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Lords Chamber

Volume 41: debated on Monday 9 August 1920

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House Of Lords

Monday, 9th August, 1920.

The House met at a quarter past three of the clock, The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Bristol Corporation Bill





My Lords, I have to ask your Lordships to defer the Third Reading of the Derwent Valley Water Board Bill until to-morrow. I therefore move that Standing Order No. 143 be dispensed with in reference to the other four Bills.

Moved, That Standing Order No. 143 be considered in order to its being dispensed with in respect of the said Bills; and that the Bills be now read 3a .— (The Chairman of Committees.)

On Question, Motion agreed to: Bills read 3a , with the Amendments, and passed and returned to the Commons.

Pensions (Increase) Bill

Brought from the Commons; read 1a , and to be printed.

Telegraph (Money) Bill

Brought from the Commons; read 1a , and to be printed.

Business Of The House

My noble friend the Leader of the House is prevented from attending here to-day, as he expected, not having been able to return to London. I therefore move on his behalf the Motion standing in Lord Curzon's name, the object of which is, I think, familiar to all your Lordships.

It gives Government business precedence throughout the rest of the present sittings up to the adjournment, and on Wednesday the Government take precedence over Motions and Questions standing in the names of unofficial Peers. I suggest, my Lords, that the first business to-day should be the Restoration of Order in Ireland Bill, and that the remaining orders should then be taken as they stand upon the Paper.

Moved, That Standing Orders Nos. XXI and XXXIX be considered in order to their being suspended until the House adjourn for the Recess, and that, until that date, Government Business have precedence over other Notices and Orders of the Day.— (The Earl of Crawford.)

I did not quite catch what the noble Earl said with regard to the business on Wednesday; but I gathered—he will correct me if I am wrong—that the Motion standing in my name for that day and Motions in the names of other noble Lords will be taken subsequently to Government business. I understand that the Motion which the noble Earl has made is the regular thing at; this period of the year in normal times, and that at such times it naturally passes without comment or opposition. But we are not in normal times.

The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack reminded us only two or three days ago of the very serious crisis with which the country is faced. I think he compared it with the crisis which existed six years ago—namely, in August, 1914. We are also faced with the fact that His Majesty's Government has steadily and continuously departed from the long-established precedent of making statements in your Lordships' House in regard to such crises as now exist. Your Lordships are therefore left to such information as they may obtain through the ordinary channels. We have seen manifestoes issued to the country on the present state of Europe by persons who are certainly ill-informed and have no particular right to issue such manifestoes. I gather from the papers that there is to be a Parliament of Labour to inquire into this present crisis and to bring action to bear outside Parliament, or rather over the heads of Parliament, upon the Government. That certainly does not constitute a normal condition of affairs.

I am particularly anxious, as your Lordships will gather by my opening words, with regard to the business which is to be taken on Wednesday, because a Motion of mine is put down for that day asking the Government to make a statement on the very serious condition of affairs in Poland. have, I think, given evidence to the noble Earl the Leader of this House that it is no desire of mine to embarrass him or the Government or to add in any way to the very arduous burden of responsibility which rests on his shoulders at this time. My Motion was put down some weeks ago, and in deference to his views I took it off the Paper and postponed it until this week. As the approaching recess came very near, there was no recourse but to put it down for the only day vacant. Now the position of affairs, if your Lordships adopt the noble Earl's Motion, will be that my Motion could only come on at the end of business, possibly at as late an hour as the one at which we concluded our business last week. Personally, sitting up late does not affect me, but that is not the case, possibly, with noble Lords who have harder work than I have to do in the course of the day.

I wonder whether in the circumstances the noble Earl would consider making an exception of next Wednesday and allowing business to stand as it has stood hitherto on the Paper for that day. I do not know whether he would be willing to consider that, or whether he would tell us if it is the intention of the Government before the House rises altogether to give your Lordships an opportunity of hearing an official statement of the position of affairs. In such a case, naturally, I have no wish to make speeches. What I do desire is to assert the privilege of Parliament, which exists in this House as much as in the other House, to hear directly from the Government what they are in a position to tell us with regard to one of the most important crises.

My Lords, I have no desire to oppose the Motion. It seems to me to be quite a reasonable one at this period of the session. But I think that the noble Lord who has just sat down has a very special claim on two grounds. In the first place, his own personal claim, that he had only deferred this Motion at the express wish of the Leader of the House, and, according to ordinary Parliamentary practice—there is no breach of faith in the matter, of course—it is usual, when a Motion has been deferred at the wish of the Government, for the Government to make it as easy as possible for the noble Lord who is in charge of the question to bring it before them. That is one claim. The other is the extreme gravity of the situation in Poland with which the noble Lord desires to deal. Indeed, I hardly think it is possible that your Lordships should separate for the recess without some statement being made on behalf of the Government in respect to Poland.

I should like to make a suggestion. I do not know whether it will meet the views of the noble Lord and of the Government. I understand that in another place there is to be a statement on Poland to-morrow. The usual practice in old days was that a statement of that kind was made in both Houses of Parliament simultaneously, and there is all the greater reason for it in our case because we have the honour of numbering among our members the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Supposing that the noble Lord, before Public Business, put a Question by private notice to the Government, would they be prepared to make a statement to-morrow? In that event we should, at any rate, be placed in possession of all that the Government desired to say to the country upon the Polish situation. I, am not going for a moment to anticipate what the Government might say, but it might be that the account that Lord Curzon would give of the situation was of such a character as to call for a discussion in your Lordships' House. At this period of the session it would only be if the matter were really very urgent, but it might be very urgent. We should then be in a position to judge from the reply of the noble Earl whether special arrangements could be made, either on Wednesday or Thursday, for a further discussion of the matter. If the noble Earl and the Government agree, I imagine that would be the right and the best course to pursue.

My Lords, in the first place I really must take exception to my noble friend's statement that the old practice of making statements in Parliament on these matters has been abandoned. I think I am correct in saying that much the most important statements during this year have been made by Lord Curzon in this House—the most important both in their outline of policy and the most exhaustive in their detailed exposition of the varying situation. Lord Curzon's statements on foreign affairs are exceptionally full. So far from its being true that the old practice has been abandoned, I take the other view. I think that Lord Curzon's statements on these matters are of a much more full and exhaustive character than, for instance, were the statements made by the great Secretaries of State in the old days, such as Lord Salisbury and Lord Granville. That, however, is by the way.

As to the immediate question before us, I should like to say that next Wednesday has been intercepted from Private Business purely for the purpose of meeting the convenience of the House as a whole, There is no idea of doing it except for the convenience of the House as a whole, and it is the first time that we have invaded the rights of unofficial Peers in 1920. The object is for this House at once, at the beginning of its sitting, to deal with Commons Messages dealing with Lords Amendments. Your Lordships have made one or two very crucial Amendments in the Mines Bill, for instance, and I cannot help saying that it is desirable, if we can, to begin on that Bill of first-rate importance on Wednesday, so that in the event of further Messages having to go elsewhere we should be able to send the Bill down to the other House at the earliest possible time during that sitting. Everybody knows that that is to the mutual convenience of the two Houses. That is why we propose to exclude unofficial Peers from the precedence they enjoy on that Wednesday.

This does not, of course, exclude Lord Treowen's Motion. It comes up just the same on Wednesday, but it does not come first. And I really never quite understand why so much importance is attached to making an important speech and having an important reply before dinner rather than after dinner. The number of Peers present may be smaller, but the OFFICIAL REPORT is impartial between pre-dinner sittings and post-dinner sittings, and, so far as the public is concerned, the report is identical. I am most anxious that we should meet Lord Treowen, as far as we can. Lord Curzon will not be in London until 7 o'clock to-night. I will explain to him that there is anxiety on the part of certain Peers to hear a statement about Poland, and I have no doubt that he will do his utmost to meet that desire. I can at least guarantee this—that if Lord Curzon himself could not make the statement on Wednesday when Lord Treowen's Motion is down, I would undertake that the Foreign Office should give me a complete text outlining the general views of the Government. Beyond that text it would clearly be impossible for me to go, but I could at least convey in official form the actual views of the Department.

My suggestion, whatever it was worth, was that that statement, if possible, should be made to-morrow.

I under-stand that. It would render it unnecessary possibly for Lord Treowen to make his Motion on Wednesday. I quite see Lord Salisbury's point, and that is what I will have conveyed to Lord Curzon. I hope your Lordships will see that I am in a position of difficulty, and can give no pledge on the matter, in view of the fact that it is impossible for me to communicate with the Secretary of State until he comes back to-night.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Restoration Of Order In Ireland Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, in discharging the duty which falls upon me to-day of asking the House to give a Second Reading to a Bill to make provision for the restoration and maintenance of order in Ireland, it appears to me that the greatest service I can render will be to give a brief explanation of the proposals which are contained in the Bill.

I may, however, preface such explanation by dealing with one general criticism of the proposals which was made by one speaker in the debate on Irish affairs which took place in this House a short time ago. The usefulness of this Bill, if my memory serves me right, was disparaged by the observation that it did not meet the real difficulty with which we are to-day confronted in Ireland, and it was suggested that the real difficulty is that you cannot discover, or render available, the necessary evidence to secure convictions; and it was asked, What is the use of a Bill which will vary and render more drastic the method of procedure if you are forced to admit that you cannot by any Bill render available for the purposes of giving evidence witnesses who are at this moment victims of intimidation?

As far as that observation goes, it is well founded, but its legitimate scope is strictly limited. We cannot, indeed, by legislation cure all the mischiefs with which we ere confronted to-day in Ireland, but we can, by legislation—or so at least the Government believe—deal with one particular form of the mischief, and it is our object and our only object in bringing forward these proposals to deal with the limited but extremely important class of cases in which the mischief is not that the witnesses are not available, but that you cannot procure tribunals who will give an honest and fearless decision. It is not by any means true to say that in any of the cases which are pending before the Courts to-day, or which in different circumstances could and would and ought to be brought forward, our only difficulty is that of the intimidation of witnesses or of juries. There are many cases which are awaiting trial to-day and which ought to be tried, in which, if we are once secure in the possession of fearless and impartial tribunals, there will be no difficulty in procuring the convictions which the evidence not only justifies but requires.

At the present moment the intimidation with which your Lordships are somewhat familiar, has spread until it has infected the jurymen. This has seldom happened in our history, but it is the fact that menacing and deliberate messages are sent today to those who are discovered to be upon the jury list, warning them that attendance for the purpose of discharging their duties will involve those who so attend in peril of their lives. The result is that there are many persons at this moment awaiting trial in Ireland who are entitled, as every man accused of crime is entitled, to have their cases pronounced upon at the earliest possible moment, who cannot be tried and are being detained in custody for the simple reason that the legal machinery of criminal trials in Ireland cannot be made effective.

It is the object of this Bill—which I hope, in the exceptional and urgent circumstances in which we are met, your Lordships will pass through all its stages to-day—to provide a method by which all these and similar matters may be dealt with. It will, I hope, be a sufficient recommendation of the Bill that the Irish Executive is convinced that, proceeding as the Courts proposed to be set up will proceed under the strictest rules of legal evidence, there are many cases of outrage, murder and attempted murder which have engaged the attention of the authorities in regard to which it will be possible, with the aid of an impartial tribunal, to reach a decision upon the evidence which is forthcoming.

If your Lordships will be so good as to follow me while I deal with the provisions of the Bill I will attempt a very short explanation of them. Section 1 (1) provides that where the Government is of opinion, having regard to disorder existing in a particular district in Ireland, that the ordinary law is inadequate, the King in Council may issue Regulations under the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, for securing the restoration and maintenance of order in Ireland. That, of course, is a proposal which enables Regulations made under the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act to be perpetuated as long as the existing state of affairs in Ireland continues. There is a proviso to the far-reaching effect that all such Regulations shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be after they are made, with the consequent provision that if an Address is presented to His Majesty in either House praying that a Regulation may be annulled it shall be so annulled.

Subsection (2) provides that the provisions of the principal Act with respect to trial by Courts-Martial or Courts of Summary Jurisdiction, and the punishment of persons committing offences against the Defence of the Realm Regulations, shall extend to the trial of persons alleged to have committed, and the punishment on conviction of persons who have committed, crimes in Ireland, whether before or after the passing of this Bill, including persons committed for trial or against. whom indictments have been found. The object of that subsection is to cover the case of persons against whom these charges are made. There is a proviso that any crime, when so tried, shall be punishable with the punishment assigned to the crime by statute or common law; making it plain that no special penalty will be within the competence of these Courts. It is provided, in the second place, that when trying a person charged with a crime punishable by death, the Court-Martial shall include as a member of the Court one person (who need not be an officer, or, if an officer, need not possess such qualification as is mentioned in subsection (3) of Section 48 of the Army Act)—that qualification involves the tenure of a commission for twelve years—nominated by the Lord Lieutenant, being a person certified by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland or the Lord Chief Justice of England to be a person of legal knowledge and experience. The result of that provision will be that any Court-Martial which is trying a person on a capital charge will have, as a member of it, a person who may or may not be an officer but is possessed of special legal knowledge.

What is the reason for the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of England figuring in this subsection?

I will give your Lordships the reason for the insertion of that provision. Whether it is right or wrong I do not know, but I specially asked that my name should not be inserted, for the simple reason that I have taken a very large Parliamentary part in these matters and I thought it was on the whole preferable that my noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice of England should appear in my stead.

It is not quite that. The point I ventured to put to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack was why there should be two authorities, one English and one Irish.

The reason is that it was thought desirable that members of the Irish Bar, having with great public spirit utterly declined to appear before the Sinn Fein Courts, should be allowed such opportunities of employment as this subsection affords. But it was thought right to make provision for the contingency that a sufficient number might not be available from the Irish Bar. In subsection (3) it is added that Regulations so made may also provide that a Court of summary, jurisdiction, when trying a person charged with a crime or with an offence against the Regulations or when hearing and determining any application with respect to a recognisance, shall, except in the Dublin metropolitan police district, be constituted of two or more resident magistrates, and that a Court of Quarter Sessions, w hen hearing and determining an appeal against a conviction of a Court of summary jurisdiction for any such crime or offence, or against an order made on any such application, shall be constituted of the Recorder or County Court Judge sitting alone. That is a very intelligible subsection.

Let me add a word as to its object. The intimidation which has been applied to jurymen has also been applied to many ordinary magistrates and has proved equally effective. The result is that it is impossible to deal with many cases which demand immediate treatment, and it is proposed that these powers should he given to two or more resident magistrates, except in the case of the Dublin metropolitan police district where the difficulty has not yet made itself felt. It is provided in paragraph (b) that the regulations may confer on a Court-Martial the powers and jurisdiction exerciseable by justices or any other civil Court for binding persons to keep the peace or be of good behaviour, for estreating and enforcing recognisances, and for compelling persons to give evidence and to produce documents before the Court. That paragraph only means that if you establish a substitute tribunal you must give to that tribunal powers which are necessary to enforce respect to its procedure.

Paragraph (c) empowers persons authorised to summon witnesses to issue warrants, and paragraph (d) imposes fines. Paragraph (e) authorises the conveyance of persons who have been sentenced, and paragraphs (f) and (g) deal with matters of relatively less importance. Paragraph (h) authorises the trial without a jury of any action, counterclaim, civil bill issue, cause, or matter in the High Court or a County Court in Ireland which, apart from this provision, would be triable with a jury.

Paragraph (i) requires a moment's explanation. It says that the Regulations so made may provide for the retention of sums payable to any local authority from the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account, or from any Parliamentary grant, or from any fund administered by any Government Department or public body, where the local authority has in any respect refused or failed to perform its duties, or for the purpose of discharging amounts awarded against the local authority in respect of compensation for criminal injuries, or other liabilities of the local authority, and for the application of the sums so retained in or towards the purpose aforesaid. It is well known to your Lordships that many local authorities have declined to issue a rate to meet the burden imposed for compensating those who have suffered as the result of outrages. Such are the important proposals of this Bill. It is a drastic Bill but it is a necessary Bill, and I am persuaded that your Lordships will not be unwilling to accelerate its progress through this House.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a .— (The Lord Chancellor.)

If you pass ti Bill you may kill England, not Ireland.

Cries of "Order!" "Order!"

My Lords, any criticism I desire to make is purely of a legal character. I do not propose to discuss the question of the necessity for or the effect of this Bill, but I wish to direct your attention to some purely legal considerations which I think are worthy of attention. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has stated that this is a drastic measure. From the point of view of any constitutional lawyer it is indeed a drastic measure. The effect of the Bill will be to give to the Irish Executive power to do what under Continental systems is known as "proclaiming a state of siege." There is no difference. There is a power to suspend ordinary tribunals; the military authorities are given jurisdiction over civilians, and there is a removal of jurisdiction from various Courts which has been traditional for many years. The Bill gives this power to the Irish Executive in a manner not only never subject to experiment in England but not even recognised in Continental jurisprudence.

Subsection (2) of Clause 1 was mentioned by the Lord Chancellor. Its object is to safeguard against what otherwise might have been the result of passing the Bill as it stood in its original form. There is nothing in the Bill limiting its operation in point of time. The powers given to the Irish Executive extend over the whole area covered by the Defence of the Realm Act, 1914; and other matters are added, notably the subsection which provides for Regulations to be made giving "such incidental, supplemental, and consequential provisions as may be necessary for carrying out the purposes of the Act." It would be difficult to frame wider language than is used in the Bill.

