§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee).
§ [MR. EMMOTT (Oldham) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:—
§ MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON (Lanarkshire, N.W.)
moved an Amendment 187 to limit the operation of the clause, in abolishing plural voting, to the qualification in respect to ownership, allowing to remain effective the qualification in regard to occupancy. He denied that this in any way ran counter to the views expressed in the earlier debates of the Bill. The whole gravamen of the charge against the present system of plural voting was that, owing to the present system of property qualification, an unfair preponderance was given to those who were in possession of that qualification. The Amendment was a very moderate one; it maintained the just principle that a man should have a vote in respect of that part of the country in which his interests lay, in which, it might be, he had his works, and in which he lived his family life. This was a plea for the great middle class which hon. Members so often treated in a cavalier manner when it suited their purpose. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill would accept the Amendment.
In page 1, line 5, after the word 'elector' to insert the words 'in respect of ownership.'"—(Mr. Mitchell-Thomson.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. HARCOURT, Lancashire, Rossendale)
had just risen to reply, when
§ On the point of order, Sir, I espy strangers.
I think yesterday's vote and the promise of an opportunity of discussion ought to be taken as deciding that Question for the present. In the meantime until the House otherwise decides, I propose to take it in that way.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
May I say, Sir, that I espy different strangers from those who were present yesterday?
If the right hon. Gentleman says he spies different strangers, I shall put the Question.
§ Question proposed, "That strangers be ordered to withdraw."
§ MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, Clitheroe)
seated, and in accordance with the rules of the House, wearing his hat, said: I desire to ask whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman is in a position to decide whether there are fresh strangers in the House, seeing that he was not here when the decision was taken yesterday.
I take it that when the right hon. Gentleman said he saw different strangers he must have seen them.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 60; Noes, 220. (Division List No. 323.)191
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn.Sir Alex. F.||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kenyon-Slancy, Rt. Hn.Col.W.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Courthope, G. Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Craik, Sir Henry||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Arnold-Forster,Rt.Hn.HughO.||Dalrymple, Viscount||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Duncan,Robert(Lanark, Govan||Liddell, Henry|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fell, Arthur||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Beach, Hn. Michael HughHicks||Fletcher, J. S.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Forster, Henry William||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hamilton, Marquess of||Nicholson, Win. G. (Petersfield)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hardy,Laurence(Kent,Ashford||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Pease, HerbertPike(Darlington|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Powell, Sir Francis Charles|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Helmsley, Viscount||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hervey,F.W.F.(BuryS.Edm'ds||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Cecil, Lord E. Marylebone, E.)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J.A.(Worc.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford,East)|
|Smith, Hon. W.F.D. (Strand)||Thomson,W. Mitchell-(Lanark||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Stanley Wilson and Sir William Bull.|
|Starkey, John R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Staveley-Hill, Henry, (Staff'sh)||Younger, George|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Fullerton, Hugh||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gill, A. H.||Marnham, F. J.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Gladstone, Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn||Massie, J.|
|Agnew, George William||Glover, Thomas||Meagher, Michael|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Menzies, Walter|
|Alden, Percy||Grant, Corrie||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Asquith,Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Gulland, John W.||Montagu, E. S.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Mooney, J. J.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Morrell, Philip|
|Barnard, E. B.||Hall, Frederick||Morse, L. L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham)||Hardie,J.Keir(Merthyr Tydvil)||Murnaghan, George|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Murray, James|
|Billson, Alfred||Hart-Davies, T.||Myer, Horatio|
|Black, Arthur W.(Bedfordshire||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Nicholls, George|
|Boland, John||Harwood, George||Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Brace, William||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Brigg, John||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Bright, J. A.||Hedges, A. Paget||O'Shaughnesay, P. J.|
|Brooke, Stopford||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Brunner, J.F.L. (Lancs.,Leigh)||Henry, Charles S.||Partington, Oswald|
|Brunner, Sir JohnT. (Cheshire)||Higham, John Sharp||Paul, Herbert|
|Bryce, Rt.Hn.James (Aberdeen||Hodge, John||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Pollard, Dr.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hooper, A. G.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hope,W. Bateman(Somerset,N.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Cairns, Thomas||Hudson, Walter||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Cameron, Robert||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Idris, T. H. W.||Rees, J. D.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jardine, Sir J.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Chance, Frederick William||Jenkins, J.||Richards, Thos. (W. Monm'th)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Richards,T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Richardson, A.|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Jones,William(Carnarvonshire)||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Clough, W.||Jowett, F. W.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Joyce, Michael||Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee|
|Corbett,C.H.(Sussox,EGrinst'd||Kearley, Hudson E.||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Kekewich, Sir George||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Cowan, W. H.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Robinson, S.|
|Cox, Harold||Kitson, Sir James||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Crombie, John William||Laidlaw, Robert||Runciman, Walter|
|Crossley, William J.||Lamb,Edmund G.(Leominster)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lamont, Norman||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Leese, Sir JosephF.(Accrington||Scott, A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Delany, William||Lehmann, R. C.||Sears, J. E.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.||Lever, A.Levy (Essex,Harwich)||Seely, Major J. B.|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Levy, Maurice||Shackleton, David James|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lewis, John Herbert||Shaw,Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lough, Thomas||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lundon, W.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Duffy, William J.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macdonald, J.M.(FalkirkB'ghs)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Elibank, Master of||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Snowden, P.|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Erskine, David C.||MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Callum, John M.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Everett, R. Lacey||M'Crae, George||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Ferens, T. R.||M'Killop, W.||Summerbell, T.|
|Field, William||M'Micking, Major G.||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Maddison, Frederick||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Thomas, Sir A.(Glamorgan, E.)|
|Thorne, William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Verney, F. W.||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Vivian, Henry||Waterlow, D. S.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Wadsworth, J.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Waldron, Laurence Ambrose||White, Luke (York, E. R.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Ward, W. Dudley(Southampt'n||Wilkie, Alexander|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that the hon. Member had misinterpreted the Government view of the Bill. The Government had no objection to a vote merely because it was founded on real estate. Their objection was to the plurality of votes by individuals from whatever source they might arise; and he was not sure that the hon. Member realised the extent of his Amendment. He thought that it
§ would lead to an individual, in respect of his ownership, of his occupancy, of his vote for a University or as a freeman or liveryman, having his claims preferred, and this was obviously so contrary to the principle and intention of the Bill that the Amendment could not be accepted by the Government.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 65: Noes, 236. (Division List No. 324.)193
|Acland-Hood.Rt.Hn.SirAlexF.||Duncan, Robt. (Lanark,Govan)||Marks, H. H. (Kent)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell O.||Fell, Arthur||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt.Hn.HughO||Fletcher, J. S.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield|
|Balcarres, Lord||Forster, Henry William||Parker, Sir Gilbert(Gravesend)|
|Balfour, Rt.Hn.A.J.(CityLond.||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Beach,Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hamilton, Marquess of||Pease,Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hardy,Laurence(Kent,Ashford||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Helmsley, Viscount||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hervey,F.W.F.(BuryS.Edm'ds||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Starkey, John R.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kennaway,Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone,E.)||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt.Hn. Col.W.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn. J.A.(Worc||Kimber, Sir Henry||Wilson, A. Stanley (York,E.R.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart-|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Younger, George|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Liddell, Henry|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Mitchell-Thomson and Sir William Bull.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cairns, Thomas|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Black, Arthur W.(Bedfordshire||Cameron, Robert|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Boland, John||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Bottomley, Horatio||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Agnew, George William||Brace, William||Chance, Frederick William|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bramsdon, T. A.||Cheetham, John Frederick|
|Alden, Percy||Brigg, John||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Asquith,Rt.Hn. Herbert Henry||Bright, J. A.||Clough, W.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Brooke, Stopford||Coats, SirT.Glen (Renfrew,W.)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes. Leigh||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight||Bryce, Rt.Hn.James(Aberdeen||Corbett,C.H.(SussexE.Grinst'd|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Buchanan, Thos. Ryburn||Cowan, W. H.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Burke, E. Haviland-||Cox, Harold|
|Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas.||Crombie, John William|
|Billson, Alfred||Byles, William Pollard||Crossley, William J.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Richards, Thos. (W. Momn'th|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kitson, Sir James||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Delany, William||Laidlaw, Robert||Richardson, A.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Lamont, Norman||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Leese,Sir JosephF.(Accrington)||Robertson, Rt.Hn.E.(Dundee)|
|Dilke, Rt, Hon. Sir Charles||Lehmann, R. C.||Robertson,Sir G.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lever,A.Levy (Essex,Harwich)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Duffy, William J.||Levy, Maurice||Robinson, S.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lewis, John Herbert||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lough, Thomas||Runciman, Walter|
|Elibank, Master of||Lundon, W.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Lyell, Charles Henry||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Erskine, David C.||Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs||Scott,A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Sears, J. E.|
|Everett, B. Lacey||Maclean, Donald||Seely, Major J. B.|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Shackleton, David James|
|Ferens, T. R.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B)|
|Field, William||MacVeigh, Charles(Donegal, E.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Callum, John M.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||M'Crae, George||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Fullerton, Hugh||M'Hugh Patrick A.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Killop, W.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Gladstone,Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn||M'Micking, Major G.||Snowdon, P.|
|Glover, Thomas||Maddison, Frederick||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Grant, Corrie||Markham, Arthur Basil||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Marnham, F. J.||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Gulland, John W.||Massie, J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Meagher, Michael||Summerbell, T.|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Menzies, Walter||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Hall, Frederick||Molteno, Percy Alport||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harcourt, Right Hon. Lewis||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hardie.J. Keir(Merthyr Tydvil||Montagu, E. S.||Thomas,David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Mooney, J. J.||Thorne, William|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Morrell, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morse, L. L.||Verney, F. W.|
|Harwood, George||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Vivian, Henry|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Murnaghan, George||Wadsworth, J.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Murray, James||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Myer, Horatio||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Hazel. Dr.A. E.||Nicholls, George||Wallace, Robert|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nolan, Joseph||Ward,John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Ward, W. Dudley(Southamp'n|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hodge, John||Nuttall, Harry||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Hooper, A. G.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wason,John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Hope,W. Bateman(Somerset,N||Parker, James (Halifax)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Hudson, Walter||Partington, Oswald||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Paul, Herbert||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Idris, T. H. W.f||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Pollard, Dr.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Jenkins, J.||Price,C. E.(Edinburgh, Central||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Raphael, Herbert H.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Joyce, Michael||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Rees, J. D.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Rendall, Athelstan|
§ MR. LANE-FOX (Yorkshire, W.R., Barkston Ash)
moved an Amendment which he stated would have the effect of changing the present form of the Bill, which was that no man should have more than one vote in a constituency, and 194 extend it by granting him the power to vote in separate counties, or, as in the case of Yorkshire, in separate ridings of the same county. That was a concession which might reasonably be asked for on the ground that although there might be 195 some injustice in one man voting twice in the same district, in the case of his holding property in different counties the objection would not arise. He could not see why a man should not be allowed to vote, say, in Kent, simply because he had already voted in Yorkshire. Hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to be ready to give him an answer to that. He should be very glad to have it. How would the injustice be the same where the property lay so far apart? The preponderance of voting strength in the district might be supposed to be a hardship by those who did not possess it, but what injustice would be inflicted on any individual by this Amendment? The answer might be given that if not an individual perhaps a party might suffer injustice. If that was the answer to his Amendment he could only fall back on the classic words of the present Patronage Secretary when he sat on the other side, and in dealing with a similar Bill said it was simply an attempt to dish the Unionist Party.
§ MR. LANE-FOX
said if that was the reason for the opposition to his Amendment, the real object of the Bill would be plain to the country outside. Large interests were affected and his proposal involved only a particularly small concession.
In page 1, line 6, after the word 'constituency,' to insert the words 'in any county or in any riding of a county.' "—(Mr. Lane-Fox.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that the Amendment was a direct infringement of the whole principle of the Bill, which was to prohibit one person from exercising more than one vote. The Amendment would make the exercise of the vote a more question of the geographical distribution of property. If the hon. Member for Barkston Ash were to have more than one vote, would it not be better for him to exercise them all in the West Riding, where he was sure they would be more appreciated than in Kent? He could not make exceptions for 196 different counties while prohibiting men from voting in the various divisions of the same county.
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
said that there was a precedent for the Amendment. The old Radical doctrine of taxation and representation came in when a man had interests both in Kent and in Yorkshire. Hitherto alterations in the franchise had been in the direction of extending it. It was left for hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were always talking of reactionary legislation, to suggest that the franchise should be curtailed.
MR. STANLEY WILSON
supported the Amendment, which he thought a most excellent one. Surely where a man had property and paid rates on it in different counties he should be entitled to record his vote in each county. That was absolute common sense. The Bill, if passed, would effect a great constitutional change, and he for one earnestly hoped that the House of Lords would not allow it to go further. ["Oh!"]
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)
said that the assumption of the Government was that the elector had only one interest to consider—the national interest—and that wherever a man might reside, even if it were in Yorkshire for one six months and in Kent the remainder of the year, that interest remained the same. But the Government entirely overlooked the fact that much of the business of the House was concerned with the special and particular interests of localities. He held qualifications for London and for Worcestershire. Under this Bill, if he chose to vote in London he would no longer be a constituent of his own Member in Worcestershire, where he had lived many years, where he owned property, and with which he was intimately concerned, and his representations would no longer receive attention. That was a serious matter, because his Member would be able to disregard his protest and he would be unable to give effect to his protest by voting against the Member. Many people would be deprived of protection for large and substantial interests if they were not allowed to vote in every constituency where those interests were centred.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that matters of local concern were dealt with by the House through Committees, whose Members had to declare that neither they nor their constituents had any personal interests involved. If the right hon. Gentleman wished to remain a constituent of his Member, he had the opportunity of selecting where he would vote every year. If, as a voter in the City of London, he were becoming dissatisfied with his representation, he could return to his earlier love in East Worcestershire. This Amendment was directed, not to taxation's following representation, but to taxation's carrying with it over-representation.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
said that the right hon. Gentleman had given a false impression of a very interesting and rather difficult part of our constitutional practice. It was true that every Member ought to be returned with a view to dealing with national and Imperial affairs. That was the primary function of the House, but it was not its only function. That Members of Committees had to give some undertaking of their wholly independent attitude did not affect the fact that every Member was expected not only to look after national interests, but the interests of his particular constituency when they were affected by legislation. The Member for a constituency affected by a private Bill had not only the right but the duty of acting as the advocate of his constituency, though his advocacy might properly be overruled by the judgment of the House. The primary duty of the electors to return a Member who would support the policy best for the country was not inconsistent with the right to consider the more particular and less diffused and important interests bound up in the localities. This Bill said that certain citizens whose interests were closely bound up in localities should have no voice in choosing the Members to represent them. That was undoubtedly a blot. When Amendments were brought forward limiting the scope of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman ought not to put them off by saying that they were contrary to the principle of the Bill. The business of the Committee was to see whether the broad principle ought not to be mitigated in accordance with the plain 198 interests of the country or the historical precedents of a free constituion.
§ MR. PAUL (Northampton)
remarked that a man might have property in a good many counties, and in respect of that property he might have votes for a large number of county councils. We had many county councils, but only one Parliament, and that was why plural voting could be logically allowed for local government, but was contrary to the spirit of the Constitution for the Imperial Parliament. How many votes would the leader of the Opposition give a working man? A vote was of far more importance to a poor man than to a rich one. [Cries of "Why? "] Because he suffered far more from bad laws. The rich man was better able to protect himself. If there was any difference at all—he did not hold there should be—he would say, "Give votes to a man in proportion to his poverty and not in proportion to his property."
§ LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)
said the Government apparently did not appreciate the importance of the arguments advanced. There was no doubt the franchise was exercised by electors partly for Imperial reasons and partly for local reasons. The two theories ran side by side, and no one had ever succeeded in saying exactly where the line should be drawn between the two. It was still part of the duty of a Member to represent the interests of the locality. So long as a man was both a local representative and an Imperial representative the Amendment before the Committee was a reasonable one, and he hoped it would be adopted.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
pointed out that the declaration of non-personal interest was only made by Members of Committees on private Bills. There were stages, however, far more important than the Committee stage, and Bills were often supported or opposed by Members on the ground that the proposals interfered with their constituencies. No Unionist wanted to disqualify the poor man or anyone else. They wanted equal laws for all. The Member for Northampton was dragging in something he hoped would be popular in the country, but which had in fact nothing to do with this question.
