§ (1) The area formed by the existing Parliamentary boroughs in London specified in the first column of the First Schedule to this Act, and in this Act referred to as existing Parliamentary boroughs, shall be a, single Parliamentary borough to be called the Parliamentary borough of London.
§ (2) Each of the existing Parliamentary boroughs or, where such a borough is divided into divisions, each of those divisions shall be a division of the Parliamentary borough of London, returning in the case of the city of London two members and in all other cases one member, and called by the name specified in the second column of the First Schedule to this Act.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
moved to omit the Clause.
This Clause is really the Bill. The remaining clauses are only machinery clauses which are necessary in the event of Clause 1 passing. Clause 1 provides that the existing Parliamentary boroughs of London shall be a single Parliamentary borough, to be called the Parliamentary Borough of London, and it goes on to say that the existing Parliamentary boroughs, except in the case of the City of London, which shall return two Members, shall be called by the name specified in the second column of the First Schedule to this Act. This Clause deals with 59 constituencies—as a matter of fact they return 62 Members—and it is a disfranchising clause. It is brought forward, as far as I can see, for no reason whatever except that London as a rule returns Unionists to Parliament. The Plural Voting Bill stipulated that plural voting should not exist over England. That I think was a wrong Bill, but, whether right or wrong, it dealt with the whole country. But this Bill disfranchises one part of the country only, namely, London. The only argument which has been brought forward in favour of this Clause has been that the same method pertains in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and other places. I beg to differ from that statement. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman why his own 52 party, which passed the Redistribution Act in 1885, expressly provided that London should consist of a certain number of boroughs? If they had not put that Clause into the Act London would have fallen under the Bill, and would have been in the same position as the right hon. Gentleman now desires that it shall be in. There must have been a reason at that time for making the provisions which were then made, and which constituted London 59 or 60 different Parliamentary boroughs. The reason is because London is not one borough as a whole but is made up of a large agglomeration of different cities which from time to time have grown together. Take the Royal Borough of Kensington. How on earth can the right hon. Gentleman say that it has anything whatever to do with Hoxton or Mile End, or ever had? The history of London is that Chelsea, the City of Westminster, Kensington and the other various boroughs were in the old days villages, and have gradually grown up until they have all consolidated round one central spot and have for certain purposes become one city. But all the social life and the business of London are very nearly as distinct to-day as they were when those different villages had no cohesion between them. Take the case of Lewisham. What interest is there between the man in Lewisham and the man in Mile End? And there are many other instances which might be multiplied to show that there is a very great difference between these numbers of interests joined together and the one borough of Manchester or Liverpool or Birmingham.
Even if the example given by the right hon. Gentleman was a good one it has not been carried out either in Liverpool or in Manchester. Take Salford. It is just as much a part of Manchester as Chelsea is a part of London, and yet the people in Salford are allowed to vote without any regard to what qualification they may have in Manchester. Take Bootle. That is just as much a part of Liverpool as Peck-ham or Camberwell is part of London, and yet Bootle and Liverpool are two different constituencies as far as regards the Parliamentary vote. There are many other 53 cases. We might take the case of West Ham, East Ham, and Croydon. Does the right hon. Gentleman intend later on to scoop into his net East Ham, West Ham, and Croydon? Where is he going to draw the line? It is a purely arbitrary line which the right hon. Gentleman has drawn, founded upon the Bill of 1885, which stipulated that London should be divided into these different Parliamentary boroughs. In the case of Liverpool I am informed there are nine divisions. A great deal of confusion arises there owing to the difficulty of finding out whether a man is entitled to vote in one division or another. I am informed that it very often happens that a man residing in one part of Liverpool and having a qualification in another selects the district for exercising his right to vote where no contest takes place when an election occurs, and, therefore, he is disqualified.
In London, where you have 60 divisions with a population of live millions, the difficulty of finding out who is and who is not qualified, will be practically insuperable. How is anybody to know that John Jones who happens to carry on business in Mile End is the same John Jones who happens to live in Paddington? There may be two John Jones, or there may be two Samuel Evans. [An Hon. MEMBER: "No."] Well, one real one. Now, how are you to know whether it is the real one or the imitation one. It is quite impossible to find out, and consequently enormous confusion must result. Then the difficulty that is put upon the elector will be very great. Hitherto being enfranchised by Act of Parliament, he has been allowed to exercise his vote, provided that he pays rates and taxes, and has resided for a certain time in a particular borough in which his qualification is situated. Now all this is to be changed. First of all, how is he to know that there will be a contest in the division which he selects? A man may have a qualification to vote in the City of London and also in South Kensington. How is he to know which division he ought to choose? He will very likely choose the wrong one, and if he chooses a division where there is no election he is disfranchised. Why should a man who has a business qualification in the City of London and a house in Croydon be able to vote in both places, whereas a man who has a business qualification in the City of London and a house in South Kensington can only vote in one place? There is no logic of any sort or kind in such a system. If the right hon. Gentle- 54 man says that is what happens in Liverpool I would say that Liverpool is a far less important place than London. It has only nine divisions as against 60 in London. It would be very much simpler for the right hon. Gentleman, if he is actuated by great zeal for reformation, to alter the system in Liverpool, and make it correspond to the system in London rather than to make London correspond with Liverpool.
