Established Church (Wales) Bill
Mr. Speaker, I desire to ask your ruling with reference to an answer given to me yesterday by the Home Secretary. I asked the right hon. Gentleman
The Home Secretary replied:—"if Le will state when the Report of Mr. Wyatt on the Welsh Disestablishment commutation scheme, from which he quoted on the 30th June, will be laid upon the Table of the Horse?"
I then asked this supplementary question:—"I do not propose to lay the Report referred to on the Table. As stated last Monday, I quoted Mr. Wyatt only for the figures which I gave to the House. On the question of policy Mr. Wyatt has not advised me, nor has he any responsibility for any conclusions widen the Government may draw from hi, figures."
The right hon. Gentleman replied:—"Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that it is a rule of the. House that a document from which something is cited ought to be laid upon the Table?"
I desire to ask whether this document does not come within the Rule of the House requiring documents under certain circumstances to be laid on the Table. As you were not in the Chair when the discussion took place, may I briefly remind you of what happened. The Committee were discussing the Money Resolution in connection with the Established Church (Wales) Bill. The question of the commutation scheme came up, and the Home Secretary brought forward certain considerations which he thought ought to make it more acceptable to Members on this side. In so doing, he referred to this Report of Mr. Wyatt. Three times in the discussion the right hon. Gentleman referred to the Report. In his opening remarks he said:—"I have refreshed my memory by looking up the practice and I cannot find it would apply in thin case."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 3rd July. 1913, cols. 2191–2.]
Later on, he said:—"I have had some very interesting figures worked out by a most competent actuary. With assistance given to him by the actuary of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, he has been able to work out some very important figures."
But that is not the quotation on which I base my claim. Later in the Debate the right hon. Gentleman interrupted my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson). He produced and laid upon the box in front of him a Report which we certainly understood and believed to be the Report of the actuary, and he read from it certain words. The OFFICIAL REPORT says:—"The actuary I have mentioned has taken the latest tables of the Clergy Mutual Assurance Society for May 191l."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th June, 1913, col. 1516.]
My hon. and learned Friend then went on to say:—"Mr. McKenna: The actuary speaks of it as a process of readjustment from the actual experience of that society in respect of the lives of the clergy during the twenty-four years ending the 21st May, 1911."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th June, 1913, col. 1541,]
Again, the hon. and learned Gentleman reiterated that a little further on. He said:—"I presume that it will he laid on the Table of the House so that we may be able to check it.
That suggestion was not repudiated by the right hon. Gentleman. The third time this Report was referred to was when the Home Secretary gave an answer to, I think, my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea. He then gave the name of the actuary, a name which is very familiar to hon. Members, Mr. Wyatt. It must be clearly understood—and I desire to put this rather in favour of the Home Secretary—that he said that Mr. Wyatt was not advising on a question of policy, by that he was quoting him only for his figures. I want to ask your ruling, Sir, whether the fact that the Home Secretary in his interruption of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cambridge University read from this Report does not entitle us to have that Report laid upon the Table. I should like to base myself further on this: The right hon. Gentleman referring to Mr. Wyatt's Report spoke of it as not dealing with figures alone, but as a process of readjustment from the actual experience of that society in respect to the lives of the clergy during the twenty-four years ending 21st May; 1911. May I with all respect draw your attention to a previous and somewhat similar case, that of Colonel Kinloch in 1903. May I read what was said by Mr. Speaker Gully, on the question of the production of evidence, from which a quotation had been made by the present Lord Middleton. Mr. Speaker Gully (on 16th March, 1903), said:—"The right hon. Gentleman purported to quote from that Report, and no doubt he will lay it on the Table of the House so that we may he able to examine it.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th June, 1913, col. 1541]
I venture to ask you whether as the Home Secretary read from this Report we are entitled to have it laid on the Table of the House so that we may judge whether there is anything in the Report modifying, altering, or contradicting the statements of the right hon. Gentleman. I should like to ask whether we ought not to have not only the figures quoted from the Clergy Mutual Assurance Society, but also the Report itself?"The principle of the rule is that if a Minister quotes from a document, the context must be placed before the House so as to enable the House to judge whether there is anything in the rest of the document which would modify, alter, or contradict that which is quoted."
I desire to make one or two observations on the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman. In this particular Debate the question was how much money the Treasury might have to guarantee if commutation were ultimately adopted. In explaining what that amount of money might be, and not in any way, as the hon. Gentleman seems to think, recommending the system of commutation proposed, but stating the total amount of the money only, I gave the estimate of the actuary employed by the Government as two million one hundred thousand pounds odd. In the course of the Debate the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University argued that the estimate was obtained not on life tables based on the lives of the clergy, but on life tables based on the life of the ordinary human being. I replied that it was based on the life tables of the Clergy Mutual. The hon. and learned Gentleman then answered that the Clergy Mutual have other members whom they insure—of course, I am only summarising his remarks — besides members of the clergy. It was then in order to make sure of my point I turned to the title which is given by the actuary to this table, and I read the title. I was not quoting from the Report in any sense of enforcing what I have to say in the way of argument by reference to it. I turned to the Report in order to strengthen my memory upon the question as to what was the exact title of the Clergy Mutual, and who were the persons whom they insured in that company, whose lives were taken as an estimate. So much in reply to the hon. and learned Gentleman for the quotation. Further, some hon. Members having been under the impression that I had quoted from the Report, I made it abundantly clear in the course of the Debate that I had quoted no opinion and no Report, in the sense of quotation, from Mr. Wyatt, but that I had only given his actual figures. I am perfectly willing to present those figures to the House once again, if the hon. Gentleman wishes it, in the form of a Paper. To proceed to give a reason why I do not propose to lay upon the Table of the House, apart from Mr. Wyatt's figures, the rest of Mr. Wyatt's Report—though I do not know if in stating this I shall be rendering myself liable in consequence of quoting that Report to place the document upon the Table—but if I am free to give a reason, I shall be glad to do so.
I do not think it is necessary. I was going to suggest to the House that the right hon. Gentleman should let me see the Report.
Then when I have got the Report in my hand and see the words attributed to the right hon. Gentleman in column 1541 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of 30th June, I shall be in a better position to say whether or not in my opinion they are a quotation from the document. If, in my opinion, they are a quotation from a document which in some respects might affect the arguments which were put forward by the Opposition if the whole document were to be published, I shall advise that the whole document ought to be laid upon the Table. If what the hon. Gentleman was reading or referred to was not from the Report, but was only a summary, or title, or heading, or something of the kind, then it will be unnecessary to lay the Report upon the Table. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be satisfied if he gives me an opportunity during the course of the day to examine the Report for myself. I shall then be in a better position to pronounce an opinion, which it is almost impossible to do with the material now before me.
May I respectfully point out to you that the right hon. Gentleman read certain figures based upon the Clergy Mutual Insurance Society Reports? The point that was made by hon. Members on this side of the House was that these referred exclusively to the lives of the clergy. I remarked, as the right hon. Gentleman said, that the Clergy Mutual insured many other people besides clergy, and that they would treat anyone, whether he were a clergyman or lawyer or anyone else, as a first-class life on exactly the same terms. The quotation was made in answer. I wanted to see the figures in regard to the lives upon which this gentleman made his calculations. I wanted to see them so that I might test them with the actual figures of the Clergy Mutual.
The only quotation, or what may be taken as a quotation, are, it appears, the words which are attributed to the Home Secretary in the OFFICIAL REPORT, col. 1541. It is true that they do not appear in inverted commas. Therefore, on the face of it, I should say that they are not a quotation. But from what the hon. Gentleman said, it did appear that the Home Secretary read that from a document which was before him. It will be my business to see whether that is a quotation from a document—if so, whether it is a quotation from the body of the Report or whether it is taken from something else. Further, to consider whether, the first being the case, it will be necessary that the whole document should be produced in fairness to the House and in fairness td the hon. Gentleman.
May I ask you to take into consideration the claim that we make that as the Home Secretary quoted a final figure as a total amount, we are entitled to have the figures which led him up to that conclusion?
I cannot answer that question. I am going to confine myself to that one paragraph which may be a quotation. The Horne Secretary can refer to any figures he likes. If he quotes from an official document then that document must be laid upon the Table of the House if it becomes necessary to make the position of the Opposition or of those opposed to it clear.
We understood, on this side of the House, that the Home Secretary was quoting figures from a document we saw in front of him, and he himself said, in the course of the discussion, that he was quoting figures, but that we were not to take it that he was identifying himself with the matter of policy, but only with the matter of figures in the document.
Perhaps I might simplify this matter by saying that I am perfectly willing to give to hon Gentlemen opposite, or to publish, the figures Mr. Wyatt reported to me.
The whole of them?
No, not all, but the figures which I gave relating to this matter. He gave me many other figures not relating to this point at all. I am perfectly willing to give these figures—the figures I quoted—in the precise form in which they were presented to me by Mr. Wyatt. I gladly acquiesce in the suggestion you made, Mr. Speaker, and I will at once show the document.
We arc perfectly satisfied to leave the matter with regard to the Report, if, as I understand, the Report was not read, but we shall at any rate have the figures.
Oh, yes, I shall be glad to supply them.
Plural Voting Bill
Further considered in Committee.—[ Progress, 2nd July.]
[Mr. WHITLEY in the Chair.]
On a point of Order. I think it is within your knowledge, Mr. Whitley, that on application being made at 11.30 in the Vote Office hon. Members were informed that owing to the great bulk of the Blue Papers the copies of the White Papers were delayed, and were not available in the Vote Office until ten minutes to twelve, which was a matter of extreme inconvenience.
It has come to my knowledge that there has been some question of delay about the White Papers, but I would point out to the hon. Member that it is the Blue Papers that are the effective Notice Papers of the House. As far as I am informed the only difference in the Papers is a matter dealing with one notice of Motion for a Return, and has nothing to do with the Bill.
May I draw your attention on a point of Order, Mr. Whitley, to the place given to new Clauses to be moved by Members. Both on the Blue Paper and on the White Paper there was the new Clause standing in the name of the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson) that the Bill should not apply to Ireland. If hon. Members will look at the White Paper they will now see a similar new Clause put down in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for East Down (Captain Craig) standing in front of the Clause put down by my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury. It is perfectly obvious, Mr. Whitley, that if you call on the hon. and gallant Member from Ulster my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury will not be in a position to move his Clause. It may well be that my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury might move the Clause in a very different spirit to that of my hon. and gallant Friend from Ulster, and therefore, I put it to you that this should not be allowed.
I am not on the spur of the moment able to trace how this occurred or to say how it happened. I have no power to rectify any mistakes which have been made.
On that point may I say I was really astonished when I took up the Order Paper and noticed that the Amendment in my name had priority over that of my hon. Friend, but, of course, so far as I am concerned, I am quite prepared to give way to him. I only put down the Amendment in my name for fear by any chance the hon. Member might not be in his place to move it.
I am quite sure that is so. I do not understand how it occurred, but I will look into it.
Perhaps you could tell us, Mr. Whitley, who is the Minister really in charge of the printing arrangements?
No Minister is in charge. In regard to the Amendments on the Paper to-day, which propose new Clauses, the number and nature of them have made it my duty to scrutinise them with special care, and I ought at the outset to remind the Committee, to save trouble later on, that the stage for offering new Clauses is not a renewal, and never has been, of an opportunity for Amendments. There are two plain rules which have always applied to new Clauses, and, in the interests of whoever may succeed me in this office, I think it is most important that I should be most careful to maintain them. One is that new Clauses must not be offered which are inconsistent with the Clauses of the Bill as passed and decisions come to thereon, and the other, that matters shall not be proposed in the form of new Clauses which could have been proposed as Amendments to the Clauses of the Bill.
On a point of Order——
I hope hon. Members will be always ready to allow points of Order to be raised. If they are improper, or if the opportunity is wrongly used, it is for me to deal with the matter.
The point of Order I wish to raise is serious and far-reaching. I want to ask you, Mr. Whitley, arising out of what you have just said, whether you would hold that a new Clause is out of order because an Amendment in the same form had been on the Notice Paper, had been in order, but was not in fact selected by you as one of the Amendments under the new Standing Order?
I am very glad the hon. Member has put that point, because it is one which is clearly likely to arise. Certainly that is the case. The fact that I did not select an Amendment under the Standing Order of the House does not affect in the least what I originally said. An Amendment which was in order and not moved is in exactly the same position as an Amendment which could have been moved and was not put on the Paper, or as an Amendment that was on the Paper and was not moved by the hon. Member who put it there. The fact of my not selecting an Amendment does not in the least entitle that Amendment to be brought up again in the form of a new Clause.
I do not attempt to dispute your ruling, but do I gather your contention is that the Standing Orders which give you authority to select Amendments, authority you to rule out of order a new Clause which may have the same effect as an Amendment which you have passed over, and which we have been unable to discuss as an Amendment, and therefore we did not know why it was out of order. It is admitted by you, Mr. Chairman, that an Amendment may be in order and proper to be put, but; in your discretion you do not call it on as an Amendment, and therefore by that fact you prevent us discussing it as an Amendment and you also prevent us discussing it as a new Clause.
The hon. Member has not put the matter quite rightly. The point is that the House by Standing Order has made a certain provision with regard to the selection of Amendments by the Chair, and whatever happens to an Amendment does not overrule or interfere in any way with the ordinary Rules of the House, and it certainly does not give any additional scope.
I am very sorry, but this is an important point which I do not think has been raised before on any other Bill. I do not quite gather from your last ruling that we are prevented from discussing new Clauses except to the extent that you have a right to say an Amendment though in order has not been called upon by you——
I must protest against the way the hon. Member is dealing with the matter. He is putting an imputation on the Chair that it is the intention of the Chairman to prevent discussion.
Not in the least.
At any rate the words of the hon. Member seem to me to imply that I am administering the Rules of the House with the intention to prevent the discussion of new Clauses. The fact that because Amendments have been passed over in the selection of Amendments gives no ground for bringing them up again in the form of new Clauses.
I had not the slightest intention of imputing to the Chair in any sense whatever, an attempt to stop us moving new Clauses. The point I am making is whether the fact that the Chair thinks an Amendment is not desirable to move, and very properly thinks so, prevents a new Clause being moved which would have been in order if the Amendment had been put down. Supposing an Amendment had not been put down on a particular point, would the new Clause have been in order?
The hon. and learned Member is mistaken. A matter which could have been an Amendment to the Clause, even if it had not been put on the Paper, could not be brought up as a new Clause.
Supposing an Amendment had been down on the Paper which you passed over, because in your consideration it would have been better raised as a new Clause. If that was put down as a new Clause, although you thought it might have been better as a new Clause, your ruling precludes it from being discussed.
I do not think I said that.
As this is a very important ruling, may I ask whether under that rule you could not move a new Clause which applies to Government Clauses as well as to the Prime Minister's Clause?
A matter which is a proper subject for discussion on a Clause of the Bill is not a matter which could be submitted as a new Clause.
It is not an uncommon thing when an Amendment has been reached for the Chairman to say that it ought to come as a new Clause and he rules it out of order, because it should come up as a new Clause. If such an Amendment after it has been put down as an Amendment and not reached or has been passed over under the Kangaroo Closure is put down as a new Clause, would it not be out of order under your ruling?
It would be in order, provided it is not inconsistent with what has been passed in the Bill.
May I ask your advice. I have got a new Clause on the Paper, which might possibly have been moved as a proviso to one of the Clauses. I thought it would be better to move it as a new Clause instead of a proviso. I should like to know what course I ought to pursue, if it is a fact that my proviso is out of order as a new Clause.
I think I had better deal with that case when it arises. If I am not mistaken, the hon. Member had his proposal down as an Amendment.
I must leave the matter until I come to the exact case in point. I wish it to be quite understood that what I am submitting to hon. Members is no new rule. The number and nature of the new Clauses offered on this. Bill is rather unusual, and that has made it my duty in the interests of my possible successors, to look most carefully into these matters, and for the convenience of the Committee, I remind hon. Members of the rule.
