to the hon. Gentleman's comments and I shall answer the point more fully in my reply.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I cannot give way to everybody, but I give the Floor to the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) the third Member of the trinity who were originally on their feet attempting to intervene.
§ Mr. Wellbeloved
The right hon. Gentleman said that Ministers' salaries would be on the same basis as those of hon. Members. Will he confirm, however, that if one takes the parliamentary element of the Minister's salary and adds it to the Minister's salary as such, Under-Secretaries of State will enjoy an increase of 50 per cent. and Members of the Cabinet marginally under 40 per cent.? In the case of Cabinet Ministers the sum is marginally higher than that to be awarded to hon. Members, but for Under-Secretaries of State it is substantially higher. How does the right hon. Gentleman justify the claim that they are all on the same basis?
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I was making the point that they would all be subject equally to staging. I do not want to get into deep waters about abated salaries for Ministers. I have always thought that that rests on a questionable basis. I believe that as a Minister one is expected to do more parliamentary work than less, for the reason that people fear that they may be neglected.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I do not expect the hon. Gentleman to believe it, but I hope that he will. My hope may be greater than my expectation.
I hope that these propositions will commend themselves to the House. I 489 understand, as does the Cabinet, the strong feelings that have been aroused on this subject. The Government are responding. Following my last statement, representations have been made to me by hon. Members on both sides of the House. I express my appreciation to hon. Members. I wish particularly to express appreciation to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and to the Shadow Leader of the House for the constructive part that they have played.
This is not a party matter. I do not claim that the Government have behaved impeccably, but neither have their predecessors. However, as Leader of the House, my responsibility is not to represent the party view in the Cabinet—that task belongs to the sphere of the Chief Whip—but to present to the Cabinet the view of the House as a corporate body. I have done my best to discharge that duty.
Money is always a difficult problem. When one is discussing one's own finances, the difficulty is particular. In an ideal society no doubt everybody, whatever his occupation, would be paid exactly the same.
§ Mr. Skinner Where are the Tory ideals?
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I am saying that it is an ideal society in which everybody is actuated by heavenly motives. That society is not yet with us. I hope that we may have a balanced, restrained and dignified debate.
There are different views on these matters. They have been expressed in the amendments that have been tabled, and no doubt other views will be expressed. I shall endeavour later to reply to all the points, but in the end it is the House of Commons that must decide this matter.
I wish to say a final word about this House. We are all extremely lucky to be here. We should remember that the problems of not being here are very much worse than the problems of being here. We all know the advantage of being a Member of this House. There is scarcely anybody who has been in Parliament and 490 lost his seat who is happy until he has won it back again. But there is a price to be paid for the privilege of being a Member of this House. I do not believe that the public have any idea of the vortex of conflicting demands, long Committee work, constituency requirements and late hours into which every hon. Member is plunged.
The pay problem is a pest. The proposals that we have put forward are a great improvement on present arrangements. I hope that they will be a contribution to solving this problem in the short term, and that at last we are on the way to a long-term solution. I believe that the Government proposals meet the needs, traditions and dignity of Parliament, and I commend them to the House.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)
This is one of our rare thanksgiving days when hon. Members normally congratulate themselves on their own parsimony. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has made it clear that there are no glittering prizes. We can thank the Government only for small mercies—no more.
On behalf of the House I pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann). As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said, this is not a party matter. The right hon. Member for Taunton took the lion's share of representing the general views of the House and has borne the brunt in trying to persuade the Government to accept, not the views of the House, but those of the Boyle committee.
He has largely succeeded. He has certainly done better than Cledwyn Hughes, my colleagues and I did when we were on the Government Benches. We have worked together for some time. It is good that we can cross party boundaries and express the view of the House.
I also thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot). When responding to similar representations he agreed to set up the Boyle committee. I congratulate the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on the obscurity and ambiguity of his first unsatisfactory statement. The ambiguity allowed him to be able substantially to accept the Boyle report and he has explained lucidly the proposals to the House today. In the light of 491 his earlier statement, he has certainly discharged his duty to the House.
I intend to deal mainly with Back-Bench Members. The Ministers are remunerated pro rata and ride home on our backs. I have always held the view that Ministers should be affected as little as possible by financial gain. When we consider the question of pay we should put Back-Bench Members first.
When I first became a Member Mr. Chuter Ede told me that it was really the officials and administrators in Whitehall who benefited from the divorce between Ministers and Back Benchers. The smaller the distinction between Back Benchers and Ministers, the greater the strength of Parliament. The House of Commons matters most.
The Chancellor of the Duchy claimed in his original statement to be evolutionary. I commend that so long as he is not too static. He has evolved since his first statement to the House.
I can include you, Mr. Speaker, in my votes of thanks because we are celebrating a jubilee. Just 25 years ago the House adopted a resolution on Members' salaries. That was in 1954 when Mr. Speaker proposed a motion that the House, having asked a committee on salaries to report and having received that report, should accept the report. That remarkable proposition was agreed and accepted mainly because of a revolt by Conservative Government Back Benchers who supported the motion. It was carried by a large majority. It did not impress itself upon the Government, but it established the view of the House that if an inquiry is sought its conclusions should be accepted. It is, therefore, not for us to argue about what is or is not adequate.
At that time the difficulty was caused by the form of the inquiry. Our remuneration was investigated by a Select Committee. However great the virtues of Select Committees—they are popular today—they are not appropriate to determine our salaries.
After agreeing that we should accept the decision of an inquiry, we formed a general view that such an inquiry should be independent, competent, knowledgeable, experienced and have authority. In 1963 the Lawrence committee was set up and was chaired by the chairman of the 492 National Incomes Commission. In 1970, after Douglas Houghton had introduced a Private Member's Bill, the Government referred our salaries to the Boyle committee. Both committees' reports were accepted. It seemed that we had succeeded in removing the question of Members' salaries from the political arena. The remaining problem was what to do in the interval between the awards.
In 1976 we suffered a severe setback. There was a further reference to the Boyle committee, but its report was not accepted by the Government. We are still back, largely because of the reaction of the Chancellor of the Duchy, to the position that we were in before the House agreed that it should accept whatever conclusion was put to it as a result of an independent investigation.
I mention the right hon. Member for Taunton again because before we received the report we agreed between ourselves that whatever the report recommended it should be accepted by the House. That is why we have been in dispute with the Chancellor of the Duchy. It is regrettable that there was not a simple, straightforward acceptance, especially when the Boyle report provided for a second best. It said that if the Government had doubts about the recommendation its ultimate recommendation on staging should be accepted.
However, I accept that the Government package goes a long way. In some respects it goes further than the Boyle recommendation. We should recognise what it does. The Government propose that we accept and dispose of, not the latest Boyle report, but the previous report. That is some advance. It ignores any question of back pay. However, it wipes the slate clean and there is an acceptance of the earlier report.
The Government also propose that we should receive the 1980 instalment and that it should be updated. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. This merely accepts the principle which has been applied in other Boyle reports. It would be discriminatory not to accept the principle in this case.
We must recognise that the Boyle committee recommended that we should receive the whole amount. It would be unfair if that instalment were not updated. 493 The final recommendation goes beyond Boyle. It is that we should seek an analogue with a profession or professions. This is the vital part of the present recommendation. This is a deliberate effort, which I believe will succeed, at getting over the difficulty that has faced Members of Parliament arising from the interval between reviews. I believe that we shall then very largely have got the question of Members' salaries outside the political arena.
§ Mr. John Bruce-Gardyne (Knutsford)
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with me that the Boyle committee considered specifically the proposition of what he described as an analogue and specifically rejected it? In view of the fact that he thinks that this House should pay treat to the recommendations of the Boyle committee as virtually gospel—which I would not—how does he reconcile the two propositions?
§ Mr. Willey
The House itself took a view. It was specific. It made the reference to the level of assistant secretary. It took the view that there should be a linkage. Now the Government are supporting this view, and I think that Boyle will respond to this.
What we must face is that there is the problem that we have this indeterminate period between the awards, and we must make some provision for that. I am certain that Boyle will respond to this. It will mark a real advance in trying to provide that our salaries are taken out of public controversy.
I believe that we are being very modest. I remind the House that in 1963, when we had the first independent inquiry, I, at any rate, was shocked to learn that at that time the Lawrence committee—not ourselves—established that our remuneration then fell short of the standard initially adopted in 1911; and it was that committee's judgment, and not ours, that the hardships that we endured impaired the efficient performance of our duties and detracted from the dignity of the House.
Then in 1976 the Boyle committee—not ourselves—concluded that our earnings weresignificantly lower than the level generally available to men and women of the caliber494and ability essential to the proper execution of a Member of Parliament's function in a parliamentary democracy.It was the Boyle committee, and not ourselves, which again this year found as a fact that Members of Parliament were seriously underpaid.
§ Mr. Willey
My hon. Friend will have a chance to contribute to the debate. I wish to conclude my remarks.
We should not think merely about ourselves as Members of Parliament. We should think of the institution of the House of Commons itself. We must realise that when we have carried this motion today, as we shall, we shall still compare—I quote from Boyle once more—very badly with what has happened in the major European and Commonwealth countries.When we have carried the motion, we shall still be pretty well at the bottom of the league in parliamentary salaries.
I remind my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) that this does not apply to the Administration or to the Civil Service. If we are really concerned about democracy, we should be concerned about this lack of balance. We should ensure democracy by seeing that those who are democratically elected have an effective voice in running the country.
§ 4.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward du Cann (Taunton)
I am sure that the House will be grateful for the thoughtful speech of the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) . As he very rightly said, chiefly by implication, there are a number of lessons to be learnt from this last episode—indeed, from the whole history of the matter, to which I shall refer in a moment.
I hope that the House will allow me to make a personal comment to the right hon. Gentleman to say how much I appreciate the kindly things that he was good enough to say about me. If there is any merit in the work that has been done over the last two years on this subject it is due to others, notably himself, who have shared the burden and have given their support. 495 I now proceed to thank my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and to congratulate him on tabling the motion. As the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North said, it is a very different motion from that which we might have seen and would have seen if the House had not made its opinions clear. However, we are grateful to my right hon. Friend for his part in achieving a settlement of what he very rightly said is perennially a difficult matter, although on this occasion I think that all of us feel that it is a matter that was made very much more difficult than it need have been.
If there has been a special problem over the last few weeks, the fault is exclusively that of Governments past and present. I am one who believes that Governments interfere in these matters far more than they properly should. Admittedly, as my right hon. Friend said, as we fix our own remuneration, and that is the constitutional position, we must act with a special responsibility and carefulness, and we have to see that all that we do is done in the open. But there is something unhealthy about a scene that dictates that it is never" repeat, never ", as the say in the Navy—a convenient time to attend to the matter.
As my right hon. Friend admitted, one of the problems has been that Governments have consistently fought shy of attending to the matter—though there are honourable exceptions to that. He cited the example of the Government led by Sir Alec Douglas-Home. I add to that the example of the Government led by Mr. Attlee, as he then was. My right hon. Friend, with his sense of occasion, may remember that Coleridge remarked that in politics what begins in fear—as this matter so often has—usually ends in folly. The recent occasion was no exception to that general rule.
The history of the matter, as has been indicated, is that the Boyle report No. 7 recommended that the remuneration of Members of Parliament should increase to £8,000 a year. That was four years ago. Pay was restricted, however, to £5,750. Therefore, the shortfall over the last four years in the pockets of those Members of Parliament who draw the full salary must aggregate not less than £10,000. 496 There was a nice piece of hypocrisy attached to all this, in that the figure of £8,000 was, none the less, accepted for pension purposes. As the House has a contributory pension scheme, higher payments were called for out of a consistently lower real salary.
But that was not the only Boyle recommendation that was ignored. As my right hon. Friend pointed out, there were recommendations that the parliamentary salary of Ministers should be increased. The Cabinet would not have that at all. I do not know why that should be so. I have never understood why Ministers should not draw the full parliamentary salary, and why it has to be cut in their case and in the case of Ministers outside the Cabinet and others. Only a portion of what was recommended was allowed.
Therefore, over these four years or so, for members of the Cabinet there has been a shortfall of some £8,000 each. That is a very real sacrifice for devoted persons in public life to accept, and there have been smaller but none the less substantial cuts in the case of other Ministers.
Report No. 8 made recommendations on Members' allowances and ministerial salaries. They were not implemented. Report No. 9 made recommendations on the expenses of Members of another place. They were not implemented, either.
Now we have the twelfth report, which contains the statement, which right hon. and hon. Members will have seen:Our work began in the knowledge that Members of Parliament and Ministers were seriously underpaid.I do not think that any Member of Parliament would ask for thanks or praise for that. However, that is the fact. It is the starting point for this debate.
Many of us were struck by the comments made by journalists and others when the Boyle recommendations were announced. Governments have usually been frightened of dealing with this problem, yet journalists' comments acknowledged that there was a real problem and that it must be dealt with. For example, The Daily Telegraph said " deferred too long ", The Guardian said " fallen painfully behind ", and The Observer said " woefully underpaid ".
It was most noticeable that in the country at large there was not one word 497 of informed criticism—none that I saw, anyway—of Boyle and the recommendations, with one exception, which I shall mention later, which was due largely to a misunderstanding. I suggest that this is the first lesson that the House should draw from this unhappy business. We should not have been in this position. We should not have allowed ourselves to get into it.
Like my right hon. Friend, I want to say a word about work outside the House. Some people believe that no Member of Parliament should have another employment. A number of amendments deal with that point. A few hon. Members believe that there should be no increase in the salary of Members of Parliament. There is an irony in that which my right hon. Friend went some way to point out. The lower we artificially keep the remuneration of Members of Parliament, the more it is necessary for them to seek work outside the House. In addition, the allowances become more significant. I do not know what is the general opinion in the House, but for a long time I thought it unsatisfactory that people in salaried employment in industry—and now, apparently, in the House—should be so preoccupied with allowances. I am against the disease of perks. It is an insidious, spreading thing. It is much better if Members of Parliament and those outside insist on straightforwardness in matters of remuneration.
There are great dangers if Members of Parliament are obliged to depend either on allowances or on outside remuneration. Parliament should not consist only of those rich enough to be able to afford to be here, or the hacks, the place-men, the creatures of the Whips, who cannot afford to be anything else. I strongly believe that outside experience—contemporary as well as past—is invaluable to the work of the House.
I do not support the amendment that suggests that there should be two categories of Members of Parliament and different classes paid in different ways. If individuals do not wish to draw their salary, or any part of it, that is a matter for them. It is not for the House to force decisions on them.
We in the United Kingdom have a fine tradition of public service without 498 thought of personal gain. My right hon. Friend delighted us with an apposite quotation from Bagehot. He is an expert on his work. The tradition of public service without thought of personal gain applies inside and outside the House of Commons. It is fine and valuable. The nation is richer if people have an urge to contribute. Indeed, that is the stuff of democracy. The reality of democracy is that none can escape responsibility for contributing to the public weal, but it is unfair if that urge is exploited.
My right hon. Friend is entirely right in saying that Members of Parliament should be properly paid at all times. We have special privileges. It is right for us to be proud and glad to be here. But we face special risks and difficulties, too. There is a striking phrase in paragraph 9 of the Boyle report:Parliament itself must bear the whole of the responsibility for this situation.That is true. During the previous Parliament the more I contemplated the situation, the more unsatisfactory it appeared to be. I am not the only Member of Parliament who is aware of cases of genuine hardship among hon. Members on both sides of the House that resulted from our parsimony and cowardice. In the matter of salaries, both words are not too strong. If the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) will allow me to say so, inquiries that others and I made indicated that there would be no proposals from the Government of the day or from the official Opposition. They both took the same negative attitude. It seemed that nothing would happen unless someone made it happen.
There is always a risk of vulgar abuse if one is a protagonist of salary increases for Members of Parliament. It seemed to me high time to look at the situation with realism and good sense and put it into order. The more that I spoke to rank and file Members of Parliament and Ministers, the more I discovered that that was the general view. I was delighted that the Parliamentary Labour Party and the 1922 Committee made common cause on the matter. I pay a tribute to Mr. Cledwyn Hughes, who supported the idea, as the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North will recall.
I discovered something else. When the matter was properly explained to the 499 public, no one from inside or outside my constituency whom I met thought that what we were trying to achieve was in any way unreasonable. There were many meetings. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale could not have been more courteous or helpful. I pay a tribute—as did my right hon. Friend, speaking from the Front Bench—to the Leader of the Opposition. I was grateful for the courtesy I received. The right hon. Gentleman, the then Leader of the House, introduced legislation to implement the outstanding parts of the eighth Boyle report dealing with Members' pensions. I thank him for that. Boyle was reestablished. I thank him for that also.
So far so good. It is worth spending a moment to discuss our aims, to which the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North referred.
My hon. Friends and I thought that we should first endeavour to get this subject taken out of the political arena. We invited the then Prime Minister and the then Leader of the Opposition to enter into a commitment that the Boyle recommendations would be accepted by the Government, whatever their political complexion, after the election. We also wanted to get away from the perennial difficulty of regular examinations of this scene. Like the disgusting spectacle of a man examining his own navel, there were these constant unhappy debates. That is why it was considered that we should perhaps find some form of linkage.
There was never any suggestion that we were looking for an index against which to measure ourselves. There are obvious public misunderstandings on that point. I do not agree with the amendments which seek that end. However, I strongly support my right hon. Friend's suggestion that we should ask Boyle, in spite of his previous examination of the matter, to find what my right hon. Friend called an analogue.
In my opinion this is by no means the end of the matter. There is a whole series of other untidinesses with which, in one way or another, we should deal. I hold the view that Minister's salaries, even after these improvements, will still he lower than they should be, particularly when one considers the substantial responsibilities of Ministers outside the 500 House. London residence, which is assumed on the part of Ministers, requires examination. As was said during an intervention from the Opposition Benches a moment ago, we also need to consider further the position of secretaries to see whether it is possible to organise some kind of pension scheme for them. Let us be quite clear that today we are dealing with only part of this whole matter. There are other aspects that will require attention.
I thought it utterly deplorable that the contents of the Boyle report were leaked to the newspapers during the general election campaign. It is an insult to the House, when parliamentary papers, so to speak, are made available to the world at large before they are made available to Members of the House. I thought that it was even more deplorable—I am sure that this is not a matter for which my right hon. Friend was responsible—that many of us were asked questions in the Lobby about what we understood were the Government's proposals in relation to the Boyle report before we had seen it. That is one reason why my right hon. Friend faced a hostile audience when he rose to address the House on 21 June.
If I may reiterate something that I said at the beginning of my speech, I believe that it would have been very much better if this whole matter had been dealt with on this last occasion by the House's being consulted before the Government made up their mind about the best way to proceed.
The advice that I gave, for what it was worth, was very simply put. As the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North said, we should accept Boyle, and accept it speedily, for there is no point in arbitration unless we accept the award. If we do not accept an arbitrator's award, why on earth should distinguished people such as Lord Boyle and his colleagues agree to serve and take up their time? Why should we waste our time giving evidence to Lord Boyle? All the facts are known to Ministers?
The Boyle report recommended also that if there were to be phasing it should be as rapid as possible. Both those pieces of advice were valid. Thirdly, we recommended that it should be a non-party matter, and last, but by no means least, that the decision should be one for the 501 House without the influence of Ministers, Under-Secretaries or anyone else. I still believe that those were the right views to give.
We are now at the moment of decision. I hope that all right hon. and hon. Members will support the motions tabled by my right hon. Friend. If I may attempt to please him with a second quotation—if I pleased him with my first—I remind him of the words of John Pym, who said:A Parliament is that to the Commonwealth which the soul is to the body. It behoves me, therefore, to keep the facility of that soul from distemper.The truth is that this Parliament is the base of our democracy. If it is healthy, we have not merely something to be proud of; we have, perhaps, something which, in its way, is an inspiration to the nation as a whole. If this place is unhappy the nation suffers, too, and its affairs will be less well attended to than they might be.
It is easy to make sardonic remarks or cynical observations about our past failures. I dare say that all right hon. and hon. Members are only too painfully conscious of them. The reason why I believe some of us argue so strongly for improvements in our procedures, such as the establishment of Select Committees and so on—my right hon. Friend has set a splendid example—is that we love this place and wish to see that it is effective.
Let it not be assumed outside this place that there is any note of selfishness in arguing that Members of Parliament and Ministers pay themselves the proper rate for the job. It is a small step, I believe, in an attempt to see that our democracy and its systems are more effective than they otherwise might be.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Mellish (Bermondsey)
I have had the privilege of being a Member of this House for over 30 years. I have lost count of the number of times I have spoken on problems concerning the salary, conditions and pensions of Members of Parliament. I remind myself, if I need reminding, that it seems only yesterday that I went round with a piece of paper asking Members of Parliament if they would be kind enough to contribute, following the death of Wilfred Fienburgh, the then Member for Islington. Mr. Fienburgh died in a motor 502 accident, leaving behind a wife and four children. All Members of the House were generous. We collected about £400, which I gave to the widow. Following the death of Mr. Fienburgh my party set up a special benevolent fund to deal with the appalling individual cases of poverty.
Again and again we have had instances of difficulties suffered by individual Members of Parliament, and when we have had debates on whether Members' salaries should be increased people outside have referred to the selfishness and greed of Members of Parliament and comparison has been made between Members of Parliament and old-age pensioners. I remember once I went on television with a very well known Member of the House, whose name I shall not mention. I argued at that time that Members' salaries should be improved and I received hundreds of letters from old-age pensioners who described me as a mean, loathsome and despicable person. Although I tried—I do so again tonight—to assure old-age pensioners that if Members of Parliament had no salary at all, and did everything free, it would make not the slightest difference to their pensions in the sense that overnight the old-age pension would go up, I had little success. However, it is not as simple as that, otherwise we would not be talking the way we are tonight.
I remember that the man originally responsible for Boyle was the then right hon. Member for Sowerby, now Lord Houghton. The noble Lord, together with the present Home Secretary, decided that the most distasteful thing that could happen would be for Members of Parliament to debate and argue their own salaries, conditions and pensions, because of the reaction of the press. The press exploited the subject on every possible occasion. I understand that this scared some Members of Parliament either from speaking or voting on these issues. As a result of the attitude of the press towards individual Members of Parliament talking about their salaries, this independent body—Boyle—was set up.
The membership of Boyle was impressive. Lord Boyle was himself a Member of this House and he knows a great deal about the procedures and the job. He has been surrounded by representatives of some of the best firms and institutions in 503 the country and also by the trade union movement. There could not be a better body to decide and consider what Members should receive.
When we talk about a rate of £12,000, I remind the House that no Member of Parliament suggested that figure. The present Leader of the House did not suggest that figure, nor did my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot). It was suggested by Boyle. It argued the case lucidly and expressed its view as to why this should be the rate paid for the job.
The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) recently wrote an article in The Guardian. I have not brought a copy with me, but I read it. It was in line with a thought that the right hon. Gentleman has had for a long time, as I understand it. The right hon. Gentleman has said that he will not receive any increase in pay that the House may vote should be given to Members of Parliament. That is a matter entirely for him. No right hon. or hon. Member has to take this increase in pay. There is no law that says that we must take it. All that is necessary is to write to the Fees Office and refuse the increase.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)
With one exception. Apparently the Prime Minister has made it obligatory upon members of her Government to take the increases—including, presumably, the parliamentary increases—whether they want to or not. That is the remarkable exception to the rule which the right hon. Gentleman is discussing.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I am sorry to intervene on an intervention, but the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) is not quite right. The principle applied to Cabinet Ministers is the principle mentioned by the right hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish). They have voluntarily agreed to take the full amount of money. If they had not wished to do so, they would have reached a different decision.
§ Mr. Mellish
I am obliged. I do not quarrel with the point of view of the right hon. Member for Down, South. This is entirely a matter for individual Members. The right hon. Gentleman has as much right to his point of view as I have to mine. I repeat my view again: hon. 504 Members do not have to take the money if they do not wish to do so. Of course, there is nothing to stop Members from taking the increase and publicly informing their local press that it is being sent to their old-age pensioners' association.