§ Question put.200
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 81; Noes, 301. (Division List No. 325.)201
|Acland-Hood, RtHn.SirAlex.F||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Duncan,Robert(Lanark, Govan||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fell, Arthur||Parker, Sir Gilbert(Gravesend)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt.Hn.HughO||Fletcher, J. S.||Pease, HerbertPike(Darlington|
|Ashley, W. W.||Forster, Henry William||Percy, Earl|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balfour, RtHn.A.J.(CityLond.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hardy, Laurence(Kent,Ashf'rd||Rawlinson, John FrederickPeel|
|Beach, HnMichaelHughHicks||Harrison-Broadley, Col.H. B.||Roberts, S.(Sheffield,Ecclesall)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Helmsley, Viscount||Smith, AbelH.(Hertford, East)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hervey, F.W.F(BuryS.Edm'ds||Smith, Hon. W.F.D. (Strand)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Starkey, John R.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Houston, Robert Paterson||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hunt, Rowland||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kennaway, Rt.Hn.Sir John H.||Thomson, W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt.Hn.Col.W.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kimber Sir Henry||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cave, George||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York,E.R.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Cecil, Lord R (Marylebone, E.)||Liddell, Henry||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B.Stuart-|
|Chamberlain, RtHn.J.A.(Worc||Long, Col. Charles W(Evesham||Younger, George|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E||Lowe, Sir Lrancis William|
|Collings, Rt.Hn.J.(Birm'gham)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Lane-Fox and Sir Frederick Banbury.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Marks, H. H. (Kent)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Burke, E. Haviland-||Donclan, Captain A.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Duffy, William J.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Buxton, Rt.HnSydneyCharles||Duncan,C.(Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Agnew, George William||Byles, William Pollard||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Cairns, Thomas||Dunne, Maj. E. Martin(Walsall|
|Alden, Percy||Cameron, Robert||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Edwards, Frank (Radnor)|
|Asquith, Rt.Hn.HerbertHenry||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Elibank, Master of|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Causton, Rt.HnRichardKnight||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Chance, Frederick William||Erskine, David C.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Channing, Francis Allston||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Cheetham, John Frederick||Evans, Samuel T.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Everett. R. Lacey|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cleland, J. W.||Faber, G. H. (Boston)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Clough, W.||Fenwick, Charles|
|Beaumont, W. C.B. (Hexham)||Coats, Sir T.Glen (Renfrew, W.||Ferens, T. R.|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Ferguson, R. C. Munro|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Cooper, G. J.||Field, William|
|Bethell,J.H.(Essex, Romford)||Corbett,C.H.(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Bilson, Alfred||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Black,Arthur W. (Bedf'dshire||Cowan, W. H.||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Boland, John||Cox, Harold||Gibb, James Harrow)|
|Boulton, A. C. F. (Ramsey)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Gill, A. H.|
|Brace, William||Crombie, John William||Gladstone, Rt.HnHerbertJohn|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Crooks, William||Glover, Thomas|
|Branch, James||Crossley, William J.||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Brigg, John||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Gooch, George Peabody|
|Bright, J. A.||Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Delany, William||Gulland, John W.|
|Brunner, J.F.L.(Lancs.,Leigh)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Bryce, Rt.Hn.James(Aberdeen||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Bryce, J.A.(Inverness Burghs)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P||Hall, Frederick|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||M'Micking, Major G||Sears, J. E.|
|Hardie, J.Keir(MerthyrTvdvil||Maddison Frederick||Seddon, J.|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Seely, Major J B.|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Shackleton, David James|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Marnham, F. J.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B)|
|Harwood, George||Massie, J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Meagher, Michael||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Menzies, Walter||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Montagu, E. S.||Snowdon, P.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Montgomery, H. G.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Mooney, J. J.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Henderson, JM. (Aberdeen W.)||Morgan, J.Lloyd(Carmarthen)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Henry, Charles S.||Morrell, Philip||Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph(Chesh.)|
|Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon.,S.)||Morse, L. L.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Higham, John Sharp||Murnaghan, George||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Murphy, John||Sullivan, Donal|
|Hodge, John||Murray, James||Summerbell, T.|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Myer, Horatio||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Hooper, A. G.||Nicholls, George||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Nicholson, CharlesN (Doncast'r||Taylor, TheodoreC.(Radcliffe)|
|Hope, W.Bateman(Somerset,N||Nolan, Joseph||Thomas, Sir A.(Glamorgan, E|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thomas, DavidAlfred(Merthyr|
|Hudson, Walter.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thorne, William|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Nuttall, Harry||Tomkinson, James|
|Hyde, Clarendon||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Idris, T. H. W.||O'Doherty, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Malley, William||Verney, F. W.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Vivian, Henry|
|Jenkins, J.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Partington, Oswald||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Paul, Herbert||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Paulton, James Mellor||Wallace, Robert|
|Jones, William(Carnarvonshire||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Jowett, F. W.||Perks, Robert William||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Joyce, Michael||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Pollard, Dr.||Ward,W.Dudley(Southampton|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Price, C.E.(Edinburgh,Central)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Price, RobertJohn(Norfolk,E.)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Kitson, Sir James||Radford, G. H.||Wason, JohnCathcart(Orkney|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Rainy, A. Rolland||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Lamb, Edmund G.(Leominster||Raphael, Herbert H.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Lambert, George||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire|
|Lamont, Norman||Rea, Walter Russell(Scarboro'||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F(Accrington||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||White, Patrick (Meath, North|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Rees, J. D.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Lever, A.Levy(Essex,Harwich)||Rendall, Athelstan||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Richards, Thomas (WMonm'th||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Levy, Maurice||Richards, T.F(Wolverh'mpton||Wiles, Thomas|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Richardson, A.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Lloyd-George, Rt.Hon. David||Rickett, J. Compton||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Lough, Thomas||Ridsdale, E. A.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth|
|Lundon, W.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Williamson, A.|
|Lupton, Arnold||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Robertson, Rt.Hn.E. (Dundee||Wilson, Hn.C.H.W(Hull, W.)|
|Macdonald, J.M (Falkirk B'ghs||Robertson, SirGScott (Bradfrd||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.)|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Maclean, Donald||Robinson, S.||Wilson, J.W.(Worcestersh. N.)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wilson, P.W.(St. Pancras, S.|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down.S||Rose, Charles Day||Yoxall, James Henry|
|MacVeigh, Charles(Donegal,E.||Rowlands, J.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Runciman, Walter||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whitely and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|M'Crae, George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)|
|M'Killop, W.||Scott, A.H.(Ashton-und.-Lyne|
§ *MR. CAVE (Surrey, Kingston) moved an Amendment, the effect of which would be to except from the first clause of the 202 Bill the Universities, so that a man who had a vote in his own home might, if a graduate of a University, vote there also, 203 The Bill as it stood would, he believed, actually destroy the University vote. In almost every case, unless a man were a resident at his college, he would choose his home as the place in which to give his vote, and the effect would be to deplete the list of University voters to such an extent that in a few years there would be a strong case for abolishing the University vote altogether. [MINISTERIAL cheers.] The cheer given by hon. Members opposite meant that under the guise of giving a University man power to choose where he should vote, they were really intending to destroy University voting. He had not forgotten an expression used by the First Commissioner of Works in dealing with this Bill on a former occasion, when he said that the effect of that Bill might be that Universities would be bled white—a phrase borrowed, he supposed, from the shambles. This Bill then was intended to destroy the University vote. Was that a good thing? He thought not. More and more children of parents of moderate means were reaching the Universities, so that he was not merely pleading the cause of the rich man. To destroy the University vote would make our constitution poorer than it now was. There were nations where some kind of educational qualification was required for voting. We had not got that system here; but that great Liberal, John Stuart Mill, used to say that education ought to be a qualification for the franchise, and he went so far as to say he would give a plural vote on the ground of education. The University vote was the sole trace in our constitution of an educational qualification, and hon. Members opposite ought to hesitate before removing it. Had not the House and country benefited by the presence of University representatives, among whom had been Mr. Lowe and Mr. Gladstone? There were constantly questions before the House relating to education, on which the Universities were specially qualified to give an opinion. There was not a single University Member of the present House who did not take an active and prominent part in the debates on the Education Bill. [A laugh.] It happened that all of them were opposed to the main principles of the Government measure, but he did not think that hon. Members 204 I who laughed would say that was a reason for abolishing the University vote. Putting that aside, he thought he was right in saying that the University vote was a valuable asset in this House, and it would be a retrograde step to abolish it. An hon. Member had just said that the true principle was, the greater the poverty the more votes. He would rather say, the greater the fitness for voting the more votes. He saw on the Front Bench opposite men he had looked up to as leaders at the Universities. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, who enjoyed a greater prestige at the University than any Member could enjoy in this House, would doubtless have been surprised in those days if he had been told that he would be a party to a Bill for destroying the franchise given to his own University. There were others on the opposite Benches of whom the same might be said. He was not without hope that an exception would be made by the Government ill this Bill in respect to the Universities. No possible harm could be done to any-body, and it would only be preserving a principle that had been accepted with favour by Members on both sides.
In page 1, line 6, after the word 'constituency,' to insert the words 'other than a University constituency.'"—(Mr. Cave.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the hon. Member who had moved this Amendment was really mistaken in attributing to him or to any other members of the Government any intention of killing University representation in any indirect way. They did not believe for a moment that that would be the effect of the Bill. The hon. Member had talked of the Bill as though it disfranchised the University. It gave to every voter in the University the power of selection. If this form of franchise was so greatly valued there was a very large proportion of those who possessed it who would exercise their voting power at the University. The hon. Member had alluded to a phrase which he might have very incautiously used about Universities being bled white, and which the hon. 205 Member thought he got from "The Shambles." It was Prince Bismarck who used it in Paris. In making use of the phrase he was not suggesting that the Universities should be bled white, but only expressing surprise that the friends of the Universities should think such a proceeding possible by the graduates who had the advantage of passing through a University career. He still felt that surprise. It was quite true that men of moderate means, and even poor men, were going much more to Universities, but to the poor man the University vote was not so easy as to the rich. The University vote depended not on the education but on the fee which was paid.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
May I correct the right hon. Gentleman as regards that, because in Dublin University any man who gets a scholarship gets a vote.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and and Aberdeen Universities)
In Scotland also no fee beyond that of taking a degree is necessary.
I do not think hon. Members need keep interrupting, as they can correct any misunderstanding later.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said these were not questions of order, but of information. He admitted that his information as to Scotland and Ireland and London was not so good as it was about other Universities in this country, but at all events at several of the larger Universities the vote was dependent on taking the M.A. degree. The process of taking the M.A. degree added nothing to the educational qualification of the man who had taken his B.A., but it was a slight obstacle to the poorer man. If they wantedan educational qualification he thought Durham, Birmingham and Manchester Universities were at present placed at a disadvantage in not having some special representation. That, however, was not the system in this Bill. The anomaly would remain, and the Government were not proposing to remove University representation, but they left every man his own choice. There were a great many residents to 206 whom the University was a place of greatest interest, but there were also many birds of passage. He had no doubt whatever that under this Bill the Universities would preserve a sufficient number of voters to entitle them to representation so long as that particular form of franchise was maintained. In this way they would preserve the system which had in many cases, he was happy to say, given them such brilliant representatives in this House.
§ *MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)
said that more than one attempt had been made this session to destroy University representation by raising side issues. The present Bill was beyond all doubt a measure for disfranchising the Universities by instalments. It was just as well that they should be quite candid upon this matter. If they gave to electors scattered throughout the country the choice of voting either for a University representative whom they did not know personally, whom they had never seen, whose qualifications, whatever they might be, were detached from local interests, or for a candidate known to each constituency, and intimately associated with its affairs, was it not inevitable that the greater number of the electors would prefer to vote in their own localities? And once the University electors were in this way reduced to 300 or 400 residents, in the case of Oxford and Cambridge, and possibly to fewer still in other Universities, would it not be said that it was a monstrous thing for these contemptible little constituencies to return Members to Parliament? He thought it would be more fair to attack University representation directly. It certainly was very remarkable to notice how little impression great inequalities seemed to make upon hon. Gentlemen opposite, while to minor anomalies they were highly sensitive. They thought nothing of the Member for Kilkenny being elected by 1,500 voters as compared with the 45,500 electors in the Romford division of Essex. This disparity was thirty to one, and the Government did not propose to touch it. But because nine men were returned for University seats under a system which he quite admitted was anomalous, they were resolved to kill that representation by indirect and gradual methods. He agreed 207 that if they were starting de nove to constitute their electoral system, they probably would not bring in University representation; but that was a very different thing from upsetting an existing system, for which there were many powerful arguments. Did anyone in the House believe that if the nine Members representing University constituencies were not Unionists, they would have heard a word against plural voting for these seats? He was aware that hon. Gentlemen opposite would say, Yes, you represent old and effete corporations, Conservative bodies; but what about the Universities of Scotland, the most democratic in the world? for they too returned Unionist Members. Under the present electoral system a peculiar privilege was given to illiterates, who were exempt from the ordinary regulations affecting voters; and in certain parts of the land on the last occasion where large bodies of electors came to the poll as many as one in six voted as illiterate. He asked why learning and knowledge should not claim representation in that House, even if it involved a slight anomaly, under a system which made illiterates a privileged class. He could not but believe that organised knowledge was in the near future about to be a far greater force in the life of the community than it had ever been before; and that there would be an increasing number of questions in which it was important that the House should hear export and authoritative statements, more especially on the application of science to the industrial and educational life of this country. It might be said those who represented the Universities did not as individuals justify this claim. But however great their deficiencies might be as individuals, they were nevertheless the mouthpiece of a learned body of men who represented the intellect of the country; [Cries of "No, no"] well, the more educated intellect of the country; in spite of their own shortcomings they had had behind them the collective voice of those great constituencies. He put this to the Committee more as a question of interest to the State than as a question of the maintenance of an anomaly. Was it not to the interest of the State that the House of Commons should reflect as many phases and forms of the intellectual life of the country as possible? He doubted whether men like the late 208 Mr. Lecky, or Sir Richard Jebb, would ever have been heard in the House of Commons if they had had to seek popular election. The House with its varied elements would certainly be impoverished if they cut off the Universities from direct representation. He had lately visited the University of Manchester, and those who were acquainted with the great and growing new Universities must realise how academic and civil life were coming into close and vital relations with one another in a way never known before. And if these younger Universities were as yet un-represented, was that a reason for destroying all University representation? He begged to support the Amendment which had been moved by his hon. friend.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. ASQUITH, Fifeshire, E.)
said he was a little surprised to hear from so able and fair-minded a controversialist as his hon. friend who had just sat down the suggestion that the Government had crudely and illogically brought the Universities within the scope of this Bill because it so happened that at this moment they returned a solid Unionist representation to the House. That was a suggestion not very worthy of his hon. friend, and it was entirely foreign to the actual facts. It must be obvious to everybody who considered the real scope and effect of the Bill that the illogical proceeding would have been not to apply to the Universities the same kind of treatment that they applied to all other constituencies in the country. They were not putting plural electors who had a University qualification in any different position from plural electors who had qualifications elsewhere. They said to them, as they said to the rest, "Choose for which of these various constituencies you will vote." He was not going into the question, because he did not conceive it to be raised by the Bill, of the merits or demerits of University representation. He had very strong opinions about it, but he did not think this was the time to discuss it. But in view of the remarks that had fallen from hon. Gentlemen opposite, he must point out that there was a singular misconception abroad, on the subject. University representation in this House, if they excepted the two ancient Universities of Oxford and 209 Cambridge, and Trinity College, Dublin, was a very modern product indeed. It was the invention of Lord Beaconsfield. On a celebrated occasion he told the House of Commons that he invented the scat for London University in order to provide Mr. Lowe with a place in this House, which otherwise he did not think he could have easily got. As to the Scottish Universities, they had no representation at all until the Act of 1868. They were dealing, therefore, so far as the Bill dealt with Universities, with a very modern institution. While he quite agreed that the ancient Universities had been represented by very distinguished Members, yet he thought some hon. Members must have thought from time to time as they had seen those great scholars and mathematicians sitting silent on these Benches hour after hour, and trudging drearily through the Division Lobbies, that perhaps their time and energies might have been better occupied if they had remained in the sequestered seclusion of the great seats of learning from which they were unhappily sent to mix in the uncongenial turmoil of political parties in this House. He must further point out that the qualification for a University vote was the possession in our ancient Universities of an M.A. degree, and an M.A. degree could be acquired by anybody who had passed a not very difficult examination and was prepared to pay a sum of £20 or £25. He had not himself got a vote, because he had never been prepared to pay the £25, although a graduate of Oxford. Anyone who was acquainted with the real facts of University life in these days knew that when they came to a Parliamentary election the votes of the men of distinction and learning, the men who were carrying on the real work of the University, who were its ornament and pride, who gave it its vitality and prestige in the world of learning, were swamped and overridden by those who come in by hundreds and thousands from outside, and who by virtue of this M.A. degree, for which they had paid their £20 or £25, were enabled to pose as the real representatives of learning. The more they came to examine this question of the representation of learning in our representative system the more the whole thing turned out to rest on a very flimsy foundation. This was a Bill which said that if a man had by virtue of a degree a vote for a University and had 210 also by virtue of ownership a vote for a borough or a county, he must elect which of those qualifications he would exercise. It was said that this would be draining the Universities of their life-blood and reducing their representation to a mere sham. he doubted whether it would do anything of the kind. He could quite well conceive the case of a man, a clergyman, who had a vote for Oxford or Cambridge, and occupied a parsonage in one of those Radical-ridden constituencies—say, in South Wales—asking himself at a general election of which of those two qualifications he could make the more serviceable use—whether he should vote as one of a hopeless minority in the place in which he lived, or whether he should go to Cambridge in order, by keeping out such a dangerous person as Sir John Gorst, to prevent that University from doing further mischief to the House of Commons. It did not pass the bounds of one's imagination to conceive a voter in that situation saying to himself, "No, I will be starred on the University list." He did not say he should make that choice himself, proud as he was of the distinguished men who represented his University, but then, as he had said, he had not got a vote. The Government had dealt perfectly fairly and impartially as between the Universities and the other constituencies of the country, and the effect of giving this option of University voting would in all probability be not to denude the Universities of their voting power, but to leave it where he ventured to think, so long as University representation was maintained, it ought to reside— to leave it with the residents on the spot, the men who were actually engaged in the life and daily work of the University. On these grounds the Government must resist the Amendment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said the right Gentleman who had just sat down apologised for introducing that part of his speech which dealt with University representation on the ground that, as he said, it was irrelevant to the debate. It was of the essence of the debate. The Government seemed to have been taken in by the title of their own Bill. From the title of their own Bill it would be supposed that this was simply a plan for punishing what in their view they regarded as an offence against true constitutional principle—namely, voting in 211 more than one place. But they knew perfectly well that this Bill by its direct and immediate effect was going to make a profound change in the practice and principles of representation in this country. It was a Reform Bill in disguise. It differed from former Reform Bills in that it disfranchised instead of enfranchising; but, nevertheless, it resembled all other Reform Bills in that it touched great and important questions connected with the composition of this House, and the character of constituencies from which this House derived its strength. Therefore it was impossible for the Government to say that this Bill was a mere method of dealing with certain small anomalies. That was not so; and when the Government went on to say that this Bill not only was not designed to touch University representation, but, as a matter of fact, would not touch it in any effective or dangerous fashion, they must know perfectly well that such a contention was altogether unworthy of the consideration of a practical body of men. Differing from the Government view, he did not regard votes given by the Constitution of this country as a privilege of the individual. He regarded them as a method of obtaining the best composition they could for this House; and he, of course, thought that in considering that composition they ought never to ignore the historical and traditional growth by which the Constitution had become what in fact it was. If they looked at the individual, whether he preferred voting for Kent or Oxford, if they considered the composition of this House, ought they not to take precautions that the voter would be left with the duty thrown upon him of selecting a Member for this House? If University representation was, as he thought it was, a valuable element in the Constitution, why were they going to leave it to the haphazard preference of the particular voter who could vote either in his University or his place of residence? Did the illustration of the right hon. Gentleman represent the principle on which the Government desired to select the place where University voters were going to vote under this Bill? If so, let him tell the right hon. Gentleman that it was an extremely bad one. It was quite true that many of them had experience of residing in, and having votes for, 212 constituencies which seemed permanently alien to them in opinions. They might be Radical inhabitants of a Unionist division, or Unionist inhabitants of a Radical division. [An HON. MEMBER: More likely.] It was quite true that hon. Members on this side were in a minority now. How long did the hon. Member think that condition of things might last? Let them endeavour to abstract their minds from these passing misfortunes. At all events, it would be admitted that it was a very common fortune for individuals, to find that they were in a minority in the place in which they dwelt, but he did not think they ought to abandon their post on that account, whatever their politics might be. He did not think it was a good course for a man to transfer his whole political influence from the place where for the moment he might be in a minority in order to be able to shout somewhere else with the largest crowd, to quote the immortal words of Pickwick There was another point to which if they were to discuss, as he thought they must now discuss, University representation the Committee really ought to devote attention. They were by a side wind, and not even informing the constituencies of what they were doing, altering the historical constitution of the country. The right hon. Gentleman had said, so far as the Scottish Universities and London University were concerned, the historical basis of the constitution did not go back much more than a generation. That was true, but in regard to the three ancient Universities it went back to immemorial antiquity, and in any case the period during which the system had worked well was not, after all, a period which they could wipe out with either indifference or contempt. The Government appeared to think the time had come when we ought to smooth down all the historical anomalies, as they called them. What was an anomaly? An anomaly he took to be an exception to an admitted principle or rule. Was it that every adult male or adult ratepayer should have an equal influence in the affairs of the country? Was that the principle on which the University representation stood out like an anomaly or exception? Every one knew that there was no equality now between the male voters in this country; not only so, but that the inequality was one which the Government did not propose to 213 redress. Why talk of University representation as an anomaly? Why condemn it as an anomaly when they had a far greater anomaly staring them in the face and which they refused to touch or modify in the smallest degree? Was the general principle or rule, to which University representation was an accident, that every adult person should have an influence or a voice in the representation, of the country? They all knew—no one knew better than the Chancellor of the Exchequer—that there was the question of allowing all adults, irrespective of the accident of sex, to have an equal influence in the election of this House; and again, it was a principle which had no existence in the present constitutional practice of this country. If that were the principle, our present practice was an anomaly, and again, it was an anomaly which the Government did not intend to touch or to modify. In these circumstances, what was the use of coming down, as the Government came down, and talking about the logic of their Bill and of the anomalies which they meant to remove? He altogther dissociated himself individually from those who approached this question of the franchise in the spirit of the theoretical doctrinaire. He did not agree with those who thought that there was a clear, a normal, an obvious rule of representative Government, and that any exception to that rule was to be treated as an anomaly to be cut out by the knife of the legislative surgeon. He did not agree with that. Those who did agree with it ought not to bring in Bills like this measure, and when they did they ought to indicate clearly when they wished to attack such an exception in the constitution as University representation in this country. He looked at either of the franchise questions raised by this Bill in a very different way, and he ventured to think in not a less wise spirit than the doctrinaire politican. They must take these things in the historic setting of the constitutional development of the country. They must, of course, from time to time modify that constitution. Circumstances changed, society grew, new needs had to be met, old instruments had to be modified. But when from time to time the necessity of these modifications arose, was it prudent merely to base their changes on those abstract principles which they themselves had not the courage to carry 214 out? What they should do was to say, "Here is an element in our constitution which has an historic past behind it; we have seen its working with this or that consequence; is there a real ground for changing it? Has anything occurred to require us, by the adoption of a Bill, to drag it up and the constitution by the roots?"; and if the answer was in the negative, then the course which any prudent man, any man who recognised how the condition of society at every moment depended upon its historic antecedents, every man who recognised that no folly was so great as to try to break unnecessarily with the past, would say, "This is a part of our system; it works well and smoothly; it produces no great hardship; let it remain." Now had this particular part of our constitutional machinery worked ill? He said that it had worked admirably. He quite admitted that it must be open to the charge that for the most part University representation had been in accordance with his own political convictions. That was so; but the House would do him the justice to believe that at the present time he was trying to argue the question altogether in abstraction, and away from the particular balance of parties at particular moments. There was a period in his political life when he was deeply bitten with what was called the principle of Mr. Hare's scheme for accurately representing minorities in every constituency, and he did not deny that there was much to be said for it. But he had changed his views on this subject for reasons that it was not relevant he should give to the House now. He did not believe, however, that the minority representation of Mr. Hare's plan, or anything like it, would be an improvement in our constitution; but he still held to the opinion which he held in earlier days, that it was an enormous disadvantage to the House if our general system of election excluded a certain class of opinion, be it what it might, and prevented a certain type of character from coming into it, not by formal exclusion, but by the natural operation of electoral causes. His hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University, who had made a most interesting speech, had quoted two names which were worthy of being quoted, because they were those of hon. Gentlemen who were personally know to the majority of the House—the late Sir 215 Richard Jebb and Mr. Lecky. No one would deny that these two men were a most admirable and valuable element in the councils of the nation. They never got up to address the House without Members crowding in to hear what they had to say, for the House recognised that they did not belong to the ordinary run of politicians, such as they sitting on both sides of the House, belonged to. They imported an element not easy to be found in the average candidate. The second proposition he put forward was that under our existing electoral system that particular type of man would never have gone through the rough and tumble of a hard contested election.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he did not think that the right hon. Gentleman's memory extended to the circumstances of Mr. Mill's election, neither did his own; but he ventured to think that the statement was unanswerable. The sort of ordeal through which the vast majority of members had to go, to which they in the House were inured, not with much relish, but with great searchings of heart —this type of man would be most reluctant to pass, and probably would pass very ineffectively. He did not think that Mr. Mill would have got into the House if he had had a very formidable opponent or unless he had been lucky enough to stand for a favourable constituency, and he did not know that he would have shone in the hammer-and-tongs work of a hard-fought electoral controversy. At all events, it would be admitted, and must be admitted, that they did get in by University representation, a class of men whom they would not easily secure in any other way; and he ventured to maintain that it was an enormous advantage to this Assembly that there should be a basis of variety in it. There was a basis of variety in the old system. No one would restore it if he could—he meant the pre-1832 representation, the era of the rotten boroughs—even if he had it in his power; but would any student of history deny that they did get a certain number of men in that way not easily to be obtained in any other way? Everyone knew what the argument he advanced was, and everyone agreed with it—that the system itself was bad, that the results 216 were bad, but that it did produce variety. He was not sure that large and purely democratic constituencies, such as now existed almost everywhere except in Ireland [Laughter, and an HON. MEMBER: The City of London] could avoid naturally bringing to the front men of a type to which they all belonged, a type which might have a certain sameness about it. There were certain qualities that were necessary for a successful candidate—not always, perhaps, the highest qualities—but, at all events, he thought they would admit that to allow nine men to come into the House through the portals of historic institutions which were exercising a growing and not a diminishing effect on the life and on the councils of the nation, was not a thing they need regret. Why, then, shut up this avenue by which a small but valuable class of men got in and provide no substitute for it? He thought that the Committee would be most foolish, for the reasons he had given, if it were to abolish University representation; but he was still more certain that to bring forward a Bill which did not profess to abolish University representation, which did not, in any clear manner, raise the issue, which raised it really, but not formally, was to trifle with the constitution. If the Government wished to deal with a great constitutional matter let them deal with it openly, squarely, directly, in a proposal they could fight out on the floor of this House, and not in a Bill which all except its authors admitted was predestined to destroy University representation, and which received favour from behind right hon. Gentlemen opposite because it was going to destroy University representation. Why did the Government bring forward, sailing under false colours, this insidious measure, and then get up and tell them that the question of University representation was, after all, not before the Committee? They were not only asking the Committee to take a course very contrary to the interests of the country, but they were doing this under a pretext so empty, so flimsy, that he could not find words to express his surprise that any Government should condescend to take such a course.
