§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee)
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 2:—
In page 1, line 8, at beginning, to insert the words, 'As ordinarily constituted.'"—(Sir William Anson.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
said he ought perhaps to commence with an apology to his right hon. friend the Member for South Aberdeen, who had given them such valuable assistance on that Bill, for saying something a little impatient on the previous night, in taking exception to the view put forward by the right hon. Gentleman that there was no point of principle in that Amendment. Could he accept that view he would not desire to continue the discussion, but 1229 after the most careful consideration he and several of his hon. friends had come to the conclusion that time would be 1st unless the hon. Baronet in charge of the Bill was prepared to make some fuller explanation of the Government intentions with regard to the whole matter than he had yet done. That was a not unreasonable claim, because the London Members felt profoundly the position in which matters now stood. Although the first three words referred to in the Amendment might be necessary whatever the ultimate decision about the exact constitution of the authority, it appeared to him that after all they meant that the authority should be constituted of seventy-nine persons, viz., forty-two Members of the County Council, twelve borough councillors, and twenty five outsiders. He feared that if they accepted those words they would bind themselves to accept the principle of the Government scheme. He could not but think that the debate must have produced some impression on the Government. So far as it had proceeded, not a single London Member, except one, had expressed any approval of the new constitution of the Education Committee, and he appealed to the Prime Minister either to exclude the Borough Councils altogether ["No, no"] or to leave the question to the free and unfettered judgment of the House. The hon. Member for Lime-house had alone said that he was satisfied with the compromise, but how could he be?
§ MR. HARRY SAMUEL (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
When I have an opportunity of addressing the Committee I shall be prepared to state my views.
§ MR. LOUGH
Of course. Continuing, he said he understood the hon. Member was honestly convinced that the Borough Councils ought to be represented on the authority. Well, his contention was that they got no real representation under this scheme. It was setting up a bad precedent in local government which they would have cause to regret. The Prime Minister in his speech went far to justify sectional elections.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I never referred to sectional elections.
§ MR. LOUGH
said this Bill introduced the principle of sectional elections, and if the right hon. Gentleman allowed these bodies, constituted for other purposes, to join together to put a certain number on the Education Committee, surely the effect would be, to that extent, to deprive the people of London of any possibility of directly expressing their opinion at the polls with regard to the constitution of the Committee. The people had direct control over the election of members of the London County Council, and would realise that that body had charge of a great educational work, but they would never be able to realise when they were electing the borough councillors that those bodies also were to take part in the great educational work of London. Take Islington, with its seventy borough councillors and its half a man on the Education Committee. Would the ratepayers be able to realise when electing the borough councillors that they were responsible for education. That fact was not at all likely to influence their votes, and, therefore, he asserted that in this plan the Government were departing from the principle of direct election and introducing that of sectional election. He warned the right hon. Gentleman that this body he proposed would satisfy nobody. Would he make a promise? They wanted the borough councillors excluded altogether. Would the right hon. Gentleman undertake not to put pressure upon his followers to vote for the Government plan. Let them give their decision freely and unfettered. Surely that was not too much to ask, seeing that fifty of the Metropolitan Members sat behind the right hon. Gentleman. He believed that if it were left an open question it would be decided as London wished. The speeches of the hon. Members for the Strand Division and for Chelsea, both loyal supporters of the Government, showed how strong was the feeling against this scheme. As to the merits, he could only say that in his opinion the present plan of the Government was worse than the first one. They had been repeatedly told that the County Council 1231 were predominant and that they would have a substantial majority. He did not think they would. They had been told that the County Council has to be predominant but it could not be very predominant with a majority of only five members. Another point which had been very strongly argued by the Member for Camberwell was that the forty-two members who were members of the County Council would have many other duties to perform, and that their time would be greatly taxed as members of the London County Council, while the other thirty-seven members would have nothing to do but educational work. That being so, the Committee which was being set up was almost equally divided; that would be a most disastrous thing to do. On the principle laid down by the hon. Member in charge of the Bill, it seemed to him that the Bill would have to be altered in that regard, and as this would be a convenient time to settle it, he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to leave the matter to the House of Commons to decide in the manner in which they would wish to decide it.
§ MR. PEEL (Manchester, S.)
pointed out that the Committee was in some difficulty in respect of the scope of the discussion. This portion of the Amendment did not raise the whole question. The Committee wished to discuss the composition of the authority, but the debate had been placed upon a different level. The Prime Minister had discussed the whole Amendment the previous evening, and he wanted to know whether he would be in order in following that example.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
suggested that the bad example he set the previous night should not be followed. The words might be accepted, and then the Committee could proceed to discuss something which would have a binding effect.
§ SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)
said that the bad example was originally set by the Secretary to the Education Department when he moved the Amendment, and it was impossible for the Committee to avoid following him.
said that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Chippenham was not in order in this place, because it reverted to the Act of last year in placing the County Council in the same position as any other County Council had been placed by the Act. The proper way to attain the end which hon. Members were seeking was to strike out the second clause altogether.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said it was very important that the Committee should know where it was. He agreed that there must be a convenient opportunity to consider the issue to be raised, whether the Borough Councils were to be represented on the Committee of the education authority or not. He asked for the assistance of the Chair to point out the most convenient course by which that issue could be taken.
thought that, if the Committee consented to insert the words now proposed, he might then call upon the Secretary to the Board of Education to proceed with his further Amendment, which, of course, would be open to Amendment. That would raise the issue which the Committee was anxious to decide. If hon. Members wished to take exception to the whole scheme, the proper course would be to refuse to insert any other Amendment, or to pass the second clause, which would leave the County Council in the same position as any other council.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
asked whether it would be possible on the Amendment of the Board of Education to review and discuss the question as a whole. At present the Committee had been discussing the subject as a whole.
said the question would be discussed as a whole, and the Committee might then proceed with such Amendments as it thought right to suggest.
§ MR. PEEL
said that he wanted to go further than the simple question of the representation of the Borough Councils on the authority. There were several points that he objected to beyond that in the Amendment of the Government. He would prefer to see the scheme settled by the County Council itself. He did not think that the Committee was in a position to settle the precise number of representatives of the County Council which should sit on this particular authority. If the discussion was to be postponed the Committee could have an opportunity of discussing that question and others of a similar nature on the issue to be raised.
§ MR. LLOYD GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
said there were two points that ought to be discussed. One was the issue as to whether the Borough Councils should come in at all; the other was the larger issue whether the County Council should be in the same position as any other County Council and have a right of framing its own schemes.
suggested that the discussion could be taken on the Motion to leave out the second clause.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said that this course might be agreeable to the Committee if the Prime Minister guaranteed that it would have an opportunity of discussing the second clause, for the first clause was closured. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to take the discussion when the Committee could obtain it.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)
submitted that a great many Amendments on the Paper would be prejudiced by inserting the proposed words. If the words "as ordinarily constituted" were accepted without further debate, the Committee would be precluded from discussing several important Amendments dealing with matters of substance.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he had no objection to the debate going on on the present Amendment, on the understanding 1234 that it was the main debate on the broad principle. It was not reasonable to fight the battles over and over again, but if it was understood that this was the main clash of arms between the opposing forces on this question, as far as the big principle was concerned, he was quite ready to adopt that course.
§ MR. PEEL
desired, as the matter was to be discussed on the wider basis, to refer to certain observations made yesterday by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman dwelt on the magnitude of the educational problems in London, and pointed out how some of them differed in kind and degree from those in the provinces. All would agree as to the difference in magnitude, but he failed to see how the mere size of London in any way altered the principles by which the constitution of the education authority ought to be governed. As regarded the composition of the authority—putting aside for the moment all questions of delegation and decentralisation—he believed the Act of last year presented an admirable expedient. He took that view, not from any desire, as a Member of the County Council, to give that body any additional powers, but because he wished to throw upon it the fullest responsibility for the education of London. If it was allowed to evade the responsibility for any decision that might be come to, by saying the co-opted and unrepresentative members were responsible, the educational system of London was certain to suffer. It was perfectly clear that, but for other considerations, the best plan would be to let the County Council decide the kind of body through which it should exercise its great functions. It was impossible for Parliament to dictate to the County Council the precise number of councillors it should place on the Education Committee. Who but the County Council could know the capacities of different members, the number that could be spared for a particular duty, or whether the number of members on other committees could be reduced? Against the authority of the hon. Member for North Camberwell as to the capacity of the County Council to undertake this work, he would set the opinion of county councillors, who were 1235 themselves experts in London educational matters, and who believed that, given the utmost powers of delegation—that was essential—this work would not impose upon the Council too great a burden. If the number of members of the County Council were found to be too small, they could, as the Prime Minister had said, come to Parliament and ask for the number to be enlarged. Another reason why the County Council should have the power of deciding the constitution of the Committee was, that the greater confidence it had in the Committee the more ready it would be to allow duties to be delegated by it to bodies all over London. In that way they would lighten the duties of the Committee, and, through the Committee, of the County Council itself. The special vice of an ad hoc authority was that it would not decentralise, but insisted on dealing with every detail of the work. But a County Council had no such difficulty. Having so much work to do, it was in the habit of leaving details to its Committees, reserving to itself the decision of main principles.
As to the inclusion of borough councillors, the amended proposal of the Government really took away the only grounds on which their presence could be defended. He fully sympathised with the desire to increase the power and enhance the dignity of the Borough Councils, but in an Education Bill educational questions ought to come first, local government considerations, manifold and important as they were, being placed in an altogether secondary position. Whatever argument there might have been from the point of view of increasing the dignity and importance of the Borough Councils disappeared when three or four Councils were to share one representative. Under the system of grouping it would be impossible for the Borough Council representatives to have special local knowledge and to act as a link between the schools in the district and the central body. Lewisham, Greenwich, Deptford, and Woolwich were to form one group. He would like to explain to the Committee how the proposal would work out from the point of view of improving the status of the Borough Councils. Those four great Councils were to have 1236 one representative, so that it would be fifteen or twenty years before they could appoint a representative for themselves if they took turns. If he wanted to urge some important Gentleman interested in education to submit himself to election he would have to say to him, "Won't you go on the Borough Council, because then you have some opportunity of taking part in educational work? You will have to serve perhaps about fifteen years, and then it will be forty to one against you being appointed." He did not think that would increase the status of the Borough Councils, and if they depended upon considerations of that kind their importance and status could not be worth much. He would assume that the twelve members were not to be appointed out of the borough councillors. That was only another way of enabling the number of experts to be elected. He did not think they ought to unnecessarily enlarge the number of experts. They had got twenty-five experts already, and that was a very large number. Taking the extra twelve as experts they would get thirty-seven experts on a body of about seventy or eighty. That was an immensely large number compared with the kind of bodies they had created all over the country. One would not object so much if these experts were not a kind of foreign body, but were selected by the County Council itself. As regarded giving the majority to the County Council, he had no objection on principle to a small number of borough councillors, if appointed by the educational authority, but the whole ground for putting them on at all had been destroyed by this peculiar grouping system. He pressed the Government to adjust this matter in a slightly different way. Was there any serious objection to this authority being constituted on precisely the same lines as the authorities in any other part of the country, and allowing it to be constituted through the County Council itself, by which means they would secure the greatest confidence and the utmost educational efficiency?