I think I may venture respectfully to say that this point of difficulty really arises through the application of the Kangaroo Closure, because, under- normal circumstances, every Amendment when reached would be explained by the Chair to the Committee why it could not be moved, and it has then been the custom for the Chairman to say, "I consider that this Amendment would come better as a new Clause." Then we know that we may put the Amendment down as a new Clause. By the operation of the Kangaroo Closure, we know nothing of the reasons why our Amendments are out of order, and we have no guidance from the Chairman in putting down new clauses, which were on the Paper as Amendments. I do not know that there is any means of us obtaining such guidance.
The hon. and gallant Member is quite correct in saying that the more recent procedure in this House devised by the Standing Orders for the selection of Amendments does perhaps raise a point which is not within the general knowledge of the House or the Committee, and that is why I have put this point to the Committee as to what the, effect is on the older Rules of the House. The first new Clause on the Paper standing in the name of the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Stanier) is covered by what we have already been discussing. It was dealt with as an Amendment to Clause 1, and was in order at that point. The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) I had some doubt about, as it dealt with exemptions in Clause 1 which have been discussed and settled at that point. This new Clause raises the question of the exemption of the City of London, and I am of opinion that this is another case which has been dealt with separately in similar eases, and for that reason, and for that reason only, I think I must allow the hon. Baronet to move his new Clause.
Before I move, I rather want to ask your opinion about something which may possibly appeal to the House as a whole, and which may perhaps be held to be not a point of Order, though I feel that it is my duty to put it before the House. The new Clause which I propose to move is one of great interest to my right hon. colleague the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour). The day before yesterday he asked me when I thought this new Clause 'would come on, and I told him that I really could not say, but I thought that it would probably come on somewhere about two o'clock. My right hon. Friend then said that at 11.30 lie would be on the Committee of National Defence, and he regretted very much that if the Clause came on earlier than two o'clock he would be unable to be present. My hon. Friend for one of the Divisions of Somerset has informed me just now that he has communicated with my right hon. Friend, and that he has stated that he cannot be here until three o'clock. What I want to ask the Committee I know is unusual, but the circumstances are unusual. I want to ask whether, with the consent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it would be possible to postpone this Clause until three o'clock. I should like to raise that as a point of Order and to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether lie would consent to it.
Of course, the point of Order is entirely in the Chairman s hands, but I think the hon. Baronet is misinformed. The meeting cannot last beyond 1.30. They might resume at three, and I should have thought that 1.30 was much more convenient than three. I am a Member of the Committee, but I have to be here.
Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman will allow another Clause to be taken before this?
No, I have nothing to do with that.
We have come to a point which I think affects the whole Committee. The point is that, if a Clause is not taken where it stands on the Paper, it can be moved later only as though it were a manuscript Amendment, taking its place at the end of the list. Of course, if the hon. Baronet waives his present opportunity, he will be taking his own risk in the matter.
I do not think that it would be any more convenient.
I do not wish to press the matter.
Perhaps I may take the Committee into my confidence on the question. Of course, if I can rely on the Committee not using my attempt to meet the hon. Baronet's convenience to my own disadvantage, I think that it might well stand with the hon. Baronet to say whether he will waive his priority or not.
Of course, we do not want to take advantage of anything that you have said, but may I ask whether your statement now will debar us from urging that any particular Clauses are proper Clauses to be taken?
That is the difficulty under which I labour.
I do not wish in any kind of way to press it, but I thought it my duty to inform the Committee what had taken place.
New Clause—(Exemption Of The City Of London)
Nothing in this Act contained shall prevent a Parliamentary elector in the City of London from voting, or asking for a ballot or voting paper for the purpose of so voting, in. the City of London and in one other constituency.
New Clause brought up, and read a first time.
I beg to move, "That this Clause be read a second time."I had originally intended to put this Clause down in a different form, providing that nothing in the Act should apply to the City of London, but, if I had done so, it might have been urged from the other side that it would have given the plural voter in the City of London with four or live votes an opportunity of voting in every constituency in which he had a vote, because he might go into a polling booth and when asked if he had voted, say, "I am a voter in the City of London; I have nothing to do with you people; I can do what I like." I hope that some concession may be made in the case of the City of London, and therefore I did not put my new Clause down in that form, because I thought that it might reasonably be argued that although the City of London was entitled to some special treatment, yet such wholly special treatment should not be accorded to any one constituency. Therefore, I put the Clause down in the form in which it now stands to give the elector in the City of London the opportunity of voting in that constituency and the right to vote in one other constituency. The special position of the City of London has before this been recognised in legislation dealing with electoral reform. Under the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, the City of London elects two Members, compared with one Member elected by each of the other Divi- sions of the Metropolitan constituencies. The Act of 1885, by confirming this, acknowledged the exceptional position of the City. The Act did not in any kind of way endeavour to alter the position which the City of London had always held in all Parliamentary electoral Acts. Besides being the commercial and financial centre of the Empire, the City of London to-day has a day population of over 360,000, a floating population exceeding 1,000,000, and a rateable value of £5,759,320. I think I have established the fact that the city itself is in a somewhat exceptional position. I have further established the fact that previous Acts of Parliament relating to election law have always recognised this. Let me point out very shortly the reason why I think the historical position of the City of London should have somewhat exceptional treatment. It is the oldest city in the country. It dates from the occupation of the Romans. It has always held a very prominent position in business, in commerce and in politics. May I draw the attention of the Committee for one moment to a singular instance of the services the city has rendered to the House of Commons? Charles I., on one occasion, endeavoured to arrest five Members of this House. He came down to the House and asked Mr. Speaker Lenthal, who was then in the Chair, to point out to him the five Members. Mr. Speaker Lenthal made the historical answer that he had neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak, except that which he was directed by the House to see and speak. Meanwhile the five Members had taken the opportunity of this little incident to escape from the House, and had gone to the City of London. The Lord Mayor of that day and the citizens of the City of London closed the gates of the city in the face of the King's Messengers, and the House of Commons was so grateful to the City of London for so doing that they gave the Members for the City the privilege of sitting on the Treasury Bench for all time. That privilege it has been my honour to exercise on more than one occasion, and I hope that in the years to come those who succeed me in the representation of the City will also exercise the privilege. I have ventured to recount to the House that short story, which was told me by Mr. Speaker, because I thought that it was relevant to my new Clause, and because it showed that the House of Commons, so far back as the time of Charles I., did recognise that there were special privileges, privileges extended to the Members of no other constituencies but privileges which related to the City of London alone and which had been granted by the House. The city, of course, the largest city in the Empire. It is the centre of the Empire, and it is the centre of all the commerce and trade not only of our great Empire, but I think it may fairly be said of all the world. Occupying as it does that unique position, I think it is reasonable that the citizens of this great city should have an opportunity of returning by their collective vote two Members to sit in this House. If my new Clause is not accepted there will arise in the city questions as to where the electors for the city shall vote, whether they shall vote in the city or in some other constituency, and in that way the hitherto representative character of the city will be taken away. I am not putting this forward in a controversial sense. I do not wish to say anything offensive to hon. Members opposite, but I would point out that, whether this new Clause is carried or not, Conservative Members will be returned by the city at the next election as certainly as that I am sitting here to-day. But the Members who are returned will not be returned by the collective vote of the inhabitants. The citizens will not be collectively represented in the House of Commons, for while there may be no change in the political nature of the representation, those who are returned will have been returned by electors who have no other vote than that which they possess in the city, added to those who have arranged with the agents of the respective constituencies in which they have votes as to where they shall exercise that privilege. I hope the remarks I have made have melted the hearts of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. I have endeavoured to show that their political position will not be in any way injured. I have endeavoured to show that there is a claim on the part of the City of London for exceptional treatment, and I have endeavoured to show that if my new Clause is not carried the City of London will not have that exceptional treatment which has hitherto been invariably accorded to it in all similar cases. 1.0 P.M. I have endeavoured to keep within the ruling of the Chair. I have not entered at all on the question of the ownership vote or the occupation vote—very important questions, which, I think, have considerable bearing on this matter. I have dealt solely with this question from the point of view of the historical position of the City of London. I know the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill to a great extent agrees with me. I do not say that he agrees with my new Clause. I have not yet had an opportunity of hearing his views upon that matter. But I know that on the Franchise Bill he was kind enough to tell me, although, of course, he did not make any pledge or give any promise, that any deputation which came from the City of London would be received by him and by the Prime Minister with favourable consideration. Therefore, the case which I put is evidently a case which is in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, and,. I hope, in the minds of hon Members behind him. I see the hon. Member the Under-Secretary for India is seated next the right hon. Gentleman. He and his family have long been connected with the City of London, and I feel sure I shall have his support on this matter. I hope that hon. Members will look upon this as a really serious question, and that they will not decide against my new Clause until they have given it weighty and careful consideration.
I do not desire, in anything I say, to depreciate the great position which is attached to the City of London. We ail recognise its great importance to the financial world—to the Money markets of the world—and we recognise, too, that it is held in the highest esteem and regard by all sections of our population. As the hon. Baronet has said, it has connected with it a large number of very important historical associations which we value and appreciate, but I do not think that on these grounds there is any reason why the City of London should be treated in any exceptional way in regard to the question of plurality of votes. The city, after all, is only one of many constituencies which go to form the United Kingdom, and if the city has, as I believe it has, enormous wealth, enormous power, and enormous influence, to many of us on this side that may be rather an argument why these electors do not require a plurality of votes rather than in favour of the multiplication of those votes. The hon. Baronet appeals to me that individuals connected with the city should be allowed the particular privilege of voting in the constituency in which they reside and yet, at the same time, have power to exercise one of their votes, whether as a liveryman or freeman, or as an owner or occupier, or in any other capacity, in the City of London. Last year I was in charge of the Franchise and Registration Bill, and the Committee will recollect that that Bill was introduced with an occupation qualification in addition to a residential qualification. Before the Bill proceeded very far the Government indicated that they were going to exclude the occupation franchise from the Bill. That intention excited a good deal of interest in the City of London, and I received deputations from the liverymen and deputations representing the City of London, from the Lord Mayor and one or two ex-Lord Mayors and other distinguished men closely connected with the civic life of the city. The point they urged upon me was not that the plurality of votes should be allowed to remain, but that the choice of a vote should still be continued to those who were qualified to vote in the City of London and elsewhere. They urged that so great was their esteem, regard, and respect for the City of London that they would much prefer to record their votes for that ancient city in which they happened to be electors than to vote in respect of any other of their qualifications.The deputations accepted the principle of the abolition of the plural vote; all they urged upon me was that they should be permitted to retain a choice of votes. This Bill leaves to them exactly that privilege, which they then desired to exercise, of having a choice of votes. We, on this side of the Committee, recognise that the very fact that an individual has a choice of votes places him in a privileged position compared with the ordinary citizen with only one residence, with no means of purchasing one of the many qualifications, and who cannot expect to become a freeman of one of the large towns and boroughs of the United Kingdom. That being so, I do not think it would be possible for us as a Government to recognise that the City of London, in so far as voting power goes, should have any preferential position. We recognise the very old historical position of the city, and the fact that London has been a most interesting place from the time of the Romans up to the present time, but how many of our other towns may be described in the same way? I suppose that Chichester is probably much older than Londinium, while in the North we have a large number of other places—Eboracum and Newcastle, for instance—which are quite as old as London. [Hon. MEMBERS: "Winchester.")
They have not attained to the same eminence as the City of London.
I recognise that there have been a great number of distinguished men returned for the city, and that in many ways the city is not comparable with other cities and towns in this country. I also recognise that the city, at the present time, returns to this House two Members who, in many respects, are not comparable with other Members. The Committee will realise that this proposal is really hostile to the principle of the Bill, and I am sorry not to be able to respond to the appeal so pleasantly made by the hon. Baronet.
The right hon Gentleman began his speech with many compliments to the City of London, and with an admission that the circumstances of the City were exceptional, but he refused to recognise that it should have any exceptional treatment whatever in this Bill. I do not see how those two sentiments can be reconciled. The Government have an extraordinary desire for an absolute dead level in everything. I do not know that there is any dead level known to anybody but the bottom. Every inequality, every variation in an absolute dead surface, whether it be in voting, in position, or whatever it may be, is immediately stamped as a privilege to be immediately crushed out of existence. It is through these so-called anomalies and inequalities that the best results are often reached. It is of some value to the whole country that there should be such a community as the City of London, that has a history which, although it may not be so long in actual years as that of one or two other places now decayed, is yet almost coeval with the history of this country. I am glad to see that the senior Member for the City of London is now here. He will be able to make out the case for the City of London in a much more capable manner than any other Member, so I shall not detain the Committee long. I would urge that a community which has this ancient record and through the centuries has occupied a leading place in commerce and finance, not only in this country but throughout the civilised world, has a special claim. It is not derogatory to the dignity of this House, and it must be an advantage to its deliberations, that hon. Gentlemen should stand here, not only distinguished in themselves, but who are known inside the House and outside of it to represent such a community as the City of London. It requires some stronger reason than has been advanced by the right hon. Gentlemen to interfere with a representation of that kind. It has been respected by every previous Government which has introduced measures dealing with the franchise and the representation of the people. What is the representation of the City of London numerically? Two Members.
The hon. Member a little mistakes the subject now before the Committee. It is not the abolition of the representation of the City of London. The discussion must be limited to the proposal that in the special case of the City of London, as differentiated from the rest of the United kingdom, an elector shall be allowed to vote as the new Clause proposes—that is, give a vote in the City of London and in one other constituency, instead of, like other people, being obliged to make a choice of one or the other. The hon. Baronet argued on that basis, and the discussion ought not to go beyond that.
I do not think that was out of my mind, but the particular effect of this proposal upon the City of London largely amounts to disfranchisement. What proportion of the voters of the City of London are plural voters as compared with the number in other constituencies? I am perfectly prepared to argue it on that ground. You are no longer, under the Bill, going to collect the whole of the voices of the community of London. The proposals of this Bill are entirely destructive of the representation of the community of the City of London as it always has been represented in this House, and it was from that point of view that I was arguing the case. I admit I should have stated that consideration before making any comparison between the City of London and other constituencies in the country. That is what we feel so strongly, that this ancient representation should be dealt with by the Government, who in this matter are political vandals of the worst description. What do they gain by it? Until the right hon. Gentleman made his speech, I did not quite see where the Government did gain because, on the face of it, all that they gain is the removal of two presumably Unionists Members. I do not know whether they often enough think of the moral effect of the over-balancing opinion of the great community of the City of London against the Government. I suppose, perhaps, they will gain that. After all it is a thing which the country can always see, and which must have political weight in the country, that there are two Members returned for this House by the unanimous voices of the whole community of the City of London, all having an equal right to vote under our existing franchise, and they return by an enormous majority Members whose voices are given against the measures of the present Government. All that the Government will apparently gain by this Bill is that these two Members who may still, for a time nominally, represent the City of London, will only represent that proportion of the voters of the City of London who are not plural voters. I suppose to that extent the representation will lose force. But when the right hon. Gentleman went on to tell us that he has received a deputation comprising the Lord Mayor and one or two ex-Lord Mayors, and that they had informed him that the citizens of London were so attached to the city that they would all vote in the city in preference to voting in other constituencies——
I did not say all, but a very large proportion.
The majority of them, let us say. Now we see where the Government comes in. A large number of Unionist voters who have hitherto been able to cast their votes in the constituencies where they live, will now, for the purpose of sentiment, be withdrawn from the City of London, and the Government will gain an undue electoral advantage in that particular direction.
Why the Government?
Because the enormous majority of the electors of the City of London are against the policy of the Government. I was suggesting just now that the effect might have some moral weight in the country, but I am afraid I was over sanguine, because the hon. Gentleman opposite does not appear to know that. It is generally known that city opinion is almost unanimous against the policy of the Government, and, therefore, that thousands of voters, through their affection for the City of London, are going to exercise their one vote, which they will have under this Bill, there, instead of exercising it in the other constituencies, and that is going to give the Government a very great advantage in other places. I will not say the Government deny that they are going to get an electoral advantage out of the Bill, but I think there has been a certain amount of humbug about it. That is a word which is now fashionable, I believe, in political oratory, and I think there is a certain amount, if not a considerable amount, of humbug in the grounds on which this Bill is put forward. Really I must again protest against the suggestion which is constantly put forward by the right hon. Gentleman, that it is a great privilege to have a choice of votes and that plural voters who are disfranchised by this Bill are going to have a great advantage in having the choice where their votes may be exercised. That suggestion is trivial, because the disadvantages and the risks which are imposed by this Bill upon everybody in exercising that choice——
I think perhaps the hon. Gentleman did not hear what I said in calling this Clause, that it was allowed to be proposed as a new Clause purely on the exceptional position of the City of London as apart from any other constituency in the United Kingdom, and we certainly must not have a general Debate. The Debate was opened by the hon. Baronet rightly on these lines, and it ought not to extend beyond them.