With regard to procedure, let me take France as an example. Your Lordships will find it in the Act of the French Legislature of 1878. The procedure is most particular and careful. In the first place it is enacted that when a state of siege is proclaimed it shall only be proclaimed by an Act of the Assembly. It must contain a definite date for ending, and when that time for ending comes along there is no power—the Code is so expressed—to keep it alive, except by passing another Act of the Constituent Assembly. A state of siege arises in two cases: one, where there is a foreign war, and the other where there is armed rebellion against the civil law, which I take it would be the case in the present state of affairs— in that latter case, and to that latter case I am solely directing your Lordships' attention, the procedure is as I have stated. There is a limitation of time, and when the time comes the law disappears unless there is an extension by Act of the Assembly. If there should be a difference of opinion between the Senate and the General Assembly, the Act must disappear, because the two Houses do not concur.

We have a procedure somewhat similar with regard to other Statutes. It is the procedure by means of the Expiring Laws (Continuance) Act. That procedure is closely analogous to the procedure of the French nation when putting in force drastic powers such as the present. That procedure has worked in the past with regard to a vast number of Irish Statutes for the purpose of exceptional legislation for preserving the peace. It has, however, been abandoned in this particular instance.

It is quite true, as the noble and learned Lord has pointed out, that the Proclamation is to be laid on the Table of the House, and that either House may move for its rejection; but, my Lords, that is a totally different state of things, from the legal point of view, from that which has been adopted hitherto in this country, with one exception, and certainly in France. The objection to it is this, that there is vested merely in the Executive authority, even though it may be subsequently controlled, the power of putting this extraordinary (I speak in the technical sense) legislation into operation, and although there is power to object to the Proclamation, the power which creates the Proclamation is to remain, and apparently it is to remain indefinitely.

If that be the construction of the Statute, then I think you are employing methods in excess of what would be necessary, no matter how bad the state of affairs in Ireland. I said there was one case in which similar procedure was adopted, and that proceeding was in the Crimes Act of 1887. In that case there are also Proclamations which, with regard to procedure, do suspend the ordinary law, and they can be criticised, I think, speaking from recollection, in the same way. The two Statutes are totally different. In the case of the Crimes Act of 1887 the whole object was the setting up of civilian tribunals and civilian tribunals only, which would have the jurisdiction conceived to be necessary for the preservation of order; but even in that case a right of appeal was given, either to the ordinary tribunals, or, in the case of recognisances, to a special Court. Can any situation, having regard to the state of English law and to our views of the law, necessitate the provision in the first clause. It seems to me—I speak with all the prejudices which lawyers have in connection with those matters—not to be necessary.

It does not stop there. The next subsection to which I direct your attention is that under which Courts-Martial are to be set up. The Courts-Martial are to be constituted, as I understand, under the Army Act, and undoubtedly it was stated that those officers who would be selected would be officers of experience and reliability. Presumably—and I gather it specially from the observation of the Lord Chancellor—these Courts will be set up in very large numbers to meet the present situation, and it will require a fairly large number of additional civilian lawyers to take part in them. I do not profess to have any very special knowledge with regard to the composition of these Courts-Martial, and if any member of the House has been the service I accept correction from him in the matter, but I am under the impression that although the desire of the Army authorities is to get the best tribunal that can be obtained, in the hurry and trouble of military operations it is not possible to do so at all times, and you may, with the best intentions in the world, not have that authority and skill which up to the present the law has required when men are tried for capital offences. I do not for one moment suggest that I think any member of a Court-Martial set up in this country would willingly act contrary to what he considers just; I am merely emphasising, as well as I may, the extraordinary alteration which you are making in the law, which up to the present we have revered as one of the most admirable matters in connection with our Constitution.

It is provided further that Courts-Martial arc to have jurisdiction exercise-able by justices or any other civil Court for binding persons to keep the peace or be of good behaviour, for estreating and enforcing recognisances, etc. This jurisdiction, I think it probable, is one of the most ancient which we possess with regard to enforcing the observance of the peace. Up to the present I am not aware that in England or in Ireland that jurisdiction has ever been handed over to the military authorities. A provision, I think, was inserted in the Crimes Act, 1887, by which special tribunals could exercise that jurisdiction, but they were civil and not military tribunals. Nor, my Lords, can I see the necessity for it. It is no part of my argument to show what else might be done. I should at the same time wish to indicate that there are other methods possible, which, from the point of view of the Government, would be equally effective and at the same time would not violate our Constitution. With regard to the jurisdiction of binding to the peace, it has been entrusted in the past to resident magistrates, and it seems undesirable and unnecessary that that jurisdiction should be suddenly given to Courts-Martial.

With regard to the Courts-Martial themselves, I suggest that before adopting them and before handing over to them this enormous power over civilians, every method should be exhausted for the discovery of an alternative tribunal. It was suggested in another place that it was not thought right that the Irish Judges should be constituted into special Courts. I say nothing about that. It may be it is so. There may be many reasons why it should be preferable not to constitute a Court of the ordinary High Court Judges, but seeing that the idea has been adopted of creating certain gentlemen members of the Courts-Martial if they have that necessary experience which the Bill desires, there is no reason, I suggest, why it would not be possible to get such tribunals that at any rate the civilian view would be more likely to operate.

When I say "civilian view," I deprecate any unfair criticism of military tribunals, but there is no doubt whatsoever that a civil tribunal, with its traditions of special law and traditions of liberty of the subject, has unquestionably an atmosphere quite different from that of the military tribunal which is specially convened for the purpose of dealing with disorder. And—here is a very interesting part of the Bill—those who have themselves come into collision with the civilians will be the necessary witnesses. It is not the same tribunal but it is the same authority which is not only operating to keep order but which has also to adjudicate on the individuals who have been taken into custody. Anything which could have avoided that would seem to me to have been desirable— not that it is my view that this Bill was, in its general form, desirable. I rather take the view, which is shared by many of varying politics in Ireland, that it may not prove sucessful, but I ant merely criticising it from what I conceive to be the purely legal standpoint.

The next provision to which I respectfully take exception, and which, I think, certainly could have been avoided, is the power authorising Court-Martial to inflict fines. That, however, is only subsidiary and would follow from the transfer to them of the judicial powers which are given in the earlier part of the Bill. Another provision which, in my opinion, has also gone somewhat in excess of what is reasonable in any view of the Statute, is paragraph (i) of subsection (3) of Clause 1—
"provide for the retention of sums payable to any local authority from the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account, or from any Parliamentary grant, or from any fund administered by any Government Department or public body, where the local authority has in any respect refused or failed to perform its duties, or for the purpose of discharging amounts awarded against the local authority in respect of compensation for criminal injuries…"
I may have misunderstood the speech of the noble and learned Lord, but I think he drew attention only to the latter part of the parargaph which I have read, with regard to compensation for criminal injury, as being the object of the paragraph.

But it goes far beyond that. The portion which enables money to be withheld extends to bodies which have refused, or failed, to perform their duties. What "refusal" or "failure" may be is not defined in the Bill. The judge of it must be the Government authority which decides to withhold the grant. I do not at all suggest that members of the Government will act in any way except, as they consider, reasonably, but even Government Departments are liable to error and may take too wide a view of the operation of this paragraph with regard to the retention of the money for the purpose of paying awards for malicious injury. The object of that is quite apart from, and quite outside, my present criticism. It has merely to provide the money which the local authorities refused to provide, as the noble and learned Lord explained, but with regard to the other matters the situation seems to me to be quite different. These moneys do not represent English moneys. They are moneys which the Irish bodies are entitled to get in relief of various forms of taxation. If they are not given to those Irish bodies the demands will have to be met by taxation in some other form, and we shall then be face to face with the old objection that we are punishing the innocent and not the guilty, because the taxpayers who have to bear the burdens and who—I say it with some confidence—all over Ireland still represent a majority who are against outrages and against evil-doing, are the people who will suffer. If it was necessary or desirable that this should be done it would be another matter, but, as I said, these moneys are only returns, by means of fiscal processes, of cash which has been raised in the ordinary course from Ireland and in respect of which there is a large excess over Irish ordinary needs.

The next matter in which it seems to me the Bill may unnecessarily change the law at the will of the Executive, controlled, of course, in the manner I have mentioned, is with regard to inquests. It is proposed that all inquests in future shall be held by Courts-Martial. I quite take the view, of course, that inquests have broken down for the same reason that other tribunals have broken down in Ireland. I am not discussing that at all. I am simply discussing the necessity of transferring this power from, I think, the most ancient civil authority and Court in our Kingdom to a body which certainly has not had a very large experience in connection with such matters. There was, I think, at one time a legal view that possibly Justices of the Peace in the old days might exercise the functions of coroners. You have got paid Justices of the Peace upon whom unquestionably you can rely. Why then hand over this civil jurisdiction to the military authorities, when you have civilians who are quite capable of discharging the function? The reason I direct criticism to this point is that this portion of the Bill seems to me to raise a very big Constitutional question, and I do not like, even with regard to one Bill, that we should tamper with the ancient Constitution of the Kingdom. I would remind your Lordships of a very singular analogy with regard to the French Court. The same question arose in Algiers and they met it with the provision in the case of Algiers that where communication could not be easily obtained the Governor might exercise temporarily the functions which the Assembly otherwise would have exercised.

As I have said, this is an enormous change with regard to a portion of the British Isles which, under the Act of Union, is a constituent part of the great body which, in theory at any rate, controls the working of the British Empire. It has been pointed out in many quarters that the situation is so delicate that there should be the most scrupulous avoidance of anything which might tend unnecessarily to exacerabate the situation. I have pointed out many things which seem to me to err against that view, and I should have failed in my duty to the House if I had not done so.

My Lords, I should like to say one or two words in relation to the measure now before the House. I regret exceedingly that I was not here a little earlier so that I might have had the advantage of hearing those who preceded me in the debate. I say at once that I intend to record my vote against the principle contained in this Bill. I can conceive of nothing more vicious and nothing more likely to perpetuate the troubles that we are now suffering from in connection with the Government of Ireland. There is no more vicious principle than ex post facto legislation, and that is what I take this to be. The effect of this Bill will be to try parties for the commission of offences under a procedure which did not exist when the offences were committed, and it may come back, probably in another shape and at another time, upon those who are responsible for it, and may be used as a precedent by those who succeed us.

It might be well for me to say now that I am entirely in accord with those who last week in this Chamber propounded the policy of the very largest and broadest measure of Home Rule for Ireland. Anyone who will read the debate on that occasion— I think it was on Thursday —and will note the words of Lord Salisbury, who went out of his way to emphasise the fact that he did not speak merely for himself but for others, and will also note what the Earl of Midleton said, will conclude that a very great change has taken place in regard to the question of giving Ireland the right to look after her own local affairs.

There is nothing that I said that could lead the noble Lord to that conclusion.

I am very sorry if I have misread the debate and the remarks made by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, on that occasion; and I shall be very clad indeed to take back the words that I said in regard to him, especially when I have time to make reference to the debate. I have always been in favour of Home Rule for Ireland, but not of a Home Rule that would in any way lessen the British connection. I am an Empire man, I believe in the British Empire, and it is because of this that I want to see peace in Ireland.

Where the mistake is made is that too many think that the Irish, and those who represent them, ask for something very novel and very new. As a matter of fact they are asking only for what the Nationalist Party, which stood for Nationalism and Home Rule for Ireland by constitutional means, asked for, and for something that this country twice decided that they should have, and which this Chamber—I think on more than one occasion—voted against. The great Liberal Party of England, led by Mr. Gladstone (the greatest friend that not only Ireland but every other country which needed reform ever had), on more than one occasion decided to give Home Rule. Even to-day it may not be too late to bring about a settlement between the North and the South. The case of Ireland is entirely different from that of any other country. It is entirely different from the case of Poland, or of the Union of Scotland or any other Union, because it has been held by the highest constitutional authorities in this country that the Union of Ireland with this country was brought about by fraud. That is a very bold statement to make, but great constitutional authorities have said that if the document could have come before the Courts of England it would have been set aside for fraud.

The struggle that is proceeding in Ireland to-day is a struggle that has been going on, as was stated in this House last week, for more than 120 years. Some persons endeavour to make out that it is purely a religious affair, and that Home Rule is wanted by no one in Ireland except by Roman Catholics. Nothing could be further from the fact. This is really a Protestant movement. The man who stands highest to-day in the memories of the Irish race is Robert Emmet, the son of an Anglican clergyman. Moreover, Isaac Butt, who founded the Home Rule Party, was a Conservative and a Protestant; and Parnell, educated in the University of Cambridge, was a Tresbyterian; while Gladstone, the man who disestablished the Irish Church, and the great reviewer and historian Macaulay, who stood for Home Rule, were also Protestants. It is well to understand, therefore, that this is a great constitutional movement in Ireland. The trouble in that country to-day is not a mere novelty or something new.

I listened with a great deal of interest to the very able address of the Duke of Northumberland on this question last week, and, with those who took part in that debate, I also wish to say that I do not regard the. trouble in Ireland as entirely the result of Bolshevism. Lord Shandon, who took part in the debate on that occasion, did, I think, incline to that way of thinking. I have a very high regard for his opinion on that matter, but my own view is that once the treaty was broken —the treaty made between Redmond and the Government of this country—there was born the present trouble in Ireland. A solemn treaty entered into between the Government and Redmond was broken, and that led to the wiping out of the Nationalist Party and the birth and election of the Sinn Fein Party.

I have no sympathy whatever with the Sinn Fein Party or any other Party who would endeavour to bring about a constitutional change by the shedding of blood. I hate and loathe and abominate force in every shape, but one has to be careful, and upon a very close study and analysis of this whole movement it may be found that the misguided people who are now urging on Sinn Fein to commit these abominable crimes find precedents for what they are doing in what was done in the past by those who occupied high positions in this country, and who were prepared to organise in order to defy Parliament. The trouble is that too many assess these people too highly. We take them at their own valuation. Personally I believe that Ireland to-day, even with all its troubles and difficulties, might be united if a generous and full measure of Home Rule were offered by those who are responsible for the Government of that country and who are able to carry out their promise. An entirely new dawn would then break over Ireland.

I do not believe in this measure for the reasons that I have already given. It is ex post facto legislation; it is dealing with parties 'and with crimes that were committed when an entirely different class of procedure existed. You have no right to pass a law to punish a person for an offence by a procedure that did not exist when that offence was committed. That is the principle I lay down. Further, in another place very strong argument was put forward that this Bill should be of a limited character, and should not be placed permanently on the Statute Book. I appeal to the Lord Chancellor, who I understand has this Bill in charge, whether it would not be wise to show that this is not intended to be permanent but that it is only intended to deal with cases as they arise from time to time; and, further, that this Bill should not apply to any case that has occurred, or that will have occurred, previous to its becoming law.

My Lords, I think the closing sentences of the noble Lord's speech will have been not only very surprising to your Lordships, but will appear in rather a surprising manner to himself when he reads them to-morrow morning. Does the noble Lord really propose that the crimes committed, let us say, yesterday—grave crimes—should remain unpunished because it has been discovered that no jury can be empanelled and that they cannot be tried?

No; I would punish them immediately, but not under a law that you are going to pass to-morrow.

But the noble Lord knows from the statement of the Lord Chancellor that in those circumstances they cannot be punished, and therefore he desires that they should go unpunished.

The noble Lord talks—with great respect to him—as if the object of the Bill was to create things which had not been offences before into crimes and then to punish them under a new Act. This, as I understand it, is purely a Bill brought in because, as the Lord Chancellor explained to your Lordships on Thursday, the state of crime in Ireland was unprecedented in any country that he knew of, and presented more difficulties than had ever faced the Roman Empire. I am not father to that statement, but if the Government in their responsible Minister come down and make statements of that kind I confess I am astonished to hear a man who has been Prime Minister of one of His Majesty's Dominions urging your Lordships so to emasculate the Bill that it would leave unpunished all those who have been guilty of these grievous crimes

I have risen merely to ask the noble and learned Lord whether he can give us, in his reply, some guidance as to the scope of the Bill beyond what he has done up to the present moment. Your Lordships will have gathered, from the speech he has addressed to us, his entire determination that the law shall be restored; and the Prime Minister, by successive speeches, has declared that under no circumstances will His Majesty's Government allow any steps to be taken towards Ireland becoming a republic. My Lords, there are evidences that although no republic has been established, Sinn Fein has been clothing itself with a great many of the attributes of a republic. I want to know whether the noble and learned Lord will tell us if it is proposed not merely to use this measure for the prevention and the punishment of crimes, but whether the attempt to set up republican courts opposed to His Majesty's Courts and intended to replace them will also come within the scope of the Bill.

