§ Order for Second Reading read.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That the Bill be now read a second time.
§ *SIR J. BLUNDELL MAPLE (Camberwell, Dulwich)
I rise to move the Second Reading of this Bill, the object of which is to prevent large classes of persons, such as the majority of the police in all districts, assistants in shops, warders and attendants in asylums, hospitals, workhouses, and 169 other public establishments, stablemen, grooms, gardeners, and caretakers, being deprived of the franchise by reason of the restricted interpretation put on certain provisions of the Representation of the People Acts in a recent decision of the Court. Now, Sir, this is a very important Bill, because it does not only apply to London and all the large provincial towns, but it also applies throughout the whole of the United Kingdom to people such as gardeners, stablemen, grooms, and caretakers, and the other classes I have mentioned who are resident on the premises. It is necessary, perhaps, that I should explain why it has become necessary to pass this Bill. It is necessary because of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal, given in 1896. In 1884 the Representation of the People Act was passed, I think, by Mr. Gladstone, and from that time for about 10 years these different persons whom I have described were put on the registers, and they were allowed to vote on the Service Franchise. In 1895 an action was tried which is known as Clutterbuck v. Taylor, and then it was held by two judges in the Court of Appeal that a person occupying a cubicle in a room was not separately occupying a dwelling-house. Lord Justice Rigby, however, took a very different view altogether from his brother judges, and it is to maintain his opinion that this Bill is brought forward. If we go back to the time when this new Service Franchise was brought forward, Mr. Gladstone, very wisely I contend, recognised that there was a very large community of the people who were thoroughly entitled to the exercise of this franchise—who are, in fact, by their education and their position in society, better qualified to pass a judgment upon the affairs of the State than the agricultural labourer—and he, therefore, introduced what he was pleased to call the Service Franchise. Now, in that speech he said—This Service Franchise is a far-reaching franchise. It goes to men of high class who inhabit valuable houses as the officers of great institutions. It descends to men of humble class who are servants of the gentry or servants of the farmer, or the servants of some other employer of labour, who are neither owners nor tenants, and who, in 170 many cases, cannot be held as tenants in consequence of the essential conditions intended to be realised through their labours.That clearly points to the fact that Mr. Gladstone recognised that what was necessary was Simply that these men who were otherwise entitled to the franchise were not to be disqualified because they had in pursuing their employment to live on the premises. We all know in regard to policemen that it is necessary that they should live in barracks in connection with the police station, which is a very wise provision. It is also necessary that in establishments such as large business houses, where the employer does not live upon the premises, that some of the employees should live there; and those of us who are in the habit of employing a large number of this class of people know very well that it is much better and much more healthier that these men should live in large rooms—it is better for their morals, and they are quieter and better conducted when living in cubicles than when living two or three in a room together. We find this system goes on better, and so in country houses now it is being generally recognised. I know gentlemen in the country who lately have been building stables, and they have adopted this cubicle system for all their grooms, and they find it very much better than having them in rooms. Therefore, these cubicles are things to be encouraged. When you come to consider the number of these men, I believe myself that there are something like 100,000 of them at the present time who would be entitled to vote under the Service Franchise, but who, through the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Clutterbuck v. Taylor, are now unable to record their vote. Well, Sir, I think it will be well for me to review the whole of that case which was set out in a very clear way by Lord Justice Rigby. Those who have studied the Franchise Bill will see that in section 5 of the Parliamentary and Municipal Registration Act of 1878 a "dwelling-house" is defined as follows—In and for the purposes of the Representation of the People Act, 1867, the term 'dwelling-house' shall include any part of a house where that part is separately occupied as a dwelling-house.The preceding paragraph of the same 171 section 5 of the Act of 1878 also defines the £10 business occupation franchise as—House, warehouse, counting-house, shop, or other building,including any part of a house where that part is separately occupied for the purpose of any trade, business, or occupation. It will be observed that both for the £10 business occupation franchise and the dwelling-house occupation franchise the definition given in section 5 is the same, namely—Any part of a house where that part is separately occupied.Then, again, this seems an anomaly, more especially when the two paragraphs defining the occupation of a dwelling-house and of business premises are summed up by a third paragraph of the same section as follows—For the purposes of any Act referred to in this section, where an occupier is entitled to the sole and exclusive use of any part of a house, that part shall not be deemed to be occupied otherwise than separately by reason only that the occupier is entitled to the joint use of some other part.This Bill is a very simple one. It does not create a new franchise, and if you turn to the Bill you will see that it is very simple and, in fact, a one-clause Bill. Clause 1 provides—Where a man himself inhabits any dwelling-house by virtue of any office, service, or employment, and the dwelling-house is not inhabited by any person under whom such man serves in such office, service, or employment, he shall be deemed for the purposes of the Representation of the People Acts to be an inhabitant-occupier of such dwelling-house as a tenant, and shall be entitled as such to be registered and to vote, notwithstanding that the dwelling-house which he occupies is merely a compartment of a room, and not withstanding any control, restrictions, conditions, or disabilities whatsoever imposed on the occupation.In the decision given by Lord Esher and Lord Justice Lopes, they say that nobody can apply for the franchise under the Service Franchise because in all cases there are some restrictions placed upon the people who have rooms given to them to live in in connection with their service. They are not allowed to have whom they like in these rooms, and they are not allowed to smoke in 172 them. They are supposed to go to bed at a certain time, so as not to disturb the neighbours. According to this decision all such restrictions as these would invalidate a person being entitled to the Service Franchise. Now, Lord Justice Rigby in his decision reviewed the case most thoroughly, and I would like the House to permit me to read his decision. In the course of his judgment in the case of Clutterbuck v. Taylor, he said—The question raised is, whether the appellant was an inhabitant occupier of a dwelling-house within the meaning of section 3 of the Representation of the People Act, 1884. He was, as I understood the statement made in the case, allowed, as a matter of fact, to occupy the cubicle during the whole of the qualifying period without interference. He had the key of the cubicle, and I gather that, when he was on night duty, he did, in fact, use it for sleeping in during the day, and, when he was on day duty, he used it for sleeping in at night. He used it, therefore, for sleeping in as occasion required; and it appears also that he was, in fact, allowed to take meals in it if he liked. Section 3 of the Representation of the People Act, 1884, says that. 'where a man himself inhabits any dwelling-house by virtue of any office, service, or employment, he shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, to be an inhabitant occupier of such dwelling-house as a tenant.' In this case it cannot be said that the cubicle was inhabited by any superior under whom the appellant served. Assuming for the moment that cubicle was a 'dwelling-house' for the purposes of the Act, it appears to me that, the appellant was an inhabitant occupier during the qualifying period. I cannot see that the existence of a power in the Chief Constable to make regulations or restrictions with regard to the use of the dwelling-house by the appellant has anything to do with the franchise given by the section, provided that he did in fact inhabit. The section says nothing about the nature of the inhabitancy, or as to how far it may or may not be subject to restrictions; and I think we ought to be very slow to insert limitations which the Legislature has not expressly mentioned. There are, we know, cases of large establishments where a great number of persons are employed who inhabit parts of a house by virtue of their employment, and who, in so inhabiting, must be subject to such directions as their masters choose to give. I cannot see that, such directions, if actually given, could affect the existence of the franchise given by the section; but the mere fact that there was power to give directions which were not given appears to me to be quite beside the question. The truth is that the Service Franchise is essentially different from the other occupation franchises.That is just what Mr. Gladstone said. Lord Justice Rigby goes on to say—It is not given in respect of any property in or right in respect of the place occupied 173 It is assumed by the section that there is no such right. The person who occupies by-virtue of his employment is not even in the position of a tenant at will. He is not a tenant at all, but simply a person who is permitted by his master to occupy, subject to such regulations, if any, as may be made by his master. Then, was the appellant the inhabitant occupier of a 'dwelling-house'? At first sight one would be disposed to say that this cubicle was a very different thing from a dwelling-house. But it is obvious that the extraordinary sense in which the term 'dwelling-house' is used in the Acts relating to the franchise includes things that are totally different from anything which would, in the ordinary use of language, be called a dwelling-house, because any part of the house will suffice if occupied as required by the Act. It need not be any particular part of a house, and it does not matter how small it may be. The extent or nature of the part occupied is immaterial so long as it is occupied separately as a dwelling. This cubicle was none the less part of the whole police barrack because it was part of a room in it. Whether it was what would ordinarily be called a dwelling-house is not the question. It was said that it shared the air and light common to the whole room. The Legislature appears to me to have dealt with that very consideration in section 5 of the Parliamentary and Municipal Registration Act, 1878, which provides that, 'For the purpose of any of the Acts referred to in this section where an occupier is entitled to the sole and exclusive use of any part of a house, that part shall not be deemed to be occupied otherwise than separately, by reason only that the occupier is entitled to a joint use of some other part.' I can see no reason for cutting down the generality of those words, which appear to me to meet the contention based upon the enjoyment by the appellant of air and light common to the room of which his cubicle formed a part. In this case the appellant had the key of his cubicle without any interference during the whole of the qualifying period. It is true that, if occasion had arisen, his superior officer might have insisted on going into his cubicle for any purpose; but, as a matter of fact, he appears never- to have done so. So that, if the appellant occupied this cubicle at all—and it appears to me clear that he did—his occupation was, in fact separate. Then, did he occupy it as a dwelling? I cannot find anything in the section which provides that, in order to come within it, the occupier must occupy with all the powers which a person would have in respect of a dwelling-house in the ordinary sense.That is a very important statement, I think, and the House should bear it in mind. Continuing, Lord Justice Rigby says—The test, as it appears to me, is the nature of the occupation which has in fact taken place, not whether the occupier might have been ordered to occupy in a different manner. Considerable light is thrown on this question by the previous part of section 174 5, which provides that 'in and for the purposes of the Reform Act, 1832, and the Municipal Corporations Act, the terms' house, warehouse counting-house, shop, or other building' shall include any part of a house where that part is separately occupied for the purpose of any trade, business, or profession.' If part of a house is, in fact, separately occupied for the purpose of a trade, business, or profession, the section says that part of a house is to be deemed to be a house. I think the term 'dwelling' is used in the section as an antithesis to 'trade, business, or profession.' I concede that there appears to have been an extensive power of interference with the use by the appellant of this cubicle. But in order that a man may be an inhabitant occupier he is not bound to show a title to occupy. He may have been a trespasser, or a tenant at will, or merely on sufferance. The only question is, did he in fact occupy as an inhabitant? With regard to that question whether the subject matter of the occupation was a dwelling-house, I concede, again, that the appellant had not the same rights as persons would have in the case of ordinary dwelling-houses. But the question appears to me to be not whether he had such rights, but whether he separately occupied part of a house as a dwelling. It seems to me that, whatever the powers of the Chief Constable may have been, these cubicles were the dwellings of these policemen, who occupied them by sleeping in them from day to day throughout the qualifying period. I cannot see that using them as sleeping places is anything else but occupying them as dwellings, although the occupants may not have been entitled to use them for other purposes for which people ordinarily use their dwellings. So far as it goes, I think sleeping in a place is using it as a dwelling. In point of fact, these policemen appear to have been allowed, if they liked, to take meals in their cubicles, and not to have been interfered with in the use of them in any way. There was, no doubt, the power of interfering with them; but I do not think that the existence of such a power is made by the Legislature the test. In my opinion, the question is whether they did in fact occupy part of a house as a dwelling, not whether they had a right to occupy in the same manner as that in which a person occupies a 'dwelling-house' in the ordinary sense of the term.I am sorry to have detained the House so long in reading that judgment, but it seems to me to be very important. It is very ably argued, and it is to support the argument of Lord Justice Rigby and his position that this Bill has been brought forward. We look upon the House of Commons at all times as a House of justice, and the House of Commons has decided to accept this Service Franchise, which gives these men the right to vote; but there is no other appeal from the Court of Appeal to restore these men to their citizenship 175 except in the House of Commons. The right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, who we all know is a man of advanced ideas, has often expressed himself that he wished that everybody should have the franchise given to them. I know that those are his sentiments, and they are the sentiments of other honourable Gentlemen on that side of the House, and also of honourable Gentlemen on this side of the House. Although we should not go so far as to say that everybody should have a vote, still we should like to see the Service Franchise filtered. I contend that the right honourable Baronet ought not to try to obstruct this Bill in the way that he is doing by moving this Amendment, because this Measure goes