I was directly answering a statement made from that bench by the right hon. Gentleman. Is it not the custom of the House that when a right hon. Gentleman in charge of a Bill uses an argument in its defence it is competent for those who are in the Opposition answering him to deal with the argument which he has actually advanced on the floor of the House?
If that was all I was under a misapprehension. It appeared to me that the hon. Gentleman's argument was much more general.
I was directly answering the point made by the right hon. Gentleman that the retention of the choice of votes by the plural voters now existing under the provisions of this Bill was a great privilege and advantage.
The right hon. Gentleman was applying it, of course, only to the case of the City of London.
I think my recollection is not quite in accord with that. It was part of the right hon. Gentleman's general argument at the end of his speech,. and, of course, my remarks may be applied equally only to the question of its effect upon the City of London, and I perfectly understand that my remarks should be confined to that particular aspect of the question. So far as the citizens of London are concerned I cannot see that they gain much, if anything, by the privilege, as the right hon. Gentleman calls it, which they retain under this Bill of having the right to vote in some constituency where they live and in the City of London as well. The trouble and risk which is imposed upon those voters in exercising that choice to my mind considerably outweighs the privilege which is conferred upon them. It will give them a great deal of trouble and a great deal of consideration. I think that, probably, if the right hon. Gentleman had been receiving deputations, not only from the City of London, but also from constituencies in other parts of the country where those gentlemen live, they would have told him that they felt sure that their affection for the constituencies in which they reside was at least as great as their affection for the City of London.
Really that is reviewing the Bill as a whole. I explained at the outset, on calling this new Clause, the reason why I called it, namely, that it was confined solely to the special case of the City of London, and did not extend to the case of other constituencies in the United' Kingdom. I hope the hon. Gentleman will observe that ruling.
I have tried to do so, but I do maintain that this is a somewhat important matter, and with all respect to you, Sir, I was directly answering and dealing with arguments used by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The right hon. Gentleman stated that a deputation had come to him from the City of London and had pointed out that the affection of voters for that constituency would lead them to give their votes there rather than in the places where they reside. I was dealing directly with that argument, and I was attempting to answer it.
The hon. Member was proceeding beyond that, and arguing that the same reasons applied to other constituencies. That argument was not pertinent to this Clause.
I bow to your ruling. Of course, there are many points in this Clause affecting the City of London which also affect other constituencies as well.
As the Clause applies only to the City of London it would be my duty to rule out of order arguments with reference to other constituencies for the reason, which I think is a sound one, that the case of the City of London is different from the case of other constituencies. I trust that the hon. Gentleman will help me in keeping the Debate within the limit I have indicated.
I will do my best, and I will not pursue the point any further. There is only one other point upon which I wish to say a word. The right hon. Gentleman said that he was of opinion that because the City of London had more voters of wealth and position than any other constituency in the country possessed, that would be a reason for giving them less political representation rather than more. We are getting on. I quite understand the Government contending that no special privilege should be given to the City of London because it has wealth and position, though I must say that is going rather far in stating the case of that particular community with such a record as the City of London has acquired for wealth and position, which is recognised as commanding throughout the whole civilised world. But is that a reason for disfranchising them? Whether the right hon. Gentleman meant that, or whether it was a serious proposition as to the policy of the Government, he will perhaps explain to the Committee later on, but I would suggest that we are getting on. I desire very strongly to support the Amendment moved by the hon. Baronet, and I sincerely hope that before this Debate closes much stronger reasons will be given than have yet been advanced against the Amendment. I hope it will be possible for the Government to reconsider the matter. The Government treats all these matters very lightly and as mere incidents in regard to one Clause of the Bill. Call them privileges if you like, call them anomalies if you like, give them any name you like, but they are features in our Parliamentary life which have existed for centuries, and which have had no small part in building up the Constitution and the laws under which we live. These features are to be abolished by one House alone in this casual and light-hearted manner. I desire very strongly, and on every opportunity I possibly can, to protest against it.
It appears to me that in this particular case there is another reason, apart from the historical reason, why the City of London should not conic under the proposals in the Bill. I think it is safe to assume that in the case of plural voters who have residential or other qualifications in other parts of the country a very large proportion of them will be inclined to vote in the other constituencies and not in the City of London. If that should be the case the City of London will find itself in a very curious position owing to the very small number of residents there are in that constituency. The actual number of people who live in the City of London and are residential voters there, consisting as they do largely of caretakers, is undoubtedly very much smaller than in any other city in the country, and, therefore, it seems to me that the whole representation of the city is almost certain to be thrown into the hands of such people as caretakers, whereas in other cities the proportion of people actually in residence is very much larger. For that reason there is a material difference between the City of London and any other city in the country. Practically there are no residences in the City of London with the exception of the Mansion House, the Tower, the Mint, and a few houses, and consequently the representation of what has hitherto been regarded as one of the most enlightened constituencies in the country is likely to fall into the hands of people mostly consisting of caretakers, policemen, and the like, and instead of that constituency remaining one of the most enlightened, it is likely to become one of the least enlightened cities in the country.
When you, Sir, allowed the new Clause to be moved you stated that it was because of the exceptional position which the City of London occupies. It is because of its exceptional position that we are pleading for an exception being made on behalf of the city. I should like to remind the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill that we are not really asking for any privilege to be given to the city. We are merely asking that a privilege which the electors there now have in common -with many other constituencies should not be taken away from them, which is a very different thing. The right hon. Gentleman said that he did not desire in any way to depreciate the great historical and financial position of the city. If that is so, he ought to study very carefully the effect of the Bill on the future representation of the city. There are many of us who think that the position of the city entitles it to its separate representation, which must be highly imperilled by the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman stated that he learned from Mayors and ex-Mayors that they would very much prefer hereafter to exercise the franchise in the City to exercising it in any other part of the country where they reside. The right hon. Gentleman is an old Whip and an old wire-puller. Nobody knows better than he the pressure that can be brought to bear on voters to record their votes, if they have any in a particular constituency. Human nature being what it is, the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me when I say the vote will be given not according to preference or sentiment but largely according to the pressure brought to bear looking to the various electoral circumstances at the time, and it will come to this: That the city will in all probability lose its great solidarity and its great elective voice in financial matters as being most representative of those to whose influence to a large extent this representation is due. They will vote to a large extent not in the City of London but in some other constituency where they have a choice of votes. The representatives of the city will be returned, not by these great financial magnates whose names are household words, not only throughout England and the Empire, but throughout the world, but by a few thousand or possibly a few hundred clerks and caretakers and people of that description. If that be so, how long will the separate representation of the city be allowed to remain? When a Redistribution Bill is introduced I can well imagine some other Gentleman occupying the position of the right hon. Gentleman coming down to the House, and saying that the city is no longer entitled to separate representation, because those whose views formerly prevailed there now vote in other constituencies, and the city's views are expressed only by a certain number of clerks and others who have residential qualifications.In the beginning of his speech the right hon. Gentleman was courteous and considerate towards the city, but towards the end of his speech he rather indicated that the City of London is only in the same position as towns like Chichester and Chester. These are most historic towns which we all recognise as occupying all important place in British history. But to compare the great City of London with Chester and Chichester is really to compare Chester or Chichester itself with some small hamlet in the county of Chester or Sussex. I was a little bit surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should use an argument of that kind. Quite apart from that, let me point out that neither Chester, Chichester, Newcastle, nor any of these great towns has the same relationship to the surrounding districts that the City of London has. There is no other town in the world which is occupied so entirely by men who go into the town for business purposes every day, and do not reside there and do not sleep there. They have no other qualification admittedly for the franchise, except that of occupation and of having enormous local concern in the place in which they carry on business. There is no other city in the world in which only 10 per cent of the total electorate are resident. It is because of its different position, of its great financial position, that the city for such a long time has been allowed separate representation in this House. The right hon. Gentleman to-day is moving into a half-way house, in which before long the city representation must be destroyed. This Bill imperils the whole representation of the city unless the new Clause moved by my hon. Friend is carried to-day. It is because we feel that the representation of the city is a real danger that we are asking the right hon. Gentleman to show his love and reverence for the city and for British history by allowing this Clause to be carried and at least giving some exceptional treatment to the city. I believe that though the electors in other great towns may regret the change made in their case, yet not one of them could honestly say that he is in the same position as the elector of the city. Therefore, I believe that they would acquiesce gladly in giving this particular privilege to the city, and if the right hon. Gentleman would extend this privilege to the city he would have no grumble or complaint from those in other districts who are not allowed the same choice of votes which hitherto has been allowed to all, and for the future will be allowed only to the city if the Clause of my hon. Friend is carried.
There is no doubt whatever that your ruling has on the whole been very strictly maintained, and that we on this side of the House, at all events, are only pleading on account of the very exceptional position of London. The hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment dealt largely with the historic incidents relating to the old city, and also told you of some exceptional treatment that has been meted out to the City of London in legislation which has been passed by this House. May I draw the attention of the Committee to another exception which was made in the case of the City of London, and which may not be generally known to Members of this Assembly. It is a fact that anybody who has a vote in No. 1, Fleet Street, and lives seven miles outside it is unable to exercise the vote because he is disqualified, but if he is in occupation of No. 2, Fleet Street, then he is within the city, and in those circumstances he can reside twenty-five miles outside the city, and still come in and vote. In those circumstances the Committee will agree that here is another case of exceptional treatment having been dealt out to the City of London in which London is in an entirely separate position from any other of the cities of this country. There is no question about it that whenever you desire to have some largo financial opening, it is to the Lord Mayor and the ancient City of London that not only we on this side of the House have to look, but even hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who are decrying by the action which they are taking at present the greatness of the city, go to him and ask him to initiate some fund which they think will be of incalculable benefit. Again, when a crowned head or the president of a great republic comes over to visit us, if the interests of that amity, which we all hope may continue to exist, are to be intensified, what is the thing which is always done? Invariably the Lord Mayor of the City throws open his hospitable mansion and the Guildhall of the ancient city, and there is cemented the amity between foreign countries and ourselves which goes so far to make for peace. In addition to that, there are crises in our history when a vote given by a qualified city like the City of London may have far-reaching effects.I do not wish to make anything in the nature of a party speech, because this subject is of such importance as to transcend anything of the nature of party politics. Crises might arise in our history in which it would be of the greatest moment that the citizens of this country should see in what way the city criticised the action of Ministers who were guiding the destinies of the country. I think that the influence of this united body of the ancient city has undoubtedly a vast effect. It is proposed to take all that away, forsooth, because the people may be wealthy and may be powerful, and the Minister in charge of the Bill thinks that is a reason why the privileges held by this vast city, and which have been of such powerful effect on great occasions in our national history, should be entirely lost. I cannot help thinking that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite must really in their heart of hearts, apart from political interests, feel that a case has been made out for the city. The very history of the ancient city, the part which it has played in our national life, the great and beneficent work which is done by its chief magistrate, are all considerations of great import, and justify our making the demand that the City of London shall be allowed, not exceptional treatment, but the retention of those privileges which it has held up to the present time.
I do not dispute the truth of much that has been said by the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. There is nobody in the House who would ever think of disputing the greatness of the influence and character, from many points of view, of the great City of London. But, after all, the question which the Committee has to decide is whether, in order that these qualities may be duly recognised and expressed in our legislation, it is necessary that the persons who have the right to elect Members for the City of London should be at liberty to select them only as their second choice. I think anybody who makes that suggestion is making a suggestion unwarranted by the facts as we know them. It is, in fact, exerting a kind of undue influence on the House of Commons, because, if the argument is really seriously intended, it means that those voters who have the choice between voting in the City of London and voting elsewhere, if they are told they are only to have one choice, are likely to exercise their choice elsewhere, and the present representation of the City of London, the representation of a constituency of that great character and position, would be endangered. I am an elector of the City of London, and one effect of this proposal if adopted will be, amongst others, that a barrister in chambers in the Inner Temple would have two votes, while a barrister in chambers in Lincoln's Inn would have one vote. The effect of this proposal, if adopted, would be that the station-master at Cannon Street would have two votes and the station-master at London Bridge would have one vote. (An HON. MEMBER: "The station-master?"] Well, the principal resident official. Really, the suggestion that is made a little affects me, because I make the avowal most frankly and sincerely, if it is of any use to right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that if anybody could persuade me that his return to the House of Commons as a Member for the City depended on whether I exercised my choice of voting in the City or voting elsewhere, nobody need give me a second option. I am quite prepared to say that I would exercise my option to secure representation for the City.
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but may I count upon his vote?
On two conditions—first, that we drop a highly dishonouring proposal to the City that there should be a second choice; and secondly, if it is shown that there is any danger at all that the hon. Baronet would not be returned if I voted elsewhere. Indeed, there does nut appear very much danger, because I see on consulting the invaluable "Dod" that the City of London, as a Parliamentary constituency, certainly has a character in some respects unique. When I consult this useful work of reference, I find that the population of the City of London is put down at 19,657. Of course, the population means those who live and sleep there. But among the 19,000 there are those who are not of full age; there are women who have not got votes, and men who are not qualified to vote; yet the voters on the register bf electors of the City of London number 31,027. I think there is a large field from which it would be possible to make a selection, and to secure that the City of London shall receive adequate representation in the character and quality of the Members returned. The senior Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour) made a speech in the small hours of yesterday morning on the subject of university representation, and he argued in favour of keeping two votes for graduates. No doubt there is an anomaly in the character of the representation of university constituencies quite different in kind from anything else in the United Kingdom. I know the right hon. Gentleman is not averse to anomalies, and may think that it shows a mechanical and unimaginative spirit to object to them.However that may be, surely the degree of contrast between university representation and representation of other constituencies is far greater than the contrast which exists between the representation of the City of London and the representation of other areas. Granted that it is the most important place, granted that it is the richest place, still these, after all, are matters of degree. I do not know what Scottish Members would have to say if this privilege were granted to the City of London and no city in Scotland was entitled to have any special privilege at all. I do not invite them to say anything, al1 the more so, Sir, as you have indicated, that this particular Clause is only put down because of the peculiar character which attaches to the City of London in an overwhelming degree. It is known, of course, to the right hon. Gentleman who represents the City of London, and to those who have gone into the question of the qualifications there, that this is the problem: If you own property in the City of London apart from occupation, of course you do not vote in the city; you vote in the adjoining county. If I am not mistaken, there is a booth in the Guildhall where voters have the privilege of electing the Noble Lord the Member for the Hornsey Division of Middlesex. Does anybody think that is a fair principle? You are going to put a stop to that practice in respect of the owners of property in other towns, while it is to remain in the city. That is to be stopped in every other part of the United Kingdom, and it is to remain in the City of London, and to remain, not for the purpose of securing the return of those who represent the city, but the return of an hon. Member who is a most estimable Member of the House, but who has no right to ask that a special Clause should be inserted in the Bill to secure the votes of all the freeholders for the Hornsey Division.
That is not the case.
I thought so. My own understanding of the matter is this: At this moment if you have a man who occupies a freehold in the City of London, he has a vote in the City of London in respect of his occupation and——
That is not pertinent to this Motion as it has been dealt with.
I am sorry. Let it be assumed I made a mistake in this matter. For these reasons which I have mentioned, I suggest really the dangers which the last speaker thought might threaten the interests of the Empire, are not really involved in carrying the Bill as it stands. I do not think we shall find that those who have the right to vote in the City of London will value their right any the less because it is a right which they enjoy in the city without the additional right of voting elsewhere, and as an alternative to voting elsewhere. If it be true, as undoubtedly it is true, that from some points of view the case of the city is exceptional, and that those who vote there have exceptional opportunities and privileges, I cannot bring myself to believe that it is necessary to confer upon them as distinct from other citizens a second choice before you can be sure that they will use it to the best advantage.