§ MR. PAUL (Northampton)
said this was a very important point and he proposed to discuss it without any reference 217 to sex. There were a great many disadvantages in following the right hon. Gentleman in debate, but he felt himself peculiarly fortunate in that the right hon. Gentleman, one of the most cultivated members of that Assembly, had made it his business to show that extreme cultivation was a drawback to obtaining the favour of a popular constituency. That, however, was not the opinion of the City of London, and it was not for many years the opinion of East Manchester. He had to apologize to his hon. and learned friend who moved the Amendment for putting to him an irregular question, but he thought it would be admitted to be not altogether an irrelevant question. His hon. and learned friend referred to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as a most eminent representative of the University of Oxford, and he asked, had he a vote? They had now heard from his right hon. friend that he had none, and that had a material bearing on the question. Upon one point he disagreed with his right hon. friend and agreed with the right hon. Gentleman opposite as to the character of the Bill. The Bill did virtually, though indirectly, abolish the representation of Universities, and he was glad of it. As a democrat, he objected to the principle of special representation; but if he thought that the Universities of of this country, with their intellectual capacity, were really represented in the House he would leave it to some one whose debt of gratitude was less than his own to propose the extinction of that representation. It was because he believed that the alleged representation of the Universities was a sham—because he knew it was regarded by many of the most illustrious ornaments of the Universities as being an insult to them that he would always oppose it. He would take the two great English Universities and say nothing of the Scottish, for a reason which, though not always prevalent in the House, was still a good reason—he knew nothing about them. What was the passport to a vote for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge? There are no doubt some sort of intellectual test for obtaining the degree of B.A., a very mild and humble test, and the Labour Members would think very little of it, but that conferred no vote. No man could obtain the University vote unless he paid a sum of money, which he 218 might not be able to afford, for a Master's degree. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was Doctor of Civil Law, but he had no vote, because the degree was conferred for distinguished merit and not in consideration of paying a sum of money. And this was called intellectual representation! The constituents of the Universities were chiefly country clergymen who certainly should have votes for the places where they lived. They took the Master's degree for the well-known reason that it favourably affected their personal appearance in conducting Divine worship. If a clergyman remained a bachelor too long, it was cause of inquiry among the congregation, especially the female part of it. It was perfectly true the Universities had sent, and did send, some most distinguished Members to this House; but were they, as the right hon. Gentleman appeared to hint, men who could not obtain seats for any other constituency? The senior Member for Cambridge was a scholar of more than European reputation, an ornament to the University, who added distinction and dignity to the debates in the House. What better successor than he could be found to the gallant, fair-minded Colonel Saunderson, whose loss was not less lamented on that side of the House than on the other? The junior Member for Cambridge had a forensic attitude that should induce competition among Conservative boroughs for the honour of giving him a general retainer. The senior Member for Oxford had represented that University so long that it was sometimes forgotten that for ten years he represented, no doubt with equal distinction, a division of the county of Kent. His colleague stood once—horruit referens—as a Liberal for a division of Stafford, and, though defeated from the accident of there being a preponderance of Conservative voters in the constituency at the time, no other disqualification could be suggested. How had the Universities dwelt with their illustrious representatives in the past? How did Oxford dual with Mr. Gladstone? Was ever a man better qualified to represent a University in the House? Without saying a word of disrespect of Lord Cranbrook, almost the oldest of living politicians, it could not be said he had higher qualifications than Mr. Gladstone. Why was Robert Peel turned out of the representation of Oxford? Protestant as he was—Orange Peel he was 219 called—he desired to do justice to his Catholic fellow-subjects, and the University for that reason substituted Sir Robert Inglis. Perhaps all Members in the House did not know Macaulay's couplet—Sir Robert was then Mr. Peel—Then called out all the Doctors in the Divinity School,Not this man, but Sir Robert; now Sir Robert was a fool.Sir Robert Inglis was not a fool; he was, on the contrary, a country gentleman; but no one would dream of comparing his academic qualifications with those of Peel. Mr. Peel was rejected by the University because he desired to do a great act of justice to a large portion of his fellow-countrymen. Had any other constituency done this?
§ MR. PAUL
said Catholic emancipation had been passed many years when Edinburgh rejected Macaulay; he believed a vote for the Maynooth grant was an element in Macaulay's want of success; but it was not a parallel case. It was one thing to say that Roman Catholics in this country should not be allowed to sit in Parliament and another to say that this House was not to give a Vote for the education of denominational clergy. He was quite confident that if they wanted to carry out the great object of representative government, to get the most competent Assembly within the House of Commons, the most efficient way was to trust the people and to give no special form of representation to any set of people who considered themselves better educated than their neighbours, and were often far worse, and who had shown in the past, he would not say in the present, blank indifference to the greatest measures of progress ever proposed for the benefit of this land.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
said the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had told the Committee that the last thing he wished to discuss was University representation—that the Bill had nothing to do with it; and that he desired to avoid the discussion of such a question. It was because the right hon. Gentleman, contrary to his 220 own undertaking, had entered so largely into the merits and the necessity or want of utility of University representation that he (Sir Henry Craik) had been tempted to rise and speak in favour of that representation, not on personal grounds, but because he was bound to speak on behalf of his constituents. The right hon. Gentleman at great length and with much vehemence had told the Committee that he had been prevented by his exiguity of means from becoming an elector of the University of Oxford. He was the more surprised at the right hon. Gentleman's statement as the right hon. Gentleman was one of his own constituents. In the case of the constituency he represented, the representatives attained their proud position of being the constituents of those Universities without any of the arduous and exaggerated payment which the right hon. Gentleman lamented in the case of Oxford. Speaking as he was bound to speak of University representation in Scotland, he asked could anything be a greater travesty of the truth than the description which the right hon. Gentleman had given of such representation when he said it was a representation of one privileged class, open only to those who could pay some large sum of money? The very contrary was the fact. Every graduate of those Universities was bound to become a registered elector. He could not take his degree without at the same time becoming qualified as an elector. Did the right hon. Gentleman, think the electors of Glasgow and Aberdeen and other Universities of Scotland were people belonging to a rich and privileged and idle class likely to trample on their fellow men? They would be almost entitled to that additional representation which the hon. Member for Northampton claimed for some electors on the ground of poverty. They claimed no great antiquity, and could not therefore be considered as effete relics of the past. It was only forty years since Parliament in its wisdom thought that representation in this House would be added to and not injured, benefited and not lowered, by representation of the Universities of Scotland. Nor had the representation been always of one colour or political opinion. There had been more than once notable members of the Liberal Party who had represented Edinburgh and St. Andrew's. There was one point he 221 would venture to put before the Committee which specially bore upon this Amendment. In Scotland the University elector regarded himself as voting specially to represent the interests of education and of the higher professions. He appealed to Members representing Scottish constituencies to say whether they were not aware of men in their own constituencies who voted to place those hon. Members in the seats they now occupied and who voted in the University constituencies without having regard to their own political opinions. he knew that that was so. He knew as a fact that he had himself to be grateful for the votes of many electors who belonged to and ranked themselves as members of the Liberal Party. That experience was not solitary in University representation. Many electors in the University representation voted as people charged with the special duty of guarding the interests of science, literature and education. They were constantly told the University elections were swamped by the country parson. Nothing was further from the truth. The parsons and the doctors spread throughout the country districts, who helped in local administration and took a strong part in the political discussions in the neighbour-hood in which they lived, at the same time used with scrupulous care their University vote for the advantage of this House and the advantage of the constitution and the government of the country—except, perhaps, when they selected as their representative one so little worthy of the honour as himself.
§ *MR. MADDISON (Burnley)
said that some strong pleas had been made for University representation, and the working classes, he thought, tried to understand generally the advantage it might be to the nation. But there was really only one test in this House, and that was the test of utility. What had been the influence of these learned Gentlemen who had come to this House from the Universities? What was their record? What had they done in the struggle for popular education? He ventured to say that every educational reform had as a rule met with the resistance of the University representatives. Then let them take the factory legislation, which surely should come in the category of legislation of a non-Party character. Had any University repre- 222 sentative shown any conspicuous desire for factory legislation? On the contrary, they had been below the average, and when they came to electoral reforms, every attempt to widen the franchise so as to make it embrace a larger number of working men had met with resistance from these Gentlemen. The Leader of the Opposition had, pleaded for University representation on the ground that it was necessary as a door to let in such great men as the late Mr. Leckie who would never pass through the fight of a well-contested election. But nobody would say that the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, one of the Members for the Dublin University, would not have found his way into this House even though he did not represent a University constituency. He would find his way into the House under any circumstances, and was one of the best fighters in the House. Yet there was this fancy picture drawn by the Leader of the Opposition, that these University constituencies were desirable as refuges for men who otherwise would never enter Parliament. The working classes did not oppose University representation because of any cynical objections to it, but because of its inutility. They had a great respect for those who in the Universities had done so much for labour.
§ *SIR PHILIP MAGNUS
said that, as representing one of the newer Universities, the University of London, he could, not give a vote on this question altogether in silence. He thought it was perfectly clear from the debate, if not from the speech of the First Commissioner of Works, that whatever might have been the intention of the framers of this Bill, it was undoubtedly an attack upon University representation Even those who had desired that the Committee should understand that it was not the intention of the Government to disfranchise the Universities had nevertheless used arguments which had shown that they themselves were not in favour of University representation; and he thought it would have been more straightforward on the part of the Government if they had made a direct attack upon the Universities than by a side issue to destroy the representation. It was quite true, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Commissioner of Works 223 had stated, that no difference had been made between the treatment of University representation and that of other constituencies; but this was just what University Members had reason to complain of, because the difference between an ordinary constituency and a University constituency was very great. The whole conditions of the franchise were different in a University from an ordinary borough or county. For a University vote no property qualification whatever was required. The right to vote in his own University was conferred on every graduate who paid the small sum of 5s. a year, or a composition fee of £1. It mattered not whether he was B.A. or M.A. The qualification, therefore, rested upon education only. To a certain extent such a qualification for a vote might be regarded as ideal. If they could succeed in requiring that every elector should have obtained a certain amount of education, and the right to vote depended on that education without any property qualification whatever, he thought it might be an ideal franchise; and certainly the University which he represented was in that respect a most democratic institution. The hon. Member for Burnley had told the Committee that he was not aware of any University representative who had done anything to advance the cause of education or to improve popular instruction in this country. he had the honour of being the fourth representative of the University of London. The first was Mr. Lowe, who might be said to have done something for popular education. Mr. Lowe might have proceeded on lines which some of them now perhaps regarded as mistaken, but there was no doubt that he was one who had an enthusiasm for education, and was desirous of bringing it within reach of all classes of the community. He was succeeded by Sir John Lubbock (now Lord Avebury). Could it be said for one moment that Lord Avebury had done nothing to advance popular education in this country t And then as to Sir Michael Foster, his immediate predecessor, surely few had done more to advance scientific education in this country than he had.
§ *MR. MADDISON
I was talking about educational legislation in this House. I did not say that there were no Members, but that in the main they had not.
