Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a Supplementary 611M, not exceeding £575,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1923, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Education, and of the various Establishments connected therewith, including sundry Grants in Aid."
I am anxious to say a word before my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. G. Locker- Lampson), moves the Amendment of which he has given notice. The Committee knows the circumstances in which we decided to introduce this Supplementary Estimate. I have taken into account, since my announcement on Wednesday last., the evident desire and wish of the House that the Committee should be appointed at once, as we have now appointed it, and that its Report should be rendered to the House as rapidly as possible; and we have the very encouraging statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambornc (Mr. Acland) as to the length of time which he thinks will be required by himself and his colleagues. I think, therefore, I had better say at once that I am encouraged to hope that I have overestimated the amount of money that we shall in any circumstances require, and that I will accept, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the reduction of £200,000 suggested by the hon. Member for Wood Green, which I think is the largest on the Paper. If the Committee will permit me, I would ask them not to go beyond that. reduction. They will observe, in the first place, that I have taken the. largest figure Which is suggested. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I beg pardon. There is on the Paper an Amendment to reduce the Vote by £565,000, hut that, would really be to negative the proposal of the Government. Except for that, the figure of £200,000 is the largest that is proposed. As we have to take a Supplementary Estimate, the Government are, naturally, anxious to take a sufficient sum in that Supplementary Estimate to preclude the necessity of having to present yet another Supplementary Estimate later on.Of course, if the Select Committee reported to the House, or if the House, after consideration of its Report, came to the conclusion that the honour of the House was pledged, a very much larger Supplementary Estimate would he necessary, but, speaking for myself, I cannot believe that that its going to happen, and I am, therefore, not attempting to provide against that. contingency. I do, however, want to provide for the expenses to which we may probably be put. What is the character of those expenses? However promptly the, Select Committee act, I think that, before we can take up the Bill again, owing to the intervention of other business and of the Whitsuntide Recess, practically a month must elapse from the date on which we were discussing the Second Reading of the Bill and when I honed the Second Beading would have been passed, so that the Standing Committee would have already by now got to work upon it and it would have been presented to the House for the Report stage early after Whitsuntide. Let me say again that the presentation of this Estimate to the Committee, and its acceptance by the Committee, if the Committee accept it, is no pledge or expectation held out to anyone that they will be relieved of any part of the charge. which the Bill originally intended. There is, however, this difficulty, which the House may wish to he free to consider. The teachers' salaries are paid monthly, and, even if the Bill had gone through as rapidly as we had hoped, there would have been a considerable amount of salary paid before it would have received the Royal Assent, and the 5 per cent. on that salary already paid would have had to be added to the 5 per cent. on the actual salaries of the succeeding months and deducted from them. in other words, for every month that elapses 'before the Bill becomes law, the greater is the burden on the months that follow, instead of its being spread evenly over the whole period. I may say that my right hon. Friends and I contemplated as possible that the House might say that we could not: charge hack to the beginning of the year in any circumstances, and, but for the change of heart—T think that is a proper expression —which has passed over the House in the course of the last few days, I should have said it was more probable that the House would find it more difficult: to charge back to the beginning of the year with every additional week of delay. Accordingly, therefore, I want to provide for the possibility that the House may not think it right or proper to date back the charge to the beginning of the financial year, even though they are prepared to accept the charge. We want also, since we have to have a Supplementary Estimate, to have a little money available for any changes which the House may think it necessary to make in the Bill, or which the Government may think it right to propose. For example, not to prejudge the matter, but. merely to indicate a sub- ject on which the House may desire to have latitude when it comes to the Bill, we were reminded a moment ago that some 43 local authorities are not paying the Burnham scale, and, when the House comes to consider the Bill, the question may arise whether the treatment which is fair and proper in the case of teachers who are now on the Burnham scale would be equally fair and proper in the case of those teachers who have not had the benefit of that scale.
I think I ought to say that it would be out of order now to argue on the merits of the Bill. It is only in order now to allude to the Bill insofar as it has a hearing on the Vote before the Committee at the moment.
Yes, Sir. I hope I was not transgressing beyond that ruling. I was very conscious of it, and meant to conform to it.
The right hon. Gentleman was getting a little near the border.
All that I desired to do was to answer in advance, so far as I could do so satisfactorily, a thought which I expected to find expression from hon. Members as soon as I sat down, namely, that the whole of this reduced Estimate is not required by reason of the delay which the decision of the House the other day involves. That is perfectly true, but, having to lay a Supplementary Estimate, I want to take as much money as may be required in one amount, and not to have a succession of Supplementary Estimates, which are always made a subject of reproach to the Government. I hope I have said all that I need say and I trust I have said no more than I ought to say. I shall be glad to accept the reduction of which my hon. Fiend the Member for Wood Green has given notice. Perhaps, as my last word, I ought to repeat what I said the other day, that of course we shall not spend any more money on this matter than the decisions of the House on the Bill require us to spend.
On a point of Order. In calling Amendments, will you not first call the Amendment to reduce the Vote by £565,000?
If the hon. Member wishes to move, he can move his Amendment for any sum.
What the right hon. Gentleman has said places me rather in a difficulty, because, from what lie said the other day, I imagined, in placing my Amendment on the Paper that there was really not the slightest chance of the Government accepting it. My experience has been that, whenever a good case has been made for the reduction of expenditure on Supply, we have never been able to get the Government to meet our case by accepting an Amendment. I maintain that not one penny of this Supplementary Estimate is necessary, and I think that a very good case can be made to show that, if no Supplementary Estimate was required while the Bill was going through its Second Reading stage the other day, for exactly the same reason no Supplementary Estimate is equired now. The two things seem to me to stand on exactly the same footing, and while I am certainly prepared to move my Amendment—I am grateful for small mercies—yet I do not want the right hon. Gentleman to think that is going to debar me from voting against the whole Estimate.
Does the hon. Member move?
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £200,000.
On a point of Order. I understand ii my hon. Friend moves, the Question you will put will be that a reduced sum of so and so be granted, the Government will accept that, the reduced sum will be granted, and there is nothing further to be said.
Undoubtedly that will be the Question put.
Whether the Government accept it or not, I imagine it will be possible for hon. Members to say they will not accept the right hon. Gentleman's view and to vote against the whole sum.
It is always possible for those who desire it to disagree with the Government. My Noble Friend has often illustrated the truth of that.
