§ Application of Act to Metropolis.
§ Clause 36 (Application of Act to Metropolis as County of London).1106
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch Hoxton)
, in rising to move the following Amendment, in page 33, line 2—The London county council shall have the same powers, duties, and liabilities with respect to the police in the county of London as are vested in the watch committee of a borough under 'The Municipal Corporations Act, 1882,'said, the object of the Amendment, together with subsequent Amendments which would naturally require to be made, was to place the police in the Metropolis on the same footing, practically, as they were now in the large boroughs. In introducing this extremely important Question, he desired, in the outset, to say that he intended to avoid anything in the nature of what might be called the current dispute, and he should also avoid treating the question as a Party one. It was his desire to treat it as a question which, to quote the words of the Municipal Corporations Act, would secure that the Metropolis should be well and quietly governed. That was the object of his Amendment, and he should endeavour to treat it from that point of view. In the first place, he wished to dispel from the minds of hon. Members any idea that the placing of the police in London under the control of the Home Office was the result of any argument peculiar to the size or character of London or of any necessary arrangement for the protection of the House of Commons, the Royal Palaces, or the Government buildings which were situated within the area of the Metropolitan Police. In order to make that point clear, he would ask the attention of the Committee for a moment to the circumstances under which the Metropolitan Police Force was created, and he proposed to read three lines of the Report which was made in the year 1828 by a Commission appointed for the purpose of investigating into the circumstances of the Metropolitan Police as they then existed—namely, that "the chief requisites for the efficiency of the Police were unity of design and responsibility of its agents. "It was that extreme absence of unity of design and of the responsibility of its agents in the Metropolitan Police Force, governed as it then was, that made it necessary to pass some such Bill as was adopted at that period. With the permission of the Committee, he would state what the 1107 circumstances were under which that Bill was passed. "There were," said Sir Robert Peel, and the instances he gave were multiplied throughout the whole of the Report of the Commission in 1828—There were in the Parish of St. Pancras 18 different, isolated, and irresponsible police establishments; in Lambeth there was no watch trust and no provision for the night watch; in Kensington, covering 15 miles, there were three constables and three headboroughs, generally drunk, and these were appointed by the steward of the manor. There were in the whole Metropolis in the day patrol only three Inspectors and 24 men.Those were a sample of the circumstances under which the Bill of 1829 was introduced, and the clear necessity was that which was stated in the Report of the Commission—namely, an efficient police with unity of design and responsibility of its agents. Where were the authorities of the day to look in order to get unity of design and responsibility of its agents? There was not in London any Commission of the Peace or Quarter Sessions. London belonged to portions of several counties, and there was no authority to which there could be committed the direction and control of the police, and it was not possible, under the circumstances, to create any authority. How could an authority be created? The only way was to have converted London either into a municipal borough, or to have made it, as this Bill made it, a county of itself. He ventured to say the idea of making London into a separate County was an entirely new idea. It was not an idea that occurred to anyone at that time, or was likely to occur to anyone. Nor could they have undertaken to do so without making London a separate municipality, and that idea was opposed then, as it has always been opposed by the City of London. That powerful Body then, as in 1835, objected to the creation of London into a municipality, and there was, therefore, no Body of a representative kind covering the area of the Metropolis in whose hands it was possible to secure that unity of design and responsibility of agents so greatly needed, except one, and that was the Home Office. The question, therefore, of whether or not the Home Office should be the body responsible for the police was not discussed in the debates which 1108 occurred in Parliament at that time, nor was it discussed by the Commission of 1828, or referred to in the evidence given before that Commission. It was assumed, and was naturally assumed, that there being no other authority to go to, the Home Office should be constituted the authority in this case. He wanted to show that clearly, because in every other case the House of Commons in establishing, and the Government in proposing, a Body for the management of the police went without exception, and at once, to the authority which stood nearest to the people, and which was a representative Body so far as it could be obtained in the localities concerned. That was done in the Bill for the Reform of the Municipalities in 1835, and the same thing was done at an earlier date. A few days before the passing of the Metropolitan Police Act there was an Act passed in reference to the police in Chester. That was the first County Police for which an Act was passed, and the Act placed the control of the police in the hands of the Quarter Sessions, which was the Governing Body nearest to the people they could obtain in that county. Great jealousy was shown in that Act for the reservation to the local justices acting in their own localities of the jurisdiction which was conferred. There was another important point connected with that Act, and it was desirable to refer to it. There were several Borough Police Forces existing under special Acts of Parliament, in Congleton and other places; great care was taken that those Borough Police Forces were not interfered with by the County Act. In the case of the Borough Police Force of Stockport, established in 1826, the Mayor and the inhabitants of the borough were made a Commission for the management of the police, so that it would be seen that wherever it was possible recourse was had to that Body which was nearest to the people. In the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, exactly the same step was taken in the reform of municipalities, the police were placed under the control of Watch Committees; and with respect to that matter he should like to quote an observation of Lord John Russell's, which he would recommend to the consideration of the noble Marquess the Member for the Rossendale Division 1109 (the Marquess of Hartington) and the Liberal Unionists of which the noble Marquess was the Leader. On the 5th June, 1835, Lord John Russell said—We propose that the whole work and business of watching the town shall be placed completely under the control of the council, and that all powers given by the provisions of any local Act, so far as they should militate against those powers, shall not be continued to those now possessing them. This seems to be absolutely necessary in establishing a municipal government—indeed, the only notion I can form of a municipal government is that of keeping the peace, or, as it was phrased in olden times, 'quieting the town.' These powers should be immediately under the control of persons who are deemed proper to have the government of the town; therefore any power inconsistent with the power of the general council, so far as watching the town is concerned, will be abolished.That was a statement made by Lord John Russell on creating new municipalities all over the country. But a new municipality was not then created for London, largely owing to the opposition of the City, and therefore the views expressed by Lord John Russell were not applied to London, there being no Body which had under its direction the care and safety of the people, and who could be "deemed proper to have the government of the town." Now, however, if there was anything to be said about the Council which the Government and the Committee were about to create for London, it was this, that it was to be a Body deemed proper to have the government of the town, and now that they were creating that new authority by the present Bill, they claimed that the views of Lord John Russell should be carried out, as undoubtedly they would have been if London had been included in the Municipal Corporations Act of that date. The Government were now going to create a new authority in London, nearer to the people than the Home Office, and it was because of the creation of that authority that he asked to have this additional power; they would be landed in a considerable difficulty if they created this authority, and still reserve from it the control and management of the police. They were creating in London a Body which had not hitherto existed in the Metropolis, and they proposed that it should be placed under conditions of disability as to its police which existed in no other place in Great 1110 Britain so far as he was aware, except in the newly-created borough of West Ham, which was formed, of course, under special circumstances which were hardly worth consideration now. They were creating an important Governing Body, and yet they proposed to leave alongside of it the irresponsible control of the police under an authority which was not to be responsible in any sense to the Body they were creating. In doing that, the Government were creating for themselves a new difficulty, as experience proved. He might point, for instance, to the case of Paris; the Government were establishing exactly the same thing in the case of London as now existed in Paris. Certainly, nothing could be more unfortunate in regard to the Municipal Government of Paris than the relations which had been established between the municipality of that city and the Government. The municipality had to find the money, but they were deprived of any share of the control of the police. That system certainly did not exist in London at present, because the Bodies which found the money were small and isolated Bodies—namely, the Vestries, and had no authority connected with them capable of exercising the control. Although the Vestries raised the money and contributed towards the support of the police, there were none of them in a position to say that they supported the police, or that their jurisdiction was large enough, and that, therefore, they ought to have the control of the force. The general principle of the Metropolitan Police Act, which was accepted by the House, was that there should be unity of design and responsibility of agents, and that could not be got by Vestry management. But now it would therefore be seen that the Government were creating for themselves a new difficulty, because they were establishing a Body competent, as nobody would deny, to manage the police, and they were putting that Body under a necessity of raising that money for the maintenance of the police, but giving it no control over the expenditure of that money. In other places where a competent Body existed, they gave to that competent Body the control of the police. Therefore, the creation of the County Council of London took away from the Government every argument they could use for giving the control of the police 1111 to an authority external from the people of London themselves, and they were consequently creating for themselves a new difficulty in regard to the management of the police. The moment they created in the counties a Body which was representative, they did not venture to keep that Body entirely away from the police, but they felt bound on their own Motion to place the control and management of the police in the hands of an authority which was to be largely controlled by that representative Body. Even although they reserved to themselves the right of appointing the Chief Constable, they had felt obliged to withdraw the reservation in order to secure unity of design and responsibility of agents, and then had placed the management and control of the chief constable in the same hands. Therefore, they had followed the invariable practice of Parliament, which had been that whenever they had a representative Body which was available for the purpose, that representative Body where a police force existed should be the body that should control the police. In this case there was another difficulty. It would be observed that this Body had to raise a heavy police rate in London—a police rate which would amount in all to 9d. One half of the rate was at present raised in the locality and one-half contributed by the Central Authority but under the new system it would all be raised in London, and comparisons would undoubtedly be made between the cost and expenditure upon the London Police Force and the expenditure upon the police elsewhere. Perhaps the Committee would allow him to call their attention for a moment to what the cost of the Police Force in London was. The question was a very large and important one in this way—that whereas London contained, so far as the present police area was concerned, somewhere between 1–5th or 1–4th of the whole rateable value in England, yet the cost of the police in London, judging from the contributions of the Consolidated Fund, was no less than 3–7th's of the cost of the police for the whole of England—that was to say, that although the entire rateable value of property in London was between 1–5th and 1–4th of the whole rateable value of the property in England, the cost of its police was very little short of one-half of the cost of the 1112 whole police establishments throughout the country. That was a fact which required explanation, and it was contained in the Return which was now presented annually to the House, and in which the cost of the police in the principal boroughs of Great Britain is compared with that of the Metropolitan Police. It would be found that whereas in the Metropolis the police cost a rate of 9d., in Liverpool, Glasgow, and Birmingham the rate was something like 6½d. They had in that a very fair statement of the relative cost of the police. He would not enter into details upon the matter, because that was not the place nor the opportunity for doing so. He only referred to it as a fact of incontestable significance, and it became more significant when the Body which had to levy the police rate, although fully capable, was not to be permitted to have the control of the police. The expenditure would naturally be closely scrutinized by such a Body as the London Council, but it would be scrutinized without power to interfere with it. He therefore asked if they were doing wisely and well in withholding from the newly constituted Body, which was to be representative of London and which had to raise the rates, the management of the police. The only answer that could be given to the position he took up was that the present system had worked exceedingly well—that it had worked so peculiarly well in comparison with the working of the police system in the boroughs and counties that it would be a pity to give it up. He appealed to the Committee to say whether the system in London had worked better in any way whatever, to put it in a mild form, than it had done where the police were managed by the inhabitants of the boroughs, large or small. He asserted, on the contrary, that it had not worked so well, and he thought the Committee would not disagree with him in that assertion. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary whether he contemplated with satisfaction having to govern a police force in London under the circumstances which this Bill created? The right hon. Gentleman had many onerous and difficult duties to exercise, and the Committee must sympathize with him in the difficulties in which he or any other Home Secretary found himself placed. 1113 There had, however, been no more anxious or more difficult duty which Home Secretaries had to fulfil than that of directing the management of the Metropolitan Police. How was it that that duty was so anxious and difficult? It was because they occupied a false position. They occupied the position of directing from above an institution which, in all the rest of England, was directed from the people themselves. He was not complaining of the manner in which the duty had been discharged. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman and his Predecessors had done the best they could. He had sketched out how the difficulty arose, and how it was that matters had got into this position. An opportunity now offered for terminating that state of things and for setting that House and the Home Office free from a duty which ought not to be upon either of them. The House of Commons had the ultimate control over the London Police, and very properly so, because the Executive Government was under the control of that House. ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman had cheered him. He did not know whether in doing so, he agreed with his general argument, or whether he had disagreed with him. But he would put it to the right hon. Gentleman, what did the control of that House come to? It came to this—that they had, if it were to be effectual, to use the time of the House, valuable as it was and required as it was for general and Imperial purposes—to use that time in dealing with questions that were only fit for the Watch Committee of a borough. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to look back to the debate which took place at an earlier period of the Session. He (Mr. Stuart) did not propose to refer at any length to that debate, because he desired to keep the pledge he had given to the Committee that, in dealing with the matter, he would not inflict current questions upon the Committee; he would therefore not refer to the details of that debate, but he wished to allude to the course and character of it. The debate referred strictly to the peace and quiet and order of London, and yet the question itself was raised as one between the Opposition and the Government distinctly as a Party question more or less, and what was the result? The time of the House was very precious, and the right hon. Gentleman the 1114 Leader of the House felt it necessary in the exercise of his duties to intervene with the closure. But what was the moment selected for intervening with the closure? It was, unfortunately, at a moment when the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Pickers-gill) was about to lay before the House detailed information upon which the whole Resolution was based. He would say nothing about the propriety of the course that was taken; he did not propose to go into the merits of the matter in any way, he simply pointed out that a discussion of the question upon its details and the whole of its bearings—a question of extreme importance for the good government of London and the peace and quiet of the Metropolis was cut short in that way. He would admit, if they liked, necessarily cut short owing to the exigencies of the House, and because there was other Business of great importance to transact. Was that a right state of things, and could the control of the House be properly exercised in connection with the management of the London Police when it was liable, and necessarily liable, to be interfered with in that manner? Those matters wanted working out by a Body that was not burdened with the cares of an Empire. They ought to be devolved upon the County Council of London. They had heard a great deal about devolution to Grand Committees, why not take an opportunity of making this devolution to the County Council, and set free the Home Secretary and the House from the difficulties which must exist, however desirous they were to avoid them. They did occasionally get inquiries into the action of the police, but how were they conducted? At present, when any difficulty arose there was a Departmental inquiry. If any difficulty arose in regard to the police in an ordinary borough, the Watch Committee who represented the citizens instituted an inquiry. In connection with the House of Commons there was no such Watch Committee, and he altogether deprecated a departmental inquiry as unsuitable to the importance of the matter. Then where were they to look for inquiry whenever a difficulty arose on which inquiry was needed? The right hon. Gentleman would give him credit for saying that it was not the result of the inquiry that he was referring to; but he thought that 1115 many troubles arose in connection with the ordinary administration of the law, not only in London, but elsewhere, which were dissipated by a timely inquiry. He wished now, before he sat down, to point out one or two matters in which he thought the Amendment he had proposed deserved a certain amount of explanation from him. In the first place, the Amendment was framed in order to cover exactly the area which was embraced in the new Metropolitan government. The result of that was that the police in the neighbouring counties would be placed in the hands of the County Councils of the counties, and, therefore, there would be a diminution of the area and of the number of the police governed by the Metropolis. It was quite clear that that was necessary in any such proposal as that which he made, otherwise they would fall into the ridiculous position of one County Council having power over the area of another. He did not wish it to be urged against him that he was drawing a sharp line between different Authorities. He thought it was necessary that the control of the Metropolitan Police should extend over the area embraced in the new Metropolitan government. There would then be undoubtedly a boundary to the action of the Metropolitan Police as there was now; but a boundary that would be essentially outside that part of London for which they required unity of design and unity of responsibility. He wished to point out another matter. There were many instances in which there was a larger and more complicated boundary line than he was proposing. In the first place, he would take the case of a very important police force where the jurisdiction and division boundary were small. He referred to the division between the City and the Metropolitan Police. There were two distinct Authorities, and a complicated boundary line between them, but there had not been that dissatisfaction which was anticipated. The Government did not propose to change this. That state of things might, therefore, exist in London with satisfaction. He would, however, take another case where the boundary line between various police Bodies was not only as great, but much more complicated than that which he now proposed. He would take the case of the county of Lancaster, and that county had one of the largest 1116 forces of county police in existence, Lancaster had a rateable area of more than £8,000,000, and a rateable area for as much, or more, in the great boroughs. Each of these boroughs had command of its own police, and there were a large number of concurrent Authorities close to one another, and if they took the boundary line between the county and all the various Authorities in connection with the police in the boroughs, they would find that the boundary line was just as large as, and far more complicated than, that which he proposed. Nevertheless, no real difficulty was experienced in Lancaster, otherwise the Government would propose to abolish it in this Bill. He would refer for a moment to the position of the question of rateable value. The rateable value in the police area at present, as far as London was concerned, was between £33,000,000 and £34,000,000, the area 688 square miles, being 15 miles in every direction from Charing Cross. Coming down to the area he proposed for the County Council, he found that it would be a little less—namely, £30,000,000 in round numbers, or less by one-eight or one-ninth on the whole. The population was considerably less, being 3,500,000 instead of 4,750,000. The area was also enormously less, being certainly less than one-sixth or one-seventh of the old area. He had had some difficulty in obtaining from any Return the exact number of the police required in any given portion of the Metropolitan area; but, making the best calculation he could, it was his impression that the amount of the rate leviable for the police under these circumstances would be less than the rate leviable for the police under existing circumstances for equal efficiency. Another point of considerable importance would be met by conferring on the justices of the neighbouring counties the right and power of calling into requisition the services of the police of the Metropolitan area, and also of giving the reverse powers. Such powers were given to the boroughs in connection with the Municipal Reform Act in 1835, and they were given in 1829 in connection with the Act for establishing police in counties, and they were continued in 1856. It was not until the year 1859 that they were repealed—so far as they were repealed, As hon. Members well 1117 know, under that Act the police of other districts were only to be used in a particular district, in occurrences of great gravity, and only under the orders of the Body to which they belonged. Originally, they were under the command of the district in which they were acting. That was a system which could be modified to suit the new state of things. The next point was one upon which hon. Members who would vote upon the Amendment had a right to ask for an explanation; that was—what he proposed to do with the City Police? His Amendment, if carried, would abolish the City Police, and merge them into the police of the County Council of London; but he was prepared, if it were thought desirable, to exclude the City Police from the purview of the Amendment in deference to the fact that it was the intention and object of the Bill to interfere with the City as little as possible. He could not say that he approved of that position, and he should certainly aim at an alteration of it; but it being the position recognized by the Bill, it might be accepted by the Committee and the City Police could be excluded from the operation of the Amendment, not as a matter of principle, but simply on the ground that the City Police was not at present being dealt with. There was a double choice open to him in presenting the Amendment; the one was that he should treat London as a county; and the other was that he should treat London as a borough which was also a county. He had chosen the latter of those arrangements, and in doing so he believed he had the full support of his Colleagues on that side of the House. London was practically a borough, and the police ought to be treated as a Borough Police Force. The whole idea was borough government and not county government. He now came to another point which he wished to mention, because he believed it was one which agitated the minds of some hon. Members. It was perfectly easy to put the Royal Palaces and public buildings, so far as they belonged to the nation, as they were before the London Police Act of 1839. In the London Police Act of 1829, the police were given no jurisdiction in the Royal Palaces; but in 1839, they received powers to be sworn in as constables in the Royal Palaces. It would be perfectly easy to alter that, and to establish a separate 1118 force, not under the name of police, but as constables to the Royal Palaces, similar to those which existed prior to 1839. His last point had reference to the proposal that in regard to the London Police, the County Council should have the same power over them as the Watch Committee of the borough had over its police. The Watch Committee generally consisted of about one-third of the members of the Municipal Council. It might be said that the County Council of London was too large to deal with the police in that manner; but if the Amendment were passed, he proposed to introduce a further Amendment which would give power to the London County Council to delegate this power to a Watch Committee. He thanked the Committee for having listened to a statement which had necessarily been somewhat minute. He had endeavoured to refrain from making the question a Party question, and he had made no observation which savoured of Party, except the appeal he had made to the Liberal Unionists not to disregard the words of Lord John Russell. He had also refrained from entering into any embittered matters. He had argued the points he had brought forward with some earnestness, but it was only because that earnestness was an index of the very strong feeling and belief he had upon the matter. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General, in a previous debate, referred to the argument that there ought to be sympathy between the people and the police. The hon. and learned Gentleman asked what need there was of sympathy—they had either to execute the law or not. But the difficulties occurred on the border lines and in the doubtful cases. He (Mr. Stuart) maintained that it was in the highest degree desirable to secure sympathy between the government of the police and the people, so that the people might have confidence in the administration of the law. How were they to get that sympathy if the management of the police was in the hands of the Executive Government of the day. If he were a Member of the Executive Government, he should desire to get rid of that troublesome difficulty, and to relieve the Government from the onus and blame which attached to them in the government of the police. It was desirable in 1119 the interests of the peace and quiet of the town that confidence should be established between the people and the police, and that confidence could not be established if the police were to be essentially in the hands of a political Body over which the people of London had an exceedingly limited control. He wanted to see confidence established and reigning in London, and he did not see how it was to be established or maintained unless the Amendment which he now proposed was adopted, and the control of the police placed in the hands of direct representatives of the ratepayers.
In page 33, line 2, to insert the words—"(3.) The London county council shall have the same powers, duties, and liabilities, with respect to the police, in the county of London, as are vested in the watch committee of a borough under 'The Municipal Corporations Act, 1882.'"—(Mr. James Stuart.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. BAUMANN (Camberwell, Peckham)
, said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) had humorously referred the day before to the differences which prevailed amongst Conservative Metropolitan Members on the subject of selected Councillors. On the subject of this Amendment, however, he was happy to say that no divergence of sentiment existed among the Metropolitan Members on that side of the House. They were all unanimous in the conviction that the control of the Metropolitan Police should remain where it now was—namely, in the hands of the Chief Commissioner, under the guidance and responsibility of the Home Office. There was one omission from the speech of the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Stuart), profuse and verbose as it was, upon which he heartily congratulated the hon. Member. There was an entire absence of those bitter Party attacks on the Metropolitan Police with which during the present Session they had become too familiar. He quite agreed with the hon. Gentleman that the control of the Metropolitan Police by the House of Commons was inconvenient and improper. The hon. Member asked what the control of the Metropolitan Police by that House meant? He would tell 1120 him what in his mind it meant. It meant a harassing, inconvenient, and improper interference by the Legislature with the Executive. The House of Commons was a Legislative and not an Executive Body. But by whom was that improper and harassing interference with the Executive attempted to be exercised? It was attempted to be exercised almost exclusively by five hon. Members, two of whom did not represent Metropolitan constituencies at all—namely, the hon. Gentleman the junior Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) and the hon. Member for North-West Lanark (Mr. Cunninghame Graham)—while the other three belonged to a Party enjoying exactly one-sixth of the representation of the Metropolis. The Metropolitan Members who sat on the Ministerial side of the House, and who possessed the trifling majority of five-sixths of the representation, had perfect confidence in the management of the Metropolitan Police by the Chief Commissioner and by the Home Secretary, except that too much licence was allowed to anarchy, and that the peace and comfort of the vast majority of quiet, orderly citizens of the Metropolis was too often sacrificed to a handful of agitators, as noisy and as empty as the drums they followed, who seemed determined to turn our public places and parks into Sunday pandemoniums. He could not sufficiently condemn the unmanly attacks which had been made under cover of the privilege of that House upon a brave and patient Body of men, and it was extremely to be regretted that one of the Metropolitan Magistrates should have thought it not unbecoming his duty to join in the hue-and-cry which had been raised against the guardians of public order. The hon. Member for the Hoxton Division of Shoreditch had made a statement against which it was extremely difficult to argue, because it was not easy to kick against nothing. The proposal of the hon. Gentleman to place an army of 14,000 police under the control of an elected Council of 140 members was so preposterous that he was curious to see whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, who had been Home Secretary and who knew the tremendous responsibilities of that Office, would support the Amendment. 1121 It would be very easy, if necessary, to demonstrate the difference which existed between the Metropolis and the largest of our provincial towns. It was not necessary, however, because the hon. Member himself had practically admitted it. His argument against selected Councillors yesterday was based on the difference between London ands the large provincial towns, but now, with unconscious inconsistency, he argued that London ought to have the control of its police because Liverpool and Birmingham had. The control of the Metropolitan Police must always be in the hands of the Imperial Executive because London was the seat of government. Not even in radical and revolutionary Paris had they dared to entrust the control of the Police to the hands of the Municipal Council. M. Floquet, whose radicalism was above suspicion, had distinctly declined to make the transfer of the police to the Municipal Council a plank in his platform. If they wanted an illustration of what would occur if the Radical County Council had the control of the police, they had only to draw on the experience they had gained last winter. It was in evidence, from the hon. Gentleman and his Friends, in the course of the debate which occurred at the beginning of the Session, that if they had had control of the Metropolitan Police, London would still be trembling under the tyranny of the rioters in Trafalgar Square.
§ MR. BAUMANN
said, he should be able to do so if he had them with him. But did the hon. Member mean to deny that the purport and substance of the speeches delivered on the other side of the House was that the meetings in Trafalgar Square should not be interfered with? It was obvious, therefore, that if Parliament handed over the control of the Metropolitan Police to a Radical County Council, those meetings, would not be interfered with. The hon. Member for Shoreditch had alluded to the case of the Municipality of Paris. He agreed with a great deal of what the hon. Member had said on that subject. He was bound to say that the Government had increased the difficulty of the situation by the new arrangement they had made for the payment of the 1122 Metropolitan Police. In his humble judgment Her Majesty's Ministers had done not only an unjust but a dangerous thing in cutting off altogether the Treasury grant towards the cost of the Metropolitan Police. Unjust because the Metropolitan Police were called upon to discharge duties which were distinctly National and Imperial rather than local; dangerous because they had put a very strong argument into the mouths of hon. Gentlemen opposite when they came forward and asked for the control of the police. So long as the Treasury paid a grant of four-ninths of the cost of the Metropolitan Police as they did at present, it was easy enough to keep the control of the police in the hands of the Home Office. But it would be very different when the total cost of the Metropolitan Police was defrayed out of local taxes, to be collected by the officers of the County Councils. In Paris there had been a constant and irritating friction between the Prefect of the Seine and the Municipal Council, and whenever the Municipal Council was irritated at anything done by the Prefect of the Seine they threatened to refuse to vote the Police Budget. He could imagine that such friction would arise in this country if the police were under the County Council of London. A large amount of taxes would have to be paid over to the Receiver for the Police, and it was conceivable that in a time of great excitement the County Council might refuse to hand over their contribution, and that it might be necessary to attach the money by legal process. There must always be friction and irritation when the control of the purse was in one hand and the power of command in another. Hitherto this friction had been avoided in London, partly on account of the grant from the Treasury of four-ninths of the cost, and partly because the Vestries, who now collected the Metropolitan Police rate, were not politically ambitious Bodies. But all this was to be changed now that the Imperial grant was to be cut off, and that it was proposed to hand over the entire payment of the Metropolitan Police to a Body which was certain to have political ambition. He could only hope that his apprehensions on this point were baseless. He trusted that the new arrangement would not result in confusion and strife. One thing, 1123 however, was quite certain, that so long as London was the seat of Government, and that the Party of law and order was in a majority in that House, the control of the police must remain in the hands of the Executive.
§ MR. FIRTH (Dundee)
said, that the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken told the Committee that the police rate would be collected by the officers of the County Councils. Now, he did not know of any clause in the Bill which contained any such provision. It was only one of the many cases, however, which tended to show that the arguments which the hon. and learned Gentleman had advanced in that House and in the public journals, were based on an imperfect conception of the proposals contained in the Bill. The hon. and learned Member said that because the money would be collected by the officers of the County Councils there would necessarily be friction. Now, he (Mr. Firth) might be wrong in his conception of the Bill, but he understood five-ninths of the cost would still be provided by the Vestries, and not by the officers of the County Councils, and the remaining four-ninths would be paid out of the fund into which the Licence Duties and other grants were to be paid. There would, consequently, be no collection by the County Council officers at all, and there could be no friction where there was no collection.
§ MR. BAUMANN
said, that in Clause 18, which dealt with the transfer of certain licences, it would be found that for the purpose of levying such duties the County Council and its officers were to make the collection and pay over the money to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.