§ *SIR PHILIP MAGNUS
said all he could say was that Mr. Lowe and Sir John Lubbock had left their names upon the records of this House for the educational legislation which they bad introduced or furthered. As regarded Party politics, certainly, speaking for his own constituency, it could not be said that Unionists had invariably been returned as Members for the University. It was true that his immediate predecessor was returned as a Unionist; but he showed the very detachment of opinion to which the hon. Member who had just sat down had referred. If there was to be manhood voting, as some claimed, it would become essential that each vote should have the same value. He for one, could only deeply regret that if the representation of Universities was to be challenged, the change was not made part of a more comprehensive measure of electoral reform. If this Bill became law it could not be said after 1908 that the House of Commons, as at present constituted, would represent the constituencies throughout the country, because the conditions under which the Members would be elected would have changed, and that was generally regarded as an argument for following up any change in the machinery of the franchise by a dissolution. As regarded his own constituency he should like to express what he feared might be the effect of the Bill. It had been said that Members of a University constituency would have the opportunity of selecting whether they would vote for their University, or their home. But it must be recognised that many Members of Universities, and certainly of the London University, scattered in different parts of the country would elect to vote for the constituency in which they lived, rather than for the University. Consequently, the number of electors for the University would gradually diminish; and what was of most importance, the electorate would consist rather of the younger men who had recently graduated, than of the older men who equally belonged to the University. For this reason he thought it would have been very much better if the system of University representation had been considered on its merits, and he sincerely hoped that the Government would still see that it might be an advantage to the country, even if 225 the principles of the Bill were adopted that an exception should be made in favour of University representation.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)
said he had no desire to take part in this debate or to make an apologia pro vita mea; but the reputation of his University had been handled in such a manner by two very distinguished members of that University that he felt called upon to say a few words. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had pictured to himself a new aspect of University representation which, when it came into bodily shape, would hardly commend itself to the House or the country. The right hon. Gentleman had very greatly exaggerated the cost of taking the M.A. degree, and had said that that had prevented him from having the honour to count the right hon. Gentleman among his constituents. He should be glad to supply him with the precise figure which would enable him to vote against him at the earliest opportunity. The assumptions that the M.A. degree cost the amount spoken of by the right hon. Gentleman and that the non-residential electors consisted entirely of clergy were alike unfounded. The constituency was very largely a lay constituency, and, though he was proud to represent a large number of the clergy, he did not consider that it was fair that the representation of two older Universities should be regarded as opportunities offered to the clergy of taking part in the return of two Members of Parliament. The hon. Member for Northampton had drawn a disparaging distinction as to University representation from the fact that Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Gladstone at different times lost their seats for Universities. Mr. Gladstone's subsequent electoral career was not altogether successful. He believed Mr. Gladstone sat for three constituencies after his defeat at Oxford, and if they were to inquire into the circumstances under which Macaulay and Mill ceased to be Members for Edinburgh and Westminster, it might be said that, considering that in those days the Universities made a political choice of representatives and were guided by political considerations, the difference between Universities and other constituencies disappeared. The resident members of Universities were 226 a comparatively small number, and those who would select Universities as their voting place because they were in a hopeless minority where they lived might not be a very large number. Having regard to the tone adopted towards University representation by hon. Members opposite and the cheers which greeted the suggestion that University representation should be abolished, he confessed he considered the Chancellor of the Exchequer's conception of University representation to be a very long step in the direction of abolishing it altogether. That was the view which commended itself to a considerable number of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He hardly needed to refer to the attack upon University representation made by the hon. Member for Burnley on the ground that they had shown themselves uniformly opposed to educational advancement. He would remind the Committee that free education was the work of a Unionist Government, and if the hon. Member for Burnley had taken the trouble to ascertain the precise effect of the working of the Act of 1902, or, at any rate, that very large part of it which was not concerned with the religious question, he would see at once that the Unionist Party and the University Members who supported that measure could not justly be said to be opposed to every measure of educational advancement. He would not repeat what had been so well illustrated and explained from the Opposition Benches. All he desired to say was that the result of this Bill would be to reduce University voters to such a small number that it would practically lead to the disappearance of University representation. It was obvious that a man would regard his vote as a political instrument and he would use it where it was likely to have the most effect. If a man lived in a constituency where the Parties were evenly balanced he would prefer to register himself in that constituency in preference to voting for a University candidate, because Universities generally showed a preponderating majority for the Conservative Party. This Bill was clearly designed to destroy University representation. He would not charge the Government with a definite desire to disfranchise their political adversaries, but what then was the ground for this attack on University representation? That it was an anomaly. He agreed 227 that University representation was an anomaly, but was there any harm in an anomaly? The constitution of this country was full of. anomalies. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet were anomalies, and if it was desired to frame a spick and span Constitution, in which you could provide a clear-cut reason for every item, they must begin much further back than University representation. He would rather set aside this question of abolishing anomalies and consider what was the real object they ought to have in view. Should it not be to get a House of Commons as completely representative as possible of the various interests in the community. Almost every interest in the country got some opportunity of being represented. The great employers of labour, the labouring classes through their unions, the landowners, the farmers, the agricultural labourers, the teachers in elementary schools, every section of the community were represented. But what organisation was there for securing that higher education was represented, and for looking after the interest of learning and the advancement of science in this House? If University representation was abolished where would be the representatives in this House whose duty it would be to attend to those higher educational interests and watch over their progress? He did not put this question upon the special learning of University Members themselves, although the University of Cambridge had sent to the House of Commons two of the greatest and most brilliant scholars who had ever adorned any University in this country. He knew well that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Irish Secretary could show a list of Oxford distinctions far beyond that of the representatives of their University. But they were sent to this House for other objects. University Members were sent with the special object of watching over educational interests and more particularly higher educational and scientific interests. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that Sir Richard Jebb, Sir George Stokes, and other persons of great learning were ill employed listening to debates and walking through the Division Lobbies. He thought the advantages that the country had derived from their presence more than counterbalanced the loss. He did not think there was any body of Members 228 in the House more anxious to maintain the traditions of Parliament, or more anxious to do their duty than the University Members. Were they going by a side wind to abolish representation of this character which had been bound up with the history of Parliament for more than 300 years, associated as it was with some of the greatest Parliamentary names, and securing as it did the completely representative character of the House? The full representation of the interests of education and learning was not directly secured by any other process in our Parliamentary system; and he asked the Committee to bear these considerations in mind, and not deprive the House of an element which was of great service to its discussions on certain topics and of great use to the country at large.
§ MR. SAMUEL ROBERTS (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
said he desired to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman opposite. It had been said that the Government did not desire to extinguish University seats. He would put it to hon. Members opposite whether, if they had to decide between voting at the University and voting in their own constituency, they would not at once decide in favour of the latter. The pressure would be brought to bear where the interest was the greatest. Where seats were in danger, pressure would be brought to bear to transfer University voters to those constituencies, with the result that Universities would be left to a few residential voters. There were only nine University seats, and he earnestly appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to spare them. Every hon. Member would be ready to acknowledge the great services the University Members had rendered during the debates on the Education Bill, and they all knew the value of the services which Sir Richard Jebb gave during the passage of the Education Bill of 1902. With regard to what had been said about the claims of the Universities at Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Durham, he was rather in favour of extending University representation to those centres instead of taking the course recommended in this Bill. He appealed to the Government to leave the University seats as they were at present or, at any rate, postpone dealing with them until a Redistribution Bill was before the House.
§ Question put230
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 92; Noes, 347. (Division List No. 326).233
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Faber, George Denison (York)||Nicholson, Wm.G. (Petersfield)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fell, Arthur||Nield, Herbert|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fletcher, J. S.||Pease,Herbert Pike(Darlington)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Percy, Earl|
|Balfour, Rt.Hn.A.J(CityLond.)||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hamilton, Marquess of||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Banner, John S. Harmood||Hardy, Laurence(Kent,Ashford||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Beach, Hn.MichaelHugh Hioks||Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Rawlinson,John Frederick Peel|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesal)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Helmsley, Viscount||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hervey,F.W.F.(BuryS.Edm'ds||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Houston, Robert Paterson||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford,East)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunt, Rowland||Smith, F.E.(Liverpool,Walton)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Kennaway, Rt.Hn. Sir John H.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn.Col.W.||Starkey, John R.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Keswick, William||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff's.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kimber, Sir Henry||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cave, George||King,Sir Henry Seymour(Hull)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cavendish, Rt.Hn.Victor C. W||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Thomson, W. Mitchell(Lanark)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cecil, Lord R.(Marylebone, E.)||Liddell, Henry||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Chamberlain,RtHn.J.A.(Worc||Lockwood, Rt.Hn.Lt.-Col.A.R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Coats, SirT.Glen(Renfrew, W.||Long,Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Wilson, A.Stanley(York, E. R.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Collings,Rt.Hn.J.(Birm'gham)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart-|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Younger, George|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Forster.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Duncan,Robert(Lanark,Govan||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Abraham,William (Cork, N.E.)||Branch, James||Corbett,C.H(Sussex,E.Grinst'd|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Brigg, John||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bright, J. A.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Adkins, W, Ryland D.||Brodie, H. C.||Cowan, W. H.|
|Agnew, George William||Brooke, Stopford||Cox, Harold|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brunner, J.F.L. (Lanes., Leigh)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Alden, Percy||Brunner, Sir John T. (Cheshire)||Cremer, William Randal|
|Allen, A. Acland(Christchurch)||Bryce,Rt.Hn.James(Aberdeen)||Crombie, John William|
|Ambrose, Robert||Bryce, J.A. (Inverness Burghs)||Crooks, William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Crossfield, A. H.|
|Asquith, Rt.Hn.Herbert Henry||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Crossley, William|
|Astbury, John Meir||Burke E. Haviland-||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Davies,David (MontgomeryCo.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Byles, William Pollard||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Cairns, Thomas||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cameron, Robert||Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Delany, William|
|Beauchamp, E.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham)||Causton,Rt.Hn. Richard Knight||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Chance, Frederick William||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Bethell, J.H.(Essex, Romford)||Channing, Francis Allston||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Billson, Alfred||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Duffy, William J.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Clarke, C. Goddard||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness|
|Black-ArthurW. (Bedfordshire)||Cleland, J. W.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Boland, John||Clough, W.||Dunne, Major H.Martin(Walsall)|
|Bolton, T.D.(Derbyshire,N.E.)||Clynes, J. R.||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)|
|Boulton, A. C. F. (Ramsey)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Brace, William||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Edwards, Frank (Radnor)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Cooper, G. J.||Elibank, Master of|
|Ellis, Rt. Hn. John Edward||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)|
|Erskine, David C.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Lambert, George||Perks, Robert William|
|Evans, Sanmuel T.||Lamont, Norman||Philipps, Col. Ivor(S'thampton|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington)||Philipps, J. Wynford(Pembroke|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lehmann R. C.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Ferens, T. R.||Lever,A.Levy (Essex.Harwich)||Pollard, Dr.|
|Field, William||Lever, W.H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Price, C.E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Levy, Maurice||Price, Robert John(Norfolk, E.)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Lewis, John Herbert||Radford, G. H.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Llyod-George, Rt. Hon. David||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Lough, Thomas||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Lundon, W.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Gardner, Col. Alan (Hereford,S.)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lynch, H. B.||Redmond. John E. (Waterford)|
|Gill, A. H.||Macdonald,J. M. (FalkirkB'ghs||Rees, J. D.|
|Gladstone, Rt Hn Herbert John||Maclean, Donald||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Glover, Thomas||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Richards, Thomas(W. Monm'th|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Macpherson, J. T.||Rchards, T.F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Gooch, George Peabody||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.)||Richardson, A.|
|Grant, Corrie||MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||M'Callum, John M.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||M'Crae, George||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Gulland, John W.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Robertson, Rt.Hn. E.(Dundee)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||M'Killop, W.||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Hall, Frederick||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Robertson. J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Harcourt, Right Hon. Lewis||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Robinson, S.|
|Hardie,J Keir (MerthyrTydvil)||M'Micking, Major G.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Mallet, Charles E.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Rose, Charles Day|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Rowlands, J.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Runciman, Walter|
|Harwood, George||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Massie, J.||Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Meagher, Michael||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Menzies, Walter||Schwann, SirC E (Manchester)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Scott,A.H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Molteno, Percy Alport||Sears, J. E.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Seddon, J.|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Montague, E. S.||Seely, Major J. B.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Montgomery, H. G.||Shackleton, David James|
|Henry, Charles S.||Mooney, J. J.||Shaw, Rt. Hn. T. (Hawick, B.)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Morley, Rt. Hon. John||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Morrell, Philip||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Hodge, John||Morse, L. L.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Hogan, Michael||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Murnaghan, George||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Hooper, A. G.||Murphy, John||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, W.)||Murray, James||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Hope, W. Bateman(Somerset,N||Myer, Horatio||Stanley. Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh)|
|Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Napier, T. B.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Hudson, Walter||Nicholls, George||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doneaster||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Nolan, Joseph||Stuart, James (Sinderland)|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Norman, Henry.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Summerbell, T.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Jenkins, J.||Nuttall, Harry||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliff)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||O'Doherty, Philip||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Jones, Williani(Carnarvonshire||O'Grady, J.||Tom kinson, James|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Kelly, James(Roscoomn. N.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Malley, William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Shaughnessy, P J.||Verney, F. W.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Parker, James (Halifax)||Vivian, Henry|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Partington, Oswald||Wadsworth. J.|
|Kitson, Sir James||Paul, Herbert||Walton, Laurence Ambrose|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Paulton, James Mellor||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Wallace, Hubert||Winks J. D. (Dumbartonshire)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Walsh, Stephen||White, Luke (York, E. R.)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough).|
|Walton, Sir John L.(Leeds, S.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Whitehead, Rowland||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Ward,John(Stoke upon Trent)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Ward, W. Dudley(Southampt'n||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer||Winfrey, R.|
|Wardle, George J.||Wiles, Thomas||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Wilkie, Alexander||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan.)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Wason,John Cathcart(Orkney)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Waterlow, D. S.||Williamson, A.|
|Weir, James Galloway||Wilson, Hn. C.H.W. (Hull, W.)|
|Whitbread, Howard||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
§ VISCOUNT HELMSLEY (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirst) moved an Amendment to provide that an elector exercising the right to vote for a University representative should not be debarred from voting in a constituency in which he had a direct interest either by ownership or occupation of business premises, or by residence for a period of at least ninety days in the previous year. He confessed that he had rather faint hope of the Amendment's being accepted by the Committee after the verdict on the last Amendment. He should like to bring to the notice of the Committee that if a Bill of this sort was to have any pretensions to justice there ought to be some exceptions to the principle, quite a new one, which it professed to set up, namely, that it was not localities or districts which were to return Members to Parliament, but the nation as a whole—a principle which had never hitherto existed in this country. It was not the nation as a whole which returned Members to Parliament. The electors, for instance, in his Division had nothing to do with the electing of any hon. Member opposite. If it were the nation as a whole which elected Members, each individual had an equal right to elect Parliament as a whole, and each individual voter should have a list of the 1,200 or 1,300 candidates who offered themselves for election, and should select the 600 odd who were to be the representatives in Parliament. But that was not the case. It was not necessary that each elector in the country, in electing Members of Parliament, should have an absolutely equal right in the election, even if that was the principle which the Bill attempted to set up. What was necessary was that each locality which sent a representative to Parliament should send the representative the majority wished to represent them. He could quite understand the objectors 234 to plural voting saying, "We agree with you in that, but what happens now is that voters come from a distance and swamp the voters in the district itself." That was the argument which was raised by the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill, and one which could be understood, although it was not necessary to sympathise with it. But it was an argument all the more in favour of the exception which he ventured to urge the Committee to accept. Where a man had a direct interest in a locality, by ownership or occupation of business premises, or by residing in the locality, he should be allowed to exercise the vote in choosing a representative. He did not think that anyone would say that a man exercising his vote in a borough would come in and swamp a county constituency. That man belonged as much to the county district as if he had a freehold there, Why should they reduce the interest that man had in the locality?
§ VISCOUNT HELMSLEY
instanced the common case of a man whose business premises were in a borough, and who lived outside the borough boundary for the greater part of the year. That man would have to make the invidious choice of having a vote either in the borough or in the county division in which he resided. Why should that invidious choice be put upon him? Again, in the case of a Liberal opposing a Socialist in the borough— a not altogether unreasonable contingency—a man might select the lesser of two evils and vote for the Liberal. But, supposing in the county a Liberal was standing against a Conservative, it might be his interest, considering the ideas of hon. Gentlemen opposite in regard to 235 taxing property, to vote for the Conservative as against the Liberal. Therefore they had to conceive of a man voting in one case for a Liberal and in another for a Conservative. No argument had yet been adduced to meet such a contingency. Or, supposing a voter had to settle a year beforehand whether he would, when the time came, exercise his vote in a borough or in an adjacent county constituency, and a bye-election took place in the borough when he had settled that he would exercise his vote in the county. He would be in the unfortunate position of actually pursuing his daily business in the borough, and yet he was not to be allowed to have any say in its representation. That seemed to him to be a very great injustice. He could quite understand that the Government wanted to get rid of fictitious and faggot votes, but he was sure they did not mean seriously to urge that a man could not have two distinct interests in two different localities, and that he must choose which of those interests he would give preference to before he knew the circumstances in which he had to give his vote. He hoped the Committee would see that there was something of real importance in this Amendment, and that, if carried, it would remedy a very great grievance which this Bill would otherwise impose. After all, would it have a serious effect on the representation of the country? Out of the 6,000,000 of voters only 586,000 had duplicate votes, and of these 480,000 were resident owners. According to the latest Parliamentary Return he believed that the actual number of plural voters was only 637,000, an increase of only 251,000 since 1891. Surely it was not a very large question, nor was it necessary to commit the great injustice which this Bill contemplated and which to some extent would be remedied by his Amendment. He begged to move the Amendment standing in his name.
§ Amendment proposed—
In page 1, line 6, after the word 'constituency,' to insert the words 'except in constituencies in which he has a direct interest either by ownership or occupation of business premises, or by residence for a period of at least ninety days in the previous year.'"— (Viscount Helmsley.)
§ Question proposed, That those words be there inserted.236
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that this Amendment attacked the whole principle of the Bill. He was anxious, if the noble Lord would suggest one, to adopt another phrase, but he would point out that all the Amendments proposed from the Opposition Benches were destructive and not constructive. He acknowledged that hon. Gentlemen opposite were opposed to the principle of the Bill, but he would ask them not to complain if he also pointed out that their Amendments were destructive. That was one of the principal reasons why he could not accept this Amendment: it was a destructive Amendment. The noble Lord had said that the Government were trying to set up quite a new principle in large divided boroughs—that a man who might have business premises in such a borough should not have a vote in the county borough where was his residence. But already there was a provision against plural voting. A man might have a qualification in one section of a borough on business promises, but he could not have a qualification in another ward of the same borough on his residence. If, however, the same man lived in the county only a street further on he was entitled to a vote in the county. The noble Lord had argued that this Bill would affect a relatively small number of people. He had not been able to estimate the number of persons who would be affected, but taking the number the noble Lord suggested, that only provided another argument against making the exception suggested by the Amendment. He was sure that the noble Lord did not quite realise the effect of his Amendment. No doubt it would enable a man to vote on the qualification of his business premises and in the neighbouring county where he resided; but that would not enable a farmer in a neighbouring division to vote in that division unless he had a farmhouse on the land which he occupied. That would be an injustice to agriculture which the noble Lord would be the last person to desire. Then the noble Lord suggested that exemption should be made to those who had been ninety days in residence in the previous year. But what state would the register be in if that were done? There would be two separate classes of occupiers—those who had resided ninety days in a particular district and those who had 237 not. One class could exorcise the plural vote and the other pot. Really, he thought the noble Lord must begin to realise that his Amendment was not a wise one. The Amendment, though well meant, was not one which could be put into a measure which was seriously drafted, and therefore he could not accept it.