If the Government accept the £200,000 reduction, is it afterwards possible for me to move my further Amendment?
Not if that is carried.
Would it still be open to oppose the Motion on the question as put by you?
It is open to move another Amendment if the first be unsuccessful.
I quite sec that the Leader of the House has gone a long way in this matter, but I appeal to him and ask whether he could not go on further and postpone the whole Vote. What happened earlier this afternoon has completely changed the whole situation. The Chairman of the Committee has told us that. he expects to report on Wednesday week. I cannot see any object in getting the money now, and there are very many reasons for postponing the Vote until after we have had the report of the Committee. The reasons my right hon. Friend gave for pressing on with the Vote now were first, that a month had elapsed since the time he had hoped the Bill would become law, and that therefore more time had run. Surely that is a reason for not asking for the Vote until you knew exactly what you have to pay. What I object to here is that we are taking a leap in the dark, and that we are asked to sanction a Vote when the real expenditure may be either bigger or smaller, but, anyhow, a quite different sum. Secondly, my right hon. Friend said that if a long time went on—and some time had run since the beginning of the year—the House might not wish to date back the reduction of 5 per cent. of the teachers' salaries in case the Committee reported in that sense. I quite agree. They might or they might not like it. But surely whether they take off 5 per cent. from 1st January, depends entirely upon the date on which the request is made. If six or nine months of the year have run it may be a hardship on the teachers, and there again we cannot come to a decision on that point until we have the Report before us, and if the Report is in favour of charging five per cent., until we know from which date that five per cent. is to be charged. Last of all, any Debate that we hold now may prejudge the very important question before the Committee. I will give one example of that. The Leader of the House said there is a doubt whether the same plan which would be applied to the Burnham scale teachers should also be applied to teachers not under the Burnham scale. I think by making that distinction alone the Leader of the House might be held to prejudge the case and to admit that certain teachers ought not to be reduced. So in view of the difficult matter the Select Committee has to decide, involving the giving of a pledge and the honour of the House. because I am extremely anxious that, it should not be prejudged, and also because I do not wish to vote money until I know the exact amount I have to pay, T appeal to my right hon. Friend to adjourn the Debate.
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."The only sensible course is the one which has just been suggested. I do not see that tins Vote is at al] necessary unless the Bill is not carried eventually. The right hon. Gentleman has been giving very good arguments for the necessity of a Supplementary Vote some time or other. Let us have the Supplementary Estimate on what it is for. Supposing the House passes this Bill as it was. The right hon. Gentleman says that a Supplementary Estimate will be wanted for other things. Then let us have it for other things. But if the Supplementary Vote is only wanted for this particular object, surely a delay even of a month—
It is only a fortnight.
The Whitsuntide Recess makes it practically a month in the teachers' year, and therefore we have to look upon it as a month's delay. Surely the proper way of dealing with this, without wasting the time of the Committee in going into the matter now, in which we are doing a great deal of mischief, is to adjourn the Debate till the moment when the money is required and we know how much is wanted.
I am rather inclined to think that is the best way out of the difficulty in which we have unfortunately got ourselves by the Rules of the House. As I understand it, if we go on and divide on this Motion, hon. Members who desire not to drop the Supplementary Estimate will first have to vote against the reduction, which is not at all their wish, and when the main Question is put they will have to vote against that. That will be a complicated and a difficult matter. There might be a certain number of votes given by hon. Members who had not heard the whole Debate which would not exactly carry out their wishes. There seems to me a good deal to be said for the Motion to Report Progress. It really is not very desirable that we should proceed to deal with this now, because the question really has not arisen. We do not know yet what we shall have to pay or when we shall have to pay it. The right hon. Gentleman says the appointment of the Committee would involve a month's delay. If he thinks again, I think he will see that it will only involve a fortnight's delay. He would not have got his Bill, on his own showing, until after the Whitsuntide Recess. Supposing the Committee reports, as he anticipates, there is no reason why the Bill should not be obtained within a fortnight of that time, if the views of the right hon. Member for Camborne (Mr. Acland) are carried out and you get the Report of the Committee before the Whitsuntide Recess, 'and therefore you will be able to get through the stages of the Bill a fortnight after the Whitsuntide Recess, supposing, as the result of the Report, the House decides to go on with the Bill. Until the Division the other day, the Government did not think it necessary to have a Supplementary Estimate at all. The Supplementary Estimate was announced only because of the Division—[Interruption]—and someone suggests that it was a punishment of the House. I do not think the Leader of the House would be so foolish as to try to punish the House of Commons. I am sure he will agree that procedure of that kind is never successful in the House of Commons. But whatever the reason, the right hon. Gentleman did not think it necessary until the vote took place, because there was no certainty that any Supplementary Estimate would be required. By what possible process of reasoning can it be defended that we should now grant even £375,000 because the Bill may be delayed for a fortnight? It really is not sensible to ask for this Estimate because, if the Committee reports as the Government think it will, the Bill may be delayed a fortnight. Why did not the right hon. Gentleman ask for a Supplementary Estimate originally? Because he did not think it was necessary. He was going to ask the House to date back this deduction from the teachers' salaries to the beginning of the financial year. If that was a reasonable proposition when the Bill was presented the other day, it cannot have become utterly unreasonable because there is going to be a fortnight's delay. It really cannot make any difference. If it was a proper thing to do then, it would be the proper thing to do now.
Does the Noble Lord advocate it now?
That is a different matter altogether. I have not formed an opinion on the subject. I shall wait and hear the Debate on the subject if it is raised, as I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman will, and he will then form his opinion and I shall form mine. In the same way, my right hon. Friend now suggests that it may be necessary because certain educational authorities have not adopted the Burnham scale, and it is hard to insist on a contributory pension in the case of those authorities. That was all true when the Bill was introduced. This kind of hypothetical case for a Supplementary Estimate is very objectionable. You ought not to ask for a Supplementary Estimate which will only become necessary if the House of Commons makes a change in the Bill. That is contrary to all good financial principle. A Supplementary Estimate ought to meet some unforeseen charge which is practically certain to come upon you. To ask for a Supplementary Estimate to meet a charge which may become necessary if an Amendment is passed in a Bill is unsound finance, and is stretching the principle of Supplementary Estimates far beyond the length to which it ought to be stretched. I am sure my right hon. Friend will agree with me that there is nothing that ought to he more carefully watched in this House than the practice of presenting Supplementary Estimates. My right hon. Friend smiles. I am sure that he will agree that it is a very bad system, and though it is inevitable on occasion, it ought not to be done unless there is an absolute necessity for it. It seems to me that no ease for the Supplementary Estimate has been made out to-day. The proper course is to wait until such a case has been made out, and then the House will be ready to agree to whatever Supplementary Estimate is necessary.