§ MR. FIRTH
said, he would only refer the hon. and learned Member to the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, which happened to coincide with 1124 his own. The argument of the hon. and learned Member was that it was unjust to cut off the grant to London; but he was apparently not aware that the grant to the country generally was also cut off. The police were already paid out of the national funds for the national duties which they performed, and if the hon. Member had taken the trouble to examine the police accounts he would have found that the Imperial Exchequer paid for the national duties so performed. It did not appear that the National Exchequer paid for the whole of the duties, but they certainly paid for a very large portion of them. If the hon. and learned Member would refer to the last police accounts, he would find that every Department paid towards the maintenance of the police considerable sums in respect of the services they rendered. Indeed every Government Department and every Public Department contributed towards the cost. He had endeavoured to ascertain whether all the Departments were covered, and he understood that they were; if they were not, the difficulty could easily be met by making them contribute. The question, therefore, as to London being the seat of government was at once met by the proposition that the police employed for Government purposes should be paid by the Department which employed them. With respect to the Amendment that was now before the House, he thought it was a pity that the Government found themselves unable to look favourably upon it. He knew that it was a very serious thing to alter the system of the Metropolitan Police as it had grown up. But the system in the counties was being altered, and some control was given to the Councils in the counties, while they were giving none in London. He should be content to take, in the first instance, what the Government were giving to the counties, when the Government could not go the full length of the proposition of his hon. Friend. They were, however, granting to London a County Council in which they expected to have more confidence than in any other County Council they created. He believed that it would be a County Council which would reflect both in its conduct and character the utmost honour on the right hon. Gentleman who created it. Then why should the Government propose to give to that Council absolutely 1125 less control than they were giving to the other County Councils in the country? For the first time they were giving to an elected Body—the County Councils—control over the police, and why should not the principle of unity be recognized throughout the Bill? A great principle was fought yesterday on the question of Aldermen, and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board gave way to a certain extent. The great principle involved was the continued existence of Aldermen. The right hon. Gentleman would not give way altogether, but he consented to give way as to that principle; and hon. Members on that side of the House were thankful to him for that concession. It formed a useful precedent, and he hoped it would be adopted in this case. He believed that his hon. Friend who moved the Amendment was willing to put London in the same category as the ether County Councils. The Metropolitan Police were now under the control of the Home Secretary. The manner in which the police were controlled years ago had been very well described by his hon. Friend, In many districts of London, such as Lambeth, and Deptford with its 20,000 inhabitants, there was not a single controlling Body or Watch Committee, and nothing but a voluntary organization. When Sir Robert Peel created the Police Force by the Act of 1829, there were only three constables—not always sober—and three watchmen in the whole of the great parish of Kensington. No doubt if there had been a County Council in existence then, the control of the police would have been placed by the Police Act in their hands, but there was no such Body in existence, and he certainly thought that the Government in creating a County Council for London should have complete confidence in it. The force which came into being by the Act of 1829 only consisted of 1,200 men, and some years elapsed before it was increased to 3,000; whereas now there was a Body of 14,000 men patrolling an area of 688 square miles. Was the police force now at all analogous to the old constables and watchmen? The London policeman was not now a civil officer, but the force had developed a semi-military character. London policemen were under the command of a military man; they 1126 lived in lodgings to a certain extent isolated from the rest of the population; they were subjected to drill, and revolvers had been placed in the hands of some of them. And, therefore, without any power of control on the part of the people of London, this vital and important change had been made in the character of the force. It was to be forcibly borne in mind that the cost of a policeman in London was much above the average cost of a policeman in the rest of the country. The ordinary cost of a London policeman exceeded £100 a-year. A short time ago fears were expressed that it would be necessary to increase the force this year by 1,000 men. He believed the force had been increased by about 500 men; but, supposing that only 200 had been added, it would have involved an increased expenditure of £20,000 a-year, without the people of London having the slightest power or means of controlling the matter. Was that a position in which the people of London ought to be placed? At present it was considered to be their duty to pay the money, and nothing more. They had no control over the force whatever, and yet they paid £1,200,000 a-year for the London Police. That was a very large sum to pay without having the slightest shadow of control, and he regarded it as being of necessity an infraction of their rights. He would not say that in the hands of the Home Office there was any danger that the police would be used for political purposes. He would not say for a moment that in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman who now occupted that Office the police would ever be used in any case for a political purpose. But still there were Home Secretaries and Home Secretaries, and they could not always be certain that they would have men of the high and honourable character of the right hon. Gentleman fulfilling the duties of that Office. On the contrary, they might have a man who would have no compunction in using the police for political purposes. A Commission in 1837 made a proposal which went, in many respects, on the lines of the proposal made to the Committee that day. He rested his argument in support of the Amendment on the argument that they had already made the same provision in the case of other and inferior Councils. He maintained that it was unjust not to repose 1127 in the County Council of London the same confidence that they reposed in the County Councils in all other parts of the country. The working of the system was, he thought, shown in its most extreme form in 1866, when the ratepayers of Chislehurst, Barnet, and other outlying districts were charged for an increase in the Metropolitan Police Force that was employed for purposes with which they had nothing whatever to do. As a proof of the high character with which the London County Council was regarded, they had already provided that Aldermen should form part of its constitution, and yet a Council so constituted was to be deprived entirely of the control of the police. He failed to understand the reason which induced the Government to deny to the London Council that which they had already given to inferior Councils. He submitted to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board that he might fairly meet them half way, as he had done in the other case, and give to the London Council the same control that he had given to the County Councils generally.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
said, that he interposed that early in the debate for the sole purpose of stating what the views of the Government were. He should endeavour to answer the arguments brought forward in support of the Amendment as shortly as possible. He would pass by some minor objections to the proposal which had been taken by the hon. and learned Member for the Peckham Division of Camberwell (Mr. Baumann), and he would first refer to the fact that there was a difficulty in regard to the area. The Amendment contracted the area of the Metropolitan district and the area included under the Metropolitan Police Act to that of the County Councils, which were entirely different. As he understood the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member, it was that the area of the Metropolitan Police district should be cut down to that of a County Council. That was distinctly a retrograde proposition, for the movement had hitherto been in the direction of enlarging the Metropolitan area. It had even been thought necessary, in the case of boroughs like Croydon and West Ham, within the Metropolitan area, to 1128 take away from them the ordinary jurisdiction which the Watch Committees of other boroughs exercised in regard to their police. The main argument in support of the Motion was that, because they were going to entrust to the County Councils throughout the country certain powers with regard to the police, they ought also to entrust them to the Council for London. It was said, "You have conferred certain powers on other County Councils, and why not confer the same powers on London also?" Taken shortly, that was the sum and substance of the argument. But, as a matter of fact, that was scarcely the case, because the House had decided that the police in the counties should be under the control and in the hands of a joint committee. The hon. Gentleman, however, did not himself propose to treat the London County Council as an ordinary County Council. The whole of his argument hitherto had been that London was not the same as an ordinary county, and still less as an ordinary borough. To regard the Metropolitan Police as the same as the police in any borough was totally to misapprehend its position in the eyes of the country and of London. The Metropolitan Police had various Imperial functions to perform which did not fall upon the police of any other place. In some sense all the functions of the police might be called Imperial, and if they were to argue this matter as theorists only, it would be difficult to point out why the detection and prevention of crime was not as much an Imperial duty as the punishment of crime. On the principles of scientific legislation, the argument would be much stronger in the direction of centralization than decentralization; and although, from the point of view of the position taken up with respect to other parts of the country, it might perhaps be illogical to place the police of the country entirely in the hands of the Central Authorities, yet he believed that the theory of our system in the boroughs and counties was not an ideal or perfect theory, and when they considered the position of London he was convinced that to treat the Metropolitan Police on the same principle as was applied to the ordinary local police was altogether impossible. He would remind the Committee of some of the distinctly Imperial 1129 functions which fell to the lot of the Metropolitan Police. First of all it had to protect the Sovereign and Parliament. A large part of the cost of the Metropolitan Police was due to their having to protect both Houses of Parliament, as well as the persons of the Sovereign and Royal Family wherever they might go, and for that purpose they were frequently sent down to the country to assist the local police on the occasion of the opening of public buildings and institutions, and on other similar occasions. The hon. Member had himself referred to those duties, but had passed them by with a word, saying that for the purpose under his plan some special constables were to be created. Then all the Royal Palaces and public buildings were at present under the care of the Metropolitan Police.
§ MR. MATTHEWS
said, that that was probably the case, because everything was done tentatively in this country. Before the Police Act, they were under that Dogberry system of drunken beadles apppointed by the parishes; but he did not suppose that any advocate of change in his wildest moments would wish to go back to it in these days. To return, however, to the functions of the Metropolitan Police; these were not confined to the protection of both Houses of Parliament, the Sovereign, and the Royal Family, but they extended to the Government Buildings, Dockyards, and great National Establishments throughout the country. The hon. Member said that the Government Establishments paid for the protection afforded to them, and that the matter was, therefore, quit, and must be struck out on both sides. But that was not correct. When the Estimates were offered, it would be found that he had asked for an increase of £20,000 for the Metropolitan Police on account of the enormous increase of charge for the protection of public buildings, for which purpose the previous Vote was quite insufficient. Not the least important among the duties of the police was what he might call the International work which they had to do. This involved an amount of work which those who had the management of police in municipalities would not dream of. The 1130 whole process of tracking out international frauds rested with them, and it would be admitted that in this they had to discharge a duty much more Imperial than local. Then, the police were stationed at various ports to investigate and prevent crimes against the State, which was, of course, work distinctly of an Imperial character, and which it would be impossible to transfer. To put upon a Local Council the command of an army of 14,000 men was a work which no country had ever taken up. He trusted that the new London Council would be equal to any work which it might be asked to undertake; but, at the same time, he thought it would be inappropriate to ask that Council to perform tasks which were Imperial in their nature, and which related to matters with regard to which the general Government of the country should be responsible. In his opinion, however, it would not be right to put the London Council in command of a large army of men in a district in which the Imperial Parliament sat. His hon. Friend had not pressed his argument home as he might have been expected to do; but he would invite the Committee to consider the state of things which might have arisen in Paris if within recent years the Municipal Council of Paris had been in command of a large police force as against the National Assembly. But even in the case of a calmer country like America, the Constitution itself provided that the control of the police, in a district of 10 square miles surrounding the House of Congress, should be placed in the hands of the governing power. He could only say that it was the opinion of most Statesmen of the present day that it was impossible to put alongside Parliament a popular body having a large force at its command. He thought the Committee would long hesitate before they introduced such an innovation. He presumed the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) might be considered as a fair exponent of Liberal views upon this matter; and a short time ago that right hon. Gentleman brought in a Bill—in 1884—for the Government of London, and he perceived that by that Bill the Metropolitan Police were not to have been affected. There was not a word about taking the Metropolitan Police from the authority 1131 with whom their control now rested, for the purpose of transferring it to a popular body. Now, the authority under which the police of the Metropolis were, was, as the hon. Gentleman had said, the House of Commons, and that House had certainly not shown any indication of a disposition to allow the Home Secretary for the time being the slightest undue licence as regarded the management of the police. If he had any complaint to make, it would be that certain hon. Members had carried their vigilant inspection of the Metropolitan Police into matters of detail and discipline, which had, perhaps, better be left alone. He believed that the present system was the best for the performance of those Imperial functions which the police had to discharge, as well as those minor duties which had to be done in connection with every borough in the country, but which in London were complicated by foreign relations and the influx of visitors. He would now touch upon another subject—namely, the cost. It was true that the Metropolitan Police were costly. That was due to two circumstances—first, the greater number of police per 1,000 in the Metropolis, and, secondly, to the greater cost per man. With regard to the numbers of the Metropolitan Police, as compared with those of the Provincial towns, he found that whereas London had 25 policemen to every 10,000 inhabitants, Manchester had 22, Liverpool 17, Glasgow 18, Sheffield 12, and Birmingham 12. He did not think that anyone who knew London would say that the number of the Metropolitan Police was at all disproportionate to the amount of property which they had to protect, in addition to the other Imperial duties he had mentioned. The cost of the Metropolitan Police Force was £98 12s. per man, as against £102 18s. in Birmingham, £99 13s. in Leeds, and £103 2s. in Sal-ford. The cost of superannuating the men in the Metropolitan Police was £11 10s. per head, leaving the average cost per man, independent of superannuation, about £87 2s. The pay of the men amounted to £78 9s. per head, leaving a sum of only £8 13s. per head for extraneous expenses, such as the cost of police stations, accoutrements, and other matters. This was less than the cost of the police in Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, and Sheffield. 1132 In Liverpool the amount was £19 13s., against £8 13s. for the Metropolis; in Birmingham, £24 18s.; Manchester, £9 7s.; and Sheffield, £7 5s. As to the pay of the police, the Metropolis was £78, Manchester £77 8s., and Sheffield £75. While, therefore, the average pay per constable of the Metropolitan Force was about the same as that in the large towns, the rest of the cost per man was considerably less. It could not be said, then, that the Metropolitan Police was expensively managed in anything but the item for superannuation, which he admitted to be high. That point had received his anxious attention; but the Committee, he thought, would agree that any proposal to deal with superannuation would be sure to excite great discontent and remonstrance. It was by no means an easy thing, when once a liberal superannuation scheme was introduced, to modify or cut it down. The experience of everyone who knew London would be to the effect that there were not really too many policemen. They were obliged to have an abnormal number of police, owing to the number of the inhabitants of the Metropolis; and he thought that the proposition of the hon. Member, to place the control of the Metropolitan Police under any authority except that of a Minister of the Crown responsible to Parliament, could not be assented to, as being a policy to which no civilized country had ever yet listened.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
said, he acknowledged the conciliatory manner in which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Matthews) had received this proposal. The object of everyone was to secure the peace of the Metropolis, and the maintenance of law and order. He did not think right hon. Gentlemen ought to lay over-much stress on the first argument, that it would be difficult to trace the boundaries of London for the purpose they had in view. The right hon. Gentleman knew that the boundary had already been drawn with reference to West Ham and Croydon; and, therefore, there would be no practical difficulty in the matter. The chief argument advanced by the right hon. Gentleman was that, London being the seat of Government, the Metropolitan Police must necessarily have a large 1133 number of Imperial duties to perform. He regretted to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that, so far as he was concerned, he was not only in favour of centralization with regard to the London police, but also with regard to the police in other parts of the country; because, as he said, in many cases of smaller towns Imperial and local functions necessarily overlapped. There was, undoubtedly, great force in the right hon. Gentleman's contention that the London police had a greater number of Imperial duties to perform than there were in any other borough in England. But he thought that the argument of the right hon. Gentleman was met by the fact that these functions, in a certain sense, were distinct one from the other. They already voted on the Estimates sums for distinct Imperial services, and if there were other purposes for which they did not vote money, then he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary would move that London should receive a grant for those purposes. He did not believe that anyone on that side of the House would desire that those Imperial functions—the protection of the Sovereign, the Houses of Parliament and public buildings—should not remain in the hands of the Executive Government, and that they should not be carried out by an Imperial as distinct from a local force. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had forgotten that London was represented at present by two police forces—that of the City and the ordinary Metropolitan Police. That being so, he thought it would be easy to continue the distinction and have two forces, an Imperial and a local force. It seemed to him, then, that the argument of the right hon. Gentleman, on the ground of the Imperial functions which had to be discharged by the Metropolitan Police, had no very great weight. Paris, of course, was always trotted out in this connection because it was a very revolutionary and disturbed place. If Paris was the cause of revolutions and changes in Government in France, it was because the people in the provinces had to submit and had no voice in the matter at all. But London was far from being revolutionary, it was distinctly Conservative; and he thought the fact that those who were called Democratic Tories and sat on the opposite side of the 1134 House supported the Government in their Conservative measures was a proof that no real comparison could be made between Paris and London on the ground of the fear of revolutionary riots. But they must consider this matter from a practical point of view. Could any hon. Member of that House say that the present position of the Metropolitan Police Force was really satisfactory? Was there not often great and dangerous friction between Her Majesty's Government, whether Liberal or Conservative, and the Metropolis in regard to the police? The hon. and learned Member for the Peckham Division of Camberwell (Mr. Baumann) said that the sedition-mongers of Trafalgar Square would have been allowed their own way if the police had been under local management. But the great majority of the sedition-mongers, as they were called, who took part in the demonstrations at Trafalgar Square, had a political and not a local object in view. If it had been a matter between them and a Local Body it would have been settled in a different manner. Then there was the case which came up last year, by which the country nearly lost the services of the right hon. Gentleman the present Home Secretary. He referred to the case of Police-Constable Endacott and Miss Cass. That was a case which ought never to have come before the House of Commons, not indeed because, according to the hon. and learned Member for Peckham, the House ought to have no voice at all in the matter of the Metropolitan Police. The hon. Member wanted to shut the mouths of Members in that House, and at the same time did not wish them to exercise any control whatever over police matters. The reason why this case ought never to have come before the House of Commons was that it was a purely local one and not one which ought to have affected the stability of Her Majesty's Government or the position of the Home Secretary. In his own constituency, a short time ago, orders were issued by Sir Charles Warren by which a large number of street barrows were ordered to be removed from positions in which barrows had been allowed to stand for the last 20 or 30 years. This was a matter in which, owing to the present police arrangements, the locality had no voice, and the consequence was that, 1135 instead of its being dealt with by the locality, he had been compelled to bring the matter under the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary. [Mr. MATTHEWS: They would have power to deal with it.] He was certainly given to understand that the order had come down from Sir Charles Warren, and it was only by dint of showing Sir Charles Warren and the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary that it was against the wish of the Local Authorities that he was able to obtain a reversal of this order. But he intended that not one of these local matters should have come before the House of Commons. Unfortunately, it was too often the case that matters affecting the Metropolitan Police were turned into subjects of agitation because Her Majesty's Government had to deal with them as purely local affairs, and he was afraid that when they obtained these new Local Councils matters would become worse than before. It had been said that there would be contention and strife between the new Council and Her Majesty's Government if such questions as these had to be raised in the House of Commons, and he (Mr. Sydney Buxton) was afraid that this kind of friction would be more dangerous than that which had hitherto occurred between a small section of the people of London and the Home Secretary. It was because he believed that, on the whole, there would be much less friction in regard to the police in the future, if the people had the control of them, and because he believed that the question of Imperial care and local care could be easily distinguished the one from the other, that he cordially supported the proposal of his hon. Friend; and he hoped that if the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board could not see his way to accept the Amendment now, he would, at any rate, leave open the question which it involved.