We have had in the past this argument about old-age pensioners and the rest. It is sickening to find afterwards, perhaps long after, that those who have used that argument have received the increase but without any of the odium associated with it. I have received hundreds of letters stating that, because I believe that these increased rates of pay should be applied, I am in a special class, or that I am extremely greedy and all the rest, and do not give a tuppenny damn for old-age pensioners, the trade unions and the rest.
§ Mr. Budgen
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that we are in a special class? We may or may not be greedy, but it cannot be said that we are in any way comparable with any other profession in the country.
§ Mr. Mellish
With respect, I do not think that the hon. Gentleman has been listening to what I have said. In the past, we argued that somehow we were special and that we deserved certain rates of pay. I was present when that argument was used. All we could do then was to put down a motion of our own. I was very much involved in a Private Member's motion for which the Government found time. By the way, it was destroyed by Lord Shawcross—Sir Hartley, as he then was—who came into the House in full evening dress regalia, medals and all that nonsense—
§ Mr. Mellish
I am probably wrong. I withdraw " medals ". Anyway, he came into the House and made a great speech on behalf of the poor Back Bencher. Of course that was a disastrous evening.
What I have been saying is that we put this matter to an outside body. What I have said has nothing to do with what I think Members of Parliament should or should not get. Nothing that I have said has not been said by Boyle, and the Boyle committee was the outside body.
That brings me to my main argument. I do not believe in linkage. I do not agree with it, because one must first 505 decide to which salary grade a Member's pay is to be linked. It was mooted that there be an assistant secretary rate of pay. The trade unions have a point of view about that. Why should they have to put up with a situation in which every time the Civil Service unions moved in and argued for civil servants some bright character said " You had better watch it, because if you give it to civil servants you will have to give it to MPs."
Frankly, there will always be opposition to this question. There will never be agreement on how our salary should be linked. It follows logically that our salary should be linked only with Boyle, because that was the body which was set up. If hon. Members do not agree with the constitution or membership of the Boyle committee, let them sack it and find some other form. But when the Boyle committee spent all those months arguing the way that it did, I do not understand how Members of Parliament can say that Boyle is a madman whose proposals should not be implemented.
§ Dr. Jeremy Bray (Motherwell and Wishaw)
If one agrees with my right hon. Friend's argument about accepting Boyle as a useful periodic review, and because of the time that the House wastes on the matter, is there not a case for letting it run for three or four years, with linking in between the increases?
§ Mr. Mellish
There is much in what my hon. Friend has said. I should like to deal with several other matters and then I shall return to it. That will be my great peroration.
Some hon. Members argue that Members of the House should have no employment outside. I do not have outside employment, but I do not understand why hon. Members say that. At the end of the day, whatever the income of an individual Member, the Inland Revenue will deal with it. If an hon. Member has outside employment as a lawyer and receives £20,000 a year on top of his Member's salary, I assume that the Inland Revenue will take its share of that.
I ask hon. Members to stop conveying the impression that this place does not need—I believe that it does—Members with a wide experience. I claim to have some specialist knowledge. I was born 506 into the trade union movement at the ripe old age of 15. I think that I have some knowledge of the dock industry, when we had a dock industry. I believe that I can make a contribution in my own way.
Like the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann), I have come to love this House a great deal. Its democratic base and standard is the pride of the world. I have always bitterly resented the fact that the salary of Members was considered to be among the lowest in the world.
I therefore believe that Boyle should be the basis upon which all future increases should be given. I believe that the Government of the day should accept on an interim basis—every two or three years, or whatever the House may decide—that Boyle should report. When Boyle has reported, the Government of the day must stop the nonsensical arguing over Boyle. Up to a point, the Leader of the House has since his previous statement extricated himself from that charge, but only up to a point. I believe that Boyle should be implemented. I hope that this is the last time that I shall ever have to argue in this House that Members of Parliament should be given the rate recommended by Boyle. I am sick of it, and I do not want it to continue.
I appeal to all my hon. Friends. All my life I have been a trade unionist, and I believe in one simple principle—the rate for the job. The rate for our job was decided by an outside body, and never will I, as a trade unionist, black that principle.
§ 5.7 p.m.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)
It is a privilege and pleasure to follow so respected a Member of this House as the right hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish). I always enjoy his contributions. Today, not only have I enjoyed it but I am in substantial agreement with virtually everything he has said. I agree with what he said at the end of his speech—that he hoped this was the last occasion on which he would have to address the House on this matter. I certainly hope and, indeed, expect that it is the last occasion on which I will have to address the House on this subject. 507 It is not my favourite subject. I do not suppose that it is the favourite subject of any hon. Member, because of the invidious implications for an assembly that must be the judge in its own cause and fix its own emoluments without any precise guidance, at any rate, until it had Boyle.
I am, therefore, reluctant to speak on this subject, but there are three reasons that constrain me to make a short intervention. First, this is basically a House of Commons matter, and I have been a Member of the House of Commons longer than most. The second and related reason is that in so far as financial benefit will, or may, ensue from our proceedings, I am likely to enjoy it for far less a period than most hon. Members present. The third reason is that by accident of history I have been connected a good deal—again, somewhat unwillingly—with these controversies in the past.
In particular, I was connected with the great controversy on these matters in the 1950s, at a time when I was chairman of the 1922 Committee.
In that context I should like to pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann), who today discharges so much better the duties that I then sought less successfuly to discharge. I also pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) in his office in the Parliamentary Labour Party.
My right hon. Friend probably finds the 1922 Committee an easier body to deal with than I did 20 years ago. In those days there was a lingering attachment to the amateur status, particularly on the part of what the press used to call the " Knights of the Shire ". That is a nice expression and I put it that way because they were nice people. People less enviably placed, however, might have tended to ascribe to them something of the philosophy of " I'm all right, Jack ". In my personal as opposed to my representational capacity, I was sympathetic to that case. More importantly, the then Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, was also personally sympathetic. In conversation he dilated to me with that unforgettable mixture of grandiloquent gravitas and impish illustration on some of the cases of hardship that had been retailed to him. 508 In February of this year, before the general election, I identified my continuing approach to the matter. I said:I have always taken the view from the beginning of this controversy that I am in a fortunate position because I have been able to practise a profession which has given me a living outside the House. I know that there are many occupations to which that does not apply. We should think of that when we consider what is the appropriate level of remuneration for Members.—[Official Report, 20 February 1979; Vol. 962, c. 309.]I made that clear before we went to the polls.
One important lesson that I learnt from the controversies in the 1950s is that there is no disinclination on the part of the public to agree to a proper remuneration of Members of Parliament and no feeling of hostility on the part of the electors to those whom they elect. It would be strange if that were so, considering that it is they who elect us. Indeed, there is hardly any interest among the public on the question of Members' remuneration. In so far as it is or was an issue, it exists primarily in the minds and fancies of the media.
My hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) shakes his head from his long experience of these matters inside and out Parliament. When we came to the general election 18 months after these controversies, there having been an increase—albeit a modest one but not so modest for those days—I thought it more seemly and appropriate, as I was identified in the newspapers with that controversy in my representational capacity as chairman of the 1922 Committee, not to take the increase for the duration of that Parliament. I had then as I have now a great number of electors. In those days I had a great many meetings at the election as well as informal exchanges. Not once in the course of that election by any of these tens of thousands of electors was the subject raised—and from beginning to end not one of those tens of thousands of constituents of mine ever knew that I had not drawn the extra emolument for that Parliament. That is a decisive answer to the uncharacteristic cynicism of my hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardynerose—
§ D. Walker-Smith
I shall give way to my hon. Friend because he has rejoiced 509 us all in coming back to the House after many days.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
I assure my right hon. and learned Friend that it is not a question of cynicism. I can only tell him that my experience is different.
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
My hon. Friend must have an unfortunate aptitude for attracting criticism. Those of us who are more old-fashioned and less scintillating think that it is part of the function of a politician to try to avoid criticism where we honourably can. My experience now, 20 years later, is the same as it was then. I have received only one letter criticising the matter from my 95,000 constituents.
The salient questions are these. Is the level of remuneration, judged objectively, inadequate, having regard to the nature of the work and the requirements of the position? Is there a possibility that suitable candidates may be deterred from coming forward because of that circumstance? Is there a possibility that once elected hon. Members may be constrained to turn to unsuitable activities or undesirable connections by way of necessary implementation of an inadequate income? If the answer to all those questions is " Yes ", the House must recognise the implications and take the necessary action not only in its own interest but in the interest of the public as a whole.
On the basic question of the inadequacy or otherwise, there can be no doubt that the level of remuneration has been consistently low. It has been said that there is no case for change because the erosion of the real value of parliamentary remuneration has not been significant over the years. That was stated in the article in The Guardian by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) on 9 July, to which the right hon. Member for Bermondsey referred. In that article he said this:The real value of the Members' salary today is not less than it has been during most of the last 35 years.That may be, but it does not prove much. If it has always been too low, consistency is at best but a doubtful virtue. It only means that rectification has been an unconscionable time in coming.
I can illustrate the inadequacy of parliamentary and ministerial pay in the context 510 of my experience. When I entered the Government as a junior Minister I drew the princely emoluments in gross pay of £2,000 a year—£1,500 ministerial emoluments, £500 parliamentary emoluments. I went to the Board of Trade to the accompaniment of a chorus of press comment and conjecture as to how many times my income as a Queen's Counsel exceeded that which I was about to get as a Minister of the Crown. Five years later, when I returned to my practice as a Queen's Counsel, it was to the accompaniment of a corresponding chorus of conjecture and computation.
In law, in valuation, rating and compensation cases, comparables are indispensable. In the absence of comparables here we must seek to define principles to guide us. First, I suggest that these emoluments should be reasonable but not lavish, echoing what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said earlier. What is here recommended in any event falls short of the remuneration of other legislatures, which after all, are the best comparables that we have in this idiosyncratic situation. Secondly, we should accept the guidance of Boyle. We are fortunate to have what was lacking in the 1950s—a review body of authority, experience and objectivity.
We should if possible seek to find an appropriate relativity or analogue—and I know that is more controversial. I agree with my right hon. Friend that it will not be easy. If the fairly modest position of an assistant secretary that has been suggested as an analogue be the right one, what is recommended here today falls substantially short of it.
Finally, I believe that we should avoid inflation-proofing. On this matter I agree with the amendment put down by my hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford. Inflation-proofing will not really do for the House of Commons. After all, it would be inflation-proofing for those whose primary duty it is to keep inflation at bay. There would be bound to be scepticism in the assessment of our determination to ward off the enemy of inflation if the Praetorian Guard itself were exempted from the consequence of defeat. The question would inevitably be raised, in substance if not precisely in these terms—quis custodiet ipsos custodes. 511 I still feel that it might, and probably would, have been better to implement Boyle without frills. I believe that the present proposal, although not objectionable, and indeed to be welcomed in so far as it follows and gives effect to Boyle, courts a charge of being complex and circuitous. In order to escape from a criticism which probably would never have been directed and would have been demonstrably misconceived if it had, a course has been taken which may be open to legitimate criticism on the score of complexity and potential misunderstanding.
Subject to that, I believe that these proposals make a satisfactory end to a very long and invidious saga. They can be welcomed as a tardy act of justice, and as being in the interests of the House and the country alike.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)
In a period of inflation every discussion of a proposed increase in remuneration contains two distinct elements between which it is, especially in the case before us today, important to distinguish.
One element is the offsetting of the erosion in the value of money since that remuneration was last fixed or agreed. The other element, technically called the " real element ", is whether the relative remuneration should be altered, and that normally means whether it should be increased.
I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) because he has given his weighty support to the view that in this proposition before the House we are not, to any appreciable extent, concerned with offsetting the effect of past inflation. Indeed, it is impossoble for an hon. Member to study without prejudice the figures which were set out in a written answer from the Leader of the House on 25 May without concluding that, broadly, the present rate of remuneration has the same value as the remuneration of hon. Members during most of the past 60-odd years.
Although the monetary figures in themselves do not quite bear that out, I am sure that the case is made by the substantial importance of the reimbursements, which is the accurate title for the allowances, 512 which we receive for parliamentary expenses, some of them heavy. For most of the past period hon. Members incurred these expenses and bore them out of their income before tax. If we can get it clear that today we are concerned, not with rectifying the deterioration in our position, but with the proposition of a substantial and, indeed, major increase in the real remuneration of hon. Members, that will be a point gained.
Although I sympathise with the argument of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) that we should not be the first people in the world to press for the effect of inflation to be offset in our own case, it would be thought reasonable that if there were a severe deterioration in the value of money, even during the life of a Parliament, that should be taken into account by an adjustment of the going remuneration of hon. Members. We are in a very different position if what we propose to do is to make a major increase in the real salary. If that is what we are proposing to do, there is only one honourable and proper way in which we can do it, a way which would leave us free from all cavil or criticism. If we decide that the real remuneration of hon. Members should have been 50 per cent. greater than the remuneration for which we contracted when we sought election, there is nothing to prevent us from passing a resolution that it be so from the beginning of the next Parliament. That is the normal way for this House to use its powers to confer benefits which might inure to hon. Members themselves, so that they free themselves from all suspicion of self-interest in such matters. It is the only way of decency; and if there were no other arguments against the proposition I would vote against it tonight on the ground that any such change should date from the beginning of the next House.
§ Mr. Mike Thomas (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)
I stood for Parliament in May of this year on the understanding that when I was returned I would be paid what the Boyle committee recommended. Now I am being asked to settle for less than I contracted for, not more.
§ Mr. Powell
That might have been the hon. Member's expectation, or it might 513 have been his speculation, but there has been no resolution or announcement. There was no such announcement as that in 1964 to which the Leader of the House referred. There was no acknowledged intention, though there might have been various conjectures as to what would or would not be done. We came here for the going rate. If we now wish to increase that going rate by 50 per cent. let us do so; but let us ensure that we are not seen to do it for the benefit of those sitting in this House at present.
There is another humbug of which we should free ourselves. That is the pretence that this is not really a decision that we are taking, the pretence that we can shelter behind an outside body. It ill becomes those who laud and magnify the status of this House to say that we should implement what an external body that we have set up recommends, whether we like it or not.
The fact is that this House is taking the decision, and taking it on its own responsibility. Whatever committees are set up, and whatever those committees recommend, that responsibility stays with us. What Government is there, and what House of Commons is there, which would admit that there are certain bodies whose decrees we exist only to register without alteration?
Even the business of finding an analogue, which is supposed to get us out of difficulties that have worried tender consciences, offers no escape and no recourse from the responsibility which we hold. Presumably, we are settling the analogue ourselves: it is our chosen analogue. In any case, in choosing it, we know well that any analogue outside this place will adjust automatically over the years to the progress of inflation. The notion that by asking the Boyle committee to hit upon an analogue we are not indexing our remuneration is a mystification. The responsibility lies with the House. We take that responsibility upon ourselves in whatever form we do so.
We should also address ourselves to the question of remuneration without confusing it with the question of full-time service or otherwise. I am aware that some hon. Members believe that service in the House should be full-time for all. 514 That is a matter which could be properly argued. However, I hope that those Members would agree with me that the proper way to argue it and the proper way to deal with it—if it is to be dealt with—is not by a side wind under cover of an increase in remuneration, but by saying, if we think it fit and practical to do so, that in future we have decided to become a full-time House. That is a separate and substantive matter that is not seriously in debate in today's proposition.
The proposition simply is that, whether for this Parliament, as I believe it should not be, or for the next Parliament, as I believe would be allowable and decent if the House so thought fit to resolve, the remuneration should be increased by about 50 per cent. in real terms.
§ Mr. Neubert
I am hesitant though grateful to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman because he brings great clarity and cogency to our debates. However, I cannot understand the claim that we are seeking by the proposals an increase in real terms. In an answer to me on Monday of this week it was shown that, if we were to earn the same amount in real terms as the amount fixed in 1964 to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, we would now be receiving in excess of £12,400, without any increase.
§ Mr. Powell
I am aware of that and I remember the matter. However, it takes no account of substantial reimbursements which have been introduced since that date.
§ Mr. Powell
Is it disgraceful to refer to the fact that 100 per cent. reimbursement is now made of expenditures which were met by hon. Members in past years out of their net salary? Is that not a consideration which should be taken into account?
The House is less than fair to itself if it is not willing to allow matters of fact which bear upon the question, however they bear upon it, to be referred to and ventilated. Reimbursement is no doubt the reason why I found myself in agreement with the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East that our present real remuneration is at least as 515 high as it has been during most—but not at every point—of the past 60 or 65 years. That is the statement I made, and it is the statement with which the right hon. and learned Gentleman concurred.
§ Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)
Does the right hon. Gentleman not appreciate that part of the problem is that the maintenance of the real value of the terms he has set has been carried out only because of a growing imbalance between the salary, which is a public figure that the public have in their minds, and the allowances to which he has referred?
§ Mr. Powell
The hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) confirms my point of view and reassures me in my general proposition. The real value of our remuneration has remained virtually stable because matters which had to be met out of it before are not met out of it now.
Two grounds have been urged in favour of the proposed 50 per cent. increase in our remuneration. First, we are told that it is due to our status, secondly, we are told that it is necessary for the maintaining the quality of the membership of the House.
The question of status has several times been referred to in the debate. If it was not the actual word used by the Leader of the House it was implicit in his arguments. He said that our prestige and influence should be reflected in our remuneration. So, in his view, the status, worth, prestige and influence of hon. Members is not adequately represented by our present remuneration and therefore this should be increased by 50 per cent. and thereafter we should be put on the same level as certain analogues at which he hinted—county court judges or assistant secretaries. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman said that it was absurd for the Minister as head of a Department to receive no more than an assistant secretary in that Department.
Where does that argument lead? It leads to a Minister's salary being higher than that of his permanent secretary. Otherwise, the argument is worthless. So let us consider the proposition carefully. We are stating that our prestige and influence must be reflected in our 516 remuneration. That is a statement that can be read backwards. When we have awarded ourselves the remuneration of an assistant secretary, I hope that we shall be proud to know that that represents our prestige and influence.
It is an absurd notion that the prestige, influence and responsibility of hon. Members can be reflected in monetary remuneration and that the remuneration which will reflect it can be read off by examining, as the Boyle committee does, the various scales of pay in various professions and callings. If we are jealous for our prestige, influence, and status, we should be most careful that our remuneration is not such as could be misunderstood to reflect our status.
Again, is it seriously contended that the quality of potential hon. Members pressing forward to enter the House, the dedication and unselfishness which, if elected, they would show in the discharge of their duties, the readiness to sacrifice if necessary in the maintenance of their opinions—to sacrifice their seat itself, if necessary, rather than bow to the wind of popular prejudice—will be enhanced by making them £12,000-a-year men instead of £8,000-a-year men? If there is any result from that change, other than to lower the House in the estimation of the people by appearing to give them a monetary equivalent of what we are, it will be that there will be rather more people in the House of about the £12,000-a-year mark, people whose principal aim and object in life is a salary of £12,000 a year.
I agree that all this is a matter of status and quality, and for that very reason I say that it is against the interests of the House to resolve that its real remuneration should be increased by 50 per cent.—whether over two or three years or not. Those whom we represent should be represented, as I believe they have mostly been represented in the past, by men of pride; and here I address what I am about to say more to hon. Members on the Benches around me than to the rest of the House.
§ Mr. Powell
In the past the pride of hon. Members has often been derived from birth, from nobility, from wealth. 517 from the possession of broad acres. It has been that which has given pride and status—a status that they brought into the House as well as finding in the House—to Members of Parliament in past generations.
That is no longer the sort of pride that will serve in our own time. [Interruption.] I do not wish to discount it, but it will not by itself serve. There has to be another sort of pride in this place. There has to be another sort of status, that of being in a sense set apart, of having dedicated ourselves to a unique function. That is not entirely new. Throughout the history of the House there have been men—men such as Richard Cobden—who gave everything that they had, materially as well as otherwise, to the service of the House. They were the better regarded for it in their time and subsequently. It is that status that even the poorest, even the humblest of us, can bring to the House and maintain it. It is this status which we shall prejudice and weaken if we pass the motion that is before us.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Mr. John Bruce-Gardyne (Knutsford)
The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) never ceases to surprise us. I was rather amazed to hear him appear to indicate at the beginning of his remarks that he found nothing especially reprehensible about the concept of linking the salaries of Members of Parliament with inflation. On that ground I profoundly dissent from him, as I shall try to argue. Thereafter I am bound to say that the right hon. Gentleman advanced some arguments which seemed to have considerable power and with which I have some sympathy.
I am not all that enamoured of the motions. First, I dissent from the argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann), as I hold the view that the Government have a perfect right to put a proposition on these matters before the House. It is for the House to decide what the conclusion on the proposition shall be. I am not sure that my right hon. Friends were entirely wise to bow to the pressure that was put upon them and to change the proposition that they put before us. As Lord Rhyl Whip is a summons to attend. I see no said on a famous occasion, a three-line 518 reason why my right hon. Friends should not have put before the House a proposition such as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House originally suggested, to submit it to the judgment of the House. However, that has not been done.
It must follow from what I have said that I dissent from the argument advanced by the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) and others that we should find a way of removing the argument from politics. Of course we all feel the embarrassment that the subject arouses. However, I do not see how we can escape it.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
On the other hand, the idea that we should hand the matter over to Lord Boyle and his eminent colleagues, and accept whatever they say regardless of our circumstances, and regardless of the circumstances of the nation, is one that I find unacceptable. Even if we did that, we would still face the obligation formally to endorse the proposition presented to us by, for example, Lord Boyle. That being so, we would not entirely escape the embarrassments involved in the discussions of these matters, although we would perhaps like to feel that we had covered ourselves with an alibi—an alibi for which I do not have much enthusiasm.
Another anxiety that I have about the nature of the motion is that in several respects it fails to offer what I would regard—perhaps it is too much to ask for—as an ideal solution, or anything approaching it. First, the remuneration proposed for Ministers, especially junior Ministers, remains grossly inadequate. Ministers, unlike other hon. Members, have no permission to exercise any form of outside income. We should not delude ourselves. For many hon. Members the acceptance of office in Government involves a substantial financial sacrifice. It is one which I suspect increasing numbers of hon. Members are not prepared to make. It is not satisfactory or desirable that the choice of the Prime Minister in making appointments to her Government should be diminished by the limitation of financial considerations. I doubt whether Lord Boyle's proposals, or those in the motions, go far enough for Ministers. 519 There is another aspect of the argument concerning Back Benchers that worries me somewhat. I think that I am right in saying—my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House will correct me if I am wrong—that last year approximately half of the total cash received by the totality of hon. Members was in the form of what the right hon. Member for Down. South accurately described as reimbursed expenses. I question whether we, who are responsible for deciding the taxation that the rest of the nation shall be required to pay, are well advised to move gradually into a position in which up to 50 per cent. of the total cash that we receive comes in a form that is not subject to tax.
I am not suggesting that reimbursed expenses involve great abuse or impropriety. I am not saying that those in other walks of life do not receive similar reimbursements. I recognise that those reimbursements are accepted as legitimate expenses. That is all true. But we are in an exceptional position. It is not helpful that we should gradually move into a position where an increasing proportion of our total cash remuneration comes in a form that does not bear the taxes that we have the obligation to impose upon the rest of our fellow citizens.
That brings me to the whole issue of indexation. I was delighted to hear my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, in his opening remarks, assure the House that it was not his intention, and had not been his intention, that the future steps in the salary scales that are proposed in these motions should be directly linked to inflation. Indications to that effect seem to have circulated and to have gained some credence. I am delighted that those indications are without foundation.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) said that we, in this House, were supposed to be the defenders against inflation. I am bound to say to my right hon. and learned Friend that we are also the main sinners. We seem to come here determined to do all in our power—
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
My right hon. and learned Friend says " Some of us." I would say " Too many ". I have always believed, as my right hon. Friend the 520 Leader of the House said, that Governments are the motor of inflation. God knows, this place provides the spirit. It would be totally intolerable if we in this House, with the power that we possess to generate the inflation that the rest of the nation must suffer, sought to exclude ourselves from the consequences of our own behaviour in this way. I am delighted to hear that my right hon. Friend rules out that course. Instead, we have an analogue.