The Lord Chancellor mentioned that jurymen could not be obtained. I have heard within the last few days—not from the county with which I am connected, but from various counties —that notices, one of which I hold in my hand and which I propose to read without giving any names either as regards the persons who signed it or the persons to whom it is addressed or the county to which it refers, have been issued. I an anxious to ascertain the attitude of the Government with regard to it. The notice to which I refer is as follows:—
"Sir,—As directed by the guardians of this union at their meeting, I beg to forward to you the enclosed copy of a resolution passed by them.
I am, Your obedient Servant,
Clerk of the Union.
Proposed by seconded by That we, the elected representatives of the people of District, call on all persons holding offices of commissions of the peace to resign their offices immediately in view of the fact that the Irish Republic is established and has appointed republican justices. A copy of this resolution to be forwarded to all British J.P.'s in the district."
I want to ask the noble Lord whether the persons who move such resolutions and sign such orders, ordering His Majesty's justices to resign and informing them that they are acting in contravention of the law of the Irish Republic, would be made amenable under the scope of this Bill.

I have only two other observations with which to trouble your Lordships. I have over and over again in this House, speaking on behalf of those with whom I am associated, urged upon the Government that the opposition to law and order in Ireland was going at such a pace that it would soon reach a point at which they could not arrest it. There have been two Governments in Ireland for many months past. There are two now—a legal Government which talks, and an illegal Government which acts. Many of the most loyal members of the population in the South and West of Ireland feel that if such a measure as this, which must provoke an immense amount of feeling, is going to be used spasmodically and temporarily, their case and the case of the peace of the country will be worse hereafter than it has been before. If this measure is intended to do any good, it can only do so if it is worked unflinchingly and without fear of consequences. Those who have urged such steps in the past, which have been ignored, can take no responsibility for the failure of the Government, if failure there be, under the existing conditions. His Majesty's Government have left the matter until it lies with them to decide whether they have now the force with which to repress that which they have allowed to grow up.

But I ventured to say the other day, and I hope your Lordships will allow me to say it again, that if you are to get any permanent advantage from a measure of this kind it must surely be realised that there are two sections in Ireland at this moment— the irreconcilables, who, I think, were mixed unfortunately with the others in the speech of the noble Lord who has just sat down, and those who wish, without distinction of class or creed, to end the struggle by arriving at a settlement. I think it is most important that His Majesty's Government should endeavour to detach those who are desirous of a settlement from those who have an irreconcilable hatred of British rule and are anxious to continue the system of murder and terrorism which is in vogue at present. Just as we objected in 1918 to coupling conscription with the promise of Home Rule, so there are many members of this House who object now to the idea of coupling special measures for the prevention of crime with a measure promising Home Rule. The Government have elected that particular method of dealing with the question, and if they are to continue their present measure they must convert it into a effective measure, which will give satisfaction to some class in Ireland. At present, in the Home Rule Bill which they have introduced, they have unfortunately failed to conciliate the support of any class or section of the people in the South and West of Ireland. I would again urge that on this subject we may have some statement from His Majesty's Government before this Bill passes into law. The Prime Minister spoke in the most considered manner on Thursday night, and made no allusion to it. The noble and learned Lord made a somewhat scanty allusion, and I would ask him to assure us that there will be a determined effort, not in the nature of a dole, but in the nature of a settlement which those who are loyal to the Government—who are a great number in the South and West of Ireland—can accept, and those who are disloyal will find it difficult to refuse.

I should like to make an explanation in answer to the noble Earl. He asked me whether I intended that those who committed crime in Ireland should go unpunished. Certainly not. I say that those who have committed crime or any offences should be tried under the law existing at the time when those offences are committed. There has been nothing shown to me that the law is in any way defective, or that the juries cannot be had. We have no statement to that effect, but, even if the jurymen do not attend, I presume a way can be found by which they can be brought.

My Lords, the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack described, and I think properly described, this Bill as a procedure Bill. But as a procedure Bill the effect of it is to place all civilians in Ireland entirely under the jurisdiction of the military Courts. I think that is a most reactionary proposal, which ought not to have been made. I do not know whether the noble and learned Lord remembers that when a similar proposal was made in the early days under the Defence of the Realm Acts it was owing to the action of this House that civilians were exempted from the authority of the military Courts. So that when the proposal was made affecting all parts of the United Kingdom the English people objected to it, and I think quite properly, and the result was an amendment introduced while the Bill was in this House. I cannot help thinking that there could not be any more reactionary proposal, particularly having regard to the present conditions in Ireland, than making the military Courts supreme.

There is only one other point to which I wish to refer, and it is in reference to the speech of the noble Lord who has just sat down. The effect of this Bill will be to play into the hand of the irreconcilables. What we all want, I believe, is not to increase the number of irreconcilables in Ireland, but, by some generous offer, to bring about a settlement of the whole question at the earliest possible moment. Does any one believe that a Bill of this kind, taken by itself, is calculated to bring about a settlement which I believe all reasonable people, both in Ireland and in England, desire at the present moment? It is unfortunate that this Bill has been introduced in this form. But it was as a matter of procedure that I rose, only in order to make my protest, at this stage of our juridical system, against placing the whole of our civilian population in Ireland under Courts-Martial and military law—not that I am attacking these Courts, but I think they are wholly unsuited for civilian procedure.

My Lords, I desire to ask the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack one question only of detail. In that very lucid explanation which he gave of the Bill he said that in one clause there was a provision for the diversion of the money paid in aid of local taxation in order to meet, among other things, the compensation for criminal injuries, and that appears on the face of the Bill. How does that fit in with the Criminal Injuries Bill which, I understand, is now before another place? Can the provisions contained in this Bill work without that Bill, and, if that be so, when may your Lordships expect to have the Criminal Injuries Bill laid upon the Table of the House? The sands of the present session are rapidly running out, and, if that very necessary provision in the law is delayed until after the recess one cannot help being somewhat anxious for those who have suffered injury, and who, no doubt, rely upon the provisions of that Bill in order to receive justice. No doubt the noble and learned Lord will explain that point when he rises to reply.

With the exception of that relatively small point I desire to offer no criticisms on the Bill. I do not mean to say that I have any right to approve all its provisions in detail. I do not look upon it from that point of view. This is a measure submitted by the Executive Government as essential to the restoration of law and order in Ireland. Upon them rests the responsibility of the proposal, but I entertain no doubt whatever that your Lordships ought to afford them the fullest support when they come before you with a demand such as that. We desire, quite as much as the Government do—perhaps more consistently than the Government do—the full restoration of law and order in Ireland, and, if they come before us and ask us to pass this Bill, we ought not to hesitate for a moment to give them the full powers which they demand.

I cannot conceal from myself, not only the immense gravity of the situation in Ireland, but the very critical moment in which we stand in respect to this Bill. The Government have elected, and I strongly think have rightly elected, to do their utmost to restore law and order in Ireland. They must not fail. The responsibility is very great. For what position will they be in if they do fail? I am not going to specify their position, but it is perfectly certain that at such a moment as this the Government must, so far as is humanly possible, make such proposals to Parliament to achieve it that they cannot fail. Unless they have made such proposals, or unless they keep your Lordships and the other House of Parliament until they do make such proposals, they will incur what is almost the greatest responsibility it is possible for a Government to incur.

I must say a few words with reference to the other branch of the subject. The noble Lord who spoke from the cross-benches laboured under a strong misconception of my own personal view, though my own views are not of the least importance. It is not that I desire not to meet all the legitimate claims of Irishmen. Every one of us would be only too delighted, of course, if we could bring to an end this eternal Irish question. Alas! my Lords, the difficulties have hitherto proved to be insuperable. if your Lordships will cast your minds back you will recollect that various Bills have been introduced. There was Mr. Gladstone's first Bill and his second Bill, Mr. Asquith's Bill, and the Bill of the Convention, of which my noble friend Lord Midleton was so eminent a member; they all failed—that is to say, they failed in this sense, that in the case of every one of them most good judges are of opinion that they would have failed entirely had they passed into law. I believe that is quite indisputable. Now there is the present Government of Ireland Bill, and, as far as I can judge, it is going to follow in the steps of all its predecessors. That is the situation.

Then my noble and learned friend Lord Parmoor said, "Let us have a generous measure." How easy it is to use these adjectives. All your Lordships would wish to be as generous as can well be, but the truth is, as the Prime Minister himself showed with the greatest success the other day, that the difficulties in the way of a generous measure are quite as great as the difficulties in the way of the measures which have already been submitted. What is the use of blinking the facts? You cannot give the Irish independence. You are not going to give them a republic, and every limited form, apart from other objections to it, seems to be absolutely unwelcome. That is the real fact, and yet there is talk of generosity. We are practical men and must face the facts.

I apologise to your Lordships for having diverged merely to correct what I venture to think might be a misapprehension. The business before us this evening is the Bill to restore law and order in Ireland, and I repeat that I doubt whether, except my noble and learned friend and possibly one other, there will be any dissentients when the Question is put from the Woolsack that we ought to give the fullest support to the Government that is in our power in the restoration of law and order in Ireland.

My Lords, the main effect of this Bill will be to establish Courts-Martial for the administration of the law in Ireland. When I obtained a copy of the Bill I turned to the tenth chapter of the fourth volume of Lecky's "History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century," and there I found a description of what happened in Ireland when Courts-Martial were last established there. I should have thought that any Government, knowing what Lecky had said on the most impartial weighing of evidence, would of all things have avoided the re-establishment of Courts-Martial in Ireland. I mean to impute no intentional misconduct to any member of future Courts-Martial, but the Courts-Martial of 1798 were also constituted of honourable men. If your Lordships will refer to the pages of the historian you will find what a scourge of God Courts-Martial were in Ireland. I, too, am entirely in favour of the restoration of law and order in Ireland, and it is because I think that it is not through Courts-Martial that it is to be done that I say these few words to your Lordships to-day.

I entirely agree with my noble and learned friend Lord Shandon when he says that the restoration of law and order in Ireland should be placed, if possible, in the hands of civilians and they should deal with it; they have never been found wanting when you have tried them hitherto. I fear that the dispute in Ireland, which has attained enormous magnitude, has attained that magnitude because the Government did not take advantage of the warnings of men who knew what was going on, and I agree with Lord Shandon that you should employ the civilian element and not the military in the restoration of law and order.

I heard with the utmost satisfaction the remarks which fell from the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack last week. It was the first time that I have heard in this House from high authority the necessity of making the restoration of law and order, not by force but by conciliation, also part of the Government's policy. I read to-day with the utmost satisfaction an address or communication made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland to the Sunday Times, in which he sets forth his idea as to how law and order can be re-established in Ireland. I wish to say that, as far as my observation goes, the present Chief Secretary for Ireland has conducted his work with the utmost prudence and feeling for the people. This is what he says—
"There are three fundamentals governing the situation, and they are fundamentals accepted by every political Party in Great Britain. They are, first, that Ireland must remain within the Empire—"
Nobody denies that—
"Secondly, that the question of defence forces and treaties must remain under the authority of the House of Commons at Westminster—"
In its widest acceptance no one will contradict that—
"Thirdly, the six counties of Ulster must not be coerced."
We have all accepted as a fundamental principle that no coercion should be applied to Ulster. Let me say one word. The six counties of Ulster include a large proportion of Nationalists, and they should have an opportunity of saying whether they will be in an Irish Parliament or not. I say this with the intention of assuring your Lordships that there are many Irishmen strongly determined to remain within the Empire, but we hope that the method of securing this shall not be such as to antagonise the great mass of our less fortunate fellow-countrymen. My desire is that the question may be reconsidered and that Lord Shandon's suggestion may be adopted—namely, to rely more on the civilian than the military element.

My Lords, I do not wish to discuss the question as to whether it is right or wrong to set up Courts-Martial in Ireland, but I hope that if they are set up they will have the support of the Government. I can only speak as one who was sent in 1916 to preside at Courts-Martial for some weeks. During that time I had to sentence several men to death who had committed murder. Within a few days every one of those men were reprieved, and I believe are at the present moment free in the country now. If Courts-Martial are started in Ireland and are supported in that way, it will reduce the whole system to a farce.

My Lords, the noble and gallant Lord is, of course, entitled to speak with the highest possible authority on the subject of Courts-Martial, and he rendered, as every one knows, the greatest possible service to the country in the discharge of the function of which he has just spoken. I should have welcomed his observations snore if he had given me more precisely the period to which he referred, because either in that period or shortly afterwards I was asked and did advise five successive Chief Secretaries as to the ultimate view which was adopted in connection with Courts-Martial. I do not happen to recall, in the period in which I gave that advice, more than one of the cases to which he refers. I think if you take the whole period of Courts-Martial the statement he has just made would be found likely to give a somewhat misleading impression. I, however, give the noble and gallant Lord the assurance he has asked for in the most positive manner I can. It certainly is the intention of the Government, in all cases where Courts-Martial have not fallen into an obvious error, to give them every possible support in their power.

The debate has ranged over a great variety of topics and the decision has been approached from many angles. It will hardly be expected that I should attempt to pursue all these topics in detail. There have been two schools of thought. The first one is that this Bill is either unnecessary or unsuitable; and it was expressed by Lord Shandon, Lord MacDonnell, Lord Morris, and Lord Parmoor. I may perhaps be allowed to make a few observations upon this view. A doubt was expressed, I think by Lord Shandon, as to whether the situation justified these proposals. The only possible reply to make is that the situation would almost justify any proposals of this character.

Countless suggestions have been made that these matters should be dealt with by civilians. It is sufficient in reply to ask, By what? Is it suggested that they should be tried by Irish civilians? Noble Lords will hardly perhaps credit it, but there would be an extraordinary lack of enthusiasm amongst Irish civilians to be singled out, without the protection of the military, to discharge these duties; and I assure the noble Lord that if be tried to provide panels for these Courts he would find his task extremely uninviting.

There are other obvious and most elemental objections to dealing with matters of this kind under existing, circumstances by civilian Courts. I do not suppose the noble Lord himself would suggest that we should import English civilians, who would be looked upon and described as aliens, in order to deal with the situation as it exists in Ireland at the present moment. Lord Shandon made a great complaint because these Courts-Martial, upon which we have decided, were given the right of entreating; recognisances and binding over to keep the peace. The noble and learned Lord must be perfectly well aware that once we have made up our minds to establish these Courts we should render them impotent if we did not supply them with the ordinary machinery by the use of which alone they could discharge the functions committed to them. He appeared to think that it is a terrible thing that the old traditional method of investigation by coroner's jury should be suspended; and spoke of the age in history of this method of trial in Ireland.

No one regrets this supersession, this breach of continuity with the past, more than the Government; but the noble Lord did not suggest a substitute. Does he suggest that we are to continue impotent face to face with one scandal after another in which coroners' juries give verdicts which he knows are disgraceful to themselves and disgraceful to the institution. No. Let them recognise, as we hope in changed conditions they will recognise more fully than to-day, their duties and responsibilities, and no one will be more glad to restore to them all their historical duties than the Government.

We were then favoured by Lord Morris with a speech which was a retrospect of the recent history of the Irish question rather than a contribution to the special subject under debate. Lord Morris resented a suggestion made that he was in favour of not bringing to justice the men who at this moment are awaiting trial, and who, under existing circumstances, cannot be tried. He resented this; but he added by way of greater explanation that he had not heard of any single circumstance which convinced him that you could not obtain tribunals to try these men. The noble Lord has been singularly inattentive to the records which are readily and daily obtainable. He could easily obtain the fact that it is impossible to obtain juries to try any of these crimes. Unless we had imported into this Bill the section of which the noble Lord complains it is the fact that, whatever the number may be, fifty or it may be sixty men, against whom we think we are in a position to give evidence which would convince any honest and impartial tribunal of the guilt of the accused—the proposal in effect comes to this, that we should release all these men at once with an admission that it is not in our power, by existing machinery or any which can be substituted, to bring them to justice. We are not prepared to assent to that course.

Lord Midleton asked me two or three questions. He asked, in the first place, whether the Republican Courts which are now being held with apparent impunity in so many parts of Ireland will come under the scope of this Bill. They certainly will. But a distinction must be borne in mind. If the Court is wholly without any of the insignia of the republican authority, if it is held under the appearance of an ordinary arbitration, it will be very difficult to frame a regulation which would make it amenable to justice. But in the majority of cases—I am dealing with civil proceedings only—as I understand, to-day, these proceedings are held ostensibly under the authority of the Irish Republic, and there will be no difficulty at all in framing Regulations to deal with them; and I entirely agree with those who take the view that the first step in the assertion and vindication of the authority of the Government in Ireland is that those should be repelled who are openly assuming to themselves the right to set up and administer Courts of justice in Ireland.

The noble Earl read an extract from a letter written by a clerk to a board of guardians giving certain directions or purporting to give directions to justices of the peace in Ireland. Undoubtedly a Regulation ought to be, and would be, framed which would make such acts punishable and cognisable by the Courts-Martial which will be set up. I do not think that in such a case the person proceeded against ought to be the clerk who sends such a letter, but those who passed the resolution and gave directions.

