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Mr. Michael Brown (Brigg and Cleethorpes) : Unlike the hon. Gentleman, I sat on the Committee that considered the Self-Governing Schools Etc. (Scotland) Bill earlier this year.

Mr. Welsh : The hon. Gentleman makes my point. I have been elected by the Scottish people, but I was not allowed to be a member of that Committee. He represents an English constituency and had no interest in the subject, yet he was a member of the Committee. That proves how little the House is willing to do for Scotland. The Conservatives, in organised collaboration and ably abetted by the Labour party, ensure that failure. It is about time that Scotland counted in this place, but that will probably never happen. We have the answer--we should return to our Parliament. The hon. Gentleman makes that case for us. I hope that the television cameras will show how little hon. Members representing England care about my country.

The Leader of the House should take such matters into account. He is a unionist and he wants to preserve the system whereby Scotland is meaningless. To earn his salary the right hon. and learned Gentleman should ensure that Scotland is taken into account. The Select Committee on Scottish Affairs is in his remit and he should prove that he is fulfilling his duty and earning his money. Mr. Speaker is not duty-bound by the relevant Standing Orders, but the Leader of the House should implement them. Surely he has some connection with the Committee of Selection, whose duty under the Standing Orders is to produce a Scottish Select Committee. We are bound by the Standing Orders and so should be the Leader of the House.

The Leader of the House should be worthy of his hire and he should do something, for once, for Scotland.

11.28 pm

Mrs. Maria Fyfe (Glasgow, Maryhill) : As a life-long trade unionist, I believe that the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) and his colleagues have got it slightly wrong. There is a certain rate for a job and, although the rate for this particular job is grossly over-inflated, that rate is tied to the job and not to the individual who holds the post.

If I were the shop steward in this dispute, I would argue to the hon. Member for Angus, East that the proper course of action would be not to reduce the salary, but to give a verbal warning to the incumbent of the post about his failings. If that was not sufficient, I would follow it up with a written warning, and if the individual still failed to carry out his duties properly he could get the sack. The same argument applied to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's predecessor.

The Leader of the House could be saved from that eventual fate if Members such as the hon. Members for Cannock and Burntwood (Mr. Howarth), for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) and others who suddenly acquire a great interest in Scotland late at night or during Scottish questions were willing to serve on the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs. That would solve the problem, and the House would stop wasting its time in this fashion.

11.29 pm

Sir Geoffrey Howe : There is one point on which I would not wish the House to be under any misapprehension. The notion was put across, as a result of some intervention,

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that if the order were to fall, ministerial salaries would be increased more substantially than if the order were passed. I must remove that misapprehension from hon. Members' minds. If the order fell, Ministers in another place would get nothing and Ministers in this House would get an increase of only £1,953. I hope that those who are moved with sympathy for the motion will retain that emotion firmly in the front of their minds.

I shall say nothing about the observations of the hon. Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Grocott), who claims as one of his leisure-time occupations the role of writer of fiction and who tried his best in his speech. I turn to the observations which have flickered recurrently across the debate and which came from hon. Members from north of the border, particularly the hon. Members for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars), for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) and for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe). The simple answer to their question is that the issue of the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs was debated on 20 December 1988, as I said in the debate on the Loyal Address. The conclusion was reached when the House recognised the inability of the Committee of Selection to nominate Members to serve on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in accordance with Standing Order No. 104(2). That was a conclusion reached by the House, not by me. I urge the hon. Member for Govan to disabuse himself of the idea that there has been any fix by the establishment and still more to disabuse himself of the idea that by making such allegations he can establish a kind of pre-emptive alibi for himself.

Mr. Salmond : The conclusion to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman refers was reached last Session. Does he not think that there is a responsibility in this new Session to have a fresh debate on whether the House will obey its Standing Orders? Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman, as Leader of the House, feel some special responsibility for seeing the implementation of Standing Order No. 130?