I am not happy with this analogue. The right hon. Member for Down, South drew attention to the status implication of this analogue. I hope that we shall bear in mind that this famous analogue—an assistant secretary, or whoever he may be—is, in turn, the subject of a system of comparability, so we pull ourselves on to the coat-tails of the vortex of inflation. Before long, I suppose, we shall be referring ourselves to Professor Clegg, over and above Lord Boyle.
I understand the motive and the anxiety that we should exonerate ourselves somehow from the embarrassment of this argument in future years, but it still seems a dubious process for us to undertake. We cannot escape from the responsibility of deciding this matter for ourselves. Nor should we try to do so.
The last point that I wish to make is more a matter of interrogation than anything else. I am concerned that, once again, we should be deciding to relate our pension entitlement to a salary that we are afraid to pay ourselves. I realise that this is not an innovation. It was done in the previous Parliament. Had I been a Member of that Parliament, I should have been reluctant to support it. I am reluctant to support it now. This is another sympton of the way in which we have tried to fudge the issues. I do not believe that they should be fudged.
I should have been far happier if my right hon. Friend had come to the House and said " These are, perhaps, the substantial increases that are necessary, in our estimate, for the good functioning of Parliament, both at ministerial and Back-Bench level. They are increases that enable us to eliminate the growing incidence of reimbursed expenses and enable us to relate our pensions on retirement to the scale of remuneration that we actually receive." 521 That would be the perfect world. We cannot expect all that to happen. The proposals before the House, in some respects, fall short of what might have been hoped. We should think long and hard before accepting this concept of an analogue for our salaries with some distinguished gentlemen in the Civil Service.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Reg Race (Wood Green)
Later this evening I shall formally move amendment (a) to the Leader of the House's motion. I shall, however, read the amendment so that it is on the record. It states:(1) the salary payable to Members shall be increased on 13 June 1979 in respect of service on and after 13 June 1979 and before 13 June 1980, by an amount equal to the percentage increase in money wages in the current pay round at average earnings for the male full-time worker, as measured by the New Earnings Survey and the Department of Employment's index of average earnings, and expressed as a percentage of backbench Members' pay.(2) that this House rejects the findings of the Boyle report and refers them back to the Committee for further consideration.(3) that the Boyle Committee be instructed to report again by June 1980, and in its report to have regard to:The motivation behind the amendment is clear. Both my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Miss Wright) and I believe that this is a question of political and social judgment. We do not believe that Members' salaries can be, or should be, considered in an atmosphere divorced from political and social judgments, in particular political and social judgments about the range of income differentials in society and the extent to which hon. Members want to see large groups of people, including themselves, paid salaries which are out of line with the general level of salaries in the economy as a whole. This point is particularly relevant when we consider some of the speeches that have been made.
- (a) the need to compare Members' pay not only with outside comparators thought to be at the same level of responsibility, but also to the generality of earnings in the economy;
- (b) the need to increase substantially the secretarial and research allowances of Members and improve back-up services; and
- (c) the need to secure a living wage for full-time service as a Member of Parliament.
Hon. Members on the Conservative Benches have talked about the lack of 522 comparison that is possible between Members of Parliament and people working at the higher levels of the Civil Service. I agree with that. If there is no real and no classic comparison to be made, it seems that there is a political and social judgment to be made. The political and social judgment that I make is that the increases proposed by Boyle are far too high. They lead us into a situation where Members of Parliament are seen to be anxious to increase substantially the pay of people who are already paid relatively highly in comparison with the earnings of male full-time workers in the economy as a whole. Parliaments and Governments in the past have given similar generous treatment to groups of people such as senior civil servants, heads of the Armed Forces, judges, and so on. The treatment is different from that meted out to the generality of people in the economy as a whole.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Woolwich, West)
What does the hon. Gentleman regard as a living wage? Will he say whether he believes that, say, the deputy head of a comprehensive school, or the general secretary of a trade union, should suffer a substantial reduction in pay if elected to the House?
§ Mr. Race
I shall be coming to that point. I did not expect to get away without having to refer to such matters.
We believe that the comparison between the pay of hon. Members and the generality of pay in the economy ought to have regard to the basic principles laid down in the Labour Party's programme published in 1973. The point is related particularly to Labour Members, and I feel that the credibility of the Labour movement is at stake.
How can it be possible for hon. Members to support a political programme that favours reductions in the inequalities in income and wealth in society and yet overtly to call for substantial wage increases for themselves? That is a serious question for my hon. Friends, and I hope that they will consider it carefully before voting.
Our 1973 programme said that we wantedto bring about a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people and their families ".523 It went on to state that we wantedto achieve far greater economic equality in our society—in income, in wealth, and in the living standards of everyone.That is an objective which I and many of my hon. Friends support. It is crazy for hon. Members to support the increases proposed by the Government and, at the same time, to be critical of those on lower incomes who want to raise their pay substantially, especially if they are among the low-paid earning between £40 and £60 a week. There is an element of hypocrisy in that and the House should be aware of it.
The increases provided by the Boyle committee are clearly far too large in the view of any hon. Member who takes into account the considerations that I have outlined. We do not believe that hon. Members should be treated differently from other groups of workers. We agree that there ought to be a pay increase for hon. Members in the current round. The question is how we are to calculate that increase.
§ Mr. Mike Thomas
My hon. Friend is right to suggest that hon. Members should not be treated differently from other groups of workers. Does he agree that since other groups were getting a 60 per cent. rise in their incomes while hon. Members were getting a rise of 17 per cent., that is an inequality that ought to be put right?
§ Mr. Race
It was made clear by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) that the present level of hon. Members' salaries is little different from the real level over most of the past 60 years. The point about a 50 per cent. real increase is a substantial one. That is what we are talking about.
How are we to calculate this year's pay increase for hon. Members? If we believe that the Boyle committee has got it wrong and that there is a case for telling the committee to do its sums again and to have regard to the generality of earnings in the economy, how should we calculate our increase for this year?
If the amendment is accepted and we ask the Boyle committee to report back by June 1980, it is clear that we shall need a holding operation to ensure that hon. Members have an increase that is related to pay increases in the current 524 round. That is why the amendment suggests that we should take the figures in the New Earnings Survey and update the average male worker's wage by the increases shown in the Department of Employment's average earnings index and apply that, as a percentage increase, to the pay of Back Bench Members. In that way, we would increase the pay of hon. Members in line with the increases that have been enjoyed by other workers in the economy. That would produce an increase for hon. Members of £813.84 per annuni—£15.65 a week—which is a substantial increase.
§ Mr. Skinner
Before my hon. Friend moves on from that point, there is another matter that I should like him to consider.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill
Order. Will the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) please address his remarks to the Chair.
§ Mr. Skinner
Before my hon. Friend gets on to the new calculations, may I take him back to what he said about referring the whole matter back to the Boyle committee? There is a flaw in that argument. The Boyle committee is, by and large, a representative body of the elite and its members have an interest in seeing that hon. Members are well paid, in order that they may also be well paid in their jobs. They have no old-age pensioners or hospital workers on the committee, and it therefore does not represent a cross-section of the British public.
If we send the matter back to the Boyle committee we shall end up in the same position as before. My hon. Friend must take on board the fact that the Boyle committee, or some other committee, must have a wider representation of the various groups in our society.
§ Mr. Race
I do not disagree with that. The first step that we must take is to change the terms of reference of the Boyle committee. If we are serious about that, we must do it on the basis of comparing hon. Members not with civil servants but with the generality of earnings in the economy, and particularly with the average earnings of skilled workers. If hon. Members receive a wage that is way out of line with the earnings of the average worker it will become increasingly 525 difficult for hon. Members, no matter what their attitudes may be, and no matter from what walk of life they may come, to continue an adequate form of representation for their constituents. The facts are clear. We must consider the question in relation to what the Boyle committee has recommended and to what the average worker receives.
Back-Bench Members receive £138 a week, which includes basic pay and London weighting. I remove the pence, for the sake of simplicity. We receive nearly £49 a week more than the pay of the average worker, as last measured by the New Earnings Survey. That relationship should be maintained at the present level.
§ Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn)
Does my hon. Friend agree that in making comparisons we should also take into account the number of hours worked? I am certainly working more hours than ever before. Average earnings are based on a 40-hour week, and hon. Members work considerably more than that.
§ Mr. Race
That also is a point I was coming to. The question of the hours of work is, of course, very serious, and hon. Members have raised it already. Working hours for the average full-time male worker are just over 42 a week, according to the New Earnings Survey. I know that there are many hon. Members who work considerably longer than that, but we all know that there are others who do not work 42 hours a week. Therefore, the argument about the number of hours worked does not, I think, stand up to close scrutiny.
The reason why I say that is that it the average hourly rate of the average male worker of nearly £2 per hour at plain time rates is grossed up to the 60 hours a week level, which, I suppose, would be an average time for a Member of Parliament to spend doing his constituency and parliamentary activities, one comes to a gross pay figure not very different from the figure proposed in the amendment, after the increase set out in it.
§ Mr. Alan Clark
I am interested in the hon. Gentleman's obsession with the average and his desire to relate us to the 526 average. Why not fix it below the average?
§ Mr. Race
I believe that a Member of Parliament has to be related to a wide range of other occupations and not necessarily to one or two occupations. If it is a question of political and social judgment, who is to say that a Member of Parliament is worth more than a nurse, a hospital ancillary worker or a doctor? Some of these occupations will be on above average pay, as is a doctor at the moment, and some will be below, as nurses and ancillary staff are. Therefore, the only practical and reasonable course is to take the average for the New Earnings Survey as a whole.
§ Mr. Mike Thomas
I am sorry to interrupt my hon. Friend again, but I wonder whether in his previous occupation as, I understand, a research officer for NUPE, he was paid the average wage earned by NUPE workers.
§ Mr. Race
When I was elected to the House I received an extremely substantial wage increase because precisely that point applied. The pay of those who worked at my union head office was related, in part, to the pay that our members received. If my hon. Friend would like to see me afterwards I shall prove that point to him.
§ Several Hon. Membersrose—
§ Mr. Race
I have given way on many occasions in the last few minutes, and I hope that hon. Members will forgive me if I continue with the brunt of what I wish to say.
There is a serious question in comparing Members' pay to earnings in a range of other occupations. It is a question of social and political judgment, and I do not wish to see a situation where Members of Parliament, and especially Labour Members, are calling for a comparison to be made between those who serve the Labour movement and senior judges and people at senior levels in the Civil Service and elsewhere.
The question of the back-up services to Members also must be considered. I take issue with Conservative hon. Members who have said that there is no public concern about the level of Members' pay. I believe that there is great public concern about that. But there is considerable public support for the idea that 527 the services that Members receive, in terms of secretarial allowances, research allowances or other facilities, should be improved to a level consistent with best practice in industry and the trade unions.
Looking back to the way in which this question was handled at the beginning of this Session of Parliament over the allocation of desks, telephones and so on, one can see the way in which Members are treated—sometimes in a quite disgraceful fashion. For that reason, the amendment calls on the Boyle committee to look again at the relationship between Members' pay and the allowances received. Hon. Members will recall that Boyle dismisses that relationship. He dismisses the idea of a trade-off between the two as being unimportant. That is not the view expressed in the amendment, for the reasons I have given.
If they vote for the Government's proposals tonight, hon. Members will be regarding themselves in a different way from anybody else in the public service at the present time for the very reason that, to my knowledge, there have been no proposals to change the cash limits for the central services of the Palace of Westminster and our other facilities as a consequence of the pay increase for Members of Parliament.
Everyone else in the public sector, whether he be a doctor, local government worker, water worker, university worker or anyone else, will have the whole question of increases in his pay traded off against jobs and services in the next pay round. Already we have that in the present pay round, with the refusal of the Government to increase the cash limits to take account of the Clegg increases. Therefore Members would be placing themselves in a different and, I submit, invidious position in relation to everyone else in the public service since the cash limits on our activities will not be affected by the very substantial pay increases proposed in the Government's motion.
My hon Friends and I believe that the amendment, in calling for the Boyle committee to look again at the whole nature of the relationship between Members' pay and outside comparisons, is highly germane. In my view it will rebuild the credibility of the Labour movement in regard to this issue, and it will also provide for an increase this year that will 528 prevent Members salaries from being eroded further.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)
I do not wish to intervene in the almost internecine struggle that has broken out on the Labour Benches in the wake of the speech of the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race). I wish to turn to the main proposition put forward by the Government, and, having listened to the hon. Member for Wood Green and to the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), I am more than ever impressed by the need for an outside body that can take an objective and general view of the position. I offer my praise to Lord Boyle and his eminent colleagues for what they have attempted to do. He still retains the characteristics of a very smart Secretary to the Treasury who does not give money away easily. I can assure the House of that.
I hope that both Front Benches will have learnt something not just from, the debate thus far but from the positive series of excitable exhibitions and really most unfortunate incidents that at some points almost reminded one of the Suez debate in the House. I hope that in future hon. Members will behave in such a way as to lead to more decorous behaviour in the House as a whole.
The fault of the Labour Government was that they simply sat on the Boyle report, and, in accordance with the other Boyle's law of the natural expansion of forces, matters finally burst out, as all pay controls do, in a revolt against a totally unjust and unfair position imposed on the House of Commons.
The present Government have tried to divide the Boyle recommendations into three parts, and apparently this has not worked very efficiently. If one examines the analogues developing between phases 1 and 2 one sees a curious situation. Indeed, the word " analogue " is an odd one in this context because I thought that it had something to do with long-range weather forecasting. Such analogues in that context are of great rarity, uncertainty and unspecified magnitude. If Boyle had been carried out in two parts as was recommended, the second part to be completed by November 1980, the loss to public funds would have been £400,000 or £500,000. Therefore, there has been 529 a tremendous row in the House over a comparatively small sum of money.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said that he hoped that we could move on and that things would now flow smoothly in regard to Members' pay and ministerial remuneration. I, too, hope that that will be the case, but the House must consider wider issues than merely Members' pay. The level of public remuneration and expenditure certainly falls to the House of Commons and the Government to consider, but perhaps it is only right to raise at this point a wider issue—namely, the size of the House of Commons. The number of such Members is totally relevant to this question. This matter needs to he re-examined by a Speaker's Conference because there have been great changes in the last 25 years since the Boundary Commission recommendations and certainly since two Acts of Parliament laid down the maximum number of Members of Parliament.
There are three changes that have not been properly considered. The first is that some of our sovereignty has gone to Europe. There are now 81 European Members of Parliament, who undoubtedly deduct something from the sovereignty and power of this House. We must then consider the subject of modern communications, ranging from the moped to the local radio station. It is now possible for a Member of Parliament in an urban or semi-urban constituency to deal with 100,000 constituents. Of course there are exceptional areas, such as Northern Ireland where there is a special system of direct rule. There are also regional areas in the North of Scotland where rural weighting makes constituencies far smaller in numbers.
These are facts which the House of Commons must bear in mind. It is no good giving the House more work to do if it is of a meaningless nature. I consider that many of our Committees are meaningless. Surely the power of the House of Commons relates to the power to control Supply. There is no other way in which a Government can be controlled. Therefore, we must examine whether we can reduce the size of the House of Commons. I believe that we should consider bringing it down from 632 to 400 or 500 Members. 530 I believe that there is an even more important point to be considered. Even more serious for the Government is the fact that the list of Ministers continues to grow. It is Ministers who comprise the points from which Government spending automatically flows. Let us consider the size of the Foreign Office. In 1914, when we were a great power, there was in that office one Secretary of State, one Under-Secretary and fewer than 350 clerks. Today in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office there are two Cabinet Ministers, four Ministers of State and one Under-Secretary. Incidentally, the term Minister of State was invented by Sir Winston Churchill and bestowed on Lord Beaver-brook when he was dismissed from the post of Minister for Aircraft Production. It was a title which Beaverbrook never fully grasped, unless it was to show that he was a different man from his father, who had been a minister of religion. The number of civil servants in that office is now 9,450. That is an idea of how a swollen Ministry can become the driving force behind Government expenditure.
The time has come to think in broader terms of the function of the House of Commons. We must consider how constituents can best be served and Governments can best be controlled. We must also consider how money from the public purse can be reduced.
I hope that this is a radical Government. I consider that the Boyle committee is the right system for regulating Members' pay, but that there is something much more fundamental that needs to be considered. Before we examine the organisation of the House of Lords and the decentralisation of minor powers in respect of regional assemblies, I believe that we should examine the composition and size of this House. I believe that there is a strong and urgent case in this Parliament to set up another Speaker's Conference.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)
The fact that I intend to speak to the amendments in my name and those tabled by hon. Friends means that I cannot follow the remarks of the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) in the larger considerations which he pursued. 531 I begin by saying a word or two to my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) and the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). The first is a newish Member of the House and the second is of course a very senior Member, but both spoke with considerable courage against the grain of the debate. The fact that I do not wholly agree with them does not diminish my admiration for their speeches. My remarks are relevant to the amendments tabled by my hon. Friends and myself, and it is for that reason that I wish to draw together the two speeches which I have mentioned.
The right hon. Member for Down, South said that we were in this Parliament voting ourselves a 50 per cent. increase. He based that statement on the fact that in the previous Parliament, since the Boyle recommendations were not implemented, and since in successive years we had to take increases in other ways, rather than in salary, the real income of a Member of Parliament, taking into account all the allowances, had not significantly fallen back.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green thought that these allowances should be further examined and perhaps raised. In the course of the previous Parliament I felt that it was not a good thing that we shirked acceptance of the Boyle recommendations and then, through the back door, increased allowances. The public know little about such allowances, and in some cases they might well have been used in part to alleviate the hardship which hon. Members had otherwise suffered. The allowances should be paid on the basis that we are, effectively, full-time Members of Parliament. That does not mean that we should not have outside interests. It means that we are working here as a full-time occupation.
The allowance should go entirely upon the services which we have to employ or on other expenses. The public should not be under an illusion that the allowances are a supplement to our income. It is better for hon. Members to have the courage to say that they believe that there is a given salary which they think the job is worth. They should argue that in their constituencies. We should not wear hair shirts and say that we do not think that 532 we should be paid this, that or the other because that would not be popular outside the House.
We must take the starting point of Boyle and the salary that that committee nominated and then examine the premise upon which the recommendations were based. That premise represents the substance of the amendment tabled by my hon. Friends and myself. The premise is that we should be considered as full-time Members. The Boyle report states:In basing our salary recommendations on the 'full-time MP' we do not mean to imply that Parliament should consist entirely of Members who have no interests outside Parliament, whether remunerated or not.Paragraph 18 of the report states:An alternative open to us would be to recommend different levels of payment for full-time' and for part-time' MPs.However, as in the 1971 report, the Boyle committee declined to do that.
My right hon. and hon. Friends and I believe that that is a mistaken view. If we are to move towards the concept of a full-time Member of Parliament, we must accept that that means a remuneration for the full-time Member of Parliament which is somewhat different from that of the hon. Member who, for reasons of his own, chooses to spend large parts of his time elsewhere. However, fewer hon. Members do that now.
The figures in the Boyle report show that the average number of hours which hon. Members claim to have worked in the working week in the last Session is 67. That is many more hours than the 42 mentioned earlier. Even if one allows for a little exaggeration and reduces that number by 10 hours, we are still talking about a considerable number of hours. We should look to this place as the prime occupation of hon. Members—not their sole occupation. An hon. Member could have an outside interest or occupation without expecting remuneration for it. If an hon. Member has no other remuneration, he is in a better position to argue for the full salary recommended in the Boyle report. In a couple of years' time that will be £12,000 per year.
We believe that we should work upon one of the examples in the appendices of the report. Since there is a large Conservative majority there is likely to be little sympathy for the notion of the full-time MP with no outside earnings or 533 interests. The example involves the Dutch Parliament. Dutch MPs are paid generously. Their standard of living is higher. A Dutch MP's rate of pay is £20,500 if he has no outside interest. If he has outside interests in excess of £2,500 his salary is reduced by half the amount which exceeds that, given that the final deduction cannot be more than £7,500. That means that the minimum salary for all Dutch MPs is £13,000.
The point is that all hon. Members must be paid, whether they are monks or millionaires. We pay a parliamentary allowance to ministers, although the idea that a Minister is caused hardship when earning £12,000 a year is absurd to those who move in political circles. The figure that we should take as the parliamentary allowance, or that part of the parliamentary salary that is paid to everybody regardless, should be set roughly at the figure which the House has estimated should be paid to Ministers of State and others, in the third section of table 1 to the motion.
My hon. Friends and I have taken that principle in setting out a suggested process of deduction which should find favour in the House, even among those who would not necessarily agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer), who has tabled a tougher and more Draconian amendment to cover those with outside interests. We recommend that for those earning over £2,000 in outside income half of that declared outside income for the last tax year should be deducted from the parliamentary salary up to an initial maximum of £3,800, a maximum of £4,400 during stage 2 and £5,000 during stage 3. That is a more modest suggestion than the notion that one should simply take away from a parliamentary salary every last penny earned outside. That would not work, in any event.
That suggestion would mean that an hon. Member who earned £3,000 outside in the previous year would have a deduction of £500 in the first stage or a pre-tax parliamentary income of £8,950. A member earning £6,000 outside would draw a parliamentary salary of £7,450. A Member earning £12,000 outside would draw £5,650, and that would involve the maximum deduction.
Hon. Members may say that everyone should take the £12,000 because they all 534 have constituency responsibilities. It is easier to argue the case that we should be paid the rate for the job when we can illustrate that that rate is based on the notion that most of us are doing this job and are receiving no other remuneration. Ministers can take no other remuneration. When a Member becomes a Minister, all his outside income must cease. According to the codes that govern the lives of civil servants, they are not able to take outside remuneration.
Some hon. Members say that our salaries should be linked to those of assistant secretaries in the Civil Service. They should remember that such civil servants cannot earn the amounts which Members of Parliament can earn outside. If we are to link and say that the job, as a full-time job, deserves the going rate, we must accept the principle of deduction. This is an important stage along the route which I hope we shall take in the next Parliament to when our occupation is seen to be full-time. I am not saying that hon. Members should not be able to do things outside, but that they should not take remuneration for it. I accept that that will not happen in this Parliament, but I hope that it will in the next. We are considering part I of the Boyle report. We have not seen Boyle part II. We do not know whether we shall see it before the summer. I hope that we shall and that we shall hear that the Government intend to honour it and act upon it as soon as it is published.
The chairman of the Committee which in the previous Parliament looked at the conditions of secretaries and research assistants came to the conclusion that some are badly treated. It would be odious to go into detail, but there are cases of real hardship. I pay tribute to the Accountant and to the officials of the House who have attempted to assist. However, we should not treat those who serve us less well than we treat ourselves. It is ridiculous that secretaries here should be in this curious relationship with hon. Members, which is not at all regulated as is any other secretarial occupation outside this place. According to the figures in the motion, they are being given less than a 10 per cent. increase in the secretarial allowance. That is nothing like the figure which has been given as the increase for secretaries in the 535 Civil Service, which has recently been announced. The secretaries council—with some reason, I think—is indignant that we have come to look at Boyle part I without looking at Boyle part II, without trying to put on a more regular basis the conditions of the secretaries. Looking at the nonsense of the so-called secretarial allowance, one finds, first, that it covers three different things, secretaries, research assistants and office equipment, and, secondly, that it is not always used solely for those three purposes. I shall not go into that matter any more.
However, it is wrong that we have allowances which are not clearly delineated for the particular job that we need —in the first instance, a full-time secretary working for us here, with decent office conditions, a regular pension and all the expectations that people have outside.
I do not believe that hon. Members would wish to leave this debate without hearing from the Government this evening what they intend to do when they get the second part of the Boyle recommendations. I do not believe that we should simply take the money and run, at the end of the summer now, and vote tonight in favour of this statement of opinion, or whatever it may be. I earnestly commend the amendments that have been put forward by my hon. Friends and myself. I hope that, at least on my side of the House, they will find some favour.