§ MR. HARRY SAMUEL
said he was very anxious that the Committee should understand that an overwhelming number of London Unionist Members were strongly in favour of the retention of the Borough Councils.
§ MR. HARRY SAMUEL
said he certainly meant more than two to one. This was a most complex question, but hon. Members ought to consider what courses were open to the Government in bringing the Education Act of 1902 to bear upon London. In the first place there was the possibility of creating an ad hoc authority. In the second place there was the possibility of creating the London County Council alone the authority; and in the third place there was the possibility of thoroughly municipalising education by placing upon the Committee representatives of the London County Council and the Metropolitan Borough Councils. He did not want to offend the susceptibilities of any hon. Members of this House, but he thought it was only fair to the London Unionist Members that what he said as to their opinions should be absolutely understood by the Committee. Some hon. friends from the country had objected to this Bill, but he would ask them before forming any definite opinion as to the requirements of London to try and understand the various complex questions of government which affected the Metropolis. He asked them to pay some respect to the opinions of their colleagues who represented London constituencies. The Member for Cambridge University said the system of the Government was not in accord with the scheme of last year. He thought that under the words "subject to the provisions of the Act," every one of the great London Boroughs would absolutely be autonomous for the purpose of education. [An HON. MEMBER: But they are not County Boroughs.] He thought they were entitled to be called County Boroughs. At any rate they would have absolute control of elementary education. [Cries of "No."] The Borough Councils of the Metropolis were being treated far worse than the smallest place in the kingdom, and when they saw the scant courtesy they were receiving they might very well address to the Government the pathetic words which appeared on the tombstone of a little baby—If I was so soon to be done forI wonder what I was begun for.1238 The whole of London was covered by municipal boroughs, and every one of them rated themselves for their own purposes, and yet they were told that the County Council was the rating authority for London. The London County Council was the collecting and spending authority, but it was not the rating authority. It they desired this Committee to carry out the educational system contained in the Act of 1902, then it should place upon the central educational authority representatives from the municipal boroughs.
It had been pleaded by many hon. Members that the whole necessity for placing the Borough Councils upon the central authority had been done away with by reducing their number to twelve. He contended exactly the opposite. He was not prepared to fight for an absolute vote for every Borough Council, but what he pleaded for was that the opinion of the Borough Councils should be voiced upon the central authority. In the near future, when fresh legislation for London came up, they would have the London Education Bill quoted as a precedent for the exclusion for all time of representatives of the Borough Councils upon every body created to deal with important questions affecting the whole of London. This Committee should very seriously pause before it excluded men elected on a popular franchise, who were obliged to be ratepayers or residents in the districts they represented. Whose children were going to attend these schools? Why, the children of the borough councillors and the ratepayers of that particular district. He thought that was one of the greatest mistakes that could possibly be made. Even in such a despised place as East London he knew there was a large number of men fully qualified to give careful and energetic thought to this great question of education. He did not believe that if borough councillors were put on this body there would be any conflict between them and the County Council. He ventured to think that everything would be worked satisfactorily by the representatives of both the great municipal systems of the Metropolis, with the advice of the experts who were to be appointed. He thought he might plead that he had some slight knowledge of 1239 the necessities of education, in connection with a body of which he was chairman in Stepney. He had seen the necessity for co-ordination. A vast amount of money was wasted because different bodies were covering the same ground. It would be of inestimable value to have the whole education of London in the hands of one body, and there was no body so eminently fitted to have that control as the London County Council, and the whole of the municipal councils of the Metropolis, with the advice of those gentlemen who had done so much to create the great schools of education which had sprung up amongst them. He had endeavoured to explain why the Borough Councils should be included. They wanted them as a link between the committees of management and the central body. He did not care about votes. He only wished that the voice of the Borough Councils should be heard on the central body, and that they should not feel that they were neglected and that the House of Commons had no thought for the bodies it had created. He appealed to the Committee not to strike a grievous blow at the work of the councils. He asked them to support the views of the majority of London Members of the House, for, after all, they did know something of the views of those whom they represented. He thought the hon. Member for Camber-well would prefer that the members of the Borough Councils rather than a band of experts should have the control. The hon. Member was an advocate of municipalisation and it was some comfort to himself to be in agreement on this matter with one on the other side of the House, who was acknowledged to be an expert on education and a worker in the cause.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
said the hon. Gentleman who had sat just down had informed the Committee that he was the spokesman of an overwhelming majority of the Unionist Members for London. [Cries of "No."]
§ MR. ASQUITH
said that all he could state was that those Members might be overwhelming in number but they had been singularly modest, not to say inarticulate, during the course of this debate. Really his object in rising was to ask the Government whether it was worth while to prolong this controversy. He was sure that everyone on this side of the House would be perfectly ready to allow the merits of the case to be judged by the arguments which had been adduced by the supporters of the Government themselves. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill must, after listening to the debate of yesterday and to-day, have satisfied himself that whatever might be the case with regard to the inarticulate majority of London Members, the bulk of Conservative and Unionist opinion was unhappily opposed to this proposal. Speech after speech had been delivered by the most faithful and loyal supporters of the Government, who, departing in no way from the principles to which they were committed by assenting to the Act of last year, and, as he thought, in strict consistency and conformity with the principles contained in that Act, had declared that the present proposal was one which was a new departure, and which it was impossible to reconcile with the legislation which the Government had themselves framed. How did the matter stand? For the purpose of this discussion it was necessary to assume that the County Council was to be the education authority in London, so the simple question was, the County Council being entrusted with these duties, was it, or was it not, in the discharge of these duties, to have an Executive Committee, between which and itself there would be complete confidence, and in whose proceedings it would be able to feel that, without the necessity for constant, minute, and irritating supervision, it could find a reflex of its own voice? In other words, the question was, and it could not be too often repeated, was there any reason why the London County Council should not in this matter have the same power and autonomy which were given to every other County Council? What was the answer to that simple question? What was the ground upon which the Government sought to differentiate the case of London from 1241 other cases? He quite agreed with what the Prime Minister said last night, that in many respects a vast community such as that of London was different from any other aggregate of population, however large, in any other part of the country. Many hon. Members thought, and he himself thought, that was a legitimate ground for giving London a separate educational organisation, that was to say, for entrusting the duty of education in London to a body specially elected for that particular purpose. But they had passed from that. For the purpose of this debate at any rate, that was an abandoned position.
When they once came to reckon that the County Council in London was to be the education authority, he confessed himself totally at a loss to understand the Prime Minister's conception of the difference between the local life of London and the local life of other communities. According to the right hon. Gentleman, from this point of view, London, as a local community, had two entirely different aspects—one represented by the County Council, and the other, which apparently had twenty-nine separate facets, represented by the Borough Councils. The same electors chose the representatives of the one body and the others. There was no man sitting in the County Council who had not been elected by the same class of electors as the man sitting in the Borough Council. What new force of electoral authority or corporate responsibility did they bring to bear on the problems of education when they associated with that popularly elected authority, persons taken from other bodies who derived their mandate from precisely the same source? It appeared to him a most fantastic caricature of every doctrine of representation to suppose that they were giving to the County Council, by adding these borough councillors, any new authority or any fresh illumination for the discharge of their duties. That was an argument which he thought was conclusive as against the scheme of the Government in its original, and, he ventured to say, relatively logical form. What was the form in which it was presented now? What were these groups? The hon. Member for South Manchester in the admirable speech he delivered a 1242 short time ago, completely demolished them, and there was very little to add to what he said, but it was sufficient, he thought, to say that these groups had no distinct individuality of any kind, nor had they for educational or administrative purposes any common interest. He did not see how the Committee could escape from the dilemma suggested by his hon. friend that either the representatives of the groups were to be members of the Borough Councils, or they were to be persons chosen by the groups from the outside. If they were confined, as the Bill confined them, to the members of Borough Councils they brought no new element of representative authority into the County Council, and, on the other hand, if they were chosen from the outside, they added most unnecessarily to the unwieldy expert element which the Committee already contained. In using arguments of this kind no one disparaged the Borough Councils or doubted their efficiency for the particular work they were chosen to perform. But their interest here was educational and administrative, and for that purpose it was absolutely essential that the Committee of the County Council should be a Committee in close contact with the body to which it was responsible, and whose executive it would be. So far, even at this stage of the debate, the House remained without a single argument to support the proposal for intruding, for the first time, and contrary to all precedent and example, this alien element into the London County Council, the presence of which must inevitably give rise to perpetual friction in administration, to excessive interference in supervision, and to the taking up of unnecessary time and trouble on the part of the higher authority, and, therefore, in the long run, to the neglect of those educational interests which it ought to be their paramount and primary object to secure.
§ MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)
said that it was no part of his intention to refer to the various differences which might exist among the London Members in regard to the Bill, but speaking as an old member of the London School Board he ventured to think that the modified form of representation of the Borough Councils, as 1243 provided by the Amendment of the Secretary to the Board of Education, would tend to wise and useful administration. Clause 3 of the Bill showed how wide would be the powers entrusted to the municipalities as managers of the public elementary schools. He had no doubt that these powers before leaving Committee would be extended in some directions and curtailed in others, but it was certainly part of the scheme of the Bill that the Borough Councils should play a very large part in the management of the elementary schools.