The real object of the Bill is very plain. Having failed with this Plural Voting Bill, the right hon. Gentleman has turned his attention to London. I do not know whether he was so foolish as to think that hon. Members would not see through this first Clause. It is evident that the only reason why this Clause has been brought in is the fear of London Radical Members that they are not going to be returned again. They know perfectly well that unless some gerrymandering is done they will not get in again. They have been weighed and found wanting. I fancy I can see them on bended knees imploring the First Commissioner of Works to bring in something to give them security, and this is the result of that representation. I hope the country will see that, instead of being desirous of giving every man in London an opportunity of recording his vote, the one thing which the Government are desirous of doing is to prevent the London voter from recording his vote. They are limiting the number of voters, and putting as many difficulties as possible in the way of the voter who has more than one qualification in making a selection, and then they hope that the citizens will again pursue the suicidal policy of returning Radical Members to this House. I hope this manœuvre will fail. Manœuvres of this kind do not answer, and I do not believe that this manœuvre is going to answer, and for that reason I have great pleasure in moving the omission of the Clause.
§ Sir HENRY KIMBER
The hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) has said that Clause 1 is really the Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. L. Harcourt) said that the Clause contains the governing provision of the Bill. All the changes to be effected by the Bill are consequent upon Clause 1. I had hoped at an earlier stage to be able to state what I am now going to say. If I had been allowed to state my objections to the Bill on the Motion to recommit it, I believe I might have been able to convince the right 55 hon. Gentleman that the arguments he has used in support of the measure are not well founded. In that case it might not have been necessary to summarily ask the House to reject the Bill, as I intend to do on the Motion for the third reading. The Rules of the House did not permit me to deal with the merits of the Bill then, and I quite recognise the justice of your ruling when you stopped me.
I venture to think that the right hon. Gentleman in comparing London with the great provincial cities has made the mistake into which he has been lead by the name "London." The right hon. Gentleman has said that the sole object of Clause 1 is the removal of the exceptional anomalies which exist in London alone of all the great cities. That would have been true if in speaking of London he had been speaking of one of the boroughs of London. Compared with Birmingham one of the boroughs of London is in about the same position. Tower Hamlets has seven sub-divisions and a population of about; 500,000; Birmingham has nine sub-divisions and a population of slightly over 500,000. If the right hon. Gentleman had compared these two he would have been accurate. Successive occupation applies already in Tower Hamlets as in Birmingham. There are 16 boroughs in London which are subdivided, and these already have successive occupation as between the different subdivisions. The proposal to convert London County into one borough is a proposal which does not admit of comparison with the state of affairs in Birmingham or any other provincial city. The right hon. Gentleman made another mistake on a former stage of the Bill. He spoke of the arbitrary and unreasonable division of the Metropolis for electoral purposes into separate boroughs. The Metropolis has never been divided in the sense in which Birmingham is divided. Birmingham grew from one centre. London has not grown into the Metropolis. Greater London has been properly denominated by Act of Parliament a county. It contains 118 square miles. Birmingham has not one-tenth either the area or the population. London contains about 5,000,000 people and 700,000 electors. It the right hon. Gentleman had wished to make a real comparison between the Metropolis and the provincial towns, he would have considered like conditions, if he had considered the history of the growth of London and of the provincial cities, he would have seen that the 56 process was different. Birmingham has half a dozen separate towns surrounding it. It is the centre of these large separate entities. The boroughs outside of London were separate entities before the Act of 1885. There were 10 independent boroughs when that Act was passed. There are now 28 boroughs, including the 10 I have mentioned. Sixteen of them are so large that they have had to be subdivided, and so it comes to pass that greater London; has 59 different Parliamentary entities. To compare that state of things with the conditions in Birmingham, unless you take in the outside towns which have grown up around Birmingham, is not to make a true-comparison. In order to make a true comparison you must include in the case of Birmingham Aston Manor, Walsall, Wednesbury, Dudley, West Bromwich, and Wolverhampton. In the case of Manchester, in the same way, you would have to include seven other boroughs, namely, Bury, Stockport, Salford, Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Stalybridge, In Leeds, in the same way, you would have to include Wakefield, Bradford, and Halifax, which are all separate entities, but have not sprung out of Leeds any more than the ten boroughs which existed before 1864 have sprung out of London. If London is to take in suburbs, then all the boroughs which are south of the Tyne should be included in one borough with all the boroughs north of the Tyne; and Tynemouth. South Shields, Gateshead, and Sunderland should be incorporated into one borough with Newcastle on Tyne. Other cases which may be referred to are Liverpool and Birkenhead; Plymouth, Devonport, and Stonehouse; Bristol and Bath; Chatham and Rochester; and Dover and Deal.
These examples cannot be compared with the enormous area and the electorates of London. Even when you bring them all in, they do not compare with that which you are converting into one borough. You are converting a county into a borough. Why not convert all the other counties into boroughs? Yorkshire has 38 divisions, county and borough. Why should not all these be made into one borough? The idea comes irresistibly to the mind that the purpose of all this is to destroy the dual vote. The merits or demerits of dual votes have never been threshed out in this House at all. I do not recollect in my career in Parliament ever having had the dual vote in London threshed out. How do you get one vote one value? Take the case of the employer who has a factory 57 in two different parts of London, perhaps 16 miles across, and whose funds provide not only a large amount of taxation in both places, but also employment for thousands of men. How is his one single vote to represent any value unless he can have a vote in the various places in which he is so large an employer? How is he to be represented? Or is taxation to be divorced entirely from representation? Already in municipal governments in London property owners have no votes, and this state of affairs the late Lord Goschen admitted more than 20 years ago to be an injustice which should be remedied. It is said that the Bill gives the same successive occupation in London as exists elsewhere. It does nothing of the kind. It is successive occupation for a county. Why not, then, for other counties? The hon. Gentleman pointed out the absurdity of a man who moved from one side of the street to the other losing his vote. But this absurdity remains along the periphery of a circle 50 miles in diameter around London, and any man going outside that boundary loses his votes.