towards simplifying the question, and does not tend to make it more confused. This Bill, I say, goes to simplify it, and I will explain why. Now, it is extremely difficult to have the franchise carried out properly because of the technicalities to which I have referred as regards the restrictions placed upon these men. [Laughter.] The right honourable Baronet laughs at that, but I would ask him to see my side of the question, and my side is this: at the present time if any restrictions whatever are placed upon the men by the masters in respect of the lodgings, even for stopping a man from smoking, or restricting him from going in and out of his habitation, after a certain time that man would not be allowed to be put on the register. That was the decision of Lord Esher and Lord Justice Lopes, if the right honourable Baronet will turn it up and examine it. No doubt the right honourable Baronet by-and-by will have an opportunity to criticise the remarks which I have made. The object of this Bill is not only to allow a man who occupies a cubicle which is to be considered as a dwelling-house to vote, but it also removes those restrictions which are placed upon him by his master, and whatever restrictions, conditions, or disabilities are imposed on the occupation. This is a very important thing, because I know there are in England at the present time, and in Scotland and Wales, and also in Ireland, a large number of men who are entitled to the Service Franchise who are put upon the register at the present moment, but who, I believe, after this 176 decision of Clutterbuck v. Taylor will have to come off if the law is not altered. It may be thought that it is an extraordinary thing that a Measure like this should have come from this side of the House, and that it ought to have come from the other side. I should have thought that the right honourable Baronet opposite and his friends on the Front Bench on the other side would have welcomed this extension of the franchise, which is simply carrying out or repairing, so to speak, the Representation of the People Act of 1884, which was not thoroughly carried out, and the wording of which was not such that the judges have been able to interpret as meaning what was the general intention when the Act was passed, and that was that the right should be given to these men to vote. I am convinced from conversations which I have had with Members of the Cabinet that the whole of those who sit on the Front Bench will support this Measure: for although we recognise that it will be a Measure which will put a large number of new electors on the list of opposite views to ourselves, at the same time it will put on a very large number of those who hold the same view as we do. It is not so much a question of what Party it affects, as it is the great question that these men are really qualified to use the suffrage; and to say that these men are not to have the vote, but are to wait until this millennium arrives which the right honourable Baronet may wish for is absurd. If ever Gentlemen opposite come back into power within the next ten years—and I doubt whether they will come back to power during that period—they would not be able to bring in a really new Bill giving universal suffrage, or even going so far as to repair the mistakes, the errors, or inequalities which exist at present. I acknowledge that the Representation of the People Act of 1894 has inequalities, and I should be the first to help other Members in trying to get those inequalities and other things readjusted. The question of the registration of votes wants to be inquired into, but here is one matter which I think can be satisfactorily settled by this Measure, for it will give to a large number of men who are thoroughly able and thoroughly qualified to express an opinion on the affairs which interest all 177 Englishmen the right to vote. I think, Sir, that this House will do well to accept the Bill. I do not say when we come to the Committee stage that it may not be necessary to alter some of the words. That question I do not deal with at the present moment. I do think that one of the Instructions put down by my honourable Friend on this side of the House may be, perhaps, considered out of order, and that is the question of Female Suffrage. But that is not a question which touches this Bill, because females generally have not votes. If the vote is given to them by-and-bye no doubt they would be equally entitled to a vote under the Service Franchise after this Bill is passed; but to suggest that this Bill should be hung up waiting for that to come about and waiting for the other questions with which my honourable Friends on the other side of the House would like to deal, I think would be a great injustice to a large and important body of men. I look upon the policemen of England as men who ought to be allowed to have some interest in the affairs of the State. We had a Bill passed some few years ago to enfranchise the policemen, but in consequence of the action that has been decided, unless you pass this Bill you give them with one hand the franchise and with the other hand you take it away from them by compelling policemen to live at the police station. It seems to me inconsistent and not at all right that you should do so. I know that the right honourable Baronet opposite, the year before last, in 1897, said that this question did not affect a very large number of policemen. Well, I have made inquiries, and I believe I am right in saying that half the policemen of England live in connection with the barracks in some shape or form.
§ *SIR J. BLUNDELL MAPLE
I may be wrong, but it is a question I have made inquiries about, and that is what I have been informed. I do not know that I need detain the House any longer on this subject. It is a subject which we have heard of before in this House, for last year it was introduced by my honourable 178 Friend below me, but a few honourable Members on the other side of the House never neglect an opportunity of preventing this Bill from passing. I do not know why they should do so unless they fear that their own constituencies will be affected, and that their seat might become unsafe. AS regards my constituency, I have no fear either one way or the other, because there are not such a large number of people in my Division under the Service Franchise. But this Bill was thoroughly discussed in 1897, and then my right honourable Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean brought forward the same Amendment as he brings forward now; but after we had discussed the question at some length, he withdrew his Amendment, and the Bill was read a second time. I trust that that may occur again, and that honourable Gentlemen will not, by their opposition, necessitate a Division, because I cannot see that either they themselves personally or their Party would gain anything by trying to prevent a large and important portion of the community to which I have already referred from being entitled to take part in the affairs of this great Empire. I beg to move the Second Reading of this Bill.
To leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'this House refuses to add to the complexity of our present franchise system, which, in its opinion, can be remedied only by the adoption of a single, simple, and uniform franchise' instead thereof."—(Sir O. Dilke.)
§ *SIR C. DILKE
The honourable Baronet, remarked, in the course of his speech, that the object of this Bill was contained in the terms of the Memorandum of the Bill itself, and I cannot, I think, do better than begin my remarks by calling attention to the terms of that Memorandum. Now, the terms of the Memorandum published on a Private Member's Bill are supposed to be under the authority of the Chair. Of course, it was impossible that you, Mr. Speaker, or anyone else acting on your behalf, could be responsible for the statements of facts contained in those Memoranda, and they must be taken on the responsibility of the Members who put them forward, unless some obvious 179 mis-statement is made in the Memorandum. Now, I do not think that I shall be saying anything disrespectful to the Chair when I say that some of the words in this Memorandum to the Bill before the House are not in the least justified by the actual condition of affairs, and I allude to the last matter mentioned by the honourable Baronet in the portion of the Memorandum which states that this Bill affects large classes of persons—"such as the majority of police in all districts." Now, I have to give the most unqualified denial to that statement. I have inquired into the case of my own constituency, and I find there that not one single constable is affected by this Bill. The Memorandum suggests that most of the police-constables who possessed the franchise after the passing of the Act of 1884, and who enjoyed the right to vote down to the year 1896, have had that right taken away from them by the judgment which was given in the Court of Appeal in that year. Well, not a single constable in my Division, who has not been moved too frequently, and who possessed the franchise from 1884, has lost the franchise by the decision of the Court of Appeal, and there is no reason whatever to apprehend that they are going to lose it, and I have no reason to believe that my Division is peculiar in that respect. Now, Sir, I may add, with regard to what the honourable Member said about the effect of the Bill on the seats of honourable Members on this side of the House, who are opposed to this Measure on principle, that I may extend the observations which I have just made with regard to voters generally. Not one single service voter lost the franchise in 1897 through the decision of the Court of Appeal in my Division, and I have no reason to think that this is an exceptional state of things; and I am sure that this decision has not had any such far-reaching effects as the honourable Baronet has suggested to the House. The honourable Member has given us the history of the Service Franchise, and I should like the opportunity of saying a word or two with regard to that question, because it so happens that I had something to do with this Service Franchise when it was adopted. It was suggested by Sir George Trevelyan during the preliminary discussion on the Bill of 1884, in order 180 to meet the case of the Scotch shepherds, because it was supposed that in Scotland there were a number of people in the same position as the agricultural labourers, who were enfranchised by that Bill, but who for technical reasons would not receive the franchise unless this provision was put in. The practical effect of this clause was to enfranchise in some constituencies a considerable number of those shepherds, but its principal effect was to enfranchise a great number of coachmen and a certain number of shop assistants and policemen under orders of the kind described. The honourable Member has assumed that the judgment of the Court of Appeal, if carried into effect, will disfranchise the service voters under the restrictions mentioned in his Bill, but I do not read it in that manner. I confess, after having read that judgment carefully more than once, that it appears to me that the structural nature of the term "dwelling-house" was the main ground of the judgment given in the Court of Appeal. Then there is the clause taken from the Parliamentary and Municipal Registration Act of 1878, which I had the honour of conducting through this House. That clause was intended not to alter the law, but merely to state the law, although some persons were under the impression that this clause actually changed the law. But whether it did or not it was intended to carry out Mr. Goschen's Act in Amendment of Mr. Disraeli's Reform Act. Dwelling-house was made to include "any part of a house separately occupied as a dwelling;," while, separately was defined to mean that' "the occupier was entitled to the sole and exclusive use of his part," but was "not disqualified by the fact of being entitled to the joint use of any part." If the House wishes to extend the term "dwelling-house" in such a way as to include the compartments which are mentioned in this Bill, I suggest to the House that the proper way to do it would be by altering the definition of dwelling-house; but here the whole thing is governed by the title and scope of the Bill, which extends the term to servants only but refuses and denies it to all those persons who are not servants. That is to say, that a man who pays rent and who is his own master, and who is not under any of these restrictions, but who lives in exactly similar cubicles to those 181 mentioned by the honourable Baronet, will not have the franchise if this Bill passes. You cannot cure this defect, because the title and scope of the Bill make it so clearly an amendment of the Service Franchise that no Instruction to extend the Bill in this way to admit the large self-governing class of persons who are in the same position as the persons to whom the Bill applies would be in order. Now, Sir, many of us on this side of the House are willing to give the franchise to anybody, or, at all events, to establish it on a very wide and simple basis; but our complaint against the honourable Baronet is that this Measure will introduce a complicated element into the Service Franchise, and add to our franchises of which I believe there are 18 already. He has begun to tamper with this question by a proposal affecting one small class only, namely, those under certain conditions of service. Of course, if this Bill passes thousands of heads of families in exactly the same position will be excluded from the franchise, while this particular class of servants alone will be included. Let the House consider for a moment what the effect of this will be to a certain class—take the ordinary case of a workman in such a constituency as I represent. Those who are not freeholders, but occupiers, live, as a rule, two families in one house. The head of one of these families is without the franchise, and the head of the other is enfranchised, almost accidentally as compared with the other, and this state of things will continue under this Bill. Now, that man cannot get on as a lodger because he does not pay £10 a year, nor can he get on as a joint tenant because the house is not of sufficient value to come up to £20 a year, which is necessary to be divided by two in order to put two heads of families on the register for one house. Think how unfair that would be to those people to pick out a class of people, who are generally unmarried, who live under the restrictions prescribed for in this Bill, and leave all these tremendous restrictions excluding all those heads of families in this country from the franchise altogether. Now, with regard to the actual terms of the Bill itself, the honourable Gentleman has referred to the technicalities of the law, and he says that, by his 182 Bill, he is simplifying the law. Now, my honourable and learned Friend who is sitting above the Gangway (Mr. R. Wallace, Perth) has been a revising barrister, and I should like to ask his judgment as to whether this Bill will simplify the law. It is the great object of many of us to simplify the law, because the complaints from both sides of the House and from voters throughout the country as to the complexity of the Registration laws, are not really complaints against the Registration Acts or against registration officials and the revising barristers. It is the fault of Parliament, by the complexity of its franchises, that has made all this enormous expenditure on registration necessary by super-posing one franchise upon another. This Bill goes very far in that direction. It intends to apply to the case of cubicles, but it does not go to the root of the question. Persons who inhabit cubicles which go up to the ceilings of the room have the franchise, but the Court of Appeal has decided that persons whose cubicles do not go to the ceiling and have common light, and where the cubicle is formed by a small partition, do not separately inhabit a dwelling-house. The honourable Member tries to get over that difficulty in this way. His Bill says that where a man inhabits any dwelling-house, and that dwelling-house is not a dwelling-house but a compartment, then, if he is a servant, but not otherwise, he shall vote. He tries to get over the difficulty by introducing a new word—"compartment"; but, of course, he does not define that word; in fact, he leaves it to the Courts; and we shall have this going to the Court, and to the Court of Appeal, to decide what is a compartment within the meaning of this Act if it passes. The Bill goes on to enact