§ *MR. COURTHOPE (Sussex, Eye)
said that the Amendment might be destructive, but it also gave the opportunity to Members on the Government side of the House to make the Bill consistent. However, nobody expected that the Government wished to make it consistent. If it was right that they should maintain the ancient practice of local representation, if they were to hold to the long-cherished principle that taxation and representation should go together, he did not see how it was possible that this Bill could be defended without some such Amendment as was proposed by his noble friend. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had made some rather light hearted comments on his noble friend's speech when he talked of a farmer who might farm in one constituency and reside in another. But if a farmer had farms in more than one constituency he could not farm properly without having some business premises on each. It might easily happen that if this Bill were passed in its present form, without some such Amendment as this, an individual might be the largest contributor to Imperial taxation in two or more divisions or constituencies, and be the only individual who was not electorally represented. As far as he could see, the proper course for the Government to take was one of throe things. They should either repudiate once and for all our long-cherished constitutional idea, that taxation and representation should go together, or allow all taxpaying property to carry a vote; or else, in the third alternative, remit Imperial taxation upon property that did not carry a vote. He could hardly venture to think that they would do the latter, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer would find some difficulty in re placing the money. He could only imagine that the Government intended to trample upon the idea that there was to be no taxation without representation, and he ventured to protest against any such course as vigorously as he could. 238 He should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill would have inherited greater respect for one of the most cherished traditions of the English Constitution. Under this Bill the man who owned property in more than one constituency had no more voice in selecting the representatives of his property than the man who had only one interest. In many cases, moreover, he would be worse off than the man with only one interest. Everyone must admit that in the case of a very large percentage of plural voters—at least 80 or 90 per cont.— there would be an omission to snake a selection by the right date and in the right form of where they selected to vote under the Order in Council, and there was no machinery provided by the Bill by which plural voters could be reminded of the fact that they were plural voters. A proper form was not to be sent to them which would remind them to make their selection. There was also no provision made against a circumstance which was not at all infrequent that a man who was put on the register at the Registration Court already had a voting qualification elsewhere
§ *MR. COURTHOPE
said he was trying to explain the reason why a person having a direct interest in more than one estate should carry more than one vote. A man who resided in one constituency would be placed on the register in another constituency with regard to some property in September or October of a certain year, thon if no Amendment such as this was carried he would not only fail to gain a second vote, but he would lose for a whole year the vote given him by his residence because he would have no opportunity of making a selection before the 1st of September. Therefore he would lose both votes. As no steps were taken by those in charge of the Bill to prevent this contingency he intended to support the Amendment.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said the First Commissioner of Works had raised two objections to his noble friend's Amendment. The first objection was that it was badly drafted, and he would deal with that in a moment. The second objection was that the number of people who would be 239 affected by this change was much larger than that which his hon. friend gave. With regard to that argument he would point out that they were fighting this Bill, not because it was going to affect a large or small number of people, but because they rightly or wrongly believed that the principle of the Bill was wrong, and that it would be detrimental to the general interests of the country. Therefore the argument that it affected only a small or a large number of people seemed to him—he did not want to put it offensively—to have nothing whatever to do with the question before the Committee. With regard to the question of bad drafting, he would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that an assertion of that kind was not a valid argument against an Amendment. It was perfectly easy for one who had such a number of eminent gentlemen under the Gallery to bring forward an Amendment dealing with this matter which should be so drafted as to be in proper order. He would suggest, therefore, to the right hon. Gentleman, that if he had consulted his advisers under the Gallery, he would have been able to select an Amendment on this point which would have been in order. He had listened with great attention to the right hon. Gentleman's argument, and although it was probably his stupidity, he could not see where the bad drafting came in. The right hon. Gentleman said that this Amendment if carried would affect agricultural interests, and that he did not believe that the noble Lord behind him was desirous of doing that. He could not, however, see that the description which the right hon. Gentleman gave of the Amendment was a correct one. Let them take the case of a farmer who had a farm but had no house upon it. It was absolutely necessary that he should have business promises there, such as stables, barns, and outbuildings. He occupied the business premises, and occupation did not mean that he should reside on the farm. He himself had a vote in the City of London although he did not reside on the qualifying premises. He occupied them for business purposes, and no one could properly say that a farmer did not occupy his farm, his stables, and his barns, etc. Therefore as far as he could see there was no bad drafting in the Amendment. It was said that the object of the Amendment was quite destructive of the whole principle of the 240 Bill, or at all events of the greater part of the Bill. That again was not an argument against it unless it could be proved that it was a bad proposal. One thing which the Amendment did would, he was certain, meet with the approval of all hon. Members on the opposite side of the House and that was that it abolished out-voters and rendered it impossible for anyone who was in any way an out voter to come in and vote. It only provided for the people who resided and had an interest in the constituency, and would enact that they should have a vote in that constituency. He did not want to go into the elaborate argument of his noble friend which tended to show that a voter might, on one occasion, vote for the Liberal and on another occasion for the Conservative. He did not dispute that that might take place, but it had nothing to do with the Amendment, the object of which was really to secure justice for those persons who, unless it was adopted, would be disfranchised. One must always remember that this was a disfranchising Bill, and he had not heard a single argument why a person who resided in a constituency or who occupied business premises there should be disfranchised. The proposal was perfectly ridiculous. Why should not a man who had business premises at Croydon and resided at Brighton have a vote at Croydon, or vice versa? He had the same rights in the respective constituencies as any other man who resided or carried on business in them. He did not want to go into the machinery of the Bill, about which a great deal might be said, but he wished to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite whether they could produce any reason why an Englishman who paid rates and taxes in a constituency should, because he did not reside in it, although his business premises were in it, not have a vote? Why should a man be disfranchised because he had business promises in one part and resided in another part of the country, or vice versa? It would seem that frugality and industry were to be penalised, because in nine cases out of ten the man who had a business establishment in one place and resided in another did so not because he was a squire, but because he was a successful business man who had attained to his position by industry, energy, and diligence. Why he should suffer for having made that position for himself 241 seemed to him incomprehensible and unanswerable. Their desire on both sides was to encourage people to be successful in this world and not to have any poor men. Therefore he could not see why the successful man should be robbed of one of his greatest privileges. He was afraid that the Government had made up their minds not to accept any Amendment, or at any rate one which they should consider substantial, but he invited hon. Members opposite to endeavour to meet the points he had raised.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
said he only desired to make one suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman. The Amendment moved by the noble Lord ought, he suggested, to be regarded from the point as to whether, if it was accepted, the electorate sot up would be more or less representative of the true interests of the constituency. He put it to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill that that was the point of view from which a statesman ought to look at this question. The Government by this Bill were proposing to make a vast change in the manning of the various constituencies, and if that change made the electorate less representative of the true interests of the constituency it was a bad one. If it made it more representative of the real interests of the constituency it was a good one. He, however, took leave to say that under this proposal they were making the electorate considerably loss representative of the real interests of the constituency; loss in the full voting power of all those who took a fair part in the political and social life of the constituency. The proposals of the Bill limited the number and diminished the real representation of the constituency. It was quite conceivable that under the Bill, if the Amendment of the noble Lord was rejected, a number of representatives might be taken out of the constituency who were the direct representatives of its chiefest industries. If that was done the electorate would not represent the real interest of the constituency. And it must be patent to everybody that such a result could not be otherwise than evil, bad, and unfair to the constituency. That was the position in which the Committee would find itself if it refused such an Amendment as that 242 it was now discussing. The Amendment only sought to establish the point that where a man had a really vital personal interest in a constituency he should be allowed to evidence that interest by a vote on matters on which that constituency most depended.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH (Maidstone)
ventured to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill the desirability of accepting an Amendment of this kind. The right hon. Gentleman had admitted that an individual had a right to vote in two separate places, but he and the Government now took it upon themselves to say he should only vote in one of those two places. The Amendment of the noble Lord was one the Government could easily accept. They were interests duly qualified to carry with them a vote, and he could only say, although he disagreed entirely with the object of the right hon. Gentleman, which was to cut down representation and so execute a retrograde movement, the Amendment was one which could not possibly do any harm.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
thought the First Commissioner had greatly exaggerated the confusion that would be introduced into the register by the acceptance of this Amendment. Declarations as to domicile, and proofs of domicile of a character similar to those embodied in the Amendment were required in America for matters of taxation. If they could do this for matters of taxation, surely they could do it equally well for qualifications to vote! What was going to happen, if the Bill were carried in its present form, was that a large number of persons with more than one qualification of real and genuine interest would be deprived of the right to vote in one of the places with which they were intimately associated, and in the active public life and prosperity of which they were deeply concerned. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that, in making their choice, they would probably decide to give their votes where they would be of most effect. The result of that would be that the register would be put more than ever into the hands of Party agents. It would be their business to organise, to combine, and to work to secure that every vote should be given in the constituency where it would be 243 most likely to affect the result, and the cleverest schemer, the shrewdest tactician would be the poison who would secure the greatest success for his Party. He did not think that was a satisfactory position any more than he thought it right that voters who had genuine and practically equal interests in two constituencies should be deprived of the right they now enjoyed of recording their votes in both places. The real test in this matter was whether by this proposal they were making the constituency more representative of the daily life of the district or less. If they liked to strike off the out-voters who had no association with the life of the constituency, and perhaps only a very faint interest in the constituency, he did not know that he should be moved to protest. But he did protest against their taking out of a constituency large bodies of voters without whom the constituency would not be what it was, and to whom the constituency owed, perhaps, that very prosperity which had caused it to have a sufficient number of inhabitants to justify its being given a Member. He protested against their doing anything to make the representation of the interests of a constituency less complete than it was at present, and he should support the Amendment of his noble friend unless some undertaking was given to bring up words to meet what seemed to him a great and real grievance.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said the Government did not complain that this Amendment should be moved and discussed, because, speaking for himself, he thought this or some such proposal was the alternative to the plan which the Government had proposed. He was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken admit that the present system could not be maintained, the system under which voters could go into a constituency with which they were not in constant contact and dilute the votes of those who were always there. He was glad to take note of that admission. Once they made that admission there were two ways only in which the matter could be dealt with. One was by some such plan as that suggested in the Amendment. The Amendment was badly drawn, but it was intended to embody the idea that they should supply some kind of test or 244 some series of tests by which they could determine whether a person on the register was or was not really interested in the constituency. The other plan, the plan submitted by the Government, was to give the individual voter the choice of saying where he would record his vote. The obvious objection to the plan proposed in the Amendment was that the test might be perfectly illusory. A man might be the owner of business premises in a constituency and receive rent from the person in occupation, but that did not give him any direct or living interest in the constituency. [OPPOSITION cries of "Why not? "] He might be an absentee, and he might have no interest whatever in the constituency beyond putting the money in his pocket. The more they devoted their ingenuity to the problem of enumerating criteria or tests by which they might determine whether or not a man's interest in a constituency was sufficiently great to entitle him to a vote the more they would find they were undertaking an impossible task. The Government plan had the merit of complete equality between all classes [OPPOSITION cries of "No"], and it had the merit of simplicity; it was simple, at any rate, as compared with the alternative, which consisted in enumerating a number of criteria about which nobody would be agreed, and which would not produce the desired results. Moreover, the Government's plan was the only plan consistent with democratic principles. Did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bordesley Division deny that?
§ MR. ASQUITH
said he would read the right hon. Gentleman a passage. The speaker said—I am in favour of the principle of one man one vote, and I object altogether to the plural representation of properly. I will take my own case. I am a. terrible example ‥ ‥I have three votes for as many borough constituencies, and I have three votes for as many county constituencies, that is to say I have six votes. I use them on the right side.He was afraid that was not still the case. Did the right hon. Gentleman agree with what followed?—I consider this is an anomaly altogether inconsistent with the principle for which we stand. That principle is that every householder. 245 at all events, has an equal stake in the good government of the country; und his life, his happiness, his property depend on legislation which he is equally entitled with every one else to assist in framing.If the English language had any meaning at all, that meant that those six votes ought to be replaced by one, in order that he might stand on an equal footing with every other householder.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said that was a relevant interruption. If the right hon. Gentleman agreed with that proposition he was bound to support the Government and vote against the Amendment.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said there was nothing in the speech about shadowy qualifications. The public did not suspect when the right hon. Gentleman said he had six votes that they were shadowy or bogus qualifications. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman for the Bordesley Division recognised the passage.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
said he would not trouble the right hon. Gentleman. When he said the quotation was incomplete he meant that "one man one vote" was generally accompanied by "one vote one value." The right hon. Gentleman had left that out.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said it did not accompany it on this occasion. He would finish the passage—If we are to make any distinction I am not quite certain whether it u not the poor man who ought to have more votes than the rich man; for, after all, his interests are more direct than the rich man's, and if you have had legislation you lessen the income of the one and destroy altogether his means of subsistence.He was content to support the Government's proposals by quoting that admirable statement.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said the right hon. Gentleman did well to go to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham whenever he desired a clear statement of a particular view relevant to the debate. But surely this extract was not relevant to the contention they were advancing from the Opposition Benches. He would take the case of the Division of Manchester represented by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies. If they passed this Bill they would put before the Manchester merchant in the North-West Division, who lived outside Manchester, the choice of abandoning his right to have a voice in the selection of the representative of the place where he lived, or his right to have a voice in the selection of the representative of the place where he had his business, earned his living, and helped to carry on the great commercial business of the country. He confessed that there was a great deal to be said for sweeping away what his right hon. friend had called shadowy qualifications, but there was a substantial case for not depriving the merchants of Manchester of their right to have some voice in the selection of their representatives. If they could so draft a Bill that a man could only have a vote where he bona fide prosecuted his business and where he bona fide lived, they would meet the underlying principle, as he understood it, of the Amendment of his noble friend. Anybody who felt how important it was that the great directors of the commercial energies of this country should have a voice in the constituencies where they carried on their business and where they earned their money, would surely make some effort to modify the Bill in that direction. Let it be agreed, if they liked, that many qualifications might be abolished without serious disadvantage to anybody, or to the public interest, or the interest of this House; but could anybody say that the modern accidental divorce of the residence from a man's place of business ought to be accompanied by his disfranchisement either in one place or in the other? That was the case in a nutshell; and he did not think the right hon. Gentleman had answered it. The quotation made from that work which appeared to be his vade mecum—he did not know its name—[Mr. ASQUITH, (passing over the book from which he quoted) "The collected 247 works."] He was glad the right hon. Gentleman went to a source which he acknowledged to be the highest authority upon representation in British public life; but that quotation, which he commended as a lucid exposition, did not touch, or pretend to touch, the principal point they were raising; and he asked the Government—if they could not accede to his noble friend's Amendment in its present shape, if they felt that it carried with it any practical difficulty, if they even felt that it was too wide, and he was not sure that it might not, with advantage, be modified—whether they would consider the possibility of intro-
§ ducing an exception into the Bill which would permit the business man to vote in the place where he worked and in the place where he lived. That would not help monopolies, or the brewer, or the Church, or even the Masters of Arts. It would help only the average business man in our great industrial constituencies. He pressed this upon the consideration of the Government, and, meanwhile, would certainly vote with his noble friend.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 83; Noes, 348. (Division List No. 327.)251
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Nield, Herbert.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|ArnoId-Forster, Rt. Hn. HughO.||Faber, George Denison (York)||Pease. Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fell, Arthur||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balcarres, Lord||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn AJ (City Lond.||Fletcher, J. S.||Ratcliff, Major R, F.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Forster, Henry William||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Robert, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hardy, Laurence(Kent Ashford||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hervey, F.W.F. (Bury SEdm'ds||Smith. Hon. W.F.D. (Strand)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Starkey, John R.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Houston, Robert Paterson||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hunt, Rowland||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cave, George||Kenyon-Slaney Rt.Hn.Col.W.||Talbot, Rt. Hn JG (Oxf' dUniv.)|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C.W.||Keswick, William||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cecil, Lord Rt. (Marylebone, E.)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn JA(Wore.||Liddell, Henry||Warde. Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham)||Lockwood, Rt. Hn Lt.-Col.A.R.||Wilson A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart-|
|Collings. Rt. Hn. J.(Birmingh'm)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Younger, George|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Nicholson, Win. G.(Petersfield)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Bell, Richard||Brooke, Stopford|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Bellairs, Carylon||Brunner, J.F.L. (Lanes., Leigh)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bonn, SirJ Williams(Devonp'rt||Brunner, Sir Jn. T. (Cheshire)|
|Agnew, George William||Bethell, J. H.(Essex, Romford)||Bryce, Rt. Hn. James(Aberd'n)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Bryce, J.A. (Inverness Burghs)|
|Alden, Percy||Billson, Alfred||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn|
|Allen, A, Acland(Christchurch)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Burke. E. Haviland-|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Black, Arhur W. (Bedfordshire)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. HerbertHenry||Boland, John||Burnyeat, W. J. D.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Bolton, T.D. (Derbyshire. N.E.||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Bottomley, Horatio||Byles, William Pollard|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Boulton, A. C. F. (Ramsey)||Cairns, Thomas|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Brace, William||Cameron, Robert|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Bramsdon, T. A.||Campbell- Bannerman, Sir H.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Branch, James||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Brigg, John||Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight|
|Beauchamp, E.||Bright, J. A.||Chance, Frederick William|
|Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham)||Brodie, H. C.||Channing, Francis Allston|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Haslam, James (Darbyshire)||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Haslam. Lewis (Monmouth)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Clarke, C. Goddard||Haworth, Arthur A.||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Cleland, J. W.||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Marks, G. Croydon (Lannceston|
|Clough, W.||Hedges, A. Paget||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Clynes. J. R.||Helme, Norval Watson||Massie, J.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hemmerde, Edward George||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Meagher, Michael|
|Collins, Sir WmJ. (SPancras, W||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.||Menzies, Walter|
|Corbett, CH (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Henry, Charles S.||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon. S.)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Cory, Clifford John||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Mond, A.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Higham, John Sharp||Montagu, E. S.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Cox, Harold||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Mooney, J. J.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hodge, John||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Hogan, Michael||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Morrell, Philip|
|Crossley, William J.||Hooper, A. G.||Morse, L. L.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset N||Murnaghan, George|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Horniman, Emslie John||Murphy, John|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Murray, James|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Myer, Horatio|
|Delany, William||Hudson, Walter||Napier, T. B.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Dickinson, WH (St. Pancras, N.||Hyde, Clarendon||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P||Idris, T. H. W.||Nicholls, George|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Jacoby, James Alfred||Nicholson, CharlesN.(Doncast'r|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jenkins, J.||Nolan, Joseph|
|Duffy, William J.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor(Swansea||Nuttall, Harry|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin(Walsall||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Jowett, F. W.||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Edwards, Frank (Radnor)||Joyce, Michael||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Elibank, Master of||Kearley, Hudson, E.||O'Grady, J.|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Kekewich, Sir George||O'Kelly, James(RoscommonN.|
|Erskine, David C.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||O'Malley, William|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Kitson, Sir James||O'Mara, James|
|Evans, Sir Thomas||Laidlaw, Robert||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Evans, Samuel T.||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Eve, Harry Trelawney||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Partington, Oswald|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Lambert, George||Paul, Herbert|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Lamont, Norman||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Fenwick, Charles||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Leese, Sir JosephF. (Accrington||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lehmann, R. C.||Philipps,Col. Ivor(S'uthampton|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Lever, A. Levy(Essex, Harwich||Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Philipps, Owen, C. (Pembroke)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Levy, Maurice||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Gardner, Col Alan(Hereford, S.||Lewis, John Herbert||Pollard, Dr.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Price, C. E. (Kdinb'gh, Central)|
|Gill, A. H.||Lough, Thomas||Price, Robert. John(Norfolk, E.)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||Lundon,W.||Radford, G. H.|
|Glover, Thomas||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Gooch, George Peabody||Lynch, H. B.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Grant, Corrie||Macdonald, JM (FalkirkB'ghs||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough.)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Maclean, Donald||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Grove, Archibald||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roes, J. D.|
|Gulland, John W.||Macpherson, J. T.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S||Renton, Major Leslie|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon Richard B||MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.||Richards, Thomas(W. Monm'th|
|Hall, Frederick||M'Callum, John M.||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Harcourt. Rt. Hon. Lewis||M'Crae, George||Richardson, A.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (MorthyrTydvil||M'Hugh. Patrick A.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Hardy, George A. (Buffo' k)||M'Killop, W.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Hartnsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Hart-Davis, T.||M'Laren, H. P. (Stafford, W.||Robinson, S.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||M'Micking, Major G.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Harwood, George||Maddison, Frederick||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Rose, Charles Day||Sullivan, Donal||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Rowlands, J.||Summerbell, T.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Runciman, Walter||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Whitbread, Howard|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Thomas, SirA. (Glamrogan, E.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Schwann, Sir C.E.(Manchester)||Thomas, DavidAlfred(Merthyr||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Sears, J. E.||Tomkinson, James||Whitley,. J. H. (Halifax)|
|Seddon, J.||Torrance, Sir A. M.||Whittaker. Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Seely, Major J. B.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wiles, Thomas|
|Shackleton, David James||Verney, F. W.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. T.(Hawick B.)||Vivian, Henry||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wadsworth, J.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Silcock, Thomas Ball||Waldron, Laurence (Ambrose)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Simon, John Allsebrook||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wallace, Robert||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Walsh, Stephen||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Walters, John Tudor||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Soares, Ernest J.||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Spicer, Sir Albert||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Stanger, H. Y.||Ward, John(Stoke upon Trent)||Winfrey, R.|
|Stanley, Hn.A. Lyulph(Chesh.)||Ward, W. Dudley(Southampton||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Steadman, W. C.||Wardle, George J.|
|Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Strachey, Sir Edward||Wason, JohnCathcart(Orkney)|
|Stuart, James (Sunderland)||Waterlow, D. S.|
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University) moved to insert after "constituency" the words "before the first day of September in any year." He said the point raised was a serious one. It would be found that the Bill was in many respects in its effect a complete disfranchising Bill, and to prevent that enfranchisement it would be absolutely necessary to alter the Bill. According to the Bill a voter had to serve notice of the selection of the constituency in which he intended to vote on or before 1st September in any year. What he wanted to ask was whether the voter must have his double right to vote before that date.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said in that case the voter could not serve his notice, because the Bill only applied to a case where he had a double qualification. Let him take a concrete case. Supposing he hold one qualification in the middle of August, there was no need for him to servo his notice. But supposing after 1st September —on the day of the revising sessions— he was put on the list for another qualification. He had then two qualifications, and how was he to serve notice before 1st September? It was absolutely impossible. What happened next? Assuming a general election took place in the next year, he could not vote at all. Although he had I his original qualification to vote, yet 252 because he had been put on the list again he was not allowed to vote at all. Because he had two qualifications he was disfranchised. Why was he disfranchised? The reason was this. If the election took place within the next 'twelve months before the following 1st September he would be asked by the clerk; at the polling booth when he went to vote, "Are you registered as a Parliamentary elector in any other constituency than this?" He could not answer in the negative, because that would be fraud, and if he answered in the affirmative the Bill said he should not be allowed to vote. Let him give another case. Supposing a man was not on the register at all prior to 1st September and at the revising sessions after that date he was put on for two different places. If he was put on for one place he had a vote, but because he was put on for two he had no vote at all. Then, again, in another case, assuming that a man who had a vote in one constituency took his Master of Arts degree after the 1st September he could not serve his notice before that day, and therefore he was disfranchised. This matter was of great importance. The Government might say it was only for a year, but that year might be a very vital year in regard to the exercise of the political franchise, and the ridiculous part of it was that because a man had two qualifications he was disfranchised altogether. He had gone into this question minutely, and he could 253 see no answer to his contention. If his contention was, as he believed it, sound, it would be necessary to remodel this part of the Bill.