§ MR. FIRTH
said, in the course of his observations he had stated the cost of the Metropolitan Police to be £100 17s. 10d. per man. He was then quoting from the Return of his hon. Friend the Member for the Hoxton Division; but the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had quoted from the subsequent Return of Mr. Murphy—whoever he might be—according to which the cost of the police was less than the sum 1136 he had stated by £2. When he had spoken of the cost of the police, he meant the cost per inhabitant.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said, that in dealing with these matters they must look at the possible contingency of friction arising between the County Council and the Government of the day, and then the question would be asked, "Who is to be supreme?" If such friction were to exist, the Government must, unless they had a police force of an Imperial character, rely on the military. He strongly objected to legislation which would make it necessary, or even possible, for the Government of the day to have to call in the military to override civil institutions, and, therefore, it seemed to him absolutely necessary that the control of this force of 14,000 men should be absolutely in the hands of the Government of the day whatever that Government might be. For this reason he protested against the handing the control of the Metropolitan Police over to the County Council.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Matthews) did not adequately recognize the fact that this Bill did not leave things as they were. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to the Bill which was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt). Now, whatever objection might be taken to that Bill, certainly the argument might be used in favour of it that it left police questions precisely as they were. But what was the attitude which Her Majesty's Government had assumed? They had taken a new departure in regard to the Metropolitan Police. At present one-half of the cost of the police was provided by the House of Commons, and was voted annually by them; but, in future, the whole cost of the Metropolitan Police would be exempt from the control of the House, and also from the control of any Municipal Body whatever. Whereas, at present, the Exchequer paid half the cost of the police, in future every farthing of that cost would come out of the pockets of the people of London, and who, however, would have no kind of control over that body. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had referred to the question of cost. He (Mr 1137 Pickersgill) did not intend to go into that question in detail, but there was one police force in the country which he believed everyone agreed was a very expensive body. He referred to the Royal Irish Constabulary, and he would like to compare the cost of that force with that of the Metropolitan Police. He found that the Royal Irish Constabulary had a strength of 15,500 men, and cost £1,439,000 a-year; whereas the Metropolitan Police, with a strength of 14,000 men, cost £1,565,000 a-year. Now, he thought that showed that the Metropolitan Police was, at all events, not very economically administered. The hon. and learned Member for the Peckham Division of Camberwell (Mr. Baumann) appeared to object to their proposal mainly on the ground, as he expressed it, that it placed a standing army of 14,000 men under the control of a Radical County Council in London. He did not propose to place a standing army of 14,000 men under the control of the County Council of London. He would examine, for a moment, how the Metropolitan Police Force was composed, and how it was occupied. He found that 750 members of the force were employed in Dockyards and at the military stations at Woolwich, Chatham, Portsmouth, Devonport, and Pembroke; and he asked what had a civil force to do with the control of military stations, all of which lay outside the Metropolis, and some of which were very remote from it? In the first place, it was quite clear that those 750 men should be struck off the Metropolitan Police Force at once, and a separate force provided for the performance of those duties. But, besides these, there were 650 men of the Metropolitan Police employed on what were called special duties. All these were attendant on public offices and museums, and he submitted that this was not the duty of the police. There was no necessity to employ the police in such duties, and he (Mr. Pickersgill) would give the Committee a particular illustration. Originally, at the Law Courts, in the Strand, the protection of the inside of the building was undertaken by the Metropolitan Police, but for some reason their employment was discontinued, and the authorities of the Law Courts had established a staff of their own; and at present, he believed, there were no Metropolitan Police within the 1138 building. It was perfectly clear that what had been done with regard to the Law Courts might be extended to other public buildings and offices. But it was not only in looking after public offices and museums that the Metropolitan Police were employed; they were actually hired out to public Companies and private individuals. He saw that policemen were hired out to the Army and Navy Co-operative Stores, the London and Brighton Railway Company, Drummond's Bank, Shoolbred and Co., Lambeth Palace, and, last of all, to the Queen's Arms Music Hall. He could not imagine why the last should be singled out for special police protection. He could assure the hon. Gentleman the Member for Peckham (Mr. Baumann) that he stood in quite as much apprehension as he did of a standing army in London of 14,000 men, and he pointed out that the number of the force was constantly increasing. In 1886 there were 500 men added to the Metropolitan Police, and last year 150 more, while at the present time he understood that the Chief Commissioner was clamouring for a further large augmentation of the force. He did not complain of that in the slightest degree; it was inevitable, while things remained as they were, that they should go on augmenting this already overgrown force, because it had to control a population that already approached 5,500,000, and was increasing at the rate of 100,000 a-year. Great urban communities were growing up outside the Metropolitan area, and he asked what would hereafter be the population within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police? Already West Ham and Croydon had received Charters of Incorporation, and he thought that on every ground of reason and precedent these Charters ought to be accompanied by the control of the police. Other urban communities were growing up, and he wanted to know where the Government would put a limit to this enormous and undivided force? Some hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House had very frankly stated their opinion that the whole police force of the country ought to be under the control of the Home Office. But he was surprised to hear that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary shared that opinion, although he might not have the courage 1139 to say so in precise terms. He submitted that the existence of this enormous force, which was constantly growing, threatened the life of every police force in the country. These two kinds of forces he was afraid could not exist side by side, and it was to be apprehended that the Metropolitan Force would eventually swallow up the rest. At a time when they were taking this new departure, he would like to impress upon the Committee that they had a great opportunity for breaking up this unwieldy Body, and resolving it into smaller and more workable divisions. How was that to be done? In the first place, he presumed that hon. Members were aware that the area of the Metropolitan Police extended into the counties of Hertfordshire, Essex, Middlesex, Sussex, and Kent; and clearly the rational and logical proceeding would be to give back to those counties the area which the Metropolis had usurped from them, and thus strike off at once a considerable number of this armed force of 14,000 men. Another portion of the force should be immediately struck off by placing the military stations under separate bodies of police, and by placing the Government Offices and Museums under a separate staff of assistants, as had been done in the case of the Law Courts, which would still further reduce the number of men; so that after all it would be a somewhat attenuated army that the Radical Council of London would, in the long run, take over. His hon. Friend the Member for Hoxton had referred in the course of his speech to the extreme importance of the existence of close touch and sympathy between the police and the people whom they had to control. He desired to emphasize that point, because, however efficient their machinery might be for the purpose of prevention and detection of crime, it would break down at some point or other, unless it had the general co-operation of the citizens. There was one condition, and one only, upon which they could have that cordial co-operation; and the condition was, that they should repose confidence in them. But the Government were not reposing confidence in the citizens by withdrawing from them the control of the police, and he was afraid that the consequences might be far otherwise than most hon. Gentlemen would desire. A short time ago, in a Police Court, evidence was given that 1140 a number of bystanders in a London street had looked on without offering the slightest assistance while a police officer was engaged in a desperate struggle with a criminal armed with a loaded revolver. When that case was heard the magistrate on the Bench indignantly asked—"Are we ceasing to be English?" He did not desire to say one word which might seem to extenuate the conduct of those bystanders, who were so unmanly and so reckless of human life; but he would venture to suggest that there was a very close relation between the English virtue, of which the magistrate was so proud, and those free institutions which were also entitled to the distinctive name of English, and, if they recklessly and wilfully destroyed the tree at its root, they must not be surprised to find themselves grievously disappointed when they came to seek for the fruit.
§ MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)
said, that the County Council of London would have duties of the most diverse and complicated nature transferred to it, which would have to be discharged by a body of untried men; and surely it was most unwise unnecessarily to add the additional burden of the control of the police? He was astonished to hear it said that there was a prejudice against the police in the Metropolis. There was no such prejudice, or, if there was, it was confined entirely to the criminal classes, and to law-breaking mobs, who, happily, very rarely troubled the peace of the Metropolis. There might also be friction occasionally between the police and a few dull demagogues who brought themselves into contact with the police by their folly. With the exception of that very small amount of friction he said that the majority of all classes of people in London were thoroughly satisfied with the way in which the police discharged their duties, and were proud that they had in their midst a body of men so honest, patient, and in all respects so thoroughly deserving of their confidence. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had suggested that there should be a division of the Metropolitan Police into separate bodies, but he (Mr. Whitmore) pointed out that it was quite beyond the scope of the Bill to make any such alterations. The time, moreover, had not yet come for any such change, and in the meanwhile 1141 he submitted that in order to allow the County Council of London to discharge its duties efficiently it was expedient that the police should remain under the control of the Home Office. For these reasons he should vote without the slightest hesitation against the Amendment of the hon. Member.
§ MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
Sir, I venture to address a few words to the Committee on this Amendment, because I have had the honour of holding the Office of Home Secretary, and from the day when it was my duty to take charge of that Office the question of the future management of the police in London was to me one of the most anxious I have ever contemplated. This question having occupied my thoughts while I was at the Home Office, and since that time, I venture to say, with full knowledge and responsibility, that after you have constituted the Local Body for the government of London, and after the whole of the expense of the police force is being charged upon the locality, it will not be practicable to maintain the present arrangements. I say, not off-hand, but after mature consideration, that the counties—and London will be the most important of them—must have the management of their police. Probably in time that process will go further in substituting direct authority for that of the joint committees, and the direct control will become greater; but whether that be so or not, I am quite certain that from the time when the entire expense of the police is locally borne, and when these Councils are constituted, it will be impossible to prevent the control of the police being vested to the extent proposed by the Bill in the representative Body. Then the practical question arises, how are you to deal with certain branches of the police whose duties are Imperial? In what way are you to insure that over that police force which is charged with Imperial duties there shall be Imperial supervision, while for that part of the Metropolitan Force charged with local duties there shall be local supervision? I am trying to discuss this question as a purely practical one, which, if not settled now will weigh on us for some time to come. Something has been said about the police arrangements of foreign countries, and I listened with attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for 1142 the Home Department (Mr. Matthews) and the reference he made to the police arrangements of France and America. Now the analogy with regard to America is not exactly what the right hon. Gentleman describes. In America every State manages its own police. The State of New York, for instance, with a city of, roughly speaking, 2,000,000 inhabitants, has a local police, and the fact that New York is in the opinion of some people a somewhat turbulent city has not prevented the law remaining good, under which the State of New York entirely manages its own police. Again, Boston and the large towns of the Western States have in every case local management, and so far the analogy proposed to be set up by the right hon. Gentleman fails. But it is said that the case is different with the State of Washington, and That there the Local Authority does not manage the police, and that it is controlled by the United States Government under the authority of Congress. But Washington is not a State; Washington does not in any sense enjoy the priviledge of a State; it has been expressly excepted in the United States Constitution from the ordinary privileges which every other part of the country possesses. It does not send Representatives to Congress except as a territory—the territory of Columbia. Washington is not in any sense to be compared with the other States of America; it is far less in population than New York, Boston, or the large Western towns; it has never become a State, not on account of its size, but because it is the seat of Government without any of the industrial or political characteristics of a State. On that account while the several States have power over their own police, Washington from the time when it was hardly more than a village has been governed by the Executive of the United States. It is a mere official town, while nine-tenths of London has no official character, but is a great trading and manufacturing City. Then the analogy of France was brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman, but the Committee will remember that the French system is quite different from what we have here. The police in France are a semi-military body for the control of not only Paris, but for Marsailles, Lyons, and, in fact, 1143 all the Departments of France. There is, therefore, no analogy between the arrangements we have here and the arragements in France, and the analogy of the right hon. Gentleman falls to the ground entirely. Now, how, on our principles of police management, can we make the arrangements which must before long be made with respect to the police of the Metropolis? I say that there must be a body of police responsible to the Minister for certain Imperial purposes. That appears to me to be a sound system to adopt. It will be necessary to have a certain Police Force for the protection of Royal Palaces and the protection of this House, the Royal Parks, and Public Institutions, as well as for the protection of our Dockyards and great establishments at Portsmouth and elsewhere; and we must retain that force under the control of the Imperial Government. I think that in any arrangement we make, a police force, responsible to and under the control of the Executive Government, should be maintained for these Imperial purposes; but for the ordinary purposes of police within the enormous Metropolitan area which is not to be distinguished in its character and requirements from many of our great towns and populous parts of the country, I think we should have an ordinary police force under the same system as that which exists in those great towns. I venture to say that there is nothing impracticable in carrying out that division of the work. It exists already at Portsmouth and Devonport, and other dockyards and arsenal towns, and works quite smoothly. If the right hon. Gentleman accepts the proposition that such a division should be made, I undertake to say that with the assistance of the advisers at his command, he would have no difficulty in making a distinction between the two forces; and I therefore strongly recommend to the Committee to keep in view that, while it is absolutely necessary to have a police force for Imperial purposes under the control of the Secretary of State, it is not necessary that the whole of the Metropolitan Police Force should be under the control of the Central Authority.
§ THE PRESIDENT or THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
said, they were very glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Childers) 1144 the impressions which his valuable experience had left upon his mind. The right hon. Gentleman had sketched out what he considered a solution of the police question. His solution amounted to this—that there should be two forces, one for local and the other for Imperial purposes. Before expressing any decided opinion upon that scheme, he (Mr. Ritchie) must say he should very much like to see it worked out in some Bill, so as to see exactly what it was that was proposed. So far as he (Mr. Ritchie) was concerned, it seemed, on the face of it, exceedingly undesirable that in one city they should have two police forces under different control, not restricted within different areas, but common to the whole Metropolis. He thought that if the right hon. Gentleman worked out the details of his scheme, he would find they would not present those agreeable features which he seemed at present to think they would. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to what had been said by the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews) in connection with France and with Washington. With regard to Washington, the whole speech of the right hon. Gentleman seemed to confirm the position taken up by the Home Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Childers) told them that in every other city in America the police force was a municipal force, controlled by the municipalities, but that in Washington it was not so controlled. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman seemed to him, if good for anything at all, to tell entirely in favour of the position assumed by the Government.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, that what he said was that Washington was not one of the large municipal towns of America, but was a purely official town.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, that that was his argument. The right hon. Gentleman said that Washington was a small town, but it was the seat of Government. It was a small town; but, being the seat of Government, it was considered undesirable to treat it in reference to the police in the same way as all other towns in the United States were treated. Surely, â fortiori, if it was considered necessary because Washington was the seat of Government that the police force should not be under the control of the municipality, the case of 1145 London was infinitely stronger, because here there was a population of 5,000,000.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had failed to appreciate his argument. His argument was that nine-tenths of London had nothing to do with the government of the country, whereas Washington was a purely official town.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, that he would not pursue the matter further; he had said what he wanted to say, and would leave the argument of the right hon. Gentleman for what it was worth. He contended, and he thought there was a good deal of strength in the argument, that, whereas in Washington, a small town and the seat of Government, the police was not under the control of the municipality, it was infinitely more important that in a large town, where it was much more easy that circumstances might arise which would render local control undesirable, the police should be under Imperial control. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to France; he (Mr. Ritchie) confessed he was not so familiar with the conduct of the police in France as to be able to very strongly contradict what the right hon. Gentleman had said; but he was informed there was what might be called a municipal force in every town in France, except Paris. There were the Sergents de Ville, which were to all intents and purposes a local force, in all other towns in France; but in Paris, it was an Imperial force. However that might be, the Government adhered to the argument used by the Home Secretary; they contended that it would be a most dangerous thing to place a great army like the police of London under any Local Authority whatever. That had always been the opinions of Governments of this country, whether they were Liberal or Conservative. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Childers) had said that when he was Home Secretary he had come to the conclusion that it would be impossible to maintain the force as it stood then.