The learned Gentleman (Sir J. Simon) made a very kindly reference to a slight passage of arms we had in the small hours of Thursday morning. We were then occupied in discussing the question of university seats, and I admit there are two distinctions between the Debate which then occurred and the Debate which is now going on as far as I individually am concerned. In the first place, I had no personal interest in the university question, whereas I undoubtedly have a personal interest in the question now before the House. In the second place, I am quite ready to concede to the learned Gentleman that there is a more fundamental and vital distinction between university representation and other representation than between the question of the City of London and let us say, the City of Manchester, or Liverpool, or Glasgow. That concession I make, but I think he will, on the other hand, perhaps be ready in return to make me a concession on the other side. I agree that you can conceive a series of places adjoining relatively small country towns in England or Scotland, and adjoining great manufacturing centres, huge cities like Liverpool and Glasgow, and then leading on from them to the case of the City of London. Yet, I think it would be a fallacy to say that on that account we cannot regard the City of London as differing, from the point of view of the statesman, in kind from all those other places. There are differences of degree which to a practical man amount, and ought to amount, to differences of kind, and I take it that the difference between the City of London and even the greatest of those great provincial metropolises, to which he and others have referred, though it may be quite correct to represent that difference as a difference only in degree, nevertheless, the difference is for all the purposes of sound, political argument, a difference which ought to be treated by this Committee as a difference essentially of kind.2.0 P.M. If that be granted, I think it ought to be further granted, as it must be granted, and I think has been granted, that the City of London ought to have representation in this House based, not upon its population in the technical or senseless meaning of that word, but based upon its real working population, and based not only on that, but based on the very central kind of work which that population is engaged in, and work whose ramifications extend not only over the whole of the Empire, but over the whole civilised world. If we take those things into account, I think we shall say that this House will be really well advised if it carries out. what is the precedent of our own legislation, the precedent of treating the City of London as a constituency, to be dealt with on entirely separate grounds because it occupies an entirely separate position. An anomaly in legislation which corresponds to an anomaly in fact is surely not a thing to be regretted. The thing to be regretted is treating in your legislation things as if they were the same that, in fact, are quite fundamentally and essentially different. I venture to suggest that is the danger which this Committee is now running if it rejects the Amendment which my colleague has placed upon the Paper and which he has so very ably proposed. What is the answer which I gather the Solicitor-General is prepared to give to the contention which perhaps in its broad outline he would not wholly dispute? He says every voter in the City of London so values his privilege as a voter in the city, and is so pleased with my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, and as the City of London occupies a unique position in this country, that that, of course, is not the vote which he will sacrifice, but that he will sacrifice every other one of his plural votes. I was gratified to learn that the learned Gentleman himself, in what; I may call his private capacity as a voter, and not as a spokesman of the Government, nor as a Member of this House, but as a voter in the city to return Members to this House, is so convinced of the importance of it that were he to have the opportunity he would certainly throw over all his responsibilities to other candidates for the House, and would give his vote, I almost thought he said, in favour of the present Members for the City, or, at all events, in the constituency which they represent. If I really can count upon him, and if my hon. Friend in the representation of the city can count upon him as one of our out-and-out supporters, in fair weather and in foul, then this Debate, however barren it may he in actual legislative results, will have had consequences extremely gratifying to my hon. Friend and myself.
Only if you need it.
Infoulweather—not in fair. I can assure the learned Gentleman that if the time of difficulty and crisis arises I shall not hesitate to appeal to this generous promise of assistance which he has been good enough to give us this afternoon. What is the exact value of this argument that the man with two votes, one in the city and one elsewhere, may always be counted upon to keep the city in its proper position? I do not think that that is a way of arranging your electoral system which, in the nature of the case, can keep the city in its proper position. Let me point out that there is no other constituency whose whole character simply and solely depends on the choice which the plural voter makes as to the constituency in which he will vote. If the plural voter in the City of London feels the local pressure of the place in which he resides to be so powerful that he is unable to resist it, what is the consequence? The consequence is that the City of London is wiped out of existence as a constituency representing the great financial interests of the country. It is quite true that if the plural voter takes the opposite position, the City of London remains very much where it is. But is it right that this House should pass an Act of Parliament which leaves it absolutely on the knees of the gods, a mere matter of chance, whether the City of London represents finance or whether it represents caretakers? That, in truth and verity, is exactly what this Bill does. Everyone may make his own prophecy as to what will actually happen. The learned Solicitor-General is quite clear that the second alternative is the one that will really happen. He does not doubt for a moment that the voters in the City of London will feel their responsibility to that constituency so great that it will never occur to them, with their divided responsibility, that they should give their vote elsewhere, broadly speaking, than in the city. That is his prophecy. I venture to say that we ought not to leave this as a question of prophecy to this bench or that, or to private individuals whose conjectures may be right or they may be wrong.We desire in connection with this Amendment to leave the City of London, broadly speaking, in its present position. That, too, is the view of the Government, or, at any rate, of the Solicitor-General. I had not the good fortune to hear the speech of the Minister in charge of the Bill and I am not quite sure from the account given to me of his speech whether he took exactly the same line. But on listening to the Solicitor-General it was quite clear that in his view, at all events, it would be a misfortune—I do not know that he said that it would be a national misfortune, but, on the whole, he thought it would be a misfortune—if the City of London lost its electoral position. If that so, and if that is the view on both sides, I earnestly press the Committee to accept the Amendment. It is not consistent with our dignity to say that the City of London is a constituency the representation of which for various reasons, partly dependent upon a distant past, partly dependent upon the changes and the changing circumstances of a world in which finance is a most important question—an international question in one sense, and in another sense a question vitally affecting the very existence of the nation—the Committee think should be the same as at present, but are, at the same time, prepared to leave it to chance whether it shall be maintained or not. I do not think that that is the position which we ought to take up. If hon. Gentlemen opposite think—and I gather that many of them do—that the real City of London, the working City of London, the City of London which is the financial centre of the world, ought to be represented in this House in that character, they ought so to contrive their legislation that that end would be secured. By universal admission it is not secured by this Bill as it at present stands. It entirely turns on chance—how the plural voters under the Bill exercise their right of selection as to the constituency in which they will vote. It is a pure chance, which may result as the Government think it will, but it remains undoubtedly and undeniably a mere chance whether Members who come to this House returned nominally for the City of London shall be able to get up here and speak with the authority which comes from their being representatives of that great constituency, or whether they shall come here and have to admit that, although they were fortunate enough to obtain the votes of a majority of the night residents in the City of London, the employers of that night population, those whom the world at large identifies with the constituency, did not as a matter of fact exercise their right to vote in the city where they do their work but as a matter of fact do not reside. That is the argument to which no reply has been made—at any rate, I have not heard one. If the argument be as strong as I think it is, what harm would ensue to any human being if my hon. Friend's proposed Clause were agreed to? What harm would ensue from the point of view of legislative precedent? If this were the first time that the City of London had been treated exceptionally because it is an exceptional city, you would be starting a new precedent, and you might naturally be cautious in doing so. But as a matter of fact you are violating the old precedent which does treat the City of London exceptionally, and you yourselves are starting a new precedent which says that it is to be treated exactly the same as any other constituency. Will it injure any other constituency or any individual? Does really in any important sense affect the balance of parties in this House? Is it a course of action which those who maintain speculative democratic views need resent? I understand that the Minister in charge of the Bill, earlier in the day, said that the electors in the City of London were such wealthy men that their influence, entirely irrespective of votes, was likely to be at least equal to their merits. Thai, at any rate, is the argument as given 10 me. I am not aware that the electors in the City of London consist of millionaires. I hope there are some millionaires amongst them, but if you take the great body of the actual people who carry on all the vast mass of business—banking, merchant, insurance—which centres in the City of London, they are not millionaires; they have not that colossal influence which the mere possession of huge fortunes gives. That is a complete and profound delusion. I will not detain the Committee another instant, except merely to summarise the main points which I have put before them, and which I wish them to keep in mind when they go into the Lobby. If it be common ground, as I think it is common ground, between the majority on both sides of the House, that it would be a loss to this House if London, financial London, working London, were not represented explicitly and formally in our debates, then I say you ought to frame your Bill to carry your object. You are not framing your Bill to carry out your object. You are leaving that object to be carried out by a chance decision of men who have votes in more than one constituency. I do not think it is good legislation when you can carry out your object with certainty and assurance and without hardship to anybody, to leave it to the swing of the pendulum and the movement of opinion in various outside constituencies; to the chances of local pressure and the chances of individual prejudice as to whether or not the City of London shall sink into one of the least important constituencies in the whole of the Kingdom, or whether it shall remain what it is at present, a constituency of great character and qualities, which is unique, and does not compare with any other constituency which returns Members to this House. On these grounds, I venture earnestly to suggest to the Committee to adopt my hon. Friend's Clause. If hon. Members opposite vote according to the broad lines of the policy which their own Government has laid down, there can be no doubt as to what the result will be.
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
Question put, "That the Question be now put."
Division No. 173.]
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Hancock, John George||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Adamson, William||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Murphy, Martin J.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Alden, Percy||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Hayden, John Patrick||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Hayward, Evan||Nuttall, Harry|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Hazleton, Richard||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Barnes, George N.||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Dowd, John|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George||Higham, John Sharp||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hinds, John||O'Malley, William|
|Boland, John Pius||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hodge, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Hogg, David C.||O'Shee, James John|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Hogge, James Myles||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Holt, Richard Durning||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jowett, Frederick William||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Joyce, Michael||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Keating, Matthew||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Clough, William||Kelly, Edward||Radford, George Heynes|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kilbride, Denis||Reddy, Michael|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||King, Joseph||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Crooks, William||Lardner, James C. R.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Davies, E. William (Eiflon)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Robinson, Sidney|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lundon, Thomas||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Delany, William||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rowlands, James|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Dillon, John||McGhee, Richard||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Doris, William||Macpherson, James Ian||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Duffy, William J.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Sheehy, David|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Shortt, Edward|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Smith, Albert (Lancs, Clitheroe)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Martin, Joseph||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Falconer, James||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Field, William||Meagher, Michael||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Sutherland, John E.|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Menzies, Sir Walter||Sutton, John E.|
|Ginnell, Laurence||Millar, James Duncan||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Molloy, Michael||Tennant, Harold John|
|Glanville, Harold James||Molteno, Percy Alport||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Money, L. G. Chlozza||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Mooney, John J.||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Morgan, George Hay||Wadsworth, John|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Worrell, Philip||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morison, Hector||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Muldoon, John||Wardle, George J.|
|Hackett, John||Munro, Robert||Waring, Walter|
The Committee divided: Ayes, 249; Noes, 138.
|Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Whitehouse, John Howard||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Whyte, Alexander F.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Watt, Henry A.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Webb, H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
|White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield).|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Forster, Henry William||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gardner, Ernest||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Astor, Waldorf||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington),|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gilmour, Captain John||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Barnston, Harry||Gretton, John||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Haddock, George Bahr||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Roileston, Sir John|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Harris, Henry Percy||Ronatdshay, Earl of|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Blair, Reginald||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Sandys, G. J.|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Stanier, Beville|
|Bull, Sir William James||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Hunt, Rowland||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Campion, W. R.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Cassel, Felix||Kerry, Earl of||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Cator, John||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lowe, Sir e. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droltwich)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Croft, Henry Page||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honlton)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Younger, Sir George|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Newdegate, F. A.|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Goldsmith and Mr. Joynson-Hicks.
|Fell, Arthur||Newman, John R. P.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
Question put accordingly, "That the Clause be read a second time."
Division No. 174.]
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Campion, W. R.||Duncannon, Viscount|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Cassel, Felix||Fell, Arthur|
|Astor, Waldorf||Cator, John||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Cautley, Henry Strother||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fletcher, John Samuel|
|Barnston, Harry||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Forster, Henry William|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Craig, Charles (Antrim, S.)||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Bigland, Alfred||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Blair, Reginald||Craik, Sir Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Gretton, John|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Croft, Henry Page||Guinness, Hon.W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Dairymple, Viscount||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Bull, Sir William James||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Denison-Pender, J. C.||Harris, Henry Percy|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Denniss, E. R. B.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)|
The Committee divided: Ayes, 138; Noes, 252.
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Stanler, Beville|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honlton)||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Stewart, Gershom|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Mount, William Arthur||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Newdegate, F. A.||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Newman, John R. P.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A,||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Valentia, Viscount|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Parkes, Ebenezer||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Kerry, Earl of||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Kinioch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford).|
|Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Perkins, Walter Frank||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Peto, Basil Edward||Welgall, Capt. A. G.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Rawson, Colonel Richard||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Rolleston, Sir John||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Ranaldshay, Earl of||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Rothschild, Lionel de||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Younger, Sir George|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.||Sandys, G. J.|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Balfour and Sir F. Banbury.
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Doris, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Adamson, William||Duffy, William J.||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Alden, Percy||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Joyce, Michael|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid||Keating, Matthew|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Kelly, Edward|
|Arnold, Sydney||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Kilbride, Denis|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Esslemont, George Birnie||King, Joseph|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Falconer, James||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Moiton).|
|Barnes, George N.||Ffrench, Peter||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Field, William||Lardner, James C. R.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Fitzgibbon, John||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Ginnell, Laurence||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert|
|Black, Arthur W.||Giadstone, W. G. C.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Boland, John Pius||Gianville, Harold James||Lundon, Thomas|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Goldstone, Frank||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Greig, Colonel James William||McGhee, Richard|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Bryce, John Annan||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hackett, John||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hancock, John George||M'Curdy, Charles Albert|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Martin, Joseph|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hayden, John Patrick||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hayward, Evan||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Clough, William||Hazleton, Richard||Meagher, Michael|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Henry, Sir Charles||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Cotton, William Francis||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Cowan, William Henry||Higham, John Sharp||Molloy, Michael|
|Crooks, William||Hinds, John||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Crumley, Patrick||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Cullinan, John||Hodge, John||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Hogg, David C.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hogge, James Myles||Mooney, John J.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Morgan, George Hay|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Holt, Richard Durning||Morrell, Philip|
|Dawes, J. A.||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Morison, Hector|
|De Forest, Baron||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Muldoon, John|
|Delany, William||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Munro, Robert|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Dillon, John||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murphy, Martin J.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Nolan, Joseph||Reddy, Michael||Sutton, John E.|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Wadsworth, John|
|O'Dowd, John||Robinson, Sidney||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|O'Malley, William||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Wardle, G. J.|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Waring, Walter|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Rowlands, James||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|O'Shee, James John||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|O'Sullivan, Timothy||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Outhwaite, R. L.||Scanlan, Thomas||Watt, Henry A.|
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Webb, H.|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|(Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Sheehy, David||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rothcrham)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Shorn, Edward||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Priestley, Sir Arthur Grantham||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Pringle, William M. R.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Radford, G. H.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Sutherland, John E.|
New Clauese—(Commencement Of Act)
This Act shall take effect on and after -the first day of January, nineteen hundred and sixteen.