The noble Earl asked me a final question, or made a final suggestion. He said, "Do not fail to distinguish between the two parties in Ireland—the party which means illegality and murder, and the party which would assent to a reasonable settlement if one were possible"; and he asked me if I could not indicate to-day the better terms which might be made available. My Lords, we have indicated our proposals and we have put them on record. It has more than once been stated by the Prime Minister in another place, and by myself here, that there are certain inflexible principles which cannot and will not be disregarded by the Government in the further fortunes of this Bill, and if there is any body in Ireland which can claim to speak and can show that it does speak on behalf of those who to-day are controlling the destinies of Ireland, and which, consistently with those principles, makes this proposal and suggests this or that variation of the Government's Bill, we should be mad if we did not listen to such people; but I should be misleading your Lordships if I did not state that I can see no prospect of any such development in the situation, and I believe that if any moderate section of Sinn Feiners were to come forward tomorrow, and to make such and such a statement, unless we were strong enough to protect them there would be murder, in the same way as our officers are being murdered in Ireland. If it should prove in time that we are able, as we believe will be the case, to repress those who are adopting violent courses in Ireland, we will always consider any proposal, consistently with our fundamental principles, which may be brought forward by those who show that they speak on behalf of a large and representative body of opinion.

Lord Salisbury asked me a question, and made some general observations upon this Bill. He asked me whether subsection (3) paragraph (i) can operate until the Criminal Injuries Bill has become law. The Criminal Injuries Bill, as the noble Marquess knows, has actually been introduced in the House of Commons and will be proceeded with, but there is no hope that it can be passed through all its stages until the autumn, though it is hoped that it will be early in the autumn, and I imagine it will be before your Lordships soon after the House reassembles. The subsection to which the question relates, (3) (i), meets the immediate needs in the interval before that Bill becomes law, and will make it possible to intercept Exchequer grants in the interval, where such interception is necessary in order to pay the compensation.

The noble Marquess gave a history of the fate of various Home Rule Bills and made a prediction in relation to the present Home Rule Bill. The noble Marquess is at an advantage in this House when he adopts the rôle of prophet, because he is by no means without power of giving considerable effect to his predictions, and therefore any prophecy which he makes will be received by me with respect. At the same time the rôle of prophet is an uncertain one; its rewards are by no means considerable, and its risks are very apparent. The noble Marquess may be right or wrong, but we shall know a little more definitely in the autumn.

The noble Marquess, however, made a speech helpful to the progress of this Bill, though I would venture to demur to his claim that he and those who agree with him have reverenced the cause of law and order more consistently than the Government. I do not believe that claim can be substantiated. He made the claim, and Wray find considerable argument to support it, that the Government had not been strikingly successful up to the present in dealing with the situation. I do not make my answer to that charge to-day, because such observations as I desire to put forward on the other side were fully made by me on a recent occasion; but I cannot help thinking that the more the extent of our difficulties is examined and re-examined, the more indulgent and the less violent will be the denunciation of our admitted failure to cope with all the mischiefs with which we are assailed.

On Question, Bill read 2a : Committee negatived.

Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a , and passed.

Indemnity Bill

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.— (The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question. Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2:

Right to compensation for acts done in pursuance of prerogative and other powers.

2.—(1) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing section restricting the right of taking legal proceedings, any person not being a subject of a state which has been at war with His Majesty during the war and not having been a subject of such a state whilst that state was so at war with His Majesty—

  • (a) being the owner of a ship or vessel which or any cargo space or passenger accommodation in which has been requisitioned at any time during the war in exercise or purported exercise of any prerogative right of His Majesty or of any power under any enactment relating to- the defence of the realm, or any regulation or order made or purporting to be made thereunder, shall be entitled to payment or compensation for the use of the same and for services rendered during the employment of the same in Government service, and compensation for loss or damage thereby occasioned; or
  • (b) who has otherwise incurred or sustained any direct loss or damage by reason of interference with his property or business in the United Kingdom through the exercise or purported exercise, during the war, of any prerogative right of His Majesty or of any power under any enactment relating to the defence of the realm, or any regulation or order made or purporting to be made thereunder, shall be entitled to compensation in respect of such loss or damage;
  • and such payment or compensation shall be assessed on the principles and by the tribunal hereinafter mentioned, and the decision of that tribunal shall be final:

    Provided that—

  • (i) The provisions as to the statement of a case in any enactment relative to arbitrations shall not apply to any such tribunal, but if either party feels aggrieved by any direction or determination of the tribunal on any point of law, he may, within the time and in accordance with the conditions prescribed by rules of court, appeal to the Court of Appeal, or as respects Scotland to either division of the Court of Session, and the decision of the Court of Appeal or Court of Session on any such appeal shall, with the leave of that Court but not otherwise, be subject to appeal to the House of Lords;
  • (ii) nothing in this section shall confer on any person a right to payment or compensation unless notice of the claim has been given to the tribunal in such form and manner as the tribunal may prescribe within one year from the termination of the war or the date when the transaction giving rise to the claim took place, whichever may be the later.
  • (2) The payment or compensation shall be assessed in accordance with the following principles:—

  • (i) Where under the Defence of the Realm Regulations or any order made or purporting to be made thereunder, any special principle for assessment of compensation or the rate thereof, is contained in the Regulation or order, compensation shall be assessed in accordance with that principle or rate: Provided that nothing in this provision shall prevent the tribunal in assessing compensation from taking into consideration any circumstances which, under the regulation in question, it would have been entitled to take into consideration.
  • (ii) Where the payment or compensation is claimed under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section, it shall be assessed in accordance with the principles upon which the Board of Arbitration constituted under the proclamation issued on the third day of August nineteen hundred and fourteen has hitherto acted, which principles are set forth in Part I of the Schedule to this Act.
  • (iii) In any other case, compensation shall be assessed as follows:—
  • (a) If the claimant would, apart from this Act, have had a legal right to compensation the tribunal shall take that right into consideration, and in assessing the compensation shall have regard to the amount of the compensation to which, apart from this Act, the claimant would have been legally entitled, and to the existence of a state of war and to all other circumstances relevant to a just assessment of compensation: Provided that this subsection shall not give any right to payment or compensation for indirect loss.
  • (b) If the claimant would not have had any such legal right, the compensation shall be assessed in accordance with the principles upon which the Commission appointed by His Majesty under Commissions dated the thirty-first day of March nineteen hundred and fifteen and the eighteenth day of December nineteen hundred and eighteen (commonly known as the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission) has hitherto acted in cases where no special provision is made as to the assessment of compensation, which principles are set forth in Part II of the Schedule to this Act.
  • (3) Where before the fifteenth day of April nineteen hundred and twenty any claim for compensation has been made and disposed of by award or agreement, or has been rejected, or any payment (other than a payment expressed to be made on account) has been accepted in respect thereof, no claim for compensation or further compensation under this section shall be brought without the leave of the tribunal, and the tribunal shall not grant such leave except on proof of a material change of circumstances or new evidence not previously available being adduced.

    (4) The tribunal for assessing compensation shall, where by any of the Defence of the Realm Regulations any, special tribunal is prescribed, be that tribunal, and in cases where the claim is made under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section be the said Board of Arbitration, and in any other case be the said Defence of the Realm Losses Commission.

    (5) A judge of the High Court of Justice or, in cases where the claim is in respect of interference with property or business in Scotland, a judge of the Court of Session shall be president of the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, which Commission shall hereafter be styled and known as the War Compensation Court.

    (6) A person may be compelled to attend and give evidence or produce documents in proceedings before the said Board of Arbitration or War Compensation Court in like manner as in proceedings before an arbitrator, and the Board or War Compensation Court shall have power to require any person appearing before them to give evidence on oath and to authorise any person to administer an oath for that purpose.

    (7) The War Compensation Court may sit in more than one division at the same time, and in any such case anything which may be done to, by, or before the Court may be done to, by, or before any such division of the Court.

    3. Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Act shall—

  • (a) affect or apply to proceedings in any prize court as respects any matter within the jurisdiction of the court; or
  • (b) affect the application of the Defence of the Realm (Acquisition of Land) Act, 1916, or the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, or the Corn Production (Amendment) Act, 1918, in any case where apart from this Act any of those Acts would apply;
  • (c) affect the application of section sixteen of the Regulation of the Forces Act, 1871, or of section eight of the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919.
  • moved, in subsection (1) (b), to leave out "direct" [sustained any direct loss or damage"]. The noble and learned Lord said: This is an important Amendment, because it raises the basis on which compensation or payment is to be assessed under the terms of the Bill when either goods have been requisitioned or lands taken for Defence of the Realm purposes. In order to make it clear perhaps I may read the paragraph without the word "direct." It would state that a person would obtain compensation—

    "who has otherwise incurred or sustained any loss or damage"
    The words "loss or damage" are limited by the subsequent phraseology—
    "by reason of interference with his property or business in the United Kingdom through the exercise or purported exercise, during the war, of any prerogative right of His Majesty or of any power under any enactment relating to the defence of the Realm. …"
    Therefore if my Amendment were carried the result would be that the person affected would be compensated in respect of loss or damage referable to those conditions. I am not desiring that indirect loss and damage should be compensated for under conditions of this kind.

    The easiest way of dealing with the question, I think, would be to give two concrete illustrations, and they are those to which the noble and learned Lord referred in his speech from the Woolsack on the occasion of the Second Reading. I take first of all the case known as the de Keyser hotel case. I am not going to discuss it upon the point on which it was discussed in your Lordships' House acting in its judicial capacity, for that does not arise here. What the Duke Commission did in that case was this. As the hotel was unoccupied at the time When the requisition was made any claim for rental was disallowed. In other words, where a person is deprived of his property which is occupied for Government purposes it was denied that he had any right to a rental value or a value assessed on any other basis in respect of the occupation. I want to know whether a principle of that kind is really maintainable. I think in all cases where the State interferes with private property it is most important that you should have a proper, reasonable, and recognised system of payment or compensation, and when the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack gave the very large figures to which he referred—I questioned at the time whether they could be accurate or not—they might, of course, denote the extent to which the Bill was unfair, if it be true, as he stated, that something like £1,000,000,000, to which under ordinary legal principles the owners, either of property or goods affected, would be entitled, would not be obtained by them under the provisions of this Bill.

    I think there must have been some mistake in regard to the assessment of those figures. They must have included the principle of indirect loss or damage, and I wish to say at the outset that I think no claim ought to be made for what is known as indirect loss or damage. But it is entirely different when you apply the insurance principle as against the indemnity principle. In the case of the de Keyser Hotel, for however much it was insured, you could not have made a claim against the Insurance Company. As regards all compensation claims and all payments, you do not provide for them on the insurance principle, but seek to ascertain reasonably and properly what is the actual loss or damage sustained by reason of the factors which have to be taken into consideration, and to that amount the claimant or owner is entitled. As I said the other day, it is a very serious matter, in my view, to introduce in a Bill of this sort a wrong principle as regards compensation or payment. If there is one body which ought not to ask for a wrong principle as regards compensation or payment, it is the State itself, because it really means that you are relieving other persons at the cost of a particular individual. What you ought to ensure, if possible, is this. You ought to have equality as between the person whose goods are requisitioned or whose property is damaged or taken and any other member of the community, and you cannot have that unless, in the first place, you make sure that the amount of compensation paid is proper, reasonable and in accordance with legal principles.

    The other illustration which the noble and learned Lord took also shows, I think, what might be a very unfair case. It was the case of the rum at Newcastle. If I recollect aright a Newcastle brewing company were concerned and the case was put as though they were making an exorbitant claim against the State in respect of the requisitioning of their property. I am not now, of course, dealing with the question of the figure. It may be exorbitant or not: that is a matter with which the assessing tribunal has to deal. But what they said was this. "You took certain rum which we wanted in connection with out business and which was essential for business purposes. As regards that rum we paid what is a reasonable and proper price. You requisitioned it at a price lower than the controlled price and, as a matter of fact, we cannot replace it for our business purposes except at a very largely enhanced figure." I am not saying what the exact figure ought to be, but why should not a claim of that kind be properly ascertained and considered? The learned Judge, before whom the case was tried and who held that the Regulation 2 B was ultra vires and beyond the powers of the Defence of the Realm Act, laid down the ordinary principles. He said that they were entitled to be compensated or paid on the basis of market price as between a willing vendor and a willing purchaser, excluding, as you always would exclude in those cases, what I may call the exceptional, conditions which may have given an aggravated value at a particular date.

    All I wish is that these matters shall be ascertained in accordance with accepted principles, either as regards legal action or compensation claims. You should not introduce in a Bill of this kind a novel principle on the ground, as I understand it, that if the right principles were accepted there would be a large charge made against the State. I am not for a moment—I want to be very careful about that—considering what the amount is, because I do not believe that the difference in amount need be so considerable in any particular case, if the principle is properly applied and in a reasonable manner. I want to ask the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor two questions. Does he think that when buildings are requisitioned the owner should not be entitled to what would be a fair rental for use by the State—a fair rental based on what he might expect to obtain from an outside party? In circumstances of that kind premises may be requisitioned for an unlimited time, or for no definite time. I think in this case it was a year and a half or two years. Why, in such circumstances, should the owner be deprived of the entire use of his property? There is no such principle. As I said on the Second Reading this is a very dangerous time in which to introduce a new principle of this sort. It was never, so far as I know, applied in cases of this kind before. If the word "direct" were eliminated, although I am not enamoured of the drafting— that is a different matter—then either payment or compensation for loss or damage would be assessed on the ordinary legal or compensation principle. There is no fear of its being exaggerated in amount, becausè it is limited to loss or damage "by reason of interference with his property or business in the United Kingdom through the exercise or purported exercise, during the war, of any prerogative right of His Majesty."

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 26, leave out ("direct").—(Lord Parmoor.)

    Before the noble and learned Lord replies, I should like to press him a little to consider whether it is important that this word should be retained. In common with the noble and learned Lord who has just spoken, I dislike very much the introduction of any new principle in the law of assessment of damage, but I suggest that he and the Government are quite sufficiently protected. If we look at the various paragraphs of subsection (2) which enumerate the principles on which compensation is to be assessed we find that where under the Defence of the Realm Regulations any special principle for assessment of compensation is contained in the Regulation or Order, compensation shall be assessed in accordance with the principles upon which the Board of Arbitration constituted under the Proclamation has hitherto acted; and according to (b) it is to be assessed in accordance with the principles set out and by the tribunal to be appointed. Clause 3 (a) might leave matters more open, but there is a clause, right or wrong, upon which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Parmoor, has not touched, providing that this subsection shall not give any right to demand compensation for indirect loss. Therefore it would seem to me that the national funds are sufficiently protected without the addition of this word "direct," which, I confess, seems to me to be in itself an unobjectionable word.

    This Amendment the Government would be very unwilling to accept unless it were a decision of the House, who thereby took the responsibility for it. I do not take the view that these matters are disputable. I do not in the least agree with the view which Lord Parmoor, if I understood him rightly, put forward, that if we leave out the words "any direct loss or damage" we could exclude in all these cases the indirect loss which, in actual practice, has been excluded for the last six years. The proviso to which Lord Phillimore called attention is limited, of course, to the special matter of that subsection itself. That is the case where a claimant has a legal right to compensation.

    I stated that what I thought was that where cases arise under 1, 2 or 3 (b) there were Regulations already providing for the assessment, and that there was no reason to depart from those Regulations.

    I am much obliged to the noble and learned Lord, but I do not think the subsections to which he has called attention cover the whole case, or anything like the whole case. If they did, obviously the Amendment of my noble and learned friend would not be necessary, or would be innocuous. It is just because he thinks those cases are not covered by this Amendment that he presses the Amendment upon the House. I am bound to say to your Lordships that my clear view of the law, whether it be right or wrong, is that the effect of this Amendment would be to alter the whole method of compensation upon which we have proceeded during the last six years.

    What was that method? Broadly speaking, it was this. The Government for instance requisitioned the goods of A, and A was prevented from fulfilling a contract with B. Such a case has arisen frequently before the Duke Commission. Lord Parmoor's Amendment, in my judgment of its effect, would allow B to claim compensation in such a case. A further effect of the requisitioning the goods of A might easily be to prevent B from fulfilling his contract with C. In such a case, in my judgment, if this word "direct" were not inserted, C also would have a claim for compensation. Objection was taken—if I may say so with strong force—by Lord Sumner on the technical side in the Second Reading debate to the use of the word "direct." I think if that word were taken away the various compensation processes which have become necessary in this country since the year 1914 would be departed from.

    There might have been much to say for the adoption of another word if we were beginning again, but in fact this word was used first, so far as I know, in the terms of reference of the Royal Commission setting up the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, and the terms were confined to "payment of compensation for direct and substantial loss or damage." We omit from this Bill the word "substantial," because it was thought convenient that small claims should not be excluded from a permanent system of compensation. But the word "direct" used in the terms of reference has been considered and construed by Lord Mersey's Commission, and it has been considered and construed over and over again by the Duke Commission, and the findings of both those experienced bodies are on record. The view would, I think, be taken by any Court that when Parliament used the term "direct" in the general Indemnity Act, passed after the war, it must be assumed to have accepted the term "direct" in the sense in which quite plainly it has been construed and acted upon for the past six years.

    There is no doubt that the Amendment moved by my noble and learned friend does open up a very important topic, but I at any rate am clear that the importance of it is as I stated in the Second Reading debate. I do not even gather now from the speech made by my noble and learned friend whether, in so far as his proposal introduces a change into the practice which has prevailed from 1915 to 1920, he would make it retrospective. Does he, for instance, suggest that where we are compensating persons who have claims against the Government from 1920 to 1926 those persons should be differently treated from those who have in fact received compensation from the year 1915? If the noble Lord's Amendment makes any difference at all, as I am quite clear it does, in the proposals of the Government, does he advise that its effect should be retrospective?