§ 6.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Nick Budgen (Wolverhampton, South-West)
On the first point that concerns the House, the question of what is the proper remuneration at present for either Members of Parliament or Ministers at various levels, I do not wish to trouble the House very much, because it seems to me that the decision that we take about our own remuneration is inevitably a value judgment. It is inevitably a judgment of the whole House, a judgment from which we cannot be shielded by any report, no matter how eminent the authors of that report may be. The responsibility is ours. We must take it openly. We must shoulder the embarrassment that comes from taking the decision. We must not, in any circumstances, try to shift it on to someone else or some other body. 536 Before I leave that initial point, I should like to say how much I disagreed with the peroration of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. He seemed to suggest that the status and honour of an individual was dependent upon the size of his income or his wealth in some way. He said that the salary of Members of Parliament must be adjusted upwards in order to be commensurate with their status and their honour. That seemed to be a quite extraordinary proposition to come from one whom I have long admired as a Tory romantic. Would he, for instance, say that the status of his cardinal was diminished because that cardinal earns a great deal less than a coal miner? Or would he say that the Archbishop of Canterbury is a person who has a lower status because he, the archbishop, certainly earns, net, after tax, a great deal less than a prostitute? It really was the most extraordinary expression of view.
Indeed, even the arch-Tory romantic of all time, the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), seemed at one stage almost to be led into the same heresy. Although he referred, with his usual passion, to the past when he was talking about those of broad acres who used to be proud of those broad acres when they represented them in this House, I believe that they were not respected just for their broad acres. Men in this House were respected for many other things. Men of broad acres were also respected for their independence of view. Other men of broad acres were respected for their scholarship. Others were respected because of the honour and decency of their family life.
A man is respected for many different things other than money. I hope that we are not suggesting this evening that a Member of Parliament is to be respected in proportion to the size of the income which he necessarily has to vote for himself.
I devote most of my short speech to the question of these two tranches that are proposed by the Government. When my right hon. Friend announced last Friday the new deal which had been so ignominiously forced upon the Government, he talked, it was reported, in terms of indexation. But the Government and their advisers are sophisticated people. They 537 have now thought up a new word. It is not " indexation "; it is " analogue ".
If there is any justification for the expensive employment of all those gentlemen with first-class degrees, it must clearly be demonstrated by their having thought up this splendid new word " analogue ". But I say that it is indexation by another word.
The two new tranches will be paid by reference to two criteria. One is that of comparability. I dispute the theory of comparability. There is no greater honour than to be a Member of this House. It is a unique honour. I do not wish to diminish the role of either a doctor or a dentist in our society, but their jobs or professions are not in any way comparable to that of a Member of Parliament. We may be less well paid or better paid than either a doctor or a dentist; but there is no proper comparison between ourselves and a doctor or a dentist.
§ Mr. Budgen
Or anybody else. It is unique. Therefore, I regret the concept of comparability.
The second basis on which these two tranches are to be paid must be in order to keep up with the rate of inflation which occurs between now and the time when these two tranches are paid. A clever chap may call it an analogue. Another chap, perhaps from the Opposition Benches but with a trade union interest, may call it a cost of living increase. But it is indexation—and it is indexation by the people who are ultimately causing inflation.
There is no class in this country that to a greater extent ought not to be indexed than ourselves. By our persistent demands for higher public expenditure, our persistent disinclination to tax, our persistent deficit financing, our persistent requirement of Government after Government to have lower rates of interest, we have caused the inflation which is the scourge of this country, which is distorting the social fabric of our society, which is even giving rise to the most discreditable trade union activity on the part of Members of Parliament concerning their own pay. 538 There is no scourge that we should regret more. It is the scourge from which every one of us ought to be primarily committed to saving this country. To suggest that we should be in any way guaranteed against the effects of our own folly is the most damaging thing that we could possibly do.
The third reason for these two additional tranches is, as it is smoothly put, to save us embarrassment. What a thing to say! I think of some of my relatives who lived for 30 years on a fixed income, who felt embarrassment every time they looked at their purse and every time they went into a shop, and I think of the comparatively well-heeled people in this House saying " Let us have two more tranches without having the gaze of the public upon those two more tranches because we do not want embarrassment." That, surely, is the ultimate in cowardice.
If we are to safeguard ourselves against the consequence of our own folly, let us do it openly. Let us have the courage at least to say to the country " We have made terrible mistakes but we hope that you will, out of the kindness of your hearts, at least safeguard us a little, in spite of those terrible things that we have done to you." But embarrassment there will be, and embarrassment there must be.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. John Parker (Dagenham)
When I first became a Member of this House, the salary was £400 a year. It was not considered a salary but was intended to meet the expenses of a Member. A large number of Members at that time either had a job outside or private means. As the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) said, there were many Members who had private means and who could sit in Parliament because they had private means. There was a large number of farmers, a large number of lawyers, and there were many business men who ran their own businesses. Sometimes these businesses were big and sometimes they were small. There were certain exceptions. There were the sponsored trade union Members. In their case, the £400 was considered as expenses and they were paid a salary by the union, which also provided them with secretarial and research assistance. 539 A great many of the Labour Members who were not sponsored in that way were small business men. George Lansbury was a master builder. A great many Members had been set up in business, running small shops for the sale of cigarettes or as newsagents or working for themselves in the building trade. Very often they had been set up in business by friends, after having lost their jobs owing to a strike.
That was largely the way in which Parliament was financed in the 1930s. The salary was regarded simply as expenses. People had to have other jobs in order to earn their living while they were in this House. I had been secretary of the New Fabian Research Bureau. When I came into the House, I at once went on to half-salary, £150 a year, which I received in addition to the £400 a year salary for Members. That was done so that I should have a reasonable amount of money on which to live. It was considered to be right at that time.
Two years later, Attlee, who was then the Leader of the Opposition, came to the conclusion, after discussion with many of his Back Benchers, that " salaries " ought to be raised because they were inadequate. He had budgets kept by various hon. Members, such as Mr. Ellis Smith. They prepared a good many figures showing what were the expenses of Members. On the strength of this information, Attlee went to Baldwin, who was then Prime Minister, and asked for discussions. It was agreed that the salary should be raised to £600 a year, and that the Leader of the Opposition should be provided with a salary of his own. Attlee had small private means, but his research assistants had to work for him for nothing. He could employ only research assistants who had an income of their own. Baldwin agreed on condition that " it would not bring clever young men like Dick Crossman into the House ".
With due apologies to the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), I point out that there was no question of this matter being voted upon not to come into operation until after the next election. Parliament decided that it was right to make the changes there and then. The Government put down a motion, it was passed by the House, and it operated from that time onwards. 540 Having, seen what salaries were like in those days, I support the proposals put forward by the Government to try to provide an adequate salary for Members, to enable them to do their job properly.
There is one important aspect which has been neglected in the debate so far. I refer to the 130 Members who ceased to be Members of this House after the last general election. There were 61 Members who retired, and 65 Members who were defeated. Many of them retired on pensions which were provided by the House. I have the honour to be a trustee of the pensions fund of this House. We apply the rules laid down for the fund as generously as we can in order to meet the needs of Members and of the widows of Members. But it is still a fact that the majority of Members sit in this House only for an average of 10 years. Many young men and young women, therefore, come into this House and go out again. That point has to be borne in mind when we are thinking of the remuneration of Members.
To my own knowledge, no fewer than six Members who were in the last House are in receipt of social security payments. That is a disgrace to this House. There is certainly redundancy pay for three months when a Member leaves the House, but some better arrangements ought to be made to enable people to come into this House from all sections of the population—something that we do not have at present. It is necessary if we are to have a democratic House of Commons. It ought to be made possible for a young man or woman with a family to be able to take the risk of fighting a marginal seat, coming into the House, losing the seat at a subsequent election, and then trying to get back again. There are no arrangements to cover young men or women in those circumstances, and they ought to be made.
Lord Carr, who was a Member of this House and at one time Home Secretary, was asked by the Confederation of British Industry to chair a working party, with the object of trying to find out whether it would be possible to get into this House more Members with practical experience in business. As a result of the inquiry, various recommendations were made to the CBI which were of very considerable importance. He took the view that all 541 firms of any reasonable size should allow their employees to stand as parliamentary candidates for whatever party they chose, and that the time should be provided to enable them to do the work of a prospective candidate. He also suggested that at least three weeks' leave should be provided if they wished to fight an election. Most important of all, it was recommended that anyone who got into this House and subsequently lost his seat should be taken back into employment by his firm. Obviously, anyone in such a position could not expect to be reemployed in the position that he might have attained in the firm. The working party felt that there would be no difficulty whatever in placing these obligations on firms employing more than 500 persons with the normal large turnover of staff.
There is nothing new about that. The railways had such a rule long before they were nationalised. Some hon. Members may remember Archie Manuel. Before entering this House he had been an express engine driver. When he lost his seat he resumed his work as an engine driver, driving trains between Glasgow and London. Later he won back his seat and returned to the House.
Michael Stewart was a sixth-form master at the Coopers' School in the East End of London. The old London County Council had a long-established rule by which persons who had worked for the LCC and then entered this House could come back into employment again if they lost their seats. Michael Stewart always paid his contribution as a teacher to the pension fund of the council. Had he lost his seat at any time before the retirement age for teaching, he would have been able at once to resume his occupation with the council.
I recall that Fred Montague, who was a Member in the 1930s, lost his seat in 1931 and was reduced to selling stockings in the street. That sort of thing is not to the honour of this House.
I think, therefore, that we ought to take up the question of ensuring that there is an obligation on all public authorities and large firms to take back into their employment any former employee who, having got into the House of Commons, later loses his seat. I do not suggest that 542 people should necessarily go back into the job they held before becoming Members. This obligation ought to apply to all firms or organisations employing more than 500 people. It obviously could not be made to apply to small firms.
If we are to have a democratic House of Commons, in which there are men and women from all walks of life—and particularly young men and women with families—we shall have to make arrangements of the kind that I have suggested. They should not have to worry all the time about what will happen to them and their families if they lose their seats. Some such law or rule should be imposed by the House. I look forward to seeing whether something of that kind can be referred to the Boyle committee for suggestions.
There was a good report to the CBI, which supported the recommendations. I should like to know whether anything has been done to implement the recommendations of the report and what is the Government's attitude to the proposal. Something must be done about the problem if there is to be a democratic House of Commons. There has been talk of the re-election of Members of Parliament. It is more important from a democratic point of view to ensure that men and women with family responsibilities can come here—given the risk that they may lose their seats at the next election.
§ 7 p.m.
§ Mr. Alan Clark (Plymouth, Sutton)
I am glad to follow the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker), the Father of the House. I listened with great care to what he said. I regard his point about pensions as important. I hope to refer to it when I deal with the amendment of the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race), for which I have a certain sympathy.
I rise principally to speak to the amendment in my name and that of my hon. Friends, which totally opposes the whole principle of indexation. It is utterly inconsistent with our constitutional role and our duty to the people who send us here that we should allow our emoluments to rise in step with the conditions which we oppose, or to which we all pay lip-service of our intention to oppose.
I refer to the acceleration of inflation. We have already indexed the salaries of 543 those who spend the money. If we index the salaries of those who allocate the money, and who vote the money that is spent, the electorate will have no confidence in any of our avowals of our intention to get rid of inflation, because the three parties to its aggravation will all benefit from it.
The pay of the Civil Service and Members of Parliament will be indexed. If the Government ever reduce inflation below 5 per cent. they will have to meet the coupon on hundreds of millions of pounds worth of gilt-edged stock that they sold at 14 per cent., and higher, interest rates. It will be totally impossible to pay the national debt. It will cripple the country if the Government pay those coupons in real money. All three pillars of the administration—in the widest sense—of the country will stand to benefit, or at any rate will not suffer from continuing inflation. Parliament remains the only unit in that administrative structure—I use the term in its broadest sense—that has so far not protected itself against inflation. It would be fundamentally destructive and corrupt if we indexed our salaries.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said that our salaries should reflect the prestige and influence of a Member of Parliament. It is unfortunate to subscribe to those bourgeois and materialist concepts. To say that a man's prestige and influence are primarily related to the money that he earns is grossly degrading. Members of Parliament have always stood back from that. They pretended that their prestige and influence were not related to their salaries. The moment that we relate prestige to a salary we are categorised. Once we subscribe to that principle, all those who earn more will regard Members of Parliament as being subordinate to them in prestige and influence. Not only that. It is completely untrue. Members of Parliament are not subordinate to anybody—except, perhaps, indirectly to their constituents, and at intervals. They are not subordinate, nor should they ever be.
The reference to an assistant secretary seems highly dangerous. Once we relate ourselves to an assistant secretary according to a scale, all those of a rank above will feel justified in bossing us about or ignoring us because they earn more.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Alexander Fletcher)
They already do.
§ Mr. Clark
My hon. Friend says that they already do. At the moment a determined and dedicated Member of Parliament can put the fear of God into any member of the Civil Service. It is simply up to him how far he presses. Once a Member of Parliament is categorised and attached to a Civil Service rank—especially if the attachment is grounded on the assertion that his prestige and influence are related to his salary—his prestige and influence will be set in a niche. In that case it may be said that assistant secretaries are equal to Members of Parliament, those below are subordinate and those above have a right to call the odds as their superior prestige and influence are reflected in their greater salaries.
§ Mr. Budgen
My hon. Friend may agree that it goes further than that. On occasions it is the duty of all Members of Parliament to exercise pressure, and sometimes even to frighten members of the Government. If our status is to be decided by the comparative incomes of Members of Parliament and Ministers, we shall have no right to criticise any Minister.
§ Mr. Clark
We could extend the argument to that. I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I agree with him. I intended to put the point in a slightly different way. However, thanks to his intervention I shall not need to do so.
I have sympathy with the amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Wood Green. I hope he did not think that the interruption that I made to his speech was frivolous. I was trying to illustrate that it is not desirable to regard the status of a Member of Parliament as capable of being assessed in financial terms. The hon. Gentleman used a term that was somewhat comparable to that used by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. Amendment (a) refers tothe need to compare Members' pay not only with outside comparators thought to be at the same level of responsibility ".I do not think that that level can be established. It cannot be identified.
My right hon. Friend dodged the principle of indexation. He was probably 545 forewarned that a number of hon. Members on both sides of Parliament were unhappy about it. He used the terms " comparability " and " analogue ". The position of a Member of Parliament, his status, prestige and level of responsibility cannot be compared. There are 630 Members of Parliament.
They may be compared with one another in their output, quality and the way they complete their tasks, but they cannot be compared with anyone else. This House will make a tremendous error if it tries to fit them into a category that can be compared with others.
It has been said that Members of Parliament should receive the rate for the job. That can be argued. The last occasion on which this matter was debated I said that if we looked at the hours that we worked, the conditions of work, the unsocial deprivations in not seeing our families and not having our weekends to ourselves, and going without sleep, and determined a rate we should be well into £50,000 to £60,000 a year, or a figure, such as I chose somewhat flippantly last time, of £130,000. But the argument about the rate for the job cannot feasibly be considered outside the other element that must be taken into consideration, and that is how many applicants there are for the job. We cannot say that people should be paid a specal rate unless it is only by paying them that rate that we can keep them in the job.
For example, why are miners asking for only 60 per cent.? Why do they not ask for £1,000 a week? I cannot think of a level of pay for which I would go down the mines, but there are plenty of people who would take our jobs. I suspect that there are people who would not only take our jobs for nothing, but who would actually pay to have our jobs. If we look back to the eighteenth century, we see that people actually bought their way into society and then worked for nothing. I am not a member of any board or a director of any company, but I understand that a Member of Parliament can be placed at the masthead of certain companies.
§ Mr. Clark
As a form of investment, it is an interesting exercise, is it not, to 546 think that we could probably buy a seat in Parliament for £X and very quickly pick up that amount and a lot more by selling our names around various boards and companies. However, I do not want to go into that. If it were legitimate under the selection procedures, people would buy their way in here, not because they would be compensated by serving on company boards, and so on, but because of the prestige and influence. That is the factor mentioned by the Leader of the House.
People would want to come to this place because of the prestige and influence attached to the job of Member of Parliament. The very fact that this would happen is a clear indicator that to try to quantify that prestige and influence in terms of salary would be quite wrong. It would be degrading and would lead to a lowering of the esteem in which we are held not only by the public but by all those immediately around us, because of the salary they are earning, or those above us, because they are earning more.
If we peg ourselves, as has been suggested, at a particular level of comparability, thus demeaning the position that we have always held, and if, at the same time, we index our salary—or index it at one stage removed, as is now suggested—by guaranteeing that demeaning little slot that we have allotted ourselves, thus protecting ourselves against inflation, we shall do a great disservice to our status and to the position that our constituents expect us to uphold. At the same time, we would do great damage to the economic tasks which our constituents expect us to discharge.
§ 7.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)
It is interesting to note from the debate that the tax concessions which the Government continually claim will galvanise the economy have not worked in this respect. All those Government Members who have spoken seem to think that they need more money to cope with the present economic situation. The Secretary of State for Industry, the Secretary of State for Employment and the Prime Minister have all come to the Dispatch Box and answered question after question about unemployment and increases in the cost of living because of the higher rate of VAT. They said that in the country at 547 large a great surge of energy would be released because all those wonderful people who put their money into shabby property companies in the early 1970s would now put it into British manufacturing industry as a result of the tax concessions. That does not seem to have penetrated to the Conservative Party Members who have spoken so far.
Those of us who were in this place before the last election can indulge in another reflection. We can look back to the months during last winter when the Conservatives were in opposition and people such as lorry drivers, earning £50 a week, were asking for an increase to about £60 a week because they could see that the new EEC regulations would limit their overtime—overtime, incidentally, which precluded any moonlighting by those lorry drivers so that they could obtain a decent wage.
What happened? What was the contrast then? Were Conservatives getting up to say that these lorry drivers were very important to the economy? Did any of them say that these lorry drivers were decent fellows who did a difficult job and worked long hours? Not a bit of it. The Conservatives called for a state of emergency because these naughty people were actually demanding a decent living wage because the EEC, with which so many Conservative Members are besotted, would limit their hours of overtime.
Moreover, the Government are now putting forward proposals for legislation on picketing. When the boot was on the other foot and the Conservatives were in opposition, what expression of regret did we hear about the lorry driver who was killed in Aberdeen? Not one official Tory spokesman expressed any regret. The Conservatives talked about intimidation. The only intimidation ever shown was by those who fired shotguns at pickets. That was the only intimidation that was proved. There were many stories in the press—of course there were—by people who were sympathetic to the kind of scare-mongering that was expressed by Conservatives. It is a very interesting comparison to make when we hear a lot about the hours that Members of Parliament work and the difficulties they face. That was not considered to be the plight of those in rather more mundane occupations. 548 There was an occasion when the then Secretary of State for Employment sneered at the attitude of Liverpool gravediggers who brought their difficulties to this House. They did not write a letter, because that would not have enabled their plight to be discussed here. They did not lobby their Members of Parliament because that would not have got their plight discussed in these hallowed premises. The Liverpool grave-diggers went on strike and dead bodies piled up in empty factories on Merseyside. One after the other, Members stood up in a " me, too " consensus and said what a terrible deed these unthinking gravediggers were committing.
That is the way in which some people have to act. That is the way in which they feel that they have to act to get recognition and understanding in this hallowed assembly of the difficulties which they face. It is very interesting that when we talk about our own salaries we devote many hours to the subject and many hon. Members stand up, including the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann), who leads the onslaught on the difficulties which Members of Parliament face and the remuneration which they should have.
This House cares little about many people in more mundane occupations until they go on strike. For the vast majority of men and women strike action is the weapon of last resort. They seek to use every alternative but strike action. They do not want to go on strike, but in many instances they are forced into it by the indifference and delaying tactics of management. That same philosophy can be applied to the amount of debating time which the House sometimes gives to their difficulties.
I want to refer particularly to amendment (g), standing in the names of myself and my hon. Friends. It states:Line 97, at end add—(4) The ordinary salary of every Member in respect of service on and after 13th June 1979 shall be subject to a deduction of an equal amount to that earned from any other occupation or profession followed by the Member.I raised this matter with the Leader of the House previously, who retorted in rather sneering tones—this is the general platitudinous approach—that Members who can engage their wonderful talents outside have the right to do so, and that 549 it benefits those organisations as well as the House of Commons. That is a slighting and sneering attitude to those of us who choose to work full time in the House of Commons, and implies that we have no talent whatever. I object to and resent that attitude.
Amendment (g) meets that point of view, because all these wonderfully talented people who want to spread their brilliance outside the House as well as inside would be able to do so. However, those people who are naive about this and say that they are not talented or brilliant, except at lining their own packets—they are actually greedy people who are paid an adequate salary but cannot keep their hands off money—use the prestige of membership of this House to garner company directorships. Moreover, and I believe slightly worse, they use their position as Members of Parliament to give parliamentary advice to organisations in exchange for money.
If people want to do that, and if there is any validity in the argument that this is true and that people ought to be able to go outside and earn money, they can do so under amendment (g) without being accused of being greedy. They can do so simply by contributing to the sum total of national good will. They can spread their wonderful brains and talent around without invoking any remuneration, because it will be deducted from their salary. To me that is an extremely fair compromise.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)
Does the hon. Gentleman apply what he said to ex-Ministers on the Labour Front Bench and to Conservative Ministers? Of course, Ministers do two jobs. They are Members of Parliament, although they do not get the full Member's salary, and they have salaries as Ministers. Is there any reason why Back Benchers, if they can do their jobs as Members of Parliament, should not do a secondary job just as Ministers do?
§ Mr. Cryer
Because Ministers are a clear adjunct of this House, and because the election is based on obtaining a Government, one therefore expects that someone elected as a member of the majority party would seriously consider accepting ministerial office. No one would seriously 550 argue to the electorate that he should not do so. Therefore, this is not a separate or secondary job but is part of the concept of being a Member of Parliament. It is part of the platform that one places before the electorate. Therefore, I do not regard that as being an exact parallel, because it is part of one and the same job.
By and large, when we talk about outside jobs we do not mean people nipping down a mine for a morning's shift. We do not mean people doing a bit of night work in a hospital. We do not mean people entering an engineering factory and knocking out a few components before coming to this House. By and large, we mean the sort of administrative jobs that do not involve too much dirt or sweated labour. Therefore, such jobs are very much one stage removed from the vast majority of ordinary people's lives, including teachers and lecturers. In fact, teachers and lecturers who become Members of the House do not nip out to give a morning's lecture at the local polytechnic or college of further education. Such people tend to devote their energies and attention full time to the House of Commons.
We also tend to tell the electorate that we shall devote our energies full time to our parliamentary work. Certainly I do. Labour Members tend to make a comparison with factory workers. By and large, factory workers cannot get time off to go to board meetings. In many factories workers must go to the foreman to ask to go to the toilet. If those attitudes prevail among people who support and believe in the Labour Party, I believe that similar attitudes should prevail throughout the House of Commons.
§ Mr. John Carlisle (Luton, West)
What is the hon. Gentleman's opinion of the man I beat in the election, Mr. Brian Sedgemore, who wrote a novel while he was in the House? Would that remuneration come within the scope of his argument?
§ Mr. Cryer
The modest amount that he received from writing that novel would, under amendment (g), be deductible. I am very sorry to see the hon. Gentleman here. I express my deep regret that Brian Sedgemore, who was an outstanding Member of this House, should have been defeated by the swing at Luton.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell
Can the hon. Gentleman clear up another point? I gather that unearned income is all right.
§ Mr. Cryer
That is dependent upon the honour of an hon. Member, just as the operation of the amendment would be. We have not laid down any detailed administrative procedures in the amendment. It would be dependent entirely upon the honour of Members. If, because unearned income is not specifically covered by the amendment—
§ Mr. Cryer
Yes, it should be; the right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. I accept the spirit of the suggestion. If the amendment is passed, I expect that it will be carried out in practice. But since they are not subject to detailed administrative scrutiny, all these arrangements would depend on the honour of Members. We would expect them to undertake this matter with the usual assiduity applied by hon. Members.
I must tell the House that the forms required to declare financial interests have not yet been completed and that a resolution of the House has not been adhered to by about 30 hon. Members. I therefore hope that the spirit of my amendment would be adhered to. About 600 hon. Members have completed the forms received from the Registrar of Members' interests, but some queried the resolution, and that was when the forms were a month overdue.
§ Mr. Keith Wickenden (Dorking)
What is the difference in honour between an hon. Member who draws a salary from outside and does not divulge that fact under the terms of the amendment, and one who does not draw a salary from outside but spends long periods not pursuing his task as a Member but in the Tea Room or elsewhere?
