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Volume 42: debated on Tuesday 22 October 1912

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I beg to move to leave out the words "3 and 4 Vict., c. 89, The Poor Kate Exemption Act, 1840."

I need hardly point out that this Act is a very important one. It is the Act which exempts from rating all personal property. As the Committee no doubt knows very well, by an Act passed in the reign of Elizabeth for the purpose of regulating the poor-rate, everybody was rated irrespective of their property. That Act said that every inhabitant, person, parson, or vicar should pay rates according to their ability, and rates were not confined, as they are now, to real property. Parliament in the year 1840 made a very big change. As a matter of fact, I believe Parliament legalised what was the existing practice, but nevertheless it introduced what was legally a very big change by exempting personal property altogether from rating. Parliament, however, realised that this was a big change and the result could not be satisfactory. Consequently it was determined that the Act was only to remain in force for one year. Obviously it was the intention of Parliament at that time that the whole question of the basis of rating should be rediscussed; but it never has been.

Year after year this Act has been continued in the Expiring Laws Continuance Act, and this extraordinary exemption of personal property from rating has gone on. I am sure the Committee will agree with me when I say that this is a very important matter and one that we ought to consider, because the whole question of rating has been much discussed of late. We have at the present moment a land inquiry going on. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members opposite cheer that remark. It is generally held that the present basis of rating is too narrow and that some new source of revenue must be found to remedy the existing state of affairs. What is the proposal, as we understand it, of this Committee which is engaged in the land inquiry. It is to extract extra rates from the source that pays practically all the rates now, instead of expanding the basis of rating as we could do by getting rid of the exemption contained in this Act.

I do not say for a moment that merely by repealing this Act we should thereby put rating on a proper basis, but the Act is a very old one and some Amendment is necessary. When the whole question of rating is being discussed Parliament should consider whether the change made seventy years ago, when personal property was exempted, ought to be continued or not, and whether that kind of property ought not rather to contribute its fair share towards the rates. What did we see the other day? We saw the spectacle of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, living in a large mansion in the lap of luxury, the guest of a multi-millionaire, who, I believe, does not hold an acre of land; and they were considering the question how they could put additional burdens on landowners. If this part of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill were repealed the question would arise, not how they could rate, for Poor Law purposes, their neighbours who are landowners, but how some of these millionaires who contribute nothing to the rates could be made to pay their just share in the future. Surely, inasmuch as this Poor Rate Exemption Act was originally a temporary Act, it must have been the intention of Parliament to re-open the whole question on a comprehensive basis, and the present is a favourable moment for us to consider it. That is to say, I do not think we could simply move the omission of the Act without afterwards carrying some Amendment of the existing law. But as a first step towards broadening the basis of local taxation and making all forms of wealth contribute, according to its ability, to local burdens, I beg to-move my Amendment.

I should like to add one or two words to what the hon. Baronet has just said about this very curious Act of 1840 which the Government are proposing should be renewed again for a further year. I think that anyone who reads the Act of 1840 with care would feel that he was perfectly justified in going even further than the hon. Baronet has done in his speech, because it appears to me to be quite clear that at the time the Act was passed Parliament did not contemplate its renewal after the first year. It is impossible to tell, of course, exactly what was in the mind of Parliament at the time. It may be that the year for which the Act was passed was fixed upon as a period during which the whole question should be inquired into, or something of that kind. At any rate, it is very noticeable that the Clause fixing the date to which the Act should proceed to operate is very different in the case of this Act from all other Acts which are continued from year to year in the Expiring Laws Continuance Act:—

Be it enacted that this Act shall be in force till the 31st day of December, 1841, and that from the said 31st day of December this Act, and all the provisions hereinbefore contained, shall absolutely cease and be of no effect.

That is, I submit, a very much more definite expression of intention in regard to the duration of the operation of the Act than anything that is to be found in other Acts, and I do not think it was ever contemplated that this Act should be renewed from year to year.

It may be said that it is seventy years too late to say that. Perhaps it is, but I think it is worth our while to consider the question now that we are discussing whether or not the Act shall again be renewed for a year. The form in which the basis of rating was settled by the Parliament of that day was very remarkable. Instead of giving an exemption to personal property in so many words, Parliament, for some reason or other, gave an exemption to every form of property except in certain specific cases. It was laid down that nothing in the Act should affect the liability of any parson or vicar, or of any occupier of lands, houses, tithes impropriate, propriations of tithes, coal mines, or saleable underwoods to be taxed for and towards the relief of the poor. Those are the only details or descriptions of property which under that Act are entitled to be rated.

It must be evident to anyone that it would easily be possible to enlarge the basis of local taxation without meeting with the great difficulties which would be encountered if one tried to include every single form of property, wherever situated, in rating for local purposes. To look at the question from a rather different aspect, there is strong ground, and has been for some years, why we should press the Government to cut out the Act of 1840 from the Expiring Laws Continuance Act. Every year the inequality and injustice of the rates upon certain forms of property upon which they are levied grows more pronounced, and the pressure which the ratepayers have to bear in order to meet, not local expenditure, but Imperial expenditure, becomes so grievous that it is time the promise of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was redeemed—as it can be quite well to-night—and some steps taken to broaden the basis of rating, and impose the burden not on a limited class only, but upon all those who are able to bear it. In other words, that the rates should go back as far as possible in the direction of the original intention of the statutes of Elizabeth and Charles II., which imposed the rates, namely, that they should be borne by those who have the ability to pay them.

To justify the statement I have just made about the hardship of the present system of rating, particularly when so much of the produce of the rates goes to Imperial and not to local expenditure, I would like to give the Committee one or two figures. There are five principal headings about which there is special reason to complain—education, the maintenance of roads and bridges, poor relief, police, and lunatics. These are the principal items which make the rates an almost intolerable burden, and which at the same time are not for purely local purposes. In the last year for which complete figures are available so far as education is concerned—and I think we all agree education is not a local but a national matter—forty-five per cent, of the cost was borne by local rates. Fifty per cent, of the cost of roads was similarly borne, 86 per cent, of the cost of poor relief, and 60 per cent, of the cost of police. I have not got the figures for lunatics, but in that case also an unduly large proportion of the total was borne by local rates. I think these considerations give us very just grounds for pressing the Government to accept this Amendment to delete- this Act from the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, and so take a definite step towards the relief of local taxation in respect of Imperial matters.

I am very sorry this very important and possibly rather dry subject should come on at so late an hour, but I can assure hon. Members that certain proceedings on the other side of the House have caused us to consider this subject just now more than others, so they may blame the Government for our discussing it at this hour. The remark made by one of my hon. Friends that this Act was proved to be unsatisfactory to those who passed it and was, therefore, made a temporary measure, seems to me to be a very true one. It is clear it was not regarded as a permanent settlement at the time it was passed, and if that was true then it should be true now. In the days when this Act was passed land "was a very large source of income. When we find the enormous fortunes which have been made since that time in trade and commerce handed down to the descendants of those who made these fortunes by their brains and industry, there is no reason why these men should not pay their fair share of the local taxation of the country. You find that men living in comfortable houses, with large incomes, but without any large proportion of land, paying far less to the local rates than they ought to. That is a common grievance which everyone admits, and there is no question that it is growing greater every day as the rates increase and the burden is being put on one source of income only.

I have no doubt, whatever that on this question, as on others, the Labour Party will follow as the willing tail wagged by the Government, and will vote on this occasion to relieve many rich men of the taxation they ought to pay. If those engaged in the inquiry, which we hear so much about now, do their business they will establish this one fact, that the rates are a heavy burden which are paid entirely by this one form of property, and that there is a very good reason for altering a system under which so many men do not pay their fair share. Hon. Gentlemen from Ireland ought to sympathise with this Amendment. In Ireland I found the one complaint made was the burden of the rates, which is too heavy on the agricultural industry. But we know that hon. Members from Ireland also are tied hand and foot, the same as the Labour Party, to support the Government, and we know such subservient followers will support the Government under any circumstances.

But I would like to point out that in every part of the country the same grievance prevails. The tradesman is not paying rates on his stock in trade, as the farmer is on his premises. Very often you will find a man with a very much larger income than the farmer next door paying nothing but the rates on his premises while the farmer is paying a large proportion in consideration of his income. The rich stock-broker who lives close to a town and the tradesman in the town are deriving far more benefit from the rates than the farmer in a country district—far more benefit from the highways and other things which are purely national services. It is under this Act that these grievances prevail. It is a perfectly legitimate question to raise now. I think it is an odd thing that hon. Gentlemen opposite, below the Gangway, should wish to exempt many rich men from their bounden duty of maintaining the poor and paying their fair share of local taxation. I am not the least sorry that this opportunity has arisen. I only hope that, even if the Government cannot deal with this subject now, they will realise it is a fair grievance to raise, and that at some future date they will be able to deal with it. At any rate, I hope they will give us some sort of pledge that at an early stage this Act will be taken out of this Bill or that some amending Act will be passed.

As a comparatively new Member of this House, I have suddenly realised the importance of this Bill. I think I have realised the importance of the subject more from the speech we have just heard than I ever did before, and I very much regret that there has not been-during a great part of this discussion some leading official representative of the Opposition present in order that we might know the official attitude of the Opposition upon this most important subject. I am sure we all welcome the presence in this House at this moment of the hon. and learned Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool (Mr. F. E. Smith), whose views on the subject of the taxation of land values and real property will, I am sure, be of great interest to the House if he will only give them to us in the soothing eloquence with which he speaks in the country.