§ MR. RITCHIE
presumed the right hon. Gentleman would not be inclined to recede from his position, even if the whole expense was not borne by the Metropolis, because there were other considerations in his mind besides the 1146 question of expense. It was a matter of regret that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) was not in his place. They would have been glad to have heard what the right hon. Gentleman had to say upon this point, because the responsibilities of the right hon. Gentleman when he was Home Secretary were even greater than those of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers). The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby had the responsibility of bringing in the London Government Bill, and he deliberately provided that the control of the police should remain in the hands of the Home Office. If rumour were true, he maintained that position against very strong and urgent representations made to him; and, if again rumour spoke truly, there was some difference of opinion in the Cabinet on the question; but the right hon. Gentleman, in his responsible position, felt that the retention of the control of the police as it stood that moment was of such vital importance that he would not give way to his Colleagues. It was quite true that the whole expense of the police was borne by London; but, on the other hand, there was to be handed over to the London Council certain revenues which had hitherto been Imperial revenues. Although, therefore, it might be strictly accurate to say that the London Council would have to pay for the police, the Government were providing London with the funds wherewith to pay. They provided in the Bill that the first charge upon the funds of the Metropolis was to be the money which it was necessary to pay to the Receiver for the maintenance of the Metropolitan Police. The funds were not to be paid over to the London Council until the contribution hitherto given by the Government was handed over to the Receiver of the Police. He was satisfied of this—that, if the inhabitants of the Metropolis were polled tomorrow, they would show unmistakably that they desired that the control of the police should remain where it was. One hon. Gentleman had said he was quite certain the time would come when the London County Council would insist upon having the control of the police. He (Mr. Ritchie) did not believe that that time would come; anyhow, let them wait until the demand was made; cer- 1147 tainly there was no evidence of any demand of that kind now, and the Government would be lacking in their duty if they were to take such a stupendous step as to hand over this Imperial force, this army of men, to the control of any Local Authority whatever.
§ MR. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM (Lanark, N.W.)
said, that he did not wish to intervene in the debate at any great length, but he wished to know whether all the complaints he had heard, about the time of Parliament being taken up with matters that might well be transferred to Committees, was a valid complaint, or whether hon. Members when they made it, merely made it to pass over the time? He wanted to know why he and other provincial Members should be called there Session after Session to discuss that matter of the London police. Day after day last Session they had this matter before them; not a day passed, but some question was put relating to the Metropolitan Police. He protested against provincial Members being obliged to come there and discuss that matter, which did not in any respect concern them selves. He wished, furthermore, to ask whether the capital of the country, which contained the greatest volume of intelligence, and where the working classes certainly were as well educated as those in the Provinces, was to be deemed inferior to the smallest provincial town in the matter of police, and whether the precedent calmly and deliberately created by this Committee—the precedent of giving the control of the police and the dismissal of the Chief Constables to the counties—was to weigh for anything in regard to the affairs of the capital of this Empire? He, personally, heard with considerable alarm, the remarks which fell from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie) when he talked about a body of armed men who were to be placed at the disposal of the Home Secretary. He, as a citizen of England, deprecated any idea of armed and irresponsible men.
§ MR. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM
said he would like to cite Glasgow, part of which city he had the honour to represent, as an illustration in connection 1148 with this matter. There certainly were as dangerous elements in that city as in London, and yet 900 police were sufficient to keep order in that city. He had himself addressed a meeting at which John Burns and others, not the most Conservative men, were present, and which was attended by between 50,000 and 60,000 people; 250 policeman, however, were quite sufficient to keep order. He could not see why hon. Members, who called themselves Conservative, should endeavour to stir up that very feeling which the Home Secretary deprecated, of hatred between the classes, by showing by their votes and speeches in that House that they considered their fellow-subjects in the capital of London unfit to exercise a privilege that they themselves had given to the rest of the country. He held that the example of Washington, a city with which he was acquainted, was absolutely deficient as a parallel case to that of London. Washington was but a very small place; it had not the elements that London had, and therefore the parallel which was attempted to be drawn between the two cities was an absolutely false one. He desired to know what was likely to happen if a feeling was excited, as had been excited in the House, between the police and the people. He deprecated the police of London being held up to public execration in the way they had been held. It was not very long ago that a policeman was a friend of every citizen in this country, but now he was assured by clergymen, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Nonconformist—and he supposed no hon. Member would say that they wished to excite angry feelings—that there was an undoubted feeling of distrust arising between the police and the very poor, the reason being that the police have been employed in duties which they never would have been employed in had they been under popular control. The hon. and learned Member for Chelsea (Mr. Whitmore) thought fit to say he believed there was no conflict between the police and the people of London, except a small criminal section and the few dull democrats. That might be so. He (Mr. Cunninghame Graham) hoped there was the utmost possible conflict between the criminal classes and the people; but with regard to the hon. and learned Gentleman's sneer at the dull democrats, he asked him whether, in that 1149 most miserable country of England, that country in which, five miles from where they were now assembled, hundreds of people were tramping the streets in search of work, a democrat could be otherwise than dull. A democrat had not the advantage of representing an aristocratic constituency in the West-End of London. He saw the rags and miseries of the people, and if his discourses to the people were dull, the hon. and learned Member at least had not been able to charge any democrats that they were in the smallest degree incendiary. It had been said by the President of the Local Government Board that if a poll were taken of the citizens of London, it would declare largely in favour of keeping the police arrangements as at present. If they took a vote of the rich in the West-End of the City, of those who were in affluent circumstances, he had but little doubt it would do so; but if they went to the dens of misery, if they went to the toiling thousands, if they went to the working classes, he was perfectly certain that they, as Englishmen, and men who had no wish to break the public peace, but still men by whose labour this very police force was maintained, would vote directly in the opposite sense. It had also been said by the right hon. Gentleman that the proposition put forward from the Front Opposition Bench would create two distinct police forces in the Metropolis. As long as they had palaces and were obliged to guard them, a small force of several hundred men would be absolutely sufficient for the purpose. As he understood the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers), he did not advance a single word as to the propriety of establishing a body of police that should be under a Central Authority for one moment. He (Mr. Cunninghame Graham) hoped that hon. Gentlemen before voting upon this Amendment would consider what they were doing, especially hon. Gentlemen who represented Metropolitan constituencies. He thought that such hon. Members would not lightly be disposed to go before popular constituencies when they themselves had so manifestly shown that they distrusted the very men whom they were supposed to represent in the House, He hoped 1150 that the Committee on that occasion would not be guided by political or Party consideration. He trusted that they would not do anything to create a most serious precedent, the effect of which would be to do what he most earnestly deplored—namely, stir up those very ill feelings between the police and the people hon. Members pretended they wished to avoid.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS
said, he thought that the case stated by his hon. Friend the Member for the Hoxton Division of Shoreditch (Mr. J. Stuart) and supplemented by his hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Pickersgill) remained entirely unanswered. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to look at this question from one point of view, and from one point of view only. Hon. Members upon the Opposition Benches had laid before the Committee the whole question of government as it related to the citizens of London. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had chosen to ignore entirely the question as it related to the citizens at large, and more than one speaker opposite had said that there was no feeling among the ordinary citizens in regard to the present management of the police. He (Mr. J. Rowlands) maintained there was the very strongest opinion among very respectable people in London in regard to the management of the police and as to the inadequate manner in which the force performed its ordinary functions. It had been his duty to put questions to the Home Secretary in regard to that inadequacy. In the neighbourhood he represented, they were at the present time completely dissatisfied with the way in which the Chief Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioners discharged their duties. The hon. and learned Member for Chelsea (Mr. Whitmore) said that it was only a few Radicals that complained. Allow him to assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that so far as his (Mr. J. Rowland's) neighbourhood was concerned, the complaint was not confined to what the hon. and learned Gentleman was pleased to call a "few wild Radicals." He did not suppose that the opinion of the Vestries of London would have much weight with hon. Gentlemen opposite, but, at least, many of the Vestries were re- 1151 spected and esteemed by the people they represented, and they had expressed in the most emphatic manner an opinion in favour of the Amendment now under consideration. There was a growing feeling among Londoners that they could manage their own affairs and look after property and the protection of life better than the police. He denied that the case of Washington afforded any reasonable analogy in this case; and as to France, he asked hon. Gentlemen opposite to carry the illustration to its legitimate end. Hon. Gentlemen had gone to Paris for one illustration; they might have gone to Paris for another illustration, and told them not how the police there might be used by the people for revolutionary purposes, but how in the early morning the force had been used by despots to take away the lives of innocent people, because some despicable fiend wanted to get on the Throne of France. The point was this. Take the case of an ordinary citizen who got into some difficulty with the police. [Laughter.] He assured hon. Members that that was no laughing matter. A man might be arrested for a crime he had or had not committed. What had he to do before he could get anything like justice? The moment the police station door was closed on a citizen, he had no redress without going to the Home Secretary. A man had first of all to move the Home Secretary, and he (Mr. J. Rowlands) undertook that difficult task a little while ago, and could say that he found it a very heavy task indeed, and, moreover, he did not succeed. If they had a Watch Committee, a man could go to his representative upon that committee, and prevail upon him to secure an investigation of his case, and if the police were in the right, they would be at once exonerated from any wild charges of exceeding their duty; but, if they were in the wrong, those injured would receive redress. He (Mr. J. Rowlands) was exceedingly glad that hon. Gentlemen opposite were not divided upon the question. They might find that it was not a question of Trafalgar Square alone, they had distinctly alluded to the people of London at large. They were continually prattling about their confidence in the people; but when they 1152 were appealed to by the people for the legitimate control of the police, they said—"We deny it to you; we will not give you the rights of manhood which are granted in the case of your brethren in provincial towns."
§ MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
said, that as he had been returned to the House by a Metropolitan constituency, he felt he should not be discharging his duty if he did not say that, in his opinion, they would never have in London peace and confidence between the police and the people until the police were placed under the control of the directly elected representatives of the people. In the course of his recent fight in Southwark, he never said a word against the police. He had always acknowledged the efficient manner in which they performed their duties; but he was bound to confess there was a very strong feeling on the part of the ratepayers, and especially on the part of the working classes, that they would never consent to have the police continue under the control of the Home Secretary, be he Liberal or Conservative. The people of London would never rest satisfied until they possessed the control of the police just in the same way as the rest of the country did. The argument of the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews) was an elaborate argument in favour of a special police for Parliamentary and Government purposes. By all means have that police, that would satisfy the people of London [Cries of "Divide!"]. There seemed to be an inclination on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite to close this debate in a premature way; but, personally, he thought that the discussion could be continued for some time longer with considerable advantage, especially by hon. Gentlemen opposite who represented Metropolitan constituencies. He considered that the advice given to the Government by their Metropolitan supporters was dangerous advice, and he was confident that the time was not far distant when the President of the Local Government Board would be convinced that the desire which the people of London expressed was a just and a legitimate desire.
§ Question put,
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 150; Noes 220: Majority 70,1155
|Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.)||Kay-Shuttleworth, rt. hon. Sir U. J.|
|Acland, A. H. D.||Kenny, C. S.|
|Acland, C. T. D.||Lalor, R.|
|Anderson, C. H.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Asquith, H. H.||Leahy, J.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Lefevre, rt. hn. G. J. S.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Mac Neill, J. G. S.|
|Ballantine, W. H. W.||M'Arthur, W. A.|
|Barbour, W. B.||M'Carthy, J.|
|Biggar, J. G.||M'Donald, Dr. R.|
|Bolton, J. C.||M'Laren, W. S. B.|
|Bolton, T. D.||Mahony, P.|
|Bradlaugh, C.||Mappin, Sir F. T.|
|Bright, Jacob||Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E.|
|Brunner, J. T.||Marum, E. M.|
|Buxton, S. C.||Mayne, T.|
|Byrne, G. M.||Molloy, B. C.|
|Caine, W. S.||Montagu, S.|
|Caldwell, J.||Morgan, O. V.|
|Cameron, J. M.||Morley, right hon. J|
|Causton, R. K.||Morley, A.|
|Chamberlain, R.||Mundella, rt. hon. A. J.|
|Chance, P. A.|
|Channing, F. A.||Newnes, G.|
|Childers, right hon. H. C. E.||Nolan, Colonel J. P.|
|Clancy, J. J.||O'Brien, J. F. X.|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.||O'Connor, T. P.|
|Cobb, H. P.||O'Gorman Mahon, The|
|Commins, A.||O'Hanlon, T.|
|Conway, M.||O'Keeffe, F. A.|
|Conybeare, C. A. V.||Palmer, Sir C. M.|
|Corbet, W. J.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Cossham, H.||Paulton, J. M.|
|Cox, J. R.||Pease, A. E.|
|Cozens-Hardy, H. H.||Philipps, J. W.|
|Crawford, D.||Pickersgill, E. H.|
|Cremer, W. R.||Picton, J. A.|
|Crilly, D.||Pinkerton, J.|
|Deasy, J.||Playfair, rt. hon. Sir L.|
|Dickson, T. A.|
|Duff, R. W.||Plowden, Sir W. C.|
|Ellis, J. E.||Powell, W. R. H.|
|Ellis, T. E.||Power, P. J.|
|Esmonde, Sir T. H. G.||Power, R.|
|Price, T. P.|
|Esslemont, P.||Provand, A. D.|
|Finucane, J.||Pugh, D.|
|Firth, J. F. B.||Quinn, T.|
|Fitzgerald, J. G.||Redmond, W. H. K.|
|Flower, C.||Roberts, J.|
|Flynn, J. C.||Roe, T.|
|Foley, P. J.||Roscoe, Sir H. E.|
|Fuller, G. P.||Rowlands, J.|
|Gill, T. P.||Rowlands, W. B.|
|Gladstone, H. J.||Rowntree, J.|
|Graham, R. C.||Russell, Sir C.|
|Grey, Sir E.||Samuelson, G. B.|
|Grove, Sir T. F.||Sexton, T.|
|Gully, W. C.||Shaw, T.|
|Haldane, R. B.||Sheehy, D.|
|Harrington, E.||Sheil, E.|
|Hayden, L. P.||Sinclair, J.|
|Hayne, C. Seale-||Smith, S.|
|Hooper, J.||Stack, J.|
|Howell, G.||Stanhope, hon. P. J.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|James, hon. W. H.||Stewart, H.|
|Joicey, J.||Sullivan, D.|
|Summers, W.||Warmington, C. M.|
|Swinburne, Sir J.||Williams, A. J.|
|Tanner, C. K.||Winterbotham, A. B.|
|Thomas, D. A.||Woodall, W.|
|Trevelyan, right hon. Sir G. O.||Woodhead, J.|
|Vivian, Sir H. H.||TELLERS.|
|Wallace, R.||Lawson, H. L. W.|
|Wardle, H.||Stuart, J.|
|Ainslie, W. G.||Curzon, hon. G. N.|
|Aird, J.||Dalrymple, Sir C.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Darling, C. J.|
|Anstruther, Colonel R. H. L.||Davenport, H. T.|
|De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Dimsdale, Baron R.|
|Baden-Powell, Sir G. S.||Dixon, G.|
|Donkin, R. S.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Dugdale, J. S.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.||Duncan, Colonel F.|
|Banes, Major G. E.||Ebrington, Viscount|
|Baring, Viscount||Egerton, hon. A. de T.|
|Baring, T. C.||Elcho, Lord|
|Bartley, G. C. T.||Elliot, hon. A. T. D.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Elliot, G. W.|
|Bass, H||Ellis, Sir J. W.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Elton, C. I.|
|Baumann, A. A.||Ewing, Sir A. O.|
|Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks-||Farquharson, H. R.|
|Feilden, Lt.-Gen. R. J.|
|Beaumont, H. F.||Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.|
|Bentinck, W. G. C.||Field, Admiral E.|
|Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer||Fielden, T.|
|Finch, G. H.|
|Bickford-Smith, W.||Finlay, R. B.|
|Bigwood, J.||Fisher, W. H.|
|Birkbeck, Sir E.||Fitzwilliam, hon. W. H. W.|
|Blundell, Colonel H. B. H.||Fitz-Wygram, Gen. Sir F. W.|
|Bolitho, T. B.|
|Bonsor, H. C. O.||Fletcher, Sir H.|
|Boord, T. W.||Forwood, A. B.|
|Borthwick, Sir A.||Fowler, Sir R. N.|
|Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C.||Fry, L.|
|Fulton, J. F.|
|Bristowe, T. L.||Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.||Gedge, S.|
|Brookfield, A. M.||Giles, A.|
|Brown, A. H.||Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.|
|Bruce, Lord H.|
|Burghley, Lord||Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Campbell, Sir A.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Carmarthen, Marq. of||Granby, Marquess of|
|Charrington, S.||Gray, C. W.|
|Clarke, Sir E. G.||Green, Sir E.|
|Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N.||Greene, E.|
|Coddington, W.||Grotrian, F. B.|
|Coghill, D. H.||Hall, A. W.|
|Colomb, Sir J. C. R.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Cooke, C. W. R.||Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.|
|Corbett, A. C.|
|Corbett, J.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Corry, Sir J. P.||Hamilton, Col. C. E.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B|
|Cross, H. S.||Hanbury, R. W.|
|Crossley, Sir S. B.||Hankey, F. A.|
|Crossman, Gen. Sir W.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Hardcastle, F.|
|Hartington, Marq. of||Morgan, hon. F.|
|Hastings, G. W.||Morrison, W.|
|Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-||Mount, W. G.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.|
|Herbert, hon. S.|
|Hermon-Hodge, R. T.||Muncaster, Lord|
|Hervey, Lord F.||Muntz, P. A.|
|Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.||Murdoch, C. T.|
|Hill, Colonel E. S.||Norris, E. S.|
|Hoare, E. B.||Northcote, hon. Sir H. S.|
|Hobhouse, H.||Norton, R.|
|Holloway, G.||Parker, C. S.|
|Houldsworth, Sir W. H.||Parker, hon. F.|
|Howorth, H. H.||Penton, Captain F. T.|
|Hughes-Hallett, Col F. C.||Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.|
|Plunkett, hon. J. W.|
|Hunter, Sir G.||Pomfret, W. P.|
|Isaacs, L. H.||Quilter, W. C.|
|Isaacson, F. W.||Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.|
|Jackson, W. L.||Rasch, Major F. C.|
|Jarvis, A. W.||Reed, H. B.|
|Jeffreys, A. F.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Jennings, L. J.||Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T.|
|Kelly, J. R.||Robertson, J. P. B.|
|Kenyon, hon. G. T.||Ross, A. H.|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.||Round, J.|
|Russell, Sir G.|
|Ker, R. W. B.||Sellar, A. C.|
|Kerans, F. H.||Selwyn, Capt. C. W.|
|Kimber, H.||Seton-Karr, H.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen, H. T.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|Kynoch, G.||Sinclair, W. P.|
|Lafone, A.||Smith, rt. hon. W. H.|
|Lambert, C.||Smith, A.|
|Laurie, Colonel R. P.||Spencer, J. E.|
|Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.||Stanhope, rt. hon. E.|
|Lees, E.||Stokes, G. G.|
|Legh, T. W.||Tapling, T. K.|
|Lethbridge, Sir R.||Temple, Sir R.|
|Lewisham, right hon. Viscount||Theobald, J.|
|Tollemache, H. J.|
|Llewellyn, E. H.||Townsend, F.|
|Long, W. H.||Tyler, Sir H. W.|
|Lowther, rt. hon. J.||Vernon, hon. G. R.|
|Lowther, hon. W.||Vincent, C. E. H.|
|Lowther, J. W.||Watson, J.|
|Lymington, Viscount||Webster, Sir R. E.|
|Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.||Webster, R. G.|
|Mac Innes, M.||Whitmore, C. A.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.||Winn, hon. R.|
|Maclean, F. W.||Wodehouse, E. R.|
|Madden, D. H.||Wood, N.|
|Marriott, rt. hon. Sir W. T.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart-|
|Wright, H. S.|
|Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story-||Wroughton, P.|
|Matthews, rt. hn. H.||TELLERS.|
|Maxwell, Sir H. E.||Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Mildmay, F. B.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|
|More, R. J.|
Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.