    We have to form our own estimates, and the noble and learned Lord does not agree, I gather, with our estimates or has doubts as to whether they are not exaggerated. He says that if these things are worked reasonably on the well-established principles of compensation it will be found that the estimate of the various Government Departments is grossly exaggerated. Holding, as I do, that the effect of the Amendment would be to include indirect damage, and holding as I do the view that it would be impossible to differentiate between cases not hitherto dealt with and those dealt with in the last five years, and instructed as I am that the resultant loss to the Treasury is represented in the immense sums which have been arrived at in consequence of the careful calculation which I gave to the House upon the Second Reading—not my own calculation but that of the Department—I am wholly unable to assent to this Amendment, and I have not the least difficulty in announcing that conclusion. The war made demands upon all sections of the community, and where so many sacrifices have been made by so many people it is asking too much to ask that a principle which has been adopted during this period should now be departed from.

    The noble and learned Lord did not grapple, if I may say so with respect, with the proposition I put forward. I will deal presently in a few words with the question of indirect damage, which was dealt with by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Phillimore. I put two very specific cases where there was no question of indirect damage, but where, as a matter of fact, payment of compensation had been refused by the Duke Commission. I put the case of occupied premises being taken. The premises were requisitioned and used. Is it right that a rental should be paid or not? The Duke. Commission held that no rental should be paid, but on appeal on other points that decision was upset, and I believe an arrangement has been made on the rental basis, which is right. There is no doubt that if you went back into particular cases you would find, as a matter of settlement, some might have been settled in one wav and some in another. But the question is, when you are laying down principles, are you going to deprive a man of the rental value of his estate, or of his house, or of his property, or whatever it may be, because it was requisitioned by the Government and used for Government purposes during the period of the war? Why should a particular person be placed under a disability of that kind? He is not seeking what I may call a privilege or an advantage against anyone else. Why should a particular owner of property be subjected to a disability of that character? It is exactly the same with the rum case. There were no questions of direct damage. It was a question of loss and damage in the ordinary legal sense of the use of those terms as applied to a matter of action or to a compensation claim.

    The objection which the noble and learned Lord raised was that the Amendment might introduce indirect claims. That was not my view, and of course if it was necessary to make that more clear the proviso to which the noble Lord, Lord Phillimore, referred on page 5— "Provided that this subsection shall not give any right to payment or compensation for indirect loss"— might be in terms added to this subsection (b). That is a mere matter of drafting. But it is a very much wider question to deprive owners of property or goods of what they are fairly entitled to just as much as any other subject during the period of the war, and to single them out and place them under a special disability and disadvantage. That is a precedent which is more honoured, I think, in the breach than in the observance. It is a prece lent that will be followed in the future on the grounds that if the majority of the people want to take property they are entitled to take it on terms which are injurious and damaging to the particular individual. I am sorry to say there is too much tendency in that direction on bureaucratic grounds at the present day. I am afraid it is hardly possible under the conditions to have a division upon a point of this kind, but I wish to utter my most earnest protest against a principle of this sort.

    The noble and learned Lord has complained that I did not answer an illustration he gave. I should be unwilling to appear negligent in such a matter. I did not reply to it because, with the greatest respect to the noble and learned Lord, I thought on the face of it it would not be helpful in the matter under discussion. The noble and learned Lord stated himself that in that case there was no question of indirect loss. If there was no question of indirect loss it seemed to me to be apparent that leaving the word "direct" out in this sub-paragraph would not help in such a case.

    You must assume that you have a competent and not an incompetent tribunal. Although the tribunal was not in fact incompetent then, it has been very much strengthened. I exclude myself from giving any opinion on the facts, because I have only one sentence in the noble and learned Lord's speech giving me any idea of what the facts were. But if the facts were that they refused to give damages which the noble and learned Lord says were not indirect, then it seems to me that they pursued a somewhat strange line of reasoning and arrived at a very foggy conclusion. The result is that you must have differences in cases of that kind if you are to have justice.

    On Question, Amendment negatived.

    moved, at the end of subsection I (b), after "entitled to," to insert "payment or," and in subsection 2 (i) to leave out "the Defence of the Realm regulation or any" and to insert "any regulation or." The noble and learned Lord said: These are drafting.

    Amendments moved—

    Page 3, line 34, after ("to") insert ("payment or").
    Page 4, line 18, leave out from ("under") to ("order") in line 19, and insert ("any regulation or").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

    On Question, Amendments agreed to.

    My Lords, the next four Amendments in subsection (2) (i) are purely drafting.

    Amendments moved—

    Page 4, line 19, leave out ("thereunder") and insert ("under any enactment relating to the defence of the realm")
    Page 4, line 20, after ("of") insert ("any payment (including any price to be paid) or")
    Page 4, line 22, after ("order") insert ("such payment or")
    Page 4, line 25, after ("assessing") insert ("the payment or").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

    On Question, Amendments agreed to.

    had an Amendment in subsection 2 (iii), to delete flour (a) "take that right into consideration" and to insert "give effect to that right but." The noble Lord said: That is to meet the point taken by Lord Sumner, to make it clear that the tribunal is to take the right into consideration and to give effect to it.

    I am very much obliged to the Lord Cbancellor for having given effect to what I said. I feel a little uneasy. I know that on the occasion of the Second Reading he was inclined to think, and indeed he stated in terms, that the practice which had been followed by the Commission should continue to be followed, it being a practice to treat the costs as part of the damages. I do not think it is quite satisfactory to increase a man's damages because he has to go to Court and incur a solicitor's bill, and I should certainly feel easier in my own mind if the words ran to give effect to the legal right with costs.

    There is undoubtedly a good deal to be said from the noble and learned. Lord's point of view. There are a great number of points of detail connected with this Bill which I have had to consider, and I do not think it was very pointedly taken in the Second Reading. I was rather under the impression that the answer I had made on that point had been accepted as not un-satisfactory. If the noble and learned Lord will be content with that assurance, I will send for those who are responsible for the fortunes of this Bill in another place and before the Report and Third Reading stage there will be an opportunity for amendment, and I will give my very close attention to this particular point.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Amendments moved—

    Page 5, line 20, after ("for") insert ("payment or")
    Page 5, line 23, after ("for") insert ("payment or")
    Page 5, line 24, after ("further") insert ("payment or")
    Page 5, line 29, after ("assessing") insert ("payment or").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

    On Question, Amendments agreed to.

    Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

    Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.

    Clause 5:

    Validation of sentences.

    5. Any sentence pushed, judgment given, or order made by any military court (other than a court-martial constituted in pursuance of any statute) in connection with the war, or by any court established by the authority administering any territory in the occupation of any of His Majesty's Forces during the war for the administration of justice within such territory, whether passed, given, or made during such occupation, or after such occupation has determined until the court has been abolished or superseded by such lawfully constituted authority as may hereafter be established for the administration of such territory, shall be deemed to be and always to have been valid, and to be and always to have been within the jurisdiction of the court.

    moved, at the end of Clause 5, to insert the following proviso—

    "Provided that any petition from a person upon whom a sentence has been passed by any such military court shall be submitted to the Judge-Advocate-General for his opinion and report in like manner and in the like cases as if the sentence were a sentence passed by a court-martial under the Army Act."
    The noble and learned Lord said: This Amendment expresses its own meaning. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Parmoor, also has an Amendment which I think was intended to carry out the same purpose

    The noble and learned Lord on reflection will recall that his Amendment was technically not very accurate, because the Judge-Advocate-General has no power to review any sentence. I think the Amendment proposed by me is the technical way.

    Amendment moved.

    Page 7, line 5, insert the said new paragraph.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    I am much obliged to the Lord Chancellor for having introduced this Amendment, and of course I do not move mine. I want to ask him one point upon his own form. It is provided that "any petition from a person upon whom a sentence has been passed by any such military court. …" Clause 5 of the Bill deals both with the military Court and any Court established by the authority, and so on. Does he mean to limit the power of reference to the Judge-Advocate-General to the military Court, to the exclusion of the other Court? I hope it may be general. It is a matter to which I called attention on the Second Reading. Clause 5 says—

    "Any sentence passed, judgment given, or order made by any military court (other than a court-martial constituted in pursuance of any statute) in connection with the war—"
    That is one part. Then it says—
    "or by any court established by the authority administering any territory in the occupation of any of His Majesty's Forces…."
    That is the other. It equally applies to both of them, although they may be outside the jurisdiction of the Court. I wanted what we called the possible appeal to be applicable in both cases. I do not know whether the noble and learned Lord intended it only to apply in one case.

    Could the Judge-Advocate-General be asked to report about these Courts? Surely not. He could only be asked to report about a Court-Martial.

    But by Statute he might be asked to report. That was the suggestion made. I think the noble and learned Lord was not here on the Second Reading. Technically all the Judge-Advocate-General does nowadays is to advise the Secretary of State for War. His position is different from what it was in the old days. But, as regards this particular provision, I will not press it if the Lord Chancellor thinks it is not right, but I think it ought to cover both Courts.

    In fact it would be impossible without substantive statutory provision to bring any other Court than a military Court before the Judge-Advocate-General at all. It may reassure my noble and learned friend if I give him the result of my inquiry, which is that the second case to which he directs attention is extraordinary unimportant, having regard to the numbers of cases dealt with, and I think it would be quite impossible in the proviso to deal-with it.

    I entirely accept what the Lord Chancellor says, and I am grateful for the Amendment which he has introduced.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

    Remaining clauses and schedule agreed to.

    Public Libraries (Scotland) Bill

    Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

    Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.— (Lord Stanmore.)

    On Question, Motion agreed to.

    House in Committee accordingly.

    [The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

    Clause 1:

    Increase of rating limit, and provisions as to audit of accounts.

    1.—(1) From and after the fifteenth day of May, nineteen hundred and twenty, section eight of the Public Libraries Consolidation (Scotland) Act, 1887, shall have effect, and shall be deemed to have had effect, as if for the words "one penny" therein occurring there were substituted the words "three pence" and the accounts of the Committee appointed under that Act shall be audited as part of the accounts of the rating authority, or, in the case of a combination of burghs or parishes for the purposes of the said Act, as part of the accounts of the rating authority making the largest contribution to the expenses of the committee: Provided that the Secretary for Scotland, or, where the rating authority is a parish council, the Scottish Board of Health, may, as regards any burgh or parish, as the case may be, sanction a further increase in the amount of the library rate to an amount not exceeding threepence in the pound.
    (2) Notwithstanding anything in section thirty of the Public Libraries Consolidation (Scotland) Act, 1887, a library committee may, before such date in the current financial year as may be fixed by the town council or the parish council (as the case may be), make a supplementary estimate of the sums required for the purposes mentioned in the said section, and, on such estimate being reported to the town or parish council, the council shall act upon such estimate as if it were an estimate reported in terms of the said section.

    moved to omit the proviso at the end of subsection (I). The noble Duke said: In the debate on the Second Reading I was sorry to put your Lordships to the trouble of a Division, but there was no indication from the Government that they would be in any way conciliatory. My noble friend the Chancellor of the Duchy recommended me to put down Amendments at this stage, and therefore I have done so. My noble friend stated that if I carried the Motion on the Second Reading half the public libraries in Scotland would be closed. I am very doubtful on that point, because it is possible even in these clays to make economies. I have no doubt that if economies were made it would not be quite as convenient on cold days for a certain number of young men would not get their betting news so early. But a great deal might be. done in public libraries by economy, and they would still be efficient.

    But I do not wish to do anything to impair these libraries. The Bill, as introduced on the responsibility of the Government in the House of Commons, proposed that the rate should be increased from l d. to 3 d., in other words, that it should be trebled. My Amendment does not touch that proposal in any way. The Government proposal, as introduced in the House of Commons, will still hold good. I am quite certain that when this Bill was introduced the question had been very carefully considered, and that the Government were quite assured that an increase of the rate from l d. to 3 d. would be amply sufficient, even in these extravagant times. But in another place the limit of 3 d. was raised to 6 d. if the additional 3 d. were sanctioned either by the Secretary of Scotland or by the Scottish Board of Health. That is simply asking them to increase the rates and to put the extra burden on the taxpayer. It is simply an incentive to extravagance. Apparently His Majesty's Ministers, and

    also a very large number of the public, suppose that there is some imaginary bag, such as we read of in the "Arabian Nights," from which unlimited gold can be pulled out without anyone suffering. But that is not the case here. I do not think any case can be made out for this, as the Government had evidently carefully considered the question. and what I propose is simply to put the Bill back into the form in which it was introduced by the Government.

    Amendment moved—

    Clause 1, page 1, line 15, leave out from ("committee") to the end of subsection (1).—(The Duke of Buccleuch.)

    The provision that the noble Duke objects to was inserted in Committee in the House of Commons in order to meet special cases. In areas which have very low assessable rentals per head of the population the produce of a 3d. rate may not be sufficient for library expenses, in which case it is necessary to have some extension of the limit of rating. The fact that an increase must be sanctioned by a central authority—the Secretary for Scotland, or the Scottish Board of Health—seems sufficient safeguard against abuse. This power has been allowed in Ireland in a Bill which passed through your Lordship's House only a few days ago, and I fail to see why it should be denied to Scotland when it has already been given to Ireland. My right hon. friend the Secretary for Scotland tells me that he intends to be most careful as to what use he makes of this power.

    I must say I think it most deplorable that the Government will not give way on this Amendment. It is quite a serious matter. One would really think that there was no demand for economy throughout the country. The demand for economy is urgent, and the burden of taxation is overwhelming. And yet the Government positively propose to your Lordships that we should sanction in certain cases a 6d rate. I do not want to underrate the value of public libraries; no doubt they are of a certain value, but I think I am within the mark when I say that those philanthropists and statesmen who promoted the Public Libraries Act have been to a great extent disappointed in their anticipations. That is not their fault at all. Still, as a matter of fact, though public libraries have undoubtedly been of a certain use, they have not been of anything like the value it was hoped they would be. And even if they had come up to the full advantage which was anticipated, surely the Government must recognise that we have very nearly reached the limit of our powers of contributing to the funds of the State. It was only the other day in another place that a colleague of noble Lords opposite told the country that we had practically reached the limit of taxation. That is a tremendous statement. It means that, whatever crises may be in front of us, we practically cannot raise another half-penny by the ordinary methods of taxation.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer. I suppose my noble friend will recognise him as an authority.

    I read what he said in what may have been an abbreviated report, of course, but at any rate the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a statement of very great gravity. Yet we are asked to sanction a 6d. rate. It is really a most unreasonable thing. The noble Lord who very adequately discharges the duty of representing the Scottish Office, and who, of course, is not responsible for the provision, says that in certain cases the assessable value of a particular burgh may be very low. Is that any reason why it should be heavily taxed? It is a reason for the precisely contrary course, I should have thought.


    Birkenhead, L. (L. Chancellor.)Annesley, L. (V. Valentia.)Southwark, L.
    Lucan, E.Colebrooke, L.Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
    Onslow, E.Hylton, L.Treowen, L.
    Phillimore, L.Wavertree, L.
    Astor, V.Ranksborough, L.Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)
    Milner, V.Sinha, L.Wittenham, L.
    Peel, V.Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]


    Argyll, D.Midleton, E.Ebury, L.
    Bath, M.Morton, E.Erskine, L.
    Lincolnshire, M.Bertie of Thame, V.Fairfax of Cameron, L.

    (Lord Great Chamberlain.)

    Chaplin, V.Gisborough, L.
    Salisbury, M.Hood, V.Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)
    Doncaster, E.Hutchinson, V.


    (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)

    (E. Donoughmore.)

    Queenborough, L.
    Rotherham, L.


    Armaghdale, L.Ruthven of Gowrie, L.
    Eldon, E.Avebury, L.Sandys, L.
    Harewood, E.Chevlesmore, L.Sumner, L.
    Malmesbury, E.Crawshaw, L.

    Burghs whose assessable value is low are entitled to even more consideration than the others. Yet it is gravely proposed, because of the possibility here and there, in rare cases, of the closing of public libraries—which my noble friend who knows a great deal about Scotland doubts very much will happen—that this rate should be authorised.

    If the Government are really in earnest about the national expenditure they will agree to this Amendment, which, I would remind your Lordships, is in the nature of a compromise. Those of us who sit on this side of the House and act together wanted to throw the Bill out, but your Lordships thought otherwise and we entirely accept the position. We do not propose to destroy the full efficacy of the Bill at all. We merely propose to restore the Bill to the condition it was in when, upon the responsibility of the Government, it was introduced into the House of Commons, and we do it having, some of us, made very strong public observations in favour of economy: not stronger than the Government, although as in many other cases the performances of the Government do not quite come up to their professions. I venture most strongly to urge upon them to agree to my noble friend's Amendment. It is not, of course, a matter of first-class importance because it applies only to a limited number of burghs, but if the Government are in earnest I hope they will agree to this Amendment.

    On Question, whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the clause?

    Their Lordships divided: Contents, 19; Not-Contents, 28.