In page 1, line 6, after the word' constituency, 'to insert' before the first day of September in any year."—(Sir E. Carson.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said he should have to call attention presently to the machinery for the working of this Bill, but on the particular point raised some doubt seemed to have arisen in the mind even of the learned Gentleman who had just spoken as to what the register was. The Committee ought to be reminded, of what many Members knew, that there was no register until the register of voters came into force. It was a purely private document until that date. The revising barrister had before him the lists out of which the register was made up. These lists were entirely of a temporary nature. The only exception was the ownership list, which was taken as the permanent basis of that part of the register. It came as a printed document before the revising barrister, whoso court was held in the second half of September, or the first half of October. The other lists were supposed to be and often were written documents in the form in which they came to the county clerk to form the register. The county clerk had no power to touch them or to interfere with them in any way. He only corrected printers' errors when he had the register printed from them. The power now to be given to the county clerks would be a new power. At the present moment the revising barrister was wholly responsible for the register, and the register did not exist until he had finished the lists and initialled every change on the lists. Before the Committee could discuss the Amendment or know what it meant, they must be sure whether they used the word "register" in the present sense or attached to it a new meaning. He thought the learned Gentleman did not avoid attaching the last sense to the word register. The register came into force for all Parliamentary purposes in England and Ireland on 1st January. It was the register 254 between the 31st of December and the 1st of January next but one following. He did not want to enter into a discussion of the machinery of the Bill, which he thought would be difficult to work; but he pointed out that they were talking of two different things. The register of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke was not the register of the following year; it was only the register of the year in which it was made up; a new use of the term.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that when he saw the Amendment on the Paper he thought that the right hon. Gentleman was under some misunderstanding as to the proceedings to be taken by a voter if the Bill were passed. The right hon. Gentleman evidently thought that he would not be in a position to send a notice selecting the constituency in which he would vote unless he had finally acquired a duplicate vote. That was not so. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had applied his attention too much to the first sub-section of Clause 1, and had not looked at sub section (2), which said—A person desiring to select a voting; constituency for the purposes of this Act, must send a notice of his selection signed by him to the clerk of the county council or town clerk who is responsible for the printing of the Parliamentary register of the selected constituency, before the first day of September preceding the commencement of the year in which this selection is to be given to take effect.A voter who on 1st September was a single voter, and wished to protect himself either against some unauthorised action of other people, or wished to make his position safe against some action of his own, could send in a notice selecting the constituency he intended to vote in.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said that the words which the right hon. Gentleman had referred to must have some relation to the first sub-section, which said that a person registered in more than one constituency should not vote except in the constituency which he had selected.
§ MR. HARCOURT
Then this Bill, when it is passed, will to that extent change the law. The first sub-section of Clause 1 provided that a person registered in two or more constituencies might not vote in more than one. The second sub-section said that a person desiring to select a constituency in which to exercise his vote must send in a notice of his selection. It was obvious that a man might be on two registers, or have two qualifications without knowing it; but under this Bill a man who knew that he had other qualifications which might become effective, could protect himself by sending in this notice making a selection. He had not got to notify the other constituencies; all he had got to do was to select one and say, "This is the constituency in which I desire to cast my vote." He had not got to state in the notice where his other qualifications were, or that he had other qualifications. He had only got to state that he desired to be marked for voting in a particular constituency. He could assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the case he had put was entirely met by the words of the Bill.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)
thought that the explanation they had listened to from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill was one of the most extraordinary that any Committee of this House had over heard. Although it was obvious to legal minds on both sides of the House that the words of the first sub-section only applied to the individual who had more than one qualification before 1st September, yet the right hon. Gentleman said that the words of sub-section (2) were of general application. The extraordinary effect of that contention would be that every person in the country who had the franchise would have to give such a notice, because he might conceivably during the current year become the occupier of property in another borough, and if he did not give notice he might lose his vote altogether. He strongly supported the Amendment on wider grounds than those given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who proposed it. They were told on the Second Reading of the Bill that an evil had to be remedied, which evil was that a man having two qualifications exercised two votes. But, his contention 256 was that the effect of the Bill in its present form would not remedy that evil. He instanced the case of Liverpool, which was surrounded by such constituencies as Bootle, Birkenhead, Ormskirk, Widnes, Southport and Wirrall. If this Bill were passed in its present shape without this particular Amendment it would vitally affect Liverpool, where there were hundreds of voters who every year removed from one of those boroughs into another, although retaining their business premises in Liverpool. He believed that if all those voters were to elect under the powers of sub-section (2) to vote on their residences, the effect would be that 25 per cent, might be disfranchised, and the whole voting power would be thrown into the hands of the small ratepayers. Then, why should a man who failed to make his selection or neglected to give notice be disfranchised altogether? If the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill was so enamoured of the law as it applied to boroughs, why did he not adopt it in regard to this Bill? According to the law applying to municipalities a man was not allowed to be on the burgess roll of that borough for more than one ward. That was the law, but it had been found in practice that it was absolutely unworkable, and in the case of Regina v. Harold it was held by the High Court that a man did not make his selection by sending in a form, but that when he exorcised his franchise for the first time that was in fact the making of a selection of the ward in which he would vote. He should be personally in favour of this Bill because he was in favour of the principle of "One man one vote" if it carried out that principle in the way he had indicated. If a man was on the register for four different places let him remain on the register for those places and let his choice the first time he voted fix him for that year. By that means they would get rid of these notices, and the man would select his own constituency, but if a man had a qualification in more than one constituency, let him exercise his choice when the time came and be thereby disqualified for exercising his vote in any other Parliamentary constituency. If the Bill were worded in that simple way it would meet the objection of those who brought forward the Amendment, and would not involve 257 them in the difficulties which now seemed before them. He most cordially supported the Amendment.
MR. HARMOOD-BANNKR (Liverpool, Everton)
said it had not been mentioned that any voter subjected to objection would lose his right to vote in an ensuing year or for another constituency. If hon. Members would look at sub-section (2) they would see that the name of the person selecting was marked for the current year and every subsequent year. Suppose he had, or thought he had a qualification in Cheshire and he selected that county. He remained on the register there. Subsequently, if his opponent successfully objected to him in Cheshire, although he had a right to vote in Liverpool and other places, he would lose his right to vote in them because it was too late to give notice of his selection of a fresh place. The result was that the clever Party agent had only to wait his time and serve objections on 1st September and a number of electors, because they had more than one qualification, would be disfranchised.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
thought that more than one point of great intricacy was raised by the Amendment, but he would rather like to get at the bottom of one of the difficulties which had not been dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill. It appeared to him from the language of the Bill that the person who was to select the constituency in which he would vote was the person on the register in reference to two constituencies, and that he must make his selection before the 1st September. Therefore, it appeared to him that according to the language of sub-section (1), the person contemplated could not make the selection in the manner indicated within the proscribed time. The hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill tried to make out that the person selecting was not the person described in sub-section (1), but a person already registered as a, household elector in more than one constituency. If that was so, he thought the clause was very bady drafted, because grammar and common sense pointed to the fact that the person selecting was the person described in sub-section (1).
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he did not wish to be controversial, but really, reading the words of the section, that appeared to him to be so unless the whole of the difficulty was caused by drafting.
explained that subsection (1) described what happened to a person after the register had come into operation, the person himself being registered in more than one constituency, and having voted otherwise than in the constituency he had selected. It imposed a penalty upon him, but in the case of a person who had not made his selection, if the right hon. Gentleman would refer to sub-section (3) he would find that he must be registered before he made his selection; the register was made up in the month of September, but it came into operation on the 1st January, and sub-section (1) dealt with the register which came into operation on the 1st January and remained in operation until the 31st December. Under the other sub-section a person who desired to select a constituency was sent a notice before the 1st September, that was before the register was made up at all. Notice was given by a person who desired to select a particular constituency. He need not be on the register at all, and his qualification might only have come into existence during the past twelve months. There were two lists which were quite distinct. The overseers' lists were made between August and September, and the register was subsequently compiled out of them and did not come into operation until 1st January, and the person who made the selection need not be on the register at all. He was going on the register and he made his selection as to the constituency in which he would vote. The point raised by the hon. Member for the Everton Division of Liverpool, however, required serious consideration. It was possible that, read closely under this sub-section, a man who had made his selection and was objected to effectually might never be registered at all in the constituency he had selected, and if he had two other votes in other constituencies which he had not selected he could not exercise votes in either. He thought that was a substantial point, and he suspected that that might be the effect of the clause as it stood. That effect 259 was not, however, intended, and he would take care that words were introduced which would prevent the possibility of it. The present Amendment would have no effect whatever, and he suggested its withdrawal.
§ SIR E. CARSON
could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman, although he was one of those lawyers in the House who disliked arguments across the floor, about the construction of clauses. He could not, however, agree in this case with the construction which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had put upon the section, but even if the right hon. Gentleman's construction was right, it did seem to him to leave those who had a double qualification left in a very parlous position. The right hon. Gentleman in effect said that if they had a double qualification and did not exercise an option within a certain time they would be disfranchised. Was that satisfactory? He possessed, he thought, ordinary intelligence and ordinary political enthusiasm, and he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that he should not know in what particular September the revising barrister put his name upon the register. The burden of serving a notice was not put upon the person with one qualification, and should not be imposed upon one who had many. It would be far better to indicate that a man should be put on the register only in regard to one qualification; otherwise, as many people took no concern in these registers they would not be put on at all. At the present time he was bound emphatically to state his opinion for what it was worth on the construction of the section. His opinion was that it was the person registered in more than one constituency and he alone who could serve the notice. He did not know that anything else was applicable. He could not see how the right hon. Gentleman could read the words "except in that one of those constituencies" in any other way than being registered in one of those constituencies. As he read the section he would be very much surprised if it was not intended by the draftsman that the second part should be mere machinery for carrying out the first part. In his opinion, as a lawyer, that was the construction the Court would put upon it. He did not believe that the Court would 260 lay down that a person who had lost a vote in one constituency through buying property in another was disqualified if he forgot that he had been put on the register in respect to the property which he had bought. He frankly admitted that he put the Amendment down really to raise tin's question, and that the Amendment would not be a satisfactory way of carrying out his view. But it was necessary to raise the question at an early stage of the discussion, and if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would assure the Committee that he would have the matter which had been raised fully inquired into in all its bearings, and not in this one particular, he would ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman proposed to bring up his suggested Amendments on this stage or on Report.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said he thought they would be brought up on Report as he would then have a longer period in which to consider the matter.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
agreed that there might be difficulties in bringing them up on this stage and therefore took it as settled they would be brought up on Report. He suggested, however, that the Government should give the House an early intimation of what they intended to do, so that the House might have the matter before them.
§ MR.WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
asked to be permitted to give, before the Amendment was withdrawn, an illustration which had forced itself upon him in the last fortnight. He was on the register in Liverpool. Eighteen months or two years ago he took some rooms in Westminster. It never occurred to him that he had in consequence been placed on the register in Westminster until he recently received two cards, one from each candidate for the municipal election in Westminster, asking him for his vote. If this Bill had been passed last year he would have been disfranchised in Liverpool as well as Westminster because he had omitted to take the precaution of sending in a selecting notice.
§ MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)
, on a point of order, asked whether that part of the discussion had arrived when the point of giving notice arose at all.
was understood to say it had not. He also pointed out that the hon. Baronet had asked leave to withdraw the Amendment. Did the hon. Member wish to prevent that?
§ MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS (Kent, St. Augustine's)
protested against the question being put to his hon. friend. He submitted that although the Amendment would by the leave of the Committee be withdrawn hon. Members should be allowed to mention points in which they were interested which arose upon it.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said that if the Amendment was to be withdrawn and they accepted the assurance that the points which they were trying to make would be taken into consideration and provided for, it was only fair to allow them an opportunity of stating what those points were.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said he had no objection to any difficulty being pointed out; quite the contrary. He wished to make it perfectly clear that he adhered absolutely to the construction, he had placed upon the sub-section. He thought it was the true construction, and he undertook to meet the point of the hon. Member below the gangway, and words should be brought up to provide for that point.
§ SIR WILLIAM BULL (Hammersmith)
suggested to the right hon. Gentleman that until the Order in Council which it was proposed to lay on the Table of the House in connection with this Bill was brought in they would be quite unable to get on. Difficulties in respect to registration law would be raised from time to time, and the First Commissioner of Works who was in charge of the Bill could only say "that will be dealt with by an Order in Council." He had a list of twelve or thirteen questions which he would like to put to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—practically all questions dealing with the machinery, 262 as to the way in which these elections should take place, and how they were to get over the difficulty of registration taking place at different times, and generally on the whole question. He thought this discussion should be adjourned until the Order in Council was before the Committee. The Bill was entirely a skeleton, and its real machinery was bound to be in this Order in Council.
§ MR. RAWLINSON (Cambridge University)
appealed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to bring up his Amendments as soon as possible, as the vast bulk of the Bill consisted of machinery, and the question of selection was almost the only one with which the Committee had to deal. It therefore handicapped the Committee not to have the Amendments of the Government before it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD moved that the Committee report progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ MR. LANE-FOX
said the Amendment he desired to move would fill up a gap in the Bill. It was absolutely clear from the discussion that there might be considerable difficulty in the man who had more than one vote exercising his vote at all, and therefore it ought to be made quite plain that as regarded the by-elections his vote would not suffer. At a by-election every man qualified to vote was in exactly the same position, so that there could be no question of the inequality between the poor man and the rich man. He claimed that this was not a destructive Amendment but was really to repair an omission in the Bill. There would not be the slightest difficulty in carrying it out, because the voter's name would remain upon the list, and he would exercise his vote in the ordinary way. That was the only manner, it seemed to him, in which they could secure that a by-election would be thoroughly representative. No serious arguments, he thought, could be brought against the Amendment, which was not contrary to the spirit of the Bill. They 263 would give the right hon. Gentleman full credit that although he did not like the plural voter very much he did not wish to penalise him unfairly.
In page 1, line 6, after the word 'such,' to insert the words 'at a general election.'"— (Mr. Lune-Fox.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the hon. Gentleman was quite correct in saying that he had no dislike to the plural voter as an individual; he only disliked his plurality, and when he had relieved him of that he would acquire an additional affection for him. The effect of the Amendment would be to create an absolutely different electorate in a constituency at a by-election and at a general election. ["So there is now."] If he were convinced of there being that under the Bill, he should himself introduce Amendments which would obviate such a very undesirable result. It was quite clear that they could not have in the same constituency a different electorate for a general election from that for a by-election. The hon. Member would see that it was not an Amendment which could be incorporated in the Bill.
§ MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said he was sorry the right hon. Gentleman could not accept the Amendment. It did not fly in the face of the Bill, which was to prevent a man voting twice at a single election. The object of the Amendment appeared to be to restrict the limitation to the case of a general election, and he could not see that it broke the principle of the Bill. The system proposed in the Amendment already prevailed in county council elections. There were many voters who he thought would be disfranchised by the Bill as it stood. They might make their selection a year before for a certain constituency, being absolutely unaware that any by-election was likely to take place, and there might be some questions of great local interest in the constituency in which the by-election occurred, and in which they had either a residential or office qualification. They would naturally desire to express an opinion, to which they were entitled, as to the choice of a representative. He thought the right 264 hon. Gentleman had rather curtly refused the Amendment which had been moved with great force by his hon. friend.
§ *MR. H. H. MARKS (Kent, Thanet)
said the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill was entitled to the sympathy of the Committee, because the Amendment was not one which he could dispose of by one of those epigrams in which he excelled. The right hon. Gentleman had made the sweeping and obviously exaggerated assertion that the Amendment would create an absolutely different electorate at a by-election from that at a general election. The proportion of voters in any constituency who would be affected by the Bill would be very inconsiderable. There was a further point which might be reasonably made in favour of the Amendment. It was well known that at a by-election the issues were much more frequently local than imperial. Considering the comparative rarity of by-elections he thought the Amendment was reasonable and one which might very well be accepted by the Government. So far there had not been anything granted in the way of concessions, but only vague assurances that there was no determination that no concessions should be made. If any indication of a sprit of concession was to be given, surely this was an occasion when they might look for it.
§ MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON (Durham, Barnard Castle)
hoped the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill would not accept the Amendment, which would not only strike at the very principle of the measure but create two distinct electorates, one for a general election and the other for a by-election. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had said that by-elections were usually fought on distinctly local issues. He believed both the hon. Gentleman and himself came into the House as the result of by-elections in the previous Parliament. He could assure the hon. Gentleman he fought his election on the distinctly imperial issue of free trade, but he believed he would be right in saying that the hon. Gentleman's election was fought on a particularly local issue. As the Bill stood the choice of constituency for voting in must be made in September 265 for the succeeding year. Supposing a general election took place in June, the Ministers taking office would have to seek re-election. Upon what register would supporters of the Amendment have the by-elections fought? No one who had spoken in support of the Amendment had told the Committee how the register was going to be made to fit both elections, and until that had been explained he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would refuse to accept the Amendment.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY
said he would be very happy to inform the hon. Gentleman how it would be done. There would be no change in the register at all. It would remain the same as at the general election, but when the man who had two votes went to record his vote at the by-election he would not be asked, "Have you recorded your vote in another constituency?"