It seemed that the modified representation of the Borough Councils proposed in the Amendment provided a valuable and important link between control and management, and he thought they ought not, in the interest of the successful management of the elementary schools, to part with that link. He quite agreed with many of the criticisms of the scheme as a whole; and if it had fallen to his lot to draw an Education Bill for London, he did not hesitate to say that he would have drawn a Bill which constituted an ad hoc authority. Others had arrived at a different conclusion, and he fancied that his friends who sat on that side of the House, and who represented London constituencies, widely as they might differ amongst themselves as to the merits of the present proposal, would have been practically united in solid antagonism to the creation of an ad hoc authority. That being so, and with the scheme of the Government before them, it was essential, if the Borough Councils were to have the management of the elementary schools, that they should have some representation on the Statutory Education Committee. The Bill proposed to grant very large powers to the Borough Councils. They were to appoint and dismiss teachers, have the custody of the buildings and pupil teachers' centres, select the sites of new public elementary schools. These were the most important tasks which could be given to any body charged with the duty of administering education. For these reasons, and also in the interest of education itself, it appeared to him to be imperative that the Borough Councils should be represented on the Statutory Committee.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said he did not desire to detain the Committee at any length on subjects which had already been very largely discussed. What he felt about this discussion and previous discussions on the question of an ad hoc authority, was that a very unfortunate element of the amour propre of the local authorities had been introduced. It really was a very practical matter. Nobody, he was sure, on either side of the House, desired to put any slight on any of the local authorities. He quite recognised that the Borough Councils in their proper sphere had done very good work, and were likely to go on doing very excellent work in the future. But if they confused what was essentially a dry, practical question with an appeal to something like sentiment on the ground that they were slighting the Borough Councils, then they diverted their mind from what was really the only question, viz., how they could best make an efficient body for the conduct of education in London. Of course, it might be said of any other important political question that the Borough Councils ought to be consulted because they were meritorious. For instance, it might be contended that they should be consulted in the matter of Army reform, or that in the matter of Church discipline the Borough Councils should control the clergy, if they wished to go on the theory that the object of local government was to pay compliments to different local authorities. He did not agree with that at all. There was no slight to anybody in selecting the best local authority for a particular purpose. Then it was said that the Borough Councils in London represented very great communities — communities, in some instances, even very much larger than large provincial boroughs. It was quite true that the London boroughs were immense communities, but it was not the less true that, in spite of their large size, they were not unities, but parts. A leg of the Colossus of Rhodes remained a leg if separated from the statue. It had no unity apart from the rest of the statue. In the same way, they might cut up one of the London boroughs into a great number of urban 1245 districts; but although these urban districts would have some proportion of separate life, they would have no unity of their own. Therefore, in considering the case of the London boroughs, it must be realised that one of the peculiarities of London was that there was a certain unity in the whole body, and that they could not treat these Borough Councils as local government unities for all purposes. That being so, it seemed to him that the natural and reasonable course would have been to give the London County Council all the power they could, consistently with not overloading it with work it could not perform. That was a very obvious principle.
Some people thought that the London County Council had acted in an unreasonable manner in regard to the water supply just as other County Councils have done in other matters; but, in regard to education, no one disputed that the record of the London County Council was an admirable one; that they had always done their work well and fairly; that they had not been at all a partisan body or oppressive to any section of opinion. Why, then, should they be passed over, and not be treated as any other County Council in the country? There were obvious conveniences in treating them as the other County Councils have been treated. There was, as his hon. friend the Member for Stretford had argued so clearly, the rating question. Then there was also the immense advantage of having one educational policy—but that was ground already traversed. If so, the only deduction they ought to make from the powers of the London County Council were such powers as must be delegated from them, because otherwise they would be overworked. And on Clause 3 they would have to consider how far they ought to delegate the powers of management to the Borough Councils. But let him say that the powers of management were not the same thing as the powers of control. They might perfectly well confide extensive powers of management to the Borough Councils without in the least impinging on the principle of the unity and control of the central body. Then came the consideration whether they ought to bring in representatives, 1246 not of each of the Borough Councils, but a small number of twelve selected on what was confessedly a very inconvenient plan. He did not see what advantage there was in that proposal. He was sure it would not please the Borough Councils, which had a strong individuality, and would have no particular satisfaction in being united in groups. Nor would they get any real local representation. The councillor on the Education Committee, who was selected for the group—Deptford, Lewisham, Greenwich and Woolwich, must be a councillor in one of the boroughs, but would not represent the rest of the area at all. He would not be, in fact, nearly so good a local representative as the London County Council representative for the borough. Why then should the Government put in twelve persons, selected by the Borough Councils for no particular reason, not as local representatives, for that they would not be, but merely as the remnant, as the stump of their earlier proposal. He deprecated such a course very strongly indeed. If the Government thought that there was not a sufficient number of persons who would bring to the attention of the Education Committee the different local aspects of the matter, let them increase the number of outsiders and direct the London County Council that they were to have regard to local representation in selecting these persons. That would be a perfectly reasonable proposal.
He did not think it was at all likely that the claims and necessities of the different localities would be overlooked by the London County Council, but, on the contrary, he was convinced that if they gave the London County Council this power, they would take an honourable pride in carrying out the work as well as possible, and there would not be any attempt in the least on their part to try and spoil this great administrative work. On the impartiality, skill, and efficiency with which they carried out this great power would depend the judgment of Parliament in entrusting to them other powers in the future. He felt strong confidence that they would do their work well as heretofore. He confessed that he disliked setting up an artificial system of returning persons to the 1247 central authority from the Borough Councils, which would not correspond with any really good principle, merely because the Government at one time proposed to have a larger representation of the Borough Councils, and when they found they had excited a certain amount of feeling among the Borough Councils, they were now reluctant to disappoint it. Let it be remembered that passing emotions were very transient indeed. Somebody might be offended or annoyed for the moment by some action taken, but by this time next year he would have forgotten all about it. The really important thing was that they should set up an efficient, workmanlike scheme, and he was sure that they would improve the scheme of the Government if they left out the twelve representatives of the Borough Councils.
§ MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)
said that two nights ago he endeavoured to call the attention of the Committee to the necessity and importance of realising the magnitude of the object of the subject matter they had now in hand, viz., the education of the vast multitude of the children of the people. They had also to consider and judge of the adequacy of the human machinery which they had at their disposal for accomplishing that purpose. It appeared to him that they were in great danger of losing all sense of proportion in discussing the difference between giving the London County Council thirty-six or forty-two representatives on the Education Committee, or between thirty-one and twelve representatives to be given to the Borough Councils. If he might use a military metaphor, he looked upon the Prime Minister as a leader, and that leader should survey the forces he could bring to bear on the accomplishment of the object in view, because this was not a mere municipal question, it was a national one. What had the right hon. Gentleman got at his hand? The London County Council, an ad hoc body (the London School Board), the Borough Councils—the last expression of the mind of London and of Parliament as to what should be local government for the Metropolis. London was admitted to be unique among the great communities of the country that had to be dealt with for any purpose 1248 whatever. They were told that the Government had two objects in view in bringing in the Bill. One was the municipalisation of education, and the other was that that municipalisation was to conform, as far as the circumstances of London were analogous to the circumstances of the provinces, to the Bill of last year. Which was the greater analogy—that between the London County Council and the bodies to which education had been entrusted by last year's Bill, or that between Borough Councils and those bodies? In the country, sixty-seven county boroughs had the supreme control and executive administration of education. Their average population was a little more than 130,000. In London there were twenty-nine boroughs which had sprung into existence, not from London itself but which were merged into London, and were, in some sense, independent towns agglomerated together. Their average population was 160,000; and, therefore, there was a greater analogy for the purpose of applying the Act of last year between them than between the London County Council and the county boroughs. The County Council was a body for the purpose of uniting London together in order to enable one comprehensive view to be taken of subjects which were common to London; but it was never contemplated that the County Council should have to grapple with the administration of the details of all the aggregated cities comprising London. The Government had those two forces at their disposal, and it was for them to choose which they would select. On the Borough Councils there were 1,500 men, who were engaged not in one centre but who were located in twenty-nine different districts, who came from different parts of the districts, and who were far better acquainted than any central body could be with the educational wants and desires of the districts.
In other circumstances he would be prepared to combat the idea as to whether the County Council was the right body to be given supreme control; but he admitted that that point was now passed, and he would not argue it. Granted that the County Council was to be the controlling body, he would 1249 ask the Committee to examine the nature of the co-operation which was to be given to the other bodies. The Borough Councils were to be entrusted with the work of local management; and, admitting that a link of communication was required with the central controlling body, they thought that one nominee from each Borough Council on the central body was little enough. The representative of the Borough Council would be able to communicate to the central body the wants of his own district; and he would be able to bring back from the central body the wisdom resulting from the joint consideration of those wants and the wants of other districts. There was reason and symmetry in that. It was a useful and a symmetrical arrangement. It would enable the controlling body to know how to control, and the administering body to know how best to administer. But under the present Bill that representation was reduced to twelve. It was said that a representation of thirty-one would put the County Council in a minority; but he would readily concede that if the County Council were to be the controlling body they should have an effective majority. All he wanted was that each borough should be heard; and for that purpose one voice was as good as a hundred. Where the representation was reduced to twelve, a system of grouping the boroughs had to be introduced; and it occurred to him that a number of difficulties would at once arise. What, however, he wished to point out was that a man sent from two, three, or four boroughs could not be considered a representative. He could not sit in each of the Councils, and he could not give the controlling body the information it would require. What was the average population of those grouped boroughs. Dividing 5,000,000 by 12, each group had a population of about 400,000. The one gentleman selected would be supposed to know all the wants and interests of those districts, although he could only sit on the Council of one. Then again, how was he to report to his constituents? Was he to call a meeting of the entire population? How could he be a link of the districts of which he knew little or nothing?
The municipal borough of Wandsworth also included the Parliamentary 1250 borough of Clapham, and it was to be grouped with Battersea. The House of Commons might pass a law ordering both sides to agree to Home Rule for Ireland; but it could not compel Wandsworth and Battersea to agree on one representative. Suppose that individual, who would have to represent opposite views, went to the central authority, how was he to bring back the views of the central body? He suggested to the Government that the Borough Councils had better not have any representation at all than such a ridiculous arrangement. He would not use a stronger word, as he did not wish to be offensive to the members of the Government in charge of the Bill. He would ask the Committee to pause before they rejected the link which would perform a very useful service in the harmonising of the plan by which this great question could be grappled with; and by which the sentiment of the local bodies could be conveyed to the central body and the sentiment of the central body conveyed to the local bodies. He hoped the Government would restore the Bill to its original form. They asked for a single voice on the central Council of the Metropolis on the momentous question of education, and he did not see why that reasonable modicum of representation could not be given. He hoped the Government would revert to the original proposal of the Bill in this regard.
§ MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
said it was difficult to believe they were discussing an Education Bill for London. What they were discussing was a Bill for the readjustment of the local governing bodies of London. Not a single argument had been directed to the question of how the best education was to be obtained for London. He protested against this problem being dealt with in this way. The real problem before the House—the real object of the Bill—was to set up machinery for education in London. The Government had approached it not from an educational but a municipal point of view, by adhering to the principle that there must be twelve members of the Borough 1251 Councils on the Education Committee. The hon. Member opposite said on the other hand they would have the thirty-seven Borough Councils as was originally suggested by the Bill or none at all. Even the decision of the Prime Minister was based not on educational considerations but on bringing harmony between the Borough Councils and the London County Council. In the whole of these debates right through, whatever had emerged from them proved what had been said in the beginning—that they could not make a good educational measure out of this Bill, and therefore before they went further in this matter he would suggest that the Bill should be recommitted and that they should start on a different basis altogether.