Clause brought up, and read a first time.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
In moving the new Clause which stands in my name on the Paper, I should like to explain the reasons why I chose that particular date. It is in order to give time for this House to redress, not only this anomaly, if anomaly it be, but other and graver anomalies. I base myself on a statement made by the Prime Minister who said that the most important subject he considered in connection with this question was Redistribution, and not the franchise question. I base myself also on the question of equality as between Member and Member in this House. Various speakers in addressing the House on this and other Bills have invariably brought in the question of equality, and this is an argument which is a commonplace with hon. Members below the Gangway, who are always talking about equality and fairplay. I hope to put it to them that by adopting this Amendment they will ensure that hon. Members of this House will have some sort of equality. It will be my endeavour to show, not only what these anomalies are of which I complain, and which I hope may be altered before this Bill comes into operation, but anomalies which are far greater than those which we are dealing with at the present moment, graver to an extent hardly possible to conceive and affecting the political situation as it is today. That is a point I shall devote most of my attention to. Let me, first of all, put before the House very briefly what these anomalies are, and in doing so I shall not endeavour to deal with them all, because they are very numerous and hon. Members opposite are acquainted with most of them. It is true that by lapse of time and for other reasons——
Is it in order to discuss all the anomalies of the electoral system on this Amendment
That, of course, would be out of order, but so far as I can gather the hon. Member has no intention of doing so:
I have already said that I am not going to deal with all the anomalies, but I am going to deal with one or two of the most glaring cues. I wish to explain why I desire the date of this Bill put back to a day on which it would be possible to alter all these anomalies. I will endeavour to make my point clear to hon. Members, and show why I think there is some substance behind this proposal. I was stating that this House chiefly, by lapse of time, has practically become entirely unrepresentative of the political opinion evenly distributed throughout this country. It is now something like thirty years since the anomalies of this House were dealt with, and I am not prepared to say that the Bill of 1885 was absolutely perfect, but, at least, it did attempt to deal with anomalies which were grave before that Bill was passed. By the lapse of time it has come about that there is hardly a Member in this House who represents the political opinion of this particular portion of the country, if you base yourself, for instance——
Surely it is not in order to go into a detailed discussion of all the anomalies that exist now [An HON. MEMBER: "Leave that to the Chairman."]
So far the hon. Member is quite in order.
Is it or is it not in order for an hon. Member to discuss the composition of this House in regard to the anomalies of representation here?
It all depends upon the form in which the hon. Member puts his argument. I repeat that so far I do not think the hon. Member was out of order.
On a point of Order——
Is it the same point of Order?
Then I have already decided it.
I do not intend to deal with the whole of the anomalies, but I am going to give reasons for my proposal, and I cannot put down a proposition of this kind without giving some reasons for it. One of the reasons is that this house has become, through lapse of time, totally unrepresentative of the opinion of this country which is evenly divided over the whole country. It is perfectly true that some years ago we decided to deal with this question of making the House of Commons more representative, and it was a mere accident that that did not come off. That, however, does not make the question any the less urgent, and if some of these anomalies were urgent eight years ago there are now eight more good reasons why they should be dealt with now, instead of dealing with one of them from which the Government hope to reap an advantage. Let me give to the House one or two grave instances of anomalies. If I give one or two of the greater ones—and the greater ones contain the less—I shall not be under the necessity of dealing with the smaller ones. Take the boroughs as represented in England. There are 237 boroughs in England and Wales, and it will probably be a matter of some surprise to hon. Members to learn that so unrepresentative has this House become that there are only seven of those boroughs which come within 500 of the average electorate for the whole of the country. That is an anomaly which is far greater than that of a man having the power to vote twice. There are only thirteen counties in England that come up to this standard of true representation, there is only one in Ireland, one in Scotland—and that is a university—and I think I am safe in saying that there is not a single constituency in Wales which comes within the average. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cardiff."]
The hon. Member is speaking of counties.
It is the case that hon. Members are returned by constituencies in the counties absolutely without any relation to political equality, and they exercise in this House more or less power, as the case may be, than they would under a system of true representation.
I understand that the point of the hon. Member is that the anomaly which is sought to be remedied by this Bill is not the only anomaly. He has laid before the Committee one or two examples by way of illustration of other anomalies. I would ask him not to proceed further with that, as it would obviously be out of order to go into the detail of the anomalies which he has already illustrated.
The argument which you have imagined is my argument is not the same as that which I was trying to put before the Committee My argument is not that there are other anomalies, but that there are other anomalies considerably greater than that with which we are dealing, and I am trying to put arguments which would justify hon. Members voting with me—not that the Bill shall be rejected, but that it shall be postponed.
That would be a very proper argument to submit on the Second or Third Reading of the Bill, but I cannot allow the hon. and gallant Member to go into it in further detail in Committee on this specific proposal with which we are now dealing.
I have put down a new Clause to postpone the Bill to 1916. It. is not sufficient for me to say, "I propose that this Bill shall be postponed." I must put some arguments before the Committee to justify the Amendment. I think that I am entitled to show, unless hon. Members accept the fact, that these anomalies are sufficient to justify me in having put down this Clause to postpone the Bill. It is not quite a Committee point; it is, I submits rather greater.
The argument, if allowed to be developed would simply lead to a Second or Third Reading Debate. I have already allowed the hon.-Member to make his point that there are other anomalies, and to give three or four illustrations of those anomalies. I must now ask him to pass from that and take up some other point.
Naturally, I do not want to come into conflict with the Chair, and I shall pass from that point, though I am sorry I shall not be able to show exactly how the seats vary in the different counties. I must, however, beg to be allowed to make one point, because it is really the substance of my new Clause, which is not to reject the Bill, but merely to postpone it. It is impossible, through the Government's own fault, to discuss any Bill in this Parliament without realising that it hangs on every other major measure which they have brought before the House. You cannot discuss the general political situation without realising that if one of the major Bills of the Government fails, they all fail. These Bills depend, to a great extent, if not entirely, for support on an anomaly which is considerably greater and more reprehensible than anything this Bill pretends to remedy. Right hon. Gentlement opposite claim that the opinion of Ulster is in favour of them on the Home Rule Bill, but it is clear that every seat in Unionist Ulster has over 2,000 more electors than every seat supporting the Government. The Government claim the support of Ulster purely by votes in the Lobby, and absolutely ignore the greater anomaly which is going to bring them into great trouble afterwards.
Is it in order to discuss the distribution of seats in Ulster on a measure to impose a penalty on any elector who votes in more than one constituency?
I do not think that the hon. Member was in the House when a point of a similar character was raised. I will allow the hon. and gallant Member to develop his argument until I can see a little more clearly the relevancy of it, though I must warn him that at present he is giving me some doubts in the matter.
I think that those doubts arise partly from my Parliamentary inability to marshal the arguments I wish to put before the House. For the benefit of the hon. Member who has just interrupted I may explain that I am trying to develop my argument in regard to these anomalies, not merely in order to discuss the grievance as between Ulster and other parts of the Kingdom, but to show a reason for opposing this Bill, seeing that these anomalies give the Government an artificial support for their measures—a support which is not justified by public opinion in the country.
I quite understand the hon. and gallant Gentleman's point, and no doubt his argument would be in order on either of the three Bills to which he has referred jointly, but we are not discussing those Bills.
I am not going to discuss the anomalies of the Bill. I do not discuss, in this House as a rule, the merits of any Government Bill. What I do is to discuss the support given to a Bill, and that is an entirely different mitten I say nothing as to the merits of the Home Rule Bill, the Welsh Church Bill, or the Plural Voting Bill, and the sole object of my proposal is to postpone the coming into force of this particular Bill. I do not say in the Instruction that we do not want such a Bill, but I do submit I have shown good grounds why the. Bill should not come into operation before 1916. When we are told that Ulster is in favour of it owing to the number of seats in that province held by supporters of the Government, I reply that that number is due solely to the anomalous condition of the representation, and does not really represent the state of opinion in Ulster. Now I come to the Welsh Bill. I am not going to deal with that as a Bill. I wish to refer to the support which the Govern- ment claim that they have for that Bill by reason of the fact that twenty-seven out of the thirty Welsh Members sit on the benches behind them. Do hon. Members from Wales, however, realise that 40 per cent. of the electors of Wales are supporters of the Unionist party? This is another instance in which artificial support is created for a, Bill in this House and is quoted as justification for the measure, whereas, in the Principality itself, there is really no such justification. There is another anomaly to which attention was once called by a most conspicuous ornament on the Government Bench—I mean the First Lord of the Admiralty. Ten years ago the right hon. Gentleman, in a speech he delivered to a great demonstration in Blenheim Park, said the one thing that wanted dealing with was the representation of Ireland in the Commons House of Parliament, and what was necessary was to put every Member of the House on an equality. I submit I am entitled to draw attention to the inequality under which Members suffer in this respect.
I think the hon. and gallant Member has already sufficiently elaborated that argument, and any further reference to it will be out of order.
It seems to me that every time one wishes to discuss a grievous anomaly in this House it is ruled not to be in order. I hope, however, that on the Third Reading of the Home Rule Bill I shall be in order in discussing the question of Irish representation, and that on the Third Reading of the Welsh Church Bill I shall be allowed to discuss the question of Welsh representation. I submit it is time that the House dealt with these anomalies, which are admitted on all sides to exist. I have put down a Clause providing that the Plural Voting Bill shall come into operation on the 1st January, 1916, and obviously the reason is that under the Parliament Act, if this Parliament, as it can do, goes on until December, 1915, there will between now and then be ample time to deal with these questions—to deal with them in a spirit of equality as between man and man in this House. Of course, I do not for one minute say this Parliament is going to last until the end of 1915. But I have never kept back my view how these things should be remedied, and the only possible way left open to me now is to submit this Clause postponing the coming into operation of this Bill. It is very difficult to give adequate reasons for such a Clause without being able to more than hint at the fact that there are other anomalies as grave. But I do think I shall be in order if I put the case in this way: The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education, in introducing a Plural Voting Bill on another occasion, announced that it was the intention of the Government to deal with all the anomalies to which I have been drawing attention. That is the expressed intention of the Government, and I am perfectly certain it is also the intention of the right hon. Gentleman himself. In his good faith we all agree. But when I challenged him, as he will remember, on this particular Plural Voting Bill to put that intention into the Bill he met me with a direct negative. On other occasions I have challenged the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. Harold Baker) on the same point. I have asked him to put that intention into the Bill as an additional Clause, and I have always been told, in reply, that, although it is the intention of the Government to deal with this question, they are unable to put that intention in black and white, and it is because the Government are so shy about putting it in black and white, about inserting a, Clause providing that all these other anomalies shall be dealt with before this Bill comes into operation, that I have been obliged to submit this new Clause postponing the operation of the Bill.Why cannot the Government accept this Clause? They tell us they mean to deal with Redistribution. We have been informed not only by the right hon. Gentleman but by the Prime Minister that they consider Redistribution to be part of this question; why is it therefore necessary to adopt this roundabout way of dealing with the difficulty? The views of the Government on this question are to me quite inexplicable, because if it is their intention to deal with this matter surely it is open to them to adopt a course which would save all sorts of misunderstandings. Let them tell us why they cannot openly express their intentions in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has expressed his -intention of dealing with the matter, and I should like him to accept this Clause in order to save himself trouble and make the situation quite easy for himself. The floor of this House is paved with good intentions. We had good intentions expressed by the right hon. Gentleman at 4 a.m. the other morning, when he intended to report Progress, but was stopped from carrying out his intention by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir Henry Dalziel).
:I do not see any relevancy in that.
The right hon. Gentleman has expressed the intention of the Government, and his own intention to deal with anomalies by way of Redistribution. I do not for one moment believe that that is not the right hon. Gentleman's intention, but I say that circumstances may be too strong for him, and by way of illustration I brought in the fact that the other night at that box the right hon. Gentleman expressed his intention of moving to report Progress.
If that line of argument were allowed, we might go into the whole of the right hon. Gentleman's career. That is clearly not in order.
By accepting this Clause the right hon. Gentleman will save himself an infinity of trouble, for once the Clause is accepted the occupation of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs and of the hon. Member who sits beside him of keeping the Government up to the mark will be gone. Although it is not a strong line of argument, it is a reason why the right hon. Gentleman should accept the Clause. I do not base my argument for this postponement chiefly upon that. The real argument for the Clause is—everybody knows it, the Leader of the Labour party knows it as well as I do, and, professing democratic principles, must feel the force of it—that this Bill is only one and a very small part of the grave anomalies which have grown up in this House. I therefore appeal with confidence not only to hon. Members opposite, but to the Leader of the Labour party, who often takes an independent line, and to his party to support me in pressing upon the Government the desirability of accepting this Clause. If he and the Committee accept it, we shall have an opportunity of clearing off the great question of the unrepresentative character of this House. Nobody who studies the political position can doubt for one moment that before next summer the Government will not be in a position to deal with any particular Bill, but will have to deal with disturbances outside, and also put their own house in order.
That is not in order.
I find it very difficult to keep in order.
But for the hon. Member's special knowledge of this subject, I do not think anyone else would have survived so long.
I am glad to have the opportunity of putting my special knowledge before the Committee. My point, put shortly, is that we are simply dealing with the minutest fraction of the anomalies in this House. We are spending time upon this Bill when a most influential Member of the Cabinet has said that it has no ghost of a chance of ever passing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who said that?"] The First Lord of the Admiralty. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] I have paraphrased his words. Let us pass the Bill as we may, let it go to the other House and come under the Parliament Act if you like, but let us pass this Clause, providing that it shall not come into operation until 1916, by which time this House will have had an opportunity of dealing with the gross and scandalous over-representation of Ireland in this House, and all the other anomalies which vitally affect the position of every Bill in this House, and, I believe, will vitally effect the position of His Majesty's Government, and very likely the position of this country.
I think the hon. and gallant Member will allow me to say that I can appreciate the difficulty in which he found himself to be when he sought to bring this new Clause within the ambit of discussion on the Committee stage of this Bill. On the 30th April of this year a Motion was made for the Second Reading of this Bill. Upon that occasion it would have been open to the Opposition to meet the Motion with a direct negative, or to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. If either of those Motions had been made and defeated, we could have claimed that the House of Commons had asserted its belief in the principle of this Bill. But that is not what occurred. What occurred was that the right hon. and learned Member for the Walton Division (Mr. F. E. Smith) moved, on behalf of the Opposition.
That is the Motion upon which, on the Second Reading of the Bill, the House divided, and I think I may claim that the House on the occasion of the Second Reading decided that it was prepared to deal in a businesslike manner with one anomaly at the time, and not to refuse to correct any anomalies until the happy day dawned when they could correct them altogether. On that occasion, the proper occasion, the hon. and gallant Gentleman used that great collection of special knowledge of his, and argued his case fully, and nearly all the contentions which he has sought to put forward to-day were answered, as we think conclusively, by the speakers on this side of the House. We admitted the case for Redistribution, but our case then was that plural voting was in itself in our opinion an injustice, that an opportunity for righting that injustice had occurred, and that no hon. Member opposite would find any opposition on this side of the House when the proper opportunity came for redressing the other anomalies—in fact, we should be glad to co-operate in redressing them as the opportunity came. The House has already decided that it is right and just that we should take these injustices with which we are now dealing, pass this Bill as it is, and welcome its coming into force at the earliest possible opportunity.That this House is not prepared to accept a Bill which professes to remove one only of the anomalies affecting electoral law."
An incident of some importance in connection with this Amendment has not yet been mentioned. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Montagu) has referred to the Second Reading Debate and to the Motion which was moved by my right hon. Friend (Mr. F. E. Smith), and he has based his objection to the Amendment upon the ground that that Motion dealt with this subject, and suggested that the other and greater anomaly should first be dealt with before this particular matter of plural voting was legislated upon. He claimed that that matter was then decided, and that that ought to be taken as the decision of the House. So far I think the Committee will be with him. But he omitted a most important consideration in bringing forward that argument, and he omitted to state on what ground that decision was given, and what were the pledges given from that bench to induce the House to come to that decision. I do not think he could possibly have read the speech of the right. hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. A. Pease). That decision was come to for one main reason. The one important point in the right hon. Gentleman's speech was that these other anomalies would be removed before a General Election. That is the whole point. They have admitted that there are other and greater anomalies than this one, and I am entitled to take that as a settled matter. After enumerating these anomalies, the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to say:—
A plainer or more definite statement of intention than that it would be impossible to give. What fairer or more reasonable proposition could possibly be put? It simply says that the Government have given, in so many words, a definite and distinct pledge that they will deal with: all these admitted greater anomalies before a General Election, and that was the main ground upon which the Government induced the House to accept the-Second Reading. The House having accepted the Second Reading on the face of that pledge, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Montagu) actually gets up and uses that decision as a ground for objecting to this. Amendment, which merely confirms the Government pledge and says if that pledge is not carried out this Bill will not come into operation until 1916. I cannot understand how it is possible for any right hon. Gentleman, in face of the pledge which was then given, to resist the Amendment."There is this and there is that. There is the question of the extension of hours, and so I might go on. All these matters are matters which the Government really regard as of importance. It is their intention to deal with those subjects in a Bill before the next General Election."