I think the last speech in particular should be printed by the Committee of Taxation on Land Values and circulated as a tract. I do not think I ever heard given in more lurid terms the hardships under which the tradesman suffers under our present system of rating, and I think that was a conclusive argument in favour of the Land Committee which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has set up. We should have enjoyed it much more if the hon. Gentleman had given us his views on the taxation of hops. I have a serious complaint to make in regard to the hon. Member (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen). I certainly do not think he treated this very serious question with the seriousness which it deserves, and especially was I sorry to hear him introduce the note of controversy. He has been so sweetly reasonable all the evening that this lapse into his disestablishment manner was something to be regretted, and I feel sure that in his calmer moments when he reads the report in the morning he will regret his lapse.

What is the particular passage to which the hon. Gentleman objects?

That is exactly what I was coming to. He drew us a picture of the Chancellor of the Exchequer lolling in the lap of luxury, and asked what would be the views of this conference gathered together—

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member's speech, but it is not really relevant to the subject before the Committee.

I agree, Mr. Maclean. I was tempted and I fell. I thought that if it were in order for the hon. Member to refer to that question it might also be in order for someone on this side to reply to it. I will leave the scene in Gadsby Hall, and point out that there was another gathering held lately where a number of foreign gentlemen assembled to eat foreign food—

I must say I rather regret that so important a question as this should, perforce, have to be raised upon such an opportunity as this, but, after all, we on this side have to take the opportunities as we find them, and it would be remiss on our part not to raise this question when this opportunity, bad though it be, occurs. I for one have always held that the continuance of this Act of 1840, exempting personalty from rating, is a very great blunder on the part of the State. I daresay I shall have a good many hon. Members opposite in agreement with me, more especially those hon. Members who have recently been so conspicuous in this land enquiry, when I say that none of us are satisfied with the rating system. They seem to think they have a monopoly of that view, and that we on this side, because we are opposed to the particular proposals which they adumbrate to deal with the question, are necessarily in agreement with the system which now prevails. That is not so, and I think I can point to many speeches delivered during the last five or six years from hon. Members on this side stating what, in our opinion, are the grievances of ratepayers, and making suggestions as to the way in which we think they ought to be remedied. The fact is you are taxing for purposes of rates a very limited form of property. You are taxing real property only, and a good many of us quite agree with what hon. Members opposite say, that in the taxing and rating of buildings at a higher rate when improvements are made you are acting unfairly, and penalising the person who puts the best buildings upon the land and improves buildings to the best advantage. So far, I think I may say we are agreed, but where we differ is in this: we say that the remedy is not, as hon. Members opposite propose, further to limit the source of revenue from which you get your local exchequer by taxing land only, but to increase the source from which you get your revenue by tapping all that other large source of revenue which contributes nothing to the exchequer for local purposes.

1.0 A.M.

Although we admit the grievance and do not defend the existing system, we absolutely differ and entirely quarrel with hon. Members opposite who say that the grievance can be remedied by still further limiting the source of taxation, which at present exists, to land only, because the only result must be to press a great deal more heavily than hon. Members opposite can imagine upon that industry which most people in the country want to encourage, namely, agriculture. Opportunity will no doubt occur later on in the course of this Session, or perhaps of this Parliament, of arguing at greater length and showing by figures that the only effect of the Land Tax proposals by hon. Members opposite to raise the entire revenue for local purposes from rates upon land must operate prejudically upon the agricultural interest. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because if the rates are put entirely upon land the upshot will be that every aero of agricultural land in a district will pay higher rates than to-day. How that is going to benefit agriculture as an industry, and those who make their living from that occupation, I am unable to see.

If the hon. Member would have patience for a minute he would see what I am going to suggest. I think the ideal system of rating is that which I always understood, until this new Land Tax theory was put before the country by hon. Members opposite, was the theory of the Liberal party, and that is, that taxes should be levied according to the ability to pay. That theory is now abandoned by those advanced Liberal Members and they prefer that taxes or rates should be levied upon one form of property and one only. I agree with the other theory that rates and Imperial taxes should be based upon ability to pay. That is the right guide and the course we ought to pursue. I have never been convinced by those who say that it is impossible to raise rates by means of a local Income Tax. At all events let us examine the question and see whether it cannot be done; let us hold it before our eyes; all I say now is that the true ideal is that of raising the rates from the people who are in a position to pay them without being at a sacrifice to the same extent as those who have to pay under the present system. What is the objection to a local Income Tax? [HON. MEMBEBS: "Hear, hear."] I hear that cheer. It was one of the objections which led to the passing of this Act of 1840. It is alleged to be the difficulty of its collection. I do not know that the last word has been said about that difficulty.

The Noble Lord is going outside the question before the Committee.

I was going on to say that the Act of which we are debating the continuance excludes personal property from being rated for taxing purposes, and what I was going to suggest is, that it is by no means impossible to tax personal property for rating purposes, and therefore on the Amendment, which suggests that this Act should not be continued, it is open to us to discuss this point. I venture to suggest that it is relevant to this Debate to determine whether or not a local Income Tax is a possible solution. If a local Income Tax is a possible solution then I say it provides a very cogent argument why this House should agree to this Amendment and decide that this Bill should not include the Act in question.

I do not think I can allow a general argument on the Schedule of this Bill on the basis of taxation, or upon proposals which would require the passing of fresh Acts by this House. Such an argument is outside the limits of the present discussion.

I bow to your ruling, Sir, and therefore my argument with reference to a local income tax and the rating of personalty must be deferred to another occasion. At the same time I do think there is a good deal to be said for the taking of this particular Act out of the Schedule. It seems to me that the sooner that Act expires, which perpetuates such injustice in rating with respect to personalty, the better it will be for the country, the more it will leave a virgin field in which we may operate in order to improve the existing system.

The short discussion which has taken place on this Amendment emphasises the desirability of a rearrangement of the basis of local taxation. It is perfectly plain that the present basis, which is partly maintained by the renewal of this Act, was framed in Queen Elizabeth's time when there was practically nothing but real property to rate. Since then personal property has grown to an amount three times greater in value than real property, and yet the owner of that personal property contributes nothing to the upkeep of the roads, police or sanitary improvements, except upon the value of the house in which the owner of the property lives. The income tax on personal property is levied on £580,000,000 and on land on only £36,000,000, and these figures go to show the inequality of the present system. Unless this Act was renewed it would follow forthwith that traders would have to pay rates on their stock in trade and so also would owners of personal property have to pay on that. I do not want to see the trader more heavily handicapped than he is at present because I think all industries ought to have an advantage and I hope hon. Gentlemen opposite will admit that the agricultural industry should have every advantage that other industries have. If they do not admit that, it must be from lack of inquiry into the subject.

I will give a case in point which will indicate exactly what I mean. Take a manor house occupied by a gentleman who has perhaps £4,000 a year from foreign securities. He needs roads and the protection of the police, and he ought to be responsible for contributions towards the cost of education and other local charges, but though he has £4,000 a year all he contributes is on the basis of the rateable value of his house. The farmer who occupies the manor farm of say 300 acres, is rated on £250 a year and his income is about £150 a year and yet he has to contribute to the cost of these local services two and a half times as much as does the occupant of the manor house, who pays only on the value of his rental. This is a great injustice and it militates against the development of the rural districts. I want to see more people living in the rural districts. Members below the gangway will surely vote for this Amendment if they wish to be consistent. You cannot get more people to live in the rural districts unless you make it better worth their while to stay there. If you increase their taxation, if you adopt the form of taxation now proposed, the single tax, or any other unjust method, you will aggravate the evils of rural depopulation. It will tend to lower the status of the agricultural labourer. I want to see him better paid, and I am convinced that unjust taxation of this kind will militate against that object. I want to see the people better housed. If you rate the raw material, the land of the farmer, you will aggravate those conditions which all on both sides of the House desire to see improved. I do hope that either this Government or the next will deal with this question of local taxation—

I do not know whether the hon. Member has concluded his remarks or not.

No; I sat down, Sir, in deference to you.

This is a point about which we who live in rural districts feel keenly. We do not for a moment wish to shirk our fair contribution to the cost of the upkeep of the country, but we do say that the burden should, in all fairness, be imposed in accordance with the paying powers of the parties affected. I am sorry to say that I cannot vote for the Amendment, because immediately it would mean that the trader would have to pay full rates on his stock-in-trade. I do not want to increase the burden on the trader. On the other hand, I want to see all our industries encouraged to the fullest possible extent, and I think that in this matter of rating we should endeavour to bring in the owners of personal property, such as I have mentioned, who are receiving £4,000 or £5,000 a year. There are a good many of them sitting on the other side of the House. We want the millionaires to come in and to bear their fair share of the cost of the upkeep of the country. Those of us who are connected with agriculture are ready to do our share, but we think that the burden ought to be fairly distributed according to the capabilities of the individual to bear it.

There has, I think, been general misapprehension of the nature of the Act we are discussing. It is a short Act which consisted originally of two sections, one of which was repealed in 1874. Therefore the mention of the whole Act in the Schedule is wrong, because there is only one section of it now in existence. As to the question whether the Act should be omitted altogether from the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill I desire to say that, clearly, the Act was passed in the interests of the shopkeepers in the various parishes, and of the farmers who had stock. It does not release personal property from taxation, because personal property as such was never taxed for the relief of the poor at all. It only ought to have been. At the time the Act we are now considering was passed the law stood as contained in the Acts 43 Elizabeth, c. 11, and 13 and 14 Charles II., c. 12. The law was interpreted in a different manner in different parishes, and the speeches which were made when the Act of 1840 was under consideration are clear on the point why it was passed.