that the franchise shall be givenNotwithstanding that the dwelling-house which he occupies is merely a compartment of a room, and notwithstanding any control, restrictions, conditions, or disabilities whatsoever imposed on the occupation.That is a very strong phrase, and the words are absolutely sweeping in their effect. We desire to enfranchise everybody, but we do object to specially picking out for extraordinarily favoured treatment the particular class of servants who are under the strict conditions and limitations of employment. Just con- 183 sider how this Bill, if it comes into effect, will work. Take some of the rural districts with which I am acquainted, where the farmers employ a good class of labourers living in the farm house, and a less good class who are provided with accommodation in barns. Why, it will be absolutely at the discretion of the farmer to pick and choose among these people, and enfranchise those whom he desires should have a vote and refuse the franchise to others. The man has got to be in the occupation of this separate dwelling-house, which is now to be called a compartment, and he has got to be in occupation of that separate dwelling-house from July to July before he can be placed upon the register which comes in force on 1st January after. The farmer has only got to break the occupation of that man by sending him upon a job; the honourable Member or any employer of labour of this kind has only to send a man to another job to prevent him getting on the register for two and a half years. A man sent on a job in August and breaking his occupation cannot get on the list again for two and a half years. Then, again, it will be a matter of the greatest difficulty to give evidence as to the moving of these people during the qualifying period from July to July, and it will also be a matter of the greatest difficulty and the greatest cost to those who have to take part in the registration work. Now, with a simple extension of the franchise to all these classes none of these difficulties would arise, while this Measure is creating enormous difficulties and opening the door to fraud. This Bill, of course, can be best considered by those who can bring to bear upon it lawyer-like knowledge of its construction in the way it was considered a few years ago by the late Attorney-General, who, in his speech upon that occasion, subjected a similar Bill to this to a severe criticism, and showed the reason why, in his opinion, it should not be passed into law. But you cannot cure the defect of the Bill, for it enfranchises these persons at the sole will of the employer, who can give the franchise to those whom he chooses, and not give it to those whom he desires to refuse the vote. If the honourable Members whose names are on the back of this Bill desire to do that which the shop assistant class desire—and I believe 184 the mover of this Bill is greatly interested in shop assistants—they will find upon inquiry among the shop assistants that what they desire is not this Bill, but a wide and simple franchise from which that class has more to gain than any other class, because they are the least represented class of all persons in this country from the peculiar conditions of their, employment. They do not like these conditions and restrictions which are laid down in the Bill, for they dislike the living-in system altogether. Now, surely, if the franchise is to be dealt with at all, it clearly ought to be dealt with on the responsibility of the Government, and should be dealt with in the most intelligible way. We have, I think I said before, 18 franchises, and of those 18 franchises we have 11 which are in common operation. There are five included in the ownership list. There are two occupation ordinary franchises, the £10 occupation and ordinary occupation; there is the service franchise, the lodger franchise, the parochial franchise, and the municipal franchise. There are 11 of these 18 franchises in common and active operation, and all of them have their own peculiar incidence and technicalities. Our contention is that the time has come when the Government must face the difficulty of these franchises. You cannot deal with them by disfranchising any class. The country will not tolerate a retrograde movement of that description, and you can only deal with the matter by a universal or manhood franchise; by franchise on a simple basis. This would get rid of the whole difficulty, and I believe that no Party would suffer in any way from the simplification of the franchise. Under the present franchises a great number of the very best people in the country are excluded from a vote, and the time has come when the simplification of the franchise is necessary. Whether you should go to universal or only to manhood suffrage is a question upon which I should not be in order in discussing details; but, as a first step, the simplification of the franchise among men is a matter which we must deal with, and it is useless to deal with this matter by frittering Bills of this description. The time has come when we must sweep away all these artificial distinctions, and deal with this question in a broad and intelligent manner.
§ *CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
In support of the Motion of my right honourable Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean, I desire to bring one point prominently before the attention of the House, and that is this: the proposal before the House evidently seeks to depart from the great principle upon which all our franchises in the past were granted. It strikes at the root of the great principle of property qualification. Now, we who sit upon this side of the House are not in favour of property qualification. I myself am not only in favour of manhood suffrage; but I am in favour of adult suffrage, for the simple reason that when you come to deal with all these anomalies, you will have to go to adult suffrage for the remedy. At the present time you have women's suffrage in parochial affairs. But I do not wish to deal with that aspect of the question; I merely wish to point out to the House that anything short of a simple uniform suffrage only multiplies the difficulties and intricacies which surround this important question. Now, the last great Measure, the Representation of the People Act of 1884, upon which our present franchise is based, never at-tempted to touch the question of property qualification. The honourable Baronet who introduced this Bill has attempted to show the House that the Service Franchises had nothing as to any property qualification in them.
§ *CAPTAIN NORTON
Whether that is the opinion of Mr. Gladstone or whether it is the opinion of the honourable Baronet himself I do not know, but I maintain that the object of Service Franchise was this, to give to that man who was a servant that right which he would have had if he had not been a servant. The man who had an occupation—a £10 occupation, and would have had the franchise as a householder, had he not by accident lived under these conditions. Even that franchise is based on the question of rateable value. The object with which the Service Franchise was given was, in a great measure to obviate fraud and also to secure identification, and if you cannot secure identification, and that is the object of the rateable value, you 186 immediately open the door to a new fraud—a fraud, let me point out to the House, which, in its turn, will generate a whole family of other frauds. Now, the House knows to what extent that occurred with reference to the franchise after this Bill of 1884 was passed. Certain registration agents belonging to both Parties, smart registration agents, sought, as all agents will do, to do the best they could do for their employers. They attempted, as it were, to make this Act elastic. I will not say that they attempted to drive a coach and four through it, but they endeavoured to place upon the register every man who, by hook or by crook., could be placed upon it. That is to say, they attempted to place upon the register those who it was never intended by this Act should be placed upon it. And, in the end, a conflict having arisen, they appealed to the Courts and obtained certain judgments, and at length a great legal luminary, who was also a Member of this House, though honourable Members will admit that he must have shone to a greater extent in courts than he did here, decided in favour of the registration agent's contention. And this is a Bill to uphold the decision of Lord Justice Rigby, as against the judgments of Lord Justice Lopes and Lord Esher. It is a Bill to uphold the judgment of one particular judge of the Court of Appeal. As regards the object of the Bill, the object, as I understand it, is to extend the franchise, not to a particular class, but to a particular section of a particular class. It is to extend the franchise, not to shop assistants as a whole, but to a portion of shop assistants. It is scarcely worth while to deal with the question of the police. We know that throughout the country the rural police all have a vote at the present moment, as the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean has shown, and so far as London is concerned—I have a large number of constables in my constituency, over 400, and I know that of those 400 not more than 10 or 12 are deprived of the vote in the manner suggested, and that out of the 14,000 police in the county of London not more than say some three per cent. are deprived of their vote in consequence of the law which it is now proposed to change. There are other classes, such as grooms and so forth, but the number of 187 those who lose their votes in consequence of the present law is infinitesimally small. This is an artificial franchise, to deal with a favoured few to the exclusion of the working classes throughout the kingdom, and it operates most adversely so far as London is concerned, inasmuch as one of the features of London labour life is the migration of the people. People migrate at a rate of some 30 per cent. per annum, and the working men in consequence are constantly deprived of their franchise. With all this in view, I consider that a Bill which favours a small section of a class, but which leaves these people out of the list, will manifestly do a great injustice to the working classes. The Bill would add confusion to the perplexities of the present system, and would generate fraud and create bad distinctions, and would lead to a vast amount of litigation. When lawyers attempted to define the meaning of the term dwelling-house it was certainly difficult enough, but when you come to define the meaning of compartment it is to base the franchise on a board partition, or a paper partition, or a curtain which extends to the ceiling. Why not carry that argument out ad infinitum to its logical conclusion, and make it a chalk mark on the floor. If you do that, the whole thing is reduced to a state of absurdity. If you deal with it in that way, you arrive at the solution, and the proper solution, of a simple and uniform franchise, with manhood sufrage. This Bill again appears to place the whole power in the hands of the employers, because the overseer is bound to accept the list handed to him by the employer. The registration agents and the revising barristers are equally in the dark, and the agents can make no inquiry as regards the occupation of these men, and still less can they make inquiries as to whether they have been a sufficient time in occupation or not. We all know what a smart registration agent can do for his employer, and I venture to assert that a smart registration agent going into 40 out of the CO constituencies in the area of the county of London for one or two years prior to an election— provided he had sufficient funds at his disposal for registration and organisation —could get the great bulk of the voters upon his side of the register. I say, with-out the slightest hesitation, that where the parties are supposed to be equally 188 divided he could, even as the law at present stands, make the register so favourable towards one particular candidate as to carry the election in his favour.
§ AN HONOURABLE MEMBER: No, no.
§ *CAPTAIN NORTON
I have a great deal of practical knowledge of this question, more so than a good many Members of this House, and I venture to assert that, not only can that be done, but that it is done in many constituencies of the present day. I think this Bill would enlarge the field for fraud to a degree which cannot by any means now be appreciated. I will give point to my case. First of all, the list of objections to the claims which are made by voters will be something enormous, and will involve the candidates in considerable expense. It would not be possible without large funds to successfully oppose all these claims, and in that case you would put the poor candidate at the mercy of the rich candidate. If this Bill is brought in, you make the Corrupt Practices Act very much less operative than it is at the present time, and you will enable a man who has money to go down to the constituency of a poor candidate and beat him right out of the field. That is something which the working men of London will bitterly resent. Take a case in point: there is nothing to prevent a registration agent going down to a working-class district in London within a year or two of an election. There is nothing to prevent a smart agent co-operating with the owners of tenements of houses, with publicans, and with owners of refreshment houses, and so on, and with employers who employ a large number of shop assistants and getting these men to create votes. It may be thought that that would be a difficult matter, because there is the qualification period to be considered, but we all know the gross frauds in that particular which take place now with regard to lodgers' qualification. It will be easier to do that when this Measure is passed than it is now. Then there is another thing of which I can give an example. If this Measure is passed you will have young men who happen to be shop assistants —living in a cubicle, the value of which is from 1s. to 2s., roughly speaking, and which they get as part payment of their 189 wages—upon the register. Now, some of these young men, having obtained slightly higher wages, become married men or wish for greater comfort, and they go out into the cheap suburbs in London, and obtain lodgings, for which they pay 3s. to 4s., and by so doing they are not entitled to vote, which they previously exercised: but their younger brothers, paying a small sum for living in these cubicles, are entitled to their vote. This is to give the franchise to the less experienced and younger men, and men who are controlled by their employers, in preference to those uncontrolled and independent men who by the same means you deprive of the franchise. There is another point to which I might allude. My right honourable Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean says that you have 11 forms of franchise in common operation, and you add to this a 12th, in order to make confusion worse confounded; but apart from this you place a very great power in the hands of the employer. Take a large employer in London who employs hundreds of shop assistants, there is nothing to prevent him from forming two houses, one of his own political complexion in which he puts these cubicles, and the other of a different political complexion in which he does not, so that he could come at times of election and claim the franchise with regard to one building and disfranchise entirely the other class. I may be told that no employer is likely to do this. That may be so, but at the same time it is not right and proper that such a power should be placed in the hands of any man. This is in effect a class enfranchisement Bill; and a Bill which will do some small measure of justice to a small class, but will do a very great injustice to a class, not 10, but 40, 60 times as large—inasmuch as the political power in the country is lessened for the one class as the other is increased. These men will be deprived of the vote, because they do not happen to live under the control of their employers, and it is being brought in to give political power to a large number of shopkeepers and other employers who hold a large number of votes in their own hands, and may make use of that power at the time of any election. I beg leave to second the Motion of my honourable Friend.
Amendment proposed: —To leave out all after "That," in order to insert—
This House refuses to add to the complexly of our present franchise system, which can only be remedied by the simple and uniform franchise.