That is not the Amendment.
That is the effect of the Amendment. We give the Government the utmost possible time. We give them the extreme rope which they have allowed themselves, and the uttermost moment of the Parliament Act which can be extended to them is 15th December. On that ground my hon. and gallant Friend' stated that he had put down 1st January, 1916, as the date when this Act should come into operation. If the right hon. Gentleman did not understand it, it wilt be necessary to make the point clear again. The sole object of the Amendment was that the Government should have the fullest opportunity and that the fullest time should be given them within which to redeem the definite pledge which they gave the House on the Second Reading, but giving them that fullest time, if they do not fulfil that pledge, the decision which the House came to in consequence of the pledge would naturally not hold good, and consequently the Government would naturally not obtain the benefit of their Plural Voting Bill. It is not an unreasonable item in any bargain which is made between parties where a certain decision is asked for and a certain pledge is given to justify the request. The other party says, "All right, we will agree to that decision, but subject to your pledge being carried out;" and that is all we ask for, and that is all that the Amendment does. It does absolutely nothing but give the Government the fullest opportunity of carrying out that definite pledge. I do not know whether the Under-Secretary for India had this pledge in his mind when he made his speech just now. I do not think he could have used that argument if he had had it in his mind. Perhaps he or the Solicitor-General will justify to the House how it is possible to resist the Amendment, and at the same time to give the House and the country the benefit of the pledge which was made on behalf of the Government by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. A. Pease). May I also point out that this is not such a very serious matter to the Government from their point of view. I presume they desire this Bill to be assented to in another place, and it must be obvious to the Government that they should make the provisions of the Bill and the conditions under which it passes through the legislature fair and reasonable, and as much in accordance as possible with the pledges given to this House. I think I am correct in saying that under the Parliament Act, 30th April or 1st May, 1915—I am not sure which day—is the earliest day upon which this Bill can come into operation. [An HON. MEMBER: "30th June."] I am glad my hon. Friend corrects me. There is a moratorium of one month when the Bill does not become law, and therefore I have even understated the case. It will be the end of June, 1915, before this Bill can come into effective operation. All that this new Clause does is to postpone the Bill for six months beyond that date, assuming that the Parliament Act is brought into operation.Does it not occur to the Government that if they want to see this Bill removed from the very unfortunate conditions of the Parliament Act, it would be wise and politic on their part to accept the Amendment, so that when the Bill goes to the other House it will be clearly stated that it is not to come into operation until 1st January, 1916. In the meantime the pledges of the Government could be fulfilled before the Bill came into operation. Under these circumstances, it is extremely possible that the other House might proceed to pass it. I have no knowledge of the view they might take in any shape or form, but it seems to me that the definite pledges given by the Government are pledges not only to this House, but to the other House as well, and it is of importance from the point of view of every one considering this legislation, that these facts should be taken into consideration, and that the definite date, 1st January, 1916, should be fixed in the Bill by the new Clause. That date follows immediately the last date upon which this Parliament can continue in existence, and it is within six months of the date fixed for the compulsory passing of the Bill under the Parliament Act. I feel perfectly certain that the Government will be wise in taking that course. I am sure they desire to give the fullest effect to the pledges given to this House. The reasons against the new Clause were stated, I must say, courteously and ably, but in a somewhat perfunctory and sketchy manner, by the Under-Secretary of State for India. He treated the matter as if it was one of very slight importance. I have tried to show that the matter is very much more important than he appeared to consider. When the matters to which I have called attention have been taken into consideration I hope the hon. Gentleman will be able later on in this Debate to give a further reply, in which the Government will be able to justify the pledges they have given.
My hon. and gallant Friend (Major Morrison-Bell) said to the Committee quite frankly that he moved the new Clause in order that before the Bill becomes law the Govern-may have an opportunity of carrying out the other part of their policy of electoral reform which they have announced in public on more than one occasion. I hope that before the Debate on this Clause closes we shall have from the Solicitor-General some further expression of opinion as to the pledge which has been given on behalf of the Government with regard to their intentions. That pledge was given on an earlier occasion in the Debates on this Bill. All I wish to say on that aspect of the case is this: In bringing forward a measure to carry out the other half of their reform policy the Government would be conforming strictly to precedent. It is strictly in accordance with precedent that the reform of the franchise should not be brought into operation unless the question of the redistribution of seats is also dealt with. I would remind hon Members that in the passing of the three great reform Bills of last century the line pursued by Parliament was such as to justify my suggestion. In the Reform Bill of 1832 you had provisions for the reform of the franchise and for the redistribution of seats in the same Bill. In the Reform Bill of 1867 you had the reform of the franchise and the redistribution of seats again in the same Bill. In 1884, it is true, that the Reform Bill only dealt with the question of the franchise, but I would recall to the memory of the Committee that before that Bill had a chance of coming into operation a measure of Redistribution was brought forward in the beginning of December, 1884, and passed through this House. On more than one occasion it has been said by statesmen of the greatest eminence that really the questions of Franchise and Redistribution are indissolubly connected. Mr. Bright, so far back as 1859, said:—
It do not wish to say anything further on that point. On 26th January, 1902, the Prime Minister said:—Repudiate without mercy any Bill that any Government may introduce. whatever its seeming concessions may be, if it does not redistribute the seats … The question of Redistribution is the soul of the question of reform."
That was said ten years ago, and it is a very good reason why this new Clause should be accepted. Another reason is this: There has been quite an opinion when this Bill was going through Committee that the offences which are to be created by it, although one might think at first sight they are very plain, are in reality somewhat complicated. It was very obscure during parts of the Debate in Committee as to whether or not a particular action would or would not be an offence. I see an hon. Gentleman present who took a strong view as to the effect of the first Clause on the creation of an offence, and the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the measure, when appealed to as to whether we who took one view or the hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire who took another were correct, was constrained to admit that we were correct and that his hon. Friend and supporter was wrong. If hon. Members of this House who are following the proceedings with attention and watching every line of the Bill are in doubt as to whether or not a particular action is or is not an offence under this Bill, how much more in doubt on that point is the ordinary man outside! If only on the ground that time ought to be offered to the persons outside affected by the Bill to appreciate the full effect of the offences which it creates, the Amendment of my hon. Friend should be supported. It is specially important that no one should be able to say that he committed an offence under this Bill through ignorance. It is very undesirable that things should be allowed to go on in one part of the country which are not allowed in another. If, on the other hand, you take the view that the penalties ought not to be rigorously inflicted, they are penalties which I think are savage and vindictive, and they are penalties which you should not lightly risk imposing. There is a third reason which I may dismiss in a word, though it is the most important of all. This Amendment will give the country an opportunity of pronouncing on the Government and all its works, including this Bill. It has always been the theory of the Government that legislation carried in this House should have the full assent of the country, and I believe that the Government has not the assent of the country in regard to this or any other of their measures, and therefore I support the Amendment of my hon. Friend.I think we are all agreed that the existing state of our representation as regards distribution is anomalous and indefensible, and calls for speedy remedy."
I would ask the Committee to consider whether this is an honest or a dishonest Amendment. If hon. Members are anxious to see Redistribution following at the same time that plural voting is abolished they know perfectly well that they have only to go to the Government and make a bargain towards that end being accomplished. My Constituency is entitled to two Members. I want to see Redistribution which is far more pressing in the county which I have the honour to represent; but let the Committee remember that the House has time after time decided in favour of the principle of the abolition of plural voting, and that it has only been by the action of the House of Lords that this measure has not been carried. If hon. Members were really honest and this Amendment were really an honest Amendment——
I think that the hon. Gentleman will consider that I put this Amendment down perfectly honestly, and I hope that he considers that I put this Amendment down with the absolutely honest intention of dealing with the whole question together, and not merely with the little bit that suits the Government.
I am sure that nobody can be more honest and sincere in his convictions on this particular question than my hon. Friend who has made a special study of it, but I say that Members of this House may be honest individually, yet When they act collectively honesty goes by the board. This Amendment is a dishonest Amendment. If the party opposite are sincere in the desire to abolish plural voting and they want to have Redistribution of seats at the same time, they have only got to go to the Government and say so, and the necessary arrangements could be made, so that by 1st January, 1915, it would be perfectly possible to have a Redistribution of seats. But hon. Members have no intention of agreeing to anything of the sort. They do not want the abolition of plural voters simultaneously with the passing of a Redistribution Bill, which would be perfectly easy if they were honest in their intention.
We on this side of the House have some reason to complain that to the arguments that have been presented no reply whatsoever has been received. I hardly think, with all due reference to the Under-Secretary, that he has really read the promises and statements of intention which have been made by the President of the Board of Education during the First or Second Reading of the Bill. The hon. Member who spoke last asked whether this was an honest or dishonest Amendment, and said that if it was an honest Amendment we should go to the Government and say, "Produce your Redistribution Bill. It will be got through quickly, and, therefore, both these measures, which are so desirable, will be carried into law without delay." Was there ever a more preposterous theory of legislation under our present Parliamentary system? The hon. Member, by inference, admits himself that the Government are not justified in introducing this Bill in priority to a Redistribution Bill. Then he says that if we on this side are to be justified we are to go to the Government and say, "Let us alter the course of your legislation for you, let us take your responsibility upon our shoulders, and let you introduce a Redistribution Bill and we will support it." If there is any real responsibility upon the Government, whatever it is, they should themselves produce measures and take the full responsibility for the priority which they give to any of them. There are two ether points which I wish to submit to the Under-Secretary of State for India, if he is representing the President of the Board of Education on this Bill, and to which I desire some answer. In the first place, priority was claimed for this measure by the President of the Board of Education on the ground that it would enable the Government to perceive how the electorate was distributed before a Redistribution Bill was brought in. That was the ground on which he claimed priority for this Franchise Bill, namely, that it would facilitate a measure of Redistribution afterwards. But this Bill which you have brought in does not facilitate Redistribution afterwards. It will not afford information of any sort as to how votes will be distributed so as to make Redistribution easier. One of the main arguments therefore which the President of the Board of Education adduced for -priority of this measure is completely falsified by the nature of the Bill which he has brought in. The other point to which I refer is one on which we, on this side, deserve a more intelligible answer than that which we have hitherto received. In his opening speech on the Bill the President of the Board of Education made these remarks:—
That was the question which the right hon. Gentleman put in the mouth of the Opposition, and here is his answer to it:"The question, therefore, I presume that they, the Opposition, would like to put to me is this: 'Why introduce legislation merely to help one party in the State from an electoral standpoint, and defer registration, electoral reform, and Reconstitution of the House of Lords, and Redistribution—subjects on which there might be a greater consensus of opinion in all quarters of the House?
That was a statement of intention, which. I suppose, might quite well be regarded as a debt of honour. All we say is that if we-put that question, we are entitled to have the answer translated from being a debt of honour to a debt which is recoverable at law. If there was any sincerity in the statement of the President of the Board of Education at all, a measure of Redistribution should be passed to come into operation at the same time as a measure of this kind Unless we have some more satisfactory reply from the Under-Secretary of State in regard to that definite statement of intention by the President of the Board of Education, I think we have good ground for pressing this Amendment.My reply to any such question would be that during the lifetime of the present Parliament we intend to proceed with those reforms.
The hon. Gentleman who supports this Amendment has said, as have other speakers on that side of the House, that he would be quite satisfied if this Bill contained a condition that it is not to become law until a Redistribution proposal also becomes law.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is mistaken. I never made any statement of that kind. The statement was one which I quoted as having been made by the President of the Board of Education, announcing the intention of the Government on the subject of electoral reform. I have not said anything with regard to myself, and have merely asked that the Government should act up to their own statements.
I was making an entirely un provocative remark, and I did not intend to be provocative. I would point out to the hon. Gentleman that I have been here during the whole of this Debate, and in what I said I was referring not so much to what he said as to what was said by other hon. Gentlemen who have taken part in the discussion, and who suggested that this Clause should be accepted, because it would secure that Redistribution proposals would come into effect at the same time, and not later than this Bill when it becomes law. I began that way because I did not wish to be provocative, for I do not understand, nor do I take any particular interest in that particular kind of electoral controversy which consists of accusing people without any justification of breaking their word. When hon. Gentlemen opposite suggest that this Bill could only become tolerable to them if It contained the condition that it should not become law until Redistribution was brought forward, do they see what it is they are really suggesting? They are suggesting to us that it should be in the power of the Conservative party to prevent plural voting from being abolished. Let me remind hon. Gentlemen opposite, 'who do not seem to me always to have in mind the history of this matter, what the history of it is. In 1906 the first thing which Parliament did, was to endeavour to carry into law a Bill to abolish plural voting. It was the opinion of the mass of the electors of this country that one man one vote was a desirable thing, and whatever may be said about other topics, nobody can suggest that the greatest frankness was not displayed by those who supported the proposal. When it was first introduced in 1906 the Bill was debated line by line in this House, and it then went to the House of Lords. Owing to the overwhelming authority which the Conservative party was able to exert in the House of Lords, it was rejected there in the course of a few hours. But since then there has been a good deal of political history, and we have at any rate secured the Parliament Act, by which we will see that this Bill becomes law, even though a Liberal Bill. If hon. Gentlemen do not like it in the year in which it is first passed by this House, it at any rate will become law two years afterwards. The hon. Gentleman and his Friends blandly say, "Why do you not put in the Bill a provision that it shall not become law until the House of Lords assent to Redistribution proposals?" I note that the hon. Gentleman who spoke earlier in the Debate is already in a position to tell us that the House of Lords will reject this Bill. What was in his mind, I suppose, was that this Bill, under present circumstances, could not become law until the middle of 1915.
I merely assumed the hypothesis of the Parliament Act and no other reason.
Here is a Bill which, in the ordinary course of events, should become law during the present Session. If it is going to become law in the present Session, where is the breach of honour, because the President of the Board of Education said it is the intention of the Government to propose other electoral reforms in the life of the present Parliament? Where is the breach of honour? There is nothing of the sort unless you proceed on the assumption which consciously or unconsciously you do proceed upon, that, thanks to the influence of the Conservative party on the House of Lords, the Parliament Act will be necessary. I come to the observation which was made by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last. He is so good as to talk about breach of faith and all the rest of it. That language is very high language. I confess I think it would be more effective if it was reserved for an occasion when it might be conceived that it would be merited. What is the situation here? The President of the Board of Education at no stage and in no speech has ever given any such pledge. What he did say was that it was the intention of the Government to make these proposals, but to pledge the Government that those proposals would pass into law would involve an undertaking as to what the House of Lords would do without any of the restraint of the Parliament Act, which it is not very likely the President of the Board of Education would give. In the very speech to which the hon. Gentleman referred and in the very next sentence of the Minister of Education and which, unfortunately, the hon. Gentleman did not quote, the intention I have just expressed is contained, and in which he said that he gave no pledge because, of course, it was impossible, and always must be impossible, for us to give such a paldge.He went on to say if those intentions for any reason fail to be realised, at any rate the abolition of the evil of plural voting, as we believe it to be, does not aggravate or intensify any other anomaly that you may have to complain of. Other anomalies no doubt there are. I have a constituency which requires the abolition of plural voting to be applied and also Redistribution to be applied. The plural voter is not found in the small constituency; he is found in the big constituency. Wimbledon, Romford, Walthamstow, and the City of London are not small constituencies, but big constituencies, and if you have two anomalies, both of them admitted to exist but which, at any rate, have not got this character that as long as they exist together one tends to correct the other, there is no reason or common sense why you should not correct one of them before you correct the other. The suggestion which is made so cheerfully by hon. Gentlemen opposite that there is any breach of honour or of a representation or understanding, is a suggestion which is quite without foundation, and which, I confess, I a little resent. What it is fair to say is that the Government have made a declaration as to the intentions which they have, but you are not at liberty to say that the Government have given a pledge that they will not do one thing without the other, for that is the very thing they are doing. On the assumption which the hon. and gallant Gentleman invites me to make, that so far as he is aware there is no application of the Parliament Act necessary for this measure, and that it will pass, as Conservative measures usually do, in the course of a Session, I say it is high time that the plural voter was abolished and that there is no justification at all for this Amendment.