This particular Act was passed because certain overseers in various parishes not only assessed holdings of land and property for the purposes of the poor rate, but also assessed for the same purpose the profits which were being made on the stocks in the shops, thus putting a heavy burden on the industry of the shopkeeper. Likewise they assessed the profits on the agricultural stock of farmers; and the worst of it was that this practice on the part of the overseers was by no means uniform. It was considered that it was a very wrong and unjust thing that in certain parishes there should practically be an income tax on profits made in the parish by parishioners for the purpose of assisting and maintaining the poor, and that in other parishes there should be nothing of 'the sort. The Act of 1840 was passed, therefore, in order to secure something more approaching to uniformity of contribution to the rates for poor-law purposes. It recites that it had been held under the Act of Elizabeth and 13 and 14 Charles II. that the assessment should include the profits of stock-in-trade and all other property. People, that is to say, were taxed on their profits for the purpose of the poor rate in addition to the assessment on the holdings of their property. This Act made it clear that that was irregular and that the practice should accordingly be put a stop to.

What I desire particularly to point out is this. There is no doubt that if we were to leave the Act out of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill now the result would be that our action would have a most disturbing and alarming effect. It would clearly enable the overseers in every parish throughout the country to levy a poor rate on the incomes of parishioners which they ma-de in the parish by way of profits on their stock-in-trade. The shopkeepers, that is to say, would have to pay, and so also would the farmers. I agree with my lion. Friend (Sir J. Spear) that it would be most unfortunate if these classes of people were assessed on the profits of their stock-in-trade. The solution would appear to be on the lines laid down just now by my hon. Friend when he was ruled out of Order. I support this Amendment because I think it is high time that an Act like this, which has been out of date for many years past, should be wiped out, and that the whole subject of rating was dealt with by the Government.

We have seen in the last few days reports in the Press, reports of meetings of various classes of the community and of different bodies of Members of this House—in one case a meeting was presided over by a member of the Government—in favour of putting an end to the present system of rating There being this desire in existence, surely the first thing to do towards accomplishing that end is to repeal, or not to pass now, a provision in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill which would effectually put it out of our power to deal with the matter until the 31st of December, 1913, I do not know whether hon. Members quite appreciate the difficulty. It is this. If we pass the Schedule with this Act in it we shall be bound to keep it in force, I take it, until December 31st of next year. I should like to ask hon. Members if they really wish to deprive themselves of the right to deal with the rating question until the 31st December next year? I submit that there is no man on whichever side of the Committee he sits who would desire to do that. Therefore if hon. Members opposite are sincere and honest in the views they hold they will go with us into the Lobby against the continuance of this particular Act.

Whatever may be the case for dealing with some of the thirty-four Acts contained in this Schedule, the Act now under the consideration of the Committee has, at least, the merit of age, and it is more innocent than was suggested by the hon. Member who moved its omission. It has the quality of endurance, which shows that there is some inherent merit in the measure, because had things been otherwise it would not have lasted so long. If there were any proof needed to justify that contention it has been advanced by the speeches of the two Members who have last spoken. They indicated clearly that if this Act were abrogated to-night, or six months hence, and we returned to a condition of things which the repeal of this Act would undoubtedly produce, then the object of the hon. Member (Sir Arthur Boscawen) would not be secured, because the effect would be that tradesmen would be rated on their profits and farmers would be rated on their stocks.

The Committee will, I think, see that the result of that might be that the position of the tradesman and the farmer would be still further worsened as compared with that of the resident millionaire who had no large amount of land attached to his residence on which local rates would be levied. It is obvious from the speeches delivered from the benches opposite that whether one sups with Lucullus in Leicestershire or with Heliogabalus in Park Lane the feeling of the justice and necessity of dealing with local taxation is making great headway and remarkable progress in all quarters. Being a simple man, I do not care personally whether it is from Leicestershire or Park Lane we get suggestions for dealing with some of the difficulties of local taxation. It is a good sign that local taxation is being discussed more and more. If that discussion is continued I am convinced that the millionaire, whether in town or country, is going to be compelled to pay a greater proportion of his accumulation of other people's money towards the relief of local burdens, whether of farmers or shopkeepers. But we are not here tonight to discuss the necessity of a readjustment of local taxation. We are here to consider the particular merits of the Act under discussion, and I am sorry that the hon. Member did not give the real reason why this Act was passed. The origin of the Act is to some extent its justification. The Court of Queen's Bench, as far back as 1839, came to the decision that stock-in-trade should be rated for local purposes. But it was found impossible to rate persons on their profits, which, as commerce grows, are largely secured from districts other than those in which the person lives. The result was that the Act of 1840 was passed to rectify what was considered an error on the part of the Court of Queen's Bench.

You do not improve the condition of the agriculturist by the proposal in this Amendment. On the contrary, I can conceive he would be considerably worsened by it. What is more, if you carried this Amendment we might not have an opportunity of considering for some time the question of municipal or local income tax. As at this moment we have a Departmental Committee fitting on this very subject it is only fair that the views of hon. Members on all aspects of this question should be brought before them so that they can be guided in their recommendations as to the best way of rectifying inequalities, and as to whether ability to pay should be the condition of contribution. The hon. Member, who moved the Amendment himself admitted that it would not be altogether satisfactory if this Act were repealed, and I sincerely trust the Amendment will not be carried. If it were, grave injustice would be done to tradesmen, to farmers, and to poor rural districts; and the rich man, at whom the Amendment is aimed, would not be compelled to pay that amount of extra taxation which the Mover of the Amendment hopes he would.

I have no desire to prolong the discussion or to force a Division. As the right hon. Gentleman has said, I pointed out that the result of repealing this Act would not be altogether satisfactory, but I also pointed out that Parliament passed this Act as a temporary measure, and it was largely due to it that personal property escaped rates altogether. I quite realise the force of the objections of the right hon. Gentleman, and that we should not be able to rate personal property as we should wish. After the statement of the right hon. Gentleman I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment HON. MEMBERS: No.

I am quite reluctant to intervene in the Debate at this time of the night, but so startling a proposal coming from the Opposition I think, even at this late hour, should have the i's dotted. This Act, which the Bill proposes to continue, provides two things; first of all, that those who derive property from stock-in-trade are not to be rated, but those who are in the possession of things like coal mines, tithes, houses and land, occupiers of game preserves—

I was not at the dinner. I shall be glad on the proper occasion to ascertain from the Noble Lord which tasted best. But this Act specifically provides that those who derive profits from stock-in-trade are to be exempt, whereas those who own, among other things, underwood, are to be subject to rating. Two more topsy-turvey and amazing speeches in favour of this Amendment I have never heard, than the one from the hon. Member for Devonshire, who is supposed to represent the farmers' view, and that of the hon. Member for Liverpool, who is supposed to represent in matters of taxation what might be called the urban view. One suggested that this Act should be allowed to expire. The hon. Member who is supposed to represent farming interests in Devonshire has in his constituency large game preservers, who possess a great amount of woodland, and there are also farmers who own cattle, sheep, pigs, etc. The effect of the hon. Member's proposal, if carried, would be to exempt from the poor rate the game preservers, the owners of the woodland, and, to the extent that they were exempted, to put the burden on the fanner. So that the effect of this wonderful proposition—this wonderful new taxation doctrine of theirs—is that they—

rose in his place, and claimed to move "That the Question be now put," but the Deputy-Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.

The honourable and courageous Member for Liverpool evidently believes that

"For he who tights, and runs away,
May live to fight another day."
May I now come a little nearer his constituents, and point out that the effect of the Amendment would be to impose the greater burden upon the shopkeeper in Liverpool—upon the woman who keeps the little sweet-stuff shop, the small baker, and the tailor, and would have the effect of exempting the occupiers of the great residences, the great parks, the great villas outside Liverpool (HON. MEMBERS: "The dukes."] It would have the effect of exempting the hon. Member's special friends, the dukes. It would do it in a double sense both as to residence and as to the underwood where the hares run. But from my point of view this Amendment has a much more important and a much more particular application. If it were carried it would have the effect of exempting coal mines from rates. I represent the largest coal-mining Constituency in the United Kingdom, and this Amendment, if carried, would have the effect of transferring from the great and wealthy colliery proprietors the burden of maintaining the poor in that great industrial district, and placing it upon the less able shoulders of the working classes. For this reason I hope the Committee will reject the Amendment.

We on this side have endeavoured to treat the Amendment with some seriousness. The hon. Member opposite has chosen to turn it into buffoonery.

I ask your ruling, Mr. Maclean, whether the term "buffoonery" is one that should be used?

It has no personal application, and I cannot rule it as out of order.

May I ask whether a mere allusion to a Noble Lord constitutes converting the argument into buffoonery?

On a point of Order. May I ask whether a buffoon is not a good judge of buffoonery?

The hon. Member opposite need not think I took any exception to his remarks in allusion to myself. On the contrary, that was the part of his speech which I appreciated most. It appears we have arrived at a stage when it is not convenient or desirable that this debate should be continued to-night, more especially as we have to conduct our discussions in the absence of any representative of the Treasury. It appears-to me that we cannot discuss an important question of taxation without the presence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. We have the presence of neither, because I notice that the Secretary to the Treasury whose name is the only name on the back of the Bill has gone.

It has extended over something like three-quarters of an hour. That being the case, and because the discussion does not seem, likely to proceed upon serious lines, and having regard to the conduct of hon. Members below the Gangway both opposite and behind me, and in view of the perpetual continuance of interruptions, I beg to move "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 68; Noes, 180.

Division No. 264.]

AYES.

[1.45 a.m.