§ Question put; —That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ *MR. MARKS (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
I am happy to find myself in agreement with the honourable and gallant. Member who has just spoken upon this one point. I agree that the Bill will do a small measure of justice. That is all we claim for it. It is not the idea of the promoters of this Bill that it will set right all the wrongs of the present system of the franchise. It is not denied by the promoters of the Bill that great difficulties and inequalities and some conspicuous injustice exist in the present system, and I have no doubt that there would be found on this side of the House a strong desire to support honourable Gentlemen on the other side if they had been disposed at any time to introduce a Measure to do away with these inequalities and rectify this injustice. But we have not to deal with the general question of franchise to-day, though one might suppose so from the speeches that have been made. It is not proposed by this Bill that we should enter into that large controversy which has been opened up by the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean upon this subject, because this Bill is said to extend favourable treatment to a certain class. It has been said that it deals only with servants. It has been said that it is a Measure to benefit the few to the detriment of the many. Sir, the fact has been entirely lost sight of that this Bill is only introduced for the purpose of restoring a right which has recently been taken away—a right which existed and which was practised and practically unquestioned for some 12 years—from 1884 down to the time of the decision of the Court of Appeal—a, decision, by the way, which was not unanimous in 1896. The people who are to benefit by this Bill actually did benefit; they had the right which this Bill seeks to restore, not to confer upon them, of exercising the franchise, and it seems, therefore, hardly fair that the Bill should be debated as 191 if it were being introduced for the purposes of conferring a new-franchise. So far as the right honour-able Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean is concerned, we hear from him that no one has lost a vote in his constituency by reason of the decision of the Court of Appeal, and we can, therefore, understand that he does not sympathise very much with this Bill; and the honourable Gentleman the Member for Newington Division said that a very few votes had been lost in his constituency, therefore we cannot expect any very warm support from him in this matter; but his assertion that by this Bill fraud will be rendered ten times more easy than it is at present suggests that the number of votes actually affected in his constituency must be considerable. Now, as to the question of fraud, it seems to me that the House of Commons seldom passes a Bill—that the Legislature seldom enacts a law which does not create an opportunity for a new illegality to be practised. You may make your statutes as strict as you will, and your laws as biting as you can, but you will inevitably find in every case evil-disposed persons to take unfair advantage of the law when it is enacted. If the Legislature is to limit its operations to the passing of Acts which cannot by any means be evaded, then the lawmaking business of this House will be very materially reduced. I do not say that that would be a very regrettable thing; but it is a matter to be contemplated. It is true that this Bill does only deal with servants, because servants were the only people affected by the decision of the Court of Appeal which has made this Bill necessary. I quite understand that this Measure affords an opportunity for honourable Gentlemen who sit upon the other side of the House to come forward with new proposals with regard to universal suffrage, or uniform suffrage— an opportunity which has not been lost, but the arguments adduced to-day in favour of universal suffrage are somewhat weakened by the suggestion that if this Bill is passed there would not be any means of identifying the voters. So far, honourable Gentlemen who have advocated universal suffrage have not pointed out how they propose to identify the voters under that system. 192 The fact that the promoters of this Bill do not attempt to remedy all the wrongs which now exist is no reason why we should not do what we can to restore a right recently taken away, and which was up to 1896 enjoyed by these people under the Act. The objection has been taken with regard to this Bill that it gives power to employers to enfranchise or disfranchise, or, as an honourable Gentleman on the other side has said, to pick and choose. I venture to suggest that that is possible now. The employer can turn his bedrooms into cubicles, or cubicles into separate rooms, as defined by the Court of Appeal, to suit himself. But it is equally true that unscrupulous landlords may renew, or may refuse to renew, terminable leases, in view of an election that is going to take place, and so take away from their tenants the right to vote at that election. You cannot by this or by any other Measure make a man honest by Act of Parliament, and it seems to me it is a very weak argument to say that you will not restore the right to the service voter because by restoring that right you may put the power into the hands of his employer to do something which is dishonest. It has also been said that the effect of the passage of the Bill would be to place in the hands of a very large number of people who have no stake, no interest in the country, a right to vote. That argument does not come with much force from the advocates of manhood suffrage. Those who benefit under this Bill would certainly not have less interest in the country than the majority of voters under a system of universal suffrage. The 12 months' occupation would be extended to them just as it is to other classes. The Act of 1884 lays down that this particular class of voters shall have the right to vote. That right it was the intention of Parliament to confer upon them—that right was conferred upon them, and it was exercised for the most part unchallenged, and in cases where it was challenged the right was upheld until this decision came in 1896. All the Bill asks the House to do is to restore the practice upset by that decision, to give effect to the plain and obvious intention of the House when it passed that Act, and to remedy the wrong which has fallen upon these people, not by the action of this 193 House, and not by the deliberate intention of this House, but by the mere accidental interpretation of a technical point in the law in the case of Clutter-buck v. Taylor.
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
I think everyone must recognise the grievance which this Bill is intended to deal with, and having had a good deal of practical experience upon this subject, I venture to ask the House to allow me to say a few words upon it. For some 10 years I have had practical experience as a revising barrister for London and Middlesex, and I do not agree with the honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean as to the operation of the change itself. He assumes that it will affect a very small class of the community. I can say from practical experience that it will involve thousands of those in London and Middlesex. The honourable Gentleman who supported him said that no policemen in his district were disfranchised by the operation of the law. Now, it was my unfortunate duty to strike off year after year thousands of policemen in different districts. I make these observations because I think we ought to approach this subject with accurate information as to the circumstances of the case. I will go even further than that, and say that under the Act many of the policemen and other classes were put upon the roll of voters, and many of them since the decision of the Court of Appeal in 1896 have lost their votes. That is the position of things, as has been related by the honourable Gentleman who moved this Bill, and I believe that thousands of voters have been struck off the roll by the decision of Clutterbuck v. Taylor. They have not, as the honourable Gentleman who has just spoken said, lost any right which legislation conferred upon them, but they have lost a privilege which the revising barristers allowed, which they exercised for many years until the decision of the Court of Appeal. That is the first position which I wish to take up before this House. There is sometimes a great deal of loose description as to what the Service Franchise was, as it was originally understood by those who interpreted the Act. It was to give the franchise to those who were residing by reason of their employment on the premises of their employers, 194 after a certain period of occupation. Now I am bound to say this, that I think most revising barristers, in their desire to extend so far as possible the rights of citizenship to the inhabitants of a district, carried as far as they could the interpretation of the clause, and perhaps ventured to carry it a little further than the Act intended. The opinion was very strongly expressed that where you had got a cubicle in the definite occupation of a particular individual it was exclusively occupied by him; that under the definition which had been given as to what was a dwelling-house it became, in fact, a dwelling-house, and it did not depend in any way on the height of the partition, whether it was a foot from the ground or 10 feet from the ground. Carrying that view out to its logical conclusion, many of us held that if you could find the adequate space in a room in the exclusive possession of one person, whether it was partitioned off or whether it was marked out with a permanent chalk line, it became a dwelling-house within the meaning of the Act, and I, for one, see no objection to that view being taken in any shape or form. I very well remember being in communication with the police authorities, and I pointed out to them the effect of the existing system, that in large dormitories, without putting up a partition or marking a permanent mark to the space occupied by each man, they were disfranchising hundreds of policemen in London. I do not know for what reason, whether on the ground of ventilation, or sanitation, or any other reason, but they declined in many cases to erect these partitions, and as a result in many districts the police were not placed upon the roll. In other districts the police authorities, in their desire to see that their men had their political rights, did erect these partitions and make these distinctions, and as a result thousands of policemen and thousands of other men were placed upon the roll of voters. Now I say, in the face of what was decided by the Court of Appeal, that in what we have done we were all wrong, and that, therefore, these men have not lost a right which they were entitled to exercise, though they have lost, by the decision of the Court of Appeal, a privilege which they had exercised without objection for years. In consequence of that de- 195 cision they lost that which they supposed to be a right. Take the case of the Greenwich pensioner as an instance. He had been for years placed upon the roll, but last year my Friend, who acts as revising barrister in that district, found himself compelled to strike all these men off the roll. I say at once that while I recognise this grievance, I do not follow my right honourable Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean in what he has said. I speak from practical experience, and I say that the class to which he referred is a very small class compared with the hundreds of thousands who are excluded, by the operation of our law, from exercising that right to which they are clearly entitled. Now I notice this in connection with this Bill, that the honourable Gentleman does not provide in his Bill a clause that the employer shall be non-resident. I think he can scarcely understand what the effect of that is. If he is resident on the premises it will disfranchise many of those who are resident there. Might I tell the House the practice in these matters? It is a very common thing to find manufacturers and warehousemen who are on the roll by reason of the £10 occupation clause disfranchised because they happen to reside beyond the seven-mile limit. Under the recent Act and all the other Acts they are obliged to reside within seven miles from London. This Bill will not affect in any way those thousands; they will still be disfranchised, and they will find themselves, under this Bill, through no fault of their own, in the same position.
§ *SIR J. BLUNDELL MAPLE
I will at once tell my honourable Friend that I will endeavour to alter that part of the Bill after we have got the Second Reading.
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
I take the Bill as it stands for the purpose of showing how it operates: and may I ask my honourable Friend how he proposes to carry out the Amendment he suggests? In many parts of London you have resident employers—I do not speak merely of those business men who live in the country and keep a bed-room in their premises in the City—but men who have one or two employees in the occupation of a portion of their employer's dwelling. These men are just as respectable and 196 just as entitled to the franchise as the class which the honourable Baronet wishes to enfranchise. Will the honourable Baronet make his Amendment so wide as to include all these? I want to invite an expression of opinion, for I shall point out to him what practical difficulties will immediately stare him in the face. If he does not respond to the invitation it is not necessary for me to go further on that point. I am certain that the honourable Baronet is desirous of seeing the large class of persons in whom he is interested enfranchised, but I would like to believe that he is equally anxious that the other classes of men to whom I refer, and who by the operation of the existing Registration law, have no votes, should also be placed on the electoral roll. Permit me to give an illustration, to let the House understand that we are only dealing with the fringe of a large question by this Bill. Any one who knows anything of the central districts of London, knows that there is a class of men who are known as house-farmers. These men take several houses and let them out room by room to different families. The house-farmer resides in one of these houses, occupying the basement for the purpose of carrying on some trade or business, and where he sleeps. I ask the honourable Baronet is it fair or right, where there are, two houses side by side, owned by the same house-farmer, in which the same class of people are resident, that every occupant of rooms in the house in which the landlord resides should be disfranchised while every occupant of a room in the house next door is placed on the electoral roll? But I would go further, and point out one of the most extraordinary anomalies in our electoral law I have ever known. If a house-farmer occupies number 1 house to-day and in the middle of the year changes his occupation and moves into number 2 and resides in the basement there, the lodgers and occupiers alike in both houses are disfranchised. Now, does the honourable Baronet think that is a just or a fair system?
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
The honourable Baronet does not think it right or fair. Well, does he think it fair and right that, if a lodger by the improvement of his circumstances is enabled to acquire the 197 occupation of the entire house instead of only one room in it. the revising barrister has no option in the existing state of the law but to strike him off the register simply because he has increased the number of rooms he occupies? I am quite certain that the honourable Baronet will agree that as a man grows in prosperity he grows in wisdom; but here is the case of a man who increases in prosperity to such an extent that he not only keeps on the original room which he occupied and for which he had a vote, but takes the occupation of the whole house, and the result is that he cannot get a certificate of occupation as a lodger and is struck off the register. I have no desire to intrude at any length on the attention of the House, but I could give illustration after illustration showing that under the existing system of our Registration laws, not hundreds, nor even thousands, but tens of thousands of these people are disfranchised all over London.