I had not the advantage of hearing anything but the end of the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but what I did hear seems to me quite sufficient to explain the rest of his speech. The right hon. Gentleman was dealing with a consideration in regard to this Bill with which we are all familiar. All on the bench opposite have admitted that this touches a comparatively small part of the evils of our electoral law, and more than once, not only the Minister for Education, but every other Minister who has spoken on this subject, has told us that it, is their intention to deal with the other anomalies as they consider them to be. If that is their intention, I put to the right hon. and learned Gentleman this question: If they fail to carry out that intention, what harm is there in postponing the dealing with this particular anomaly until they are able to deal with the whole of the anomalies admitted by their own side?
"If they fail to carry out their intention"—you mean if they fail to carry a Redistribution Bill into law. The House of Lords could prevent us carrying it into law.
Can they? Then why can they not prevent you carrying this. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Parliament Act."] Why not deal with the others in the same way?
That requires some answer. Does the right hon. Gentleman represent, if we introduce Redistribution proposals in this Session that he will facilitate the passing of both these Bills this year?
I can certainly promise we shall facilitate the passing of Redistribution quite as much as we shall facilitate the passing of this Bill. But, really, what does the right hon. Gentleman mean? What he is doing does not depend, I presume on us, it depends on what they themselves think to be right. If therefore they think it right to deal fairly with our whole electoral system, why do they not adopt the same methods with the other part as they chose with regard to this part. The real point which I wish to put before the Committee, and for the sake of putting which rose, is this: The right hon. Gentleman says this anomaly stands by itself, that it will not be affected in any other way by any of the other anomalies. I utterly deny that. I claim that Redistribution from our point of view, the need of it, represents a greater evil than the one with which he is now dealing. I claim, further, in remedying this particular evil, they are leaving unredressed an evil, which is made worse by the measure which they are now carrying. Surely that must be true. Take the position in Scotland. At this moment we have 40 per cent. or thereabouts of the total electorate, while we return only seven or eight Members. We have been told that the plural voter is a great evil in Scotland.
We represent the biggest constituencies.
I am giving the total vote.
I really do not think I should be right in allowing the merits of Redistribution to be raised here. I think that point already arose about an hour ago, and this is not a proposal in order to argue the merits of Redistribution.
I had no intention of dwelling on the matter, but I think you will on consideration agree that as the right hon. and learned Gentleman has claimed that this anomaly does not affect any other, If I am going to reply, I must be allowed at all events a few sentences to deal with it. We return seven or eight Members in Scotland. Hon. Members opposite claim plural voting to be a great evil in Scotland. We obviously do not get our share of the representation now. If this Bill becomes law we will get a smaller show, and obviously the passing of the Bill will make the other anomaly greater than it is. But what is the use of arguing the matter. The Prime Minister himself, in speaking on the General Franchise Bill, made this admission. He said that there are anomalies which tell against that party and anomalies which tell against this party, and among the anomalies which tell against this party was this particular one. He gives up the Bill with which he was dealing, and by the strangest of strange coincidences the only anomaly with which he deals is the only one which, on his own admission, is to the advantage of the party to which he belongs.
We object to this Bill not because we object to doing away with the anomaly of plural voting, but because we object to doing away with this anomaly, and at the same time leaving other anomalies untouched. It is not a case of this House having determined to do that which is just and right in forcing through this Bill unaccompanied by Redistribution. The House has done nothing of the kind. The majority of this House thought that they would gain a party advantage by it, and, thinking that, they passed the Second Reading of this Bill. What we object to most of all is that Ministers should make statements in the House and in the country as to their intention, and then oppose this Amendment which is directed towards enabling them to give effect to what they have said is their intention. The Solicitor-General purported to quote from a speech of the President of the Board of Education. I think he quoted from memory; I have now the words before me. The right hon. Gentleman said:—
That is the intention of the Government according to the President of the Board of Education. Just before that he stated that if any unforeseen circumstances did occur and this Bill were passed into law unaccompanied by Redistribution certain results would follow. Surely, that is a distinct statement by a Minister that it was the intention of the Government before the next General Election to introduce a Redistribution Bill. That is all we are asking them to do. This Amendment is simply to give the Government an opportunity of redeeming that pledge. But they do not want that. They want to force this measure through and then come to the General Election without Redistribution and with the advantage which such a course gives them. But it does not remain there. Not very long ago the Secretary for War went through a by-election. He then announced over and over again, and placarded the constituency with the words, "One man, one vote; one vote, one value." What did that mean? That was the policy he was advocating. That was what he said the Government intended to do. But they are now opposing this Amend- ment which is necessary to be accepted if the Government really intend to carry out the pledges they have given to the House and the announcement of intentions which they have made to the country. It is really extraordinary that the Government should oppose an Amendment which merely postpones the operation of this Bill to a date which is necessary if they really intend to redeem the pledges they have given. If those pledges were merely given to allay the minds of people who were interested in the subject, and to make them believe that there was an intention on the part of the Government which the Government"I hope the House will accept my word when I say it is our intention, before the General Election, to introduce a measure of this kind to deal with franchise reform. We intend to deal with that, and we also intend to deal with Redistribution upon a basis which I believe will command the general assent of the whole country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th April, 1913, col. 1238, Vol. LII.]
Division No. 175.]
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Kelly, Edward|
|Adamson, William||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Esmonds, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||King, Joseph|
|Alden, Percy||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lambert, Richard (Wilts. Cricklade)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Falconer, James||Lardner, James C. R.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Ffrench, Peter||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Asquih, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Field, William||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Fitzgibbon, John||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert|
|Barnes, George N.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Ginnell, Laurence||Lundon, Thomas|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Glanville, H. J.||Lynch, A. A.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Goldstone, Frank||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||McGhee, Richard|
|Black, Arthur W.||Greig, Col. J. W.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Boland, John Pius||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Hackett, John||M'Curdy, C. A.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Hancock, J. G.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Martin, Joseph|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hayden, John Patrick||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Hayward, Evan||Meagher, Michael|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Hazleton, Richard||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Median, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Mcnzies, Sir Walter|
|Clough, William||Henry, Sir Charles||Millar, James Duncan|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Molloy, Michael|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Higham, John Sharp||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hinds, John||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hodge, John||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Crooks, William||Hogg, David C.||Mooney, John J.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Hogge, J. M.||Morgan, George Hay|
|Cullinan, John||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Morrell, Philip|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Holt, Richard Durning||Morison, Hector|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipsw'ch)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Muldoon, John|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Hudson, Walter||Munro, Robert|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|De Forest, Baron||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Murphy, Martin J.|
|Delany, William||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Dillon, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Doris, William||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Duffy, William J.||Joyce, Michael||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Keating, Matthew||O'Doherty, Philip|
never intended to fulfil, I could understand it. But if the Government really intended the pledges to be understood by this House and by the country in the only way in which they could be understood, and if they are going to give effect to those pledges, it is absolutely necessary that they should accept this Amendment.
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
Question put, "That the Question be now put."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 252; Noes, 143.
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|O'Dowd, John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Thorns, William (West Ham)|
|O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|O'Malley, William||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Robinson, Sidney||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)|
|O'Shee, James John||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|O'Sullivan, Timothy||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Outhwaite, R. L.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wardle, George J.|
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Rowlands, James||Waring, Walter|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Scanlan, Thomas||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Webb, H.|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Sheeny, David||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Shortt, Edward||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Pringhe, William M. R.||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Hadford, G. H.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Wilson, W T. (Westhoughton)|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Wood, Rt Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Reddy, Michael||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Sutherland, John E.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Goldsmith, Frank||Newman, John R. P.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Astor, Waldorf||Grant, J. A.||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gretton, John||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Barnston, Harry||Guinness, Hon.W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F,|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Haddock, George Bahr||Perkins, Waller Frank|
|Bern, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Blair, Reginald||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Harris, Henry Percy||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Ablngdon)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Burn, Colonel C. R-||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sandys, G. J.|
|Butcher, John George||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Home, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Campion, W. R.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cassel, Felix||Ingleby, Holcombe||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Kerry, Earl of||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Keswick, Henry||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.),|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Touche, George Alexander|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Tuillbardine, Marquess of|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Croft, H. P.||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.-Colonel A. R.||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm, Edgbaston)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Duncannon, Viscount||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Macmaster, Donald||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fell, Arthur||M'Calmont, Robert C. A.||Worthington-Evans. L.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, Sir George|
|Forster, Henry William||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Gardner, Ernest||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||H. Samuel and Mr. Stanier.|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Mount, William Arthur|
Question put accordingly, "That the Clause be read a second time."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 146; Noes, 256.
Division No. 176.]
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Glimour, Captain John||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Archer-Shee, Major||Goldsmith, Frank||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Astor, Waldorf||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Baird, J. L.||Gretton, John||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barnston, H.||Haddock, George Bahr||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bern, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hall, Marshall, L'pool, E. Toxteth)||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bigland, Alfred||Harris, Henry Percy||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Blair, Reginald||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Ablngdon)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Home, E. (Surrey, Gulidford)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Butcher, John George||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stanier, Beville|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hunter, Sir C. R.||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Campion, W. R.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cassel, Felix||Joynson-Hicks, William||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cautley, H. S.||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kerry, Earl of||Terrell, George (Wilts)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Keswick, Henry||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Croft, Henry Page||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.,Col. A. R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Lonsdale, Sir J. Brownlee||Welgall, Capt. A. G.|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Doughty, Sir George||MacCaw, William J. McGeagh||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Macmaster, Donald||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fell, Arthur||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Worthlngton-Evans, L.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Younger, Sir George|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Forster, Henry William||Mount, William Arthur|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Major
|Gardner, Ernest||Newdegate, F. A.||Morrison-Bell and Mr. Grant.|
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Newman, John R. P.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Adamson, William||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Cewley, H. T. (Heywood)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)-|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Chancellor, H. G.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Alden, Percy||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Clancy, John Joseph||Essex, Sir Richard Walter|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Clough, William||Esslemont, George Birnie|
|Arnold, Sydney||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Falconer, James|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Ffrench, Peter|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Field, William|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Cotton, William Francis||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Barnes, George N.||Cowan, W. H.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Crooks, William||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Crumley, Patrick||Ginnell, L.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cullinan, John||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Glanville, H. J.|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Goldstone, Frank|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Boland, John Pius||Dawes, J. A.||Greig, Colonel J. W.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||De Forest, Baron||Griffith, Ellis Jones|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Delany, William||Guest, Hon. Frederick (Dorset, E.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Brady, P. J.||Dickinson, W. H.||Hackett. J.|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Dillon, John||Hancock, John George|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Donelan, Captain A.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Doris, William||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Duffy, William J||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Martin, J.||Richardson, Albion (Peekham)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Hayward, Evan||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G,||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Meagher, Michael||Roberts, Sir J. H. Denbighs)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrlm, N.)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Menzies, Sir Walter||Robinson, Sidney|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Hon., S.)||Millar, James Duncan||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Molloy, Michael||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Hinds, John||Molteno, Percy Alport||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Mond, Rt, Hon. Sir Alfred||Rowlands, James|
|Hodge, John||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Hogg, David C.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Hogge, James Myles||Mooney, John J.||Scantan, Thomas|
|Holmes, Daniel||Morgan, George Hay||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Morrell, Philip||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Morison, Hector||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Sheeny, David|
|Hudson, Walter||Muldoon, John||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Munro, R,||Shortt, Edward|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R, C.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Murphy, Martin J.||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nolan, Joseph||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Norman, Sir Henry||Smyth Thomas F. (Leitrlm, S.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts.,Stepney)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Nuttall, Harry||Sutton, John E.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Keating, Matthew||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Kelly, Edward||O'Doherty, Philip||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Donnell, Thomas||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Dowd, John||Toulmfn, Sir George|
|King, J.||O'Grady, James||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Malley, William||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs, Ince)|
|Lardner, James C. H.||O'Neill, Dr, Charles (Armagh, S.)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||O'Shee, James John||Wardle, George J.|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Waring, Walter|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Outhwalte, R. L.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lundon, T.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Webb, H.|
|Lynch, A. A.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|McGhee, Richard||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr, T. J.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Pringle, William M. R.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|M'Curdy, C. A.||Radford, G. H.||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs..Spalding)||Reddy, M.|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basl||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E)|
The next Clause that I find to be in order is one handed in by the hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel).
Might I ask you whether it would be possible for you to give us some indication which of the remaining new Clauses are in order?
The next two Clauses on the Paper ["Commencement of the Act "] deal with the same matter as that which has already been decided. The Clause offered by the hon. Member for the Hexham Division ["Votes given illegally to be cancelled"] is outside the scope of the Bill. The new Clause of the hon. Member for Salisbury ["Election Peti- tion"] was set down as an Amendment to. Clause 1, and would have been in order there, and therefore is not the subject-matter for a new Clause. Then there come-three Amendments in the name of the hon. Member for East Down: "This Act shall not apply to Ireland. "This Act shall not apply to Scotland." This Act shall not apply to the Isle of Wight." I think that those three Clauses convey the answer to the question. In Clause 1 we decided that. this Act should apply to a General Election of Members for the Parliament of the United Kingdom. [Holy. MEMBERS: "No."] The question of inserting the words "United Kingdom" was raised, and it was declared legally that the word "Parliament" there was equivalent to what is called the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In any case, these Amendments are clearly inconsistent with Clause 1 of the Bill, because that deals with persons and what they may or may not do.
On the point of excluding Ireland, I wish to ask whether, in moving that particular Amendment—I agree with regard to the Scottish and the Isle of Wight Amendments there may be some other difficulty arising which you have in your mind—but with regard to Ireland I only wish to ask whether this is not establishing a precedent; whether in every other Act which has been before this House it has been in order to discuss whether it shall or shall not apply to Ireland; and whether, if your view is it is not in order, that will not constitute a precedent for future occasions?
I think the distinction is quite clear. The hon. and gallant Member is quite correct that, in most cases, a new Clause of that kind is in order. But he will probably agree with me, arguing from Scotland and the Isle of Wight to Ireland, that it is inconsistent with what we have already passed in Clause 1.
Then do I understand that the hon. and gallant Member is precluded moving the Clause that the Act shall not apply to Ireland, because he has brought in the Isle of Wight and Scotland?
I was only helping the hon. Member to see my point, and I think he does see it. The Clause is out of order for the reasons I have stated.
The electoral conditions in Scotland differ very much from those in England. We are in the habit of having separate Bills in this House dealing with Scotland, and surely that is a reason for a Clause excluding Scotland being in perfect order?
I do not think so, because what we have decided in Clause 1 clearly excludes an Amendment in the form of a new Clause of this kind.
May I put this point? Is it perfectly clear that your ruling is that, as Clause 1 has been passed, it applies to all Parliaments in the United Kingdom?
It applies to the election of the present Parliament of the United Kingdom, and that is what we are dealing with in this Clause.
Assuming that the House wished to apply this Bill to the whole of the United Kingdom except Ireland, if on Clause 1 any Member of this House had proposed as an Amendment that this Act shall not apply to Ireland, would you not in that case have said that that was a matter which should be raised by a new Clause? The difficulty I feel is this—and I ask your guidance upon it—assuming that the House of Commons desires that this principle should apply to the whole of the United Kingdom except Ireland, how by any possibility could it give effect to that if you said that this ought to come as an Amendment to Clause 1? I should have thought that, if such an Amendment had been moved, you would have said, "You must follow the usual precedent in all Acts of Parliament in which Ireland or Scotland are excepted."
The hon. and learned Member will see, if he looks at the Bill, that Clause 1 provides that a person shall not vote in a General Election for Parliament—that is to say, this Parliament as it exists—and I do not see how, if the Act with this Clause in is not to apply to Ireland, it is in order to accept a Clause dealing with an area whereas what has been decided deals with what a person may do.