Amery, L. C. M. S.Dalrymple, ViscountMount, William Arthur
Ashley, Wilfrid W.Dixon, Charles HarveyNewton, Harry Kottingham
Baird, J. L.Eyres-Monsell, B. M.Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)Fetherstonhaugh, GodfreyPeel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Balcarres, LordGibbs, G. A.Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Barnston, HarryGoldman, C. S.Rees, Sir J. D.
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh HicksGwynne, R. S. (Eastbourne, Sussex)Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)Haddock, George B.Sanders, Robert A.
Bennett-Goldney, FrancisHall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-Hambro, Angus ValdemarSpear, Sir John Ward
Bridgeman, W. CliveHenderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)Stanier, Beville
Burn, Colonel C. R.Hickman, Col. Thomas E.Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)Hoare, S. J. G.Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)
Campion, W. R.Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Carille, Sir Edward HildredHorner, A. L.Thynne, Lord Alexander
Castlereagh, ViscountJardine, E. (Somerset, East)Wheler, Granville C. H.
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.Kerr-Smiley, Peter KerrWilliams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Clive, Captain Percy ArcherKerry, Earl ofWilloughby, Major Hon. Claud
Coates, Major Sir Edward FeethamLane-Fox, G. R.Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Courthope, G. LoydLocker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)McNeil, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)

TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount Helmsley and Mr. Butcher.

Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)Malcolm, Ian
Crichton-Stuart, Lord NinianMills, Hon. Charles Thomas

NOES.

Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)Gill, A. H.Meagher, Michael
Acland, Francis DykeGladstone, W. G. C.Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)
Adamson, WilliamGoldstone, FrankMillar, James Duncan
Addison, Dr. C.Greig, Col. J. W.Morgan, George Hay
Ainsworth, John StirlingGriffith, Ellis JonesMuldoon, John
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)Gulland, John WilliamMunro, R.
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.
Baker, H. T. (Accrington)Hackett, J.Nannetti, Joseph P.
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)Needham, Christopher T.
Barnes, George N.Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)Neilson, Francis
Barton, W.Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)
Bentham, George JacksonHaslam, Lewis (Monmouth)Nolan, Joseph
Black, Arthur W.Havelock-Allan, Sir HenryO'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Boland, John PiusHayden, John PatrickO'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Booth, Frederick HandelHayward, EvanO'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Bowerman, C. W.Hazleton, RichardO'Doherty, Philip
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)Henderson, Arthur (Durham)O'Donnell, Thomas
Brady, Patrick JosephHenry, Sir CharlesO'Dowd, John
Brocklehurst, W. B.Higham, John SharpO'Grady, James
Brunner, J. F. L.Hinds, JohnO'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Bryce, J. AnnanHobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.O'Malley, William
Burke, E. Haviland-Hodge, JohnO'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnHogge, James MylesO'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Holmes, Daniel TurnerO'Shee, James John
Chapple, Dr. W. A.Holt, Richard DurningO'Sullivan, Timothy
Clancy, J. JosephHoward, Hon. GeoffreyParker, James (Halifax)
Clough, WilliamIllingworth, Percy H.Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Clynes, John R.John, Edward ThomasPease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Collins, G. P. (Greenock)Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Condon, Thomas JosephJones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)Power, Patrick Joseph
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Joyce, MichaelPrice, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Crumley, PatrickKeating, M.Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Cullinan, JohnKellaway, Frederick GeorgePringle, William M. R.
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)Kilbride, DenisRaffan, Peter Wilson
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)King, J.Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Dawes, J. A.Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)Reddy, Michael
Delany, WilliamLardner, James Carrige RusheRedmond, John E. (Waterford)
Denman, Hon. R. D.Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Doris, W.Lewis, John HerbertRedmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Duffy, William J.Lundon, T.Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)Lyell, Charles HenryRobertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)Lynch, Arthur AlfredRobinson, Sidney
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Roch, Walter F.
Elverston, Sir HaroldMacpherson, James IanRowlands, James
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)MacVeagh, JeremiahRussell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Falconer, J.McGhee, RichardSamuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas RobinsonMcKenna, Rt. Hon. ReginaldSamuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)
Ffrench, PeterM'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)Scanlan, Thomas
Fitzgibbon, JohnManfield, HarryScott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Flavin, Michael JosephMarshall, Arthur HaroldSeely, Rt. Hon. Col. J. E. B.
France, G. A.Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.Sheeny, David

Shortt, EdwardTrevelyan, Charles PhilipsWilliams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Simon, Sir John AllsebrookVerney, Sir HarryWilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)Waring, WalterYoung, William (Perth, East)
Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)Webb, H.Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Sutton, J. E.White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)
Taylor, John W. (Durham)White, Patrick (Meath, North)

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Wedgwood Benn and Mr. William Jones.

Tennant, Harold JohnWhyte, A. F.
Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)Wilkie, Alexander
Toulmin, Sir GeorgeWilliams, Llewellyn (Carmarthen)

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."

A Division having been called, the Deputy-Chairman named as Tellers for the "Noes" Viscount Helmsley and Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen.

(seated and covered): On a point of Order, Sir. I did not hand in my name to tell, and I do not intend to divide. I understand that the hon. Member for North Kerry (Mr. Flavin) called out my name, and I suggest that he should be a Teller.

On a point of Order, Sir. May I call your attention to the fact that the only hon. Members who called out "No" were the general body of Members below the Gangway on this side, and—

On a point of Order, Sir, I suggest as Tellers Mr. Kellaway and Mr. Hogge. They are willing to act.

Division No. 265.]

AYES.

[1.55 a.m.

Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)Clough, WilliamGladstone, W. G. C.
Acland, Francis DykeClynes, John R.Goldstone, Frank
Adamson, WilliamCollins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)Greig, Colonel James William
Addison, Dr. ChristopherCondon, Thomas JosephGriffith, Ellis James
Ainsworth, John StirlingCornwall, Sir Edwin A.Gulland, John William
Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)Crumley, PatrickHackett, J.
Baker, H. T. (Accrington)Cullinan, J.Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)
Barnes, George N.Dawes, J. A.Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Barton, W.Delany, WilliamHavelock-Allan, Sir Henry
Bentham, G. J.Denman, Hon. R. D.Hayden, John Patrick
Black, Arthur W.Doris, WilliamHayward, Evan
Boland, John PiusDuffy, William J.Hazleton, Richard
Booth, Frederick HandelDuncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Bowerman, C. W.Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)Henry, Sir Charles
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)Higham, John Sharp
Brady, Patrick JosephElverston, Sir HaroldHinds, John
Brocklehurst, William B.Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Brunner, John F. L.Falconer, J.Hodge, John
Bryce, J. AnnanFerens, Rt. Hon. Thomas RobinsonHolmes, Daniel Turner
Burke, E. Haviland-Ffrench, PeterHolt, Richard Durning
Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnFitzgibbon, JohnHoward, Hon. Geoffrey
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Flavin, Michael JosephIllingworth, Percy H.
Chapple, Dr. William AllenFrance, Gerald AshburnerJohn, Edward Thomas
Clancy, John JosephGill, A. H.Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)

On a point of Order, Sir. I wish to call your attention to the fact that the only hon. Members who called "No" when you put the Question were certain Members below the Gangway on this side and certain Labour Members. I desire to give notice that when the Division is over I shall formally call your attention to the fact that a number of hon. Members have voted differently from what they led you to believe they intended to vote when you collected the voices. In accordance with the ruling given by Mr. Speaker on a previous occasion, that a Member is not entitled to call "No" and then vote "Aye" or vice versâ, I suggest, Sir, that you will probably think fit when the Division is over to call on those Members to stand up and to give their votes in the way they called when—

The hon. Member is making a speech, not raising a point of Order.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 177; Noes, 42.

Jones, Haydn (Merioneth)Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)Nolan, JosephSamuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Jowett, Frederick WilliamO'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)
Joyce, MichaelO'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Scanlan, Thomas
Keating, MatthewO'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Kellaway, Frederick GeorgeO'Doherty, PhilipSeely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. C. E.
Kilbride, DenisO'Donnell, ThomasSheehy, David
King, JosephO'Grady, JamesShortt, Edward
Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S. Melton)O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Lardner, James Carrige RusheO'Malley, WilliamSmith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Lewis, John HerbertO'Shaughnessy, P. J.Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)
Lundon, ThomasO'Shee, James JohnSutton, John E.
Lyell, Charles HenryO'Sullivan, TimothyTaylor, John W. (Durham)
Lynch, Arthur AlfredParker, James (Halifax)Tennant, Harold John
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Macpherson, James IanPease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)Toulmin, Sir George
MacVeagh, JeremiahPhillips, John (Longford, S.)Trevelyan, Charles Philips
McGhee, RichardPonsonby, Arthur A. W. H.Verney, Sir Harry
McKenna, Rt. Hon. ReginaldPower, Patrick JosephWaring, Walter
M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)Webb, H.
Manfield, HarryPriestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Marshall, Arthur HaroldPringle, William M. R.White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.Raffan, Peter WilsonWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
Meagher, MichaelRea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)Reddy, MichaelWilkie, Alexander
Millar, James DuncanRedmond, John E. (Waterford)Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Morgan, George HayRedmond, William (Clare, E.)Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Muldoon, JohnRedmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)Young, William (Perth, East)
Munro, RobertRoberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Nannetti, Joseph P.Robinson, Sidney

TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Wedgwood Benn and Mr. William Jones.

Needham, Christopher T.Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Neilson, FrancisRowlands, James

NOES.