§ MR. JAMES STUART
in moving to insert, after the words "Metropolitan Board of Works," in lines 4 and 5, page 33, the words "and of the Metropolitan Asylums Board," said, the object of his Amendment was to transfer to the 1156 London County Council the duties and powers of the Asylums Board.
In page 33, lines 4 and 5, after the words "Metropolitan Board of Works," to insert the words "and of the Metropolitan Asylums Board."—(Mr. James Stuart.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he was not prepared to accept the Amendment, and for reasons he would very shortly give. The Metropolitan Asylums Boards was a Poor Law organization, and, as the Committee knew, they did not by the Bill deal with the Poor Law. He did not, however, advance that as a conclusive argument against the proposal of the hon. Gentleman, because there were duties thrown upon the Board other than those connected with the Poor Law, but he had another reason which he thought was of an exceedingly weighty character. The Metropolitan Asylums Board was charged with many important functions, functions second to none in importance when one had to consider the welfare of the people of the Metropolis. The Board had charge of fever hospitals, small-pox hospitals, and other matters intimately related to the public health of the Metropolis, and he thought it would be an unfortunate and a most undesirable thing to transfer duties such as these from an experienced Board of the kind to a new Body such as they were now setting up; a Body which would have upon its shoulders so many large and important duties, and whose time would, in consequence, undoubtedly be very largely taken up even without placing upon its shoulders other than those duties which would devolve upon it under the Bill as it stood. He thought it was not at all improbable that the time would come, and must come, when all matters of the kind would have to be dealt with by the Central Body they were now setting up; but he was sure that those who knew the nature of the work performed by the Metropolitan Asylums Board would consider it would be injudicious, even dangerous, to the public health of the community if they were at once to transfer to the County Council the important duties of this Board.
§ MR. STANSFELD (Halifax)
said, that after the observations of the right hon. Gentleman he hoped his hon. Friend (Mr. James Stuart) would not press his Amendment to a Division. The right hon. Gentleman's argument was unanswerable. However advisible it might be—and the right hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest that it might be advisable—to transfer at some future time the duties of this Board to the County Council, it was evidently undesirable at once to entrust the new Body with such serious matters of administration as were dealt with by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. He thought that his hon. Friend might very well rest satisfied with the remarks of the President of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. FIRTH
said, that the Asylums Board was not elected entirely by the Poor Law Guardians. Fifteen of the members were nominated by the Local Government Board. It struck him that a compromise might be effected in the matter, if the County Council were allowed to nominate the 15 members instead of the Local Government Board.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ MR. FIRTH
, in moving to omit Sub-section (4), said, the effect of the Amendment would be to allow the London Council to borrow on the same terms as other counties. Those terms were at present set out in Clause 67, and the sole consent there was the consent of the Local Government Board. But there was the suggested limit of two years' rateable value, and there was also a further limit as to what should be done where one year's rateable value had been exceeded. The power to be given to the Councils to borrow under Clause 67 was, as it stood now, greater and better than the power of London under the sub-section he proposed to remove. He proposed to give London the same power as the counties. The Metropolitan Board of Works was necessarily limited under the Act of 1869. It had to come to Parliament, state everything it wished to borrow for the ensuing year, and give an account of all it had spent in the past year. If the effect of Section 67 was practically to emancipate the counties from control of that kind, London ought to receive the same advantage.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 33, line 9, to leave out from "it," to "afore-said," in line 12.—(Mr. Firth.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he thought there was something to be said for the proposal the hon. and learned Gentleman had made. The proposal was that the new London County Council should be subject to the same kind of control by the Local Government Board as other Local Authorities; that application must be made to the Board, who would be able to send down Inspectors to inquire into the matter for which the loan was required. There was a great deal to be said for local inquiry, and a great deal to be said against the existing condition of things, by which the Metropolitan Board of Works brought in Money Bills at the latter end of the Session. Although it seemed a very great safeguard that the Metropolitan Board of Works had to come to Parliament, it really did not amount to a great safeguard. On the whole, he was rather inclined to think they had better not deal with the matter at the present time, but postpone it until they had disposed of Clause 67. If, however, there was any general feeling on the part of the Committee that it would be wise to make the alteration now, the Government would offer no objection.
§ MR. FIRTH
thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the courteous way in which he had dealt with the Amendment. As to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman to postpone the subject, he was afraid that on Clause 67 the Chairman would rule him out of Order, if he said anything at all about London. That was his difficulty. Upon the understanding that when they had passed Clause 67 the right hon. Gentleman would consider whether anything could be done on Report to meet his views, he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. BARTLEY
said, he would strongly urge the Government to deal with the matter on Report. There was a strong feeling that the borrowing powers everywhere, but especially in London, were not sufficiently safeguarded. Upon this, as upon many 1159 matters, words ought to be inserted to protect the London population.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SIR ROPER LETHBRIDGE (Kensington, N.), in moving to insert after "(4)"—
There shall also be transferred to the London county council the powers, duties, and liabilities of the Commissioners of Police relating to hackney and stage carriages,
said, that he was confident his Amendment would meet with considerable favour from the Government, and he trusted that possibly it might receive their assent. He did not think his Amendment involved, or in the slightest degree implied, any distrust whatever of the police. He had complete confidence in the Metropolitan Police, and had just shown that by his vote, but he felt there was no class of the people of London or of the people of the country at large who would not resent any measure which rendered them peculiarly amenable to the control or to the interference of the police. One of the main objections which the traders of London raised against the Early Closing Bill which was recently introduced by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) was that the Bill would possibly subject them to interference on the part of the police. Now, it was universally admitted that the cabdrivers of the Metropolis were, on the whole, an intelligent, an honest, and law-abiding class. It was also clear that the cabdrivers were peculiarly liable to interference on the part of the police. They resented such interference. They felt it was to a certain extent a slur upon them that they should have to ask registers from the police. They preferred that the power of registration should be lodged, not with the police, but with the County Council. He was aware there were two objections which would probably be urged against his proposition. The first was founded upon the question of areas. It was true that the adoption of the Amendment would involve a certain re-adjustment of the area in which the Metropolitan Police Force had jurisdiction. But that re-adjustment would have to be made on other and far more important grounds. So the first objection would not have very much force. The second objection was one which was a good deal stronger.
It was that it would be overweighting the Bill if details of that sort were embodied in it. He admitted that it would be impossible, considering the time of the year, for the Bill to be successfully carried through the Legislature this Session if too many details were to be embodied in it. If that were the only objection taken by the Government, he hoped his right hon. Friend would be able to assure those for whom he spoke that the suggestion contained in this Amendment would have the favourable consideration of the Government in any future measure they might adopt in this regard.
In page 33, line 9, after "(4)" to insert the words, "There shall also be transferred to the London county council the powers, duties, and liabilities of the Commissioners of Police relating to hackney and stage carriages."—(Sir Roper Lethbridge.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he hoped his hon. Friend would not press the Amendment. This was an important subject, affecting the interests of what the hon. Member had very properly called a useful body of public servants, and if the Government saw their way in this Bill to removing the disabilities of which this class very rightly complained he need not say they would not hesitate in doing so. But the question the hon. Member had raised was rather larger than he thought—so large was it, in fact, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt), when introducing his Local Government Bill, had declared that if any change were made in the matter dealt with in the Amendment it should be done by means of a Bill brought in by the Common Council of London. There were points in connection with the subject which would render it necessary, if they dealt with the matter at all, not to deal with it in two or three lines of a single clause as suggested by the hon. Gentleman, but in several clauses. Though he was far from saying that at some future time it might not be advisable to deal with the matter, it could not be dealt with satisfactorily in the clauses of this measure.
§ MR. FIRTH
said, that with regard to the last part of the right hon. Gen- 1161 tleman's statement, that the subject was a difficult one to deal with, but that he thought it might be settled at some future time, he (Mr. Firth) would point out that he had put down a clause at the end of the Amendments to provide that the County Councils might apply from time to time for powers to deal with certain subjects, and amongst those subjects the matter under discussion would be included. His proposal was in the form in which the proposal was made in 1884, and he did not understand the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board to say that when they arrived at this new clause he would not be prepared to accept it. As to the adjustment of districts and so forth, if the Amendment proposed were accepted, it might be so difficult to deal with the matter that it might be found impossible to carry the clause now before the Committee as remodelled. There was no reason, however, why ultimately these powers should not be contained in the Bill.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
said, he hoped the hon. Member for North Kensington (Sir Roper Lethbridge) would persevere with the Amendment, and if he did so he (Mr. Pickersgill) should certainly support him. The hon. Member had not specifically alluded to the financial aspect of the question. These licences were a source of revenue producing something like £35,000, which was at present an item of revenue to the Receiver of the Metropolitan Police, and, of course, it would naturally follow that if these powers and duties were transferred to the County Council, as proposed in the Amendment, the licence duties would be transferred as well. Therefore, he would suggest that at the end of the Amendment such words as these should be added—"The amount raised by the issue of these licences should be paid into the county fund."
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS
said, there was a strong feeling outside the House upon this question. He had had many representations made to him by hackney carriage proprietors, who objected to being under the control of the police as if they were semi-criminals. They looked upon themselves as being as honest and industrious as any other class of the community, and they did not see why they should be put to the indignity of being obliged to go back- 1162 wards and forwards to the police for the purpose of being regulated by them. When the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) was before the House, there was some public feeling upon this question, and the hackney carriage people made very strong representations with regard to it. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board would be able to offer some means by which power would be given in the Bill for the transfer of the hackney carriage portion of the duties of the police to the new County Councils—some power such as was proposed by the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dundee (Mr. Firth).
§ MR. LAWSON (St. Pancras, W.)
said, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board was not in his place, therefore he would ask his able subordinate to give them some assurance, if he could, with regard to the intentions of the Government that when they presented their Provisional Order Bill next Session, they would hand over extensive and comprehensive powers to the County Councils. He took it for granted that the right hon. Gentleman would not accept the new clause which the hon. and learned Member for Dundee proposed to add to the Bill, and, that being so, the right hon. Gentleman should give the Committee an assurance to the effect that the power with which this Amendment dealt would, next Session, be handed over with other powers of the Home Office to the County Council of London. It must be evident that as this was a power and a duty which in all great boroughs was exercised by the Town Councils, directly they assimilated the municipal rights of the Metropolis more or less to those of other parts of the country, it would follow that such a power as that of controlling the hackney carriages would be put into the hands of the popular Body. And there was another great argument in favour of this step—namely, that, when this House was over-charged with Business, it seemed absurd for them to bring every petty detail of arrangement concerning the hackney and stage carriages of the Metropolis before the Imperial Parliament. He was confident that before very long it would be found advisable to effect the proposed change. He 1163 would appeal to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Local Government Board (Mr. Long) to consider whether it was possible for him to give any promise that the Government would themselves hand this power over to the County Council under the Provisional Order Bill next Session.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. LONG) (Wilts, Devizes)
said, that it would be impossible for him to make any promise of that kind. The objection of the Government to the Amendment proposed was not so much on principle as on account of the impossibility of dealing with the question now. It was their intention to convey by Provisional Orders powers to the County Councils; but the hon. Gentleman would see that it was impossible to enter into a specific promise that such a matter as the control of hackney carriages should be so transferred, as other Departments would have to be consulted before anything could be done, and delay must, consequently, take place.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, that as the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State was now in his place he should like to ask him if he could give a more specific answer to the question?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
said, he thought the suggestion made in the Amendment was utterly impracticable. There was, in the first place, the difficulty in regard to area. Let them just consider what the duties were which the police had to perform. They had to inspect premises, horses, carriages, cab-ranks, and so on, and such duties were performed by the force in addition to their ordinary duties. If responsibility in these matters were taken from the shoulders of the police they would have to be undertaken by new officials, and as a result the County Councils would be under the necessity of employing a fresh staff. No doubt, the new officials would be able to do the duties to which he had referred very well. They would be able to inspect the cab-stands very efficiently, but such duty as preserving order on the ranks could not be fulfilled without the help of the police. Then, if this Amendment were to be accepted, it would necessitate their going through all the Acts of Parliament dealing with hackney carriages, so as to properly apportion the duties. There were duties, he thought, 1164 which the police had to perform in this way which it would be a great pity to take from them.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, he should be unwilling to enter into a controversy with the Grand Master of the Police as to the duties of the force, but he must say it seemed to him that the Local Bodies would experience no difficulty in getting persons to perform the duties at present performed by the police in relation to hackney carriages. They had seen instances recently of the capacity of Local Bodies for taking over duties of a some-what similar kind to those in question, and, that being so, he did not see why it should not be done in this case also. Naturally the police would subordinate themselves to the County Councils. If they were not going to do that, it would be a bad look out for the County Council, and would only increase the difficulties, which had been pointed out earlier, attendant on centralization.