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
No injustice done to them! Is it not an injustice that of two men living side by side, under exactly the same conditions—you are to enfranchise the one and refuse enfranchisement to the other? That is an injustice against which we are protesting. It is not an injustice to a few poor people, but a gross injustice to tens of thousands of people who ought to be on the electoral roll. I have the strongest sympathy with the honourable Baronet and his Bill, but I wish exceedingly that he could have seen his way to go much further. From the position he holds, he, in common with his friends, might have brought influence to bear on the Government which we on this side of the House cannot pretend to do, and have pointed out to them that not merely in this respect, but in many others, the Registration laws should be so altered as to make a very valuable reform. If the honourable Baronet were to do so I am sure he would have the enthusiastic support of every man on this side of the House. It is because you are picking out a few hundreds here and there to grant them the franchise and excluding hundreds of thousands who are equally entitled to the franchise, that I find myself in the posi- 198 tion of being compelled to vote for the Amendment.
§ *MR. FAITHPULL BEGG (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I rise to speak in opposition to this Bill, not because I have any real hostility to the object which my honourable Friend the Mover of it seeks to attain, but because from a special and particular point of view I desire that there should not be any legislation of any kind whatever in connection with the franchise in this country until the particular change in that franchise in which I take an interest has been brought about. I have much sympathy with the object of my honourable Friend, and I think that it is a hardship that the very deserving class of persons, who are described in the Memorandum attached to the Bill, should be excluded, as they are at present, from the electoral franchise. But this injustice, if it is an injustice, is very small in comparison with the great and crying injustice to which I have alluded. In consequence of the forms of the House I shall not have an opportunity of moving the Amendment I have put on the paper, and therefore I should like, in a very few brief sentences, to speak from the special point of view I have already indicated. Any addition to the scope of the electoral franchise in this country will only add to the disparity which already exists in regard to the basis on which the franchise at the present moment rests. I do not wish to speak disrespectfully in any sense of those on whose behalf my honourable Friend has pleaded this afternoon; but it is evident that among those for whom I am speaking there are many who are more responsible as taxpayers and ratepayers, who are equally intelligent. who are, equally educated, and in various ways equally qualified to vote as are those on behalf of whom this plea is made. I think that, speaking generally, it is unfortunate that I cannot in the least degree agree with the honourable Gentleman opposite. The tendency in this country appears to be to reduce the value attachable to the claims of those who by contributions in the shape of rates and taxes or by their intelligence and education are admitted to the franchise at the present moment. I think we appear to be going further in that direction than we were —leaving sex alone as a bar to the exercise of electoral privilege in connec 199 tion with the membership of this House. I quite believe that I shall be accused of advocating a very selfish policy in regard to this Hill, but I am content to rest under that imputation. It may be urged that selfishness in matters of this sort is not a proper line to be taken. But whatever view one may take of that from the point of view of the strictly orthodox Canon—when you treat a large class of the population in a selfish manner, I do not think that they should be blamed if they retaliate in a similar manner. It would not do for me to appeal to the honourable Baronet to support me in the reform I have referred to, for his views are well known on the subject. I have not even the resource of saying to the honourable Baronet "If you support me, then I will do the best I can to support you." I am forced into the position of advocating what he will no doubt call a dog-in-the-manger policy. But I am fortified by the opinion of the House—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The honourable Member may give his reasons for opposing the Bill, but he must not make this an opportunity for an argument in favour of woman's suffrage.
§ *MR. FAITHFULL BEGG
Then I will merely say that I shall do everything in my power to advocate the particular point which I have briefly discussed and that I oppose the Bill, not on its merits but as a protest against the continuance of the crying injustice under which a large section of Her Majesty's subjects labour at the present moment, and I shall continue to do so until that grievance is remedied.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras S.)
I am astonished that the honourable Gentleman opposite has, while expressing approval of this Measure intimated that he does not intend to go into the lobby with us who are promoting this Bill. I can assure, him that many of the objections he has to the anomalies in the present registration laws, which he has so ably indicated, are shared by honourable Members on this side of the House as well as by those who sit on the other side of the House, and we would be delighted to see a great many of them done away with altogether. But I fail, for my part, to see why, because other objections exist, honourable Members on the other side of the House should not 200 help us to obtain the removal of the grievances of those whose cause we are at present advocating. I would like to deal with one other remark the honourable Gentleman made, and to point out the discrepancy between what he says and what the honourable and gallant Member for West Newington says. The honourable Member for Perth says that this question involves the question of the votes of hundreds of policemen. Well, the honourable and gallant Member for West Newington, who has professed to be the champion of the police in this House, said it was scarcely worth while to deal with a question which only affected a few policemen. He told us that not three per cent. of the whole police force in London were affected by the decision in the case of Clutterbuck v. Taylor. I have made considerable inquiry into this subject—I have gone to almost the highest authority—and I am informed that no fewer than 1,100 policemen out of 14,000 in London live in cubicles. That is rather a large1 number and I cannot congratulate the honourable and gallant Member for West Newington on his researches on this point. I come to another point—that is the shop assistants, of whom there is a large number in my constituency and in other constituencies. The shop assistants have a grievance in this matter, and I am very specially interested in the removal of that grievance. With the permission of the House, I will read a letter written to me some little time ago. That letter is as follows—SIR,—At a recent meeting of the Executive Committee of Shop Assistants at 55, Chancery Lane, they considered the decision of the Revising Barrister in St. Pancras to strike off 170 shop assistants from the list of voters. The reason was technical, that in sleeping-rooms the partitions between beds did not quite reach the ceiling. My Committee consider that, some alteration of the law is urgently needed, and I am instructed to ask if you are prepared to take any action in the next Session of Parliament to put an end to the absurdity that a few more inches of wood would qualify the shop assistants to exercise their privileges as citizens. (Signed) JAS. MACPHEHSON.Well, sir. I maintain that this class of citizens are, by the judgment given in the case of Clutterbuck v. Taylor, put to a considerable disadvantage and that they suffer from a real grievance. I know that we will be told that there are other people who suffer from grievances, and 201 that it is a great grievance that a man in a similar position, but who does not happen to be a servant, should not have the vote because he sleeps in a cubicle. I should like to point out that at present it would be very difficult to deprive a man of his vote, for the qualification is so very low in some parts of London. A man who occupies furnished apartments for which he pays four shillings a week, and in some cases live shillings a week, is given a vote. I must say that in my opinion, even if a man who is not a servant, if he occupies an apartment by himself, could reach a qualification of four shillings or five shillings a week. My honourable Friend and those who are supporting this Measure are quite agreeable to any Amendment on the Bill which does not strike at the root of the Bill. We should be only too anxious to join with those—if the Bill gets into Committee—who desire to obviate any chance of fraud; to see, for instance, that measures are taken to make the claims for the Service franchise in the same way as for the Lodger franchise, and so to prevent owners from disfranchising their employees. If such a proposal were made in Committee it is very probable that it would be accepted. I wish to point out that we do not wish to tinker with the Constitution in any way. We do not wish to flood the electorate with faggot votes. We only wish to restore the franchise to a very intelligent and deserving class of the population. We may also be told that this is piecemeal legislation, but I maintain that most of the legislation passed by this House is piecemeal. We cannot deal with all these questions at once, and we cannot possibly hope for the removal of every grievance. If it were not for piecemeal legislation, I think that the occupation of the Opposition would be gone, and I am sure honourable Gentlemen opposite would be very sorry if we brought in a Measure dealing with the whole subject of registration at the same time, for they would have then nothing to agitate about. I maintain that there is no question of class legislation in this matter, but simply an effort to get rid of a class grievance.
§ MR. LUCAS-SHADWELL (Hastings)
After the interesting remarks of the honourable Member opposite, I am somewhat surprised to find those who advocate manhood suffrage opposing the 202 extension of the franchise on this occasion to a respectable and deserving class of people. I am not desirous of gaining the attention of the House for more than a moment or two, because I did not rise specially to state my intention to support this Bill. I rose, briefly, to humbly protest against the speech of the honourable Member for St. Rollox Division of Glasgow, who is a well-known supporter of female suffrage. I know I should be entirely out of order if I went into the subject of female suffrage, but I only wish to place myself right with my constituents and others, for I am myself in favour of the extension of the suffrage to women. I am sorry my honourable Friend is not here now, but I would appeal to him not to oppose this Measure, because he cannot advance the interests of female suffrage by opposing the extension of the franchise to those who are in every way justly entitled to possess it. It is quite open to the honourable Member on a future occasion to advocate female suffrage, and by voting for this Bill he can in no way hinder the extension of the franchise to the class in whom he is so much interested. I have great pleasure in supporting the Bill of the honourable Baronet near me, and I hope it will receive the approval of the House of Commons.
§ On the return of Mr. SPEAKER after the usual interval,
§ MR. ASCROFT (Oldham)
Mr. Speaker, I think that, on behalf of honourable Members on this side of the House interested in the Second Reading of this Bill, I may congratulate the honourable Member on the spirit in which he addressed the House, and the valuable personal information he furnished. I do not quite agree with the grounds upon which the honourable Member pressed this Bill on the House for Second Reading, by maintaining the opinions of Lord Justice Rigby. I think he was in a minority on the occasion when the decision was given, and all the members of the legal profession do not go so far as to support his view. I therefore support this Bill on higher ground, on what I hold and maintain to have been the opinion of Parliament in 1884, when the Franchise Bill was passed. The question seems to me to be an exceedingly simple one, if we are to deal with it in a just and fair spirit. 203 What was the intention of Parliament in 1834? Was it intended that servants who occupy—
Attention having been called to the fact that there were not 40 Members present, the House was counted, when 40 Members being present—
MR. ASHCROFT (continuing)
The question, as I have said, Mr. Speaker, was, What was the intention of Parliament in 1884 when the Service Vote was given? Well, in proof of it, we had a thousand people placed on the Register by the revising barristers—men of great experience, men who had considered the Act to the best of their ability, who took no part in politics, and were entirely independent. And that went on until the year 1896. In 1896 the decision was given of which we have heard so much this morning, and the result was that, without any fault of their own, a great number of respectable voters who in 1884 were placed upon the Register ceased to have any voice in the government of the country. That, everyone must agree, is a grievance. Parliament, I submit, has no greater duty to perform than that of redressing grievances, and if there is a grievance, then it is the duty of the House to redress it, more especially where a number of people are affected, not through their own fault, but through the fault of the draftsmen of the Bill— through the way in which the Bill was drawn. It has been said that in some constituencies only a very small minority is affected. That, I think, ought to have no weight whatever with Members in this House. There is a grievance. No matter how small it is, that grievance, if it can be remedied, ought to be remedied at the earliest possible moment. It has also been said by the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean that it is unfair to pick out a particular class. What I wish to submit is this, that if the House had agreed in 1884 to place these men on the register, it was the House which picked them out, and not we who pick them out to-day. It has also been said that it is unfair to a large number of other people in a similar class of life that they have not the same opportunity of voting. That is not our fault to-day. That is the fault of the Legislature in 1884. It then picked out those whom it was thought had a 204 fairly reasonable right to be placed on the Register, and if any grievance exists it exists against the honourable Members who formed a majority of the House in that year. A good deal has been said in respect to registration. The registration laws are not only condemned on the opposite side: they are condemned on this side. There is no greater scandal existing at the present day than to give men votes and make them fight, year after year, at considerable expense and loss of time, and great trouble and annoyance, for the purpose of being put on the register, because some active agent, of whom we have heard from the honourable Member for Newington, takes opportunity of constantly objecting to them; and I do not hesitate to say that if this Parliament is allowed to close without the Government dealing with the Registration Laws, simplifying them, making them easily understood, appointing proper officers to deal with them, and throwing responsibility on somebody, I hope and trust that when the next election comes the Government will be on the opposite side of the House, and not on this side. Now, Sir, the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean has made a pretty similar speech to what ho made last year. We all know that he is very anxious that everyone should be placed on the register. We know that he is very anxious that the franchise should be given to all classes. Well, we shall be prepared to do that when the proper time comes, but it would be utterly impossible, utterly unjust and useless, to attempt to deal with all these questions at the present moment. What we are attempting to do is simply to scratch out a blot in the Act of Parliament, and to do justice to a number of people. In 1901 it is possible that these questions which the right honourable Gentleman refers to may be dealt with. I expect that will be the year of the millenium, when we shall have redistribution of seats, simplification of the franchise, new registration laws, all Members of Parliament to be paid salaries, all their expenses to be paid, and they will be able to send free telegrams from this House and post letters without putting stamps upon them, and we shall not be allowed to be directors of companies—I do not know whether we shall be allowed to acquire shares in 205 a company, or to have any money at all. However, that is the time when the right honourable Gentleman's speech will be appropriate. The honourable Member for Newington objects that great powers will be left in the hands of the employers. We know perfectly well that the owner of a great number of cottage houses could disfranchise every man living in them if he wanted to by refusing to pay the poor rate. We know by accident it has sometimes been done; but we ought to have something more than mere assertions, we ought to have proof. We have not been able to get one single case; and I think we may congratulate ourselves on both sides of the House that since 1884 there has never been any attempt made either by Liberal or Conservative employers to throw any difficulty in the way of their men being placed upon the register. The fault lies upon those active agents who have been active in the interests of Members of this House, and are determined to get as good a state of the register for their side as they possibly can. Then we were told by the honourable Member for Newington—and I was astonished, because I thought I knew something about registration—that a smart registration agent, with a few thousand shekels of gold, can keep 40 out of 60 away from the poll. It is somewhat astonishing. I was not aware that there were any possible means of winning an election, or getting over those who were going to vote against a man, save by sending them off by steamboat or train, or putting them on the Big Wheel during the time of the poll. That is not an objection to this Bill. The chief objection seems to be that a number of other people who ought to be on the register are not to be put upon it. That is not a sufficient reason why this House should not render the justice which is asked. We are told that there are already 11 forms of franchise. We are not increasing the number. The Service Franchise already exists; and we ask that this House, in fairness to those who have been deprived by a mere technicality of their votes, to allow this Bill to be read a second time, and I hope and trust that will be done.