The right hon. Gentleman on the first reading said that one of the consequences of this Clause making London county a borough was that the radius of residential qualification is enlarged. But the fact is that, although the man can vote at present if he reside within seven miles of one of these 27 boroughs, yet under this Bill he is compelled to live 16 miles out to retain his vote, and he cannot have his residential vote if he lives inside. He will have to remove his residence from seven miles to 16 out. You give him permission to vote as a resident within the 25 miles, but he must not vote if he is within the boundary of the administrative county. He must go outside that. I challenged the right hon. Gentleman to show that I am wrong in pointing out this disqualification. I put that down as the reason for the difference between the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on the first occasion when asking leave to bring in the Bill and the speech on the second reading. He had spoken of four changes when introducing the Bill, but referred to three on the second reading. It does effect the four changes no doubt, but he did not on the second occasion claim it as an advantage. I was not surprised at that, because there is a great disadvantage in making every man who lives within seven miles of business now live 16 miles away.
That is one of the minor results of this; but I now come to the main and the serious 58 thing. The real object is to disfranchise the whole of the people of London who happen to have more votes than one. In Birmingham a man can live in Aston Manor and vote there and he can vote in Birmingham as well, and if you wanted to deprive the man in London of his vote, why not deprive a man in Aston Manor? I do not know by what process of arrangement of political matters it has happened that while one party are always proclaiming one man one vote as the principle of representation, and the other side—our side—one vote one value, we have never got to close quarters to discuss the merits of either one or the other. One man one vote no doubt would give to the majority of noes, as the late Lord Salisbury said, the absolute power in the country. We have an aphorism in the English language that wisdom is supposed to reside in the minority, but the power is not in the same hands apparently, and before we come to abolish plural voting it ought to be discussed in solemn form, and, if we could get such a thing in this House, in a non-party spirit. I have always contended that the suffrage and the representation of the people ought to be the equally anxious care of all sides in this House, and divested of all party designs and party desires, to obtain an advantage of any one party over another.
May we not claim for the dual vote, at all events, that it has existed for all time? In spite of the series of Reform Bills—1868, 1884, and so on—which have always gone in the direction of extending the suffrage and lowering the qualification, they have all preserved, among others, the university vote and other forms of dual votes, and there has never been a frontal attack on that system. But under this law all these classes are disfranchised. It has been said let the existing franchise be given as wide enfranchisement as you can, but do not take away from anybody. I submit that this is eminently a Bill which disfranchises 59 out of the 600 constituencies in the United Kingdom, and does it in such a way as to alter the relative proportion between that area and that number of constituencies and all the rest of the United Kingdom. If it were the whole of the United Kingdom that you were dealing with and there were nothing outside it you would disturb the arrangement as between themselves. But here you alter the relative voting power as between the County of London and the other counties and boroughs of the kingdom. I 59 intend voting for the rejection of the Bill on this ground, amongst others, that the effect of Clause 1, which is the Bill, is to leave unremedied a large number of very much grosser anomalies than those with which it purports to deal. Some of the anomalies which exist might have been dealt with in such a Bill. My Constituency is the largest in London. It has the largest area. It is as large as Birmingham and contains a population of a quarter of a million of people. It has 38,000 electors. There are no fewer than eight constituencies inside of London which, taken together, have no more electors than Wandsworth has. So, at all events, there might have been a little redistribution or an alteration of boundaries. The maximum is Wandsworth, with 38,000 electors; the minimum is St. George's-in-the-East, with 3,400 electors, or less than one to ten as compared with Wandsworth. The reason the right hon. Gentleman gave for not dealing with the alteration of boundaries inside was this. He said:—If I made a rectification of boundaries they would at this point say that I was attempting to gerrymander a few constituencies for the advantage of my own party.6.0 P.M.
