Expenses of members

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Expenses of members

P.M.

Drew attention to H. Morrison's statement – sharing responsibility for any increase.

R.A.B.

Still believe straight increase will cause least pol. diffy. in the end.
 If that isn't accepted, my alternative is as circulated.
 We ought to accept decn. of H/C. in principle.  My suggn. does.
 It gives £1,500 – but in two parts & by degrees.  Expenses at once, salary increase later.
 I am not in favour of having this discussed at next Election.

P.M.

I also believe best thing to do wd. be to ram it through.
 We can't command majority for another course.
 If we put positive alternative proposal, whole responsibility for that will be ours.  Shall have no support from Opposition.
 I agree that we have the option.  Not bound by free vote.
 But prefer to choose method of salary increase – and allow a free vote.

H.C. 

Morrison's statement doesn't assume we shall give effect to vote.
 Trouble in Party runs even deeper than I thght previously.
 Have considered, with Ch. Whip, compromise wh. gives all Members something & is therefore likely to be accepted by Labour.
 No proposal involvg. any increase of salary will be acceptable to Tories.
 Have therefore considered "London subsistence allowance" available to all to draw at their will.  Can trust M.P.'s not to claim improperly when not in fact in attendance.  Case for giving London Members something – suggest a lower rate for them.  Defined already by Revenue.
 Canvassed opinion discreetly – reason to think Party wd. accept.
 It wd. benefit poorest w'out forcing advantage on richer.
 Any element of salary increase wd. cause gt. diffies. in Party.
 This wd. be temporary.  Might never be necessary to tackle salaries.

M.F.

Support this plan.P.M. hasn't realised shock to Party of our apparent readiness to increase M.P.'s salaries before o.a.p. & w'out regard to affect on wages.
 Gtest. shock to Party in 25 years.
 Can't keep Party together on any flat increase.

P.M.

Baldwin's last act in H/C. was 50% increase (£400-£600) when 1½ m. unemployed.  Carried by a free vote.  And without the support of a Select Cttee.
 But I am willing to accept compromise.  That wd. be consistent with my earlier statements.
 Many of our people won't like compromise either.

M.F.

Not only tactics.  We have always said we were against salary increase.

W.

Believe Party wd. accept the compromise.
 Strong point in tht. no Member need take it.

R.A.B.

M.P.'s are already claiming v. high living expenses v. tax.  As a result, they won't get more than about £150 out of subsistence allowances.
 But I agree tht. it wd. benefit poorer more than richer.
 Wd. sooner not base it on "subsistence".

A.E.

Better understood in country on basis of subsistence.

R.A.B. 

Then at least a block subsistence, not by days.

A.E.

Usually best thing is to go thro', in a mess.
 But on this ques what matters is, not Press comment but action of supporters in constituencies in w'drawing their support.

B.H. 

Any salary increase wd. be rejected by our supporters in H/C.
 A subsistence scheme wd. be accepted.
 Even Henry Brooke (member of Sel. Cttee) now accepts that view.

H.M.

Let us tackle immediate problem on basis of subsistence allowance.
 And take more time to consider what we say on principle of long-term salary position. 

P.M.

Discuss at next Cabinet.  Reflect m'while.

RAB.

Takg. a/c of L.P.S. view tht. any salary increase wd. be rejected.  I will consult with L.P.S. & others on 14/6.

Taken from C. 39(54) - Meeting held on 5 June 1954.