§ *MR. HEDDERWICK
Mr. Speaker, I find myself in the unusual position of being on this question somewhat at variance 206 with my honourable Friends on this side of the House. I mean to support the Second Heading of this Bill, for reasons which I am afraid will scarcely commend themselves to the honourable Baronet who moved the Second Reading, but which I think must commend themselves to the right honourable Baronet who moved the Amendment. All my political life I have been in favour of manhood suffrage, and I have upon nearly every political platform on which I have appeared constantly advocated an extension of the suffrage. Well, here we have a Measure which does, to some extent, endeavour to widen the franchise. It is a small step it is true, a miserably small step, but still it is a step in that direction, and, therefore, I feel, unless there are adequate reasons offered which commend themselves to my judgment, that I should be doing something in opposition to those principles which I have always advocated if I were not to support this Measure. Now, what are the objections advanced against it. It is said that if this Bill were passed it would be a means of effecting political jobbery. That is always possible, no doubt. Take as a specific example the great upholsterers of London, who nightly stow away an army of employees in cubicles like catacombs; it is quite conceivable that if these employers were determined to create faggot votes they might have a weapon formed to their hands under this Bill. But that is a risk which I think we must take. I certainly would be the last man to deny a right which certain persons in the community ought to have, because of a possibility of that sort. Then it is said that if this Measure were passed it would add to the already almost intolerable mass of enfranchising enactments. That is true; but I for one would not be sorry for that, because I believe the more intolerable we make these enactments the more likely we are to obtain something in the nature of the real reform which I should like to see. Then it is said that the present proposal is an unfair proposal, because it picks and chooses—these' are the words of the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean—among servants; that is to say, it would enfranchise a small section of servants while at the same time it would deny the 207 franchise to a much greater number. That, I think, is also true, but am I to deny the privilege of voting to a certain section of servants because the honourable Baronet who introduced this Measure did not bring within its purview all possible servants? I think that would be absurd, especially when, in addition, I believe that the very unfairness of this Measure will act as a lever to create such an intolerable situation among the other unenfranchised servants that we will before long be compelled to pass a much wider Act than the present Measure. The only other objection worth while noticing is that of the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean. He objects to the Bill on the ground that it has been brought forward by a private Member and not by a responsible Government. My answer to that is very short. I do not personally care a straw whether a reform be brought forward by a private Member or by a responsible Government; if it be a good Measure or a Measure going some distance, however short, in the direction of justice, it will have my support; and I think it is to the credit of a private Member, when a responsible Government refuses to move in the direction of reform, that he should take upon himself the burthen of introducing into this House a Measure in itself to be commended. Without attempting to go into the technicalities of the subject I beg to give the Bill before the House my support.
§ MR. LOGAN (Leicester, Harborough)
Like the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down, I find myself under the painful necessity of differing on this matter from some of my honourable Friends on this side of the House. I intend to support the Second Reading of this Bill, because it enfranchises somebody, and God knows there are enough of people in this country who are disfranchised. I do not care whether the persons proposed to be enfranchised by this Bill are likely to be political friends or foes. That makes no difference to me, and so long as I am assured they are good citizens I cannot feel myself justified in offering any opposition to their being enabled to exercise the franchise. Of course, we have heard that 208 this is piecemeal legislation. During the short time I have been in this House I have come to the conclusion that most of the legislation proposed is piecemeal legislation, and if this Bill can fairly be called piecemeal it is only in accordance with our usual custom. My experience is that it takes a considerable amount of mental bracing on the part of Members of this House to agree to give the people of the country the power they are entitled to have. This Measure does not go anything like as far as it ought to go, and in supporting it I do so largely because I believe that the honourable Baronet who introduced it, who has told us that he desires to see the franchise extended to all classes generally who do not now possess it, will, should the Bill get to another stage, extend its powers, which he can do in a very simple and easy manner, in order to bring within its purview certain other servants who are every bit as much entitled to exercise the franchise as are the servants for whom he now pleads. This he can do by the insertion of four or five simple words. For instance, in our towns, and I am sure in our villages throughout the length and breadth of the country, there are a large number of young men who remain unmarried because they desire to support their widowed mothers. Under the Bill as it now stands these deserving young men cannot exercise the franchise. They live at home because they are anxious to do the best they can for their mothers, and the old ladies are naturally anxious to keep possession of their houses in their own names, and the sons, although they practically defray most of the expenses, are not entitled to vote. Then there is another class also very numerous. I mean young men who, working in villages and towns, live at home with their parents. Now, I ask the honourable Baronet why in drafting this Bill he should have excluded those young men from the benefit of the franchise. Why should he deprive them of the right to vote? They pay for their rooms and for the expense of their living, but they, are not eligible to exercise the franchise because the rooms they occupy are not of the necessary value. If the honourable Baronet will take this matter into consideration he will see that by adding the four or five words I have suggested, and striking out something, he will bring within the purview of this 209 Bill a large number of servants quite as qualified to exercise the Franchise as the limited few for whom he so eloquently pleads. If the Bill goes to another stage I hope I will have an opportunity of moving an Amendment which will have the effect of including the two classes to which I have referred. At any rate, because this Bill proposes to enfranchise somebody I do not find myself able to vote against it, and having placed before the House my suggestion to amend the Bill and to redress a further wrong, I shall be very pleased to support the Second Reading.
MR. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E)
I most heartily support this Measure. I think when we consider the Bill we will acknowledge after all is said and done that it is a most useful Measure. The Legislature no doubt intended that the persons whom my honourable Friend now wishes to be enfranchised should be enfranchised. For 12 years they enjoyed the franchise, but by a technical mistake in the drafting of this particular Act of Parliament they were disfranchised. Honourable Members who have spoken against this Measure say it is a small Measure, and that it does not enfranchise a number of persons whom they would like to see enfranchised. But let us look at the Bill from the present position of affairs. At present if the large employers of London decided to house their servants in small rooms, each with a window, at the top of the house they would all enjoy the franchise. But if, on the other hand, the employees slept in cubicles—which are very much better on sanitary grounds than small rooms— an honourable Member called cubicles catacombs, but small rooms are much more like catacombs than are cubicles on the dormitory system—they would be disfranchised. The right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean states that in his constituency there was no reason for the Bill at all, and that the police did not require it. That may be the case, but the right honourable Baronet represents a rural constituency, and probably the police are very few and far between, and every policeman has probably a separate house to himself, and has the franchise. But in this vast metropolis the police have to be put into barracks, and under the 210 present law, as has been pointed out by the honourable and gallant Member for South St. Pancras, a large number of them are disfranchised. This Bill will enfranchise a large number of very intelligent and intellectual people: first the police, then those connected with shops as assistants—and no man can be an important assistant in a shop who cannot read and write, and has not a knowledge of arithmetic; and lastly attendants in hospitals and asylums. In some parts of the world there is an education franchise, and why should we disfranchise educated people in this country because of a technical mistake? The honourable Member for Newington had a great many objections to this Measure. I cannot for one moment believe that this Bill would lead to fraud or that employers of labour would move into various buildings owned by them in order to disfranchise a large number of people just before an election; but an Amendment could be added to prevent any such thing. Surely the danger of fraud would be greater if the qualifying period, instead of being a year or a year and a half, were reduced to a quarter of a year. I had the honour of moving the rejection of the Bill introduced by the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton. I think it was carried to a Second Reading, but for some reason or another which I could not understand, whether the Liberal country Members objected to some provisions and the town Liberal Members objected to others, the Bill, which was nothing more nor less than a Reform Bill, was dropped. The honourable Baronet the Member for Dulwich is now bringing in a useful Measure, and I venture to believe that if it is passed it will be very advantageous. Again, I would advocate this Bill because it gives the franchise to people who have a definite stake in the country. I must confess I hold with the old Conservative doctrine that the rights of property should be respected; and that the electoral franchise should be accompanied by some property qualification. I disagree entirely with the suggestion of the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean that we should have universal suffrage in this country. I think with a country so thickly populated as ours it would lead to very grave danger. I 211 believe we should throw into the hands of the migratory population the full political power of this country, and I am therefore strongly opposed to universal suffrage. There is one other point on which I should like to touch. I think at the present time the franchise should not be altered in any material way, but I agree with the honourable Member who said that the method with which we collect our votes and our entire registration system ought to be thoroughly amended. At the present time there is a vast expenditure associated with it. There are paid officials to register the electors, and revising barristers and overseers, though in some districts the work is done, and done well, by town clerks and vestry clerks. I would advocate that we appoint permanent officials to register the electors of the country, and that political parties should not be put to the ridiculously heavy and unnecessary expense they now have to bear. At present a great deal of energy is devoted to registration which might be wisely used in other ways. I do not think we are ready for universal suffrage, and I do not think it would work well for one moment.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The honourable Member is not in order in discussing payment of election expenses or universal suffrage now.
But I will not touch on the question any further than to say that I believe the Bill my honourable Friend the Member for Dulwich has brought in would be a very useful and very desirable amendment of the law, and I believe it would enfranchise a vast number of very deserving people.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo. E.)