§ Mr. Cryer
The hon. Gentleman has not been here very long, but the House is conducted according to the generality of resolutions—[HON. MEMBERS: " What does that mean? "] It means that if the House decides that the conduct of a Member is not suitable, there is a long debate followed by a vote. I imagine that a similar procedure, with an investigation by the Committee of Privileges, would be undertaken. If necessary, if the breach 552 of the amendment was grave, the House might want to take suitable action.
Therefore, the answer is the same as the answer which Mr. Speaker frequently gives. The responsibility for action is in the hands of hon. Members. It covers a multitude of sins. If there are any immediate administrative inadequacies in the amendment, they are certainly paralleled in many other day-to-day activities of the House. By and large, as Mr. Speaker frequently points out, we get by reasonably well.
Hon. Members' outside interests bring the House into disrepute. If, for instance, as is the case, an hon. Member has a directorship of a firm of public relations consultants with 38 major clients and he votes in a way that would favour one of them, although he does so with integrity, the best of intentions and good will to all men, it is difficult to persuade the public that he did not vote with that financial interest uppermost in his mind. It would clarify the position for the benefit of the population at large and improve the reputation of the House if it were made clear that that financial interest would be deducted from the hon. Member's salary.
§ Mr. Cryer
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Luton, West (Mr. Carlisle) for raising that. It enables me to make clear that hon. Members sponsored by trade unions do not receive direct financial privileges. The benefits go indirectly to their constituency party and there is a donation at an election. It is entirely different. It is subject to the Hastings agreement, which is openly published and can be examined.
It is only within the past five years that the House has had a Register of Members' Interests, and that has fallen into desuetude in part at least through the lack-lustre support of the right hon. Member for Down, South. I hope that the Register of Members' Interests will be more rigorously applied. It came into existence through outside pressure—from people reading the press and seeing on the television the financial arrangements between certain hon. Members and financial corporations. Many people regarded them as extremely undesirable. Before 553 there is a further scandal hovering round the corner, the House should pass the amendment to prevent it. The amendment meets the criticisms advanced by the Leader of the House and those from outside. People feel justifiably anxious about the way that hon. Members with financial interests vote. I urge the House to support the amendment.
The Leader of the House mentioned the link between salaries of hon. Members and Ministers and prestige. The hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Clark) dealt adequately with the question of Members' salaries. Our prestige is not linked to our salaries. Local authority and Government bureaucrats do not act on what we say because our salaries are at a certain level. An executive of a local authority who may be earning £14,000 a year will not take careful note of what an hon. Member says because of that hon. Member's salary. He knows that behind every hon. Member is a substantial body of the electorate. Our strength lies in that factor. An hon. Member can publicly appeal to his electors. This place is a focus of opinion and an hon. Member can see that matters are fully discussed.
I am surprised that any one could imagine that the prestige of Ministers is linked to their salaries. When a Minister resigns, although his salary may decrease, his prestige can increase, as the right hon. Member for Down, South implied. As my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) said, the notion of Ministers being in difficulty when they earn £20,000 a year it totally absurd. It will be laughed to scorn by those struggling along on £50 to £60 a week.
Two changes would give Ministers greater stature. The first is the erosion of patronage—and in that context I refer mainly to the Labour Party. The Conservative Party has an entirely different philosophy and believes in a hierarchical system with a leader handing down orders. Labour Members believe in a more democratic organisation, and we must implement that so that we depend on an elected system rather than on patronage.
Because of the aura of patronage in the House, the prestige of hon. Members sinks in direct proportion to the amount that they grovel to their Front Bench. 554 There are hopeful hon. Members on the Government Benches, and, as we hear them putting pliant and willing questions to their Front Bench, we know that they are seeking to catch the glad eye of patronage. That should be taken away and we should have a more democratic system. The Government, instead of looking inward, should look outward, even to their own party. That will diminish patronage and enhance the respect and dignity of Ministers.
We need more open government. The 100 or so hon. Members taken out of the majority party to form the Government should not look inwards across all those classified documents. They should look outwards across the nation at large. The Labour Party is engaged in a debate on that, and we believe that that is the way to enhance the leadership of Ministers in a Labour Government. We are a democratic party and believe in the application of a democratic system. One of the illusions from which the Government and the Leader of the House are suffering is that ministerial prestige is linked with money.
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Lloyd (Havant and Waterloo)
It has proved an interesting debate, and it has some curious qualities. There has been agreement, at least in part, across the Floor of the House, and I developed considerable compassion for the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer). Clearly the era of saints has not yet arrived. It will be a long time before the House will draw its membership from other than ordinary mortals—humble men, sinners in practically every respect. Hon. Members will come here expressing the usual ambitions and involving themselves in the usual affairs. The hon. Member for Keighley will not see his ideal state for a long time.
I disagree with him on a fundamental point, namely, that there is a basic incompatibility between democracy and hierarchy, whether it be the hierarchy of office or wealth. That is a fundamental misconception. In our brief perspective of human affairs we see that where there is democracy in which all forms of hierarchy, whether of rank or wealth, have been completely abolished there is invariably, and without exception, tyranny. I should not like to see that here or anywhere else, and the ideal is bogus. 555 It is always a privilege to follow the Father of the House, the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker), and I am sorry that some hon. Members who have just arrived were not here to hear his speech. I found certain aspects of his speech particularly interesting, and I wish to give my support to some of them. I wholly share his expression of the ideal that this place should always be open to the greatest diversity of origin. It is essential to the representative character of parliamentary democracy that we should not be confined either to full-time Members or to those who have landed acres, to those who give up their professions to come here or to anyone else. This House should draw its representation from the whole spectrum of humanity in this country to the extent that the electorate is prepared to choose and send them here.
I endorse an appeal that the hon. Gentleman made for better provision for our retired legislators. This provision could be greatly improved, and the whole House will be grateful to him for having drawn our attention to this matter.
I turn to the remarks of the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race). He made a serious mistake in his attempt to assess the character of this place and those who serve in it. He sought to draw a comparison between those whom he described as workers and those whom he described as Members of Parliament. He implied that in some way we were also workers, and therefore we had to have all the considerations applying to us sieved through the criteria that applied to workers. I challenge this fundamentally. Members of Parliament are not workers. They may work very hard, and a great many of them do, on both sides of the House, but they are not workers. Some may have been workers before they came here. Some of their experiences as workers are, without doubt, of immense value to the House, but once they arrive here they are legislators, and they have something that workers cannot have in the same degree, namely an immense responsibility for the affairs of State. If remuneration is connected at all to this matter, it is connected to responsibility.
I do not argue for one moment that many occupations outside this House do not involve great responsibility. Even 556 the humble worker can have immense responsibility. The director of landing aircraft, for example, the man sitting at the radar set, or the man who decides whether a fishing boat shall come into harbour during a storm—these are humble occupations but they are occupations in which responsibility for life is exercised. No one would dispute that. Nor would anyone attempt for one moment to say that because we are legislators we are in any sense more important ethically than workers. No one would suggest that we are anything other than equal in the sight of God. No one wishes to lose sight of that. But workers we are not, and legislators we are. We carry responsibility, and that responsibility demands a degree and width of experience, with specialised knowledge at times, which, in many cases, the average worker in this country is simply incapable of giving. It is a statistical and observable fact that the average worker is not in this House of Commons, and never will be, for that fundamental reason.
The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) always makes a most perceptive and interesting contribution to our debates. My reaction to what he says is too often the reaction of the curate to his egg—I agree with what he says in parts, but not altogether. One point that he raised must be analysed more carefully, and that is the matter of Members' expenses. He said that since 1964 there had been a substantial and appreciable alteration in the expenses which are carried by the State on behalf of individual Members. Of course there is not a Member of the House who would not concede that that is so. Certainly, when I first arrived here I thought it was astonishing that Members of Parliament, in the discharge of their duties, were expected to pay out hundreds of pounds in stamps for letters to constituents, and their own travelling expenses when they went to see factories or other activities. To a considerable extent that load has now been taken from us. There is a very real and important explanation for that.
Within the last four or five decades, as a result of our egalitarian and fiscal taxation, the opportunity for a significant percentage of Members arriving in this place with substantial private means as the basis on which they discharge their 557 legislative duties has largely changed. Whereas in the early part of this century, even up to the 1930s, perhaps 60 to 70 per cent. of hon. Members came from landed acres or had great wealth, today I should be surprised if that percentage was higher than 10. Therefore this is a necessary change which is wholly justifiable, and I do not believe that it should affect our consideration of the other more important matters.
The right hon. Member for Down, South went on to argue that we should not in any sense consider that there is an important relationship between the status of a Member and his remuneration. I do not think that any hon. Member seriously considering this point would argue otherwise. We all know that this place makes its own judgments about all of us, and usually they are pretty accurate. They are not related in any way to our outside incomes or earnings. That is as it should be, and we all realise it when we come here. No one would argue that because the Prime Minister is paid what she is, or because a Back Bencher is paid what he is, that reflects the difference in their status. No one would argue that, because it would be absurd.
I draw here from my experience as a member of the delegation to the Council of Europe. I was on that delegation towards the end of the 1960s and in the early 1970s. It was already becoming apparent that Members of the House of Commons found that they could not keep up the standards that were expected of the other legislators they were meeting in the European environment. This became a considerable embarrassment. We could not return hospitality, and when we travelled we went economy class. Other legislators and our senior civil servants travelled first-class. These are trivial things, but I do not believe that they enhance the standards of our legislature or support the dignity which it is essential for all Members of this House, irrespective of party, to carry with them when they discharge their representative roles.
I turn to a few points that were made by the Leader of the House. He made an interesting statement when he said that the House of Commons did not govern the country. Of course, this is pure Bagehot, and we know its origins, and 558 we know the great force of the logic behind it. But is the House of Commons really making this decision tonight? We have been told that this is a free vote. On Monday a week ago we were told that the equally important decision on the Select Committee structure of the House would be taken on a free vote. It was a free vote in theory only. I suspect that tonight as well there is a free vote in theory only.
I want the Leader of the House to tell us whether he really has, in all honesty, implemented the undertaking that he has given that every individual Member will be allowed to exercise his judgment, free of any pressure whatsoever. I want that answer because it is important that we should know, and that the country should know. What has been done in the last 24 hours about the " payroll vote "? Has it been whipped in this evening and told to support the motions on the Order Paper? If it has, I want to know. I want it said loud and clear, because we cannot go on pretending that there are certain situations in which we genuinely have a free vote and certain on which we do not and on which we accept the whole Whipping apparatus. This point must now be established very clearly.
I should like to turn to a matter which I hope will be of interest to hon. Members. It offers support for accepting the proposals before us. Some hon. Members have argued that a Member of Parliament is singularly fortunate and that we should consider carefully before we adopt the course that is suggested this evening. I thought that it would be interesting to make a brief comparison across a small spectrum of British industry. I did not choose the most successful sections, because had I done so I would have exposed myself to the argument that people who are serving highly successful institutions deserve exceptional rewards.
I chose two major national institutions which are in receipt of considerable public support—British Leyland and British Steel. It is general practice and it is law in the United Kingdom that the annual reports published by major public companies list the senior salaries with the breakdown and distribution of those salaries. However, salaries below £10,000 per year are not listed because they are no longer regarded as senior 559 incomes. That is true in the case of British Petroleum, Shell and every major company in the country.
§ Mr. Lloyd
It is so much more interesting if they were never so regarded. British Leyland received £200 million of public money in the form of subsidy. There are 518 employees who are paid more than Members of Parliament, 222 who are paid more than Under-Secretaries of State—including the Under-Secretary who is responsible for the motor industry—59 who are paid more than members of the Cabinet, including the Minister who is responsible for British Leyland, and 22 who are paid more than the Prime Minister. Is that to be regarded as a logical, sane and defensible state of affairs? It may be argued that it is, but that argument would demand a considerable burden of proof.
In British Steel, 1,309 employees of that vast loss-making organisation are paid more than Members of Parliament, 415 are paid more than Under-Secretaries of State, 149 are paid more than members of the Cabinet and 14 are paid more than the Prime Minister. I ask all hon. Members, in considering the proposals before us tonight whether that information suggests that the Government are right to advocate the decompression of incomes, as they have been advocating for a considerable time? If it is advocated anywhere, it must be advocated and applied here, because we set a national example. It is ludicrous that these figures should exist and that the facts that support them should be allowed to continue. We should not be inhibited from what we are doing: on the contrary, we should be encouraged.
We constantly preach to the country that increases in income should be associated with increases in output and productivity. Have the Government, in putting forward the proposals, suggested that the productivity of the House of Commons can be increased conspicuously? That suggestion has not been made because the productivity of the House of Commons is a highly political matter about which there are varied judgments. Some would like to put forward large masses of legislation, and others 560 would like to stop it irrespective of what the legislation is.
None the less, it could be argued within that context that the productivity of this place could be dramatically improved. It could be improved by the use of a number of devices which we have considered tentatively from time to time but which we are reluctant to consider in any depth. That is largely because there is not enough time—it is a vicious circle. We do not reorganise ourselves, and therefore there is not the time to discuss these matters. A brief beginning has been made with the setting up of Select Committees. Doubtless, in the view of some hon. Members, that is a contribution to the increased productivity in this place.
§ Mr. George Park (Coventry, North-East)
Does the hon. Gentleman concede that time limits on speeches might help?
§ Mr. Lloyd
Yes, time limits on speeches would be a help. However, I occupy the time of the House on comparatively few occasions.
There could be fewer Ten-Minute Bills and far fewer late nights which reduce the quality of legislation and do not improve the quality of those hon. Members who have to exercise judgment on the following day. However, much more important is that the time has now come when a smaller House of Commons should be considered. There are 635 Members, who represent 53 million people. We have representation in Europe as well, which is an additional burden on the taxpayer. The United States Congress represents about 230 million people and yet it manages to discharge with about 400 people the responsibilities which I am sure no one regards as inferior to those that are discharged by this august assembly.
It will be argued immediately " Who is to go? " Who will say to his constituents that the constituency will merge with the one next door? That is a practical and realistic argument, and I think that the time has come to start thinking in that direction.
§ Mr. Alan Clark
In his interesting speech my hon. Friend has already drawn attention to the ever-present and overhanging threat of the payroll vote. Unless the payroll is reduced concomitantly with 561 the reduction in the size of this House—all the signs are that it would not be—by reducing the number of hon. Members not on the payroll there will be a further reduction in the limited powers that we exercise to restrain or discipline the Government on occasions.
§ Mr. Lloyd
My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. The balance between the size of the Government and the size of the House is a critical factor. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) drew our attention to one way in which the size of Government has increased beyond all recognition at the same time as the power, influence and prestige of the country have diminished in the sphere to which he referred.
The hon. Member for Keighley believes firmly that we should be almost a monastic order in this place and that we should know Parliament only and nothing else. He suggests that we should bring to Parliament whatever experience life has offered us up to that point, but from then onwards we should be denied the opportunity of enlarging that experience by other contact.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The full-time Member implies that to me, at any rate.
The one thing that outside interests offer to a Member of Parliament is the opportunity to enlarge and widen his experience. If there is one asset which hon. Members bring to this place which is of unique value, it is the quality of their judgments. That is what the House of Commons is all about. I do not see that the quality of that judgment will be enhanced by a voluntary process of isolation, however that may be applied.
§ Mr. Lloyd
We come back to the real world versus the artificial world. As Adam Smith reminded us long ago, in the real world we must appeal to the strongest of motives as well as the highest 562 if we are to improve human affairs, whereas the hon. Gentleman wants us to appeal only to the highest motives. Human nature, not having changed very much since Adam Smith, still requires an appeal to both. The hon. Gentleman has forgotten that all incomes additional to an hon. Member's income attract taxation and that the rates are increased as a consequence. There is an automatic process of adjustment operating now, and that has always been so. I argue strongly that that should not be altered.
I regret that the Government have not shown the courage to bite the bullet. We have caused ourselves unnecessary embarrassment. The justification for what was proposed by Lord Boyle is complete. However, we and we alone should carry responsibility for our own affairs. I do not understand the logic of passing on that responsibility, especially on this issue, despite the embarrassment that it causes, to outside committees. To do so would only create all the complications and the obfuscation of argument that we have witnessed this evening.
I am in favour not of returning the issue to Lord Boyle but of the House accepting responsibility for its own finances, including the remuneration of hon. Members. We should stand up for what we believe to be right. We should justify that stance whenever necessary. If we knew that we had to face and apply that responsibility we would handle the issue with more skill, and possibly with such skill as Lord Boyle pointed out in his report is obviously displayed in other legislatures.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Ron Brown (Edinburgh, Leith)
Two weeks ago I said in this place that the Government's strategy and their policies would inevitably turn moderates into militants. I am no prophet, and I am not especially clever, yet that has happened. It has happened with a vengeance, but not in the way that I expected. It has provided us with an object lesson.
There is a strange unity of Left and Right. I expected to witness on the Labour Benches a different type of morality, but that is not so.
I am not saying that a rise is not justified. I agree that we must have the rate for the job, although some dispute that 563 Members of Parliament are workers. Unfortunately, so many hon. Members have two, three or even more jobs. How are they able to carry out their duties as Members of this place? That is something that we should think about.
We all know that moonlighting is a problem. If hon. Members engage in moonlighting, what do we expect from those outside? There are many who are low-paid. If we say that we are low-paid, obviously there are many others in a worse position, so possibly some of the bosses' ideas should be put into effect in this place. Let us have some of the capitalist medicine. Let us have PBR, watch-study and job evaluation. Those are all the " in " things in industry. I have only recently left industry, as only recently was I elected to this place.
Conservative Members argue as representatives of the capitalist system. Why not introduce capitalist practices in this place? I believe in full-time MPs. Who among us—this applies to both sides of the House—told his electorate that he was standing as a part-time Member of Parliament? I doubt whether any hon. Member said that. We know that if we want to be elected we do not always say exactly what we shall do when we come to this place. That is one of the unfortunate aspects of parliamentary life.
As a Socialist, I believe in the average wage being paid. I believe that the elements of overtime, unsocial hours and working away from home should be added to our salaries. That follows from what Brother Race, my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green, said earlier. I see no reason for MPs being treated differently. It may be that hon. Members think that they are different and particularly important, but no one should be in politics for the money or the perks.
I address myself especially to my hon. Friends when I say that we are here to do a job. Outside this place in the Labour movement there are many dedicated activists. They do not ask for money for the work that they do for the movement. Many of them give up their very lives for the movement. We should not demean the movement by advancing the arguments that we hear from Conservative Members. I am against elitism. 564 I should be happy to place the determination of salaries before the annual conference of the Labour Party. Some Labour Members may say that that is carrying democracy too far, but I consider that approach to be valid. If we are to ask for an arbitrator to decide who is right and who is wrong and the rate for the job, I believe that it should be the Labour Party conference.
Clearly, Members of Parliament have a role to play. It is ironic that there has been such strength of feeling on both sides of the House. Only a few months ago many of the low paid in the public sector were struggling against the 5 per cent. policy. They were existing on about £30 a week, their wages being supplemented by overtime. They were struggling, and they are still struggling. That is one of the reasons why the Labour Government lost the election. I hope that the Labour Party will wake up to that fact and that in the days to come, perhaps at the Labour Party conference and elsewhere, it will consider the position of the low paid.
A few days ago there was a meeting in the House of certain hon. Members and leaders of the engineering unions. I am a member of an engineering union. The leaders of the engineering unions are moderate men, but they believe that the Government's policy and the argument for a substantial increase of the pay of Members of Parliament will mean that there will be no stopping their members from pressing for increased wages. We know that the engineering unions are in dispute with their employers and that the engineers will be hard to stop. Many groups of workers will follow the engineers. If Members of Parliament set an example and substantially increase their own wages, we cannot blame the working class in general for following that lead.
I may be asked " What will you do if the rise comes through?" I shall accept the rise. I shall do so not because I particularly want it but for the use to which I shall be able to put the extra money. It would be rather foolish of me to reject it. I urge my colleagues to accept the rise and to use it generously. Give it to the Labour movement. Our movement needs it. It needs it because its struggle continues and because the increasing cost of living affects it. 565 Many electors think about what is going on in this place. They are concerned about Labour Members being paid off. We know that the Prime Minister bought off the Army and the police. They will be concerned that Labour Members are being bought off. I am concerned not with Conservative Members but with Labour Members and their credibility. It would be foolish to enter a common cause and to enter into capitalist agreements. We know that in the coming months the capitalist system will be shaken to its very foundations.
We should not fall for the arguments of Conservative Members. We must give a lead. Whatever happens about the increase I hope that colleagues on the Labour side will continue the fight inside the House and elsewhere for Socialist policies. We are surely thinking of a better deal not for ourselves but for the working classes—those who put us here to represent them.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Woolwich, West)
The hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown) should try to consider a House of Commons matter on a basis which brings in all hon. Members of the House, whichever party they represent. The idea that any Conservative Member would give any part of the increase to the Labour Party or to any Labour organisation goes too far. The reason why the Labour Party is short of money is probably that its policies have not proved popular. Those activists to whom the hon. Member referred probably deter potential members from joining the Labour Party.
§ Mr. Ron Brown
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was not suggesting in any way that Conservative Members contribute to the Labour Party. I was suggesting that my colleagues contribute. That is what is important.
§ Mr. Bottomley
It is true that many Conservative trade union members contribute to the Labour Party through the political levy. Perhaps we may have the benefit of the views of the hon. Member for Leith on that matter on a future occasion.
Before giving my views on what should be the level of remuneration for Members 566 of Parliament, I would like to take up a point made by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). The right hon. Gentleman talked about the normal procedure for raising the pay of Members of Parliament. I am not sure whether it was a slip of the tongue or whether he actually meant what he said. He referred to a written answer to a question I put down on 25 May which listed the dates and the amount of each Member of Parliament's increase in pay since 1911. The answer showed that nearly all the increases did not occur just before an election. There was no vote on those amounts just before an election. In no way can it be called a normal procedure. I could understand if the right hon. Gentleman was suggesting that it would be a proper procedure. In that case I would fully agree with him. As part of the " washing up ", or whatever one might profitably call the end of the Parliament, the question of the remuneration of Members, elected following the general election, should be raised. It is no argument to say that because we failed to discuss the matter at the end of the last Parliament this is not the time to deal with the question.
In anticipation of this debate, I made inquiries of a number of trade unions, which kindly sent me information about the level of pay of a number of leading trade union officials. I believe that trade union officials generally should be higher paid. It is as important to attract people of all kinds and talents to lead our trade unions as it is to attract them to other professions. Many of the replies were confidential, which I had suggested might be appropriate.
I can summarise my findings. In half the unions with which I was in correspondence one or more of the senior officials was paid at the rate of £12,000 a year or more. I discovered this figure in advance of the Boyle report, although it was clear that Boyle would make a recommendation of £12,500. It is important to remind the House that if the level of pay which obtained in 1964 was increased to take account of the rise in prices—earnings would have produced a higher level—the figure would have come to about £12,500. The Boyle report, which is the basis of this debate, has recommended £12,000, a reduction on the level thought to be appropriate 15 years ago. 567 I accept the argument that many people have independent means or can live like church mice and manage with no pay at all. They can survive on their BBC money for appearing on the " Today " programme or obtain other supplementary income as bright-eyed Members of Parliament who can be relied upon as " rent-a-quote " orators. I accept also that many people would happily survive on a living wage, like the brother to whom the hon. Member for Leith referred. The amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) referred to a living wage at the average level for male workers or skilled workers. I do not understand why the reference should be to male skilled workers if we want to know the average amount of hours worked by the average person at average earnings.
§ Mr. Race
That figure was chosen because the Department of Employment measures wages by sex, male and female workers, and between part-time and full-time workers. The reason why male full-time workers were chosen is that they have the highest pay between men and women. We are talking about full-time work. There has been talk about the need for Members of Parliament to spend long hours at their desks or in this Chamber. That comparison therefore seems appropriate. The figure for national average earnings, whether one appears on the " Today " programme or anywhere else, is always the figure for male full-time workers.