Sir Geoffrey Howe : Because I recognised the importance of that point, I addressed myself to the issue and made the position clear in my first speech in the current Session in the debate on the Loyal Address, notwithstanding a certain amount of unwelcoming hubbub from the Opposition.

Mr. Sillars : Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman give way?

Sir Geoffrey Howe : I am afraid that I will not give way, because I must draw to a conclusion.

I appreciated the support from my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor and Maidenhead (Dr. Glyn), who was alert, as always, in our interests ; my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark), who is always the source of helpful quotations of many kinds ; and, above all, my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock and Burntwood (Mr. Howarth), who gave us a lucid exposition of his analysis of the causes of inflation. Like him, I am a monetarist. I regard monetary supply as having great importance in the control of inflation. I would go a little further--I regard the exemplary management of salaries as a sensible part of good management, not to be entirely disregarded in achieving a sensible reaction to proper monetary discipline. I acknowledge my hon. Friend's other point that

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differentials tend to get squeezed disagreeably at a time of inflation. That is a strong reason for seeking to get on top of inflation.

My judgment about the validity of the salaries that are generally available under this Administration has been that they have been sufficient to recruit and retain Ministers of suitable talent. Here I look at my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth). There was a happy time--I hope that it was happy--when he served as my parliamentary private secretary. Suddenly, he was offered a ministerial position, and the massive enhancement in salary was sufficient to recruit him to the Front Bench forthwith and retain him there ever since. That is a fairly practical judgment.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Maryhill, who sought to protect me from the erosion of my salary even though she threatened me with the prospect of a verbal ticking off from herself, which is almost more alarming.

I commend the order to the House.

Question put :--

The House divided : Ayes 124, Noes 17.

Division No. 16] [11.34 pm


Alexander, Richard

Alison, Rt Hon Michael

Amess, David

Amos, Alan

Arbuthnot, James

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)

Ashby, David

Atkinson, David

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)

Batiste, Spencer

Beaumont-Dark, Anthony

Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)

Bevan, David Gilroy

Boswell, Tim

Bottomley, Peter

Bright, Graham

Brooke, Rt Hon Peter

Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)

Buck, Sir Antony

Carlisle, John, (Luton N)

Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)

Chapman, Sydney

Chope, Christopher

Colvin, Michael

Dixon, Don

Dorrell, Stephen

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Duffy, A. E. P.

Durant, Tony

Favell, Tony

Fenner, Dame Peggy

Fishburn, John Dudley

Fookes, Dame Janet

Forman, Nigel

Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)

Forth, Eric

Foster, Derek

Freeman, Roger

French, Douglas

Garel-Jones, Tristan

Gill, Christopher

Glyn, Dr Alan

Goodlad, Alastair

Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles

Gregory, Conal

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)

Grocott, Bruce

Hague, William

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Hanley, Jeremy

Harris, David

Haselhurst, Alan

Hayes, Jerry

Hind, Kenneth

Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)

Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)

Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey

Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)

Irvine, Michael

Jack, Michael

Janman, Tim

Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)

Jopling, Rt Hon Michael

King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)

Knapman, Roger

Knight, Greg (Derby North)

Latham, Michael

Lawrence, Ivan

Lilley, Peter

Maclean, David

McLoughlin, Patrick

Malins, Humfrey

Mans, Keith

Martlew, Eric

Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin

Miller, Sir Hal

Mills, Iain

Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)

Mitchell, Sir David

Moss, Malcolm

Neubert, Michael

Newton, Rt Hon Tony

Nicholls, Patrick

Norris, Steve

Page, Richard

Paice, James

Patnick, Irvine

Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)

Pawsey, James

Pike, Peter L.

Porter, Barry (Wirral S)

Porter, David (Waveney)

Portillo, Michael

Renton, Rt Hon Tim

Rhodes James, Robert

Ryder, Richard

Sackville, Hon Tom

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)

Sims, Roger

Skeet, Sir Trevor

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