§ SIR ROPER LETHBRIDGE
said, he was surprised to hear the fact that it was necessary for the police to interfere for the preservation of order on cabstands, alleged as a reason for regarding this Amendment as impracticable. Of course, the police would always maintain order on cab-stands with whomsoever might lie the duty of inspecting and of registering cabs and cab-drivers; but there did not seem to him to be any connection between the two classes of duty. At the same time, he appreciated the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board and the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Local Government Board had approached this Amendment, and the assurance they had given that the Government would, at any rate, favourably consider the demands and claims of the cabmen in this respect, and he, therefore, was induced to ask the Committee to allow the Amendment to be withdrawn.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, before the Amendment was withdrawn he wished to express a hope that it was thoroughly understood that this question would be considered with reference to the Provisional Order Bill of next Session.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS
said, that the right hon. Gentleman opposite had made one statement of which he wished to take notice—namely, that the police, at the present time, inspected buildings 1165 as part of their ordinary duty, and that if these buildings were handed over to the County Council to be inspected it would be necessary to appoint a new body of Inspectors at great cost. Anyone who knew the duties which would be transferred to the County Council knew that some of those duties already necessitated the employment of persons to go round inspecting slaughter-houses, and so on. The existing staff, therefore, could be employed upon the duties which would have to be discharged under the County Council without appointing a new body of Inspectors.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ MR. FIRTH
, in moving the following Amendment, in page 33, line 16, at the end, to add the words—The county council of London may as part of their general expenses pay all costs, charges, and expenses which may be incurred by them, of and incidental to any inquiry to be instituted with respect to markets for the sale of food supplies within the London council area, and preliminary to, in, and incidental to the preparing, applying for, and obtaining an Act of Parliament with respect to such markets, or any of such markets,said, this was the clause which was inserted in the Metropolitan Board of Works (Money) Bill in 1882; therefore, it had been part of an Act of Parliament. But the Board of Works (Money) Bill being only an annual, like the Lord Mayor, came to an end at the end of the year, and it was not renewed in 1883. He (Mr. Firth) was responsible for putting it in the Bill of 1882, which was carried by a large majority, the object of it being to enable the Board of Works to make inquiries with regard to markets with the view of preparing and applying for Acts of Parliament with respect to them. The Amendment did not in any way touch the question of the establishment of markets, but only gave power for inquiry. What happened under this provision on the Metropolitan Board of Works might well be imagined. Every member wished to have a market in the district from which he came, and a lurid light had been thrown on the operations of this Public Body lately; but this provision was inserted in the Act of 1882, and, looking at the way in which it was received, he was not inclined to press for its retention on the renewal of the Act in 1883. As the Metropolitan 1166 Board of Works was about to come to an end, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board would see no objection to including the Amendment in the Bill now. It was not objected to in 1882.
In page 33, line 16, at end, to add the words—"The county council of London may as part of their general expenses pay all costs, charges, and expenses which may be incurred by them, of and incidental to any inquiry to be instituted with respect to markets for the sale of food supplies within the London council area, and preliminary to, in, and incidental to the preparing, applying for, and obtaining an Act of Parliament with respect to such markets, or any of such markets."—(Mr. Firth.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman, no doubt, knew that the London Council was not constituted by the Bill a market authority, and it seemed to him, therefore, that they should not insert this clause in the Bill, especially in view of the fact that there was a Royal Commission now sitting inquiring into the whole question of markets. He thought it would not be desirable to place any words in the Bill which seemed to imply that it was the duty of the London County Council to deal with this subject. They hoped to have the Report of the Royal Commission before long, and the House would then be able to judge much better than at present what further powers should be conferred upon the County Council of London in this direction.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, that without any Report of any Commission, was it not obvious that the County Council should have powers of this kind? The Report of the Commission might deal with the relative proportions of tolls and dues, and so forth, which should be paid; but when they considered the power the City had exercised for all those years, he thought it was desirable that the proposal should be accepted.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, they were engaged in extremely difficult work in this Bill, and there were many difficult problems in connection with the government of London which they did not pretend that they had ventured to approach. This question of markets was one of them, and if they were to attempt to deal with it now a whole crop of new 1167 questions would rise up which would necessarily impede the progress of the Bill. If they were to raise alarms amongst the different bodies of individuals with regard to the powers which should be conferred upon the London County Councils, they would seriously hamper the passing of the Bill. The duties of the new County Councils would be extremely large, and it was not likely that they would be able to discharge functions connected with markets for some time to come. The matter should be dealt with thoroughly, and not in an Amendment like that submitted by the hon. and learned Member. He thought the wisest course would be to wait for the Report of the Royal Commission.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
The next Amendment is as follows, in page 33 at the end, to add:—The London county council may also from time to time make, alter, and repeal bye-laws for prevention of danger or obstruction to the public from posts, wires, tubes, or any other appliances or apparatus stretched or placed over, across, under, or in any highway (whether before or after the passing of this Act) for the purpose of any telegraph, telephone, railway signalling, or other purpose.This is altogether outside the scope of the Bill, and, therefore, cannot be put.
§ MR. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)
said, he begged to move an Amendment which was not on the Paper. It appeared to him that there had been no provision made to keep the Local Bodies which existed in London in any form or shape in touch with the Central County Council, and, therefore, it seemed to him desirable that those gentlemen who were elected to the new County Council of London should be de facto members of the Local Bodies within the area for which they sat. There were many questions—for instance, the main arterial drainage question and the local arterial drainage question—over which the Central Body would have to have consultations with the Local Bodies from time to time, and there were also other questions in relation to the Metropolis 1168 on which it was desirable that these Bodies should be in touch. Under the Bill, he thought, it would be on the 1st April, 1889, that this new London County Council would come into existence. It was not proposed in the present measure to have any District Councils, therefore, from the 1st April, 1889, up to the time the District Councils were formed, there would be no touch or cohesion between the Central Body and the Local Bodies. He, therefore, proposed that men who were elected for Westminster or St. Pancras, and who naturally had the confidence of the ratepayers of those districts, should also be members of the Local Governing Bodies in those districts. He thought this Amendment would remove friction which might otherwise arise between the District Council and the County Council.
In page 33, at the end, to add the words—"A person elected to the county council should be de facto a member of the local body in the area in which he sits."—(Mr. Webster.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, the hon. Member seemed to think that a great deal of friction would be prevented by his proposal, but he (Mr. Ritchie) was, on the other hand, inclined to think a great deal of friction would be created by it. He would point out one practical difficulty in the way of accepting the proposal—namely, that there might be more than one District Board in the area represented by a member of the County Council, and, according to this Amendment, such member of the County Council would be a member of all those Local Bodies. The proposal, therefore, would not work and would be sure to cause a great deal of friction which he felt certain no one would desire to see.
§ MR. HALLEY STEWART (Lincolnshire, Spalding)
said, there was one advantage the Committee derived from having this proposal presented to it. It carried to an absurd extent the aldermanic idea; and, if adopted, would render the retention of Aldermen in the Bill impossible. For this reason, he should rather be inclined to vote for it.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, the hon. Member for St. Pancras had not brought forward the Amendment with any authority from 1169 the Local Body he represented, as he (Mr. Lawson) understood the Local Body was entirely opposed to any such proposition.
§ MR. WEBSTER
said, he had not had any intimation of that sort. Probably the Amendment would be more acceptable if he put in the words "district board or vestry" in order to meet the present necessities of the case.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 37 (Position of City of London).
§ MR. FIRTH (Dundee)
said, he proposed the Amendment, in line 21, after the words "transferred to the," to insert the words "County Council of London," and to leave out the rest of the words to the end of the sentence. The Amendment raised a point which they had considered the other day. The Bill as it stood amounted to a transfer to the City Common Council of the functions of the Court of Quarter Sessions and the Justices.
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present, Committee counted, and 40 Members being found present,
In page 33, line 21, after the words "transferred to the," insert the words "county council of London," and leave out rest of words to end of sentence.—(Mr. Firth.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
said, if they were to adopt this Amendment they would be doing with the City of London what they had not proposed to do with any Quarter Sessions borough or borough within a county throughout the Kingdom. The transfer of the 1170 jurisdiction over matters within the area of the City of London to the London County Council would be adopting a different line of action to that they had agreed to with regard to other cities and boroughs.
§ MR. FIRTH
said, he must again remind the right hon. Gentleman of a point to which he had drawn his attention, seemingly without effect, the other day, that, as a matter of fact, the City of London was the centre of an urban district, and, therefore, entirely different to an ordinary borough within a county.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board took up a most extraordinary position in connection with this subject. He evidently desired to keep up the old privileges of the City of London and to preserve one square mile, as it were, of sanctified soil from being dealt with as all other districts of a similar kind were dealt with. They were not asking the Government to touch the powers of the Common Council, or of the Commissioners of Sewers, nor the power of the Lord Mayor, but were merely asking that the people who lived within this one square mile should be dealt with, in regard to judicial matters, as all other boroughs were dealt with.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, it was not only judicial matters that were dealt with. Take, for example, the question of lunatics. It would be a strong order to say that the London County Council should have the control over the City lunatic asylums. They would never do that in connection with any other Quarter Sessions borough in the country.
§ Mr. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
"All the powers, duties, and liabilities of the Court of Quarter Sessions and Justices of the City of London," did that mean the Court of Aldermen?
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER
Then, had they not better say so? If the Government intended that all the functions of the Court of Aldermen were to be transferred from the Court of Aldermen, and handed over to the County Council of London, the fact should be clearly set forth.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, it was proposed to take away certain powers in connection with lunatic asylums, for instance, 1171 which were not exercised by other boroughs, and hand them over to, the Court of Common Council.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER
said, he could quite understand that the ordinary functions exercised by the Town Council of a city like Lichfield with regard to lunatics and other matters of that kind would, in the case of the city, be still exercised by the city. There were certain functions in Lichfield which were discharged by the Quarter Sessions for the county of Stafford, and what he wanted to know was, who in the case of London would discharge these duties. Were they to be transferred to the Mayor, commonalty, and citizens?
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, that there was no attempt made to transfer judicial work. It was only administrative work that was transferred.
§ MR. LAWSON (St. Pancras, W.)
said, he had been full of admiration for the histrionic power the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board had displayed during the discussion of these London Clauses. He had, with a wonderful seriousness of countenance, contended right through that the City of London occupied the same position as if it were an ordinary Quarter Sessions borough situated in the middle of an ordinary county. In spite, however, of the ability with which the right hon. Gentleman had preserved his gravity, he knew that there was no foundation whatsoever for that contention. There was no difference whatever between the City and the rest of the Metropolis; they had only to go a few hundred yards outside that House to be convinced of that. There was absolutely no difference whatever so far as any outward and visible sign was concerned. The City was simply part of a great city, and stood with regard to the rest of the Metropolis, when they put aside its historic privileges, in exactly the same relations as a ward stood in to such a town as Birmingham or Liverpool. He (Mr. Lawson) was very glad his hon. and learned Friend had raised this City question again, and for this reason—that when he withdrew his Amendment the other day it was with the idea that the Government had promised that the City would be fully dealt with in a Bill to be introduced next Session.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, he only said what he thought. He had understood that a Bill would then be introduced dealing with the whole question of the local areas of the Metropolis. There had been nothing proposed in this Bill with regard to the different parishes and districts of London; they were left to take care of themselves. The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that whilst the Metropolitan Board of Works had been in power there had been constant occasions of friction and dispute between the Vestries and the Central Body, and these occasions would be multiplied when they got a new County Council anxious to exercise all the powers under the Bill to the greatest extent possible. On all occasions when the district surveyor of the Council and the Local Authorities came into contact with each other the difficulty would be increased a hundredfold. He wished to know if it was proposed to introduce a Bill next Session which would settle once for all the relations of the Local Bodies to the County Council, and amongst them, of course, the Corporation of the City?
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, it was not in order to discuss what would be done next year that he rose; but he should like to do away with a misapprehension as to what took place at the last sitting of the Committee. He had never promised to introduce a Bill next Session to deal with the City. What he did state was that the Government did not regard this as a complete measure for the reform of Local Government, and that they hoped on a future occasion to bring in a Bill dealing with the local areas in London. One of the local areas in London, of course, would be the City; but he never intended to convey that it was the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill next Session to deal with the question of the government of the City. They would have to set up other local areas and District Councils in the Metropolis, and they hoped to have an opportunity of doing so, but they had already many engagements for next year. [Opposition cheers.] He did not quite understand what these cheers meant. They had come under certain engagements for next year, engagements that were entered into by the Committee as well; and why hon. Gentlemen should give that ironical cheer he could not make out. He did not think hon. Gen- 1173 tlemen saw the point under discussion. They were dealing with certain powers exercised within the area of the City. As he had pointed out, one of the chief of those powers was the care of pauper lunatics. Quarter Sessions boroughs which had lunatic asylums were to be allowed to take charge of those asylums. In the same way, the City of London had its own asylum, which had hitherto been under the management of the City Authorities. It was proposed that it should be managed as hitherto, and not by the County Council. They did not propose that the County Council should maintain the pauper lunatic asylums, as would be the case if this Amendment were accepted, their contention being that the governing Body should be the Common Council.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, that in this case there would be no difficulty in allowing the County Council to have charge of the pauper lunatic asylum. The City would have their representatives on the Council. The right hon. Gentleman had said that it was; never anticipated that this should be a complete measure for the local government of London. That they were all quite well aware of. It was clear on the face of it that the measure was only a frame of London government. They had been discussing these gigantic problems which had puzzled Parliament for years, and which had evaded the attempts of many Home Secretaries to settle—and they had discussed them and settled them in a couple of days. The right hon. Gentleman had no reason to complain of the time which had been spent on these subjects; but the Bill was not complete, they could not use the word complete in regard to it. It was in no way an adequate Bill for dealing with London, but was a mere skeleton upon which flesh and skin would have to be put in a future Session. He should like to understand a little more clearly than he did at present, whether, if the right hon. Gentleman could not give them a Bill dealing with London next year, he would promise them, as soon as an opportunity occurred for introducing such a Bill, to do so. They were anxious to put the City into exactly the same position as all other London boroughs, as they objected altogether to the distinctions which had been made. He thought the time had now come when even the City revenues might be drawn 1174 upon for some of the common purposes of the Metropolis.
§ MR. FIRTH
said, he was extremely sorry to hear the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board dispel the illusion which some of them were under, that they might expect a measure next year. This Amendment raised a specific point. The clause gave the Court of Aldermen certain specific duties, and he contended that the City of London, through its Court of Aldermen, however well qualified it might be to deal with lunatics, ought not to have a separate authority for dealing with them to that which was possessed by the rest of London. Therefore, on that ground, he should press the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 89; Noes 119: Majority 30.—(Div. List, No. 206.)
MR. BARING (London)
said, he now begged to move an Amendment to entitle the Common Council of London to receive from the London County Council, in respect of each pauper lunatic, the same amount as was required by the Bill to be paid by any other County Council to the Council of a borough.
In page 33, line 36, after the word "London," insert the words "and the common council shall be entitled to receive from the London county council in respect of each pauper lunatic the same amount as is required by this Act to be paid by any other county council to the council of a borough."—(Mr. Baring.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. LONG) (Wilts, Devizes)
The Government accept this Amendment.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS
said, that he understood a short time ago that the reason why they were not to interfere with the powers of the City was because it maintained its own lunatic asylums; but now it seemed they were asked to do something to support these asylums.
said, that all that was asked was that the Common Council of the City of London should get from the County Council their fair proportion of 1175 the subvention. If that were refused it would be simply dishonest.