May I ask whether he could possibly have been open to the aspersion or insinuation if he had attempted to right wrongs such as those in the case of Wandsworth, and in the case of the eight boroughs which between them have got only as many electors as Wandsworth has altogether? It could hardly have been for that reason. Possibly it was that Wandsworth, large as it is supposed to be, is at present a Unionist constituency, while the smaller boroughs, most of them, belong to the party which the right hon. Gentleman represents. He could hardly have been accused of gerrymandering for the benefit of his own party if he had attempted to rectify the tremendous injustices which have grown up for the last 20 years—injustices which the father of the right hon. Gentleman-honour be to his name—admitted in this House, I think it was in the year 1892. I then pointed out the discrepancies which existed in London—and they were then not nearly so great as they are to-day, because they have been increasing from year to year—and urged that they ought to be remedied. The right hon. Gentleman himself, in his speech on the second reading, admitted that it was an evil which ought to be remedied. I ask him to apply 60 a remedy. He is dealing with London in what he calls a small measure, and yet it takes away the political rights of a large portion of five millions of people, and does not condescend to remedy other injustices such as I have described. I could multiply instances, but I think I have said enough to show that this Clause ought to be rejected, and, indeed, that the whole Bill ought to be rejected, on the grounds I have stated. I hope, despairingly may I say, that we may some day have a full and square discussion on the merits, or demerits if you like, of what is called the plural vote, which, I contend, provides the only way by which you can have one vote one value. It is the only way that you can have taxation with representation at all. It is the only way in which you can give the taxpayers a voice in the expenditure of the money which they contribute. If you take the borough, for instance, as a microcosm of the whole State, or if you take the still smaller microcosm, a household consisting of the master and three men servants, what do you find? There you have three votes to one—that of the master who supports the men, and probably their families also. If the State is built on a suffrage of that kind, one man one vote, and not value, what is to prevent the three men servants from passing a law that the master shall become the man and that they shall become the masters. We must go to root principles in considering whether you will destroy, as surely you will destroy under this Bill, the dual vote in Metropolitan London. There are other points I should like to have mentioned, but I shall reserve them for another opportunity, when I move the rejection of the Bill on the third reading.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
I desire to support the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for the City of London, which was seconded by my hon. Friend who has just spoken, and whose knowledge and authority on this subject is probably unequalled by that of any other Member of the House. There are one or two reasons to which I desire to refer, and which I do not think have been given in the course of the Debate. I believe there is absolutely no precedent for a Bill of this character. Not only that, but the Government in adopting this policy in regard to London are following a course exactly the reverse of what has been hitherto taken in all these matters. I am not going back to the ancient boroughs, to the distant times when many of these boroughs were 61 abolished in 1832, and some subsequently in 1867, but certainly in modern times the practice which has been followed by Parliament has been exactly the reverse of that which the Government are now pursuing, and the precedent they are setting is a very bad one. What has been the practice hitherto in creating a Parliamentary borough? Where, by industry and intelligence of its people, a town has grown to a certain size, it is made a municipal borough, and after the charter has been bestowed upon it, and after it has managed its own affairs for some time, then Parliament, probably a long time afterwards, recognises that it ought to be given Parliamentary representation. That was the case with regard to Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, and other big towns. This Clause which we are discussing is one of the most astounding proposals which this House has ever had placed before it. What has been the previous experience in dealing with the Government of London? We had the great Local Government Act of 1888 passed, and what was the policy adopted at that time? It was commonly admitted in all quarters of the House, and out of it, that it was impossible to apply to London principles which were applicable to Birmingham and other industrial centres. What does this Clause do? It asks Parliament to declare that the County of London shall be made one borough for Parliamentary purposes. As my hon. Friend has shown, it is exactly the reverse of a borough; it is the creation of a state of things which was begun in many other parts of the country. The Government would never dream of bringing in a Bill of one clause saying that Manchester and Salford should be one Parliamentary borough. Having made London a single borough for all municipal purposes, are you going to abolish the local government of London, its municipal life, and merge it all into one, because, if not, you have no right whatever to ask Parliament to say in this extraordinary Bill that London is to be a single borough?
Objection has been taken by the Minister in charge of the Bill to the statement that the real object of this Bill is to gerrymander the London constituency in order to suit the Government's own views. I have no desire to say anything offensive, but if one examines the Bill one is driven hard to find what other object there is. To say that this is a moderate and modest measure of electoral reform is to talk so much nonsense. How can it be 62 a measure of electoral reform which does not deal with some of the greatest drawbacks to our electoral system? The Government might have renected on the fact that out of some 7,000,000 electors in the country, a majority of 500,000 electors gave them their majority in this House. That I should say is a much greater anomaly than the amount of dual voting you have got in London. You are not dealing with infinitely greater anomalies than those with which you propose to deal as a result of passing this Bill. On what ground is it necessary to get rid of this system of dual voting? We have had grave statements about the unsatisfactory results of the exercise of more than one vote by a single individual. It has never been shown that any great evil has ever arisen from it, and we have never had an answer from the other side to the argument that up to the present time a great many people in this country have held that taxation and representation ought to go together. You are making an experiment, and the existence of dual voting is to be abolished; yet you ask us to dismiss from our minds the theory that this Bill is brought in for a political purpose. If it is not, why are you selecting London? Why should you suddenly say that London shall be turned into a single borough? The arguments of my hon. Friend and the illustration which he has given on this point have not been met. Anybody who knows London is aware that one of the great difficulties connected with its administration is that there is not that civic life in its different parts which is to be found in great cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham, and other places. You will never get that feeling in London. The different parts of the Metropolis are remote and distant from each other, and that fact is realised by the central authority, the London County Council, of which some hon. Members of this House have been chairman. They know as well as I do that one of the difficulties in London is the fact that, owing to the distance between the various parts, and the difference between the conditions of the people inhabiting them, the same feeling of interest in local government as obtains in our large towns cannot be aroused. Are you to ignore that London is a collection of a series of towns? How are you going to merge Fulham into Westminster, any more than you can merge two boroughs in Lancashire into one? It would be impossible to do so. If Parliament is to be asked to pass this Bill, we are entitled to know what is the 63 purpose for which you propose to make this extraordinary change? I do not believe that any justification can be given for it, except one or two. You can revert to the argument used when you brought in the Plural Voting Bill, and say that you are determined that if you cannot do it in one way you are determined, in another way, to destroy the dual vote. If you are going to do that you have no right to begin in regard to London, and to select London, the centre of our country and the capital of our country, and by a most extraordinary and roundabout way apply a principle there which you are not applying in the rest of the country. If that is your argument, then you ought to Lave brought in a Bill dealing with the whole country, the same as you brought in before. At all events, do not single out London to make an experiment there which you are unwilling or unable to make elsewhere. If it is not on that ground you go, then I say there is no other left except the one to which we take so much exception, and except that you are desirous of appealing to a new London, not being satisfied with the present London. I can only say I have done my best by careful study of the Bill and with some little knowledge of the local government and electoral conditions of London to discover any other justification for the introduction of the Bill than the one I have just named, and I believe firmly that the sole object of bringing in this Bill is to effect a change in London which, whether rightly or wrongly, you believe will be favourable to yourselves. I venture to say again that the whole question of this dual vote has never yet been thoroughly debated or examined in this House. I am not at all sure that the assumption which hon. Gentlemen have so often made in regard to the effect of this vote is fully justified. At all events I take my stand on this; I say there is no precedent of any kind for legislation of this kind; that it is going directly in the face of all previous legislation dealing either with electoral reform or local government. I say there is no justification whatever for its introduction now except the one desire on the part of His Majesty's Ministers to make a change in London that they think will be favourable to themselves. Therefore, certainly I hope that we shall show by our vote recorded to-night that we object as strongly as we possibly can to this Bill, and believe not only that it ought not to 64 pass, but that its introduction is a sheer waste of Parliamentary time.