§ Mr. Bottomley
That does not necessarily make it right, does it? One could have a sex balance of 95 per cent. of male earnings and 5 per cent. of female earnings to reflect the general balance of the House. It has not been established that full-time Members necessarily do a better job as Members of Parliament in the House or in the constituencies than part-time Members. When the hon. Gentleman has had the opportunity of considering both ways of working, he will perhaps give us the benefit of his experience rather than his advice.
§ Mr. Bottomley
My view, like that of George Bernard Shaw, is that there is no way of comparing the value of a bookmaker and a bishop. One can only be 568 certain that a successful bookmaker would be earning more than a bishop.
I do not believe that the argument that associates money with status, either from my own Front Bench or from the Labour Benches, holds water. To try to use that as a logical argument seems a good way of entertaining the House but does not necessarily show any valid result. If the pay of hon. Members was put up to £12,000 this year, or in two years' time, I do not believe that those hon. Members and those candidates who failed to get elected would withdraw from the political competition. It would bring in others who are deterred from attempting to become Members of Parliament by the money they would earn if elected. This still leaves the problem for political parties in constituencies of selecting a candidate and still leaves the election open to the constituency voters.
If an increase in hon. Members' pay made a number of hon. Members say that they would not stand for election because they would be earning too much, it would be a surprising argument. I do not think that it has been put forward. The logical consequence has been to put forward an argument against the raising of the pay of Members of Parliament.
I am most concerned about those who are willing to accept the job insecurity of becoming a Member of Parliament but are unwilling to accept a severe drop in their standard of living. One can go to the logical extreme and say that because someone is earning £60,000 a year as chairman of the British National Oil Corporation—although I suppose he is disqualified by membership of the other House—that person would come to the House of Commons only if he could earn £60,000. The logical consequence of my argument is that pay should be put at the highest level at which any marginal potential candidate would be willing to put himself forward. But that extension of argument is clearly ridiculous. One wants to establish a level at which a skilled professional could transfer to the House of Commons if elected without suffering a severe drop in his standard of living. There would be an alteration to family life due to the hours in this House and the need to work in the constituency and travel round the country putting forward political views. 569 The level I would choose is that approximating to a general practitioner. I would not want to choose one particular analogue. But a level of £12,000 to £13,000 a year is a level that disqualifies relatively few people and does not leave the House of Commons open as a financial inducement to the sort of person who might be a research officer in a trade union or the activist who provides the door-knockers for the Labour Party in a number of constituencies.
If we put up our pay to £12,000, we will certainly get the support of one Labour candidate, Jimmy Reid, who, in an answer on " Any Questions ", said he thought that Members of Parliament should be worth £12,000 a year. He did not mean that that should be done in order to give them status, but that they should be worth a higher salary. If it is considered that an hon. Member is not worth £12,000 a year, I should like to know what small range of deficiencies he could have that would make him worth, say, £8,000 or £9,500 a year. I do not think that we can make such gradations. We need to pick a figure almost out of the sky, and I believe that the figure picked out in 1974 is the right one.
I hope that the House will vote for the Government's motions. It is right that the question of what is to happen during the next two years should be referred to the Boyle committee and I hope that the Government will put the committee's recommendations to the House for decision, although I do not think that the House should automatically accept them. We need to get Governments into the habit of putting Boyle committee recommendations, or their equivalent, to the House for decision. I believe that the House will always have sufficient wisdom to make the appropriate decision. We may not always get it right, but I believe that we have the interests of the House and the country at heart.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Miss Sheila Wright (Birmingham, Handsworth)
Hon. Members have probably, reasonably and understandably, become frustrated and irritated over the past few years with the effect of inflation and being caught by part implementation of various wage recommendations. 570 As the Leader of the House said, the House is in an exceptional position because it is the only body which decides its own remuneration, and is in an even more exceptional position because it is also the body which can, as a result of its deliberations, considerably affect the remuneration of large numbers of other individuals. In such a situation, Caesar's wife is not in it when it comes to the need to appear to be above suspicion.
The comments of the Leader of the House about the need to bolster the status of hon. Members by increasing salary levels have already been savaged enough by his hon. Friends, without mentioning the contributions of my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) and the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). They have dealt most adequately with that aspect.
I wish to go into a little more detail about the effect that our decision will have on the people of this country. As a new Member, I am told that once one is safely esconced here it is easy to get out of touch with the feelings of the electorate. Obviously I am not in a position to comment sensibly on the possibility or probability of that, but, in common with other hon. Members, I am kept reasonably in touch with the opinions of the electorate.
I regret to have to say that as a result of some of our recent debates, particularly the original debate on this subject on 21 June, the picture of the House that is held quite widely is that of part-timers who spend a good deal of time indulging in a level of debate sometimes considerably below that of a good sixth form and who are extremely concerned and vocal about the level of their own remuneration.
Question Time has certainly not proved to be the best possible public relations exercise, but hon. Members must not forget that it is not something made up and put out by the BBC. It is a record of how hon. Members have spoken and reacted, and there has been wide comment on the reactions of hon. Members in the original debate on the Boyle recommendations.
Most people outside the House consider that the job that we try to do is one of sufficient importance to justify full-time attention by those who have 571 been given the trust of a majority of their electorates. Most people also accept that there should be an income attached to that full-time job that enables hon. Members to have a reasonable standard of living, but not an income that gives us the equivalent of a top-flight professional or industrial standard of living.
Most people will agree that the situation where the necessary updating of a reasonable salary may be delayed because of political pressure and where it is, in any case, dependent on the votes of the people concerned is anomalous and should be put right.
Most people will agree with the provision of much better secretarial and research services for hon. Members, and I ought to make clear that neither I nor my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) is trying to make a case for additional secretarial allowances. Our emphasis is on the word " provision" and, in common with many other hon. Members, we would be happy if adequate secretarial and research assistance were provided without allowances.
I find that most people do not agree that hon. Members should be part-timers or that our salaries should be related to top levels in industry or the Civil Service. That is certainly one of the least liked suggestions. I speak with some diffidence as a new Member, though my circle of acquaintances seems to be a little wider than that of the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann). I cannot help feeling that Pym, who was quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, would be dismayed at being quoted in support of salary increases to hon. Members.
I suggest that hon. Members need to be very careful about what they do to-night, in order to make sure that we do not give the impression to the country that we are falling over ourselves to climb aboard the gravy train.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ Mr. Julian Critchley (Aldershot)
When I was first elected to the House in 1959, as a member of the thrusting and aspiring middle classes, it was true of the Conservative Party as a whole that we went into politics as an extension of our social obligation. Quite clearly there was money in land, money in property or father had money. That was the basis 572 on which Conservative Members entered politics.
What has happened since 1959 to the Conservative Party is quite apparent. I am now told that newly elected Members can be distinguished as Labour or Conservative only by the fact that if they are Labour they have beards, and if they are Conservative they wear rotary badges in their lapels. I am making the general point that the Conservative Party and Conservative Members of Parliament are no longer in politics as an extension of their social obligation. We want money, a salary, like everybody else.
In 1960, as a very new member of the Conservative Party, I went upstairs at 6 o'clock on a Thursday evening to the 1922 Committee when somebody—not me, as I did not have the courage—raised the question of Members' salaries. Believe it or not, the person called upon to reply for the Conservative Government was none other than " Rab " Butler himself, whose message to the assembled Conservatives was "We do not want professional politicians ". What was " Rab " Butler if he was not a professional politician? As far as I know, he was a most admirable and successful politician, but I do not think that he was a politician who ever earned a penny outside politics. However, because of inherited money he was able to have a political career of great distinction and success. I shall never forget in 1960 being rebuked by " Rab " Butler on the ground that we do not wish, in the Conservative Party, to become a party of professional politicians.
My own view about Members' salaries can be very simply put. The Cabinet has made a monumental mess-up, if I may put it that way, over the whole business of Members' salaries. I hope that that is not an indication of what is likely to happen in future, because the Cabinet has got it wrong from beginning to end, and at the end of the day, if we are to have an increase next year which is index linked, not only will the Government get the worst of all possible worlds, but so shall we.
It is extraordinary that the Cabinet should have made so elementary a mistake at the start of what I trust are to be five years of successful Conservative government. We have always suffered 573 from the prejudices of our Prime Ministers. In 1970 my right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath), when he was faced with a similar problem, made a gesture, which was that hon. Members should do without £500 of their salary. I am all for gestures, I am all for magnificent gestures, but I like to make my own gestures in my own time. For somebody else to dismiss £500 of my salary as a gesture against inflation is impertinence, and it should have been described as impertinence at the time. What was impertinence in 1970 has been followed in 1979 by incompetence.
My view of Members' salaries is this. I think that the Germans have got the matter right. They began their system from scratch in 1945, and decided to pay their Members a salary that I believe is now the equivalent of £19,000 or £20,000 a year, but no German Member of Parliament is allowed to earn or be in receipt of a single pfennig outside his parliamentary income. Therefore, for £19,000 or £20,000 a year the German Member of Parliament devotes himself full time to the purpose for which he was elected.
What do we do? We have a moderate salary—equivalent to that of a Ford car worker with overtime before the last increase—and that is the basis upon which we all scratch around for some additional income, whether it be through journalism, consultancy or a directorship of whatever company, if one is particularly lucky.
The result is that we do no job as well as we could. We are energetic—by God, we are always 10 minutes late for every appointment that we have on the hour every day for six days a week—but what do we achieve? We are not industrious; we are just energtic. We are energetic because we have a low basic salary and we have to supplement that by writing unreadable articles for newspapers, if they exist, by being consultants to various adverising agencies, directors of companies, or representing the police, or whatever.
The answer is that our great electorate does not get the service from its Members that it should do because we are far too busy making ends meet. The Government have not the courage, and we have not the courage, to state clearly that what we need as Members of Parliament 574 is to be paid a decent and proper salary at an international level and not be expected to earn a single penny over and above that, and then to devote our time to the job to which we were elected.
§ 8.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael English (Nottingham, West)
The Leader of the House was less than kind to one of his Conservative colleagues who is now in another place. He said that no Government of any party had ever done the right thing by Members of Parliament. He has forgotten the noble Lord Home of the Hirsel.
§ Mr. English
In that case the right hon. Gentleman must recognise that Lord Home agreed with the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) before the 1964 election—
§ Mr. English
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to finish. The right hon. Member for Huyton implemented the Geoffrey Lawrence report. The interesting thing to note is that that happened in a period when the Gevernment had only a narrow majority. How-over, it did not lose my right hon. Friend a single vote. My right hon. Friend then departed from the path of virtue and did not fully implement later reports, including Boyle. It seems to be the case that when Governments have a large majority they are frightened of the electorate, but that when they have a small majority they are prepared to pay Members of Parliament the right amount. The reason appears to be that Governments with large majorities believe that they can get away with it with their Back Benchers, whereas when they have small majorities they know that they have to pay Members of Parliament a proper salary.
I asked the right hon. Gentleman in an intervention about the prospective salary of the office of Prime Minister and the office of Lord Chancellor. The right hon. Gentleman explained that it was only the present incumbents of those offices who did not intend to take their salaries.
I went to the Vote Office and obtained the draft statutory instrument which we are asked to approve in the last motion 575 that is before the House. I quote from article 1(4):The revocation of the Order of 1978 does not affect the amount, as substituted by the Order, of—(a) the salary of the Lord Chancellor "—and it continues in (b)—the salary of the Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury ".I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his earlier answer was correct.
§ Mr. English
I have part of an answer, and no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will give me the fuller answer later. The present order seems to reduce the salary of the offices. Every Member of this House is entitled—and many so decide—not to take the salary due to him. Indeed, two members of the previous Cabinet did not take salaries. However, there is a vast difference between that and reducing the salary of an office. That only complicates the life of one's successors.
I am sorry that I cannot follow the excellent speech of the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley). I belong to a school of thought that disapproves of both beards and Rotary badges. Perhaps we could discuss that matter on another occasion. However, I approve of reality and I do not understand why the Leader of the House intends to refer to Boyle the question of updating so that Boyle can make his recommendations. I have tabled an amendment which Mr. Speaker has kindly selected but which will not be voted upon because it is selected only for discussion. That amendment makes clear that in the appropriate chapter of the present Boyle report there are recommendations relating to the method of updating. One may disagree with that. It is possible for anybody to disagree. It would have been possible for the Government to say that they did not agree with that method of updating and that therefore the House should decide for itself.
The Leader of the House did not say that. He said that he was referring that question to the Boyle Review Body so that it could give its recommendations. The Review Body has already done that. What is the point of asking that body to do that when it has already made recommendations 576 and said that we should be linked to the appropriate percentile of the New Earnings Survey? I cannot think of a more tongue-twisting phrase. Why do not the Government directly say that they approve, or that they do not, instead of going back to the same institution to give recommendations which it has already given? That is foolish.
There is another foolishness. It is possible that the rate of inflation will cause the second tranche of our salary, updated, to exceed the third tranche, un-updated. One has only to look at the recommended levels to realise that if one puts 20 per cent. on the second tranche the sum involved will be more than the third tranche, although by a small amount.
In 1981, theoretically, we may receive £12,000 a year at that day's values. That could be the equivalent of £8,000 or £9,000 at today's values. The last Boyle report was not implemented by my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton and his colleagues simply because of the possibility of an incomes policy. There was no such policy at the time. If we had been treated the same as the rest of the country, we would have been allowed an increase before phase 1 of the incomes policy came into effect. We were not allowed that increase perhaps because we were a means of persuading people to accept the policy. What a strange, stupid, carping way successive Governments handle these matters.
I make a few suggestions to the Leader of the House. In the United States Congress a simple and straightforward practice has been adopted. No civil servant may be paid more than a Member of Congress. The object is simple. It expresses that Congress is the legislature. The two Houses, plus the President, are the legislature. The President is an elected person and the Cabinet is appointed. It is accepted that they should be paid more. It is accepted that justices of the Supreme Court should be paid more. It is accepted that those people whom we would call junior Ministers, called in the United States assistant secretaries and appointed by the President, should be paid more. There is a clear differentiation between the politicians who are supposed to be ruling the United States, and who probably are, and their subordinates. 577 Until about 1830, in this country there was a simple and straightforward system. Those with the largest incomes sat in the House of Lords. The people with the second tranche of incomes elected representatives to sit in the House of Commons. That was not necessarily the best way, in one respect. It did not allow for the participation of the majority of the community. However, it ensured that those who sat in the House of Commons were remunerated adequately. Such a situation would not be inappropriate today. We cannot say that we are more successful in our system of government than were those who were involved in the nineteenth century. We cannot say that we have a more successful system than the United States.
It is just possible—I put it no higher—that, whatever my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Miss Wright) said about the level of salary, reducing the salaries of Members of Parliament may not be conducive to the efficient running of the country. It is just possible that the country, like the individual, gets what it pays for.
§ 8.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Shaw (Scarborough)
I take up a point made by the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English). What he was saying in the early part of his speech was that it was a thousand pities that we had not agreed new salary scales before the general election. I think that nearly all hon. Members agree about that, but arising out of that comes the point that has been made once or twice in this debate, namely, that people who fought the last election could not rely on having increases in salary. There was an understanding. Whether it was official or unofficial, it was generally accepted.
§ Mr. English
The correct analogy is that Lord Home, when he was in this House, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) did not agree upon a salary before an election. They agreed to implement the Geoffrey Lawrence report, whatever it contained, and it was implemented.
§ Mr. Shaw
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but very definite rumours were floating around, and there was a general 578 understanding. I think that we can agree on that. The climate of opinion was that something would be done about this matter. I agreed with that climate of opinion.
I hesitate to take the House back to when I first became a Member, which was a long while ago. At that time one was proud to come here just for the sake of being a Member, but one had to admit that one had other means which assisted one to come here and in looking after one's family and the education of one's children, and so on. As circumstances have changed over the years, one has asked oneself whether the conditions originally in one's mind in relation to coming have continued to apply.
I think that the changes have been fundamental. Increasingly, more work has been put upon those in this House who are prepared to accept it, and this has made it more and more difficult for them to accept meaningful employment outside this place—unless it be in certain specialised fields, which is not always advantageous to membership of the House.
§ Mr. Shaw
Exactly—not all, but some. There is this danger.
I have seen the enlargement of the number of committees and the work generally. I am not pleading for my own case because I am more fortunate, perhaps, than some others. However, I have given up my practice because of commitments to the House. I have agreed to go to the Continent of Europe on a voluntary basis, and, frankly, because of trying to take part in running Europe and this place, I have found it impossible to do any outside work. Therefore, I have had to rely on what I have earned here. If one commits oneself to work in this House, more and more one must look to the House itself for one's main source of income. Therefore, it is right that our salaries should be reviewed in a realistic manner.
I have been rather upset by listening to people who have talked about our allowances, and the fact that we get them, as though we get the money shoved at us. Perhaps some regard it in that way, but I do not. I am prepared to justify my expenses allowances before any court. They are spent on secretarial work, on 579 living in London, on moving between my constituency and this place, and on various other things. Just as in any other form of business, this money is spent.
I put the question here and now to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. If allowances are granted to Members of this House, are they not subject to scrutiny by the Inland Revenue—in the same way as any other allowances given to any other people in any other walk of life—so that it can be decided whether they have been properly spent? In my own case, they have always been justified, and I have every reason to believe that that is the case with every other Member of Parliament. I do not want anyone to get the idea that we are living on a series of slush funds—I sometimes feel that this is Socialist philosophy—because I do not believe that to be true, and I should like to have that confirmed—if not now, on some future occasion.
We are working more and more closely—rightly, I believe—with Members of the Parliaments of other Community countries. We are doing ourselves and the country a disservice if we appear all the time as the poor men of Europe. Time and time again I have had constituents saying to me " This is nonsense. Why are you making such a fuss about Members' pay? Frankly, the country deserves the type of Member that it is prepared to pay for." I am bound to say that I agree with that.
We do not want superlative salaries, but for heaven's sake let us have a reasonable standard of salary so that we can do our work properly. It may he that some of us are better positioned than others, but all Members of Parliament, no matter where they sit, are entitled to be able to do their job properly and to live at a reasonable standard which does not demean either themselves or the country as a whole.
Perhaps I should not say this, but I remember that when I first came into this House I saw a Member entertaining in the House some people from abroad and having to be given the money by the visitors to pay the Bill at the end of the meal. That sort of thing is disgraceful and a discredit to this House and to the country. Any danger of that sort of thing happening ought to be removed for ever more. This is one of the finest 580 Chambers, if not the finest, in the world. We work here far harder than Members of Parliament do elsewhere, and it should be reflected in a proper salary scale for all of us.
I support the general concept of what is proposed. I regret, however, that we should be seeking to tie ourselves to other professions or to particular grades of the Civil Service. I believe that, unpleasant though it may be, we should be prepared to have the salary scale reviewed periodically by Boyle and to have conclusions produced by Boyle for our consideration in this House. We have, after all, some say in many areas of pay negotiations, and it would be wrong for our salaries, however indirectly, to be tied to the salary scales of people outside this House. The Boyle committee should review our salary scales periodically and recommend changes to the House. We should have the guts to accept periodic recommendations. That is the way forward.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Haynes (Ashfield)
I listened carefully on 21 June when the Leader of the House made a statement on the salaries of Members of Parliament. I felt for him. I was embarrassed for him at the way in which Government supporters reacted to his statement.
Until three months ago, I worked in a pit in the bowels of the earth. Much has been said over the years about the House of Commons, especially by those who work outside Parliament. I gave a guarantee to my constituents in Ashfield that I would serve them all the time in the House. Anyone visiting the House at any time will probably see me listening to the debates. If I wish to make a contribution I indicate that to Mr Speaker in the hope that I shall be called.
Our constituents laugh like hell at some of the things that go on here. I am being sincere. Members of the public sincerely believe that this is the reason why television cameras are not allowed in the House. On many occasions I have been here when there were only half a dozen Members present for a debate. That worries me sick. The people outside the House depend upon us to do a good job on their behalf.
Reference was made in the debate to part-time workers and part-time Members of Parliament. Last weekend, when 581 visiting my constituency, I went through an embarrassing period. My constituents wanted to talk about Members' salaries. I had to prove to them that what was offered in the Boyle report was justified. However, I cannot even justify it to myself.
I believe that the House is going too far. I am speaking for myself, as there is no party Whip on this matter. It is a free vote by the Opposition. I am speaking for my inner self. This is how my constituents and I feel about the matter.
I heard what was said by Ministers in the Budget debate. Tonight I heard the news. The Transport and General Workers' Union discussed the question of earnings. Recently I heard what the National Union of Mineworkers intended to do when the time came for action. I heard the Prime Minister say time and again at Question Time that the Government expected the trade unions to behave sensibly and reasonably on the question of pay increases. We are encouraging the trade unions to think that the sky is the limit, yet we are supposed to be putting the country on an even keel so that we may be fair to everybody.
Yes, the Budget was fair to some people. There are people in my constituency who pay no tax at all. They paid no tax before the Budget. Now they are landed with increases in VAT because of the Government's policies. Here we are today talking about massive increases, and when these increases are compared with the earnings of some of those whom I and other hon. Members represent they are seen as massive. I do not like what I see and what I hear. This is doing us no good at all.
If we expect people outside to be fair to the nation with regard to earnings, we are certainly not giving them the lead that I should like us to give. I do not deny for one moment that we need an increase. We need an increase, but I think we must be fair about it.
We do not have to convince ourselves or our colleagues in the House that we need an increase. We have to convince the people outside the House that we should have the increase that has been suggested. However, the Conservatives wanted to go further than that and have 582 it all at once. That is why the Conservative Back Benchers erupted—the stockbroker belt, as I would call it. [Interruption.] If I am out of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you will obviously have to say so, but you have not said anything yet. I am a fair man.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
The hon. Gentleman is making a most eloquent speech; I am listening to him very carefully. He says that he is a fair man. As I was one of those at the receiving end of the eruptions, I can assure him that they were fairly widespread throughout the Chamber. The strongest support I received was from the Ulster Unionists and I shall never forget it.
§ Mr. Haynes
I sat below the Gangway on that day, and I can assure you that there was an eruption on your side, on the Back Benches.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawshaw)
Order. The hon. Gentleman must not use the word " you ". I have not yet entered into this debate. The term is " hon. Gentleman opposite "
§ Mr. Haynes
I am sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As a new Member I must admit that I am still learning. There are many rules here that I have to obey. Up to now I have not broken many—just one. It will not happen again, I can assure you of that.
§ Mr. Alan Clark In deference to the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) and his subscription to whole-time application to the job, I would say that he has not been in the Chamber throughout the whole debate. If he had he would have heard that the majority of speeches from the Government side have been critical of the arrangements that we shall vote on tonight.
§ Mr. Haynes
If the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that I have been here for only a couple of minutes, he is wrong. I have been here for quite a long time listening to the debate. Other hon. Members present in the House now can prove that. I sat here waiting for the opportunity to make a contribution.
Some hon. Members do not want to hear my contribution, but I am afraid it must be heard. It must be said, because it is the way I feel about what we are 583 debating. We must be sensible and fair to the people of this nation, particularly the workers who create the wealth. The workers are told they must increase their productivity if they are to increase their earnings. Does that apply to the House of Commons also? I hope it does. I hope, too, that we can increase our productivity in the interests of the nation.
I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to make my contribution.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch and Lymington)
If I may say so, that was a good, populist speech by the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes). I think that all of us in this House do our best to serve our constituents. I just managed to scrape in by collecting 66 per cent. of the votes in my constituency, and I have not had too many complaints from my constituents that I do not do my best to serve them. I grant that they do not all agree with everything that I say, but I do not have too many complaints about my lack of diligence in doing my best to look after their interests.
One of the problems that face us in this House is how to continue to maintain the exceptionally high standard of Members of Parliament to which the nation is entitled. The simple fact is that if we underpay people and make their lives here intolerable, expecting them to devote more and more time in this place while paying them ever less and less in real terms, all that we shall have in the end will be either those who are so rich that they can afford to come here regardless of pay, or those of so little ability that they do not mind what they do to their families in order to get here, because they will not be any worse off. That is not a particularly attractive proposition for the people of this country.
My hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough (Mr. Shaw) and others have referred to the timing of Boyle. So far as I am aware, Lord Boyle's committee was given a job of work to do and was not told that whatever happened it had to produce its report before a general election. I somehow find it hard to imagine my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister standing up after the recent vote of confidence and saying " Mr. Speaker, we have had a vote of confidence in the 584 Government, the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) has been defeated, but I do not think that we ought to have a general election until Boyle has reported ". That is an unthinkable situation, but it has to be said in the light of those who have criticised the timing of this debate.
My hon. Friend also mentioned secretarial allowances. I have had earnest conversations with the Fees Office to try to equate my overspending last year, when I had to equip myself with a new typewriter, with the need to try to pay my full-time secretary something approaching the salary that she could expect to obtain in central London. The fact is that I reached the end of the last secretarial year with a fairly substantial gap and had to fund my secretary out of my own pocket. I am afraid that that is not a situation that I regard as entirely satisfactory.
I immediately declare an interest, in that I have an outside job. Far from being ashamed of that, I am very pleased. There are two types of hon. Members. There are the political eunuchs, who either cannot hold down a job outside or who dedicate themselves 100 per cent. to politics. Frankly, they are the rather more boring Members of this House. Alternatively, there are those, of all types, shapes, sizes and sex, who have current experience of what is going on in the world outside, who occasionally are able to proffer their opinions to this House in the light of current experience—be they trade unionists, doctors or business men—and who, contrary to the debates in the House, offer practical words of common sense based on reality and a knowledge of what is going on in the world today.
I should very much regret the arrival of a situation where everyone in the House eats, sleeps and dreams politics morning, noon and night. One of the reasons why the debates along the corridor in another place are often as good as, if not better than, ours, is that there are people there who have current experience of many other areas of activity. I refuse to accept that it is somehow a crime, or even something of which one has to be ashamed, to have some active, current knowledge through having a job outside of this House. 585 The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) spoke, as he always does, with sincerity and with an ability to shed a different light upon our debates. He said that it was an odd and different job and that we should therefore treat ourselves differently from others. Over the past few years a change has taken place in the characteristic of the job. Our constituents now want to be able to identify with their Member of Parliament. They no longer want to look on him as something different—as someone who should be seen occasionally, put on a pedestal, metaphorically or otherwise, patted on the head, admired and gloated over. People expect that their Member of Parliament shall live in or near the constituency. That was unthinkable in the days to which the right hon. Member for Down, South alluded. We may regret that our role and our relationship with our constituents have changed, but we must come to terms with that. It is better that we pay ourselves a sensible salary than end up expecting to be paid time-and-a-half for attending civic services on Sunday mornings.
About two years ago, together with other hon. Members, I received a missive from Mr. Clive Jenkins, in which he suggested that ASTMS should represent Members of Parliament. He suggested that we were grossly underpaid and that our working conditions were at least indifferent. My response was constructive. I agreed with him and asked to join that union in order to encourage it to represent me in negotiating my pay and conditions. As I was a Conservative Member, and, as Mr. Clive Jenkins rules ASTMS according to the rule of Mr. Clive Jenkins, I was not acceptable. Many trade unionists regard us as something less than alive to the reality of life in working in the way that we do for the remuneration that we receive.
In passing, I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann). I hope that he will not mind my saying that everyone in the House knows that the very least of the reasons why he has been so assiduous in making representations on behalf of Back Benchers is that he is putting self-interest first. We know that to be true and have paid greater heed to his words than 586 if he were merely the chairman of the 1922 Committee. With Mr. Cledwyn Hughes, a former member of the PLP, he has spent a great deal of time trying to persuade the previous and the present Government of the need to solve the problem of hon. Members' pay.
I share the view of the Leader of the House that the dissatisfaction with the present arrangement is widespread throughout the House. No section feels more strongly than any other. The Government have handled it in a less than brilliant manner, and the consultation process has been non-existent. If my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has been left to carry the can, he has done so successfully. He has been left with an unhappy job to undertake on behalf of his Cabinet colleagues. I understand, however, that they have now taken on board the mood of Back Benchers in all parts of the House.
During the general election campaign I did not tell my constituents that in future we had to ensure that people were not paid what they are worth and that they must be paid the wrong rate for the job. As a member of the Conservative Party I campaigned on the basis that if a man is worth a good salary he should receive it. I also did not campaign on the basis that it is the job of Parliament and the Government consistently to interfere with those who have been given a job of work to do. This House gave Lord Boyle a job of work to do. Parliament passed the recommendation that Lord Boyle's committee be established to come forward with proposals for remuneration for hon. Members. As a Conservative I accepted that. It did not make sense for me to say to the Government that Boyle had done what Parliament had asked him to do but the Government should override that and interfere with it.
I am prepared reluctantly to go along with the Government this evening because they have responded to the will of the House. But, personally, I think that, having established the Boyle committee, we should have accepted its recommendations and got on with them. That would have been the sensible and courageous thing to do. One of the great problems in this country today is that people who have energy, initiative and ability are underpaid. I am not ashamed to stand up and say that. If we want a 587 good House of Commons, with Members of Parliament who are able to carry out their jobs properly and hold down significant jobs outside, we must be prepared to pay ourselves properly. On that basis, we should have accepted Boyle.
§ 9.16 p.m.
§ Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)
First, I should correct something that the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) said. He seemed to believe that the Boyle committee produced its reports to this House, and was invited by the House to do so. That is not the case. The Boyle committee was invited by the Government to produce a report for the Government. The Government then bring the suggestions in that report to the House and it is up to the House to decide what to do with them. The Boyle committee does not report to us and has never been invited to do so.
On a previous occasion when we debated this subject I said that I must have a higher embarrassment threshold than many other hon. Members because I did not feel particularly embarrassed about the decision falling on us to decide our own salaries. However, I feel some embarrassment today because we are taking the whole of a normal day of the House's time to discuss this subject. It might be better if we found some way of discussing it upstairs, in public of course. It is certain, however, that we cannot escape the decision, and on that point I strongly agree with the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) and others who say that there is no way of passing the buck to Boyle or any other institution so that in the end we do not need to take the responsibility for what we decide. But I still think that there is something rather wrong about our taking a whole day to discuss this matter on the Floor of the House.
I rise to rebut the principal part of the case stated by the right hon. Member for Down, South, both in his speech today and in the article that he wrote the other day in The Guardian. I refer to that part of his case in which he says that it is right for the House to decide at any given time what the proper salary for a Member of Parliament should be but then only to implement that salary after the next election. He claims that since 588 we did not do that in the last Parliament we are not entitled to make the increases that are proposed tonight.
It so happens that what the right hon. Member says we should do is exactly what we did in the previous Parliament for the first time ever. In July 1975 when we discussed this subject the then Labour Government brought a motion to the House to test the opinion of Members whether the salary of a Member should be linked in future to something or other. An amendment was moved, providing that not only should there be a linkage but that the linkage should be to a specified grade in the Civil Service. We supplied the grade in the amendment, which was then carried by a majority of one. Then the amended motion was passed by a majority of 90 to 100.
The motion that was passed on 22 July 1975 stated:in the opinion of this House it is desirable in principle that the salaries of Members should be regulated to correspond with a point on the scale paid to an Assistant Secretary in the public service, not later than three months after the next General Election ".—[Official Report, 22 July 1975; Vol. 896, c. 511.]It continued to state what should happen between July 1975 and the following general election, but that is irrelevant to my present purpose.
Therefore, public and definite indication was given of what the last Parliament thought was the proper salary for an hon. Member. At that time, we said that it was our intention to implement that within three months of the following general election. Here we are within three months of that general election and no one can be in any doubt that that was what was in Parliament's mind. In so far as any specific decision was taken on the matter, that was the decision.
The proposals that are brought forward tonight are not precisely in the form that was suggested at that time. They do not suggest linkage to the salary of an assistant secretary. If they did, I estimate that they would be a minimum of 40 per cent. or 50 per cent. higher than the present proposals. Therefore, we are well within the indications that were given in the last Parliament as to what should take place in this Parliament.
I suggest to the right hon. Member for Down, South that, on that basis, we are behaving with absolute rectitude. The 589 public cannot complain that due notice was not given, and, therefore, that part of his argument falls to the ground.
§ 9.22 p.m.
§ Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)
I regret that the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) has left the Chamber. He made a provocative speech as if, having been in the House for eight weeks only, he was an expert on the matter. He says that he sits in the House and makes a speech. Nobody can deny that—he makes the same speech every time. He considers that as long as he sits in the Chamber and catches your eye, Mr. Speaker, he is properly representing his constituency. He is a new boy, and let us give him credit—he is doing the best that he can.
The hon. Gentleman criticises other hon. Members because they have not been in the Chamber all day. It might be of interest to him to know that I have been in the House since 10 o'clock this morning. Until 1 p.m. I was at a conference with shipowners, learning about the problems of shipping that affect my constituents. I came into the Chamber for Question Time, and I subsequently attended two Committees to which I have had the honour to be elected. The job of a Member of Parliament is not just to sit in the Chamber in the hope of catching Mr. Speaker's eye. Perhaps I would be accused of lèse—majesté if I asked the hon. Member for Ashfield to give me lessons in how to catch Mr. Speaker's eye more often.
There are three classes of hon. Members. There are those who could not earn as much in outside life as they earn in this place; there are those who can earn a lot more than they get here, and there is a third class, those who come here because they believe that they can make a reasonable living and, at the same time, answer a calling. My hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Clark) said that it was a great honour to be in this place, and of course it is. However, is it correct that the wives of Members of Parliament should be asked to make sacrifices so that their husbands can be in this place? It cannot be denied that to be a Member of Parliament's wife is a pretty rotten job. One has only to look at the high divorce rate for Members 590 of Parliament. Divorce has almost become an occuptional disease, and that is because Members of Parliament have to make many sacrifices in carrying out their duties.
How is a Member of Parliament's salary to be assessed? A Member of Parliament represents an electorate ranging between 70,000 and 100,000. If every constituent—and constituents expect us to be at their beck and call—gave his Member of Parliament a postage stamp, we would be better off. If we were Buddhist monks and they came along with a bottle of milk and said " Here you are. Here is your food for a year ", we would be better off. How are our salaries to be assessed?
It has been said that there are many outside the House who would be only too pleased to take on the job. That is right However, are they the right people? A number of my constituents have told me that they would like to be Members of Parliament. Some of them would be jolly good Members. However, when I explain to them what would be expected of them, what they would sacrifice and what it would mean for their families, they say " That is not for me. I should love to do it but that would not be possible."
One of my constituents would make an excellent Member of Parliament. When he knew that there would be a high rate of pay for European Parliament Members, he said " That is my job. May I have that job? I could afford to live in those conditions."
I heard someone say " If we pay peanuts, we shall get monkeys." Some of them probably think that we are monkeys. I have received only two letters complaining about the proprosed increase. One was written by a constituent who writes at least once a fortnight. His writing is so well known that when my hard-working secretary sees an envelope bearing his writing she says " My God, he is writing again." He wrote to tell me that we have not earned an increase and that we do not deserve one. If I do not reply to one of his letters for a fortnight, lo and behold I am told that I am neglecting my duty.
I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton is in the Chamber. He said that we receive tax free allowances. Would any solicitor or 591 business man expect his office expenses to be added to his salary and to be taxable? Would any solicitor, for example, expect his secretary's salary to be added to his for tax purposes? Of course he would not.
I had the honour to become a Member of this place nearly 20 years ago. In fact, I was adopted 21 years ago tomorrow. When I was elected, I held 14 directorships. I hold none now. My successor in what was my principal directorship is now receiving five times that which I received on retirement. When I think of what I have received as a Member of Parliament, it is clear that it is not a job to take for the money.
We must get the matter in perspective. We should have a salary—not for ourselves but for our successors—that will enable hon. Members to do their job efficiently and properly without asking their families to make heavy sacrifices.
§ 9.29 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
I apologise, first, to some hon. Members whom I did not hear earlier in the debate. However, I have listened to most of the debate over the past few hours.
I was interested to hear the Leader of the House say that when he made his announcement on these matters a few days ago he had the support only of the Ulster Unionists. So skilfully has he conducted the Government's affairs that he has lost even their support. I hope that the Government will continue along these lines.
The right hon. Gentleman, at the start of his speech, naturally quoted Walter Bagehot. I was reading Walter Bagehot over the weekend. He gave some indication of his views on these matters. It is reported in one of the volumes edited by the right hon. Gentleman that Walter Bagehot never tired of telling the tale of how the burgesses of Langport petitioned Edward I to relieve them of the privilege of parliamentary representation in order to save the cost of paying their Members. I dare say that this is a widspread feeling in other quarters. It should not be thought that we are discussing a novel question.
We have to seek to follow two principles. This is not always easy. The first is that Members of Parliament should be 592 decently paid. I do not believe that they will be indecently paid if we accept the Boyle proposals. They are reasonable proposals. There have been many ways over the years in which Members of Parliament have been disgracefully treated or Members of Parliament have disgracefully treated themselves. Some of these matters are not properly understood in the country.
The most appalling aspect, over many years, was the position of parliamentary pensions. No one looking at the facts could deny that many past Members of this House, or their wives or widows, have been shamefully treated. I am glad that the Bill passed in the last Parliament, with virtually the unanimous support of the House, goes far—I do not say that it solves every problem—in helping to solve that aspect of the problem, which was the most offensive of all.
I agree with many hon. Members that we have treated our secretaries disgracefully over many years. They have nothing that approaches a proper deal. Again, in the last Parliament, principally due to the report produced by my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) and accepted by the previous Government and by the House, we made a considerable advance in improving the situation of the secretaries, although I agree with the intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) that the whole problem has not been solved. I hope that we shall be able to take action on secretaries' pensions in addition to the advance made in other spheres.
Along with treating Members of Parliament fairly and decently, which I believe these proposals do, the other principle is to make sure that we do not give preferential treatment to Members of Parliament. Although not always receiving popular acclaim for my proposals, I believed that the pay policies of one kind or another that operated in the years from 1975 to 1978, when I was responsible for these matters, had to apply to Members of Parliament, just as Members of Parliament were seeking to apply them to other people.
It would not have been proper to depart from that principle. We are now in a slightly different situation. The Government, having abandoned any control 593 over these matters in the whole range of policy, have not the same right to say to Members of Parliament that they should accept the restraints that are not being imposed on other sections. It is a different situation. I should like especially to underline the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) in response to the speech by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). My hon. Friend put a most important point to the House.
When all these matters were discussed at length in 1975 the House came to some important conclusions, and I do not believe that the House—and certainly we in the previous Government—thought that we had any right to set aside the votes of the House and the conclusions to which they pointed on the question of some form of linkage.
Perhaps I may embellish what my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury said. The House passed the motion to which he referred and, as he said, although the first motion was carried by a majority of only one, the later motion was approved by a much more substantial majority.
It was partly on account of that vote that towards the end of the previous Parliament we made proposals to the House to be put before the Boyle committee. We gave an account to the House of what we intended to do and how we intended particularly to draw the attention of the committee to the resolution passed in the House and how we would especially recommend that the committee should seek to proceed to make recommendations on that basis.
For the reasons given by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury, and for those that I am seeking to elaborate, it is a fact that the overwhelming majority of hon. Members—some take a different view, as they are entitled to do—urged that we should proceed on that basis, and that was the recommendation to the Boyle committee.
I do not believe that the committee's response has been fully satisfactory to those of us who take that view, but there is nothing dishonourable in proposing that there should be such a linkage and there has certainly been nothing secretive 594 in proposing such a linkage. It is a view which was openly expressed by the House and was openly backed in the recommendations made to the committee.
We have not reached the full conclusion that we believe to be right in dealing with these matters, but we have made considerable progress. I shall not go into the policy evolved over the past few weeks—what the Leader of the House would call the evolutionary exercises. I am much too tender and delicate to go into those matters extensively. People sometimes talk as if the reputation of the House has been declining over generations. Some claim that that has occurred because we have to discuss such sordid matters of money. I do not believe that that is the case.
In years gone by, the reputation of the House was different in many degrees. Two or three centuries ago an announcement was made that a prominent Conservative was to take up a senior post in the Government and some of the " women of the city"—as they were described—were reported as saying " 7,000 guineas a year, my girls, and all for us ". We do not quite have Conservative leaders of that nature now, do we? And who would say that there is any improvement?
If hon. Members look back over the records, they will see that the House emerged from some of the more corrupt states. I do not believe that the House is corrupt. The standard of honour is as high as ever, though I am not quite sure about the new lot. We shall have to keep a close watch on them in other respects as well.
It gives a false impression to the country at large for the suggestion to be made that the House is concerned about getting the cash and getting it in as extensive quantities as we can lay our hands on. That is not the fact at all. Indeed, the record recited by the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) of what has happened in the past five years entirely rebuts that charge, whether it be laid against individual Members or against Ministers.
Those charges have no basis whatever, and what we have to ensure is that the House of Commons shall be able to sustain that reputation and carry out its duties efficiently and intelligently, with Members being remunerated not in an 595 excessive manner but in such manner as will enable them to do their job properly.
I believe that the proposals now before the House serve those two purposes. The vote tonight is entirely free. Each Member of the House is himself responsible for the way in which he votes. Everyone is responsible. [Interruption.] I am not making any accusations. We shall save that up for even more relevant occasions when they come in the near future. I believe that every Member of the House of Commons is entitled to vote this evening for these proposals which come from the committee which we ourselves appointed.
The Government have put the proposals before us. I am not saying that they have managed the matter with brilliant skill over these past few weeks, but so charitable am I that I am willing to overlook that, at least for the moment. On that basis, I suggest that the House would be well advised to accept the Government's proposals.
§ 9.41 p.m.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) for his support. In opening the debate I deployed my principal arguments in favour of the Government's proposals, and the House will learn with relief that I do not intend to repeat them. My purpose now, having been present throughout the debate, apart from a brief interval for a little refreshment, is to reply briefly to what has been said from both sides. Some important points which need answering have been made.
I am delighted to have increased the support for my proposals since I last addressed the House on the matter. It is amazing what time and a little reflection will do. If the policy has evolved, it has evolved in the right direction. If I have lost part of the Ulster Unionists, I have gained in support elsewhere in the House. But I shall never forget the support which I received in my hour of need from the Ulster Unionists, and I hope that that is a debt which I shall be able to repay in other ways in due course.
I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) and the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) for their joint work on this matter. If we have arrived 596 at a more satisfactory solution to a difficult problem, it is due to their extremely hard work and, above all, I believe, their determination and their strength of will. I congratulate them on it.
At the same time, I feel that we should be wise to listen also to the voice of the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes), who spoke in the debate today. He was accused of making the same speech twice. If I may say so, it is such an excellent speech that I would make it again if I were he. [HON. MEMBERS: " He will."] One never knows what may happen. If one departs into pastures new, the tried and the tested stand one in good stead.
The hon. Gentleman gave expression to an important point of view. That point of view and the interests of the House must be balanced by an assessment of the interests of the country and how the country regards the House. We have tried to retain that balance in these proposals.
I turn to the various amendments, which fall into three groups. The first group concerns the linking of Members' salaries to the annual pay round. It was eloquently proposed by the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race), but I cannot say that amendment (a) has any advantages over the Government arrangements for updating. The review bodies have commented that a link with a general index covering the country's total work force would be likely to result in an inappropriately high increase because, in percentage terms, those at the lower income levels have in recent years normally received higher increases than those at higher income levels. Therefore, I cannot commend the amendment to the House.
It is not clear whether the hon. Gentleman is referring to just one annual increase, or whether he intends that there should be a retrospective element over the last seven years. If he intended to date it back over the past seven years to 1972 and to link it with the current pay round, the increase for Members of Parliament would be considerably more than the increase that is proposed, namely, £13,500, which is what the salary would work out at.
§ Mr. Race
The intention of the amendment is not to link the salary of hon. Members with the New Earnings Survey 597 or with the Department of Employment's average earnings index. The intention of the amendment is simply to allow an interim increase to take place based on a comparison with the New Earnings Survey and the average earnings index, so that Boyle can report back to the House. The right hon. Gentleman may know that part of the original proposal was to have in the submissions to the Boyle committee as an instruction the fact that it should have regard to reducing income inequalities.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I am grateful for that explanation.
I turn to amendment (b), which concerns the link with the New Earnings Survey. I accept the strength of the argument that the parliamentary salary should in future years be updated, but I would prefer to see Members' pay move, in the long term, in line with professional earnings rather than a general survey of earnings which is too broad for our purpose. For next year I remain sure that it is right for the updating to be on the basis of a further Review Body report, as has been the case for other bodies covered by the Review Body.
The second group of amendments, (c), (d), (g) and (f), all seek to reduce or restrict in some form or another the payment of the parliamentary salary in cases where Members receive outside earnings. I appreciate the view of those hon. Members who feel that we should differentiate in this way, but I am sure that the majority view of the House is that the parliamentary salary should be assessed on a full-time basis. The Review Body has found that almost all Members, whether they have outside jobs or not, devote more than 40 hours a week to parliamentary business. I think that that can be considered as work on a full-time basis. If one gets into this area and tries to find some kind of division, one enters into a morass, and I believe that we would be wise to keep out of it.
The third group of amendments, (e), (i) and (h), involve the national pensions figure. Amendment (e) seeks to remove the use of a notional figure for pension purposes. It would mean that Members' pensions would be based only on the rate in payment. I see the reasoning but I cannot support that amendment. 598 We accept that £12,000 is the appropriate rate for the job of a Member but, for other social reasons, we believe that the salary should be introduced in stages. It would be wrong to penalise hon. Members in their pension expectations and, particularly, any dependants, for those extraneous reasons. I therefore believe that it is right that there should be a notional sum for pension purposes which is operative at once. With the passage of time the anomaly will be removed.
Amendment (h) seeks to ensure that Members' salaries will not be inflation-proofed in the sense of being indexed to the retail price index. I agree with that. Since it is not the Government's intention to make such a link, it is better that payment at the second stage should be updated by the normal Review Body process. That was the case made by my hon. Friends the Members for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) and for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Clark). They were against index linking and feared that a link with civil servants would bring that about. No decision has been taken on a link with the Civil Service, although it was the subject of a resolution which was passed in the previous Session. Even if there were such a link with civil servants, my hon. Friend's fears are groundless, because the salaries of civil servants are not index-linked. I hope that that reassures hon. Members.
The question of status was raised by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). There was a considerable amount of support for his argument. The right hon. Gentleman was joined by his successor in Wolverhampton—my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen)—by my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton, and by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer). With such a combination, I was convinced that I must be right.
I suggested that the prestige, influence and responsibility of a job should be reflected in the remuneration. As an illustration, I said that Cabinet Ministers should not be paid less—as they are at the moment—than an assistant secretary. The right hon. Member for Down, South ridiculed that by saying that if my point was valid Cabinet Ministers should be paid more than the permanent head of the Department. That is what will 599 happen if the Government's proposals are accepted by the House.
This is an interesting philosophical question. I should be the last person to suggest that the only source of status is money. That is foreign to my outlook on life. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, who gave examples of other occupations which do not depend upon money but which have a high status. He gave the example of cardinals and archbishops. There seemed to be an element of special pleading in that section.
We must face facts. Whatever the right hon. Member for Down, South may say about a society in which prestige is based on broad acres, we have moved away from that kind of society to one where money is of increasing importance and lineage is of less importance. There is a connection between social status and economic power. If Members of Parliament become a deprived class financially their status will be undermined. After all, that is what has happened to us as a country. For a certain time one can keep up appearances, but eventually the economic realities will out. I hope that that argument, which owes something, but not everything, to Marx, will appeal to the hon. Member for Keighley.
I want to deal with the important point raised by the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English). He rightly pointed out that the fact that the salaries of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor are not to be increased to the full amount will mean that this will apply not only to the existing Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor but to their successors. That is true. On the other hand, it is the Government's intention that if there were a change in those offices before the next election, a new motion would be tabled. It would certainly be the Government's intention to table a motion which would apply after the next election, at a suitable time.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I am afraid that I cannot give way. I have almost no time left.
The right hon. Member for Down, South raised the important point that the electorate should know before an election 600 the salary of those whom they are to elect. I thought that that point was adequately dealt with in a practical sense by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham). I would only say that although one can sympathise with the constitutional doctrine which the right hon. Gentleman was putting forward, I think that that is outweighed by the injustice that would be done to hon. Members of this House if we postponed any change in the salary until after the next election.