§ MR. FIRTH
said he was sorry to hear so strong an expression from the hon. Gentleman the junior Representative of the City. He was sorry to have such a word as dishonest to deal with, but how stood the case? They had given the City its opportunity just now. They had said, "You shall transfer the functions of the Common Council to the County Council. The purposes for which this proposal was made was to secure union, but you prefer disunion. You have kept to yourselves these powers over lunatics. Well, retain them, but do not ask any other part of the Metropolis to pay for the lunatics, which you not only manufacture, but control." If there was one thing which the City Corporation was especially qualified to do he admitted that it was to manage lunatics; but when they were asked to be allowed to keep their lunatics they should not call upon others to pay for them. He would not object to the Common Council managing their own lunatics if it were not from his anxiety for the supreme principle of unity.
said, that the City would pay its proportion towards the maintenance of lunatics of the rest of the county to the County Council, and it was only fair that the County Council should pay a contribution towards maintaining the lunatics of the City.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, that the City Corporation asked others to interfere with their concerns to the extent of paying for their pauper lunatics. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government would tell them why he had raised an objection to the last Amendment when he was prepared to accept this proposal made by one of the City Representatives.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 124; Noes 91: Majority 33.—(Div. List, No. 207.)
§ MR. FIRTH
said, he rose to move the omission of Sub-section 4, which extended the provision of the Highways and Locomotives Amendment Act, 1878, with respect to main roads to the Metropolis. At the present time roads in various districts in London were kept up by the Authorities of the districts through which they went, with few exceptions; 1176 but the effect of the clause as it stood would be that the London Council would take upon themselves the management of certain main roads in London, and that would give rise to a great deal of friction as to whether roads were main roads or not. He admitted that such a road as the Commercial Road East was a main road within the Act of 1870, and it was a road as to which something might be said for its being kept up by the Central Council. But if that subsection were retained, there would be the utmost difficulty in settling what were main roads and who should keep them up. The Bill said that in the City of London the County Council might retain the power of maintaining any road in the City; but he would point out that they had not that power now; it was in the hands of the Commissioners of Sewers, which was a separate Body, and, therefore, he did not see how they could retain a power which they did not possess. What were the main roads in the City? If the County Council were given the declaratory power proposed in the Bill, they would see the City declaring Cheapside and other streets main roads; because the one governing principle of these Bodies was to get as much money out of other people as they could.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 34, to leave out Sub-section 4.—(Mr. Firth.)
§ Question proposed, "That the sub-section stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, the effect of accepting the Amendment would be twofold. First of all it would prevent the payment by the County Council of London out of the revenue of the County of London of those contributions towards main roads which existed in the Metropolis, and which were now paid out of the Exchequer. As the hon. and learned Member was aware, a certain proportion of the cost of maintenance of main roads was now paid by the Exchequer to the Highway Authorities. There were certain main roads in London—for example, the Commercial Road, in his (Mr. Ritchie's) own constituency—a portion of the maintenance of which was paid out of the Exchequer; but if the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member were accepted, that contribution would cease. Another objection to the Amendment was that under it the County Council of London would not have the same 1177 power as had been given to other County Councils to declare main roads. One of the arguments of the hon. and learned Gentleman was that the representation of the City on the Council would be such as to induce the County Council to declare the roads in the City main roads. Without any disrespect to the hon. and learned Gentleman, he (Mr. Ritchie) ventured to say that that argument was absurd. It was not likely that any influence that might be brought to bear upon the County Council would make them declare a main road which was not a main road. All that the clause did was to give the London County Council the power of declaring main roads, and why, he asked, should they refuse to give to that Body the power which every other County Council would have of declaring that to be a main road which was really one?
§ MR. BAUMANN (Camberwell, Peckham)
said, now that they were considering streets and roads, he suggested that the President of the Local Government Board should consider the expediency, either now or on Report, of giving the County Council larger powers than the Metropolitan Board of Works now possessed, of compelling the Vestries, who were the Paving Authorities to act with common sense with regard to paving the streets of London, because, at present, nothing was more common than to find half of a street paved with one sort of material, and the other half with something entirely different.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER
said, that Sub-section (a) provided that the Common Council should have power to make bye-laws respecting locomotives, and authorizing locomotives to be used on any road within the City. There could be no place where it would be more dangerous to have locomotives passing than in the City of London, and if the Common Council had not at present the power authorizing locomotives to come within the City, he certainly should not be disposed to confer it upon them.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 34, line 17, to leave out Sub-section (a).—(Mr. Henry H. Fowler.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause,"1178
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he agreed that the City of London was hardly a place into which it was desirable that locomotives should be taken. If, however, the power of regulating these matters was taken away from the City, which was now the Local Authority in respect of its own streets, the owners of locomotives might take them along the streets of the City in defiance of the City Corporation. Surely, there could be no objection to conferring upon the Common Council the power of making such bye-laws as would protect its own streets.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER
said, the Bill would give them the power of allowing locomotives to be used in the streets. He said that it was not clear that locomotives could be used in the City of London, and if they had not that power he contended that it should not be given to them.
§ SIR ROBERT FOWLER (London)
said, that he, of course, agreed with his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) that it was most objectionable that locomotives should be sent through the City during the day time; but he could not see why, at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, it should not be permitted. If a locomotive were being taken, for example, from Charing Cross to Mile End, unless some such power as that existed, they would stop a locomotive passing through the City to its destination even in the middle of the night.
§ MR. LAWSON (St. Pancras, W.)
said, that the Committee was about to confer a new power on the Common Council, to which he believed all hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House objected. He understood the hon. Baronet the Member for London (Sir Robert Fowler) to say that at the present time the City had no such power.
§ THE SECRETARY of STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
pointed out that the Highways and Locomotives Amendment Act gave power to the Corporation of the City of London and the Metropolitan Board of Works in regard to locomotives which was contemplated by the clause under discussion.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER
said, he would withdraw his Amendment, and move the omission of certain words in the sub-section.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 34, line 17, to leave out the words, "and authorizing locomotives to be used on any road."—(Mr. Henry H. Fowler.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
said, it seemed to him that, if this power had not been already conferred upon the Common Council, it was a power which they ought to have. Surely, there were plenty of opportunities for locomotives to pass through the City without interfering with the traffic. He hoped his right hon. Friend would withdraw this Amendment.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, unless the sub-section was passed, a very considerable amount of doubt would exist as to who had the power of making byelaws.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER
said, be did not want to interfere with the making of byelaws, but he did object to authorizing by this Bill the use of locomotives and engines in any of the London streets.
§ SIR HENRY JAMES (Lancashire, Bury)
asked, how it was possible to get locomotives from the West End to Whitechapel without passing through the City?
§ MR. RADCLIFFE COOKE (Newington, W.)
said, it was of no use to give an Authority power to make bye-laws, if they were not to be used.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he was not sure that the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman would not exclude steamrollers.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER
said, the question was, had the Common Council this power, or had they not? If they had the power, he did not wish to interfere with it; if they had not the power, then he declined to give it to them.
§ COLONEL HUGHES (Woolwich)
said, it was inconsistent to give power to the Common Council to make bye-laws, and yet to hand over the authorization of locomotives to another Authority. He could imagine a locomotive having to go 1180 from Blackfriars Bridge to Islington, and being compelled under the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman to go a mile and a-half out of the way to get there.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 142; Noes 88: Majority 54.—(Div. List, No. 208.)
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said, he had had some conversation with the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, who agreed to report Progress in order to give him (Dr. Clark) an opportunity of discussing the position of affairs in Zululand, his object being to ascertain by what means, if possible, war in that country might be averted. He trusted the Committee would not object to Progress being now reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Dr. Clark.)
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
, said, it was perfectly true that his hon. Friend had made an appeal to him on that subject, and he had desired last week to afford him the opportunity of discussing the question by moving Progress at an earlier hour than 12 o'clock; but now that an Order had been made for continuing business after that hour, he trusted that the present Motion would not be pressed. He had promised his hon. Friend to report Progress at 11 o'clock, and at that time—10.10 P.M.—there were many hon. Members not present who took an interest in the question he wished to discuss. There was no doubt that a discussion in the House might have the effect which his hon. Friend desired, and it would, therefore, be desirable that the question which his hon. Friend behind him (Mr. Baumann) wished to raise should be deferred to some other opportunity. But even if that could not be arranged, he thought he should not be justified in consenting to the Motion of the hon. Member at that period of the evening.
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
said, he hoped the Motion of the hon. Gentleman (Dr. Clark) would not be agreed to. He was sure the London Members would endeavour to assist the hon. Gentleman; but he trusted 1181 that the present clause might be taken before they reported Progress.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
On the Motion of Mr. RITCHIE, the following Amendments made, in page 34, line 23, leave out sub-section (b), and insert—
The common council in the City of London, and in any other part of the Metropolis the vestry or district board, shall be deemed to be an urban authority within the meaning of the provisions of this Act with respect to main roads, and may accordingly claim to retain the power of maintaining and repairing a main road, and in such case shall have all such powers and duties of maintaining, repairing, improving, enlarging and otherwise dealing with the main road as they would have if it were an ordinary highway repairable by them, and such powers and duties shall in the City of London be discharged by the Commissioners of Sewers;
§ Line 26, leave out "prosecutions at;" line 27, leave out "including the costs of defendants' witnesses;" line 32, leave out from "for" to the second "the city," in line 33; line 37, after the second "the," insert "administrative;" and in page 35, line 8, leave out sub-section (8).
§ MR. FIRTH
said, Sub-section 9 proposed that the Sheriffs of London should not have any authority except in the City, and the object of the Amendment he had placed on the Paper was to provide that they should be elected by the Common Council. The Sheriffs were at present appointed by people who had of necessity nothing to do with the City of London. It was absurd that those who lived in the City, during a part of the day at any rate, should have their Sheriffs selected for them by people who did not live in the City at all. There were 7,700 liverymen who were entitled to vote, two-thirds of whom had no other qualification in the city. They elected two Sheriffs, and those two Sheriffs, rolled into one, made the one Sheriff for Middlesex; the elections took place once a-year, and members who had been admitted to the livery of a City Guild might vote for two persons to occupy this important position. He took it that the Sheriff of London should be appointed in the same way as the Sheriff of any other city in England was appointed. That was a sound democratic principle, and he hoped the Committee would establish it; whereas the historical usuage of the City of London in this matter was an anachronism and an absurdity.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 35, line 18, after the word "London," to insert the words "shall in future be appointed by the common council of the City of London, and."—(Mr. Firth.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he was surprised at the hon. and learned Member proposing this Amendment, because, as the matter at present stood, the Sheriffs were appointed by direct election, and the hon. and learned Member's proposal was to substitute indirect election. The Government did not, except as to the Sheriffs of Middlesex, propose to interfere with the City, and therefore they could not accept the Amendment.
§ MR. FIRTH
said, he admitted that the principle of the clause was that of more direct election than he proposed; but the people who elected did not live in the City. Some of them lived in Cumberland and other distant parts of the country. He wished to interfere with and put an end to the present system altogether.
§ SIR ROBERT FOWLER
said, that, practically, the liverymen who lived out of London did not take part in the elections; but it was quite true that a man who lived in Cumberland did not lose his qualification.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, the right hon. Gentleman could not object to the Amendment on the ground that he had not interfered with the internal economy of the City, because that had already been done with regard to the functions of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, as they might see by the section quoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary.
§ MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
said, he was himself a liveryman of the City, and the wish of hon. Gentlemen on that side was, that men should vote who had business in the City of London. Some of the Companies had liverymen attached to them who had no connection with the City at all; in fact, anyone who wanted a vote could go down to the City with £12 in his pocket, and get the right to vote. He did not say that he was going to support the suggestion that the Common Council should appoint the Sheriffs; but it would be a fairer suffrage than the present. There were liverymen who had no connection 1183 with the City beyond the fact that they were faggot voters; it was true that, in times past, many Liverymen had been associated with the city, but they were now living away from it, and their only qualification was that they had either bought their liveries at the cost of a small sum of money, or in some other way had got attached to a city Company.
§ MR. JAMES ROWLANDS
said, there were in the City a number of Companies who raised their revenue by selling their livery. To allow the persons who took up those liveries to vote for Sheriffs was a ridiculous absurdity. He thought it was time that those persons should be prevented from faggot voting, and was glad the Committee would have the power of dividing on his hon. and learned Friend's Amendment, and he hoped that course would be taken.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 110; Noes 160: Majority 50.—(Div. List, No. 209.)
said, that, in moving the next Amendment, he was placed in a somewhat false position, as he could not propose what he should have liked to propose, as he would have been out of Order. Inasmuch as the time of the Committee was precious he would not go into the history of the matter, which was pretty old, but would merely state that there was an annual payment made by the City of London of £300 to Her Majesty's Exchequer, for the right of naming the two half-Sheriffs, as the hon. and learned Member opposite (Mr. Firth) had called them, Sheriffs of Middlesex.
Well, for the right of naming the two Sheriffs of London who make one Sheriff of Middlesex between them. It seemed to him very hard that London should have to continue to pay for a privilege which Parliament was now taking away from it. He should have liked to move at the end of the third line of his Amendment—"shall cease to be paid"; but he was afraid if he did so, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would say that it was beyond his province to make such a Motion, and that the Chairman 1184 would rule him out of Order. He, therefore, moved the Amendment as it stood.
In page 35, line 19, after "city," insert "and the annual payment heretofore made by the mayor, commonalty, and citizens of the city of London in respect of the acquisition of the shrievalty of the county of Middlesex shall be paid by the county council of Middlesex in lieu of the said mayor, commonalty, and citizens, but a proper proportion thereof shall be a liability of the county council of London, and shall be taken into account in the adjustment of property, debts, and liabilities between the said county councils."—(Mr. Baring.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
said, he must point out that the Amendment, in regard to a payment to the Exchequer, substituted for responsible persons a Body which might not be so responsible.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, he must appeal to his hon. Friend (Mr. Baring) not to press the Amendment. He (Mr. W. H. Smith) would consider, on behalf of the Government, whether there was any substantial injustice done to the City of London by the arrangements which would be effected under the Bill; but he trusted the hon. Gentleman would withdraw his proposal.
said, that if the right hon. Gentleman would provide that the City of London should suffer no harm he would not press the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. James, Stuart.)
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he hoped the hon. Member would, at any rate, allow this clause to pass. Then Clause 38 had not much in it, and he would also like that to be disposed of, which would enable them to break fresh ground when they started to-morrow. He was sure the hon. Member, who had shown a desire to make progress with the Bill, would not unnecessarily throw obstacles in the way of their disposing of these clauses.
§ MR. JAMES STUART
said, the right hon. Gentleman had attributed to him 1185 a desire which he certainly entertained, for he and others sitting with him had done all they could to assist the Government in passing the London Clauses. But he thought it quite proper that they should stop at Clause 37. Clause 38 required some Amendment in detail. No doubt, it would not take the Committee a long time to deal with it; but if they were now to go into the discussion which would be necessary if the clause were taken, it would deprive his hon. Friend below him (Dr. Clark) of the opportunity of bringing forward the very important question on Report of Supply which he desired to bring forward. He (Mr. James Stuart) did not wish to stand in the way of his hon. Friend, and that was his reason for moving to report Progress.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, the hon. Gentleman had a perfect right to appeal to them. He must express his acknowledgments to the hon. Member for the way in which he and his Friends had assisted the Government in disposing of the London Clauses, and, under the circumstances, when the hon. Member asked them to agree to report Progress, they felt it impossible to resist his appeal.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.