§ MR. BOND (Nottingham, E.)
said that as a member of the London School Board, and for six years a member and for one year the chairman of the Technical Education Board, he had been perhaps more directly concerned with the actual administration of London Education than most Members of the House. The Committee was on the eve of a great decision. It had become necessary that the educational system, or the want of system in London, should be recast and put on a different footing. Whatever solutions of this question might have been suggested there was only one solution now recognised as possible, and that was to trust the London County Council, acting through their Committee, with the conduct and supervision, if not the control, of the whole education of the Metropolis. The question which was now directly at issue was how the Education Committee should be constituted, and the point to which all criticism had been directed was the question of whether the Borough Councils should have a direct or indirect representation on the Board. Only three reasons could be suggested for the Borough Councils being a component part of the Committee. It might be said that they might thereby enhance the importance of the Borough Councils. That might be so if a representative of each Borough Council was to be put on the Committee, but directly that idea had been disposed of the whole of that argument dropped. Another suggestion was that the Borough Councils should have a person on the Committee who knew the 1252 particular and special wants of the district from which he came; but it must be remembered that there was a large proportion of county councillors on the Committee, and that these districts would in all probability be better represented by them. The third reason which might be suggested was that this contingent should be placed on the Committee in order to make its number adequate to the work that had to be done. It was said the London County Council could not spare enough members to make the Committee a working body, but with that he did not agree. His view was that the number of the Committee should be made as small as it possibly could be, consistently with its ability to get through the work it had to do. A great quantity of the work which it would have to perform would have to be performed by delegation, and a proper delegation would enable the work of the central Committee to be efficiently conducted by means of a much smaller number of men distributed into sub-committees having charge of special matters.
He would just call the attention of the House to the actual work done by the two bodies which were to be amalgamated under this Bill. The Technical Education Board of the London County Council was now composed of thirty-seven members, twenty of whom were members of the London County Council and fifteen of whom were what he would call outsiders. The School Board had fifty-five members and a chairman called in from the outside, making fifty-six. The number proposed for the new Committee was seventy-nine, of whom forty-two were to come from the London County Council, twelve from the Borough Councils, and twenty-five from the outside. The School Board had seven grand committees, of which two met once a week and five once a fortnight. There were also five other committees of a less important character which met only occasionally as necessity arose. There were also twenty-two sub-committees, leaving out those committees which were attached to the industrial schools. Then besides all these committees there were seven education committees belonging to the Technical Education Board of the London County Council, which appointed sub-committees to deal with the details of the work. It might be said that so many 1253 committees would require a considerable number of men to man them, but some of these duties could be performed by the chairman, and several of the committees could be merged together so that the actual number of members required to man the committees which would have to be appointed would not need to be more than sixty. The smaller the Committee was, the better work would be done. These duties could not be fulfilled unless men were found who would give up all their time, energy, and ability to the work. He was certain such men would be found. There were men who for years had been working in the cause of education in London, and were anxious to place at the service of the new authority the fruits of their long experience and labour. If their services were enlisted, and the standard of efficiency and zeal of the officials of the new body kept up to its present high level, he believed such a body as he had sketched out would be able satisfactorily to do the work that London required. There was really no reason for the presence of the borough councillors, but their representation having been suggested in the original Bill it might seem somewhat harsh to cut them out altogether. That, however, was a difficulty of the Government's own making, and it should be faced with a single eye to the constitution of the best body under the circumstances. The introduction of any foreign element which tended to make the County Council feel that they were not absolute masters in their own house, and that the Committee, instead of being their instrument, was swayed and directed by forces outside and not altogether in harmony with the Council, would engender or increase the spirit of suspicion with which the operations of the Committee would be regarded. The County Council would not be able with confidence to leave the administration and organisation of London education in the hands of such a Committee, as it had hitherto done in the case of the Technical Education Board. If they insisted on having a weekly or monthly report, and on reviewing the proceedings of the Committee on all points of detail, good-bye might be said to all idea of having a really effective system 1254 of education. Under such conditions the County Council would break down, and some other method would have to be devised for carrying on the work.
§ SIR J. DICKSON-POYNDER (Wiltshire, Chippenham)
said a large proportion of London Members, and of Members interested in education and local government generally, on that side of the House, were agreed that the Borough Councils should be excluded from the central authority, and that the County Council should have a discretion in formulating its own scheme, subject to the approval of the Board of Education. A clear distinction should be drawn between management and control. He desired the central authority to have full power of control and full power of delegation. The fact that upon many of the county authorities throughout England there were to be found representatives of the non-county boroughs, instead of being an argument in favour of the Government proposal, was rather the reverse, because those representatives were there under schemes drawn up by the Councils themselves, and that was precisely the position in which many of them desired to see the London County Council placed. He hardly thought the system of grouping would ensure connection between the localities and the central body. That object would be better secured by instituting the connection from the greater to the smaller rather than from the smaller to the greater, because in the latter case a parochial mind was brought to bear on a body which it was essential should consider questions from a large point of view, whereas by delegating from the central authority to the smaller authorities, a larger mind was infused into the local bodies. He would therefore prefer that the connection should be brought about by power being given to the County Council under Clause 3, to nominate certain members to serve on the local bodies in the several districts. The system of grouping boroughs entirely shut out any idea of paying a compliment to the Borough Councils. It was almost ridiculous to suggest that two districts of such area and rateable value as Westminster and Kensington should each be 1255 represented by half a man. He thought it had been clearly proved that the scheme of last year should have been followed in the case of London. It was true that, from the point of view of population, the problem in London was very different from that in the country, but from the point of view of concentration the arguments for last year's scheme applied with even greater force to London.
While he had the greatest respect for anything the hon Member for North Camberwell said on the question of education, it had to be recognised that he was rather a prejudiced party. He was quite ready to admit with the hon. Member for North Camberwell, that the London County Council had an immense amount of work to do under normal conditions. When it had delegated its members to the Water Board, to the Port of London Commission, and the Education Committee, there was no doubt that an immense amount of work would be imposed upon the London County Council. This would necessitate a rearrangement of the committees of the London County Council. It might be possible for those committees to carry on their work with a smaller number of members, which would liberate other members to do educational work. If it was found after this was done that the number of members was not sufficient, Parliament could address itself to providing for an increase in the number of representatives of the London County Council. The work of the London County Council was so onerous to its members that it was difficult to adequately discharge the duties of a councillor and Member of Parliament at the same time, though he would deplore the day when Parliament was separated from the Council, with no Members to act as a link between the two bodies. He was sure it would be an unfortunate day for good government in London if that ever took place. What they wished to find out was whether this scheme was the best. They wanted an efficient body which would take away as little as possible the members of the County Council from their other work. The Committee thus formed ought to be in complete harmony with and have the full confidence of the London County Council. If they wished to accomplish that, then 1256 they must allow the County Council to select the Committee. If the Committee arrived at decisions which were opposed to the views of the County Council, it would lead to long debates which harmonious treatment of this question would avoid. The introduction of twelve borough councillors necessitated a stereotyped number of London County Councillors. Those best versed in the matter had told him that the central body, provided its duty was confined to general control, and provided it was allowed to delegate the management work to local bodies, could perform this work with a smaller number even than that which had been suggested. Undoubtedly the whole argument of the hon. Member for North Camberwell had been that the School Board had such a gigantic work to perform that nobody upon that body could undertake any other work. The School Board had been over centralised, but by this scheme they would have complete decentralisation which would not involve so many meetings or so many Sub-committees, because the local bodies would take over much of the work which was formerly done by the School Board.
In conclusion he wished to say that it seemed to him most esential in the municipalisation of education that they should not expropriate in any way those members of the County Council who were going to take part in the educational work, from the County Council Committees. They were obliged to do this in the case of the Water Board and the Port of London Commission, and this would take them right away from the work of the London County Council. They wanted a scheme under which those who took part in educational work would still keep in touch with the work of the Council. The moment they introduced alien elements there would be a tendency to draw away that close touch which appeared to him to be of so much importance. He thought during the discussion they had succeeded in bringing some strong arguments forward in favour of a modification of this proposal, and had the Prime Minister been in his place he would have appealed to him to allow the Committee to decide this question upon its own merits. If that 1257 course were taken he had not the smallest fear what the decision would be. They all wanted an efficient system of education, and they wished to maintain the best constitutional system of local government in the Metropolis.