My Noble Friend made reference to the smile which played over my countenance a moment ago. I was admiring the ingenuity with which my Noble Friend can use his objection to or criticism of a Supplementary Estimate for his own purpose or his argument, whatever it may be. His habitual argument is this: produce your Estimate before you spend any money. We produce our Estimate, and he says: "Let us spend the money first, and have the Estimate afterwards. It is contrary to all decent and sound finance that you should have a Supplementary Estimate before the money is wanted."Let us see where we stand. Last week I was standing at this box, with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, pleading that the House should give a Second Reading to a Bill which was to effect a large saving in educational expenditure, and every speech that was made, and, almost without exception, all the cheers that came as hon. Members spoke, indicated the gravest reluctance on the part of the House to face up to the unpopularity involved in reducing the expenditure. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, it is so, and those of us who were in the House know that it is so. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The Division list showed how strong that reluctance was in the House. We thought it necessary to bring the House face to face with the farts. If they will not face the unpopularity of cutting down the expenditure, they must face the unpopularity of voting Estimates on the expenditure which they will not cut down. The House, to judge by the speeches made to-day, is as unwilling to face the expenditure involved in this Supplementary Estimate as it was to face the cutting down of the expenditure last week. The Government, so far as the speeches are concerned, notably those of my Noble Friend, gets as little assistance as it got last week. I do not expect assistance from my Noble Friend. He separated himself from us, and he is openly an opponent of the Government, of all its works, of its existence, and is ready to take any proper Parliamentary means of terminating its exist- ence as early as possible. I do not believe that that is the general sense of the House. I believe they wish to give a fair examination of all the Government's proposals. My Noble Friend is singularly unsuccessful in achieving his purpose. There is an undoubted change of opinion between last Tuesday and to-day. I do not know whether that change of opinion is going to last., and how far it will be carried, but the Government do think, in spite of what my hon. Friends say, that since the House has thrown back this Bill, and since the Bill, its passage and its future, is in doubt, the House should, judged by their action, at least show that they are ready to make good any expenditure which they insisted upon being undertaken. If the House ultimately decides to pass the Bill as it was originally brought in, not one penny of the money in the Supplementary Estimate will be spent. The House and the country had better realise that the alternative is between the Bill and the Supplementary Estimate. Hon. Members cannot vote against the Bill one day and vote against the Supplementary Estimate this week. There is some unpopularity attached to either course. My hon. Friends must make up their minds which unpopularity they are going to face, and say which course they think it right to follow. I hope they will support the Government in carrying this Supplementary Estimate, and that they will reserve their judgment as to the terms and conditions on which they will apply any particular money until they again consider the Bill, after the Report of the Committee.
It is, indeed, a very pleasant Monday afternoon for the Labour party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where are they?"] The rest of the Committee are in a somewhat uncomfortable position. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where arc the Labour party?"] The Labour party need not be here in great force. They have made up their minds. It is the rest of the Committee who are in the uncomfortable position of not knowing whether they were right last week or whether they are right this week. Even the Leader of the House himself is not too comfortable. He has successfully scored off his own supporters. I do not think it is very useful for the Leader of the House to score off his own supporters, though it is very amusing for the rest. of the Committee. We are enabled to enjoy the spectacle. Hon. Members have either to carry out the heroic vote of last week or they must come to heel to-day. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House that they will come to heel, and, if it is any satisfaction to him to know, he will have in this Vote this afternoon the enthusiastic support of the Labour party. They are where they were last week, in favour of spending this money for education—
The question before the Committee is whether or not we are to report Progress. The Vote is not before the Committee at the present time.
I am aware of that, and I am sorry if I have trans-pressed the rules of Order. The question, as last week, is whether we should adjourn the House in order that the Committee may have an opportunity of changing its mind. On the whole, seeing that we do stand for the dignity of Parliament, the Committee had better decide this question without any further adjournment. Last week the right hon. Gentleman smote the box and said: "You must make up your minds, yes or no, now." That was right, but the House could not manage it. Now, after a week's reflection, they will be able to make up their minds whether or not they are for the expenditure of this money. It is an interesting spectacle, Members of this House being charged by the Leader of the House with the base motive of being afraid to vote for the Bill on account of the opposition of the teachers, and the House accepting that charge, recognising the truth of it, and coming to heel on the second call. It is one of the most beautiful examples of the power of the Government, and, at the same time, a lamentable example of the lack of strength of character of Members of this House, who, apparently, do not know their own mind as to whether education should come first or not.
We have listened to a somewhat irrelevant speech from the hon. and gallant Member, who may always be trusted to try to exalt the importance of the Labour party at the expense of the House of Commons. The real question is what the dignity of the House of Commons requires on an occasion like this. Shall it be involved in the trammels of its own forms, or deal with form and substance? I am not in the embarrassing position which the hon. and gallant Member has just suggested, because I was fortunate enough or unfortunate enough to be in my own constituency when the vote was given last week. I am not going to pretend to possess any superior virtue or to say whether I should have voted with the Government or not, nut I do think that the Government, in putting down this Supplementary Estimate, are taking the only practical course which they could take. They framed their Estimates upon the assumption, as to which they were the best judges, that a Bill would be introduced and pressed through, but the House decided that the Bill should not he proceeded with. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] At any rate, the House decided that the Debate should not be proceeded with. It appears to most people, therefore, that the Government, as prudent trustees of finance, must make that provision which would have had to have been made if the Bill had not been required to be introduced. Hon. Members must appreciate that it is necessary from time to time to know what amount of money which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has available has been used. Unless this Estimate had been taken, presumably the persons who framed the Budget will not be able to count whether this money is or is not required. If this Vote be now taken, the guardians of the Exchequer will know that, until the House decides otherwise, the money is required. When the Select Committee has reported and the House has given a decision upon the question of the Bill, it may he necessary to say that the money will not be required, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to that extent will he better off. Ninety-nine people out of a hundred would say that the point of substance to-day is whether temporary provision should be made for this purpose so that, so to speak, a certain amount of money can be mortgaged for this purpose. If the money is not required it will not be spent. The House will be acting most consistent with its dignity if it proceeds on the basis that the money will have to be spent, and if the Debate is not debased for unworthy purposes.