Amery, L. C. M. S.Dalrymple, ViscountLyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)
Ashley, Wilfrid W.Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)
Barnston, H.Fetherstonhaugh, GodfreyMills, Hon. Charles Thomas
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh HicksGibbs, George AbrahamMount, William Arthur
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)Newton, Harry Kottingham
Bennett-Goldney, FrancisHaddock, George BahrRees, Sir J. D.
Bridgeman, William CliveHall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Burn, Colonel C. R.Hambro, Angus ValdemarStanier, Seville
Campbell, Cant. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)
Campion, W. R.Hickman, Col. Thomas E.Wheler, Granville C. H.
Carille, Sir Edward HildredHogge, James MylesWilliams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Castlereagh, ViscountHorner, Andrew LongWilloughby, Major Hon. Claud
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.Kerry, Earl of
Clive, Captain Percy ArcherLane-Fox, G. R.

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Helmsley and Mr. Kellaway.

Courthope, George LloydLocker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)

I rise to a point of Order. I desire, Mr. Maclean, to call your attention to the fact that on this Division a considerable number of Members, when you were collecting voices, called one thing, and some of them, who were particularly loud in their calling, did not vote, while others voted the Apposite way. As this is a very reprehensible practice and contrary to the rules of the House, I ask you to deal with it in the usual way by asking the Members who so transgressed to stand up.

The usual method of dealing with that is for the hon. Member who raises the point to himself indicate to the Chair the names of the hon. Members.

I can give one or two of them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir J. Dalziel) called out "No," and yet he did not vote. The hon. Member for North Kerry (Mr. Flavin) said "No" very vociferously, and he voted Aye. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) called "No" and voted Aye.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy is not bound to vote, and therefore no question arises on that. With regard to the hon. Member for North Kerry, I must ask him whether he voted in accordance with the way be called.

The statement made by the hon. Member is not true. I was sitting in the Gangway, and did not challenge a Division.

It is perfectly true I was applauding the sentiments of the hon. Gentleman opposite, and was willing to "tell" if hon. Gentlemen opposite wanted to run away. If they want my vote among the forty-two, they can have it.

I understand the hon. Member voted "Aye." Then his vote must be reckoned in the "No" Lobby.

On a point of Order. Are individual Members of the House bound to accept the declaration of an hon. Member as to what he did?

That is one of the foundation rules of the House. I should have thought it was a rule that everybody knew.

I intended to move to leave out the words "The whole Act," in the third column of the Schedule referring to the Ordnance Survey Act, 1841, and to insert instead "Section 1." The Act consists of two Sections. Section 2 was repealed in 1874, and it is obvious that the whole Act is not intended. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman opposite could look into the matter and amend it on Report, and then I need not move my Amendment. It is a small matter, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would put it right.

That which the hon. Gentleman refers to as an Amendment of the Act is really a repeal of one of the Sections. If the Section is repealed the other Section becomes the whole Act. However, I will consider the point raised by the hon. Gentleman.

I beg to move to omit from the Schedule the "Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act, 1847."

I have been looking into the scope of this Act and the conditions under which it was introduced, and I think they deserve the attention of the Committee. This Act was, I believe, the necessary result of the institution of the Ecclesiastical Commission in 1836. I shall look forward to hearing from the hon. Member for Doncaster (Sir C. Nicholson) an explanation of the reasons why, first of all, it is necessary this should be a temporary measure, and secondly, why it should come up in this Schedule with these other Acts. I have studied this measure with some care. I own that I find it extremely difficult to gather what is really implied by its provisions. I have looked at the Debate in 1847, when it was first introduced. I find that the Conservative party then objected to its introduction at the end of a long Session. Sir James Graham only withdrew his opposition to this measure when informed by Sir George Grey, who was in charge of the Bill, that it was only a temporary measure to last a few weeks, and that one of the earliest Bills in the next Session would be a comprehensive measure in its place. Every year since then, although the Liberal Government of the day gave a specific pledge that it was only a temporary measure, this House has been called upon to renew it. I think the time has come when either this Bill should be included in a comprehensive measure or should be withdrawn altogether from this list of Acts we are called upon to renew this morning. [Interruption.]

I must ask hon. Members on both sides to allow the hon. Member a patient hearing. It will very much shorten the proceedings.

I am sorry my remarks are somewhat delayed. I should have finished what I was going to say if it had not been for the interruptions. Let me only say this: I shall look to the hon. Member for Doncaster (Sir Charles Nicholson) and the Home Secretary, who, I presume, is in charge of this measure, for an explanation of the scope of this Bill; and, secondly, I want to know why a pledge of the Radical Government given in 1847 that this was only a temporary measure for a few weeks has not been carried out.

Perhaps the hon. Member will excuse me if I offer a word of explanation in the place of the hon. Member for Doncaster (Sir Charles Nicholson). The hon. Member asked the Committee to consider what would be the effect of exempting this from the Schedule. The effect would be that there would be certain areas of the country in which there would be no authority who could grant a licence for an ecclesiastical marriage. I am sure the hon. Member would not be content that in certain areas of the country everybody who desired to enter into marriage should have preforce to go to the Registrar's Office, and, assuming that within those areas there may be persons who desire to be married within the next twelve months, we feel it necessary to make provision for their convenience.

It has only partially met one of my points. I asked, first of all, how it has come about that a measure, which the House was assured in 1847 was a temporary measure and would be superseded by a comprehensive measure the following year, has never been so superseded, and, if it is such a necessary Act as the Solicitor-General implies, how does it come about that it has not been included in the permanent Statute Book?

This Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1847, when you come to read it, simply establishes Bishops' Courts, and I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that there are no provisions in the Act of 1847 that wore continued by the Acts of 21 and 22 Victoria, and therefore it follows that if we do not accept the Amendment this practically amounts to nothing. The Bishops' Courts that were established by the Act of 1847 have been abolished by other Acts since. I am aware that the question of ecclesiastical jurisdiction is one that is considerably involved, and there are several Acts giving authority to different courts of jurisdiction in which a good many Churchmen do not believe, and from time to time set at nought; but I do not think it matters a pin point whether this particular Act is left in the Schedule or not, because there are no provisions continued by the Act to which it refers.

May I appeal to the Government to accept this Amendment, at all events in part? The effect of refusing Clause 1 of the Act of 1847 would be to disestablish the Church and to disestablish the power of the bishops in a number of dioceses. As this would in the most definite way disestablish the Church, or give expression to the principle of disestablishment, I appeal to the Government to accept the Amendment in that limited way, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Chelsea on his courage in proposing the disestablishment of the Church.

I beg to move to leave out of the schedule the words, "27 & 28 Vict., c. 20. The Promissory Notes (Ireland) Act, 1864. The whole Act," The effect would be to leave out from the Schedule the Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes (Ireland) Act of 1864. That Act was passed in these circumstances. In 1845 an Act was passed by this House by which bills of exchange and promissory notes should be made void if they were for less than 20s. in value and a penalty was provided in case such bills and notes were issued for less than that sum; and by another Section of that Act bills of exchange and promissory notes for sums between 20s. and £5 were made void unless they were in a certain form and complied with certain conditions mentioned in the Act, and again a penalty was imposed for issuing or circulating bills of exchange or promissory notes which were not in accordance with that Act. In 1864 the Act referred to in the Schedule was passed and the effect was that so much of the Act of 1845, as prohibited or restricted the making or issuing of bills of exchange or promissory notes of 20s. or up to £5 was repealed temporarily. I think it was at first only for one year and then the Act was to be renewed as Parliament might decide. That Act of 1864 has been continued until now under the Expiring Law Continuance Act, but I think a new situation has arisen.

The present Government have brought in the Government of Ireland Bill. It is not yet passed nor is it likely to be passed. In that Bill they have laid down as the principle of the new Government of Ireland that the new Parliament is to be set up which among other things is to be the sole authority for dealing with bills of exchange or promissory notes in Ireland. It is quite true we put Amendments down for preventing the Irish Parliament from legislating on that subject, but owing to the way in which that Bill was conducted, and the proceedings upon that Bill were regulated, we were not able to move these Amendments; consequently the view of the Government, as expressed in the Bill as it now stands, the Irish Parliament is to be the sole and only authority for dealing with bills of exchange and promissory notes m Ireland. Now I want to ask the Government in view of what they propose under that Bill, do they think it right to legislate for these bills of exchange and promissory notes in the way in which they propose to do by this Schedule? I think the Government, if they are really sincere, so far as leaving these matters to the Irish Parliament, cannot deal with the same matters by this Bill. My main object is to get an expression of their view from the Government on the point.

The effect of the omission of this Act from the Schedule would be to revive the old restrictions of the Act of 1845, and to render void in Ireland especially bills of exchange and promissory notes which are common, reasonable and necessary. Its omission would disorganise Irish trade and industry from one end of the country to the other.

Incidentally, of course, one effect of the omission of this Act would be to render perfectly informal—

The hon. Member who interrupts is uttering, I think, the first syllable, which belongs to the utterance of a certain kind of animal [Interruption].

As the hon. Gentleman has attacked me, I would like to say that I had to leave my usual seat below the Gangway on one of the two lower benches because of the interruptions of hon. Gentlemen who used the same form of interruption as I did.

I desire to submit that if I am attacked by an hon. Gentleman opposite I am entitled to reply.

On a point of Order. I was addressing you, Sir, when I was interrupted by the hon. Gentleman opposite and I gave way when he rose. I submit that I am still in possession of the floor. The effect of this proposal, so far as the Bank of England is concerned, is that any perfectly informal document in the nature of a promissory note would be an enforceable instrument in a court of law and that these formalities which, since the passing of this Act have been regarded as securing confidence in the making of a promissory note, would no longer be required. It may be that there have been recent events which have made it—I will not say advisable—but at all events have created some idea in the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite of some presumptive advantage from the repeal of this particular Act. Let us take a possible case where you get part of the formula of the ordinary promissory note, "In re turn for value received I undertake to pay £1,000—"

The hon. Member will forgive me if I point out to him that he is going into quite unnecessary detail. I think these questions of detail are out of Order.