This third reading Debate has been interesting in some of the admissions which have been made in the course of it. The hon. Member for Wandsworth (Sir H. Kimber) has given us a definition of one vote one value. One imagined from the many speeches we have heard from him on the subject that one vote one value had some relation to redistribution, but apparently from the illustrations he gave us to-night one vote one value is to be based on the value of a man's property, and on the amount of employment he affords. That is a new definition of one vote one value, and it is an admission which will be useful for us to remember in the future.
§ Sir H. KIMBER
I did not say so. The right hon. Gentleman puts what he thinks I am suggesting into his own words. I did not say at all anything like that which he has said.
I hope he will forgive my illustration, but he referred to a man who owned two factories, distant 16 miles apart—
§ Sir H. KIMBER
I did for the purpose of showing that he had no voice at all, but I did not say it was the foundation. I said that one vote one value would be one compensation for them. I did not say that was to be the only object for his having the dual vote.
I did not suggest it was to be the only one, but apparently the possession of factories, and, above all, the amount of employment which he afforded was to be the ground for the plurality of his votes. He objects altogether, as I understand it, to successive qualifications as between the various parts of London.—[Sir H. KIMBER dissented.]—He said so in his speech. If that is so then he is the great disfranchiser, because there is nothing in our present London system which affects such hardship as the want of successive qualification. The hon. Baronet went into an elaborate calculation which I am bound to say, although I greatly desire to understand, I was wholly unable to comprehend. He has somehow arrived at a figure of 16 miles away from London as the average distance a man has got to live in order to secure a vote in London, and that unless he lives more than 16 miles out of London he is not to have a vote. I absolutely confess it is impossible to understand what the hon. Baronet means, 65 although I am quite sure he made that statement with a profound belief in its truth.
§ Sir H. KIMBER
May I explain? At present a man who lives seven miles from the borough in which he has a vote can vote in respect of that borough and in respect of his residence as well. By making the whole of London into one borough he must go outside the outer circumference of the whole county in order to retain his residential vote. That might easily be 16 miles, for the reason that London is 16 miles across.
The enlargement of the seven miles limit will add an enormous number of votes to London. It is on that very account I should say that this was an enfranchising rather than a disfranchising Bill. At present, as the hon. Baronet knows, it is necessary to live within seven miles of the boundary of the particular borough in order to obtain your vote if you are not resident. Now it will only be necessary to live within seven miles of the outer boundary of the whole of London in order to secure a vote. Therefore an enormous number of people who have business within London, but who are now disqualified from having a business qualification, will obtain votes under the alteration of this Bill. It is unnecessary to point out to the hon. Baronet the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury) that there is a special Clause preserving the 25 miles limit for the City of London.
§ Sir H. KIMBER
It is quite true that it will only be necessary to live within seven miles of the outer boundary, but if he still lives within seven miles and inside the outer boundary he will not get the second vote.
I am very sorry, but the hon. Baronet is still unable to convey to me exactly what he means. I have stated the effect of the Bill, and I really believe there is no such figure as 16 miles which could under any circumstances occur under it, and which does not occur under the existing law. The hon. Baronet went on to say that there were many anomalies in London which are unremedied. I have always admitted that, and I wish to see many more of them remedied, though I did not feel I was justified in putting them into this small and simple Bill. Redistribution is, of course, to the hon. Baronet what King Charles's head was to Mr. Dick, and he was perfectly justified in giving his hobby a canter on this occasion. 66 But what would have been said to me if in this Bill I had proceeded to the redistribution of London with all the anomalies of the country outside, which country Members care for, though the hon. Baronet does not because he does not live in the country. I should have been denounced as a worse gerrymanderer even than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin (Mr. Walter Long) or the hon. Baronet the Member for the City thought it necessary to call me to-day. The hon. Baronet said that I might have righted the wrongs of Wandsworth. I could not right the wrongs of Wandsworth, whatever they are, without dealing with the whole of London, and then I should have been blamed, as I was, for not dealing with the country outside. The hon. Baronet said, incidentally—I do not know whether this is one of the things he means—that I was taking away the votes of the larger part of 5,000,000 of people in London.
I think the words were "a large part," but, of course, I accept "a large number." I have never been able to make an estimate of what the plural voters amount to in London, but when the hon. Baronet talks about my taking away votes I leave any man with a vote who already has one, but I impose some limitations upon their exercise by a large number of voters. As an illustration of how enfranchisement should be managed, I was interested to hear the illustration of the man with the three men servants who were to outvote him. The hon. Baronet never uses illustrations without some meaning and some intent. May I ask him what he meant by that illustration? Does he mean that the three men servants are to be disfranchised, or does he mean the master is to have three votes because he has got three servants? He must mean one of the two things. Again, we have a curious and interesting illustration of the sort of enfranchising Bill we may expect when the hon. Baronet is, as he no doubt shortly will be, on this Bench.