The Leader of the House led us to believe that the question last week was wholly a matter of expenditure, but, surely, the Adjournment was moved purely from the point of view as to whether there had been a pledge or contract. I understood that the main attack against the Government was from that point of view, and not from the point of view of expenditure. This is confirmed by the Motion to set up the Select Committee, because that Committee is not to discuss expenditure. It has been set up purely to discuss whether there has been any undertaking given by the Government or Parliament. I do not see how those Members who voted against the Government last week can be said to have voted for the expenditure of money, when it was only a question of whether there had been a pledge or undertaking. Now that we have this Supplementary Vote before us, I do not see why it should be said that really we have voted for this expenditure. I do not think it will be to the dignity of the House to allow this Estimate to go through, because hon. Members are having the accusation thrown at them that they have voted for expenditure and have defeated the Government on the question, and that they want the Government to spend more money. On the contrary, I think that the dignity of the House requires that it turns this Estimate down, so that no Member who voted against the Government the other night will be accused of having voted for expenditure. I was not one of those myself who voted against the Government. Unfortunately I was not here at the moment, but had I been here I would have voted for the Government.
I must remind the hon. Member that the Question is whether or not we report Progress.
I am very sorry, but I was led aside by remarks of hon. Members. Apart from the dignity of the House, I do not see why a Supplementary Estimate is necessary. The Leader of the House suggested that the new system will not come into force from the beginning of the financial year if this Supplementary Estimate is passed. I do not see why it should not come into force from the beginning of the financial year. As I understand, it may be a. month later when this Bill is passed, provided that the Select Committee report in favour of the Government. But that is no reason why the Supplementary Estimate should be passed, and no reason why the new scheme should not start. at the beginning of the financial year. When the matter has been fully debated and the Bill passed, the new scheme should start from the beginning of the financial year. I am in favour of a contributory system. As to whether £200,000, less or more, is required, that is not a very important matter. £660,000 or £360,000 if the Government do not wish—
The hon. Member cannot go into the merits of the Estimate. The only question before the Committee is the adjournment of the discussion.
I hope that the Committee will not be led aside and will not pass this Supplementary Estimate.
I have listened with interest to this Debate, and I think that the issue which the Leader of the House has put was an absolutely false one, which reflects on the House of Commons itself. The question before us is whether this discussion should be adjourned and no vote taken for the Supplementary Estimate to-day. My position is a very detached one. I heard the statement of the Minister of Education and should not have voted against the Second Reading of the Bill; on the contrary, I should have voted for it. It seemed to me to be a large economy. I am not going into the merits; I am only explaining what went on in my own brain. Then the question was raised as to whether or not, desirable as the economy might be in itself, we were not estopped from making it, by some pledge or understanding given or made between the teachers and those who are responsible on the part of the central authorities. It was on that ground, and that ground only, that the Debate was adjourned. It had no connection whatever with the merits of the Bill itself. I am as certain as I can be. of anything that happens in the House of Commons that a number of hon. Members voted for the Adjournment who, if that issue had not been raised, would have been favourable to the Second Reading.How do we stand to-day? The Government have wisely agreed to the appointment of a Select Committee to consider and determine the specific point, and nothing else, whether there was or was not such an honourable understanding between the teachers and the State as would make it what is called a breach of faith to proceed with a particular economy in existing conditions. A Select Committee has been set up, of which my right hon. Friend the Member for Camborne (Mr. Acland) is a member. He occupies an authoritative position in this matter, and he has indicated his opinion that he will be in a position to report very shortly, possibly before Whitsuntide. What then is the necessity for pressing the Supplementary Estimate at this moment? If the Committee report that there is no breach of faith, the Bill can proceed, and if it proceeds in its original form there is no necessity for a Supplementary Estimate, and a very large economy will be affected. If, on the other hand, the Committee report in the other sense, then I agree that sonic provision will have to be made. Until we get the Report of the Select Committee which we have appointed, what is the necessity of a Supplementary Estimate in anticipation and ignorance of what the Report of the Committee will be? Let us wait, at any rate, until this Committee has reported. Why should we not adjourn this Debate? The position will not be affected. I am not under any form of intimidation or pressure from any outside source, and it it not fair to the House to suggest that the decision come to the other night was due to outside pressure. It was a common-sense decision on the issue which was raised as to whether or not you were keeping faith with the teachers of the country. If the Government would listen to my advice I would recommend them to accept this Motion to report Progress and allow the House to come to a decision after the Committee has made its Report.
The Government is grateful to My right hon. Friend for his expressions of friendliness on these matters, but. I am suspicious of friendly professions with regard to economy after some of my recent experiences, and I may suggest that some of my right hon. Friend's colleagues have not entirely anted up to their professions in this matter. I would like to answer the point which my right hon. Friend has made. Assume for a moment that we had been presenting Estimates for the year, taking no regard to the possibility of effecting any economy by asking the teachers to contribute to their superannuation fund. Suppose the idea of the Bill was a new one to-day. Then it is perfectly clear that the House of Commons would have had originally presented to it in the shape of the Education Estimates a figure which would have been larger by £2,300,000 than that which is before it at present, and the Budget accordingly would have been entirely different. For example, the, sum involved would have represented at least three halfpence on the pound of tea, and other considerations would have to be taken into account. Here we are to-day, a considerable time after the opening of the financial year. We hoped that we should have been able to get this Bill through within a measurable time. We recognise that there is some difficulty at this period in ante-dating this economy right back to the beginning of the financial year. It is likely when we come to discuss the Bill, whatever view hon. Members may take upon the merits, that the question will be raised whether we are right in enforcing the period before the date at which the Bill is actually passed.We were taking some risks in the Bill as originally presented. We find ourselves faced with an inquiry. It is true that it may go through very rapidly. I am glad that. it may right hon. Friend the Member for Camborne (Mr. Acland) thinks that it can be got through in a fortnight. Personally, I fear that that may prove to be an optimistic estimate, judging by some of the considerations which were raised. Accordingly, the practical question faces us what is to he done in these circumstances. We think it right that the House should know exactly what the failure to realise this economy means in the shape of expense, and that we should take means whereby we should be assured of that money if it is required. On the other hand, it is equally plain, if the House takes the view that the Measure can be ante-dated back to the 1st April, that none of the money will be spent at all. But if we take the view that the period can he taken back to the 1st May that would involve a sum less than that which we originally estimated, and more like the sum which my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. G. Locker Lampson) has now proposed. The important point is that we should have the provision made, and, in the second place, that we should know, as everybody will realise, that no money will be spent that is not absolutely required. On these short grounds I venture to ask the Committee to agree to the Supplementary Estimate as amended on the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green.