Upon that point, may I respectfully put to you that the words, "this Act shall not apply to Ireland" will be interpreted as meaning that this Act shall not apply to constituencies in Ireland. Although Clause 1 deals with persons, it deals with persons exercising rights in constituencies, and the effect of this new Clause would be to deal with those persons when exercising their rights in Irish constituencies. The object of the Clause is not to apply that principle, which I agree applies to persons, because it is only persons who can vote, but to say that persons voting in Irish constituencies shall not have the same principle applied to them as is applied in Great Britain.
May I submit that this Clause is clearly not inconsistent with the title of the Bill, which is— "to impose a penalty on an elector who votes in more than one constituency at a General Parliamentary Election,"because it would be quite consistent with the title of the Bill to say that the penalty of prohibition in this Clause shall not apply to a portion of the United Kingdom. Therefore if it is not inconsistent with the title of the Bill it is not inconsistent with any other part of the Bill, because the Committee expressly refused to put into Clause 1 of the Bill the words "Parliament of the United Kingdom." If those words had been put into Clause 1 it might be said with some plausibility that we could not exempt Ireland, but inasmuch as the Committee has expressly refused to put the words "of the United Kingdom" into Clause 1 of the Bill, I submit to you that it must be open to us to exclude a particular area if the Committee so desires.
I think the Committee will see, by simply looking at the proposals on the Paper. "This Act shall not apply to Ireland," "This Act shall not apply to Scotland," "This Act shall not apply to the Isle of Wight," "This Act shall not apply to Wales," that they are all inadmissible.
I only wish to understand exactly what your ruling is. So far as I can see it would have been in order in any Bill to say that it should apply only to a certain portion of the United Kingdom and that another portion should be left out. As I understand your ruling, it is because Amendments are put down, which, taken together, exclude the whole of the United Kingdom, that therefore none of them is in order. It must be in order, if the Committee so decides, to leave out, say, Ireland, which is not effected by the fact that some other Amendments propose to leave out another part. As regards the point you made earlier that the Government themselves have given a legal opinion that the Bill applied only to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, I heard that point put to the Solicitor-General as a Law Officer, and he did say that in his opinion, without being too dogmatic, he took that view. As that is obviously all that the Law Officer could have said, I submit it must be admissible to move to exclude Ireland.
I think the right hon. Gentleman misunderstands what I have said. It does not mean that because a series of new Clauses has been put down which separately would have been in order they collectively have ruled out each other. Certainly not. The mere fact that if one is in order the others all are in order is, I think, clear enough. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I have tried to explain to the House that this is a Bill dealing with persons, and not with areas, and persons acting as electors of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and I think it is inconsistent with the first Clause to propose here to leave out Ireland, or the Isle of Wight, or Scotland, or Wales.
I understood you to rule that this Bill is entirely confined to persons. I would only point out that already to-day you yourself ruled in order a new Clause which dealt with the area of the City of London. That was only a small item, still it was an area which it was proposed to exclude from the operation of the Bill. If one area is excepted is it not possible to except the larger area?
If the hon. Member was present he would have heard me say I had serious doubts as to whether I ought to admit that new Clause. That was at first also down in the form of an Amendment to Clause 1, and two days ago when the hon. Baronet came to me and discussed the matter with me, I gave what I regarded as a personal undertaking that I would take the matter as a new Clause, and therefore I did not feel justified in going back on it. The next Amendment. in the name of the hon. Member for the Enfield Division ["Determination of Act"] proposes a conditional repeal of the Act depending on some future Act. That is a thing which must be done when the second Act is brought forward, and not in this Bill. The next Amendment, in the name of the hon. Member for the Wells Division ["Exemption of members of Territorial Force"], is an exemption which could have come on as an Amendment to Clause 1 in the same way as the one in connection with business premises. The new Clause of the hon. Member for Central Sheffield ["Exceptions for special classes of electors"] also is a special exemption.
Might I submit in consequence of the statement made at the beginning of business, that your ruling imposes an obligation on the Chairman when the Amendments are gone through under the operation of the new Standing Order, to say whether they are ruled out on merits or whether they are passed over. Otherwise it is impossible for Members to know whether they can bring them in again as new Clauses or not.
I do not think I could take it upon myself to do that. If I did, I should be coming in conflict with the Standing Order, which simply says that where the Chairman has doubt, he may call upon the Member concerned to explain his Amendment before deciding whether to select it.
But you will realise the great practical inconvenience that Members will be subject to, if they do not know whether their Amendments are passed over as being out of order or are passed over at the discretion of the Chairman, with a view to new Clauses. They will not know whether they ought to be put down as new Clauses.
I take it the hon. Member, who knows the practice of the House so well, will realise that this is probably the first occasion on which a whole series of Amendments to the Clauses of a Bill have been sought to be recreated in the form of new Clauses.
Does the fact of a provision being a possible subject for Amendment preclude it being a right subject for a new Clause. In other words, is it not quite possible that a particular provision may be put into a Bill either by way of Amendment to a Clause or by way of a new Clause? It is of great importance from this point of view, that in this Bill, as in many others, the House has not had an opportunity of considering certain proposals by way of Amendment.
On the point of Order. I cannot see that that is relevant. The new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth ["Remission of penalties"] deals with a matter which was decided by the Committee on an Amendment to Clause 1.
I think I was present during the whole of the Debate, and what was raised was the general question of the severity of the penalty. Another point raised was that part of the penalty was not variable at the discretion of the Court It was never suggested during the Debate in my hearing that power should not be given to the Court to vary the one particular part of the penalty which was in- variable. I do not think that point was raised. There were three points in regard to the penalty—one was a fine which was invariable, the second was imprisonment which was invariable, and the third——
I have stated that the subject dealt with in the new Clause was subjected to discussion on an Amendment. I was going on to say that it was obviously a case for Amendment on the Clause, and therefore the new Clause comes under what I have already said. The next two new Clauses ["Residence" and "Business premises"], are exemptions similar to some with which I have already dealt.
May I point out that the question raised in my new Clause ["Business premises"], was not dealt with in the Committee stage. There was an Amendment on the Paper, but it was passed over. Cannot I therefore move the new Clause?
I dealt with that just now. As a matter of fact the question was subjected to debate on an Amendment which was moved. What I have already said covers the next six new Clauses on the Paper. The Clause standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Enfield Division ["Names of plural voters to be ascertained by Local Government Board"] is outside the scope of the Bill.
May I point out that the very same Clause was debated in 1906 on the Committee stage and the Report stage of the Bill then proposed?
That was a Bill of a very different nature from this. The new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Tewkesbury ["Provision as to persons asking for ballot or voting paper in more than one constituency"] is not in order. The next one ["Mitigation or remission of incapacities"] is clearly a matter for an Amendment on Clause 1, and not a separate Clause.
I think the point raised by the new Clause was not decided by the Committee during the discussion of the Clauses in the Bill.
I quite agree that it has not been decided during the discussion of the Clauses. The hon. Member can put it down as an Amendment on Clause 1 on the Report stage. The Clause standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Central Division of Sheffield ["Provision as to persons voting for Members of the House of Keys"] is covered by what I have already said. The same remark applies to the new Clauses with reference to "Provision as to persons voting for elections for the States of Jersey," and "Exemption as to persons voting for elections to the States of Guernsey." The last one on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for the St. Augustine's Division and two other Members in dealing with future legislation. We cannot do that in this Bill.
In view of your ruling that the portion of this Clause dealing with future legislation is out of order, will the same objection apply at a subsequent stage of the Bill?
I must not interfere with what may not fall to my lot to decide.
New Clause—(Expiration Of Act)
Unless Parliament otherwise determine this Act shall not continue in force after the expiration of five years from the passing of this Act."
Clause brought up and read the first time.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
The effect of this would be to make this measure a temporary measure. I think that the Government themselves intend it to be merely a temporary measure. It is a makeshift expedient to tide over a particular time, as will be seen from the way in which the Government have dealt with the matter. It is true that in 1906 the Colonial Secretary introduced a Bill which was very much on the same lines as this Bill. Subsequently in this very Session we had another Bill which had the effect of stopping plural voting, but which did not create a new crime, but proceeded on an entirely different principle. I think that the President of the Board of Education in introducing this measure admitted that the other Bill proposed to deal with the matter in a much more reasonable way, namely, by providing that a person could only get on the register in one constituency. It is an absurd way of dealing with the question to penalise a person for exercising a choice which he has always exercised. I think that the Government themselves recognise that, because they adopted a different procedure last Session from that which they adopted in the Bill which the Colonial Secretary originally introduced. Indeed, they would have continued with that measure if it had not been for Mr. Speaker's ruling to the effect that if a certain alteration were made in the Bill the Bill would have been so completely changed in character that it would have been a different Bill, and he could not allow it to proceed. In those circumstances the Government withdrew that Bill and introduced a Bill on an entirely different principle. I should like to ask the Government why? If they thought last Session that the right way of dealing with this matter was only to allow the elector to be registered in one constituency, why do they entirely depart from that principle and seek to penalise a man for exercising a choice in voting? I say that one reason is that this is merely a temporary expedient, and, being a temporary expedient, it ought to be limited to a definite period of five years or four years—I am not particular. If the right hon. Gentleman accepts the principle of my Clause and gives it a Second Reading, I am prepared to accept an Amendment that the period should be four years or three years. The period of five years which I have selected no doubt does ensure that the Bill will not apply at, the next General Election, the life of Parliament, by the Parliament Act, being limited to five years. By the adoption of my Amendment it would be perfectly certain that the Bill could not be in operation at the next General Election, and whatever Government might be in power, it would have to deal with the question of electoral reform before the General Election which follows the next General Election. The addition of this new Clause would be the lever which would force them to deal with the question of Redistribution. It would also necessitate the Government's dealing with a question with which my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and myself dealt in a Bill we introduced, namely, the anomalies of the Registration Law, which we proposed to remedy by consolidating the various Statutes into one Statute. The whole of that question would have to be faced by the Government if this limit were inserted. It is perfectly clear that any Minister, considering what legislation he had to propose, would have to take into consideration that the Plural Voting Act would expire at the end of five years.It being Five o'clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House; Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.
Imperial Wireless Telegraphy
Statement By The Postmaster-General
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."— [Mr. Illingworth.]
I desire to make a brief statement to the House as to the course which the Government have decided to pursue in order to secure the erection of the Stations of the Imperial Wireless Chain. Hon. Members may perhaps be aware it has been stated on behalf of the Government before the Select Committee on the Marconi Contract that the Government are advised that they cannot enforce the performance of the contract entered into by the Marconi Company last July by any action-at-law, and that they are not likely to recover damages of any amount which is worth suing for. And, therefore, in view of the fact that the company have formally repudiated the contract on account of the long delay that has elapsed since its signature, the Government have no alternative but to abandon that contract. We had then to consider what steps should be taken in order to secure the erection of the Stations which are, I think, generally agreed to be necessary in the strategic and also commercial interests of the Empire. We hold the view, as we held the view a year ago, that we ought not to ask Parliament to take the risks of inviting open tenders for the erection of these Stations, in view of the fact that we are advised that no firm that could enter into competition with the Marconi Company could be relied upon to erect Stations of a thoroughly satisfactory character. And that view which was held by the Government a year ago——
[ROYAL ASSENT.—Message to attend the Lords Commissioners. The House went,
and, having returned, Mr. SPEAKER reported the Royal Assent to—
(continuing): That view which the Government have held, and still hold, was confirmed, as the House is aware by the Report of the Advisory Committee, over which Lord Parker was good enough to preside. That Report declared:—
We have considered again whether the erection of stations on that system should be by a staff of engineers in the employment of the Government and using the powers of the Patents Act or whether we should endeavour to arrange a fresh agreement with the Marconi Company. It is clear that the Post Office itself is not in a position to undertake the erection of those stations, for we have no staff which could by any possibility accomplish that task. in respect to the Admiralty, the Board of Admiralty were again consulted on the matter, and I received from them, on 7th June this year, the following letter:—"The Marconi system is at present the only system of which it can be said with any certainty that it is capable of fulfilling the requirements of the Imperial wireless chain."
The staff of the Admiralty are fully employed on naval business, and cannot be diverted to the task of erecting those stations without serious detriment to its interests. The only remaining alternative to a contract with the Marconi Company is the creation of a new staff and the employment of some engineer of distinction and capacity who should supervise the erection of these stations. That is a possible course, but it is a course which is attended by many serious disadvantages. In the first place, I am advised that there is no one in this country outside the Admiralty and the Marconi Company who has had any actual experience either of the erection or working of long-range wireless stations—not even the members of the Advisory Committee. If an engineer without that experience were chosen he would have to collect together a staff as best he could; he would have to prepare fresh designs, and he and his staff would have to gain experience in this most difficult undertaking as they went along. It might be expected that the Marconi Company would be unwilling to supply the apparatus necessary to work the stations, and steps would have to be taken to manufacture that apparatus specially. The history of wireless telegraphy is strewn with so many failures and disappointments that the Government would be taking, indeed, a grave risk if they were to proceed upon the lines which I have described. Further, it is likely that the estimated cost now before us would be exceeded. And it must not be thought that by the use of the Patents Act the Government would be free from the payment of royalties to the Marconi Company. That is not so. If the power of the Crown to use patents without the agreement of the patentee is exercised, the patentee has to receive a royalty payment fixed by the Treasury; the Treasury would necessarily obtain the opinion of some Commissioner upon this point. The Patents Act only extends to this country, and that would involve obtaining an adjudication upon the royalty payments for each country upon each piece of Marconi apparatus under the various laws of all the six countries where the stations of the wireless chain are situated. Further, we are of opinion that to adopt this course would necessarily involve very considerable delay compared with the erection of the stations by the Marconi Company, who have their designs ready and their engineers available and who could set to work immediately. As the House is aware, it is now two years since a sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence appointed to consider this very question, reported that on strategic grounds it was a matter of real urgency and should be taken in hand at once, and the Select Committee of this House, which has been considering the matter, in their Special Report of January last, began by saying:—Adverting to Admiralty letter of the 13th January last, which stated that my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty were unwilling, and in fact unable without prejudice to naval interests, to undertake the work of erecting or of working the Imperial wireless chain, I am commanded by their Lordships to request that you will inform the Postmaster-General that they have again' carefully considered this matter, and must, definitely adhere to the opinion already expressed."
That Report was arrived at with welcome unanimity by the Select Committee on the Marconi Contract. In view of the importance of the strategic interests involved the Government is loathe to incur the risk of the long delay that might be and probably would be involved by the selection of an engineer who had not first hand experience of what is required and the enlistment of a special staff. But these disadvantages, although they are great, we hold might have to be incurred if we did not succeed in coming to terms with the Marconi Company on reasonable conditions. If the Marconi Company asked unreasonable terms we should have had to fall back on this other alternative with all its disadvantages. Therefore at the request of the Government I undertook to ascertain on what terms a new contract could be entered into with the Marconi Company. I should like to make it clear that any new contract, like the old contract, would provide only that the company should erect the stations. After they were erected they would become the absolute property of the Governments concerned to do with as they wished, and they would be worked not by the Marconi Company, but by an operating staff employed by the Governments concerned. The company asked as a condition of entering into a new contract, first, that an allowance should be made for any increase in the prices of material which has taken place since last July, when the previous contract was entered into. They said that prices have risen very considerably in the interval, and they could not undertake to erect stations now at the same price as then, and they made the proposal that whatever should be ascertained by agreement, or, failing agreement, by arbitration, to be the actual increase in the cost of materials needed for the stations during the interval between the signing of the old contract and the ratification of the new contract, should be added to the purchase price of the stations. If there were no increase in prices, nothing more should be paid; if there were a diminution of price, the sum payable should be diminished; and if the prices had neither increased nor diminished, the sum payable should be the same. They ascertained that the additional cost which would be the consequence of the lapse of time would be about £6,500 per station. It may be hoped that that figure may be reduced to smaller proportions than that. Secondly, they asked in view of the expense to which they had been put by keeping a staff of engineers ready to erect the wireless chain, who have not been employed for thatThe Committee have heard a number of witnesses from the Government Departments, and have arrived at the conclusion that it is a matter of urgency that a chain of Imperial stations should be established."