The hon. Baronet the Member for the City said, as usual, that I must have been actuated by the advantages to my own friends in introducing this Bill. I suppose it is hopeless to give him a further assurance that such was not the case, and therefore we must leave it at 67 that. But I was interested to hear his admission on the subject, the admission that the only certainty for the Tory party in London is that of the plural vote, and, above all, all those long periods of disqualification of the voter, which arise by transfer from one division to another. If that is really all the hon. Baronet and his Friends depend on, I do not think I can promise them an early return to political power in London. The hon. Baronet said quite truly in moving the omission of Clause 1 that this was really the Bill. It is. It is moving the rejection of the Bill. I do not want to trespass on the time of the House, but perhaps I may just restate very shortly what the objects of this Bill are, as they are constantly being distorted, quite unintentionally of course, in the Debate. The object, of course, is to make all London one borough, and it contains these four points: First, all the elections on the same date. I really beg hon. Members not to think that that is a political dodge. If I were to try to estimate in my own mind the effect which it would have on the two parties, I should imagine that the party which obviously has the greatest number of motors and carriages would be better off if all the elections were taken on one day. I do not want to enter into those things, but my argument in favour of the elections on the same date is the great advantage to the trade and commerce of London as against the great inconvenience of having them spread over a number of days, as has been the case in the past, and which, if allowed to continue, would very seriously interfere with trade. Then, as to successive occupation. The fact that in London a man may be deprived of his vote for very nearly 2½ years by only crossing the street is surely an injustice and an absurdity which no hon. Member opposite would get up and defend.
I should like to see it remedied everywhere. I have only put London on the basis of other large towns where this disqualification on removing from one division to another does not exist. The third result is the limitation of the dual vote. That, of course, will be exactly as in every large borough. The party opposite treated London as an entity for county council purposes, and prohibited dual voting in any part of London.
But London was treated as an entity, and the dual vote was abolished for these purposes. I wish to treat London as an entity for Parliamentary purposes. No man is to be deprived of his only vote, though he may be deprived of some redundant votes. With the question of the enlargement of the area I think I have dealt sufficiently, though I was not able to convince the hon. Member opposite. These are the four results of the Bill.
The enlargement of the area. The seven miles will be measured from the outer limit of London, and not from the outer limit of the separate boroughs. Believing that these results will be valuable to London, and contribute to a more accurate representation of the people of London, I hope the House will proceed to carry Clause 1.
§ Mr. REMNANT
The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that there is a great demand for London to be specially treated. Where does that demand come from? Surely from the many London Members on the opposite side of the House some voices might be heard urging this great measure. Why has the right hon. Gentleman, who says he is so anxious to do justice all round, selected this moment to introduce a Bill specially affecting London when London does not want it? We have had within quite recent times a declaration from the Prime Minister that it is the intention of the Government to introduce a great electoral reform Bill. Surely the time to deal with the greatest city in the country would be when that great electoral reform Bill is introduced? But we have had no reference to that. Is that measure to be treated like the Welsh Disestablishment Bill? Is it to be brought out for the purpose of gaining votes, and then to be dropped as the time draws near for redeeming the promise? As regards the desire of London for this change, where has there been any outcry? I have always understood the Government to claim that the people of London are behind them. Certainly a large proportion of London Members sit on the other side of the House, and I should have thought that the Government would have been content with a system which returned them such a 69 large majority in London. But, not so. They know that not only is London not behind them, but that the country is not behind them, and that unless they take some drastic step such as is here proposed, by which they hope to disfranchise something like one-third of the electors of London, they are not likely to retain the seats they hold. London does not require this measure. To pretend that this special treatment is asked for by London, to remedy only a part of the grievances under which London is said to labour, is really to beg the question altogether, and to make out that things are not as we know them to be. There is no haste about this measure. It has been produced to satisfy and keep quiet a small section of the party opposite. The Government know perfectly well that unless they satisfy that section for the time being, when it comes to voting on the Budget and other questions they may find the loss of their votes most inconvenient. We know perfectly well why the right hon. Gentleman attacks London. He was beaten in regard to the Plural Voting Bill, by which, I believe, the Government said they would stand or fall. They certainly did not stand by it very long. They remained in office, quietly taking the rejection of their measures, which rejection has been approved of by the whole of the country outside. The right hon. Gentleman has made no secret of his desires. He is in favour of manhood suffrage, and this Bill is one step towards it. He hopes by this means to knock out a large number of duplicate votes—votes which have been gained by the payment of taxation. Up to the present it has always been held that taxation and representation should go together, and that votes in this country at all events should have something behind them. As a London Member I strongly protest against the Bill. I honestly believe that London does not require it. The people are satisfied with the present system, and if London generally is satisfied surely the Government ought to be, seeing that so many of their supporters have been returned by it. London is an exceptional place, and, as the present system works to the satisfaction of London, I hope the Government will not urge this measure forward. I do not believe they wish to see it pass. It is only brought forward as a stop-gap measure to satisfy a section of their party.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
Were we to accept the arguments which have been put forward in support of the rejection of 70 Clause 1, we should be forced to the conclusion that the only merit of this Bill is that it will result in the disfranchisement of a number of London citizens. If I believed that that would be the result, I should give the Bill my strongest opposition, but not believing it I cordially support the retention of Clause 1, which, as we have been reminded, is the crux of the whole measure. To those of us who have carefully studied the franchise laws of this country, coupled with our registration system, two facts come out very prominently. First, that it is made very easy for property to secure enfranchisement; and, secondly, that it is made almost as difficult as it can be for the enfranchised working man to keep his vote. But whilst that position is bad all over the country, it is, in my opinion, worse in London. I believe I am not far from the mark when I say that the present system results in the disfranchisement of thousands of working people in London every year. I should like to give a concrete illustration which I hope will convince even some of my hon. Friends above the Gangway. Until six months ago I lived just inside the boundary of the Brixton constituency. I then moved to just inside the boundary of the Clapham constituency. By removing that short distance I lost my vote. The