The statement to which we listened this afternoon from the Leader of the House confirms my view that this is not abonâ fide request for money for the work of a State Department, but is in fact a demonstration. Let me examine the question for a moment. Salaries of the teachers are paid monthly by local authorities, and not by the State. A State subvention is given to local authorities quarterly, and, with some small exception, the bulk of the money paid to local authorities in respect of the first quarter of the financial year will be paid at the end of June. Until that date there is no need for the House to grant large sums of money. But if there be any need for large sums of money, this £200,000 or £300,000 will be a bagatelle. The money will be wanted in millions then. It will be a quarter or thereabouts of the forty odd millions Vote submitted to the House a little while ago. The fact is that though the Bill, which is still before the House, has failed to pass, this money will not be wanted for the service of the Board of Education until February of next year. Therefore, it is a sheer waste of a sitting of the House to come forward with this Vote this afternoon. The proposal is most unfortunate. Apparently the further we go with this question the worse the muddle into which we get. I need not enter into the merits of the Vote at the moment, not of the Bill which has led to it, but I say without hesitation, and, what is more, with the knowledge I have of educational administration, that this money will not be wanted, if wanted at all, for several months.
The hon. and gallant Member is under a misapprehension. The Board of Education pay monthly to the local authorities. The important matter is not whether they pay quarterly or half-yearly or monthly, but whether we can claim back money on salaries already paid to the teachers.
Whether I be right or wrong, or whether salaries be paid monthly or quarterly, I agree that it is a matter of small importance. But equally let me say that what is of no importance whatever to this House is the fact that the local authorities have to claim back from the teachers. That is a matter for them, and it does not affect this Vote this afternoon. I am a member of a local authority. I do not think the Leader of the House is. I tell him quite frankly that local authorities are not looking with any great admiration lo the task of collecting the back subscriptions of the teachers.
My right hon. Friend is in too great a hurry. Whether his Bill passed or did not pass, the authorities cannot commence that task until the end of June next. Will the right hon. Gentleman deny that? If they attempted to make the deductions at the end of May they could he sued for the payment of full salary. Therefore, whether the Bill passes or not before Whitsuntide, they cannot make the deductions until the end of June, and, consequently, the contingency which this Vote has in view cannot possibly arise until the end of June. It might, therefore, just as well have been postponed until we know the fate of the Bill. That is why I must support the Motion to report Progress. The fact of the matter is that an attempt is being made—I speak quite frankly and I hope not bitterly—to place upon those who voted for the Adjournment of the Debate last Tuesday the responsibility of being opposed to all economies. That is not fair and it is not true. I am surprised that any Minister of the Crown should have lent himself to that interpretation of last Tuesday's Debate.I have never excluded from my own mind the possibility of a contributory scheme. I made no remark on the merits of the Bill. The few remarks I made were limited to a very narrow issue raised by the right hon. Member for Hitchin (Lord N. Cecil). On that, the Adjournment was taken, and it is most unfair to say that those who voted for it are against economy. Let us wait until the Bill is fully before the House and see what the vote will then be on the Measure. I cannot help repeating my judgment that this is nothing but a demonstration this afternoon and an attempt to place, quite unjustly, a responsibility upon many of us of being opposed to economies, so as to enable someone to turn round and say, "When we introduced a Bill which would effect some economy, the House of Commons is against it. Here are the natural consequences. You have to face a vote in Committee of Supply." This is a parade and demonstration. There is no need whatever for it. I challenge any representative of the Board of Education to suggest that their coffers are empty and that they cannot meet the demands of the local authorities for next May, June and July without coming to the House for this Vote this afternoon. The Vote for which the Government asked in the first instance may be depleted by January or February next, and, if so, that is the time to come to the House for a Supplementary Estimate, instead of troubling the House now with an altogether unnecessary and unjustifiable demand.
I very much regret that the Government do not show any readiness to consider the delaying of this matter on the grounds that have been put before the Committee. The matter ought to be delayed, because we are asked to vote a sum of money which the Government admits is not wanted, or which they are not sure will be wanted. The whole question arises from the troubles of 1918, during the latter part of which year we were too ready to agree to the voting of large sums of money to everyone who wanted it. It is significant that the two right hon. Gentlemen who have spoken for the Government have made no reference to the fact that, when they brought their Bill before the House last week, six months of this year had passed, and that the very objections they are alleging against us this afternoon were just as true last Tuesday when they introduced their Bill. The addition of the extra fortnight, surely, cannot make any difference to the merits of the case. With reference to the speech of the Leader of the House, I am in a position that is utterly different from that of many other hon. Members, inasmuch as I opposed the Bill last w eek, and, previous to taking that action, I had in writing told the National Union of Teachers in my constituency that I believed in the Government policy of a contributory scheme. The observations of the Leader of the House, therefore, do not apply to me, and I know they cannot be fairly applied to a number of other Members who voted against the School Teachers (Superannuation) Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said with considerable emphasis that Members of the House could not vote against the Bill one week and then against the Estimate the next. Does not that remark rather show that the whole purpose of the Government to-day is to try to put those Members who voted against the Bill in a difficulty? From what I know of a large number of those who had the courage to vote against the Bill last week, this action on the part of the Government is not likely to frighten them. Men who can vote against the Government on such an important matter, many of whom, I know, have plainly stated in their own constituencies that they are in favour of a contributory scheme, cannot be fairly attacked as the Leader of the House attacked them. I hope that the Government, on the grounds of plain common sense, will postpone the matter until we know what the decision of the Committee is and until the Government know exactly what money is wanted and for what it is wanted.