    Resolved in the negative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

    Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

    Remaining clauses agreed to.

    Amendment reported (according to Order.)

    Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a, and passed, and returned to the Commons.

    Jurors (Enrolment Of Women) (Scotland) Bill Hl

    Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

    My Lords, this is a Bill which I anticipate your Lordships will think it right to pass through all its stages to-night. I can describe the necessity for it and its nature in a few sentences. Parliament passed some months ago the Sex Disqualification Removal Act, and among its consequences was that women became available for service on juries. As the House knows, women are to-day sitting on juries in England, but it was found impossible to apply the system in Scotland owing to the cast-iron statutory restrictions upon the jury rolls which exist in that country. It is obviously undesirable that full effect should not be given to the will of Parliament as expressed in that Act, and it is the purpose of the present Bill to remove the technical objections of which I have spoken. The matter is highly technical, but if noble Lords desire more exact information I shall be glad to afford it. I have satisfied myself that the difficulties exist and can be dealt with in the manner proposed.

    Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.(The Lord Chancellor.)

    On Question, Bill read 2a .

    It is not necessary, but I hope your Lordships will do so. No one has ever suggested that there is any other possible consequence than the one which I have indicated, and we have a great number of Bills to deal with. It never occurred to me that there would be any objection to this course.

    I shall not, of course, resist if the Lord Chancellor wishes it, but it is a great pity to do away with the various stages of Bills too frequently. They are a great security of the privileges of the House and of the business of the country.

    I am much obliged to the noble Marquess. I venture to press this course to-day because tomorrow, and on lator days, we shall be very busy. It is, I think, the first time I have asked your Lordships to take this course.

    Committee negatived.

    Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a, and passed, and sent to the Commons.

    Juvenile Courts (Metropolis) Bill Hl

    Amendments reported (according to Order).

    In moving that this Bill be now read a third time, may I remind your Lordships that all the Parliamentary differences have been solved by a happy settlement in which I think nearly all parties in this House have concurred.

    Moved (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended), That the Bill he now read 3a.(The Lord Chancellor.)

    On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed, and sent to the Commons.

    Dangerous Drugs Bill

    Amendments reported (according to Order).

    Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a, and passed, and returned to the Commons.

    Ministry Of Food (Continuance) Bill

    Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

    Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.— (The Earl of Crawford.)

    On Question, Motion agreed to. House in Committee accordingly.

    [The EARL of DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

    Clause 1:

    Continuance of office of Food Controller.

    1.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the provisions of the New Ministries and Secretaries Act, 1916, so far as they relate to the Food Controller or the Ministry of Food, shall, notwithstanding anything in that or any other Act, continue in force until the first day of September, nineteen hundred and twenty-two:

    moved, in subsection (1), at the end of the first paragraph, to substitute the year ("1921" for "1922." The noble Viscount said: I am aware of the great difficulties which confronted the Department when it was first constituted. In certain respects it accomplished undoubtedly a very necessary and very good work, but on the Second Reading of the Bill I gave some reasons, good reasons, why the principal Act should he brought to a termination at an earlier period than is proposed by this measure. I also stated that the Department was most costly, unnecessarily costly in various respects, and that I had never been able to ascertain, although I have taken great pains to do so, a satisfactory account of how all the enormous sums of money have been spent.

    My objection dates from the year 1918. In that year I put certain questions to the Government to account for the immense rise in expenditure which had occurred after the month of December, 1917. In that month the expenditure was £17,000, and in the following July I put a question to which my noble friend Lord Crawford, who, in reply, gave me the figures for 1918 for the first six months of that year, for the cost of administration and the cost of the purchase of foodstuffs, and the total amounted to no less than £185,185,268 for those six months; that is to say, for three months of the year, up to the end of the financial year, there had been an expense of £71,291,411 as compared with an expenditure in the month of December of £17,000,000. I have never been able, from that day to this, to get figures to show how these enormous sums were expended.

    My noble friend said to me the other night, in the course of his observations, that it was very easy to make broad charges of this kind but it was no use quoting expenditure in a commercial concern unless at the same time you quoted income and assets. That is just what I wanted to quote, but I have never been able to get that information, and that is what I am here to-night to ask for. I asked my noble friend for it on the Second Reading, and I heard his statement in reply. I do not think that I need repeat what I said then, but I am supporting my views by other questions arising in connection with the Ministry of Food—questions which I raised some considerable time ago. I am now speaking of the year 1918. At that time a system for the sale of cattle was devised by the then Food Controller, and a most extraordinary system it was. High prices were to be paid for the first month, and gradually they were to descend for six months, and at the end of the six months the price was to be a great deal lower than it was in the first instance. Consequently, although the farmers would have had to keep these animals for six months and incur all the expense of doing so they were to get a lower price.

    I am going to ask for Lord Milner's attention, because I shall be obliged to remind him of something which he was made to say upon the second day's debate on that subject, and which he will admit, I think, when I tell him the real facts, was of a very extraordinary character. The result of that system was that the owners of cattle put all their beasts as quickly as they could on the market, because prices then were much higher than they would have been months hence, and how anybody could have devised a system of that kind who was acquainted with the conduct of agricultural affairs I cannot possibly imagine. I must have made out a very good case on the first day of the debate, because I know that Lord Milner was asked to come and attend on the second day. Since then he has had many other things to do and has found himself in different parts of the world, and so no doubt these things have passed out of his mind altogether. But do let me say, before I give what I consider are additional reasons for most carefully examining the conduct. of that particular Government Department, that of course I knew perfectly well that he made the statement to which I am going to refer in the full belief that it must he absolutely true.

    On February 28, 1918, Lord Milner, in defending the Food Controller's Department, made these observations—

    "I have been careful to inquire, and I am told on very high authority that the additional number of cattle slaughtered in the earlier months which under other circumstances might have been slaughtered in the later months was something like 130.000, which I believe is about two months' supply."

    Later on I find in the same column—I am reading from the daily issue of the OFFICIAL REPORT—he spoke of it as two weeks' supply. I am not in the least surprised, because I do not think it was either his duty or his business to he acquainted with the facts relating to the consumption of cattle and meat in this country. I had asked to be told all about these figures by the Department in the course of the speech which I made, and I had told them beforehand that I was going to make that speech, but the Minister in charge of the debate said he did not know the figures, and he could not reply to the statements which I had made.

    I put down on the Paper almost immediately afterwards a question, and on May 14—this having been said by Lord Milner on February 28—what was the specific reply, as to the slaughter of cattle under that particular system, which I received from the Controller of Food himself. What he said was that Between September 1 and February 28, both days included, the number of cattle slaughtered was estimated at 1,378,000. Yet the noble Viscount had been told in the debate, on what he described as the highest possible authority, that the figure was 130,000. It was not only 1,387,000, because there were 75,000 in addition that had been killed for Army purposes, making a total of nearly a million and a half—namely, 1,453,000—and of these animals it is scarcely credible that 280,000 were two-year old beasts. You do not kill two-year old beasts in England as a rule. It, is the most wasteful process possible, because they would produce enormously more meat if they were kept till they were three years, and still more if they were kept till they were four years old. I have given the two statements: the one which was put into Lord Milner's mouth, and the other given to me in his own words by the Food Controller himself a fortnight afterwards, I think I have made a ease which justifies me in regarding with some suspicion the accuracy with which their accounts are kept and their business management. As I have said before, I know the difficulties which Ministers had in the war.

    I know the difficulties in which Departments were placed and I make every allowance for them. I believe that your Lordships, having heard these statements for which I have given chapter and verse from the public Reports, will think I am entitled to hold the opinion (which I do hold) that it is very desirable that this particular Department should not continue to he a Government Department any longer than is absolutely necessary. The Bill proposes that the Ministry shall continue in existence for two years from September. I do not know how That proposal can be justified. My noble friend told us a great many things about liquidation, and this, that and the other, and the difficulty of getting the whole of the accounts in order, but twelve months should surely be sufficient for the purpose. I move my Amendment because I entertain that view and also because of the opinion, which I hold most strongly, that throughout the whole of its career the Ministry of Food has been the greatest possible impediment in the world to the enormously increased production of food at home, which is a matter of vital importance to the country at the present time.

    It was of enormous importance during the war especially during the earlier period and, as I reminded the House the last time I spoke, the Prime Minister, in order to supplement the meat supply by increasing the number of pigs (which you could do with great rapidity), issued a manifesto to the nation urging them to do everything in their power to increase the number of pigs in the country. He appointed a new official who was called the Director of Pigs. One of the best agriculturists in the country, and one of the best members of the House of Commons at the present time, was chosen to fulfil that position. This gentleman was doing his work most admirably, and he had been most successful, when an edict went forth from the Ministry of Food that all the pigs were to be killed—that was the Order—because they had not the food with which to supply them. The other day I pointed out to my noble friend that the Order was made at a time when there were unusual quantities of grass upon which pigs can live perfectly well. The noble Earl hinted that I was of opinion that they could be fattened upon grass. I did not say that or anything of the kind. I was thinking of the purpose for which this Director of Pigs had been appointed. It is true that the pigs could have been kept alive upon the enormous, almost unheard of, quantities of grass available in the country in that particular season. If they had been kept alive, you could have increased the stock of your pigs and gone on with the work as much as ever you liked. Instead of that, they were all killed. Everybody knows that now the price of pigs is very high, and has been for months and months. Pigs make prices that were never beard of before. A good sow will make £20 or £25 or £30, and a boar almost anything in the world that you like to ask for it. These are my reasons for thinking that the sooner this Department can be legitimately and properly closed the better it will be for the Government, for economy, and for all classes who are concerned.

    Amendment moved—

    Clause 1, page 1, line 10, leave out ("twenty-two") and insert ("twenty-one").—(Viscount Chaplin.)

    I had hoped that on Friday last I had convinced Lord Chaplin that the Ministry of Food was not responsible for the shortage of feeding-stuffs which made the maintenance of a large pig population impossible. I gave my reasons, which I think, if he will do me the honour to re-study my remarks, he will admit to be cogent. I do not wish to go back upon the subject, except to say that the Ministry of Food did not issue any such Order as Lord Chaplin states, that all pigs were to be killed.

    Not all pigs, but that pigs were to be killed. I do not mean the extinction of the breed.

    I only quote what my noble friend said, that an Order was issued that they were all to be killed.

    Before we leave the pig problem I will assure Lord Chaplin that the Ministry of Food made no Order that pigs were not to eat surplus grass, and if, as he said, there was plenty of grass in the country the pigs and their owners were quite entitled to use it in that manner.

    I can only say that I was told at the Board of Agriculture that the Order received from the Ministry of Food was that the pigs were to be killed. I have no doubt they have a record of it.

    May I turn to the question of accounts? Lord Chaplin complains again that he cannot find the necessary figures. In the first place I have here the Financial Report and the Appropriation Account of the Ministry of Food up till March 31, 1918. It is Command Paper No. 191. This document was issued at the instance of the noble Viscount himself. After one of our debates, and after a speech exactly like the one which we have just heard, it was agreed that the document should be issued. It was issued. It is a public Paper, placed in your Lordships' Library. Here it is.

    I have been in the Library for three hours to-day and it was not brought to me.

    if the noble Viscount will ask the librarian to supply him with Command Paper No. 191, or ask at the Printed Paper Office, he will get it, or I will have a copy sent to him. Here it is, a Parliamentary Paper available to anybody. The next document is a year later, presented to Parliament by Command of the King, Command Paper No. 286, giving the Provisional Trading Account for the financial year ending March 31, 1919.

    Yes. It gives masses of figures showing how much was spent in the acquisition of foodstuffs, how much was received on re-sale of the foodstuffs, the stocks held. the stocks carried forward, total credit, and differences between this column and that—in short, a very full and compendious account. The final document to which I must refer my noble friend is the Appropriation Account—that is the final account—for 1918–19, Paper No. 46, presented to the House of Commons on March 11 last. If my noble friend will be so good as to go through these Papers he will see a very complete record of all the transactions—

    Will the noble Earl allow me to ask hint this—Is it in any one of those papers that I shall find the figure of £185,000,000 for the purchase of food?

    Is that three months after the beginning of the financial year? Is it July, 1918, or 1919?

    The documents from which I have been quoting deal with the financial year—they do not deal with scraps of the financial year—and if the quotation made is at any time before the end of the financial year, 1919—the year ending March, 31, 1919—it is in these Papers. The Appropriation Account, the Provisional Trading Account, and the Financial Report are all covered up to March 31, 1919. This table gives the gigantic transactions of the Ministry of Food during that year. For instance the Ministry purchased on its trading account alone something like £330,000,000 worth of food, and during the same year it sold goods practically to the same amount, with a carry forward.

    It is not my fault if Lord Chaplin has not examined Papers presented to Parliament at the public expense. But I wish to deal not with the past but with the Amendment of Lord Chaplin, which relates to the future. In the first place I muse, assure the noble Lord that the period of duration of the Ministry of Food has been most carefully considered. I happened myself to be on the Committee which had to go into the matter, and I assure the noble Lord that meeting after meeting took place to settle what was the minimum period for which it would be proper to ext end the life of this Ministry. The Committee had to consider the whole question, and it gave the most close and repeated consideration to the subject. Many wanted to continue the Ministry for five years, and a certain section wanted it to be prolonged sine die, and after this extended attention and scrutiny the period of two years was settled upon as the minimum which was considered suitable.

    I must remind your Lordships that that Act under which this Ministry exists—the New Ministries Act—contemplates the prolongation of the Ministry of Food for twelve months after the termination of the war. That moment, alas! has not yet been reached—in the technical sense—by the ratification of the last outstanding Treaty. Therefore Lord Chaplin's proposal is not merely to curtail the two years suggested by the Government, but is actually to curtail what was originally in the Act in the year 1916. I hope to give Lord Chaplin a reason or two why it is wise to continue this Ministry until the autumn of the year after next.

    Your Lordships should remember that at the present moment food prices are higher than they have been at any moment since the beginning of the war. That is a fact which should never be forgotten, and which under certain conditions may dominate the situation. That is the one crucial and central factor which I ask your Lordships to remember. The second factor is that conditions in Central Europe are now reaching a stage at which it may well be possible that we are about to enter upon a period of competition in oversea markets which during the war and throughout the subsequent period of Armistice, owing to the crippling of the Central Powers, did not exist. I do not say that the Central Powers will be able to secure sufficient credit to have any marked impression upon oversea markets, but it is a contingency which we cannot refuse to contemplate, and it is a very material factor. I do not say that it is going to happen, but that it may happen is certain, and if it does happen I think it ought to be conceded that some central organisation in this country should exist which may take any necessary action.

    So far as British agriculture is concerned, Lord Chaplin must not be allowed to terrorise your Lordships by indicating that the Ministry of Food is going to be inimical to that great interest. I cannot answer his complaint about what happened I in the grading of home-fed meat two and a half years ago. I have not an idea what I the answer to that question is, but I was supplied with an answer to the question about the pig population which quite convinced me that the Ministry of Food acted wisely, or at any rate rightly in that matter, and I have no doubt that an answer equally convincing is available to the question which Lord Chaplin put on the grading of home-fed meat. In any case, live stock control ceased in this country over a month ago.

    I also ask your Lordships to bear in mind, in view of the denunciations of Lord Chaplin, that this country, and this country alone out of all the belligerent Powers of Europe, has succeeded in maintaining its cattle population at the pre-war normal. That the Ministry of Food is not so powerful and so nefarious as to do what Lord Chaplin suggested is shown, I think, by the mere fact that we maintain this great pre-war normal of live stock population. That in itself is, I hope, a sufficient answer to the noble Lord. The Ministry of Food is certainly not going to interfere with the British farmer.

    The limitation of the Department to one year, as opposed to two years, makes this into a Food Annual Bill. Is that wise? Does Lord Chaplin think that a Food Annual Bill, renewed year by year in the Expiring Laws Continuance Act, reduces the tenure of the Ministry of Food? I should say not. On the whole I should say that a Ministry like this, given two years in an Act of Parliament (the Government having power to terminate it at any safe anterior moment), has a much shorter expectation of life than if it were in a Bill which is put into the Expiring Laws Continuance Act year by year. I think that Lord Chaplin would defeat his own end.

    I am not in favour of this being put into the Expiring Laws Continuance Act.

    Lord Chaplin is in favour of limiting it to twelve months. I propose to express my view that the Bill cannot be limited to twelve months, and that it will have consequently to go into the Expiring Laws Continuance Act, and from my point of view I would much rather that the Bill had a statutory termination in view in the month of September, 1922, than that we should pass it now until next August, and that then it should go into the Expiring Laws Continuance Act.