§ SIR JOSEPH DIMSDALE (London)
said he thought there were at least twenty or thirty hon. Members of this House who considered that they could deal with educational matters far more competently than Ministers of the Crown. It was little more than a month ago that this Bill was printed. It was placed upon the Table of the House, and the constitution of the Education Committee then consisted of thirty-six London County Councillors, thirty-one representatives of the Borough Council, twenty-five co-opted members, and five members selected from the London School Board. When placing that Bill upon the Table the Prime Minister practically tore to shreds the constitution of that Education Committee by his speech, which led the House to believe that he was quite prepared to accept very stringent and far-reaching Amendments. At that period he protested against the representation of the City, and expressed the hope that in Committee Amendments would be made safeguarding beyond all doubt matters of very great importance to the City of London They now found a suggestion that the London County Council should be supreme, and that instead of thirty-one local representatives there would only be twelve. The City of London, although most inadequately represented before with two, was now to have only one representative. It almost seemed that the Government had lost sight of the fact that the City of London was a county in itself. The country owed a great deal to the City for the efficiency of education at the present time. Centuries ago schools were founded in the City under the administration of the Livery Guilds, which had done splendid service, and the country ought to be proud of them. The City Corporation alone, since the passing of the Elementary Education Act in 1870, had expended £500,000 out of its corporate funds upon its schools; while the citizens of London had been taxed in the aggregate for educational purposes 1258 to the extent of nearly £4,500,000 during the same period. Under the Equalisation of Rates Act the citizens of the City of London paid annually £115,000 to assist the Metropolitan taxpayers outside the City area, and this was entirely irrespective of the work that had been done by the large sums which had been expended by the Guilds of the City of London. It surely was not unreasonable that this County of the City of London should ask Parliament specially to consider their unique position. He personally thought that the City might ask to be entirely exempted from the Bill now before the House. Within the City there were only two Board schools. He did not think that one word could be said against the administration of the Ward schools and voluntary schools in the City of London. There were, however, other schools which were not only the glory of the City, but were justly looked upon with pride by the country generally. He spoke as a real citizen when he referred to the excellent work done by these grand old schools. Some of them were carried on by the Corporation, and some by the Livery Guilds, but none of them with rate aid. He was informed that this Bill was never intended to touch these institutions, and that their future would remain untrammelled. But to make this sure beyond all doubt he would move an Amendment to that effect when the second schedule came up. He presumed the Government would not hesitate to accept that Amendment. He would appeal to the House as a matter of justice to accept it. That the City of London felt very keenly the manner in which it had been treated by the Government in the framing of this Bill was sufficiently shown by the fact that they claimed their ancient privilege yesterday by coming to the bar of the House and presenting their petition against it. He could only hope that the Government would see its way not to consider how they would propitiate every single interest, thought, and idea, of individual Members of this House, but how they could carry out a consistent and thorough policy which would eventuate in a useful and lasting Education Act for the benefit and happiness of the children of the Kingdom.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir WILLIAM ANSON,) Oxford University
rose for the purpose of asking the Committee whether it was not time to get to the Amendments which raised some of the serious issues which were to come before it. There were really important matters which they would have to discuss as to whether or not the Borough Councils should be excluded from the Committee, and, if included, what representation they should have. If he was right in interpreting the view expressed by the Chairman, he believed that the Amendment which stood in his name would afford an opportunity for that discussion, and it would really mean that they would have a sort of Second Reading debate on that Amendment. He asked the Committee to allow the proposal now before them to pass without a division in order that they might proceed at once to deal with the Amendment which raised the real issue, namely, the question of the inclusion or exclusion of the Borough Councils.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid)
said he thought there was a great object to be attained by allowing this discussion to proceed further than it had done. If it had not been for the course taken with the assent of the Chairman this afternoon, the Government would not have felt how strongly views were held on the two important topics mentioned by the hon. Baronet. He quite agreed that a decision by division on the particular words which were being discussed now, would not be a decision on either of these points, but surely there was very great advantage in having a free discussion now, away from the Amendments, which were afterwards to be discussed. They had not been tied in the discussion to these particular words, and there had been an opportunity, of which the House had freely availed itself, of discussing the general principles underlying the two particular topics which must come up for immediate decision afterwards. This debate had been rendered necessary also by the course the Government had taken. It was because the Government themselves 1260 had changed their plan by the Amendment on the Paper that their own supporters felt compelled to carry on the discussion this afternoon. There was this advantage in allowing the discussion to continue further. The Government would know, not merely by speaking with hon. Members in the Lobby, or by private representations, but by hearing their own supporters declare freely in the House, what were their views on vital parts of the Bill. That was the only way in which they could feel the force of opinion against particular proposals embodied in the Bill. If the Committee proceeded at once to the discussion of the particular points, then of course the discussion would be narrowed, and Members would be obliged to deal with the matters raised in the Amendment. For instance, if they proceeded to discuss the question whether or not the scheme was to be developed in the Act of Parliament, or whether it was to be a scheme put forward by the County Council, they would be tied to that question. If they came to discuss the question whether borough councillors were to be represented on the Committee and what that representation should be, they would be confined to that question. He ventured to say that this general discussion, which had been a very useful one, should be allowed to continue longer, so that the Government might see the real strength of the views held by their own supporters in regard to these proposals.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras, S.)
said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife had taunted the London Members with silence on this occasion. He could assure him that it was not because they did not feel strongly on the subject, but because they recognised that their views had been pretty well made known to the Government. He was somewhat astonished at the course taken by his hon. friend the Member for the Chippenham Division. He had the honour of nominating the hon. Baronet for the division he represented on the County Council, and he very much regretted that he did not represent his views on this important subject now before the Committee. In the first place, the hon. Baronet totally 1261 objected to the retention of the Members of the Borough Councils on the Committee; and, secondly, he thought that the County Council should have the framing of the scheme. In regard to the first point, he could only say that personally he was very much better pleased with the proposals as they originally stood in the Bill. He thought there was great force in the argument that there should be one member representing each Borough Council. He thought also that the County Council should have a considerable number of members, and that they should nominate the experts. It seemed to him that would give the County Council a majority, but the contrary view was taken by the House, and, while admitting the force of the argument that the London County Council should not only be the education authority but should have a majority on the Committee, he wanted to know how this was to be arrived at. Was it by the excision of the Borough Councils, or was it to be by the method which the Government had decided to adopt? They had agreed to retain the borough councillors to represent groups of boroughs. It did not seem to him that too much stress need be laid on the particular method in which the boroughs were grouped. That seemed to be a matter for discussion when the Schedule was reached. It might be asked what was the advantage of having these borough councillors upon the Committee at all. He thought too much stress could not be laid on the fact that the borough councillors were going to have a large share in the management of the schools, and that there must be some connecting link between the London County Council, which was the controlling authority, and the Borough Councils, which were going to look after the management. It seemed to him that that arrangement, instead of militating against the work, would considerably expedite matters. The same argument would apply to the members of the Borough Councils. They would, he was sure, instead of being a cause of friction, be a sympathetic link between the two great forms of the municipal Government of London. The estrangement which existed 1262 arose from the fact that the two bodies did not quite realise their wants. It had been said that the number of twelve would not satisfy the Borough Councils; he did not think it would entirely, but if they could not get all they wanted they ought to be satisfied that they had secured on the Education Committee some voice and some representation. He had seen less than twelve hon. Members opposite voicing the opinion of their Party in a manner which nobody could overlook. In the same way the representation of twelve members would be a most effective method of voicing the wants of the boroughs when difficulties arose, or when questions of organisation were discussed at the first constitution of the Education Committee.
He thought that the placing of representatives of the Borough Councils on the Education Committee was an augury of a new departure in London local administration, and he very much welcomed the introduction of the principle in regard to the Education Committee, which had been carried out on the Water Board. It ought to be borne in mind that the City of London and the City of Westminster between them paid one quarter of the rates of London, while they had only 23,000 children out of the 623,000 children who were in the provided and voluntary schools in the Metropolis. It seemed to him rather hard that Westminster should only have half a man, and the City of London one man to represent them, when they had paid such a large proportion of the taxation. An hon. Member had expressed regret that there was very little local life in London. He was very much astonished to hear that. If the hon. Member went down to Greenwich and told the people there that there was no local life in the borough his remarks would not be well received. As a matter of fact, local life in London had been very much increased of late years. He maintained that the representatives of the Borough Councils would serve a very useful purpose; they would be representatives of the ratepayers as much as the representatives of the London County Council. With the hon. Member for Camberwell he believed that the balance of the experts would be very much redressed by the inclusion of the representatives of the Borough Councils. 1263 This was an opinion which was held not only from a political point of view. A gentleman in his constituency, the Rev. Mr. Coxhead, who is well known in educational matters, and who was long a member of the School Board, was strongly in favour, from an educational point of view, of the representation of the Borough Councils on the Education Committee. He thought the course the Government had taken was wise. They had given the London County Council complete control, because, after all, the power of the purse in the long run would be the controlling power; and they had placed upon it also representatives of the great local bodies in London coupled with the experts. For these reasons he gave his hearty adhesion to the scheme of the Government, although he regretted that they had not seen their way to carry out their original proposal.
§ SIR MICHAEL FOSTER (London University)
said if he might be allowed to intervene in the debate, it would be to say a very few words from a purely educational point of view. It was an essentially educational question with which they were dealing. They were not concerned in seeing what respect they could pay to this or that body; how much dignity, honour, privilege or distinction they could confer on this or that body; they were met simply to do their best to select the very best body to carry on the great task of the education of London. For a great task it was. He knew many Members realised how great it was. He doubted very much, however, if all of them realised how very great it was. The body they were about to constitute must carry on and extend the elementary education which already existed; it must also do what at present was done only in a fragmentary way—build on that elementary foundation an education for all classes in London, fitting them for all paths of life, and leading on to the very highest steps of learning. A body which had that great task, great as it was now, and even greater as it might be in the future from an educational point of view, must be homogeneous and solid, it must know its own mind, be its own master, and have the full confidence of the authority which held the purse. Taking that position from a purely educational 1264 point of view, it seemed to him that there could be no difficulty in choosing between the two plans—the one plan of allowing the education authority to be the County Council alone, and the other complicated scheme which had been offered by the Government. They had read in the papers lately about a "fortuitous concourse of atoms," which they were told might make a crystal, but could not form a living organism The educational authority which they sought to establish must be a living organism. Now, he would not be so rude as to compare the scheme which had been presented to the Committee to a "fortuitous concourse of atoms," but he would venture to say that there was an element of uncertainty about the prospect which lay in the working of that scheme which, from an educational point of view, would lead one to dread its effect. He must confess, feeling intensely the great educational interests of London, and he trusted the Committee and the Government itself would concede the point—that the education authority must belong to the County Council itself alone, and that if they were to have education carried on well and completely for the benefit of the nation that was the body who could do it, and not the complicated body which was now offered by the Government. He would go further, and say that this great education authority must have a very free hand. He would leave the whole thing in the hands of the London County Council. It was a great responsibility, but the London County Council would feel that responsibility, and he believed they would rise to it. If Parliament trusted the Council, he believed they would have an educational authority which would produce a change in the education of London, which might be even more than one could hope for.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE
said that the speech of the hon. and learned Member for London University was a deliverance of great force, dignity and knowledge; but he suggested that it would have been still more forcible if it had been spoken from his old seat on the Ministerial Benches, and not from a seat below the Gangway on the Opposition 1265 Benches. Since the debate began the members of the Government must have been impressed by the expressions of opinion which had been given from both sides of the House. As an independent listener he confessed that the arguments he had heard all tended in one direction, and that was, that the Government scheme, however well intentioned, had succeeded in pleasing nobody. He wished to point out that in one respect it fell short of even their own design in framing it—a design which he thought, in the abstract, commanded the almost unanimous approval of the House. The idea of the Government, as he understood it, was to give an absolute majority to the London County Council. Out of seventy-nine members, forty-two were to be appointed by the London County Council, but, in the first instance, there would be five other members who must be added. [HON. MEMBERS: May.] Well, his hon. friends could take refuge in the word "may." Could the Committee consider any enlightened County Council, as he knew the London County Council to be, declining to perform what was really a moral if not a legal obligation, and adding to the first Committee men really acquainted with the machinery and the detailed work of the outgoing School Board? He considered the Government, and the majority which supported the Government in the Second Reading, were under a very serious responbility in the matter. They had taken on themselves in the defence of the municipalisation of education the task of destroying a great educational organisation which had existed for whole generations in this Metropolis, and which, from a broad point of view, had admittedly done admirable work. If that were so, it behoved the Government to see that they set up in its place a body the very best they could conceive, and framed to carry on, with no more loss of continuity than was absolutely necessary, the great work of the School Board. The machinery would be very elaborate, and the men who would have to conduct in the future ought to be well advised, and ought to include many who were acquainted with the work of the past. The very least the County Council could do, would be to add five members of the outgoing School Board. His hon. friend thought they might 1266 rely on the word "may," but "may" ought to be "shall"; and if it were not "shall" in the Act it would be "shall" in the mind of every enlightened member of the County Council. That being so the County Council would be only able to appoint during the first five years from its own members a bare half of the Committee. That would not be a clear substantial majority, and would not give the County Council any real control. The County Council would not care to delegate to the Committee any very large powers; and secondly they would closely watch the proceedings of the Committee. Whenever members of the Council were absent through other municipal engagements and the other members of the Council were in a temporary minority in the Committee, the decision arrived at, if of any importance, would be reversed in the County Council, with what expense of trouble, time, and temper, the Committee could realise. Therefore, the scheme did not carry out the design of the Government itself in framing this Committee. It certainly did not carry out the clear views of the great majority of the House.