With regard to the interesting suggestion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) that we should have a Speaker's Conference to reduce the number of seats, I can only say that it is a good theoretical point, but it has certain practical disadvantages. It would be a move out of the frying pan into the fire, and rather like moving from museum charges to library charges. I do not intend to follow that course.
This has tended to be a somewhat egocentric debate. I am very glad that the question of secretaries was raised by a number of hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer). The pensions of secretaries are being considered by the Boyle committee. It is also considering, at our request, the question of payment for secretaries during the period of dissolution.
What I may call another compassionate point was raised when it was stated that seven former Members who were defeated at the last election are now in receipt of social security. That is a situation that should not be allowed to arise in the future, and the Boyle committee has been requested to look at the question of severance pay for Members, and to look at it, in particular, so that severance should be related in some way to the length of service of hon. Members.
All this is a difficult subject to deal with, but I think that it has been dealt with with restraint and precision by the House today. I aroused some reaction on the Benches behind me when I said that in an ideal society everyone would be paid the same. The cries that I heard did not seem to me to be cries of support. But, of course, what I said is entirely consistent with Conservative principle. I was positing an ideal world—and an ideal world uninfluenced by original sin. A 601 belief in original sin is a Conservative precept. As I look at the Opposition Benches, I see some evidence to support it.
One could, of course, pay Members or pay people nothing at all. That is what happens in, for example, a Benedictine monastery. One day one is the abbot; the next day one is scrubbing the floor—and one is quite happy with that arrangement.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
Yes, there is a certain parallel with political life.
But we have to deal with this world and with this House. This is an imperfect world. These proposals are not perfect. I believe that they will improve the situation in both the short term and the long term. I am grateful, indeed, for the support of the Shadow Leader of the House. I hope that the House will vote for these proposals.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am now required, at 10 o'clock, to put the Questions on the motions and the selected amendments. Does the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) wish to move his amendment?
|Division No. 51]||AYES||[10.00 p.m.|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)||Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)||Soley, Clive|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Homewood, William||Tilley, John|
|Canavan, Dennis||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Cryer, Bob||Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)||Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)||Mr Reg Race and|
|Field, Frank||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)||Miss Shelia Wright.|
|Haynes, David||Skinner, Dennis|
|Adley, Robert||Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Cadbury, Jocelyn|
|Alexander, Richard||Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)||Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)|
|Alison, Michael||Bowden, Andrew||Carlisle, John (Luton West)|
|Alton, David||Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Ancram, Michael||Braine, Sir Bernard||Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Bray, Dr Jeremy||Carmichael, Neil|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Bright, Graham||Carter-Jones, Lewis|
|Arnold, Tom||Brinton, Timothy||Cartwright, John|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Brittan, Leon||Channon, Paul|
|Ashton, Joe||Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Chapman, Sydney|
|Atkins, Robert (Preston North)||Brooke, Hon Peter||Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)||Brotherton, Michael||Clark, David (South Shields)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Clark, William (Croydon South)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)|
|Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)||Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Clegg, Walter|
|Banks, Robert||Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)||Cockeram, Eric|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)||Browne, John (Winchester)||Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)|
|Beith, A. J.||Bruce-Gardyne, John||Cohen, Stanley|
|Bendall, Vivian||Bryan, Sir Paul||Coleman, Donald|
|Benyon, W. (Buckingham)||Buchanan-Smith, Hon Alick||Colvin, Michael|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Buck, Antony||Conian, Bernard|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Budgen, Nick||Cook, Robin F.|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Bulmer, Esmond||Cope, John|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Butler, Hon Adam||Cormack, Patrick|
Amendment (a) proposed, in line 3, leave out from beginning to end of motion and insert:—
(1) The salary payable to Members shall be increased on 13th June 1979, in respect of service on and after 13th June 1979 and before 13th June 1980, by an amount equal to the percentage increase in money wages in the current pay round at average earnings for the male full-time worker, as measured by the New Earnings Survey and the Department of Employment's index of average earnings, and expressed as a percentage of backbench Members' pay.
(2) That this House rejects the findings of the Boyle report and refers them back to the Committee for further consideration.
(3) That the Boyle Committee be instructed to report again by June 1980, and in its report to have regard to:
§ Question put, That the amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 16, Noes 364.
|Costain, A. P.||Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford)||Nott, Rt Hon John|
|Cowans, Harry||Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Critchley, Julian||Howells, Geraint||Ogden, Eric|
|Cunningham, George (Islington S)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)||O'Neill, Martin|
|Davidson, Arthur||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Hunt, David (Wirral)||Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hurd, Hon Douglas||Osborn, John|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)||Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)|
|Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)||Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Park, George|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick||Parker, John|
|Dean, Paul (North Somerset)||Johnson, James (Hull West)||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Dewar, Donald||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Patten, Christopher (Bath)|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Dobson, Frank||Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Pendry, Tom|
|Dormand, J. D.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Penhaligon, David|
|Douglas, Dick||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Percival, Sir Ian|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith||Pollock, Alexander|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Porter, George|
|Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)||Kerr, Russell||Prior, Rt Hon James|
|Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Proctor, K. Harvey|
|Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||King, Rt Hon Tom||Radice, Giles|
|Durant, Tony||Kitson, Sir Timothy||Raison, Timothy|
|Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Lamble, David||Rathbone, Tim|
|Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)||Lamborn, Harry||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South)|
|Eggar, Timothy||Lamont, Norman||Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)|
|Emery, Peter||Lang, Ian||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|English, Michael||Lawrence, Ivan||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Ennals, Rt Hon David||Lawson, Nigel||Ridley, Hon Nicholas|
|Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Leadbitter, Ted||Rifkind, Malcolm|
|Evans, John (Newton)||Lee, John||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Ewing, Harry||Le Marchant, Spencer||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)|
|Fairgrieve, Russell||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Robertson, George|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey||Loveridge, John||Rodgers, Rt Hon William|
|Fisher, Sir Nigel||Lyell, Nicholas||Rooker, J. W.|
|Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)||Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson||Roper, John|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McCartney, Hugh||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||McDonald, Dr Oonagh||Rossi, Hugh|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||MacGregor, John||Rowlands, Ted|
|Forman, Nigel||McGuire, Michael (Ince)||Royle, Sir Anthony|
|Forrester, John||Mackay, John (Argyll)||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy|
|Foulkes, George||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor||St. John Stevas, Rt Hon Norman|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)||Sandelson, Neville|
|Fox, Marcus||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, Central)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Fraser, Peter (South Angus)||McNamara, Kevin||Sever, John|
|Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.||McQuarrie, Albert||Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)|
|Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)||McWilliam, John||Sheerman, Barry|
|Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Madel, David||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Major, John||Shersby, Michael|
|Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Marland, Paul||Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and pop)|
|Ginsburg, David||Marlow, Antony||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Glyn, Dr Alan||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Marten, Neil (Banbury)||Silverman, Julius|
|Gow, Ian||Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)||Silvester, Fred|
|Gower, Sir Raymond||Mather, Carol||Sims, Roger|
|Graham, Ted||Maude, Rt Hon Angus||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)||Mawby, Ray||Smith, Dudley (War, and Leam'ton)|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)|
|Grant, John (Islington C)||Mayhew, Patrick||Snape, Peter|
|Gray, Hamish||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Speed, Keith|
|Grimond, Rt Hon J.||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce||Speller, Tony|
|Grist, Ian||Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)||Spence, John|
|Grylls, Michael||Mills, Peter (West Devon)||Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)|
|Gummer, John Selwyn||Miscampbell, Norman||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Sproat, Iain|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)||Stanley, John|
|Hannam, John||Moate, Roger||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Hardy, Peter||Monro, Hector||Steen, Anthony|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Montgomery, Fergus||Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Moore, John||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Stoddart, David|
|Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael||Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)||Stott, Roger|
|Hawkins, Paul||Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|Hawksley, Warren||Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)||Strang, Gavin|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)||Straw, Jack|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Moyle, Rt Hon Roland||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)||Mudd, David||Tebbit, Norman|
|Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)||Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Holland, Philip (Carlton)||Myles, David||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Home Robertson, John||Nelson, Anthony||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)|
|Hooson, Tom||Newton, Tony||Thompson, Donald|
|Thorne, Nell (Ilford South)||Watkins, David||Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)|
|Tinn, James||Watson, John||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Townend, John (Bridlington)||Wells, P. Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Townsend. Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)||Wheeler, John||Wolfson, Mark|
|Trippier, David||White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)||Woodall, Alec|
|Trotter, Neville||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William||Woolmer, Kenneth|
|Urwin, Rt Hon Tom||Whitlock, William||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Vaughan, Dr Gerard||Whitney, Raymond||Young, David (Bolton East)|
|Viggers, Peter||Wickenden, Keith||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Wainwright, Richard (Coine Valley)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Wakeham, John||Wigley, Dafydd||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Walker-Smith. Rt Hon Sir Derek||Wilkinson, John||Mr. David Waddington and|
|Wall, Patrick||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick||Mr. Robert Boscawen.|
|Waller, Gary||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Amendment (c) proposed, in line 22, after ' not ' insert:
|Division No. 52]||AYES||[10.14 pm|
|Alton, David||Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Pendry, Tom|
|Ashton, Joe||George, Bruce||Penhaligon, David|
|Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)||Grant, John (Islington C)||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Bagier, Gordon A T.||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||Prescott, John|
|Beith, A. J.||Hardy, Peter||Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Haynes, David||Race, Reg|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)||Roberts, Allan (Bootie)|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Home Robertson, John||Roberts, Gwllym (Cannock)|
|Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)||Homewood, William||Robertson, George|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)||Hooley, Frank||Rooker, J. W|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Roper, John|
|Canavan, Dennis||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)||Sever, John|
|Cartwright, John||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Sheerman, Barry|
|Clark, David (South Shields)||Johnson, James (Hull West)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Cohen, Stanley||Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)||Snape, Peter|
|Cook, Robin F.||Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Soley, Clive|
|Cox, Tom (Wandsworth, Tooting)||Kerr, Russell||Spearing, Nigel|
|Crowther, J. S.||Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Stallard, A. W.|
|Cryer, Bob||Kinnock, Nell||Stoddart, David|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Lambie, David||Straw, Jack|
|Davidson, Arthur||Leadbitter, Ted||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)|
|Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)||Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Tilley, John|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||McDonald, Dr Oonagh||Wellbeloved, James|
|Dixon, Donald||McElhone, Frank||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Dobson, Frank||McGuire, Michael (Ince)||Winnick, David|
|Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)||McKay, Allen (Penistone)||Woodall, Alec|
|Eastham, Ken||McNamara, Kevin||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)||Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)||Wright, Miss Sheila|
|English, Michael||Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)||Young, David (Bolton East)|
|Ennals, Rt Hon David||Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)|
|Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Evans, John (Newton)||O'Halloran, Michael||Mr. Philip Whitehead and|
|Field, Frank||O'Neill, Martin||Mr. Giles Radice.|
|Adley, Robert||Bowden, Andrew||Cadbury, Jocelyn|
|Alexander, Richard||Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)|
|Alison, Michael||Braine, Sir Bernard||Carlisle, John (Luton West)|
|Ancram, Michael||Bright, Graham||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Brinton, Timothy||Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)|
|Arnold, Tom||Brittan, Leon||Channon, Paul|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Chapman, Sydney|
|Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)||Brooke, Hon Peter||Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Atkins, Robert (Preston North)||Brotherton, Michael||Clark, William (Croydon South)|
|Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)||Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Clegg, Walter|
|Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)||Browne, John (Winchester)||Cockeram, Eric|
|Banks, Robert||Bruce-Gardyne, John||Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)|
|Bendall, Vivian||Bryan, Sir Paul||Coleman, Donald|
|Benyon, W. (Buckingham)||Buchanan-Smith, Hon Ailed||Colvin, Michael|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Buck, Antony||Conlan, Bernard|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Budgen, Nick||Cope, John|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Bulmer, Esmond||Cormack, Patrick|
|Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)||Butler, Hon Adam||Costain, A. P.|
§ receiving outside remuneration, nor otherwise'.—[Mr. Whitehead.]
§ Question put. That the amendment he made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 95. Noes 273.
|Cunningham, George (Islington S)||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith||Rodgers, Rt Hon William|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Davies, E. Hudson (Caerphilly)||King, Rt Hon Tom||Rossi, Hugh|
|Dean, Paul (North Somerset)||Kitson, Sir Timothy||Rowlands, Ted|
|Dewar, Donald||Lamborn, Harry||Royle, Sir Anthony|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Lamont, Norman||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lang, Ian||St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman|
|Douglas, Dick||Lawrence, Ivan||Sandelson, Neville|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Lawson, Nigel||Scott, Nicholas|
|Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Lee, John||Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)|
|Durant, Tony||Le Marchant, Spencer||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Shersby, Michael|
|Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)||Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pep)|
|Eggar, Timothy||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Emery, Peter||Loveridge, John||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Lyell, Nicholas||Silvester, Fred|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson||Sims, Roger|
|Fairgrieve, Russell||McCartney, Hugh||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mackay, John (Argyll)||Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor||Speed, Keith|
|Fisher, Sir Nigel||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)||Speller, Tony|
|Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)||McQuarrie, Albert||Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Madel, David||Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Major, John||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Marland, Paul||Sproat, lain|
|Forman, Nigel||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Stanley, John|
|Forrester, John||Marten, Neil (Banbury)||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Foulkes, George||Mather, Carol||Steen, Anthony|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Maude, Rt Hon Angus||Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)|
|Fox, Marcus||Mawby, Ray||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)|
|Fraser, Peter (South Angus)||Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.||Mayhew, Patrick||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Tebbit, Norman|
|Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Mills, Peter (West Devon)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Ginsburg, David||Miscampbell, Norman||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)|
|Glyn, Dr Alan||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Thompson, Donald|
|Gow, Ian||Moate, Roger||Thorne, Nell (Ilford South)|
|Gower, Sir Raymond||Monro, Hector||Tinn, James|
|Graham, Ted||Moore, John||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)||Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)||Trippier, David|
|Gray, Hamish||Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)||Trotter, Neville|
|Grimond, Rt Hon J.||Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)||Vaughan, Dr Gerard|
|Grist, Ian||Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)||Viggers, Peter|
|Grylls, Michael||Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)||Waddington, David|
|Gummer, John Selwyn||Mudd, David||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Nelson, Anthony||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Newton, Tony||Wakeham, John|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Nott, Rt Hon John||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek|
|Hannam, John||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Wall, Patrick|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Onslow, Cranley||Waller, Gary|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally||Watson, John|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Osborn, John||Wells, P. Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)|
|Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)||Wheeler, John|
|Hawkins, Paul||Park, George||White, Frank R. (Bury a Radcliffe)|
|Hawksley, Warren||Parker, John||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Parkinson, Cecil||Whitlock, William|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Whitney, Raymond|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Percival, Sir Ian||Wickenden, Keith|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)||Pollock, Alexander||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Holland, Philip (Carlton)||Porter, George||Wilkinson, John|
|Hooson, Tom||Prior, Rt Hon James||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford)||Proctor, K. Harvey||Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)|
|Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Raison, Timothy||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Howells, Geraint||Rathbone, Tim||Winter ton, Nicholas|
|Hunt, David (Wirral)||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Hurd, Hon Douglas||Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)||Woolmer, Kenneth|
|Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Jerkin, Rt Hon Patrick||Ridley, Hon Nicholas||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Rifkind, Malcolm||Lord James Douglas Hamilton and|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)||Mr. John McGregor.|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.608
Amendment (h) proposed, in line 97, at end, add:
' (4) No supplement shall be paid before or with effect from 13th June 1981 which contains any element of increase by reference to the retail price index or any other indication of the rate of inflation which shall have taken place up to that date.'—[Mr. Budgen.]
§ Question put, That the amendment be made:—
|DIVISION No. 531||AYES||6.27pm|
|Alton, David||Field, Frank||Pollock, Alexander|
|Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)||Fraser, Peter (South Angus)||Porter, George|
|Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)||Grimond, Rt Hon J.||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Bendall, Vivian||Haynes, David||Proctor, K. Harvey|
|Benyon, W. (Buckingham)||Homewood, William||Rooker, J. W.|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Horam, John||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Johnson, James (Hull West)||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Bright, Graham||Kitson, Sir Timothy||Skinner, Dennis|
|Brotherton, Michael||Lang, Ian||Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)||Lawrence, Ivan||Spearing, Nigel|
|Budgen, Nick||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Speller, Tony|
|Cadbury, Jocelyn||Lyell, Nicholas||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)||McElhone, Frank||Sproat, Ian|
|Carlisle, John (Luton West)||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Cockeram, Eric||Major, John||Stott, Roger|
|Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)||Marland, Paul||Thorne, Nell (Ilford South)|
|Costain, A. P.||Marlow, Antony||Tilley, John|
|Cryer, Bob||Marshall. Jim (Leicester South)||Trotter, Neville|
|Dalyell, Tam||Mills, Peter (West Devon)||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)||Wells, P. Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)|
|Dobson, Frank||Moate, Roger||Wickenden, Keith|
|Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Parris, Matthew||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Eggar, Timothy||Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Mr. Bruce Gardy|
|Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)||Penhaligon, David||Mr. Alan Clark|
|Adley, Robert||Coleman, Donald||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Alexander, Richard||Colvin, Michael||Gourlay, Harry|
|Alison, Michael||Conlan, Bernard||Gow, Ian|
|Ancram, Michael||Cook, Robin F.||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Cope, John||Graham, Ted|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Cowans, Harry||Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Crowther, J. S.||Grant, George (Morpeth)|
|Ashton, Joe||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Grant, John (Islington C)|
|Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)||Davies, E. Hudson (Caerphilly)||Gray, Hamish|
|Atkins, Robert (Preston North)||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Grist, Ian|
|Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)||Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)||Grylls, Michael|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)||Gummer, John Selwyn|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Banks, Robert||Dewar, Donald||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)||Dickens, Geoffrey||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Beith, A. J.||Dixon, Donald||Hannam, John|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Dormand, J. D.||Hardy, Peter|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Douglas, Dick||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael|
|Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Hawkins, Paul|
|Bowden, Andrew||Durant, Tony||Hawksley, Warren|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Eastham, Ken||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael|
|Brinton, Timothy||Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)||Higgins, Terence L.|
|Brittan, Leon||Emery, Peter||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||English, Michael||Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Ennals, Rt Hon David||Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Evans, loan (Aberdare)||Home Robertson, John|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Evans, John (Newton)||Hooson, Tom|
|Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)||Ewing, Harry||Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford)|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Eyre, Reginald||Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Hon Alick||Fairbairn, Nicholas||Howells, Geraint|
|Buck, Antony||Fairgrieve, Russell||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Faulds, Andrew||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)|
|Butler, Hon Adam||Finsberg, Geoffrey||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Fisher, Sir Nigel||Hunt, David (Wirral)|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)||Hurd, Hon Douglas|
|Canavan, Dennis||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Fookes, Miss Janet||Jay, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)||Forman, Nigel||Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick|
|Carmichael, Neil||Forrester, John||Jessel, Toby|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Foulkes, George||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey|
|Cartwright, John||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Jones, Barry (East Flint)|
|Channon, Paul||Fox, Marcus||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Chapman, Sydney||Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith|
|Clark, David (South Shields)||Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Clark, William (Croydon South)||Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||George, Bruce||Kilroy-Silk, Robert|
|Clegg, Walter||Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||King, Rt Hon Tom|
|Cohen, Stanley||Ginsburg, David||Kinnock, Neil|
§ The House divided: Ayes 71. Noes. 294.
|Lambie, David||O'Neill, Martin||Stoddart, David|
|Lamborn, Harry||Osborn, John||Stradling Thomas. J.|
|Lamont, Norman||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)||Strang, Gavin|
|Lawson, Nigel||Parker, John||Straw, Jack|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Parkinson, Cecil||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Lee, John||Pavitt, Laurie||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)|
|Le Merchant, Spencer||Pendry, Tom||Tebbit, Norman|
|Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)||Percival, Sir Ian||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Prescott, John||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)|
|Mabon, Rt Hon Or J. Dickson||Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)||Thompson, Donald|
|McCartney, Hugh||Prior, Rt Hon James||Tinn, James|
|MacGregor, John||Radice, Giles||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|McGuire, Michael (Ince)||Raison, Timothy||Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)|
|McKay, Allen (Penistone)||Rathbone, Tim||Trippier, David|
|Mackay, John (Argyll)||Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)||Urwin, Rt Hon Tom|
|MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor||Rhodes James, Robert||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, Central)||Ridley, Hon Nicholas||Vaughan, Dr Gerard|
|McNamara, Kevin||Rifkind, Malcolm||Viggers, Peter|
|McQuarrie, Albert||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Waddington, David|
|McWilliam, John||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)||Wall, Patrick|
|Madel, David||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)||Waller, Gary|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)||Watkins, David|
|Marten, Neil (Banbury)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Watson, John|
|Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)||Robertson, George||Weetch, Ken|
|Maude, Rt Hon Angus||Rodgers, Rt Hon William||Wheeler, John|
|Mawby, Ray||Roper, John||White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Mayhew, Patrick||Rossi, Hugh||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William|
|Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy||Whitlock, William|
|Millan, Rt Hon Bruce||St. John Stevas, Rt Hon Norman||Whitney, Raymond|
|Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)||Sandelson, Neville||Wickenden, Keith|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Scott, Nicholas||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Sever, John||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Monro, Hector||Sheerman, Barry||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Moore, John||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)||Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)|
|Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)||Silverman, Julius||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)||Silvester, Fred||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)||Sims, Roger||Wolfson, Mark|
|Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)||Snape, Peter||Woodall, Alec|
|Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)||Speed, Keith||Woolmer, Kenneth|
|Moyle, Rt Hon Roland||Spence, John||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Mudd, David||Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)||Wright, Miss Sheila|
|Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick||Stallard, A. W.||Young, David (Bolton East)|
|Nelson, Anthony||Stanley, John||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Newton, Tony||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Steen, Anthony||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Ogden, Erie||Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)||Mr. John Wakeham and|
|O'Halloran, Michael||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)||Mr. Carol Mather|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Main Question put and agreed to.
That, in the opinion of this House, the following provisions about salaries and pensions of Members of this House should be made:—
(1) The salary payable to Members of each of the descriptions in the first column of Table 1 below—
|Description of Member||Yearly rate of salary from 13th June 1979 to 12th June 1980||Yearly rate of salary from 13th June 1980 to 12th June 1981||Yearly rate of salary from 13th June 1981|
|1. Member not within any other paragraph.||£9,450||£10,725||£12,000|
|2. Member receiving a salary under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 as Comptroller or Vice-Chamberlain of Her Majesty's Household, junior Lord of the Treasury or Assistant Government or Opposition Whip.||£5,820||£6,410||£7,000|
|3. Officer of this House or Member, other than Member of the Cabinet, receiving any other salary under the Act of 1975, or receiving a pension under section 26 of the Parliamentary and other Pensions Act 1972.||£5,650||£6,325||£7,000|
|4. Member of the Cabinet receiving salary under the Act of 1975.||£5,265||£6,130||£7,000|
§ (2) The ordinary salary of every Member in respect of service on and after 13th June 1979 shall be regarded for pension purposes as being at the rate of £12,000.
§ (3) Members of each of the descriptions in the first column of Table 2 shall be credited—
- (a) by way of supplement to their salaries payable in respect of service on or after 13th June 1979 and before 13th June 1980 with amounts at the yearly rate specified in relation to that description in the second column of that Table;
- (b) by way of supplement to their salaries payable in respect of service on or after 13th June 1980 and before 13th June 1981 with amounts at the yearly rate specified in relation to that description in the third column of that Table.
|Description of Member||Yearly rate of supplement from 13th June 1979 to 12th June 1980||Yearly rate of supplement from 13th June 1980 to 12th June 1981|
|1. Member within paragraph 1 or 2 of Table 1 who draws the whole of his salary.||£153.00||£76.50|
|2. Member within paragraph 1 or 2 of Table 1 who does not draw the whole of his salary.||£153.00 plus 6 per cent. of the amount forgone, but not together exceeding £173.59.||£76.50 plus 6 per cent. of the amount forgone, but not together exceeding £97.09.|
|3. Member within paragraph 3 or 4 of Table 1 except one in whose case no deduction is required to be made under section 3 or 4 of the Act of 1972.||£173.59||£97.09|