    Let me put this point to your Lordships, and it will appeal to any member of the House who has had commercial experience. The Ministry of Food has stocks valued at I do not know how many millions sterling. I have not got the figure, but it may be anything from £120,000,000 to £130,000,000 sterling. That is the ordinary natural stock-in-trade of the biggest commercial organisation in the world. It is a mere fraction of the annual outlay upon goods. We have to liquidate that stock, say £130,000,000 worth. If your Lordships say that the Bill has to end in twelve months, as Lord Chaplin asks you to do, we shall have to liquidate that stock during that period. I will ask any Peer with commercial experience if the result of that would not be greatly to depress the value of those stocks. Every purchaser will know that we have to wind up in twelve months; every purchaser will defer his purchases as long as he can, because he will know that being under statutory obligation to liquidate twelve months hence our stock, as that moment approaches, will depreciate in value. If this Bill has got, by Statute, to end in twelve months, the loss on that £130,000,000 might run up to £20,000,000 or £30,000,000; who knows how many million pounds. That seems to me a very crucial point. It is no use saying, "Transfer this to other Departments." Other Departments are already overworked and they are not equipped for the work. They have not bought the stocks; they have no knowledge of the markets or the system of trade. If it was transferred as a big going concern I am sure they would not do it so well as the Ministry of Food. I think, therefore, that the practical limit of two years which this Bill imposes is the period which will best enable the energies of the Ministry of Food to be directed towards final liquidation.

    I should like to add one word in conclusion. My colleague Mr. McCurdie has stated on more than one occasion in the House of Commons that it is his policy, and it is likewise the policy of the Government, to liquidate this Department as soon as public safety permits. Two years is the period which appears to be the minimum that ought to be conferred. If circumstances improve, and if difficulties to which I have indirectly referred do not eventuate, the Government have the power to terminate it at an earlier moment, and it is the intention not only of my right hon. friend Mr. McCurdie but of the Government as a whole to use that power to the full as soon as it is seen that the Ministry of Food can be terminated at an earlier date without danger to the public welfare.

    I am sure that your Lordships will have listened with great respect to the speech which we have just heard, because my noble friend the Chancellor of the Duchy has a very special knowledge of this subject and speaks with great authority. There is no doubt that much that he said is exceedingly well-founded. I do not dispute for a moment the great importance of the Ministry of Food and the work which it has done. Undoubtedly your Lordships ought to be very grateful to the Ministry of Food and to my noble friend for all the work that has been accomplished.

    I would, however, like to observe that I do not think my noble, friend is entitled to call in aid of his argument the fact that my noble friend's Amendment would limit the duration of the Ministry of Food even to an earlier date than the present law, because, as a matter of fact, the Government never expected that the war—I mean the technical war—would have gone on as long as it has done. They must have expected when they passed the present Act that the Ministry of Food would have conic to an end long before this, because they expected that the termination of the war would have taken place long before this and therefore in the natural course it would have come to an end.

    I think I may also say on behalf of my noble friend who sits behind me that there is no desire—there certainly is not on my part, and I doubt whether there is any on his—to put an end to the operations of the Ministry of Food altogether even at the end of the war. The Government themselves provide in this Bill for the transfer of the powers of the Ministry of Food. Probably some other Amendment would be required to make it fully effective, but I would ask my noble friend the Chancellor of the Duchy to consider the operation of Clause 5 of this Bill. In Clause 5, which deals only with hops, there is a provision to continue the operation of the Bill after the expiry of the powers of the Ministry of Food, because there is a provision in the Bill itself to transfer the powers of the Ministry of Food to other Departments. It is provided in Clause 5 that in respect of hops, when the transfer has taken place, the powers of the Ministry of Food should go on for five years. So that it is quite clear that the Government did contemplate a procedure under which the powers of the Ministry of Food, or some of them, should be transferred to another Department and should continue after the Ministry of Food itself has ceased to exist. That is a concession of three parts of my noble friend's case, so far as the machinery of the Bill is concerned.

    There would appear to he no reason within the spirit of the Bill why all the necessary powers of the Ministry of Food should not be continued for whatever time is necessary even after the Ministry of Food itself has come to an end. Although I do not know whether my noble friend will think it right in the condition of your Lordships' House to press for a Division—I almost hope he will not—at the same time I am bound to say that I think it is in the public interest that as soon as possible the Ministry of Food should be brought to an end.

    I am only representing what the Chancellor of the Duchy himself has said. The new Ministries are really an abuse. They were very necessary when they were established, but they are an abuse and the sooner they are brought to an end the better. My noble friend Viscount Chaplin thinks that a year from now would be a sufficient time to allow this Ministry to continue. I should say that the powers of the Ministry of Food which are necessary should be from that time forward transferred to another Department. That is the view riot only of myself, but, as the Chancellor of the Duchy is aware, it is the view of a great number of men of importance in the business world who have authorised a statement in the public Press to the effect that the powers of these new Ministries—those which are not abolished altogether—should be absorbed in existing Departments. That appears to be the proper policy, and the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Chaplin is directly essential to that policy—namely, to bring the Ministry of Food to an end and transfer what few necessary powers there are to some other Department, and resume as soon as we can normal conditions. Although I sympathise very much with the desire of my noble friend Lord Chaplin, I do not know whether in the present position of your Lordships' House he would wish to divide; but I though it right to say so much in order to show with what sympathy I regard a great deal of what my noble friend has said.

    I should like to say with how much sympathy I regard a great deal of what Lord Salisbury has said.

    I do not know whether the noble Earl is going to reply to what the noble Marquess has said, but perhaps it would be convenient that whatever questions there are should be addressed to him before he replies. I should like to ask a question with regard to our Colonial ossessions in this matter. There has been some notification in the papers lately that the Dominion of Canada was objecting with regard to food export, and there was also a protest by New Zealand. My objection to the Ministry of Food is that it is likely to stop production in the Colonies; that the very existence of the Ministry of Food as a great trading concern means that there is uncertainty and insecurity, that it is liable to come down at any time to purchase in the markets, and therefore the producers are uncertain whether their supply will be bought or not, the Minister of Food apparently in the case of New Zealand having laid down a condition that any food that is sent here has to be sold to it. If the noble Earl can throw sonic light on these matters, in view of what has been said with regard to Colonial objections to the action of the Ministry of Food, I shall be much obliged.

    I hope that Lord Salisbury will not think that I am in conflict with him. On the contrary, I applaud a great deal of what he said, especially with regard to Clause 4 and Clause 5. He is quite right that the power under Clause 4 (that is, the hop clause) lasts for five years. That, I am told, is the period which is considered essential to establish that industry. Two or three years are no good. But your Lordships will note that the Food Controller during the continuance of his office will have certain powers, and thereafter (which we assume, or hope, will be within two years) they must be transferred to the Board of Agriculture or the Board of Trade—I do not know which. The Board of Agriculture, I hope your Lordships will bear in mind, are anxious that the Department of Food should take charge of the hops. I hope I have made that clear to Lord Chaplin. They could have done it themselves, but they preferred that the Department of Food should act in that way.

    The only other point is Lord Askwith's. It is not a matter on which without some preparation I could make a very clear or a very definite announcement. Lord Askwith, broadly speaking, is suite correct in saying that Canada, for instance, wants us to decontrol bacon, and that New Zealand wants us to decontrol butter, and there may be other cases, too. We control bacon and butter for reasons analogous to those which led Canada to control her own wheat, and Australia to control her own wool. The conditions, in short, were such that government by a State Department was not only necessary in the consuming countries here, but was necessary in the producing country overseas. Any article which is in short supply must be bought by the Government in order to secure equality of distribution. If that be not done then the purse alone governs the dietary of the public as a whole, and certainly if butter were not controlled in this country we might get more butter, but we might all have to pay 5s. a lb. for it.

    As regards the policy, what I have already said about the view of the Government obliquely at any rate supplies an answer to Lord Askwith. We want decontrol here. Naturally, we want decontrol abroad. But during this period of transition one has to feel one's way with caution, and, indeed, without undue speed. It might be equally injurious to one of our great Dominions if decontrol were premature as to ourselves. At the present moment Canada has removed State control from the handling of her wheat crop, but so uncertain is the outlook that the Dominion has had to retain powers to re-impose control at any moment she may think fit. In Australia again, there is the feeling which exists in this country, that the sooner private enterprise is restored the more likely many of these problems, especially international problems, are likely to find solution. But even Australia has found herself unable to say that private enterprise shall be restored, because the conditions in the world are still so uncertain. Questions of finance alone make it very difficult to guarantee that private enterprise can entirely assume its previous power in the commercial world. I assure Lord Askwith that the matter is closely engaging the attention of the Ministry of Food, and I need hardly say that it is a question with which my noble friend Lord Milner is very closely concerned, and for which he desires a friendly and amicable solution.

    I have not changed my view in the least, but I have taken precautions to count my pack. I have noticed for a long time your Lordships' numbers diminish very greatly as we approach or pass seven o'clock, and as I should almost assuredly be in a minority I shall not put your Lordships to the trouble of a Division.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, in subsection (2), after "Act," where the word for the third time occurs, to leave out "which regulations, so far as they relate to the powers of the Food Controller, shall, subject to the limitations set out in that schedule, have effect as though set out in this Act, and shall cease to have effect as regulations made under any enactment relating to the Defence of the Realm."

    The noble and learned Lord said: This Amendment deals with a matter to which I drew attention on the Second Reading. Your Lordships will see in subsection (2) that after the passing of this Act the Food Controller during the continuance of his office is to have and exercise all the powers possessed by him at the time of the passing of the Act under the Regulations referred to in the Schedule to the Act. One of the Regulations in the Schedule is Defence of the Realm Regulation 2B. As a consequential Amendment (it is a separate Amendment in form, but it is in substance part of the same) I propose in the next paragraph to omit the words "in force and have effect as if made under the powers Conferred by this Act."

    I propose to discuss them both together. Regulation 2B provides that the Food Controller may take possession of any food, forage, and stores of any description or any articles required for or in connection with the production thereof, that if the price is not agreed regard need not be had to the market price, but if the food is acquired from the grower or producer regard shall be had to the cost of production and to a rate of profit usually earned by him in respect of similar goods before the war. If the goods were procured from any other person, then regard is to be had to the price paid by such person for the goods and to the rate of profit usually earned in respect to the sale of such goods before the war. Further, if the person from whom they are acquired has acquired them otherwise than in the usual course of his business, no allowance of profit is to be made to him at all, or an allowance at a reduced rate. It is, therefore, a Regulation of a very stringent kind, not only by giving powers to requisition food, but by depriving the victim of a requisition of anything like a price corresponding to the price of the day.

    It so happens that, by a decision of Mr. Justice Salter in February last, Regulation 2B was held to be ultra vires. It is a Regulation which could only be made under the Defence of the Realm Act. The powers which the Defence of the Realm Act gave were not after all unlimited, and he held that this Regulation was ultra vires in respect of the provisions about not taking account of the market price. Until that decision is overruled it stands as a good and binding decision. I express no opinion whatsoever about the decision, except that it is entitled to the respect which is due to a distinguished Judge, and is, furthermore, the decision of a competent Court binding upon other Courts.

    It is said that this decision is under appeal. I do not know how that may be, but if the Government Department concerned, which I rather think was the War Office and not the Ministry of Food—

    It does not matter, because it applies equally to all Departments; it is a decision which would bind them all. If, as I said, the Government Department concerned had been really anxious to appeal against that decision it would have been quite the ordinary course for them to make application to the Court of Appeal to have the appeal advanced, upon the ground that many other cases depended upon it and it was desirable to have the decision of the higher Court as soon as possible. If necessary, the same application could have been made afterwards to your Lordships' House, and I have not the slightest doubt that in both cases the application would have been acceded to.

    The result is that, if there had been any real desire on the part of the appellants, the Government Department, that decision would have been reviewed before now. Instead of doing that, as your Lordships will now no doubt appreciate, this Bill takes the matter out of the realm of legal decision, and proposes to enact that Regulation 2B, instead of being a Regulation made under the Defence of the Realm Act, shall be a substantive enactment under this Act. It therefore not only gives it a new life by way of continuance, but it gives it a new life by way of validity, and expressly says that it is not to be deemed to have effect as a Regulation made under the Defence of the Realm Act, as to which it was bad, but is to have effect as though set out in this Act and enacted by this Act.

    Between the delivery of that judgment by Mr. Justice Salter and the present time the matter has been dealt with by another Act. It is an Act which received the Royal Assent on March 31 of this year, and is designed temporarily to continue certain emergency enactments and Regulations, and so far as it relates to the powers of the Food Controller Regulation 2B was one of the Regulations continued by that Act. But the Legislature carefully put this proviso into Section 2—
    "Provided that no such Regulation as so continued shall have greater validity than it had before the time when, but for this Act, it would have expired."
    That is to say, Regulation 2B may hereafter be held to be good. If so, let it be good. At present it has been held to be bad, and it has no further validity by reason of this continuation than it has at the present moment.

    I think your Lordships will probably be of opinion that the course pursued in the Continuance Act in March was the right one, and the course proposed to be followed in this present Bill is not the right one. I do not wish to set up or to stand up for any etiquette of the Courts, or to suggest that there is any amour people on the part of any learned Judge to find that the Legislature has enacted something different from what he has decided to be the law. Far from it. But when a Regulation has been decided to be ultra wires and the Department concerned, or one of the Departments, which wishes to put it into force finds that the Regulation it had relied upon is no longer an available instrument, I think it is not the right thing simply to say, "There is a decision of a Judge which we do not like; let us get rid of it; let us go to Parliament, and they will put it right for us."

    The right thing is either to carry the matter to a higher Court and let it be reviewed in the ordinary course, or, if they must come to Parliament, to give some reasons for doing so. If I may say so, the legal propriety of the thing is all in favour of taking the course pursued by the Act which was passed in March, and leaving the Courts to decide what is purely a question of law on the construction of the Defence of the Realm Act. I regret that this course has not been taken. I regret it all the more because I think it is another sign of many that the Departments are now very much more disposed to disregard decisions of the Law Courts, and to think they have only to apply to the Legislature for an amending Act in order to get their difficulties put straight, than formerly was the case.

    I admit at once that if there is a ground of emergency which requires that Regulation 2B shall be re-enacted now, of course the position is entirely altered, and what we have to consider is whether there is a good case for now enacting Regulation 2B. I have been through the speeches not only of the noble Earl in moving the Second Reading of this Bill in this House but of the Food Controller in moving the Second Reading in another place, and I can find no reference at all which explains in any way why it is necessary to enact something now which was not enacted during the war, but was issued by way of Regulation and then went beyond the powers of the law. All that I found had been said in the House of Commons was—
    "These among other Regulations are powers very necessary in the face of emergency and as part of the machinery of control."
    It is nowhere suggested what the emergency was, and the noble Earl in moving the Second Reading did not deal with the point. It was quite obvious that those who had provided him with the material upon which he argued, and by which, of course, he felt himself limited, had not thought fit to place before your Lordships any reason whatsoever for enacting something now that has not been enacted before.

    What emergency is there? It is said, in the speech I have just quoted from, that it is part of the machinery of control. How does it come about that it is part of the machinery of control to requisition a man's food and pay him for it, not at the market price and not at the price he had every right to expect to get and is entitled to get from somebody else, but upon some totally different sum? Why is this Regulation 2B, without any alteration at all, a suitable Regulation for use now? It refers you back to the profit usually earned by the requisitionee before the war or, in the case of a person who is a vendor and not a producer, it refers you back to the profit usually earned in respect of the sale of such goods before the war—that is to say, before the continued and extended office of the Food Controller comes to an end, he may be taking a requisitionee back for a period of eight years, to a state of things eight years old, a state of things difficult to ascertain and at any rate totally different from the state of things prevailing at the moment.

    That there may be some circumstances in which you would have to requisition goods still I cannot believe, and I hope the noble Earl will tell us what these circumstances in his anticipation are. If there are such circumstances I should have thought that a new Regulation ought to be made, and that the prices to be ILA to the persons whose goods are requisitioned should be fixed not with reference to something seven or eight years old but with reference to existing facts, taking into account the changed value of money, the changed opportunities that tradesmen have now, and the changed situation of those who have to carry on business. That there can be any emergency similar to that in which the Regulation was originally framed seems impossible. There is only one more Treaty to be signed, and to-morrow is fixed for its signature. It is true it has been fixed four or five times already, but the procrastination of the Turkish delegates must come to an end some time, and one hopes that it, will be signed to-morrow or the next day. There is, therefore, none of the existing states of war that has to be provided for in this Bill. Are we contemplating some new war or a revision of all the Treaties so that the whole process is to begin over again?

    What has the Department in contemplation which justifies it in coming to Parliament and asking for these drastic powers to take a man's property and not to pay that which it is worth to him and which any one else would have to pay for it? If the noble Earl can make out any reasonable cause of that kind I should not invite your Lordships to refuse this power to the Government, but I submit that the House is entitled, when it is asked net only to confer new power but a power which the Department has exercised already, to be told explicitly and not in general terms what is the emergency against which the Food Controller is to be armed. It is not enough to say that it is part of the machinery of control. It is not enough to talk about the possibility of keen competition between this country and Continental countries. We ought to be told under what circumstances it is that the Food Controller contemplates having to use this power, because it means taking away property from one man for the good of the rest of the country. It is a form of taxation; he has to stiffer that others may pay less. Therefore before Parliament arms the Food Controller with the ability to do this, I submit that both Houses of Parliament should be told in terms what is the difficulty with which the Food Controller expects to have to deal.

    Amendment moved—

    Clause 1, page 2, line 2, leave out from ("Act") to the end of line 6.—(Lord Sumner.)