There was an easy remedy. If the Government would only make up their minds to exclude those twelve unfortunate members who were supposed to represent groups of huge urban boroughs, but who really represented nobody in particular, then there would remain a workable body on which the County Council would have a substantial majority. It was not quite true to say that the Bill satisfied nobody; because it appeared to satisfy the hon. Member for Limehouse. But there were hon. Gentlemen like the hon. Member for the Strand Division, the hon. Member for Chelsea, and the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich. It did not require much courage to proclaim in this House the virtues of an hon. Member's own borough, or the importance of its being represented in the Committee; but when hon. Members, loyal supporters of the Government, appealed to the Government to exclude from the scheme the representation of their own boroughs, their voice ought to be heeded. London had been united for educational purposes for thirty-three years. Surely that unity ought not in a hurry to be disintegrated and broken 1267 up into sections in order to encourage what the hon. Member for St. Pancras seemed to think such an excellent development of local government, viz., the creation of Water Boards for every purpose in London. He would humbly suggest that there were two alternatives open to the Government. One was to leave the London County Council in the same position as other County Councils, to form their own scheme with the approval of a Government Department. That was now answering well all over the country; and he really did not see why it should not answer in London. The other was to leave the House to give a free vote on this question. Surely the Government might treat their supporters as they treated them last year with reference to the Option Clause, and allow them to vote for a simple scheme rather than for a complicated, unsatisfactory, and hybrid scheme.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)
said that the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down appealed to the Government to either withdraw the proposal or leave it an open question. He did not know how far the Government would be pliable in the matter but the present scheme was not the first proposal of the Government. It was a second thought, a compromise; and therefore one upon which they might respond to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, to leave it to the opinion of the House and allow their supporters to vote freely, without any loss of prestige to themselves. If it had been their own original proposal, he admitted it would be a more difficult matter; but it was not. It had been put forward in a tentative way, and should be left to the general sense of the House. The right hon. Gentleman said that the speech of the Member for London University would have been more effective if delivered on the Government side of the House. He did not see that appeals from the Government side were a bit more effective than appeals from the Opposition side. Yet it was not that the appeals from the Government side were lacking in numbers or in cogency of argument. He would suggest to the 1268 right hon. Gentleman, if he found that the Government were deaf to his appeal on this matter, to try the effect of crossing the floor himself.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE
There is one difficulty. I could not canvass my constituents by the reply post-card.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
said the right hon. Gentleman was not so separated from his constituents that he could not take their opinions. He was greatly impressed, and he thought that the House generally was greatly impressed, by the strength and persistency with which the right hon. Gentleman treated last year's Bill in the most single-minded way from the point of view of the County Councils and of education. That was exactly his own point of view. He agreed with the Government that there must be unity and co-ordination in our educational system. But vigour and energy in the authority were wanted, as well as unity and co-ordination; and a great risk was run, in a large place like London, in attempting to give unity and co-ordination, of losing vigour and energy, unless responsibility was clearly established. It would have been better if the Government had simply said to the London County Council, "There is the education question; set your brains at work and draw up a scheme." He believed the London County Council would rise to the responsibility of developing an educational system for London provided it was given full powers. It was said that the London County Council were too much overworked to undertake the control of education. He believed the great municipalities would have to undertake more and more work, and that probably they would have to revise their methods of administration in order to deal with it. But the proposal to bring in the Borough Council element did not in the least relieve the London County Council of any portion of the burden. What it might do was to diminish the sense of responsibility of the County Council, and that would be a very serious thing, for with their responsibility would be diminished their enterprise and energy in their work. No strength was gained by the introduction of the representatives of 1269 the Borough Councils, for they would not be experts in education. All the Government got was that they paid a sort of compliment to the Borough Councils; and that they should not have done, because the Borough Councils did not feel it as a compliment. It was so small that it was not taken as a compliment at all. When the Borough Councils' representatives were there they would not know what they represented; they would have no local patriotism, no special knowledge. The Prime Minister had referred to the largeness of London as a reason why it should be treated on different lines: but, on the contrary, that was a reason for keeping to the line of making the County Council the only authority. Precisely because of London's size—bigger, as the Prime Minister said, than some of the nations of Europe—it was desirable that it should have some feeling of corporate life. They must place the main responsibility on it. It must, speaking locally, embody the national spirit of London. Give it ample powers to delegate, but let it feel that it is responsible, either directly or through its delegated powers, to the Metropolis. The work of drawing up education schemes for London would be more difficult and complicated than that of any other education authority; and the County Council, although made nominally the education authority, was to be hampered with qualifications which did not exist in other parts of the country, and to be given more restricted powers. He joined in the appeal of the right hon. Member for Somerset to the Government. Having regard to their own past attitude—how variable it had been, how little even they had seen any fixed point in this matter—and having regard to the weight of argument on their own side, they should at any rate consider whether they could not meet the right hon. Gentleman to the extent of leaving this an open question to the Committee.
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said he did not propose to argue in detail the important questions which they would have to decide later, but would simply urge the Committee to let the words before them form part of the Amendment, and so get regularly to the discussion of the questions with which they were so anxious to deal. The Amendment before the 1270 Committee did not decide, and they were not discussing whether the Committee of the London County Council should be constituted by statute or by scheme, whether the boroughs should or should not be represented on the Committee, or whether the London County Council should not have a majority on the Committee. They were discussing matters at large. They were having a Second Reading debate on the general question of the constitution of the Education Committee. It was idle to appeal to the Government to make this Amendment a non-party question because it would carry nothing with it. As to the supposed silence of the advocates of borough representation, thirty Members for London in that House had requested the Prime Minister to retain in one form or another the borough representation, and at least one hon. Member on the other side of the House had last night said a good word for the representation of the boroughs. He assured his right hon. friend the Member for Somerset that when the time came they would ensure that the London County Council should have a majority on the Committee, and, if necessary, over its own selection from the School Board. That was another matter to be discussed later. Meanwhile he urged them to deal with the Amendment so that the discussion could become practical.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
expressed great astonishment at the remarks of the hon. Gentleman, who had given the direct go-by to the pledge given by the Prime Minister that the Committee should discuss the general form now, after which the discussion could be carried down into details. He sincerely hoped this Motion would not be rushed through the House as the Second Reading of the Bill was. Not only were Members for London constituencies thus deprived of opportunities of discussing the Bill, but outside representative bodies had not had time to bring their opinion to bear on the House of Commons. His constituents, irrespective of party, were unanimously against the inclusion of the borough representatives on this Education Committee. He earnestly appealed to the Government to listen to the weight of criticism which had fallen from hon. Gentlemen opposite and to take heed of the advice which had been offered on the Unionist side.
§ MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
expressed surprise that the right hon. Gentleman had given no expression of his views with regard to the question which had been under discussion all the afternoon.
§ MR. CAUSTON
said the Committee had been indulging the hope that some impression had been made on the right hon. Gentleman by the speeches delivered. During the whole of the day only two speeches had been delivered in support of the proposal to add the twelve borough councillors to the Committee, and one of them was the half-hearted support of one whose view was that he had received but half a loaf. As a London Member he himself wished to say that it would be simply absurd to add these twelve borough councillors to the Committee. They had not been told in what way these gentlemen were to be elected. The scheme would bring about great discord between the Borough Councils themselves. The Committee ought to know what the views of the Government were on this matter. Personally, he would like to move the adjournment of the debate, and if he had the permission of his leaders he would certainly do so. It was much to be regretted that the Prime Minister had been absent from the House since the beginning of the proceedings, for he was sure that the speech of the hon. Member for South Manchester had impressed him, as it did the whole House; if he had been present through the whole debate he would doubtless have had a conference with the President of the Local Government Board and the Secretary to the Board of Education, and probably on Monday the Committee would have had a re-framed Bill to consider. He hoped that, unless some declaration were forced from the Government, the adjournment of the debate would be moved.
§ GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)
said that as a member of a Borough Council, he was puzzled as to what the borough councillors were to 1272 be sent on this Committee to do. It had been distinctly declared that the authority was to be the London County Council. Either they trusted that authority or they did not. If they did not, twelve members from outside would not keep them straight. In any case, twelve members could not represent twenty-nine Borough Councils. One borough would be called upon to vote for a man living in another borough, and there would be no local touch between the central body and the Borough Council. If an authority was created it should be a real authority. In the polytechnic body of which he was a member, he moved a Resolution in favour of the London County Council being the education authority, and that Resolution was carried because, knowing what the County Council had done in that particular branch of education, it was believed it would do equally well in other branches. He sincerely hoped the London County Council would be the authority, and that it would not be thwarted by men being sent to hold it back in its work, and, on the other hand, that the Borough Councils would not be asked to appoint men for that purpose, though he believed that the Borough Councils could do good work if properly utilised as local managers.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said the Government had pursued an extraordinary course. On one of the most important points in the Bill they had been subjected to a raking fire of criticism from their own supporters, and the President of the Local Government Board had sought cover in his trenches, the Secretary to the Board of Education had pleadingly asked the attacking party to cease firing, while the Commander-in-Chief—the Prime Minister—had simply retired out of range. The Government were proposing the extension to London of an Act of Parliament in regard to the working of which they had before them the experience of practically all the County Councils of England. Of those County Councils only that of Hertfordshire had adopted the plan which, in the face of all experience, the Government proposed to apply to London. They were going to say to the County Council, not only that they would constitute the 1273 Committee, but that they would constitute it in a way which had been repudiated by every other County Council in the country except that of Hertfordshire. The only defender of the proposal in London was Limehouse, which comprised one-fifth of a borough, and the Government actually proposed that this Hertford-cum-Limehouse policy should govern the educational system under which London was to be brought up. Why was the London County Council to be deprived of a power enjoyed by every other County Council? Simply because London was large and important she was to be treated as though she were more insignificant than the smallest Urban Council. Experience of the grouping process in Wales showed that this foreign element of twelve borough councillors would be responsible to nobody; they might as well be selected by the twelve tribes of Israel. In this respect it was not a question of population. London was compact and accessible, and the schools in a particular district could be visited in a few hours, whereas in such districts as Lancashire and Yorkshire the schools were so scattered that the authority was forced to rely upon reports. The whole scheme was due simply to a mean and contemptible prejudice against the London County Council. The Government had achieved what he had thought was the impossible; they had made the Bill more ridiculous than before, but he hoped they would even now reconsider their position.