On a point of Order, Sir. Are we to understand that it is impossible to go into the details of the Acts that we desire to omit from the Schedule of the Bill, because if that be your ruling it appears to me to open up a very important question. If it is impossible to go into details clearly it is quite impossible in some cases for hon. Members to state to the Committee the reasons why they think certain Acts should be struck out of the Schedule.

The ordinary practice in these cases is, as far as possible, to keep the debate on general lines and not to deal with details. Members, of course, are entitled to put forward general arguments as to why an Act should remain in or be outside the Schedule. I must respectfully invite hon. Members to confine themselves to those general arguments.

On a point of Order, Sir. Is it not in order to move to leave out not a whole statute, but any part of it, and in such case would it not be in order to go into details to show why a particular part of an Act ought not to be continued?

The hon. Baronet is mistaken. It is not in order in this Debate to move to leave out of a particular Act any Sections of it. Hon. Members must move to leave out the Act generally, or deal with some very germane or important parts of the Act taken as a whole.

I think the illustration I was about to give, Sir, is well enough understood, and I will not attempt to labour that particular point. With regard to the proposal to leave out the Irish promissory note, I do not know whether the Committee realised what this really means. As I understand the hon. and learned Member for York (Mr. Butcher), or some of his friends, tried to get in a certain Amendment in connection with another measure.

I beg the hon. and learned Gentleman's pardon. I was not able to move it owing to the guillotine.

The hon. and learned Member was not able, owing to the guillotine, to get the Amendment in our measure. Now, so convinced is he that the other measure is going to become law, that he seeks to effect his purpose in this particular form.

Perhaps it is hardly worth while to take notice of the observation of the hon. and learned Gentleman, but if he wishes to know it I have not the least anticipation that the Bill to which he refers will ever become law. What I want to know is this. The right hon. Gentleman told us that it would disorganise business in Ireland if the Act of 1864 were repealed, because it would hamper the issue and circulation of promissory notes and bills of exchange under 20s. and £5. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could tell us why, in 1845, it was so necessary to restrict or to prohibit the negotiation of these promissory notes and bills of exchange under those amounts, and why he now tells us it is so very important that bills of exchange and promissory notes of those small amounts should be issued and negotiated. If the state of affairs in 1845 made it necessary to pass that Statute, what has occurred since to make it necessary that Parliament should enable those bills of small amount to be issued and circulated and negotiated?

I do not know exactly what the conditions were in 1845. The hon. Member has proposed to repeal the Irish Act, but the English Act, which stands immediately before it in this Schedule, he proposes to leave untouched.

I beg to Move to leave out "28 and 29 Vict., c. 46. The Militia (Ballot Suspension) Act, 1865."

One reason why I want to move the omission of this Act is that I really do not know to what Act the Schedule refers. I have here the bound copy of the Acts from the Library. I have looked up c. 46 of 28 and 29 Vict., 1865, and this is what I find:—

C. 46.—An Act to suspend the making of lists and ballots for Militia for the United Kingdom, 19th June, 1865.

Beyond that there are no Clauses or Subclauses, and there is no preamble even. Therefore I want, in the first place, to find out what the Act in question really is, because here, in the bound copy, you have an Act which is only a title. I must say I consider that is rather a good precedent for the Government. I do not know why they do not pass all their Bills like that. What a saving of time it would effect, for instance, on the Home Rule Bill. They would not have any preamble or Clauses, but they could settle the whole matter with the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), and simply pass the title. It is a very curious thing that while the Militia Ballot Suspension Act apparently has no Clauses, you find that, according to the Schedule, there is an amending Act, 45 and 46 Vict., c 49, which repeals Clause 4 of the previous Act. I cannot, as I have said, find that the previous Act has any Clauses at all, and therefore I fail to understand how on earth Clause 4 can be repealed. I think the Government ought to tell us exactly what this means, because at present the whole thing is a complete puzzle.

There is a further point that I wish to bring before the Committee. By the great Act passed by Lord Haldane when Secretary for War a few years ago the Militia was abolished altogether, and in its place was substituted the Special Reserve. I do not understand that the Militia Ballot Suspension Act has any application whatever to the Special Reserve, which is a different body from the Militia. It seems to me that this Act is not required at all, because under Lord Haldane's Act the Militia, the ballot for which was provided for in the original Act, has disappeared. I think, therefore, that I am entitled to ask whether this Act has any application at all at the present moment. The law of the land has been for many years that there is a ballot for the Militia. The old theory was that each county or military district provided a certain quota of men—a very sound principle indeed in my opinion—and if the quota was not provided in that way the ballot would apply. That system has been suspended year by year under the Expiring Laws Continuance Act. It is obvious that Parliament never thought that this was a satisfactory procedure, and therefore, instead of making it permanent they put it into the category of Acts coming under the Expiring Laws Continuance Act. The present is a very suitable opportunity of reconsidering the whole question. I am glad to see the Secretary of State for War present. We all realise how much he has done, like his predecessor, to try to make the army efficient, but even he will realise how tremendously under strength the Territorial Force is.

Is it in order to discuss the general question of the efficiency of the Territorial Force?

I think the hon. Member must direct himself to the question before the Committee—the retention of the Militia Ballot (Suspension) Act. I do not think the question of the efficiency of the Territorial Force arises out of that.

I venture respectfully to suggest that if I can show the present Territorial Force is very much under strength that is a reason why the Militia Ballot should not be suspended. The point I am making is this. The Militia has disappeared. If I can show that the Haldane scheme has broken down as regards the Territorial Force and the Special Reserve which is to take its place, I say that is a reason why we should revert to the system of having a quota of Militia for each county, and failing that a ballot. It is quite impossible under present circumstances without any form of compulsion to get members of the Territorial Force to do a sufficient amount of training—I mean to give the time, for I am not complaining of any lack of zeal on their part—to make themselves thoroughly efficient from the point of view of meeting a foreign army. I think the time has come when we might review entirely our military system, and the first step to take would be to avail of this opportunity to cease suspending this Act. There are still two months before the Act expires, and that would give the right hon. Gentleman time to bring forward a new scheme. I should like in any case to ask what the Act is, for I cannot find it in the Library, and what is the effect of its suspension on the Special Reserve.

I will not go into the general question of compulsory and voluntary service, as I do not think the hon. and gallant Gentleman would wish me to do, but he suggests we should cease to suspend the operation of the Militia Ballot Act. The point is, should we retain the power to retain the Militia Ballot. With regard to its remaining in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill that is not a matter under my control. That is a matter for successive Governments who have continued to leave it in the Schedule to this Bill. But on the merits of the case I would submit that you cannot get the kind of service which the hon. and gallant Gentleman wishes by retaining the Act which he wishes to suspend. The governing Act is the Act of 1860. That Act enables the various lieutenants of counties to hold a ballot. It is continued by the Act of 1865. The real point is would this be a good thing to do? Supposing we wanted to enforce compulsory service. My answer is that it certainly would not, because if you did have a Militia Ballot you might have compulsory service but with complete means for substitution. Every man could provide a substitute under the Act, and you would have the very thing the hon. and gallant Gentleman himself wishes to avoid, a system under which well-to-do men would be able to provide substitutes because they are well-to-do, by getting poorer men to serve for them. That is the last thing which anyone wishes to see, and I submit, therefore, we would be ill-advised to accept the Amendment.

The right hon. Gentleman has not answered one of the questions put by my hon. Friend, namely, as to whether this Ballot Act docs apply to the new Special Reserve at all.

Then what does it apply to? Just let the Committee see what a ludicrous position we are in. We have got no force in existence to which either the Militia Ballot Act itself or the Suspension Act would apply. Then, why on earth should we have the suspension of the Militia Act put into an Expiring Laws Continuance Act when there is no Militia to which to apply it, and no force at all to which it could apply? I should really like an explanation, if not from the right hon. Gentleman, at any rate from one of the law officers who are, or ought to be, here, as to why this Act is put into this Schedule at all.

By leave of the Committee, if I may clear away this aspect of the controversy, there is no force now existing to which this Act would apply. Therefore we can start on the discussion on a clear understanding that this Act does not apply to any force which we now have. Successive Secretaries of State—Lord Lansdowne and others—decided that it was not desirable to take this out of the Expiring Laws Continuance Act. I confess I do not think that that view was wisely held by Lord Lansdowne.

It did not even apply to that Militia, or to any force that we have had since, I think, the year 1845, but if the hon. and gallant Member had his way, and the House so decided, it would enable an entirely new force to be created which would enable the lords-lieutenant of counties by ballot to get a certain number of men forced to serve, or substitutes provided by those who could afford them. It will shorten the discussion if I say that this would provide an entirely novel kind of force by which the rich man who is enabled to provide a substitute could avoid compulsory service altogether.

