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Let unions pay MPs

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

From ‘Payment of members’, The Spectator, 4 December 1915: If the country could be polled at the present time, there is probably no subject upon which greater unanimity could be secured, apart from the general question of prosecuting the war, than that of payment of Members of Parliament. Barring Members themselves and the political agents whom they employ, it may be safely said that the whole country condemns the continuance of the salary of £400 a year… The excuse that some of these men make is that they draw the £400 in order to save poorer men from the odium of being alone in accepting pay. It is unnecessary to comment on such an excuse as this, but there is no question as to the desirability of some provision being made for the poor men in Parliament… Except in very rare cases, it is already impossible for any man to get into Parliament unless he is supported by a powerful organisation. That organization provides him with votes, and therefore controls his political career. He will not lose his independence any the more if it also provides him with pay. Therefore the first and most obvious way of dealing with the problem of the poor man in Parliament must be to revert to the payment of Members by Trade Unions, and in that phrase we include any kind of professional corporation.

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