rate collector collects more rates from me, and I am assessed to a, larger amount for Inhabited House Duty, so that neither the rate collector nor the tax collector gives me any compensation for the loss of my vote. Year after year tens of thousands of working people and business people in the county of London have a similar experience to that. If I had lived in Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, or any of our great divided boroughs, and had moved in exactly the same way, under the law of succession I should have carried my vote with me from one constituency to the other, and I should not have been disfranchised as I shall be if some of the friends of hon. Members above the Gangway force us to an election next year. If I had moved two months later, I should have been without my vote for the whole of 1910 and 1911. I moved in May, but had I moved on 16th July I should have been disqualified for a period of two years. I thought hon. Members above the Gangway were exceedingly anxious for the London working-class electorate, but in the speeches to which we have listened their-concern has been not for those who lose their one vote, but for those who will lose their many votes, though they will always 71 retain their one vote, in the event of this Bill passing into law. An hon. Gentleman above the Gangway says that my remarks are rubbish.
§ Mr. REMNANT
I apologise; but what the hon. Member has just said is beside the question altogether.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
I do not wish to say anything offensive to the hon. Member. I merely quoted what I overheard. But I think the arguments I have advanced, and especially the concrete illustration I have given, are very à propos to the discussion of Clause 1. I do not propose to go into the other excellent points that the Bill contains, for I believe that, properly speaking, I should be out of order in discussing them on Clause 1. It does seem to me that we want this reform as a beginning. If I thought that this measure was final, and that we were not going to deal with the serious anomalies which exist in the country, I should not be so ready to give my support to this Bill. But I believe for the time being it is a step in the right direction, and it is a step which will be most heartily welcomed by the great mass of working-class electors in this important city.
§ Mr. BURDETT COUTTS
As this is the only opportunity, probably, on which the principle of the Bill will be raised, I should like to say a word or two as an old London Member. I have listened to the speeches of this afternoon, and I paid particular attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, and I am bound to say that after paying close attention to that speech I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman advanced any reason against our idea and our belief that this Bill has been brought forward with a party motive. I do not myself think that any Bill dealing with such an important factor in our public life as the representative principle—assuming to deal with the mechanism of that principle—has ever disclosed to such a barefaced extent the motive which I have mentioned, and which has been attributed on this side of the House to the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman gave us four reasons for bringing forward this Bill—four results which he thought would be obtained by it. I particularly marked the order in which he placed those results. It is not the order 72 of their importance, I believe, in his own mind. The first was that all elections would be held on one day. He gave us to understand that a general election being held on more than one day in London is a very great disturbance to trade. I have heard many reasons assigned for what is called the lessening importance of London from a trade and manufacturing point of view, as a port, and so on, but I am bound to say that I have never before heard it advanced as a reason for any diminution in the trade of London that the General Election, when it came, was held, as it always has been held, on various days.
With regard to this second reason, the disfranchisement of the voter who passes from one street to another or from one constituency to another, I observed that my hon. Friend who spoke last confined his speech absolutely to that point of the Bill. I am not myself, and I do not believe that any Members on this side of the House are in favour of any such disfranchisement of those who perhaps move their residences more often than another class do. But I put it to the House that if this is the main object to be obtained, if this is the most important result of the Bill in the mind of the hon. Member, that result in the first place might have been attained in another way, and by an altogether different Bill, and in a way which would obviate such disfranchisement in other parts of the country, which now in spite of what he says occurs in many parts. It would not have singled out London for what I am bound to admit would be an improvement, and the improvement which might easily have been effected without its being tacked on to what is the real crux of this Bill—a great disfranchising measure! Then the right hon. Gentleman came to his further reason, the abolition of the dual vote. That is the real reason of this Bill. It is because he knows, and the Government know, that in disfranchising the people who have more than one vote in London, they are disfranchising a very large class of people who, they assume, are opposed to them politically, that this Bill has been brought forward. I join in the protest that has been made on this side of the House against introducing an attack on plural voting, against so great a change in our law of voting, by a sort of side-wind like this. I think it would have been much fairer and much more statesmanlike if the Government had deliberately faced the issue of plural voting. If they pin their faith to the abolition of that time- 73 honoured custom in this country, they should at least have given the whole of the country the benefit of the change. One of my great objections to this Bill—and one which, so far as I have noticed, has not been dealt with this afternoon—is that the Government lose sight of the relation of the voter to the constituency in which he lives, to the property he may hold in it, to the qualification he gains from it, to the constituency's peculiarities, conditions, and needs. A man who has a vote in more than one borough in London may perfectly well be well acquainted with the varying needs of those two boroughs. He is qualified to judge which candidate before each borough will represent that borough best. That to my mind is the old principle of representation. That principle in this Bill is sacrificed. Everything is thrown into purely party lines. By depriving the voter of his vote in virtue of the position he holds, or the property he holds, or the qualification he has in a particular constituency, you do in a measure deprive the dwellers in that constituency of the right to select a candidate whom they think will best suit the constituency; and you assume a candidate to be not a man who has to represent the constituency in Parliament, but a man solely who has to represent a political party in that constituency. That to my mind is altogether a wrong theory of representation. I am perfectly well aware that the time has gone by when any effective protest can be made against the system of party government, but when I see a Bill like this, which deliberately deprives any one who has an interest in a particular part of London of the right to select the man whom he considers—whether he belongs to one party or another—the best representative of the constituency, why then, I say, yon are striking a blow at the old principle of Parliamentary representation. You are plunging into a party vortex, and you are making it impossible for constituencies to look at a candidate from any other point of view than a party point of view. I think that in London, with all its complex conditions, where there is absolutely no solidarity of civic life, no cohesion of interest or of occupation, to deprive any section or portion of the population of the right to choose their candidate in virtue of what they know of the needs of a particular constituency is a retrograde measure, and one which is not really in harmony with the necessities and conditions of London life.