§ MR. BURDETT-COUTTS (Westminster)
said that he rose for the purpose of putting a question, particularly now that the Prime Minister had come back to the House. Where were they? The remarkable utterance of the Secretary to the Board of Education had left the Committee in as great a fog as Ministers had been in when framing and then completely changing this Committee of Education. He understood from that speech that the Committee were not about to vote upon the subject which had been under discussion for several hours, viz., the constitution of the Education Committee. If that were so, he was not very anxious about his own vote. If they were 1274 about to vote on the question that had been discussed, it was a different thing. He objected to the suggestion that the Government should take time to consider this matter, because he was afraid if they did, they would alter their mind a third time. His own opinion was that the Government had introduced a good Bill, but that, so far as this Clause was concerned, they had made it a bad Bill, and he suggested that, if they were to make any further changes, they should direct their attention to the possibility of restoring the Bill to its original form.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
If the hon. Member is in doubt as to the issue on which the Committee are about to divide, he could hardly have been in the House about three o'clock when we had a discussion as to procedure.
§ MR. BURDETT-COUTTS
The right hon. Gentleman was not in the House when the Secretary of Education made his last speech.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It was then felt on both sides that it would be for the convenience of the Committee if, instead of repeating the discussion and arguments over and over again on different Amendments, we had one full and adequate discussion on the important question of whether or not the Borough Councils should have on the Education Committee the representation proposed by the Government. It is to that question the Committee addressed itself last night, and it is to that question the Committee has addressed itself throughout the hours of this afternoon.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said he understood the principle involved was the absolute right of the County Council to select its own Committee. They were not now judging the question of the twelve. The question was purely and simply the Bill of last year.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I agree that the decision about to be taken will not deal with all the details of my hon. friend's subsequent Amendment. It does not mean that if the Committee carried this Amendment hon. Members 1275 would be precluded from suggesting modifications to my hon. friend's scheme. What, I think, by agreement will be decided is whether or not the London County Council is to be treated precisely as the County Councils of some other counties, or whether there is to be a representation of the Borough Councils upon the Education Committee. If that is not admitted, I hope hon. Members will interrupt me.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was in the House when the informal arrangement was come to between both sides of the House as to whether we should take this discussion now, or upon the question that this clause stand part of the Bill.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he understood what was arranged then was that, at the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman, a general discussion upon the whole proposal of the Government embodied in the Amendment of the Secretary to the Board of Education should be taken, but that had nothing to do with making the Amendment itself a test question in any way. The Amendment itself did not raise any substantial issue, and it was understood that this was to be a sort of Second Reading debate, and specific questions would be raised upon the proper Amendments.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not think that is quite an accurate description of what took place. I begged the House not to repeat the same discussion again and again, and not to have votes which decided nothing. Then the question arose as to whether the broad principle of this proposal is to be accepted or not. That could be discussed on the question that the clause stand part of the Bill. But the hon. Member for Carnarvon urged that sometimes the discussion on that question was not very adequate; and he preferred the present opportunity. I agreed, but on the understanding that the question was decided now. Of course, that does not carry with it an assent to every detail of my hon. friend's Amendment. The division is going to be taken 1276 upon the general question. I hope, after the discussion which has taken place—from 3 o'clock to 12 o'clock yesterday, and from 3 o'clock to 7 o'clock to-day—the Committee will consider that this question has been adequately dealt with. I think the amount of heat and passion which this question has aroused is far in excess of the actual intrinsic importance it will have when the new body comes into working order. I do not think the compulsory addition of twelve representatives from the Borough Councils will have this extraordinary far-reaching effect which has been suggested by the speeches to which we have listened. I do not pretend to exaggerate the importance of this Amendment, but I do think that it is in accordance with the general principles which we have advocated from the beginning; and that, having regard to the special position of the London boroughs, which find no parallel anywhere else in the country, we are justified in extending to them exceptional treatment. If this exceptional treatment destroyed the supremacy of the London County Council, or if it were an instance of our distrust of the London County Council, if it were intended to cripple its wings and hamper its action, I could understand all this feeling in regard to our proposal. But that is not the object we have in view, and that will not be the effect of the Amendment. The London County Council will not only be supreme as the education authority, unhampered by any extraneous elements, but even in regard to those extraneous elements we shall take care that the County Council is also supreme. Its supremacy will remain untouched, and why this extraordinary grudging spirit should be displayed in regard to the comparatively small representation we propose to give to the Borough Councils I find it hard to understand. I respectfully venture to say that upon the large question of policy raised by my hon. friend's Amendment we are now perhaps ripe to come to a decision, and I trust the Committee will consent to take a vote upon it.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said the Committee embarked on this discussion on the invitation of the Secretary to the Board of Education. When the hon. Gentleman moved the innocent Amendment before the House he said that it would be in order to enter upon the 1277 whole general question of his Amendment, and he invited the House to take part in that discussion. The Committee were now invited by the Prime Minister to take a division which was to decide the question, but they could not possibly do it. They had no objection to inserting those harmless words, and he hoped there would be no division; but when the Secretary to the Board of Education moved his Amendment they would move Amendments which would raise the real issue and enable the Committee to pronounce an opinion, which it could not pronounce upon the Motion now before them.
§ MR. BRYCE
said there was no desire to divide the House upon this Motion, because it would settle nothing whatever. The material questions would be decided hereafter. He thought the Government had benefited by the discussion, which had been conducted without heat or passion. A great deal of counsel had been tendered to the Government which if they would ponder and weigh would very much abridge the subsequent proceedings of the Bill. He hoped the Government would give them some indication that the arguments which had been used had impressed them, and he trusted that the Committee would be left free to decide upon the Amendment of the Secretary to the Board of Education.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
asked, as a point of order, whether, if the words under consideration were added to the clause, he would be precluded from moving to strike out from the Government's subsequent Amendment the words "and twelve shall be members of the metropolitan boroughs."
That Amendment would not be precluded. I said so before to-day, and I think I also said it last night.
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N. E.)
said that it would greatly assist many who earnestly desired to support the Government in their scheme as a whole, if it were understood that the House would be free to decide whether or not the representatives of the Borough Councils should be included in 1278 the Committee. It would be a great assistance if the Government would declare that they did not regard the representation of the Borough Councils as a vital question.
In page 1, line 9, to leave out from the word 'shall,' to the end of the Clause, and insert the words, 'consist of seventy-nine members, of whom forty-two shall be persons who are members of the local education authority appointed by that authority, and twelve shall be persons who are members of councils of metropolitan boroughs appointed in manner provided in the First Schedule to this Act, and twenty-five shall be appointed by the local education authority in accordance with a scheme under this Act made by that authority and approved by the Board of Education.'
(2) "The local education authority may, if they think fit, appoint not more than five persons from among the members of the London School Board to be supernumerary members of the first Education Committee; but those supernumerary members shall cease to hold office on the expiration of a period of five years from the date of the constitution of the first Education Committee, and any vacancy in their number occurring by death, resignation, or otherwise shall not be filled up."—(Sir William Anson.)
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
said he trusted that before they entered on the discussion of the Amendments on the Paper they might have an assurance from the Prime Minister that he would leave the matter open to be decided by the House. That appeal had been made from his own side of the House as well as from the Opposition side, and he was sure if the right hon. Gentleman assented it would tend very much to limit the discussion.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
moved to leave out "seventy-nine Members," and to substitute "such number of Members as the local authority shall determine." That Amendment raised one of the points they had been discussing, and he hoped the Government would give way and not insist upon the retention of the 1279 number in their proposal. The simple effect of his Amendment would be that the local education authority itself would be allowed to determine how many members the Committee should consist of.
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said that the Government could not agree to the suggested words. He had only seen the Amendment in manuscript, but, if he understood it rightly, it meant that the County Council would have an absolute determination of the numbers of the Committee. Therefore, without regard to the question whether or not they were to have a majority on the Committee, the Council would be able so to regulate the number as to exclude the representatives of the Borough Councils.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
Oh no; I must not allow the hon. Gentleman to fall into such an error as that. Perhaps, I had better read how the clause would stand. It would read as follows—The Education Committee of the local education authority shall consist of such number of members as the local authority shall determine …
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
apologised for not having fully apprehended the purport of the Amendment. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment left the question of the borough representation perfectly open. On behalf of the Government he was prepared to accept that.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
then moved a consequential Amendment to leave out "forty-two" and to substitute the words, "a majority."
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
asked the right hon. Baronet whether the words "a majority," would mean a majority not of the body constituted under Clause 1 of the Bill, but an absolute majority of the whole body.
§ MR. LOUGH
said the Committee ought to understand this matter fully. He thought the words would mean that the number was left to be determined by the local education authority. If 1280 that was so, he thought the proposal was fairly satisfactory, but if the Government meant that it was merely to be a majority of one they ought not to pass the words without a little more consideration, for a majority of one was not an effective majority.
Proposed Amendment amended.
By leaving out the words, 'seventy-nine members,' and inserting the words 'such number of members as the local education authority shall determine,' and by leaving out the words 'forty-two,' and inserting the words, 'a majority.'"—(Sir John Gorst.)
MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W.R., Pudsey) moved an Amendment to omit the words—
And twelve shall be persons who are members of councils of Metropolitan boroughs appointed in manner provided in the first schedule to this Act.
He said that his object was to prevent the constitution of the Committee being of the heterogeneous and nondescript character which the inclusion of these words would make it. He did not think it would be denied that if this Education Committee were created according to the ideas of the Government it would be nothing but a patchwork Committee. There was a time when hon. Members opposite did their best to thwart the London County Council in connection with anything proposed by that body. He thought the Amendment devised by the Government in regard to the constitution of the Education Committee showed that the Tory Party had neither changed its skin nor its spots. This Amendment showed the same jealousy and spleen towards the County Council which were manifested in former days. If it was passed, he County Council would be in some measure disgraced, while the Borough Councils would be glorified. Why should the Government treat the London County Council in a different fashion from the County Councils all over the country? Why should there be any Borough Council representation on the Committee? It was unworthy of the Government to treat the London County Council in this fashion. He believed himself that if the
Government were to allow this matter to be settled by the good sense of the majority of the Committee, without introducing into it party politics, a very large majority of the Committee would decide to treat the London County Council as the other County Councils in the country bad been treated, and that they would be given the sole control of the education of the City of London. The Government were taking an unwise step. This was not a party question which would affect the one side of the House or the other. They were all desirous to make the London Education Bill a good, workable, practical measure, and to place the education of London in the hands of those who would worthily carry it out. He insisted that this Government mosaic of London County Council and Borough Council representatives, with an admixture of experts from the outside, would make the Committee unworkable and inefficient. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to consent to the London County Council having the supreme control of education in London. Under these circumstances he ventured to move the omission of the words "forty two" and the insertion of the words "fifty four."