I appeal to the Government to withdraw this Vote or to agree to the reporting of Progress. I was one of those Members who had what I think was the wisdom to vote against the Government last Tuesday. I resent very strongly the imputation of the Leader of the House that I did it either for fear of the consequences to myself or for any other motive than that I thought there was a case for inquiry which had not been cleared up by the Government. I regard this Vote, put down for an unnecessarily large sum and to cover an unnecessarily long period, as an attempt at a sort of petty revenge by the Government on those supporters who voted against them. It is an attempt to say: "You voted against us on the Motion for the Adjournment and therefore we are going to label you in your constituencies as wastrels." I consider it as a piece of great and un- necessary courage on the part of any Government that has the present right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Board of Education to charge anyone with waste. This Debate and this Estimate need never have arisen if the Minister of Education had done what I think a reasonable man should have done before bringing in the Bill.
That is not relevant to the question that the Committee should report Progress.
Other people have set me a bad example. I hope that the Government will not insist on this Vote in order to avenge themselves on Members who voted against them last week, for I do not think that would be good for the Government or for the dignity of the House.
I listened to the speech of the Leader of the House, and I must say that it struck me that the account which he gave of what took place last Tuesday was very inaccurate, and, what with him is very unusual, was decidedly unfair. What the right hon. Gentleman tried to do was to put a certain number of Members of the House in an embarrassing position, if he could, altogether apart from the merits of the case. He talked about Members having to face one or other of two opposing unpopularities, and he insinuated that it was from the desire to escape one or the other that their votes were given. When insinuations of that sort are made against right hon. Gentlemen who happen to be in an official position, they are hotly resented by Members of the Government, and I do not think it is a bit more true of them than of those of us who occupy more humble positions in this House, that we are able to give our votes conscientiously and altogether apart from: the sort of influences to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. The right hon, Gentleman also said he noticed a con siderable change of view since last Tuesday. I do not know whether such a change has taken place or not. I can only say that I have not in any way changed my view. If he suggests that those of us who voted against the Government last week are in the embarrassing position, that having done so we cannot vote now against the Supplementary Estimate, I may say that having done the one I intend to do the other. I do not really greatly care whether this particular Motion is carried or not, or whether we are giving a decision to-day or not. Whenever time for the decision arrives, I shall vote against this Supplementary Estimate. I quite agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Accrington (Major Gray) when he says this is not really abonâ fide Parliamentary transaction at all. This is an attempt to be vindictive, in the Parliamentary sense, and I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith). I agree with almost every word he said. On Tuesday last, if I could do so, I wanted to support the Bill, but having heard from various hon. Members who knew more about the history of the matter than I did, that if we voted for the Government we should be guilty of something approaching a breach of faith, I did not support the Bill and I think it is a very honourable thing that a statement of that, sort should give, us pause. It was in order to have that particular point cleared up that I voted for the adjournment of the Debate last Tuesday. This Committee has now been set up, and I understand the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cam-borne (Mr. Acland) has given his opinion that it can come to a decision in a fortnight. That does not surprise me, in view of the very small and narrow point which they have to decide—indeed, should decide it in an even shorter time, and for the Government to build upon that small delay a necessity for passing this Supplementary Estimate does not seem to me—and I do not wish to use strong language—to be abonâ fide financial transaction.As has been pointed out, it really does not make any difference in regard to the general Vote and the demands which have to be met. The Leader of the House says that these payments being monthly, difficulties might arise at the end of June in regard to getting contributions for back payments. I, like many other Members of the House, both during and since the. War, had many cases before me, where soldiers and sailors, and others who have served the Crown, were overpaid very often through some stupidity on the part of a Government Department. We have all known cases where a man in receipt of a small pension has had for some considerable time payments deducted from him to make up for alleged overpayments. In view of that fact, I cannot believe there would be the slightest administrative difficulty—should it be found necessary to do so—for some months after the Bill, if passed, comes into operation, in having deductions made in order to make good contributions which should have been recoverable earlier. It is merely a pretence that more money is required now. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer truly said, it might be a question to be debated when the time comes, as to whether this retrospective action is right or not. If it was right to bring it into the Bill, it is right to maintain it in the Bill. In any event, probably, the Bill will not be passed until the middle or end of June. Consequently, if this proposal is to be decided at once, I think, with great consistency, I shall vote against the Supplementary Estimate. On the other hand, if the Motion to report progress is carried, I shall not care one way or the other, but at all events, it will postpone the necessity and the occasion for this proposal, which appears to me to be entirely unnecessary and quite unfair.
I am rather surprised that when I rise as almost the first Member to speak any word in support of the Government on this question, I am interrupted by cries of impatience, but I intend to assert my own opinion. It is difficult to deal with the question within the limits of the very narrow issue to which we are now confined, namely, that the Debate should be adjourned and it is impossible for me to enter into the very large question which my hon. Friend who has just spoken seemed to regard as coming within the scope of that issue. I am not prepared to deal with the arguments of the hon. and gallant. Member for Accrington further than to say that he spoke of this as a demonstration. There are worse things than a demonstration. This is a demonstration, to a certain extent, and it is a demonstration to which people outside this House ought to have their attention turned. In the Debate of last week arguments were used which I will not describe as strange or ignorant, but certainly very unfair arguments were used against those of us who spoke in that Debate with as much conscience and as much desire to further the interests of the teachers as others who pose as the only friends of the teachers. Those arguments were used against us because we ventured to differ from the view that in all respects the teachers were right and we were wrong. I would like to say this, having 3,000 or more teachers in my constituency, that a speech which I made on this subject last week was I am certain read by every one of them and I had one letter on the matter, from a teacher and a constituent saying that he felt that I was taking the sane and the wise view in the interests of the teachers. I shall read an extract from the letter:
That is the only letter I received, and not one word of protest reached me. I mean to stick closely to the point of the present discussion which is that the Debate be adjourned. That is really a fundamental question, and we ought to decide it at once. We have waited now for a week, and we have been going backwards and forwards. We have been told that at the expense of the teachers we are saving a little money, and we are told now that this money must be provided. How is it to be provided? It is suggested that it can be "slipped in" somewhere. Is that proper finance Does the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) suggest that we should use some money which we have somewhere else in order to meet a deficiency on the Education Estimate? At the Committee of Public Accounts that is a thing we have to fight more than anything else. Money voted for one purpose being temporarily used for another. It is rotten finance. if the House of Commons was not prepared to accept the Bill last week, let us make up our mind that we must come to a decision on the question of where we arc to find the money. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley seemed to think that the only question on which our decision was asked was the question of the Bill introduced last week. That is not the case. That Bill has been postponed for we do not know how long. It is all very well to say, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Camborne has said, that in ten days or a fortnight it can be proceeded with. We have lost a week now, and it will be at least ten days more before the Report of the Committee is due. Is it to be thought that there can be less than a month's delay before the Second Reading. That month of delay implies that the saving of £2,300,000 will have to be depleted by a certain amount. That is perfectly plain and straightforward. We have not to decide on the Bill; what we are asked to decide here is whether or not Parliament is going to keep its accounts in proper order. How are we to make up the Education Vote if this contribution is remitted? Let us deal with it plainly and provide the extra sum required. Do not slip it in and say, "Perhaps you can use some other sum. Perhaps it will never be required; perhaps it will turn out that the demonstration against your niggardliness to the teachers is, after all, only a demonstration; but why should you take us at our word by asking us to vote for this Estimate? "That attitude seems to suggest that some of my hon. Friends who made themselves prominent in the Debate of last week feel that they have been hoist by their own petard. I ask that the Government should proceed promptly to a decision and not put off or adjourn the Debate. We should be fair to the Government lion. Members know perfectly well that I am not backward in opposing the Government strongly when I feel that it is right and proper to do so, but this is a matter of book-keeping. Either you must support the Government in saving the money or, if you cannot do that, you must help the Government to put the money into the Exchequer in the proper way, Let it be referred to as a "demonstration" if lion. Members so prefer, but when people are stampeded by unfair lobbying on the part of the lower grades of teachers—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"]—into voting against a proposal like this, and when they are asked to replace the money, they should not say, "Oh, no, do not ask us to vote. We are scrupulously conscientious, but we should not be asked to vote this money now." Hon. Members who take up that attitude seem to suggest that we should wait a little while and that perhaps the Committee which they insisted upon setting up, in order to judge the honour of this House, may not find that this was a breach of faith. The hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) laid great stress on the point as to whether or not this was breaking faith, and some hon. Members who voted against the Government seem to wish to say, "We are sure the Committee will never take the view that it was our function last week to urge, and therefore do not be so hard on us and do not ask us to carry out the unpleasant duty of voting money to make up for that which we prevented you horn saving.""As you will no doubt by now have received protests against your speech in the House yesterday, I would like as a schoolmaster and a constituent to express my appreciation of your point of view and of the wise attitude you recommended to the profession."
If this were a mere question of adjourning this Debate or not I confess I would be thoroughly in favour of adjourning it. Before I give my vote I should like to ask the Leader of the House whether he will leave the question to a free vote of the House or not. Speaking for myself, I do not attach the great importance to this question which some hon. Members have attached to it. It appears to me to be a question of procedure rather than of substance. If the Government tell us that, in their judgment, the proper procedure is to proceed now, I certainly will not vote against them, especially if they tell me that it is to be a vote of confidence, and that in the event of their defeat they will go cut. Honestly, for myself, I should not be prepared to vote against them on this occasion, if an adverse vote were to have the effect of turning them out. There are many occasions on which one has felt it his duty to vote against the Government, but I think we should make a mistake if, by our vote upon what, after all, is a relatively less important matter than most of the things with which we have got to deal, we were to take a decision adverse to the Government.
I rise because my hon. and learned Friend the Member for York (Sir J. Butcher) made a personal appeal to me, and I also would make an appeal to the Committee. It is not possible for the Government to take the course which my hon. and learned Friend suggested and detach themselves from the responsibility for the decision which the House should take. We look very gravely on the refusal of the House to proceed with the Bill last week, which we were prepared then and there to defend upon its merits, if the House would have considered its merits instead of moving the Adjournment of the Debate, but the House would not. Out. of respect for the House the Government agreed to appoint, this Select Committee, but they felt that the House, having taken that decision, was bound to make provision for the expense which might, and probably would, be involved in the decision they had taken. I cannot leave that question to the unguided judgment of the Committee. I must say that the Government attach importance, and great importance—all the greater because of the defeat of last week—to the decision to which the Committee is now asked to come, and we shall, of course, put on the Government Whips. The appeal I would make to the Committee is that we should be allowed to come now to a decision, because, after all, either on the original Motion or in the speeches on the Motion to report Progress, we have really covered the whole ground. It is a very narrow issue, there is a great deal of other business to get through, and I would urge that the Committee should take a decision on the Motion to report Progress and upon the Vote itself without further delay.
I thought, and I think still, that it would have been the best way to put off this Vote to a future occasion, as there has been no speech made by anybody that shows any necessity for the immediate voting of this money, but if the Government wishes to take. a Vote of Confidence, it is not right to take it on a Motion to report Progress.
Division No. 115.]
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, G. H.||Poison, Sir Thomas A.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hogge, James Myles||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Holmes, J. Stanley||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Irving, Dan||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Cape, Thomas||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Cecil. Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Spoor, B. G.|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Kennedy, Thomas||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Kenworthy, Lieut. -Commander J. M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Kenyon, Bamet||Thomas, Brig-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kiley, James Daniel||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Thome, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Waterson, A. E.|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D (Midlothian)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Malone, C. L. (Leyton, E.)||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mills, John Edmund||Wignall, James|
|Grundy, T. W.||Mosley, Oswald||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'P'l, W. D'by)||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Halls, Walter||Naylor, Thomas Ellis||Windsor, Viscount|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||O'Connor, Thomas P.||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wise, Frederick|
|Hayday, Arthur||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. —|
|Colonel Gretton and Mr. Foot.|
and therefore I am prepared to withdraw my Motion. I shall vote against the expenditure, and I may tell the right hon. Gentleman that the change in the House has not taken place from the causes he thinks. The change in the House came from a very real cause. The other day there was a letter that I received—and most Members in this Houses received similar letters—expressing, from a very good authority on the Front Bench, that the Government did not need our support till 10.30, and many of us thought they were able to take care of themselves then. It is a very different statement which appears in a similar letter received to-day. However, I do not wish to make a difficulty, either for the Committee or for the Government, and I think that if the Committee wishes to vote straight on the subject, it is better that it should not vote on a Motion to report Progress, but should vote on the Supplementary Estimate, personally have always been against the teachers on this question, and have told the teachers so, and I am prepared to vote against the Supplementary Estimate, as I should have been to vote in favour of the Bill. However, I ask leave to withdraw my Motion.