§ MR. RAWLINSON
said the matter was perfectly easy in municipal elections and why should it be difficult in Parliamentary elections? As he understood, the basis of this Bill was the objection to one man voting in two or more constituencies at the same election.' There might not have been a general election for some considerable period, and on what possible ground could they disqualify a man from voting in a by-election because, if a general election bad taken place, he would have had to vote in another constituency? Was he not right in saying that the Bill would make no alteration in the register, except for the starring of the plural voter? The Amendment was one which might fairly be made on behalf of the plural voter, whose rights were to be taken away at a general election.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said he could not accept the Amendment, the effect of which would be to give the plural voter a vote in each constituency for which he was qualified in which a by-election took place, though he had made his choice for the general election. That would be to create a different electorate for the by-elections—an electorate that could not be reproduced at the general election. His objection to that was that they would be creating the possibility of two very different—he did not say totally different—classes of electors for the same 266 constituency. That was a fatal objection to the Amendment.
§ MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent Ashford)
did not think the right hon. Gentleman had met the point at the root of the Amendment. The Government he understood, had no desire to do away with the plural qualifications of the plural voter. They could have done so, of course but they left those qualifications, and stipulated that the voter should select one of the constituencies in which he had a qualification. Surely the principle of the Bill was that the plural voter was not to be in any worse position than an ordinary voter? The ordinary voter in a constituency in which a by-election occurred would have his vote, and should not the plural voter have the right of voting at the by-election if he had the necessary qualification? The right hon. Gentleman said it would create a different electorate, but the Bill itself contemplated different electorates for the same constituency, because every year the plural voter could change the constituency in which he desired to vote. Was it fair when the Government came forward with a Bill which distinctly professed to carry no disfranchisement with it, to refuse to the plural voter his right of voting in common with all other doctors at a by-election? The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said there were alternative ways of dealing with the question, but this was the simple way. It might be simple, but it was not a fair way.
§ MR. BONAR LAW (Camberwell, Dulwich)
thought the way in which the right hon. Gentleman had met this Amendment showed that his object was to disfranchise voters of a particular class, and they might assume that these disfranchised voters were men with whom he was not in political sympathy. Hon. Members had heard the defence which the right hon. Gentleman had given. The right hon. Gentleman did not say that the Bill was to disfranchise anybody; everybody was to be on the register in the same way. The right hon. Gentleman talked about machinery, but obviously that was putting the cart before the horse. What was the reason which the right hon. Gentleman gave against the Amendment? He admitted that it was fair—at any rate, he did not say it was unfair. The right hon. 267 Gentleman said that a voter ought not to be deprived of the influence he should have in the locality.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
If the right hon. Gentleman could have said that he thought it was unfair did not the Committee think that he would have used that argument? Instead of doing so, he talked about machinery. The right hon. Gentleman only gave one reason for opposing the Amendment. A Minister on accepting office had to vacate his seat and seek re-election. If the general election was in August, a man seeking re-election a few months later would have to face an entirely different constituency. That would be very unfair.
§ MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool)
supported the Amendment because he considered the Bill a piece of flagrant class legislation. The humblest agricultural labourer or artisan would be placed on the register automatically and without trouble, but the plural voter had to go through a great number of complicated arrangements, and so many difficulties were placed in his way, that it would be a marvel if he got on the register at all. A considerable number of the plural voters were men who had a large stake in the country, and they would be disfranchised because they would have chosen another constituency than that in which a by-election took place. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman's heart. The right hon. Gentleman and himself were much in the same position. They both happened to reside in St. George's, Hanover Square, and also had votes in the New Forest Division of Hampshire. They would probably select the former constituency because they generally resided there, with the result that they would be disfranchised in the New Forest Division, and not allowed to vote there if a by-election occurred. Everybody—even the agricultural labourers—had a vote there, and yet the right hon. Gentleman and himself would not be allowed to exercise their vote in the constituency. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment.
§ *MR. CAWLEY (Lancashire, Prestwich)
said the contention on the opposite 268 side was to give certain people more than one vote. They were trying to get at a by-election what the Bill was doing away with at a general election. Anyone elected one month who had to return to his constituency the next month to contest a by-election would find a different set of electors. There was a division of Lancashire where there were nearly 6,000 freehold votes, and at the by-election, if this Amendment was carried, the same man who had been returned at the general election might find a large majority of these voters agaist him and so lose his seat. The reason for the Bill was to prevent one man having more votes and more political power than another man. Hon. Members opposite might consider that it was to prevent certain Conservatives having more votes than one. Of course the Conservative Party was the propertied class, and it would affect them more. Their contention on the Liberal side was that one man was as good as another, and that one man should not have more political power than another. That was the very thing this Bill would accomplish.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said the Committee were indebted to the hon. Member for his admirable candour in frankly stating that the whole reason for this Bill was that those electors who had a property qualification, and were generally Unionists, were to be disfranchised.
§ MR. CAWLEY
said the noble Lord had misunderstood him. What he said was that the Bill was intended to prevent people with large property qualifications from having more votes than people who were small property owners. Incidentally the Conservatives would be most affected by that change.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said it had been stated that under certain circumstances there would be a different constituency at by-elections from that at general elections. That occurred at the present day. Let them take the case of a person having votes in two divisions of the same borough. He could not vote for both at 269 a general election, but he could vote in either at a by-election. At a by-election all the electors could vote, whereas at a general election it was perfectly well known that if elections took place on the same day they could only give their vote in one place. Therefore they had already this terrible anomaly. That could not be the real ground for opposing the Amendment. On the highest democratic grounds the Amendment ought to be accepted. Surely there was nothing clearer in the principles of democracy than that no unnecessary disfranchisement should take place, and if the
§ Government were prepared to accept that principle they ought to accept the Amendment. The only possible reason for its refusal was that the Government desired to disfranchise voters in order, if possible, to secure another Liberal majority in the future. Everybody knew that that was the true genesis of the Bill.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 72; Noes, 303. (Division List, No. 328.)273
|Acland-Hood, RtHn.SirAlex.F||Duncan, Robert(LanarkGovan||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fell, Arthur||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Forster, Henry William||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gardner, Ernest. (Berks, East)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hamilton, Marquess of||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Beach, Hn. MichaelHughHicks||Hardy, Laurence(Kent Ashford||Smith, F.E.(Liverpool, Walton)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Starkey, John R|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hills, J. W.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. (Sir Edw. H.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. SirJohnH.||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kenyon-Slaney. Rt. Hon. Col. W||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cave, George||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Win||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, LordR.(Marylebone, E.)||Law, Andrew Bonar(Dulwich)||Walker, Col. W. H.(Lancashire)|
|Chamberlain, RtHnJ.A.(Worc.||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A.R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E.R.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Younger, George|
|Collings, Rt.Hn.J.(Binningh'm||Marks, H. H. (Kent)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Meysey-Thomson, E. C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Bull and Mr. Rawlinson.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Nield, Herbert|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Parkes, Ebenczer|
|Doughty, Sir George||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Bolton, T.D.(Debysbire, N. E||Clarke, C. Goddard|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Boulton. A. C. F. (Ramsey)||Cleland, J. W.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Brace, William||Clough. W.|
|Agnew, George William||Bramsdon, T. A.||Clynes, J. R.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brigg John||Coats, SirT.Glen (Renfrew, W.)|
|Alden, Percy||Bright J. A.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Allen, A.Acland(Christchurch)||Brodie, H. C.||Collins, SirWm.J. (S. Pancras. W|
|Astbury, John Meir||Brooke, Stopford||Corbett, C.H.(Sussex,E.Grinstd|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Brunner, J.F.L. (Lancs.,Leigh)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Brunner, Sir Join T.(Cheshire)||Cory, Clifford John|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Bryce, Rt.Hn.James(Aberdeen||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Bryce, J. A.(Inverness Burghs)||Cowan, W. H.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Burke. E. Haviland-||Cox, Harold|
|Beaumont, W.C.B. (Hexham)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Cremer, William Randal|
|Bell, Richard||Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Crosfield, A. H.|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas.||Crossley, William J.|
|Benn, SirJ. Williams (Devonprt||Cairns, Thomas||Davies, David(MontgomeryCo.|
|Bethell, J.H. (Essex, Romford)||Cawley, Frederick||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Chance, Frederick William||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Billson, Alfred||Channing, Francis Allston||Davies W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Black, Arthur W.(Bedfordshire||Cheetham, John Frederick||Delany, William|
|Boland, John||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Dickinson, W.H.(St. Pancras, N|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Kekewich, Sir George||Partington, Oswald|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kincaid-Smith, Captain||Paul, Herbert|
|Duckworth, James||King, Alfred John (Knutsford||Pearce. Robert (Staffs. Leek)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Kitson, Sir James||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Laildaw, Rovert||Philipps, Col. Ivor(S'thampton)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin(Walsall||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Philipps, J. Wynford(Pembroke|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Elibank, Master of||Lambert, George||Pollard, Dr.|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Lamont, Norman||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Erskine, David C.||Layland-Barrett, Francis||Radford, G. H.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Leese, SirJosephF.(Accrington||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Evans, Samuel T.||Lehmann, R. C.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Eve, Harry Trelawney||Lever, A. Levy(Essex, Harwich||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Levy, Maurice||Rees, J. D.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lewis, John Herbert||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Ferens, T. R.||Lough, Thomas||Renton, Major Leslie|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Lundon, W.||Richards, Thomas(W.Monm'th|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Lupton. Arnold||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mptn|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Lynch, H. B.||Richardson. A.|
|Bardner, Col. Alan (Hereford,S||Macdonald, J.M.(FalkrikB'ghs||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Maclean, Donald||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Gill, A. H.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Robertson. J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Glover, Thomas||Macpherson, J. T.||Robinson, S.|
|Gooch, George Peabody||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Grant, Corrie||MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.)||Rowlands, J.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||M'Callum, John M.||Runciman. Walter|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Crae, George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Gulland, John W.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||M'Killop, W.||Schwann, (Duncan (Hyde)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Sears, J. E.|
|Hall, Frederick||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Seddon. J.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||M'Micking, Major G.||Seely, Major J. B,|
|Haride, J.Keir(MerthyrTydvil)||Maddison, Frederick||Shackleton. David James|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Mallet. Charles E.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. (Hawick B.)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Shipman. Dr. John G.|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Massie, J.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Harwood, George||Masterman, C. F. G.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Meagher, Michael||Spicer, Albert|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Menzies, Walter||Stanger, H. V.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Stanley, Hn. A. Lynlph(Chesh.)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Molteno, Percy Alport||Steadman, W. C.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Montagu, E. S.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Montgomery, H. G.||Stewart-Smith D. (Kendal)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Mooney, J. J.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornmall)||Stuart. James (Sunderland)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Herbert, Col. Ivor (Hon., S.)||Morse, L. L.||Summerbell, T.|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Murnaghan, George||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Murphy, John||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Murray, James||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan. E.)|
|Hodge, John||Napier, T. B.||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr|
|Hogan, Michael||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Tomkinson, James|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Hooper, A. G.||Nicholls, George||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r)||Verney, F. W.|
|Hope, W. Bateman(SomersetN||Nolan, Joseph||Vivian, Henry|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wadsworth, J.|
|Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Waldon, Laurence Ambrose|
|Hudson, Walter||Nuttall, Harry||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Hyde, Clarendon||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wallace, Robert|
|Idris, T. H. W.||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Jenkins, J.||O'Doherty, Philip||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton||O'Grady, J.||Ward, W. Dudley(Southampt'n|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Kelly, James (RoscommonN||Wardle, George J.|
|Jones, William(Carnarvonshire)||O'Malley, William||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Mara, James||Wason, JohnCathcart(Orkney)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Shaughnessy. P. J.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Kearley, Hudson E||Parker, James (Halifax)||Weir, James Galloway|
|White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)||Winfrey, R.|
|White, Luke (York, E. R;)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|White, Patrick (Heath, North)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Whitehead, Rowland||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesborough)|
|Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer||Wilson, J.W.(Worcestersh. N.)|
|Wiles, Thomas||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Wilkie, Alexander||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
§ MR. HARMOOD-BANNER moved an Amendment omitting from the clause the words providing that an elector registered in more than one constituency should not only not vote, but should not "ask for a ballot or voting paper, for the purpose of so voting," except in the selected constituency. He wished to point out to the Committee what was the punishment which would be inflicted on a person who, by an error of judgment, it might be, contravened the provisions of the Bill. He would be liable to two years hard labour without the option of a fine. He thought that such a penalty was rather rough. This was a very important point, because the punishment for personation was imprisonment for two years with hard labour, without the option of a fine. Therefore, what was being said by this Bill was that a plural voter was to be liable to that punishment for a mistake or error in judgment. He ventured to think that that was a very serious objection to the Bill, and he thought he had a right to ask hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who had any of those principles of humanity and justice which were generally claimed for the Liberal Party to vote with him in opposing the proposal. It was quite light that if a man asked for a voting paper to which he was not entitled he ought to be punished, but he thought the Committee would agree that here the punishment exceeded the offence. The punishment would be quite right if the right of plural voting did not exist at all, and a man went up and asked for a voting paper and voted when he had no right to do so; then there would be something for which he should be subjected to punishment. In the last Bill; brought forward on this subject the punishment was limited to a fine of £100, but now it was suggested that it should go further. The plural voter, it was said, had the right of selection during a period of seven years, but he challenged any hon. Member to say that after seven years he would recollect which constitu- 274 ency he had selected. There might have been during the seven years no by-election, and nothing to remind a plural voter of the matter, and then when an election came on an agent might come and say that the man was on the register, and that he wanted him to come and vote. There was nothing to show which constituency had been selected, and the authorities ought to have an index, by means of which they could show a man that he had no right to vote if such was really the case. The whole system was laid down in such a way as to set a trap for the unwary plural voter, and he considered that it was a most improper thing that he should be made subject to this extreme punishment. They had only to consider the process which went on at the time when the register was made; they knew the activity of agents at that time, their efforts being devoted to getting everybody upon the register and to asking them to signify which way they were going to vote. They also knew the careless way in which voters exercised those votes, and when an agent came in and asked a man to perform this ceremony of "starring" his name for a particular constituency it was possible that afterwards the man would not recollect which particular constituency he had "starred." For not recollecting, however, he was to be subjected to this severe punishment, which, if it were provided for, would, in his judgment, be a travesty of justice. He thought the Bill would destroy the equal right of voting between man and man, and he did not think that they were putting the matter upon a proper basis by introducing a system which would mean constant errors, constant difficulties to voters, and which would lead to the plural voter requiring from the Liberal or Conservative agent before he voted a guarantee that he was not "starred" anywhere else. Without some such guarantee in future he ventured to say that no sensible plural voter would exercise his right to vote. No doubt this might be made the subject of a jeer by hon. Gentlemen 275 opposite, but it was a serious question, and he repeated that this class of voters would not exercise their vote unless they had such an undertaking.
In page 1, line 6, to leave out the words 'or ask for a ballot or voting paper for the purpose of so voting.'"—(Mr. Harmood-Banner.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the hon. Member must excuse him for saying that he had not devoted any part of his interesting and important speech to the Amendment on the Paper.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
rose to a point of order and asked whether it was in order for any hon. Gentleman to say that the speech of another hon. Member had not been in support of the Amendment when that speech had been delivered under the authority of the Chair.
said that statements of that kind had been made all the afternoon by speakers of both sides, and were not meant, he thought, as a reflection on the Chair.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said he did not wish to be disrespectful to the hon. Member towards whom he wished to observe all the courtesies of debate. The point which he had in his mind was the differentiation that the hon. Member made between an attempt to commit an offence, and the case in which an offence had been committed, because he had always understood that as a general principle of law an attempt was treated in the same way as the actual committal of the offence. That was a general statement of the law which he thought lawyers would not deny.
§ MR. HARCOURT
pointed out that he had not said that the punishment was 276 the same; all he had said was that the offence was the same. For thirty-four years we had been living under these penalties for exactly the same offence. Under Section 24 of the Ballot Act, 1872, it was an offence for a voter to ask for a voting paper or to vote in more than one division of a city in which he had several qualifications. Under Schedule 3 of the Corrupt Practices Act, 1883, which applied Section 24 of the Ballot Act, 1872, that offence was impersonation and was punishable by exactly these penalties. This Bill did nothing more than extend the existing law and make it equal in the same circumstances. The existing law prohibited a certain class of plural voters voting, and the Bill merely extended that law to other classes of plural voters.
§ *MR. BRIDGEMAN (Shropshire, Oswestry)
contended that the Bill did not proceed on the lines of the legislation of 1872. There was a great difference between the case of a man who lived on the borders of two constituencies in which he had votes and went by mistake to the wrong polling station and the case of a man who, having voted in one division, deliberately voted in another division.
§ *MR. BRIDGEMAN
admitted that the word "knowingly" made a considerable amount of difference, but contended that it did not put a poor man not well up in election law in a very much better position. They had it on the authority of the Secretary to the Board of Education that the reason why Clause 4 of the Education Bill was not extended to the rural districts was that the rural voter was so deplorably stupid and ignorant that he would not understand in which way he was to give his vote. What then would occur under this Bill? He also thought that to put on the elector the onus, of proof that he had not committed the Act "knowingly" was to put upon him a serious liability, and further that the punishment involved did not in the least, fit the crime.
§ SIR WILLIAM BULL
said that this discussion showed the absolute necessity 277 of what he had urged before, namely, that they should have the Order in Council on the Table. They ought to know exactly how the register was being prepared. Supposing a man went into a polling booth, demanded a ballot paper, gave a name which was not his own, and voted, and it was subsequently discovered that the man whose name was given was starred in another division. How were they going to deal with a case of that kind? Were they going to call upon this man thirty miles away and compel him to prove an alibi, and show that he was somewhere else at the time? He wanted to see the machinery by which this Bill was to be carried out. Was the selection to be made when the claim first came up for consideration, or when?