    I desire to draw your Lordships' attention to the fact that the opening words of subsection (2) say "after the passing of this Act." In other words, the suggested powers to be conferred on the Ministry of Food have no retrospective validating effect. That, of course, is important, and I hope your Lordships will bear it in mind. On the technical point also I think there is a defect in Lord Sumner's first Amendment which he can scarcely have anticipated. The Schedule of the Act prolongs for the Food Controller powers under the Defence of the Realm Act, but it does so subject to four specified limitations, and limitations of the widest character. It seems to me that Lord Sumner's Amendment, if adopted, would cut out those limitations and would invest the Food Controller with powers for which he has not invited the assent of Parliament.

    Lord Sumner, I gather, does not mean to diminish the powers of the Food Controller. He did not say that those powers had been improperly exercised. He complained that the powers took the case out of the realm of jurisprudence. That is true, but it also takes them out of the defence of D.O.R.A., and I shall submit to your Lordships that there is something in the nature of a point of etiquette, although Lord Sumner disclaimed it rather emphatically. He said that it is wrong for a public Department to apply to the Legislature to put the matter right, and that we should make a fresh Regulation which would take into account the changed value of money. We have done that. Lord Sumner's Amendment would cut out the Schedule with the limitations, and if your Lordships will refer to the Schedule you will see that if a new case arises like the rum case—Mr. Justice Salter's decision in the case of the Newcastle Breweries—paragraph (2) of the Schedule says that in default of agreement compensation is to be determined by a single arbitrator appointed for the purpose by the Lord Chief Justice, and the arbitrator has to find compensation which is reasonable; that is, of course, reasonable in relation to contemporary facts and in relation to the ordinary commercial situation of the moment. I should have thought this was more than an ample safeguard and one to which no one could take objection.

    The object of the Bill as we have drafted it is to get rid of D.O.R.A. in relation to food. Lord Sumner, by his Amendment, proposes to retain vitality in the Defence of the Realm Act. We object; we do not want to have anything more to do with D.O.R.A. We want to wipe it out, and so far as I remember during the last twelve or eighteen months all of your Lordships have expressed a similar opinion. I object on principle to have to maintain the Defence of the Realm Act when an effective substitute can be found. Lord Sumner appears to think that we should continue powers although they are afflicted with infirmity. I suggest that is a most objectionable form of legislation. Any powers exercised by a Government Department, whether they are wide or narrow, should be definite and specific, and one of the chief objections to these emergency Acts has been that they are not sufficiently well defined. I suggest to your Lordships that it is quite illogical that limitations should be imposed upon conditions which Parliament itself, if Lord Sumner's view were accepted, would be refraining from making directly valid.

    I feel myself that we have pursued the right course. We embody, or try to embody, in a Statute of the Realm, subject to clearly-shown limitations, powers which have hitherto floated about within the Defence of the Realm Regulations. We exclude them from the Defence of the Realm Regulations and trust to our own Statute for their embodiment. On the general merits of Regulation 2b of the Defence of the Realm Regulations, which empowers the Ministry of Food to requisition food, Lord Sumner invites me to state in explicit and not in general terms what is required. It is because emergencies cannot be exactly foreseen that it is impossible to state in explicit terms the actual employment to which these rights might be put, but if anybody contemplates a serious dislocation of supplies, involving, we will say, in a particular district any grave congestion of elemental foodstuffs, if such a condition is possible, then the right and the power to requisition and thus to redistribute flour and meat or milk, or whatever the commodity may be, is one which, under present conditions, should still be retained by the Government of the day. Such dislocations are possible. Shortages are conceivable, and it is to provide the public with a means of revictualling itself when the ordinary systems of distribution have broken down that this clause is advanced and can only he defended on those general terms. It gives a power which I think the Government ought, during the short duration of this Ministry, to retain.

    The noble Earl, to my surprise, contends that paragraph 2 of the Schedule—the limitation which says that in default of agreement the compensation shall be such as may be determined to be reasonable by the arbitration of a single arbitrator—has the effect of getting rid of the formidable paragraphs in Regulation 2B which say explicitly that you are not to have regard to market price, and are only to allow a rate of profit such as was usually earned by the person, the victim of the requisition. before the war. I am exceedingly glad to hear that it is the Government's view and intention that such should be the case.

    I earnestly hope that the draftsman will reconsider this matter and make it clearer, because I really do not think anybody can be proud of drafting which continues the express terms that I have referred to, and then imagines that by saying it is to be subject to this limitation he has got rid of all these express statements. I should have thought there would be very little difficulty, supposing in future a different Government Department or a Department differently controlled wished to deprive the subject of the advantages which we are now told he is entitled to, in arguing that both were consistent one with the other, and that the arbitrator had to give what was reasonable, subject to his observing the express direction in the Regulations, which is maintained in toto, and what he had to direct his mind to was giving a reasonable sum, and not more than a reasonable sum, that being the limitation according to the rules laid down in the Regulation.

    I hope that advantage will be taken on the Report stage, in the interest of the person whose goods may be requisitioned, to insert words in the Schedule to the effect that it is not intended that those paragraphs in the Regulation to which I have referred should any longer be the dominant rules which must guide the arbitrator. It is much to have elicited so favourable a statement from the noble Earl in charge of the Bill. I ask the House, however, to notice that it is not pretended to be possible to say that there is any emergency in contemplation. All that is said is that all things are possible now; that an emergency may arise, and that it is very useful to be able to redistribute by means of the exercise of such powers as these, and it is understood to be a proper way of distributing food to take from one tradesman into the hands of the Food Controller, and to let the latter substitute himself as the tradesman as distributor of the stuff at a price which may have no reference to the market price of the day.

    The clock and the aspect of the House lead me to the same conclusion as my noble friend Lord Chaplin was led to—namely, that it would be neither desirable nor perhaps very useful to pursue the matter further. But I hope that the noble Earl will consider my suggestion that the words should be made quite plain on Report, because it is a thing which cannot be made too plain, and if the Government really mean what the noble Earl has said it would be very much better that everybody should know it. I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

    The point raised by the noble and learned Lord was new to me when I entered the House, and I certainly should not wish to give any considered opinion upon it; but it appears to me that the noble and learned Lord and I are not very likely to differ upon a technical point, which does not seem to me to present very great difficulty. The noble and learned Lord has made a useful suggestion, and between now and the Third Reading this subject shall be considered by the Government, and, if necessary, on the Third Reading the matter may be made clear.

    In that case I shall not move the Third Reading of the Bill to-night.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 1 agreed to.

    Remaining clauses and schedule agreed to.

    Bill reported without amendment.

    Resident Magistrates (Ireland) Bill

    House in Committee (according to Order): Bill reported without amendment.

    Blind Persons Bill

    Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

    My Lords, there are only three big points with which I need trouble your Lordships on this Bill. In Clause 1 we propose to make pensions available for blind persons at the age of fifty, subject to exactly the same limitations as govern pensions under the Old Age Pensions Act to persons of seventy. In that clause you will find a definition of a blind person as one who is "so blind as to be unable to perform any work for which eyesight is essential." In Clause 2 we impose a duty on county and county borough councils to make arrangements with voluntary agencies or societies for promoting the welfare of the blind ordinarily resident in their areas, and we empower them to provide, either within or without their areas, workshops, hostels, homes and other places for the reception of the blind. We also impose a duty on local education authorities to provide technical education. We believe that it is not necessary, to do so, and that they already have the obligation put upon them by the existing Education Act. This provision, however, makes the matter quite clear. By Clause 3 we enact that all authorities dealing with the blind shall be registered as war charities were registered under the Act of 1916. We make a few minor amendments to the War Charities Act. They we of small importance and I do not know that I need trouble your Lordships with them.

    Roughly, we expect pensions to be available for 8,400 persons. The cost in England and Wales-will be £170,000, and for the United Kingdom £220,000, every year. We expect that £50,000 will have to be found, one half by the Treasury and one half by the local authorities, for the provision of workshops, hostels, etc. The existing grants to voluntary institutions will be continued, though perhaps not in exactly the same form as at present. Voluntary agencies which have done so much for the blind will continue—I was going to say to flourish, but I believe they will be rather strengthened and their usefulness increased by collaboration with the county councils. I commend the Bill to your Lordships. It will afford a certain measure of relief and help to a section of the population to whom all human sympathy should be extended.

    Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.(Viscount Astor.)

    On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

    Merchant Shipping (Scottish Fishing Boats) Bill

    House in Committee (according to Order): Bill reported without Amendment.

    Post Office And Telegraph Bill

    Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

    My Lords, various circumstances combine to make the deficit upon the Post Office and telegraph work of this country serious. This Bill is designed to increase rates upon telegrams, newspapers, postcards and printed papers. It is unfortunate that this should be necessary, but it is universally conceded that no further subvention should be paid to those who use the Post Office and this Bill is directed towards reducing the deficit to a minimum.

    Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.(The Earl of Crawford.)

    On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

    Ministry Of Health (Transfer Of Powers As To Gas Undertakings) Order

    My Lords, in accordance with the provisions of Sect on 8, subsection (3) of the Ministry of Health Act, I beg to move to resolve, That this House approves the said Draft Order.

    Moved to resolve, That this House approves the said Draft Order.— (Viscount Astor.)

    My Lords, I am inclined to think that this Motion and the one which follows may involve some alteration in your Lordships' Standing Orders. I will go into the point, and if I find it to be so I shall make the appropriate Motion in due time.

    On Question, Motion agreed to.

    Ministry Of Health (Transfer Of Powers As To Water Undertakings) Order

    My Lords, in accordance with the provisions of Section 8, subsection (3), of the Ministry of Health Act, I beg to move to resolve, That this House approves the said Draft Order.

    Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

    Ancient Monuments Committee

    rose to ask His Majesty's Government for what reason the proposal is made to include cathedrals and churches within the powers of the Committee to be appointed in reference to Ancient Monuments; and whether any decision to so include them might not be postponed until after the first meeting of the National Church Assembly; and to move for Papers.

    The noble Marquess said: My Lords, I ask this Question on behalf of Lord Parmoor who is obliged to leave the House. It is unfortunate that it should have been reached at so late a stage in the evening, because had the opportunity to put it been reached earlier the most rev. Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury, would have been in his place in order to have made certain observations. In addition to the Question on the Paper I should like to know from the Government upon whose suggestion this Departmental Committee was appointed or is proposed to be appointed. Your Lordships will remember that the whole of this subject was under the very careful consideration of the House not many years ago, at the time when the Act was passed into law. If my recollection serves me aright, it was then definitely decided that cathedrals and churches should not be included in the purview of that Act.

    What has happened since then to change the view which prevailed? I should have thought, if there was to be a change, that it would have been made only after careful consultation with those representative persons who were interested in the matter. I think it would be hardly credible to your Lordships and to the country that the most rev. Primate who presides over the Church of England was never told one word about this proceeding, that the Government have proposed to appoint this Departmental Committee without any reference to the Archbishop of Canterbury. I do not know what view the most rev. Primate would have held in regard to it, but he was not given the opportunity of making any observations at all. I should like to represent to my noble friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how very grave is the—I had almost said discourtesy, which has been committed—I have no doubt it was inadvertent by the Government—in appointing a Departmental Committee to consider the question of cathedrals and churches without any reference to the most rev. Primate.

    In making this Motion I think a respectful protest must be made. Having regard to the fact that your Lordships so very recently passed into law the Enabling Act which called into being the National Assembly of the Church of England it is a most astonishing thing that this Inqury should be made without any reference to that body any more than to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but simply upon the fiat, so far as I know, of the First Commissioner of Works, who, I imagine, is no authority whatever upon cathedrals and churches and no very special authority, beyond what all of us are, on works of art. He has called into being this Departmental Committee, and I think it is very unfortunate even from the point of view of the Government. I cannot imagine that the Committee will command any very general confidence seeing that it has not been appointed with the

    proper inquiries and consents beforehand. I beg to move.

    My Lords, the Committee is a purely advisory one, and has no power over cathedrals and churches. An Act of Parliament would be necessary before it could have any powers of the kind indicated. The main object in including ecclesiastical buildings is this. In the case of cathedrals there is at present no sort of control over the Dean and Chapter, and it is possible to imagine a case in which all the members of the Chapter would be without artistic feelings.

    Not nearly so easy as to imagine a First Commissioner of Works without any artistic feelings.

    It would merely lie with the First Commissioner of Works to decide which cathedrals were to be repaired or whether or not structural alterations were necessary. It often happens that the Dean and Chapter are entirely in the hands of the architect of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and in that case there is no check upon him whatever.

    With regard to the other part of the question, my right hon. friend the First Commissioner of Works does not think that any useful purpose would be served by promising that the Committee shall not meet until after the first meeting of the National Church Assembly. He wishes the Committee to get on with their work as soon as possible. The Church, of course, is represented on the Committee, Bishop Browne being a member of it, but the First Commissioner wishes me to say that he would be only too pleased to have the benefit of the advice of a second representative of the Church if it should be desirable. It is unthinkable, of course, that any discourtesy was intended to the most rev. Primate in not consulting him. That has been entirely an oversight, and I have informed his Grace that the First Commissioner would be very glad if he would suggest another representative, and I hope he may consent to do so.

    My Lords, I think a protest should be made at once against the idea that the First Commissioner of Works has anything to say either personally or through a Committee in regard to our cathedrals or churches. This seems to me to be an attempt to assert a kind of control and cast-iron uniformity under the Ministry—the kind of centralisation such as we are accustomed to in France but not in England. To me it seems another usurpation, and I am very glad that the noble Lord has made a protest against it.

    The noble Lord who replied to the question has, as I should have expected, expressed the regret of the Government at the method by which they have proceeded to deal with this matter, and I shall take care that the expression of regret is conveyed to the most rev. Primate, but I do not think that concludes the matter. It must not be assumed that the most rev. Primate has consented to the inquiry at all. It is not the business, if I may say so, of the Government to inquire into the management of other people's property. Their business is to look after that which belongs to the nation. These cathedrals are the property of the Church of England. Of course, if the Church of England grossly evaded any part of the duty of looking after these monuments, which are of great interest to many people in this country, there would be reason to consider the matter. But no such allegation has been brought forward. All that the noble Lord could say was that it was conceivable that you might have a Dean and Chapter under the architect of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who might be a person without any artistic taste. That, I submit, is a most unlikely contingency. But the question is, Has anything of the kind ever happened? Is there any such case? I am not, of course, referring to past years. No doubt in the nineteenth century taste was at a very low level, but at the present time there is no such suggestion; certainly not as regards the cathedrals. I am glad that my noble friend opposite (Lord Phillimore) has joined in the protest. I can only say that we reserve to ourselves the fullest right to treat this Report for what it is worth when it comes before us. Let it be understood that this is a thing which has been done without our consent and against our wishes.

    Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

    Firearms Bill (Hl

    Returned from the Commons agreed to, with Amendments.

    Census Bill Hl

    Returned from the Commons agreed to, with Amendments.

    House adjourned during pleasure.

    House resumed.

    Royal Commission

    The following Bills received the Royal Assent—

    • Overseas Trade (Credits and Insurance).
    • Unemployment Insurance.
    • Restoration of Order in Ireland.
    • Aberdeen Corporation Order Confirmation.
    • Pilotage Provisional Orders (No. 3).
    • Local Government (Ireland) Provisional Orders (No. 3).
    • Ministry of Health Provisional Order (Chesterfield Extension).
    • Mid-Glamorgan Water.
    • Wallasey Corporation.
    • Exmouth Urban District Council.
    • Lever Brothers (Wharves and Railway).
    • Uxbridge and Wycombe District Gas.
    • North British and Mercantile Insurance Company.
    • Life Association of Scotland.

    House adjourned at ten minutes past eight o'clock till tomorrow, a quarter past three o'clock.

    House Of Lords

    [ From Minutes of August 9.]

    acquainted the House that he had received through the Secretary of State for the Colonies a telegram from the Governor of Bermuda, dated 1st August, as follows—

    "I am desired by the Legislature of Bermuda, assembled at St. George's on the three hundredth anniversary of the first meeting of the General Assembly of their Colony, to request you to convey to His Majesty the following address unanimously adopted by all branches of the Legislature:

    "Your most Gracious Majesty, we, the Governor, Legislative Council, and House of Assembly of Your Majesty's Bermudas or Somers Island, met in special Session on this three hundredth anniversary of the establishment of Parliamentary Institutions, do now present our humble duty to Your Majesty and desire to express our loyal devotion to Your Majesty's Throne and Person. It is a matter of pride to all the inhabitants of these Islands that they have for so long a time enjoyed a system of Government based on representative institutions, moulded on the Mother of Parliaments of which our Legislature can, we believe, claim to be the eldest offspring. Of that great model which has been the inspiration of the Empire, and, indeed, of the world, we entertain the deepest veneration, and we beg that Your Majesty will be pleased to cause this expression of our respect and admiration to be conveyed to Your Majesty's House of Parliament.

    "We humbly desire to express our grateful thanks for the gracious message from Your Majesty and Her Majesty the Queen, communicated to us this day, which will evoke the warmest sentiment of loyalty and gratitude from the people of this ancient and loyal colony. Many of us remember with pleasure and pride Your Majesty's sojourns amongst us, and the arrival of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is an event looked forward to with eager expectation by all.