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, as amended—
To leave out the words 'and twelve shall be persons who are members of councils of metropolitan boroughs appointed in manner provided in the First Schedule to this Act.'"—(Mr. George Whiteley.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment, as amended."
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said he would fulfil his pledge and not make a speech. He only wished to say that this was the Amendment which raised perfectly, clearly, and distinctly the main subject of their discussion yesterday, viz., whether twelve members of the Borough Councils should or should not be added to the Education Committee statutorily.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that when the Prime Minister came back to the House he stated that they had had a heated discussion on the matter. He wanted to assure the right hon. Gentleman that there had been no heat whatever; it was a businesslike discussion, and 1282 all the most powerful speeches had been delivered from the Government benches. Only two Members entirely objected to the Amendment, and other two had partly objected to it. He most earnestly appealed to the right hon. Gentleman, who had not the advantage of hearing the whole of the arguments, to listen to one single point. In his own speech the right hon. Gentleman placed his argument for the twelve members on the desirability of increasing the dignity of the Borough Councils; but the right hon. Gentleman would remember that when these Borough Councils were being established every Member on that side of the House did everything they could to increase the dignity of these bodies. But the right hon. Gentleman then laid down the principle that the duties of these bodies should be confined to the localities for which they were constituted. The right hon. Gentleman was gradually departing from his own principle, for he was giving them a share of the work which belonged to the whole Metropolis. What could Greenwich have to say to the affairs of Wandsworth or Clapham?
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
, who spoke amid much interruption, said that he had been accused of not having given any expression of his own views or those of the Government on this matter. He stated in extenuation that the previous night he had explained his Amendment to the best of his power and ability, and he was prepared now to defend it. He must confess that he could not under stand the extraordinary animus which had been displayed against these unfortunate twelve Members who were to represent the Borough Councils on the Education Committee of the London County Council; and all the more because the Government had never left the Committee in any doubt that it was their intention that the London County Council should be in reality, in fact as well as in name, the local education authority for London; and that they were prepared to constitute the Committee so that the London County Council should be able implicitly to trust it. They had had many forcible speeches on that side of the House against the representation of the Borough Councils, 1283 but he was still quite prepared to defend it. His hon. friend the Member for Chelsea, arguing the previous night in a powerful speech against the representation of the boroughs, stated that the Borough Councils represented local interests, and that the London County Council represented general and central interests; that matters common to the whole of London should be dealt with by the London County Council, and that the special interests of localities should be represented by the Borough Councils. He could not help thinking that that was a strong argument for giving the Borough Councils an interest in the management and direction of the general policy which not only concerned the whole of London, but the special concerns of particular areas which differed the one from the other. The education necessary for one area might be perfectly different in some of its branches from that of other areas, because the trades in different parts of London were so distributed over London that industrial education of one form would be better for one part, and another sort for another part of London. He did not think the fact that there were distinct local interests and distinct central interests was any reason for ignoring the local interests when they were dealing with the interests of the whole of London and the interests of diverse parts of London.
Then, some hon. Members had told them that this representation of the Borough Councils was not worth having and that no Borough Council would care to be represented by a third or a half of a member. He noticed that that argument came from gentlemen who were members of the London County Council and were not members of Borough Councils and not interested in the local affairs of the boroughs. It was very easy to say that the thing was not worth having; but he took the opinion of the representatives of the Borough Councils. A considerable majority of these had expressed themselves in favour of any sort of representation of the boroughs, however these might be grouped, and however much their representation might be rendered difficult by the necessary condition of numbers. What local interests wanted in London was not so much large representation as 1284 some one to speak up for the requirements of the different localities. The Borough Councils did not wish—and he did not desire that they should in any way act as a counterpoise to the London County Council. What they desired was that local interests, as distinct from central interests, should be regarded. They must bear in mind that the London County Council did not always represent the local interests of London. Many members of the London County Council were not Londoners in the sense that every member of the Borough Councils was a Londoner. The borough councillors very distinctly represented the local interests of the area. The London County Councillors represented an intelligent interest in the whole of London A fear had been expressed that the London County Council would be embarrassed by the presence of Borough Council members on the Committee of the local education authority, but that fear must have been dispelled by the acceptance by the Government of the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Cambridge University. The Government felt that the Borough Councils needed that a link should be constituted between the central education authority and the boards of management. The Government could not consent to leave it an open question whether the Borough Councils should be included or not, and they adhered to the proposal in the Bill that there should be twelve representatives on the Education Committee.
§ MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)
said that after the speech of the hon. Baronet the Committee ought to know where they were being asked to go in accepting the proposal of the Government. How could the twelve borough councillors know anything about the districts they would be supposed to represent? Stepney had five separate divisions, and there would be added Bow and Bromley, and Poplar. How was it possible that one man could represent such an enormous area? It was not reasonable. Supposing Poplar elected the representative, Whitechapel, St. George's in the East, Stepney, and Limehouse would ask what he knew about their needs. He was a Member of a Borough Council, of which he had been 1285 mayor, and that council absolutely declined to accept the responsibility it was sought to put upon it. Woolwich had also given no unmistakable vote on the question of an elected central authority. Were those districts to be totally ignored. It was the first time he realised how a man coming from a University could know nothing about local affairs, except the affairs of his own University. In Poplar and Stepney there were 109 councillors, Stepney having sixty and Poplar forty-nine. Was Poplar to dictate to Stepney as to the representative to be selected? If it did it would be ruled out immediately. What then became of the argument of local feeling? Woolwich had been included in four divisions with 120 or 130 councillors. Who was going to represent the locality there? If Deptford selected the representative, what would villadom, in the shape of Lewisham, have to say? If Lewisham elected the representative, what would he know about the needs of Deptford. Only half an hour ago a free and independent Member of Parliament appealed for permission to vote as he liked. Where were they? They were told that trades unions were
§ tyrannical; but here, in the British House of Commons, a man had to ask to be allowed to give an honest vote, and not be dictated to. He thought, in the circumstances, he was entitled to ask that the Government should leave the House of Commons to give a free expression of opinion on the Amendment. It was not a party question. It was a question affecting the education of London; and if hon. Members did not vote according to their consciences, he wanted to know what the House of Commons existed for at all.
§ Question put.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
asked, on a point of order, if the Chairman would merely put the first two words as he wished to move an Amendment to substitute for "twelve" the word "some."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 195; Noes, 154. (Division List, No. 94.)1289
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Chapman, Edward||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Charrington, Spencer||Gordon, Maj Evans (Tr. H'ml'ts|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Groves, James Grimble|
|Arrol, Sir William||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Gunter, Sir Robert|
|Atkin-on, Rt. Hon. John||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hain, Edward|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon Sir H.||Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Hall, Edward Marshall|
|Austin, Sir John||Cranborne, Viscount||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Crossley, Sir Savile||Heath, James (Stafford's. N. W.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cullinan, J.||Helder, Augustus|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham||Henderson, Sir Alexander|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds||Devlin, Chas Ramsay (Galway)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Barry, Sir Fras. T. (Windsor)||Donelan, Captain A.||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj.||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Howard, Jn. (Kent, Fave'h'm)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham|
|Bignold, Arthur||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fardell, Sir T. George||Jameson, Major J. Eustace|
|Boland, John||Farrell, James Patrick||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Joyce, Michael|
|Bull, William James||Fison, Frederick William||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh|
|Butcher, John George||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Unit.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Knowles, Lees|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Flower, Ernest||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Forster, Henry William||Lawson, Jn. Grant (Yorks. N. R.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Fvler, John Arthur||Leamy, Edmund|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon J. (Birm||Galloway, William Johnson||Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Chaplin, Right Hon. Henry||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Percy, Earl||Stanley, Lord (Lancashire)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Plummer, Walter R.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Lundon, W.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Stock, James Henry|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Pym, C. Guy||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinbur'h W.||Randles, John S.||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Rankin, Sir James||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Redmond, Jn. E. (Waterford)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Redmond, William (Clare)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Reid, James (Greenock)||Walroud, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Webb, Col. William George|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Richards, Henry Charles||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunt'n|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd|
|Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Wilson John (Glasgow)|
|Murphy, John||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Myers, William Henry||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)||Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)||Younger, William|
|O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Ren-||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|O'Malley, William||Spear, John Ward|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Spencer Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Emmott, Alfred||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan)||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Fenwick, Charles||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Leng, Sir John|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Foster, Sir Michl. (Lond. Univ||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Bell, Richard||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lloyd-George, David|
|Black, Alexander William||Fuller, J. M. F.||Lough, Thomas|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Bond, Edward||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis||Grant, Corrie||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Berwick||Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe|
|Burns, John||Griffith, Ellis J.||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William|
|Caldwell, James||Cuthrie, Walter Murray||Newnes, Sir George|
|Cameron, Robert||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Norman, Henry|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Cawley, Frederick||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Harwood, George||Partington, Oswald|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Chaining, Francis Allston||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Havter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||Helme, Norval Watson||Perks, Robert William|
|Cremer, William Randal||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Crooks, William||Holland, Sir William Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardign||Hope, John Deans (Fife, Went)||Price, Robert John|
|Denny, Colonel||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Priestley, Arthur|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Rea, Russell|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rigg, Richard|
|Dunn, Sir William||Kitson, Sir James||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.|
|Dvke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Labouchere, Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Edwards Frank||Lambert, (George||Rose, Charles Day|
|Runciman, Walter||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)||Whiteley, G. (York, W. R.)|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Schwann, Charles E.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Shackleton, David James||Thomas, J. A. (Glam., Gower||Williams, O. (Merioneth)|
|Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.|
|Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)||Toulmin, George||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Woodhouse Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd|
|Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Sloan, Thomas Henry||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Soares, Ernest J.||Wason, E. (Clackmannan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney||Mr. Peel and Mr. Henry|
|Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Weir, James Galloway||Hobhouse.|
|Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Question again proposed, "That those words, as amended, be there inserted."
§ And, it being after half-past Seven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.