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said he was not a lawyer but, with all humility, he ventured to challenge the right hon. Gentleman's reading of the law. The offence under consideration was not personation, although the House of Commons could call it so if it liked. It would be monstrous to treat in exactly the same way a man who, having no qualification, pretended to be somebody he was not, and exercised that somebody's right, and a man who having more than one qualification attempted to exercise more than one. The offences were not comparable. He did not think the Act of 1883 supported the right hon. Gentleman's contention. The real offence of personation was one of the gravest that could be committed in an election, and he thought two years hard labour would not be too great a punishment for it. He only wished the offence were less prevalent, and could be more easily detected. He did not hesitate to say that if the punishment fell with certainty on those who were guilty of this offence, some Members of the House would have been defeated. But in a case where a man who had more than one qualification attempted to use more than one, they might at least leave with the prosecution the onus of proving that fraud was intended. He submitted that the right hon. Gentleman was wrong in his general statement of the law. He had ventured to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, and to ask him if the punishments for murder and for attempted murder were the same, The answer of the right hon. 278 Gentleman was that the evidence was the same in both cases. They did not got any explanation from the right hon. Gentleman himself; he was far too wise. The right hon. Gentleman spoke gently to them and would persuade them that he was animated only by a desire to purify the electoral system. But this was partisan legislation of the narrowest kind. It was vindictive legislation. The infliction of the harsh penalties in such cases as might arise under the Bill would compel the re-consideration of the question. The right hon. Gentleman could not contend that this Amendment struck at the root of the Bill. It was well within the scope of the measure and was called for by ordinary considerations of justice and equity. He hoped even now before the debate closed the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider the matter and would agree to some loss savage penalty for an offence which might be committed quite innocently, though the offender might find it difficult to prove his lapse of memory, and which was not at all on a footing with the other cases for which this penalty was imposed.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said he certainly would not contend that the Amendment struck at the root of the Bill, but what it did was to strike at the principles of the present law. The right hon. Gentleman had truly said that he was not a lawyer. Nor was he himself. But both of them had access to the ordinary means of ascertaining the law, which they were supposed to know, and ignorance of which was held to be no excuse for breaking it.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said that was so, but it rather strengthened his argument that where ignorance could prevail among the Members of the House of Commons vindictive penalties should not be imposed.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said he was sorry that ignorance should prevail among some Members of the House on such a subject as this, because the subject had been dealt with fully by legislation which was largely the creation of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, the Registration Act of 1885 and the Redistribution Act of the same year. As it was made an offence by that previous legislation to ask for more than one ballot paper 279 in more than one division of a borough, so it would now be made an offence to ask for more than one ballot paper for more than one constituency in the same year. The law was merely assimilated and the same penalties applied. There was no foundation for a charge of savagery, as this was the same law as that under which they had lived in comparative security for some time.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
said the discussion had gone rather wide of the actual Amendment, and he should not follow a bad example except by putting in a caveat against anticipating a discussion on the word "knowingly," because if this Bill should be passed in its 'present form there was a strong argument that the word would so hamper prosecutions as to make the Bill nugatory. The present more difficult offence of duplicate voting was commonly committed; although he did not like to name constituencies, there were instances well known to him. In one constituency with which he was well acquainted it was admitted by both sides that forty-one electors voted twice in the last election and not a single prosecution followed.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said Section 24 of the Ballot Act declared that a person should be deemed to be guilty of personation who applied for a ballot paper after having voted.
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said that was the very point on which he was about to challenge the right hon. Gentleman. The section mentioned contained the words "who having voted once." The offence under this Bill, however, was that of applying not after having voted but after having been registered. This was a case of a man entitled to vote in a number of constituencies, who was starred for one, but forgot which, applying for a voting paper without having voted and under a pure misapprehension, and he was bound to show that he did not knowingly ask for the paper. The two offences were different.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the Registration Act laid down that a man having more than one qualification in the same borough should vote only for his place of abode, and the Redistribution Act laid down that, if he attempted to vote in any other place, he should be guilty of personation.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
reminded the Committee that it was this Government which, by its legislation during the first two months of its existence, had put the onous of proving innocence upon the accused, and had endeavoured to destroy by its legislation a great principle of our national life, namely, that a man was considered innocent until he had been proved guilty. In this Bill they had made it practically a crime to ask for a ballot paper, and they were endeavouring to establish the fact that the man asking fur the ballot paper was a guilty man until he had proved his innocence.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
asked whether it was not the fact that, if the Bill passed in its present form, a man who had a qualification in two or more constituency, and who did not take the initiative and did not make any selection under the Bill, would be placed in a position in which no other subject, of the Crown was placed, and would not be permitted to exercise the rights to which he was naturally and legally entitled? Not having made a selection, he was therefore a disfranchised citizen. He was deprived of his ordinary right as a voter. Having been, by a very natural and simple omission, deprived of his ordinary right as a voter he, oblivious of the fact, went and voted at one, only one, of the two places for which he was qualified, or rather he asked for a voting paper at one of the two places at which he was naturally entitled to vote. There was no question of personation and no question of voting twice. He went and asked to be allowed to vote once where he was naturally entitled to vote. He was then put in the position of a criminal on his trial, and had got to prove that what 281 he had done he had not done knowingly. ["No."] Yes, he was on his trial. The whole presumption was against him. He had done that which prima facie was his legal right. He could be brought up before a tribunal, it could be said he was a criminal in the eye of the law until he could prove his innocence or ignorance. He was a man who did nothing more than make what, but for this Bill, would be a natural and righteous claim. Yet such a man could be put on trial for an offence for which the penalty might be two years imprisonment with hard labour. He was told that no Judge was now inhuman enough to inflict two years imprisonment with hard labour, as it was known to be utterly destructive of health. There was no resemblance here to the case of polling twice in one borough. What resemblance could there be? Yet such a penalty was provided for a man who, having accidentally disfranchised himself by not making a certain application, tried to exercise a qualification to vote which he would have possessed but for this iniquitous provision. The right hon. Gentleman's defence was of the lamest description. He relied upon precedent. But he forgot that he was making new legislation of a wholly unexampled character. If the right hon. Gentleman was bent on creating a new offence let him at least make the penalty bear some proportion to the gravity of the offence.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the unnecessary heat imported into the discussion by the right hon. Gentleman — he meant nothing offensive to him—had arisen from the right hon. Gentleman's in a moment of inadvertence—like the voter—having taken the hon. Member for Hoxton as his legal advisor, and being misled by him. The pathetic picture of the plural voter, who, because he innocently violated the provision, languished in prison till his death, because
§ the right hon. Gentleman assumed that he would not live to be released, was wholly imaginary, as the provision was governed by the word "knowingly." He was aware that that part of the provision "knowingly" could not be debated now, but he mentioned it in order to assure the right hon. Gentleman that for this night at all events he might sleep in peace.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said he did not think, apart from any view one could take of the law, that this was a matter that could be treated as a trivial one. He was not sure that those great gifts of sarcasm and the skill of which the right hon. Gentleman had shown himself to be such a master in making jokes of serious things were properly applied in an important matter of this kind. What was it that they wanted to do by this Bill? They wanted to prevent a man voting in more than one place. Did not the Committee think that if they enacted that if a man voted in more than one place he should become a felon subject to two years hard labour and the loss of his civil rights for seven years, this democratic House of Commons would have gone far enough? The right hon. Gentleman, in his thirst for his adversary's blood, went further and said that although a man had not voted twice, or even at all, yet because he came forward and asked for a voting paper, being one of those accursed people who had two qualifications, he was to be branded as a felon. Was the right hon. Gentleman adding to the justice of the Bill in going beyond the punishment of the man who voted twice? Let them not, for Heaven's sake, brand as a felon a man who had not voted at all, but simply asked for a voting paper.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 340; Noes, 83. (Division List No. 329.287
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Agnew, George William||Allen, A. Acland(Christchurch)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Ainsworth, John Stirling||Ambrose, Robert|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Alden, Percy||Ashton, Thomas Gair|
|Asquith, Rt.Hn.Herbert Henry||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Kearley, Hudson, E.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Edwards, Frank (Radnor)||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Elibank, Master of||Kincaid-Smith, Captain|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Erskine, David C.||Kitson, Sir James|
|Barnes, G. N.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Beauchamp, E.||Evans, Samuel T.||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster|
|Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham)||Eve, Harry Trelawney||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)|
|Bell, Richard||Everett, R. Lacey||Lambert, George|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Fenwick, Charles||Lamont, Norman|
|Benn, Sir JWilliams(Devonp'rt||Ferens, T. R.||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Benn, W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Leese, Sir JosephF.(Accrington|
|Bethell, J.H. (Essex, Romford||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Lever, A. Levy(Essex, Harwich.|
|Billson, Alfred||Fuller, John Michael F.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral|
|Black, Arthur W.(Bedfordshire||Fullerton, Hugh||Levy, Maurice|
|Boland, John||Gardner, Col. Alan (Hereford,S.||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Bolton, T.D. (Derbyshire, N.E.||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Boulton, A. C. F. (Ramsey)||Gill, A. H.||Lough, Thomas|
|Brace, William||Gladstone, Rt.Hn.Herbert John||Lundon, W.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Glover, Thomas||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Brigg, John||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lynch, H. B.|
|Bright, J. A.||Gooch, George Peabody||Macdonald, J.M. (Falkirk B'ghs|
|Brodie, H. C.||Grant, Corrie||Maclean, Donald|
|Brooke, Stopford||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Brunner, J.F.L. (Lanes.,Leigh||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Brunner,Sir John T.(Cheshire)||Griffith, Ellis J.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hn.James(Aberdeen||Gulland, John W.||MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.)|
|Bryce,J.A. (Inverness Burghs)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||McCallum, John M.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||McCrae, George|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hall, Frederick||McHugh, Patrick A.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||McKillop, W.|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Hardie, J. Keir(MerthyrTydvil||McLaren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||McLaren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||McMicking, Major G.|
|Cairns, Thomas||Hart-Davies, T.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Carr-Gomm, H W.||Harwood, George||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Causton, Rt.Hn Richard Knight||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Cawley, Frederick||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Marks, G. Croydon(Launceston|
|Chance, Frederick William||Haworth, Arthur A.||Marnham, F. J.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hedges, A. Paget||Massie, J.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Helme, Norval Watson||Meagher, Michael|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Hemmerde, Edward George||Menzies, Walter|
|Clarke, C. Goddard||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Cleland, J. W.||Henderson,J.M.(Aberdeen, W.)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Clough, W.||Henry, Charles S.||Mond, A.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon.,S.)||Montagu, E. S.|
|Coats, Sir T. Glen(Renfrew, W.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Higham, John Sharp||Mooney, J. J.|
|Collins, Sir WmJ(S.Pancras,W.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)|
|Corbett.CH (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Hodge, John||Morrell, Philip|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hogan, Michael||Morse, L. L.|
|Cory, Clifford John||Holland, Sir William Henry||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hooper, A. G.||Murphy, John|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Murray, James|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hope, W. Bateman(Somerset,N||Myer, Horatio|
|Cremer, William Randal||Horniman, Emslie John||Napier, T. B.|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Crossley, William J.||Hudson, Walter||Nicholls, George|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r|
|Davies, David (MontgomeryCo||Hyde, Clarendon||Nolan, Joseph|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Idris, T. H. W.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Nuttall, Harry|
|Delany, William||Jenkins, J.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Dickinson, WH. (St. Pancras,N||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Duckworth, James||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh're||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Jowett, F. W.||O'Grady, J.|
|Dunne, Major E Martin(Walsall||Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|O'Malley, William||Runciman, Walter||Walker, H. de R. (Leicester)|
|O'Mara, James||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Wallace, Robert|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Partington, Oswald||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Paul, Herbert||Scott, A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Sears, J. E.||Ward, John(Stoke-upon. Trent)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Seddon, J.||Ward, W. Dudley(Southampton|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Seely, Major J. B.||Wardle, George J.|
|Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton||Shackleton, David James||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Simon, John Allsebrook.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Pollard, Dr.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Price, C.E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Weir, James Galloway|
|Price, Robert John(Norfolk, E.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Radford, G. H.||Soares, Ernest J.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Rainy, A. Rolland||Spicer, Sir Albert||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Stanger, H. Y.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Steadman, W. C.||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Rees, J. D.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Strachey, Sir Edward||Williams, J, (Glamorgan)|
|Renton, Major Leslie||Stuart, James (Sunderland)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthn|
|Richards, Thomas (W.Monmth||Sullivan, Donal||Williamson, A.|
|Richards, T.F. (Wolverh'nipt'n||Summerbell, T.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Richardson, A.||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.||Winfrey, R|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Robinson, S.||Tomkinson, James||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Trevelvan, Charles Philips||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A Pease.|
|Rogers, F. E. Newman||Veryney, F. W.|
|Rose, Charles Day||Vivian, Henry|
|Rowlands, J.||Wadsworth, J.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Craik, Sir Henry||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dalrymple, Viscount||Marks, H. H. (Kent)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Doughty, Sir George||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Balfour,Rt.Hn. A.J. (CityLond||Duncan, Robert(Lanark, Govan||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Nield, Herbert|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Fletcher, J. S.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Forster, Henry William||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashford||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Rawlinson, Jn. Frederick Peel|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesal)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hervey, F.W.F. (BuryS. Edmd||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Castlereagli, Viscount||Hills, J. W.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Cave, George||Houston, Robert Paterson||Smith, F.E (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor, C. W.||Hunt, Rowland||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn.J.A. (Wore||Keswick, William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Coates, E. Letham (Lewisham||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Collings, Rt. Hn.J.(Birmingh'm||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A.R||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Tuke, Sir John Batty||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES,—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Walker, Col. W.H,(Lancashire)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid||Younger, George|
§ SIR A. ACLAND-HOOD (Somersetshire, Wellington)
drew attention to the fact that the door of the inner lobby had not been locked during the division; and that that was the only reason why the division had taken so long. He wished to point out that it was almost impossible to carry out the new Rules unless these doors were locked at the proper time.
said he was much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for drawing his attention to this matter, and he would take care that it did not occur again.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said he wished to move an Amendment which was not on the Paper, but which was of a very simple character. It was to substitute for the word "seven" the word "fifteen" The effect of that would be that this Bill would have no operative effect until the year 1917. That appeared to be a proposal which excited the mirth of hon. Members opposite, but he had observed that very little was sufficient to excite their mirth, and he thought that the proposal was not only a serious one but one which would commend itself to every fair-minded man in the Committee. The Bill was brought forward to remove what were described as certain anomalies. These anomalies had been variously described by hon. Members who had addressed the Committee, but the hon. Member for Prestwich, speaking of an Amendment which would have removed disfranchisement in the case of a by-election, said that there was a division in Lancashire where there were 8,000 voters of this class and that if this Bill were not carried every Liberal candidate would find those votes against him. That was the reason for the whole Bill. He ventured to think, 288 however, before the anomaly dealt with by the Bill was removed, there were other anomalies in the election law of this country which craved much more earnestly for removal than this one, which at its worst amounted to this, that certain electors had under certain conditions rather more voting power than other electors had. There were, as he had said, other anomalies of a much more serious character than that, and if they were going to put their election law into a more satisfactory condition they must remove those anomalies also. It was in order to provide time for legislation to remove those anomalies that he proposed that this Bill should not come into operation until the year 1917. One of these anomalies was the withholding of votes from women in regard to the election of Members of Parliament. He said, and said it with the assent of the majority of hon Members opposite, that that was a very serious anomaly, and one which ought to be removed speedily. In spite of recent events, which they all deplored, he said that that was an anomaly that could be defended upon no principle of democratic legislation, and in his opinion could not be defended on any ground of expediency. He did not want to go through all the reasons why women should have votes, because they were familiar to hon. Members opposite, but he would recall some of them.
said the question of women's suffrage was not relevant to this Bill, as he had already ruled. He did not think that the noble Lord could go into that subject at any length, but he was entitled to call attention to the anomaly.
§ SIR FRANCIS LOWE (Birmingham, Edgbaston)
asked whether it was the case that the question of the extension of the franchise to women could not be discussed on a Bill of this kind, which proposed to deal with and alter the existing franchise?
§ LORD R. CECIL
said he would obey the ruling of the Chair, but all he said was that before this law came into operation one gross anomaly ought to be removed. He quite agreed that no very lengthy discussion would be advisable, and he did not propose to discuss the matter at length. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Move the closure."] He should certainly not be deterred by any want of courtesy on the other side from putting forward his case upon this occasion. The case for women's suffrage was briefly——[MINISTERIAL cries of "Order, order."] He did not know whether it was intended to allow the right of free speech in this House. [MINISTERIAL cries of "You are disobeying the ruling of the Chair," and counter cries of "The Chair knows its own business better than you."] What he was endeavouring to put before the Committee, subject to the ruling of the Chairman on the question of order and not the opinion of irresponsible Members, was only a short reference to the argument which was used in favour of women's suffrage. That argument was put generally on the ground of principle. It was said, and said rightly, that every thing that could be said that would justify the granting to an ordinary adult citizen of this country the right to vote for a Member of Parliament could be said with equal force of women, and those hon. Members who took the view that the franchise was a matter of right—and there were a large number of Members on the opposite side of the House who took that view—felt that women had an equal right to the franchise with men.
said he must tell the noble Lord that he was out of order in arguing this question in detail. He might mention the anomaly, but he must not argue the matter at length.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said he was endeavouring to obey the ruling of the Chair, and he ventured to submit that the interruptions of hon. Members on the other side who did not agree with the arguments advanced on his side of the House were disorderly. The point he was making was that here was a great anomaly and a large class of people were excluded from the franchise. Some held that that was justified on the ground of right and others on the ground of expediency. All who advocated women's suffrage regarded the matter as one of the highest importance. [Cries of "Name."] He was not arguing the matter, but no one could doubt that it was a matter of first class importance and constituted a serious anomaly. Instead of dealing with that anomaly, however, the Government dealt with a much smaller anomaly, and his contention was that before the House allowed this legislation to become operative they must give ample time to the Legislature to correct the anomaly which had been recognised for a long time by the majority of this House, who were pledged to remove it. If hon. Members did not support this Amendment they would lose their chance of correcting the anomaly, though perhaps they were not in earnest about what they said. He appealed to those hon. Members who were pledged to give women's suffrage, and so remedy a far greater anomaly than this Bill at present dealt with, to support the Amendment as the only effective way of enforcing their views in regard to the enfranchisement of women.
In page 1, line 8, to leave out the word 'seven,' and insert the word 'fifteen.'"—(Lord R. Cecil.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'seven' stand part of the clause."291
§ MR. HARCOURT
said this was not a Franchise Bill. [Cries of "It is a Disfranchise Bill."] The noble Lord might just as well have moved to leave out 1907 and insert the Greek Kalends. If the Bill was a good one it should be passed now; it was not like wine that would improve by being kept ten years. He could not himself see any half-way house. The majority of the House had agreed this was a good Bill, and therefore he could not recommend that it should be postponed for ten years.
§ MR. RAWLINSON
said he only rose because the Amendment which he proposed to move had been ruled out of order, and the only way of raising the point dealt with by that Amendment was upon the Amendment now before the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman had told the Committee that this was neither a Franchise Bill nor a Disfranchise Bill. As a matter of fact, it was most emphatically a disfranchising Bill. Its intention was to disfranchise a large number of people who at present had a vote. A person who now had a vote in more than one constituency could vote in each constituency. In the future if this Bill passed he could only vote in one place, and was disfranchised in the remaining constituencies. Further than that, hon. Members knew perfectly well that unless the voter took the precaution which, in his opinion, from his experience of registration work, not one voter in fifty would take, he would be disfranchised in every constituency in which under the present law he would have a vote. This was a Bill which essentially dealt with the franchise and altered it. What better answer to the statements of the right hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill could there be than the speech of the one hon. 292 Gentleman besides the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill who had been allowed to speak from the Government side of the Committee. That hon. Gentleman told the Committee frankly that the passing of this Bill meant that in one constituency 8,000 voters would be lost to the Unionist Party. It was undoubtedly a Bill that would affect the voters in a large number of constituencies. It might set right one anomaly, but there were other anomalies which existed at the present time, and he contended that all the anomalies that at present existed in the law should so far as possible be dealt with at the same time.
§ MR. RAWLINSON
said the reason why he should support the Amendment was, that if this Bill did not come into force till 1917, it would give time to the Government to deal with some of the other questions.
§ And, it being Eleven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ Whereupon MR. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 4th August last.
§ Adjourned at one minute after Eleven o'clock.