Question put,"That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 79; Noes, 264.
|Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Forestler-Walker, L.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Forrest, Walter||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson|
|Armitage, Robert||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E||Newton, Major Sir Harry K.|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Gardner, Ernest||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Austin, Sir Herbert||Gee, Captain Robert||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfieid)|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Balrd, Sir John Lawrence||Gilbert, James Daniel||Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Glyn, Major Ralph||Pain, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Hacket|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||Goff, Sir R. Park||Parker, James|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Goulding, Rt. Hon, Sir Edward A.||Pearce, Sir William|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood.||Grant, James Augustus||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Oxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Greig, Colonel Sir James William||Perring, William George|
|Barrand, A. R.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. w. E.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Beck, Sir Arthur Cecil||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Pratt, John William|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Prescott, Major Sir W. H.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Haslam, Lewis||Rae, H. Norman|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Honderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Raper, A. Baldwin|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Hinds, John||Rawilnson, John Frederick Peel|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J, G||Rees, Capt. J. Tudor-(Barnstaple)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Remnant, Sir James|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Bowles, Colonel H. F.||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hudson, R. M.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hunter, General Sir A (Lancaster)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Hurd, Percy A.||Robinson, Sir T (Lanes,. Stretford)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Rounded, Colonel R. F.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Jameson, John Gordon||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Jephcott, A. R.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Jesson, C.||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'I, Exchange)|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Scott, Sir Samuel (St. Marylebone)|
|Casey, T. W.||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Lianelly)||Seager, Sir William|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Sharman-Crawford, Robert G.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm, Aston)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on T.)|
|Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Larmor, Sir Joseph||Simm, M T.|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Lloyd, George Butler||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Stevens, Marshall|
|Colvin, Brig-General Richard Beale||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Coote, Colin Relth (Isle of Ely)||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Lyle, C. E. Leonard||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray||Taylor, J.|
|Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Heory||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Terrell, George, (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Dalzlel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell (Maryhill)|
|Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Magnus, Sir Philip||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Ednam, Viscount||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Martin, A. E.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Mildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.||Wallace, I.|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Evans, Ernest||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Waring, Major Walter|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Warren, Sir Alfred H.|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Morrison, Hugh||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Fildes, Henry||Murchison, C. K.||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Fisher. Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Murray, C. D, (Edinburgh)||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Neal, Arthur||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)||Woolcock, William James U.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)||Worthigton-Evans, Rt Hon. Sir L.||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Winterton, Earl||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward||Younger, Sir George|
|Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Rlpon)||Yeo, Sir Allred William|
|Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)||Young, E. H. (Norwich)||TELLERS TOR THE NOES. —|
|Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
Question again proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £375,000, be granted for the said Service."
I want to explain to the Committee that my position is a little bit difficult. When I put down my Amendment for a reduction, I was under a misapprehension, as I thought that, first of all, we should have a discussion on the question whether any money at all was required, and that when that was disposed of, my Motion to reduce the Vote by £200,000 would come on. I understand that by moving this Amendment I am standing in the way of hon. Members who want a larger reduction, and wish to see the whole of this Estimate practically wiped out, and I, personally, believe, although I put down this Amendment, that no fund at all is required. That being so, I am entirely in the hands of the Committee, but I am perfectly willing to withdraw my Amendment, and to allow those Members who think that no money is required, to move accordingly. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]
I voted for the Government on the last occasion, and I am not taking sides in this particular matter, but the position is this: The Government come down and ask for a Supplementary Vote for a large sum. Some think that the whole sum should be granted, and some, apparently, think that none should be granted. The hon. Member who has just sat down moved a reduction of £200,000. The Government accepted that Amendment—a thing I have never known before. But there are still, apparently, a large number of Members who wish to express the view that that sum should be further reduced. Surely the House of Commons must have some way of dealing with this question of Order It is perfectly ridiculous that, after a Motion for a reduction of £200,000 has been moved, you cannot move to reduce the Vote still more. By our old procedure, which is very excellent for many purposes, but not for this, you cannot move a further Amendment, and, therefore, if we divide at this moment, the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. E. Harmsworth), in order to express his view, would have to vote against this reduction, so that Members would be voting entirely at cross-purposes. It is not right that those who wish to express a view should have no opportunity, as they have had no opportunity of expressing their view. Keen though I am about Parliamentary rules, they ought not to be used when they stop a real issue, which requires to be raised.
I am very reluctant to stand between the Committee and the Division, but I do not think I can refrain from offering a word of explanation after the complaint of my hon. Friend that I accepted the Motion, and the complaint of my hon. and learned Friend that that places certain Members of the Committee in a predicament. My hon. and learned Friend says there may be Members who may want to vote against any money being granted.
They have said so.
Then they can vote against the reduced sum. My hon. and learned Friend was anxious that the case of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. E. Harmsworth) should be dealt with, but he, I thought, wanted a reduction of £1,000. I have not had the least hesitation in accepting a very much larger sum. With regard to the observations of my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. G Locker-Lampson), understood my hon. Friend thought it not unreasonable, at any rate, in the Government, that they should feel bound to make a provision for the contingency, but that he thought our provision excessive. I agreed with the general desire of the Committee to get the matter quickly disposed of, and I agreed to accept my hon. Friend's Amendment. I told him I would do that if he choose to move it. He moved it reluctantly, because I said in advance I would accept it, and ever since then he has made it a grievance because I accepted his Motion. My hon. Friend knows his own mind, but I find it difficult to please a person who is so fanciful. I beg the Committee to come to a decision on a matter which we have thrashed out. The Government ask for a reduced sum, and the Committee has to decide whether or not it will grant it.
On a point of Order. Would it be in order for me to move that the sum be further reduced by another £275,000?
The Question I am about to put from the Chair is that a reduced sum of 375,000 be granted. Any Members who wish to reduce that have only to negative the Motion.
Cannot I move an Amendment to it?
No Amendment can be moved to this Question.
Question put, and agreed to.
"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £;375,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1923, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Education, and of the various establishments connected therewith, including sundry Grants-in-Aid."
Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.— [ Colonel Leslie Wilson.]
Resolution to be reported To-morrow.
Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.