I think the explanation given by the right hon. Gentleman is perfectly plain, and will simplify discussion, but I think it has been worth while raising this issue, because it does remind the Committee that compulsory service is a standing feature of our national institutions, and is only kept in temporary suspense from year to year by the provisions of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. In view of the complete failure—I do not say the failure of the right hon. Gentleman or his predecessor—but the complete failure of the existing system, which is affecting not only the standard which his predecessor and he himself have set up, but our national position, it would be an excellent thing if the right hon. Gentleman were brought with a sharp turn face to face with some practical way of dealing with this problem. I perfectly agree with him that if you allowed substitution for richer persons it would be a most undesirable form of compulsory service, and none of us who are in favour of national service would be in favour of such a measure. That is by no means a necessary consequence of the enforcement of the Militia Ballot Act. You have only to put your quota of men high enough so as to include all the youths at the age of eighteen years, and then you can reject for medical or others reasons those you wish to exclude. The moment you exclude the Act of 1865 from the present Schedule you at once start on the basis of a perfectly fair and universal service. I am glad that this Amendment has afforded the opportunity of a reminder that compulsory universal service, though in a state of suspense during the century of security which followed the Napoleonic era, is a normal part of the institutions of this country, especially at a time when we are entering upon another era perhaps, as dangerous and as troubled as any we have gone through in our history.

There is another reason, I think, for not passing the Suspension Act. It seems to be in its terms very contradictory. It lays down in its first Clause that all returns and lists in relation to the Militia Ballot need not necessarily be prepared. Then in a subsequent Clause it says His Majesty may by Order in Council make an order for the preparing of these lists and the making of these returns so that the Militia Ballot may be taken. It seems to me that if there is this power by Order in Council, the Suspension Act does pre-suppose the possibility of a Militia Ballot which might have to be enforced. If that is to be done at any time it would have to be done in a time of crisis, a time of real danger, and it might be, and would be, necessary to raise a Militia by that Act as rapidly as possible. If these lists are not prepared, or if they are only prepared hastily under an Order in Council, it would be inefficiently done. I would support this Amendment on another ground, namely, that, so far as I can gather, the Suspension Act would make the object which apparently is in view as difficult of fulfilment as possible.

I think with the Secretary for War that we should have a discussion of this subject and I hope we shall also have a Division. I hope hon. Gentlemen opposite will have the courage to go to a Division and will not run away from the position they have taken up. I know the hon. Member opposite will not tell, for example.

Then there will be at least one Teller, even though his Noble Friend whom he deserted has gone away. [HON. MEMBERS: "Question."] The Noble Lord did stick to his guns, but he has now gone away, and undoubtedly the hon. Member deserted him. But he at least will be faithful on this occasion. The hon. Member for South Birmingham (Mr. Amery) endeavoured to refute the argument of the Secretary for War that on the abolition of the Suspensions Act the ballot would work favourably for the rich man, and he suggested that it would only require to be for a sufficiently large number and then the rich man would not escape, and only the physically unfit would be rejected. I am afraid that even under those conditions a very large number of rich men would turn out to be physically unfit. [HON. MEMBERS: "Insult."] We would have to have a medical examination. I welcome not only the discussion but the Division which we are now assured of, and I hope hon. Gentlemen opposite will be courageous for once.

I desire to ask one more question. If we take these lines out of the Schedule will the effect be that the original Act still remains on the Statute book, and is not the effect merely that the Suspension Act which holds up the original Act, is removed? In that case it seems to me it would be a desirable thing to do. The Militia in the old form no longer exists; we have now the Special Reserve and the Territorial Forces. It is perfectly unnecessary, therefore, to have a Suspension Act. The right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for War, says there would be power under an Order in Council to raise some other force, an entirely new force, which is unknown at the present time. That might be an exceedingly desirable thing to do, even if by an Order in Council, for you could get a new force which would have the effect of filling up the Territorial Forces or Special Reserve in case of emergency.

If you pass this now you have not got the power without a special Act of Parliament of putting the ballot in force for a whole year. On the other hand, if you dropped the Suspension Act and kept the original Act, it could not apply to the Militia, because it does not exist; but there is power to apply it to some new force if needed. In that case you might have a valuable power in case of emergency for filling up the Territorials or the Special Reserve. That would be in agreement with the whole idea of the Territorial Forces, and the plan of working through the County Associations and the Lord Lieutenant, and the endeavour to interest each county as a whole in the filling up of that force. We all know that it is largely below strength and that there is extreme difficulty in getting recruits, and the Secretary for War should be only too glad to have some power which would help him to fill it up. Would it not be valuable, not only in a time of national emergency, but entirely in agreement with the whole theory of the Territorial Forces to be able to put this Act into force by means of an Order in Council?

Before going to a Division I wish to make some short reply to the courteous report just made to say, whether, if this Amendment were carried, it would be possible by an Order in Council to bring the Act into operation, and then we should be enabled to form this new militia, which, as I have said, I do not believe most of the Members of this House would wish to see established. Under the various sections of that Act, a well-to-do man would get a substitute, who might be a poor man, to serve in his place. I am sure no party in this House would wish to see that. The result of the passing of this Amendment would be that we could have introduced into this country that most undemocratic idea and the most inefficient kind of army we have ever seen.

The remarks just made show to my mind that it is most important that we should divide on this Amendment. It is perfectly clear from what the right hon. Gentleman has just said and from what he said before that the Act has no application to any existing force. I do not quite follow his statement with respect to the Act of 1845. The Act was passed in 1865.

:It could not apply to an Act which did not then exist. If the Act does not apply to anything now in existence why on earth should we suspend it? The right hon. Gentleman does admit that it would give power by means of an Order in Council to call into being some new force. It does not go beyond that. It seems to me to be most important that we should have the power to create a new force by means of an Order in Council. The only objection the right Hon. Gentleman has is that the new force would not be the sort of force which we would require. To allow substitutes, I quite agree, would be a shocking business. But if we should need to ever exercise the power, why should we not get the sort of force which is desirable? Why cannot we leave this out of the Schedule now and retain that power of calling into being a new force, and by passing a new Act, define what the new force is to be? It seems to me that is the way out of the difficulty and that it would be a valuable thing for the Government

Division No. 266.]

AYES.

[3.15 a.m.

Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Acland, Francis DykeHavelock-Allan, Sir HenryO'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Adamson, WilliamHayden, John PatrickO'Shee, James John
Addison, Dr. C.Hayward, EvanO'Sullivan, Timothy
Ainsworth, John StirlingHazleton, RichardParker, James (Halifax)
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)Henderson, Arthur (Durham)Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)Henry, Sir CharlesPease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)Higham, John SharpPhillips, John (Longford, S.)
Barnes, George N.Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Barton, W.Hogge, James MylesPower, Patrick Joseph
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, S. George)Illingworth, Percy H.Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Bentham, G. J.John, Edward ThomasPriestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Black, Arthur W.Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)Pringle, William M. R.
Boland, John PiusJones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)Raffan, Peter Wilson
Booth, Frederick HandelJones, William (Carnarvonshire)Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Bowerman, C. W.Jones, W. S. (Glyn- (Stepney)Reddy, Michael
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)Jowett, F. W.Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Brady, P. J.Joyce, MichaelRedmond, William (Clare, E.)
Burke, E. Haviland-Keating, MatthewRedmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnKellaway, Frederick GeorgeRoberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Kilbride, DenisRobertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Chapple, Dr. W. A.King, JosephRowlands, James
Clancy, John JosephLambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Clough, WilliamLardner, James Carrige RusheSamuel, J. (Stockton)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)
Condon, Thomas JosephLewis, HerbertScott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.Lundon, T.Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Crumley, PatrickLyell, Charles HenrySheehy, David
Cullinan, J.Lynch, A. A.Shortt, Edward
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)Macnamara, Rt. Hon. T. J.Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Macpherson, James IanSmith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Dawes, J. A.MacVeagh, JeremiahSmyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Delany, WilliamMcGhee, RichardStanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Denman, Hon. R. D.McKenna, Rt. Hon. ReginaldSutton, John E.
Doris, W.M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Duffy, William J.Manfield, HarryTennant, Harold John
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)Marshall, Arthur HaroldThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.Toulmin, Sir George
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)Meagher, MichaelTrevelyan, Charles Philip
Elverston, Sir HaroldMeehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)Verney, Sir Harry
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)Millar, James DuncanWalrond, Hon. Lionel
Falconer, J.Morgan, George HayWaring, Walter
Ffrench, PeterMuldoon, JohnWhite, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Fitzgibbon, JohnMunro, R.White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)
Flavin, MichaelMurray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.White, Patrick (Meath, North)
France, G. A.Nannetti, Joseph P.Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Gill, A. H.Needham, Christopher T.Wilkie, Alexander
Gladstone, W. G. C.Neilson, FrancisWilliams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Goldstone, FrankNolan, JosephWilliams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Greig, Colonel J. W.O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Griffith, Ellis JonesO'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Young W. (Perthshire, East)
Gulland, John WilliamO'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)O'Doherty, Philip
Hackett, J.O'Donnell, Thomas

TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.

Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)Geoffrey Howard and Mr. Webb.
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)O'Malley, William

to have this power, if the Secretary for War finds that the Territorial Army falls further in strength or the Special Reserve requires it, we could define the character of such a force by a new Act, and we would now give the Secretary for War a power which is very much wanted. It is quite open to us to avoid the creation of any undemocratic or inefficient force.

I only rise to ask a question. As there is to be a Division I want to know whether we are voting on the retention of the suspension or the suspension of the retention.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 164; Noes, 39.

NOES.

Ashley, W. W.Clive, Captain Percy ArcherKerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr
Baird, J. L.Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)
Balcarres, LordDairymple, ViscountM'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.Malcolm, Ian
Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich)Fetherstonhaugh, GodfreyNewton, Harry Kottingham
Bennett-Goldney, FrancisGoldman, Charles SydneyPryce-Jones, Col. E.
Bridgeman, William CliveHaddock, George BahrRutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)
Burn, Colonel C. R.Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)Sandys, G. J.
Butcher, John GeorgeHambro, Angus ValdemarSykes, Alan, John (Ches., Knutsford)
Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)Helmsley, ViscountThynne, Lord Alexander
Campion, W. R.Hickman, Col. Thomas E.
Carille, Sir Edward HildredHope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen and Mr. Amery.

Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.Horner, Andrew Long

I beg to move to leave out "51 and 52 Vict., c. 55, The Sand Grouse Protection Act, 1888."

This is a comparatively new Act, and it was passed almost sub silentio by the present President of the Board of Trade, when he was a private Member in 1888. I daresay hon. Members do not know much about this Act, which enacts that any person knowingly or intentionally killing or wounding a sand grouse shall be liable to certain penalties. It is a very short Act of one Clause, and on the First and Second Readings there was no discussion whatever upon it. In Committee and on the Third Reading the proceedings were so brief that they occupy only a quarter of a page of Hansard. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Poplar (Mr. S. Buxton), I see stated that the reason he wanted the measure passed without discussion and put into immediate operation was owing to the intensity of the evil if was designed to check, which was growing day by day. The evil was that on a certain date about March, 1888, there was a blizzard, and a few sand grouse came over to this country. Because of that, this Act was passed in a panic. No sand grounse have been seen since. But since 1888 this Act has been solemnly kept on the Statute Book. The Secretary to the Treasury said at the beginning of this discussion that he wanted to lighten the things included in this Bill, partly by making some of the Acts into permanent measures, and partly by omitting those which were obsolete. I would recommend to the hon. Gentleman the lightening of the Bill by omitting the Sand Grouse Protection Act.

The sand grouse is a rare and beautiful wild bird. On the general principle on which this House must always act, desiring to protect wild birds, we propose that this law should continue for one year longer.

These birds arrive in this country at very rare intervals. Their natural habitat is Siberia. On inquiring as to the date and manner of passing of the Act now under discussion, I find that it was passed after the sand grouse of that particular year had left, and they have not been seen since.

The position is this: Supposing these sand grouse were to arrive in this country in large quantities, anyone who took one or exposed it for sale would be liable to be fined a sovereign. The object of the Act was that these rare visitors to our shores should be protected. It is obvious that the sand grouse which would come back here after forty years would not be the same bird as was here forty years before, and I say if the sand grouse arrives, let us have a shot at him while we have the chance. It is absurd to protect the sand grouse of Siberia—to protect the bird of some Eastern gentleman whom we have never seen. Why we should be prevented next year from having a go at these sand grouse is more than I can understand. Good heavens! What have we to do with Siberia? I say, let us have their grouse.

I should like, on the contrary, strongly to oppose this Amendment. There is some hope that if this law is kept in force, and if the sand grouse arriving on another occasion is not shot, this bird may become acclimatised, and add one more to our beautiful wild birds in this country.

If this Act is retained it would be interesting to know whether it would be honoured in the breach or in the observance. It is a farce to ask us to protect birds which scarcely ever appear in these islands.

I do not know that hon. Gentlemen opposite are fully cognisant of the importance of the request they are making. We have heard the voice of Liverpool advocating the withdrawal of this Act, and the voice of Birmingham has replied that it is strongly in favour of preserving it. I want to approach this from the humanitarian side. I am assured by experts that, owing to the fact that these birds are raised on sand, they suffer from a form of opthalmia. The Act was passed in 1888, when the destinies of this great nation were controlled by a Conservative Government. I want to ask our Front Bench what they mean by coming down at this hour of the morning and asking us to perpetuate panic legislation passed by a Tory Government?

Amendment negatived.

I beg to move to leave out "3 Edw. 7, c. 36, The Motor Car Act, 1903, The whole Act."

My object in moving this Amendment is to call attention to the present state of things with regard to the Motor Car Act. There is no doubt that since that Act was passed it has been proved by ample, and, I am sorry to say, sad experience, to be totally inefficient for the purpose of restraining accidents in connection with the use of motor-propelled vehicles. In answer to a question the other day the Home Secretary said in the year 1911 893 drivers of motor-cabs and motor omnibuses, and 3,556 drivers of other motor vehicles, were prosecuted in the Metropolitan Police district for offences connected with excessive speed and dangerous driving. Now that is a very serious state of things. I do not think the number of convictions was given, but that this number of people should have been prosecuted under the Act shows a very serious state of things indeed. I think the Home Secretary a short time ago gave the figures of fatal accidents and injuries caused by motor vehicles. I have not these figures by me at the moment, but I remember that they were alarmingly large. A conference was held the other day at the Home Office purposely to see what better restrictions for traffic in London could be made, so as to diminish the number of accidents.

We all know how often country districts, too, are harassed, annoyed, and put to the most serious inconvenience and danger by the excessive driving of motor-cars. I think the time has come when these matters ought to be inquired into and legislation passed. We are now being asked to renew the Motor Car Act up to the 31st of December next year, without any alteration whatsoever. If the Home Secretary will give us an assurance that he will at the earliest date possible introduce legislation for the purpose of amending this Act and so diminish the danger with which the driving of motor vehicles is attended, I shall at once withdraw my Amendment, but, if he will not give that assurance, may I put to him that it is very desirable in the interests of the public to cut out this Motor-Car Act from the Schedule of the Bill, because the result would be that the Home Office would be forced immediately to introduce legislation to deal with this important subject? However, I hope the Home Secretary will give me an assurance that the matter is under consideration, and will be undertaken before long.

I can assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that the question of dealing with the dangers of street traffic in London is engaging the attention of the Home Office very seriously at the present time. Of course, I know the hon. and learned Gentleman does not suggest that this Act should be omitted from the Schedule. He knows as well as, or better than I do, that the effect would be that everybody driving a motor car would require to have somebody walking in front with a red flag. I assure him, however, that I am considering this matter very seriously.

I only want to ask the Home Secretary one question with regard to promised legislation. He says that the present inquiry is being made in regard to London, and I presume that would also cover other large towns throughout the country. Has the Home Office taken into consideration the question of doing away with the artificial noises—horns, whistles, etc.—used by motor vehicles, because a great number of accidents are occasioned by the fact that drivers are given to bluffing the foot passengers out of the way? Would it not be possible to compromise the matter by permitting these horns, whistles, and syrens to be used in the country districts to warn carts a long distance off; but that immediately on entering the towns the driver of any car of a certain size which made use of any of these noises would have to pay a penalty?

I am sure that every Member of the House will agree with me that in the streets of London especially, and in other large towns very often, the taxi-cabs and private-owned vehicles dash round corners and across squares, relying absolutely on the fact that they have a powerful horn to chase foot passengers off the road, and I am perfectly convinced that if there was some restriction put upon these people they would have to drive as a man has to drive a horse, that is, pull up if anyone is in the way. I believe accidents would be greatly reduced if the drivers of great heavy vehicles knew perfectly well that nobody would get out of the way while proceeding on his ordinary avocation. I understand the law of the land is that every foot passenger has just as much right to the road as any vehicle, and the very fact of preventing the use of these obnoxious horns would add, not only very much to the comfort of life in the towns, but, I am confident from my experience of motor cars, would lead to a very large reduction of motor accidents.

Will the right hon. Gentleman note that I introduced a private Bill dealing with the matter, and use his influence to have it considered?

Amendment negatived.

Question proposed, "That this be the Schedule of the Bill."

I beg to move to insert in the Schedule the words:—

The Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Amendment Act, 1908.

What is the effect of this Amendment? What is the title of the Act? We have not heard it.

On a previous occasion I said that this Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act, 1908 had been left out by the Government this year, but the hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy) made a request to have it continued for another year. I consented on behalf of the Government that that should be done. The hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork had to leave the House, but before he left he asked me to insert it, and I am moving to do so.

Even the name of the Act did not reach us. The hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork may be fully apprised of the value of the Act, and it may be perfectly right to insert it, but we should like to know what is going on.

Even if it has been explained three times, surely the right time to explain an Amendment is when it is proposed to the Committee. We are not supposed to be here all the time when the Government chooses to ask us to sit from three o'clock in the afternoon until four o'clock in the morning. I think the Committee is entitled to some explanation of the Amendment.

The right hon. Gentleman will give an explanation at once if necessary. This was an Amendment which was promised on the Second Reading of the Bill. The hon. Member for Cork then drew attention to it, and it was then discussed and everybody knew about it.

It is the Registration of Titles (Ireland) Amendment Act, 1908. It was in last year's Schedule and was dropped this year, but at the request of the hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork it is now moved by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Russell) to insert it for another year.

Surely the Government did not drop it or do not put it in again without some reason beyond the behest of the Member for North-East Cork. We desire to know why it was left out and why it is put in.

The Act was in fact not being used so far as the Government knew, but the Member for North-East Cork informed us that in some cases in his experience it was being used.

If I may further explain the matter to the Noble Lord, this measure was passed, on the Motion of a private Member of this House, to deal with certain cases that arose in connection with the registration of titles for labourers' cottages in Ireland. It was passed for that specific purpose. We think that specific purpose has now been fulfilled. The Member for North-East Cork thinks there still are some occasions that may be covered by it and he asked us to-night to renew it for another year, and we have agreed to that.

If the Government give in to the Nationalist party—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] What is the Member for North-East Cork if he is not a Nationalist? May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if, in courtesy to the Ulster Members, he will accept an Amendment to this Bill to reinstate the Peace Preservation Act?

Amendment agreed to.

Question, "That the Schedule, as amended, be the Schedule of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill reported; as amended, considered; read the third time, and passed.

Whereupon Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKEK, pursuant to the Order of the House of 14th October, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."

Question put, and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at Eleven minutes before Four o'clock; a.m. Wednesday, 23rd October, 1912.