I should like to say a few words with regard to this Hill. It seems to me to belong to a most objectionable class of measure, for it proposes to deal piecemeal with the suffrage, Sir, I do not know what would be the political effect of this Bill if it were passed into law, but I venture to say that those who have supported it on the opposite side have a certain view as to what the effect would be, and that is the reason why the Bill is introduced. I hold that the question of registration or the suffrage ought to be approached in some general, broad measure which would 212 be free from the suspicion of a desire to admit some limited and well-defined section of the population to the franchise. Now, Sir, the honourable Member who has just spoken has used as an argument in favour of the Bill that it is only proposed to enfranchise a set of individuals who have been disfranchised by some technical construction of the complicated registration laws. Sir, this is not the only outcome of the constructions placed upon the Bill. Hardly a year passes without some fresh judgment, either admitting or excluding various sections of the community to the franchise, being given upon the registration laws. But what I maintain is that if it is considered desirable—and I believe it to be extremely desirable— to simplify and improve the registration system of this country it ought to be done by some general Bill dealing with the whole subject, and not by a Bill introduced by a private Member on behalf of one particular section of the population. I think it would have been very desirable if the Government had introduced such a Bill and given us the opportunity, now that there is a strong Tory Government in office, to deal with this question as a Government Measure. Everybody who has heard the discussions during the last few years on the registration law must admit that it is very bad, and, in fact, indefensible. But, of course, the difficulty is to agree upon a general measure of reform. I think it would be a very reasonable thing for the Government to introduce a general measure simplifying and reforming the registration laws, for which I venture to say there is not a parallel for complication and expense in the whole civilised world. Now, Sir, the honourable Member who spoke last said this Bill would be a "small and useful Measure," and would admit to the suffrage an intellectual and intelligent body of men—I suppose he means by that a body of men who would vote Tory. It is a small and useful Bill to the Tory Party, but that is not the principle upon which the question ought to be dealt with. These "small and useful measures" lead to a system absolutely destructive of all good principles in dealing with this question. One honourable Member on this side of the House alluded to the case of sons of widowed women who live at home and postpone their marriage from the very laudable motive of contributing to the support of 213 their mothers. Sir, I should like very much to bring in a "small and useful Measure" which would enfranchise all the sons of widow landowners in Ireland who are kept off the rent-roll by the Irish landlords, and who have as great a right, morally speaking, to vote as any other electors in the whole of the United Kingdom. But I should like to know what would be said of such a "small and useful Measure" on the opposite side of the House. No doubt it would remedy a great wrong, and if I thought it was the slightest use to draft a Bill on such lines I would joyfully bring it in. But we know perfectly well the Tory Party would rise in revolt against such a "onesided" Measure. I could make out a stronger case in favour of such a Measure than honourable Members opposite have done in the case of this Bill to-day. I only mention this to show the absurdity of the arguments of honourable Gentlemen opposite. If you are going to deal piecemeal with these anomalies and injustices you will have not one "small and useful Measure," but a dozen. That is not the way in which this House can, with any sense of self-respect, deal with this great question of registration and the franchise. You must deal with it in some general Measure, which can be defended on general principles. What I would like to see would be a Measure admitting fearlessly to the franchise— and there must be such a Measure before many years are passed—every grown man who is free from the taint of crime and has contributed to the wealth of this great country; so that without the intervention of lawyers—or with as little intervention as possible—and without the intervention of the agents of political Parties, all shall be placed upon the Register of this country.
§ MR. W. MOORE (Antrim, N.)
I regret. Sir, that on the present occasion in rising to address this House I am unable to find myself entirely in accord with the honourable Irish Member who has joined in this Debate. He has objected to piecemeal legislation on the one hand and on the other he denounces the extension of the franchise to a most deserving class. I have no doubt that in his zeal to extend the suffrage to the sons of widows in Ireland he will have no objection to do now what he and his Party have for years refused to do, namely, give equal 214 rights to the Royal Irish Constabulary with the English Police. I venture to hope that as they are grown men, and as the English Constabulary already have the privilege, he will not raise objection if a Bill is brought forward by Colonel Saunderson, or any other Unionist Member for Ireland, to admit them to the privileges of the franchise.
§ Mr. W. MOORE
It seems to me that the question we are discussing is, if I may say so, not really an extension of the franchise: we are discussing the privileges which have been kept from a body of men who, de facto, if not de jure, were entitled to those privileges for a considerable time, and who, in the opinion of many competent authorities, namely, the revising barristers, who are constituted the franchise tribunals through the country, came within the scope and intendment of the original Act. It is only by a recent decision of the Court of Appeal, which, of course, everyone must treat with the greatest respect, that these men have teen found to be no longer entitled to the franchise. If this House now sees fit to restore them their privileges which the Court took from them, though de jure it will be an extension, de facto it will not. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have been concerned as a stranger to this House—and, I am afraid, also to its privileges—during the three Debates it has been my privilege to hear at the vast amount of fraud there seems to be amongst the English people. As a simple Irish Member I had not suspected it. But I listened with interest on the first night of my arrival to a Debate on margarine, and I heard honourable Gentlemen say that they objected to legislation in the proposed direction because it would lead to fraud. Last night, in the Debate upon Education, we were told that the existing Act, which dealt with the control of Primary schools, was being beset by fraud again. To-day the same argument is again being made use of—that if the House passes this piece of legislation the unfortunate people who are supposed to benefit by it will once more be defrauded. Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable Member for East Mayo will bear me out when I say that that argument will not hold water across 215 St. George's Channel. But there is another point to which I would draw attention; the objection is put forward that the Hill does not go far enough. Is that any ground for refusing what is now offered? Half a loaf is better than no bread. The Bill is the half loaf. Why refuse it? Oliver Twist asked for more. He did not get it, but he stuck to what he had got. A Bill is now brought in to extend the franchise to a certain number, but I cannot see why, because others are not included in it, that that is any logical ground for honourable Members opposite objecting to it. The honourable M ember for East Mayo has brought forward the objection that this is merely piecemeal legislation. Mr. Speaker, it is not the first time in the history of this House during the past 25 years that Parliament has been obliged to pass piecemeal legislation to get over a particular decision in a particular case in a Court of Appeal, and I understand that it is fully admitted on both sides that it is simply by a recent decision of a Court of Appeal that this legislation has become necessary. The anomalies of the Franchise Act have been discussed. Any one who has had experience of the Registration Courts must be aware of those anomalies. I have had a certain amount of experience in this respect, for I have been a revising barrister on more than one occasion. I remember on one occasion a clergyman claimed to be entitled to vote as a householder, and he proved to my satisfaction that although his landlord lived under the same roof as he himself did, he nevertheless had an entirely separate part of the house, coming out of his own door, having his own rooms, his own latch-key, and all the other necessaries of a householder. I was about to allow the claim, when the agent on the other side said, as an after-thought, that the reverend gentleman originally decided to put in a claim to be a lodger. I have not the least doubt that there was not the suggestion of fraud in this case, but that the reverend gentleman left himself entirely in the hands of the agent of the party to which he belonged. There is nothing in the Bill, however, which will affect these anomalies, which must always arise under the existing election law, because they arise as mixed questions of law and fact so frequently. On the ground that this is not really an extension of the franchise, and that it is legislation in the interests 216 of a very large class of men who make their living by the sweat of their brows —police, warders, and people in honourable service—I ask the House to support the Bill.
§ *MR. McKENNA (Monmouth, N.)
Mr. Speaker, those who have supported the Second Beading of this Bill have done so on two grounds—either that the Bill merely corrects a technical mistake in the existing law—a mistake so technical that it was only discovered in 1896, 12 years after the passing of the Act — or that it is a desirable extension in the direction of manhood suffrage. Now, Sir, upon the question of whether or not this is a mere technical correction of the law I have a few words to say. One honourable Member has said that the Bill proposes to give effect to the plain and obvious intention of this House as expressed in the Representation of the People Act Another honourable Member said that it corrects a mere technical mistake in drafting, and similar expressions were cheered by the Attorney-General sitting opposite. If we are to understand that this is a mere correction of a technical error in drafting, I suppose there is no better authority to go to than the author of this Act, and we must consider, therefore, the words of Mr. Gladstone when he introduced the Representation of the People Act in l884. I find that Mr. Gladstone, speaking of the Service Franchise, said—Our object is to provide a franchise for those inhabitants who are neither owners nor tenants; but they must be householders in this sense—either, in the first place, that they are actual inhabitants; or, in the second place, that there is no other inhabitant with them, superseding them, or standing in the same position with them; and, in the third place, they must either be inhabitants of an integral house, or else of that separate part of a house which at any rate has already been declared to be a house for electoral purposes. Honourable Gentlemen are aware of the general reasons which may be pleaded in favour of this enlargement. It is an enlargement absolutely required by the principle of this Bill, because the principal and central idea of this Bill is to give every householder a vote. The householder is just as much a householder and has just as much the responsibility of a householder, whether he is in the eye of the law an owner or a tenant, or whether he is not, provided he is an inhabitant in the sense I have described. And this Service franchise is a far-reaching franchise. It goes to men of high class, who inhabit valuable houses, as the officers of great institutions. It descends to men of humble class, who are the servants of the gentry, or the servants of the farmer, or the servants of some other employer of labour, who are neither owners nor 217 tenants, and who, in many cases, cannot be held as tenants, in consequence of the essential conditions intended to be realised through their labours, but who fully fulfil the idea of responsible inhabitant householders.Now, Sir, upon these words of Mr. Glad-stone, the really responsible person for this Act, I think it cannot be any longer contended that: the Bill before the House merely corrects a technical error in drafting. But if the words of Mr. Gladstone are not sufficient, let me remind the House of the opinion of the then Attorney-General, now Lord James, as expressed shortly afterwards. He said, speaking of the Service franchise, that "the franchise voter must be dominus of the house and able to keep others out of it." That is what the intention of the Service franchise was—namely, that the person going on the register under the Service franchise should be the dominus of his house and be able to keep others out. Now, Sir, after the authority of Mr. Gladstone, and the interpretation at the time put upon it by the Attorney-General, I trust that we shall not hear anything more in this House that this Bill is merely correcting an error in the drafting of the Representation of the People Act. The fact is that the Service franchise voter has all the essential characteristics of an occupier in the eyes of the law, except that he does not pay rates. Sir, it is very surprising that honourable Members opposite should now be taking opposite views to those taken by their Party when the Representation of the People Act was passed. On the clause relating to the Service franchise, Mr. Warton, a prominent Conservative Member of those days, made use of the following somewhat interesting remarks—Had it escaped the attention of the Prime Minister that under this section it was possible for a farmer to arrange any large shed in such a way as would give the vote to each of a large number of persons whom he might allow to occupy it; that is to say, if it was divided into compartments like the stalls for oxen?That, Sir, is exactly what this Bill proposes to do. Were it part of a general Bill dealing with manhood suffrage I should have nothing to say against it, but it is an extension of the franchise wholly against every principle in the existing franchise-law, in order to secure what Mr. Warton rightly said would be the result, if such a Measure as the honourable 218 Baronet has introduced were passed. Now, Sir, existing franchises, although very numerous, are all based upon some clear principle. We have got the Ownership franchise, the Ancient franchise, the Household franchise, the Service franchise, and the Lodger franchise, so that the alteration now proposed is not a mere extension of the existing principles of our electoral qualifications, but is the adoption of an entirely new principle. It is proposed practically to give manhood suffrage to a particular class of persons. And what is the single definition or limitation of that particular class of persons? It is that they should be under the orders of somebody else. That is your new qualification for the vote. If you once put a man under the control or authority or orders of somebody else, you qualify him immediately for manhood suffrage. Sir, as has been said by an honourable Member, the ramifications of our franchise admit of the greatest variety of amendment. It surely is unwise that a temptation should be put in the way of private Members to poke about in the dusty corners of the Constitution to see if they can find something of advantage to themselves in a Party sense. Yet that is the inevitable condition which will occur if this Bill is allowed to pass. In extending the franchise hitherto we have always endeavoured to secure the representation of some class other than those already represented. Nothing of this sort, however will be done by this Bill. You will only enfranchise persons just according to whether their employers wish them to be enfranchised or otherwise. That, Sir, I take it, is absolutely clear from the Bill. The admission and disqualification equally depend upon the employer's good will. I know it has been said that already landlords can disqualify their tenants. I admit that there are evils under our existing system, but there is no such completeness of control as is proposed under this Bill. Under this Bill, if a master sends away a man for a week, he disqualifies him for the vote. (AN HONOURABLE MEMBER: No.) Yes, he will break the occupation. If he goes out of employment for a single day he breaks the Service occupation. He is, therefore, absolutely under the control of the employer. But, Sir, in order that there should be no doubt upon this point the authors have put words into the Bill 219 rendering; the meaning absolutely clear. The words are—A person shall be entitled to be registered notwithstanding that the dwelling house which he occupies is merely a compartment of a room.They have introduced a new word, "Compartment." If their intention under this Bill had not been so much directed in the way I cannot help thinking it has been, they might very well have used the words—The occupier of the dwelling house shall be entitled as such to be registered, notwithstanding that the dwelling-house which he occupies is not separately occupied by him.With words of that kind, everybody, whether the employer liked it or not, would have become entitled to a vote under this Bill. It has been said in the course of this discussion that the mere drawing of a chalk line might constitute a compartment. Is that the intention of honourable Gentlemen opposite? As to that they leave us absolutely in the dark; not a word has been said as to the meaning they propose to put on the word "compartment." It has been said, too, that this is piecemeal legislation. It is true that it is so, and I hope that if this Bill passes its Second Reading it will not be allowed to go to Committee unless accompanied by an Instruction giving the Committee power to extend its scope so as to provide for the appointment of a registration officer, who shall inquire into and report to the revising barrister on the case of every person registered under the Bill, and who shall further make provision for placing on the register every person who ought to be placed there. I hope, too, that one other reform may be effected, and that we shall introduce the principle of "One man one vote." I would suggest that, as we are dealing with great electoral reforms in a piecemeal and tinkering fashion, with a tinkering and piecemeal Bill, we should amend the Measure by an Instruction or Amendment in Committee to secure that persons qualified to vote under this Bill shall be strictly limited to that vote, and shall not be qualified in any other constituency. The opportunity ought not to be denied us of making the changes I have suggested on this Bill, and I trust we shall discuss the desirability of reforming our 220 registration laws by the appointment of a registration official and by securing the adoption of the principle of "One man one vote."
THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir R. FINLAY Inverness Burghs)
I listened with interest to the speech last delivered, in which the honourable Member announced his intention, if the Bill were read a second time, to move an Instruction which will so enlarge its scope as to amount to "One man one vote," or "One vote one man." My honourable and learned Friend quoted the Debate which took place in the year 1884, on which occasion Mr. Gladstone spoke of the extension of the franchise to householders who, for technical reasons, could not be considered to be tenants, and, therefore, did not enjoy the franchise. But the question of whether a compartment can be deemed to be a dwelling house within the meaning of the Act of 1878 has never arisen, and never can arise, with reference to any person who comes under the Service franchise. I wish all honourable Members now in the House had been present earlier in the day to hear the most interesting speech of the honourable Member for Perth, who traversed the whole ground with complete knowledge. And although I do not quite agree with all the conclusions of the honourable Member, I think that he has ably dealt with nearly all the objections which have been raised to the Bill. He has done so in a manner in which very few in this House are qualified to do it. He effectively disposed of the objection put in the forefront by the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean when he said that the Bill was a small one because there was not a single policeman in his constituency who did not enjoy the franchise without it, while it was not the intention of the Act of 1884 to deal with these cases. But, as the honourable Member for Perth has pointed out, the Forest of Dean is not a constituency which fairly represents such large urban constituencies as are found, for instance, in London. I understand that as many as 1,100 or 1,400 policemen in London— a very considerable proportion indeed of the whole force—have been deprived of the franchise owing to the view which was taken by revising barristers of the law in 1895, and confirmed by the Court 221 of Appeal in 1896. The right honourable Baronet also said the Bill was very objectionable because it dealt only with the Service franchise, and did not deal with cases where several people were in occupation of the same house, and he put a case in his own experience, where several miners occupied a small house together. This Bill, he said, would not confer the franchise on them. My answer to that is, that if they occupy several parts of the house they have the franchise already, and do not want the Bill. If they have not, it is because their occupation is a joint one. It has also been said by the right honourable Baronet that the Bill will give power to the employer or the officer in command of the police, if he chooses to exercise it, to break the period of occupation of the men occupying cubicles, and thus increase the facilities for fraud, for undue interference with the right to vote, and for the creation of faggot votes. If there is anything in that objection it cuts at the root of the Service franchise altogether. The one objection which my honourable and learned Friend the Member for Monmouth has brought forward to the Bill is that it is intended to help classes under the dominion of other people. Would my honourable Friend be so consistent as to repeal the Service franchise altogether?
§ *MR. McKENNA
My objection was that the Bill would enable employers to say which servants should go and which servants should not go to the poll, but I do not object at all to servants having votes.
§ SIR R. FINLAY
If that objection is good for anything it goes a great deal further. It is really an objection to the Service franchise altogether. The honourable Member for Newington drew a dismal picture of the frauds which might be perpetrated in some constituency by a clever electioneering agent by which an enormous number of bogus voters might be created. Looked at in the light of common-sense it will be at once seen that that picture is a pure figment of the imagination. In the first place, in order to create these votes there must be houses in which the men are to live, employers who, wanting the men in their employment, give them cubicles; and there must also be resi- 222 dence for the required period. Is it conceivable that an electioneering agent would have recourse to so clumsy and extensive a fraud as that? With regard to the question of the merits of the Bill I ask the House to remember that the Measure is intended to give effect to the judgment of that eminent lawyer and distinguished judge Lord Justice Rigby. I think the House will feel that there can be nothing very revolutionary in any Measure which is intended to carry out views which come to us under such sanction. There are two provisions in the Bill. One is to remove the difficulty in regard to the partition of a room which does not go up to the ceiling. It appears to me that if there is a partition which cuts off effectively one part of a room from the other, it creates distinct dwellings just as much as if the partition were carried up to the ceiling. Yet some honourable Members are fighting this as if it affects the British Constitution. Surely the distinct dwelling is just as effectually created by a partition which does not go quite up to the ceiling as by one which does and thus makes the ventilation not quite so good. It is said that air is common to all, and we breathe the same air whether the partition goes up to the roof or not. In any house there is a community of air, and I cannot understand the enormous importance which is attached to the question of the height of the partition. The other part of the Bill is intended to prevent servants losing the franchise because of some restrictions in the terms in which they occupy the premises given them because of their service. There must always be some restrictions of service; but why should that affect the right to vote of the servant who had occupied the premises for the qualifying period? It seems to me that if a servant has the qualifying period of residence he has got all that is wanted for the purposes of the franchise. It has been said that whatever may be the merits of the Measure in itself—and not much has been said against it from that point of view—we ought not to read the Bill a second time, because there are a number of other grievances which the Bill does not profess to redress. That view was expressed in the crudest way by the honourable Member for the St. Rollox Division of 223 Glasgow, who said he was extremely anxious that women should have votes, and until they got them he did not intend that anybody else should have them. Had the honourable Member been present I would have put it to him whether that attitude is calculated to promote the cause he has so much at heart. My honourable and learned Friend the Member for Perth gave it as a reason for not being able to support the Measure that there are other anomalies which this Bill in its present form could not redress, and a matter upon which he laid particular stress was the fact that if an employer came to reside for a time during the year at the premises where the men are accommodated in cubicles they will be disqualified. In the first place, I understand that objection hardly could arise with reference to the police at all, and in a great many cases with reference to the shop assistants it would not arise, because the buildings are altogether separate, and are laid out entirely for the occupation of shop assistants. But I would point out to my honourable and learned Friend and to the House that that difficulty does not arise from the words in the Act of 1884— provided the employer does not occupy any part of the dwelling-house—because if a dwelling-house is a room or portion of a room occupied by a servant the employer never occupies that. The difficulty arises from the general law as to whether a man is occupier or merely a lodger. As a good working test great importance is attached to the residence of the owner of the house on the premises, and, practically speaking, from the fact that the owner resides on the pre-premises his tenants there are very often considered to be lodgers, but I would point out to my honourable and learned Friend that it is hardly a good reason for not voting for a Measure which in every respect is pronounced to be excel lent to say that it does not deal with such a tremendous difficulty as the question of the distinction between tenant and lodger. The whole question of the 224 Lodger franchise is one of great difficulty, but I am sure those who have such a complete knowledge of the subject as my honourable and learned Friend will be the first to recognise the extraordinary difficulty there would be in dealing with this subject by legislation. Wider considerations are opened up by the honourable Member for East Mayo, who objects entirely to the Bill as dealing with but a small part of a large subject, and urges that the House ought not to deal with any part of the subject unless it is prepared to have a complete reform of the laws in relation to registration and to introduce manhood suffrage. Of course observations of that kind open up a very-wide field. But I would ask the House to consider the way in which matters of this kind have been usually dealt with in this country. It has sometimes been said it is a good thing for England that she is not governed by logic. We have not been always perfectly logical or always consistent. One great feature of English history is that England has not always insisted on pushing any principle to the bitter end. She has proceeded on the basis of redressing grievances as they have arisen and been brought to notice. If we are to wait until we have a complete code dealing with subjects of such enormous importance as those which the honourable Member for East Mayo has referred to, we shall, indeed, have to wait a long time. Under these circumstances I cannot help thinking it would be well if the House were to grant a Second Beading to this Measure, which is not unimportant, which does restore to a number of people the privilege which for a great many years they enjoyed, and which will not in any way impair any subsequent reform, if such should be proposed.
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ The House divided: —Ayes, 188; Noes, 88.—(Division List No. 35.)227
|Aird, John||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden||Godson,Sir Augustus Frederick||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Ambrose, Wm, (Middlesex)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.|
|Anstruther. H. T.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Graham, Henry Robert||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Ascroft, Robert||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Green, Walford D. (Wednsbry.)||Percy, Earl|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balfour,Rt,Hn.A.J.(Manc'r)||Gull, Sir Cameron||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Balfour,Rt. Hn.Gerald W. (Leeds)||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edinb'h)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Purvis, Robert|
|Barry,Rt.Hn.A.H.Smith-(Hunts)||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Heath, James||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. U.||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Beach,W.W. Bramston (Hants)||Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Chelt'nh'm)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Hoare, Edw. B. (Hampstead)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Howell, William Tudor||Rutherford, John|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Hozier, Hon. James H. Cecil||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Bethell, Commander||Hutchinson, Capt. G.W. Grice-||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Biddulph, Michael||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Bill, Charles||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Morton||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone,W.)|
|Boscawon, Arthur Griffith-||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez Edw.||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Johnstone Heywood (Sussex)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Bowles,T. Gibson(King's Lynn.)||Jollffe, Hon. H. George||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Kenyon, James||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbyshire)|
|Butcher, John George||Knowles, Lees||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Cavendish.V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Lafone, Alfred||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford. East)||Lawrenee,SirE.Durning-(Corn)||Smith, Hon. W.F.D. (Strand)|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Lawrence, Wm F. (Liverpool)||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.J (Birm.)||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Stanley, Edwd. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wor.)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leigh Bennett, Henry Currie||Stanley, Lord (Lancashire)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset)||Stock, James Henry|
|Charrington, Spencer||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Logan, John William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (L'pool)||Thorburn, Walter|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Usborne, Thomas|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Macdona, John Cumming||Ward, Hon. Robt. A. (Crowe)|
|Doughty, George||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Warde Lieut.-Col. C.E. (Kent)|
|Doxford, William Theodore||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Drucker, A.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edin., W.)||Webster, Sir R. E.(I. of Wight|
|Buncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||M'Killop, James||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Malcolm, Ian||Whiteley, H. (Asht'n-under-L.|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Finch, George H.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Monk, Charles James||Wodehouse, Rt.Hn.E.R.(Bath)|
|Fitzgerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||More, Robt. J. (Shropshire)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Flower, Ernest||Morgan, Hn. F. (M'nm'thsh.)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Morrison, Walter||Young, Commander (Berks,E.)|
|Forster, Henry William||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Fry. Lewis||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Garfit, William||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||J. Blundell Maple and Mr.|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Marks.|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Barlow, John Emmott||Burns, John|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Burt, Thomas|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Buxton, Sydney Charles|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Hy.||Blake, Edward||Caldwell, James|
|Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow)||Kay-Shuttleworth,R:Hn Sir U.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Kilbride, Denis||Spicer, Albert|
|Cawley, Frederick||Kinloch, Sir John Geo Smyth||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Colville, John||Labouchere, Henry||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Langley, Batty||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crombie, John William||Leuty, Thomas Richmond||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Davies,M.Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lough, Thomas||Tennant, Harold John|
|Dillon, John||Macaleese, Daniel||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacDonnell,Dr.M.A.(Qn's.Co.)||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.|
|Dunn, Sir William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Ellis, Thos. Ed. (Merionethsh.)||M'Ghee, Richard||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Evans,SirFrancisH.(South'ton)||M'Kenna, Reginald||Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Maden, John Henry||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Moore, Arthur (Londonderry)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Crmrthn.)||Wilson, J. W. (Wor'stersh. N.)|
|Gold, Charles||Morgan,W.Pritchard (Merthyr)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Woods, Samuel|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Oldroyd, Mark||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Power, Patrick Joseph||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Horniman, Fredrick John||Price, Robert John|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Randell, David||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie||Charles Dilke and Captain|
|Joicey, Sir James||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Norton.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Schwann, Charles E.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for to-morrow.