§ Mr. HART-DAVIES
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Holborn (Mr. Remnant) said that he did not believe there was any very strong feeling in favour of this Bill among the people of London. All I can say is that my experience has been altogether different from that. I have met a great many electors who feel it a very serious grievance that they should lose their votes, sometimes for two years, merely because they have moved from one part of London to another. I am quite sure that this Bill is a popular Bill. I believe there are 50,000 voters who every year lose their votes owing to having moved to a different part of London. There was a reason given on the opposite side of the House against this Bill which is a true reason to a certain extent. Hon. Members say, and with some truth, that there is no kind of common civic feeling among the different parts of London. It is true that London in a way is a collection of villages that have had different histories, associations, and traditions. There is not at present any very large amount of what we may call common citizen-feeling. That is exactly what we want to get hold of. I think a certain amount of civic life and sentiment has arisen in London owing to the existence of the London County Council. I believe this Bill will have a civic influence in this way—in the way of creating that spirit of common civic feeling which exists in our largo towns. Then the government of London is a matter of the most profound complexity. I suppose this sort of problem has never confronted any nation before in the history of the world—that is, the government of a city of 7,000,000 inhabitants. It is a new problem, and an exceedingly complex one; very difficult to deal with. It will become still more difficult without that union of feeling amongst the inhabitants which makes them look upon themselves as citizens of no mean city. I support this Bill, then, because I think it will do something in the way of educating the people of London to a common life. For that reason I hope rather than expect that this Bill will pass, though what its future will be in another place is, I admit, a problem somewhat dark and for the future.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The hon. Member who has just sat down has made a guarded reference to what may take place in another Assembly. I confess I think we had much better concern ourselves with what is taking place here. It is argued that there 75 is a strong popular feeling in favour of this Bill in London. All I can say is, no symptom of it has reached me as a Member for one of the divisions of London. It may exist, but if it does it has been kept very carefully from my notice. The right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works summarised his four reasons for the Bill, and two of them, I think, we may really dismiss as almost trivial. He said it was a great advantage to get elections in London on one day; but that really, if he will forgive me for saying so, is the greatest possible nonsense. The advantages to London of having elections on one day is absolutely trivial. Indeed, I doubt very much if there is any advantage. I do not see that it is any particular harm to Marylebone that there should be an election in Paddington. For instance, I am told at the present time that there is an election going on in Bermondsey, and I am sure that is not disturbing the trade in Marylebone in the slightest degree, and for the right hon. Gentleman to say that it is going to be a great advantage to have elections in London on one day is, I think, trifling with the House of Commons. I need not deal with the question of the extension of area, which I do not think he put forward as more than a very slight and insignificant reason in favour of the Bill. His two great reasons were successive occupation and the abolition of plural voting.
No one has ever attempted to reply to the crushing observation, "Why do that in London and not elsewhere?" There are many cities that would give excellent illustrations of what I mean. Take Liverpool and Bootle, for one instance. You cannot tell, if you live in Liverpool, when you leave Liverpool and come to Bootle, or, if you live in Bootle, when you leave Bootle and come to Liverpool. Yet you treat them as separate entities. You do not propose to abolish the difficulties of successive occupation and plural voting there. The same is true of Manchester and Salford, and there are numbers of others all over the country. Nor need we go as far as the provinces. West Ham and London are as much one city as Paddington and Marylebone, as far as physical conditions are concerned. You cannot tell when you leave West Ham and get into London; it is impossible; the streets are continuous, the light is continuous. If the hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Henderson) lived in West Ham and moved 76 into London, he would have the same disadvantages to complain of as if he moved from Brixton to Clapham. You have all these instances, yet you do not propose to deal with the anomalies which they present in the same way as you propose to deal with London. The reason is because you do not regard West Ham and London as part of the same local community, but you regard them as two different centres. You choose to regard the various boroughs of London as part of the same city, but you have no more justification, and, indeed, far less, for regarding Hampstead and Bermondsey as part of the same city than you would have for regarding West Ham and Whitechapel as one and the same city. There is much more distinction historically, as well as from local interest and commercial interest, and from the character of the inhabitants, between the various boroughs of London than there is between some of those boroughs and the cities upon the borders of the county boroughs. Therefore this theory that London is an entity which can be treated for electoral purposes, and ought to be treated, because of some principle that lurks in Radical consciences, but finds no expression anywhere else, as one borough is an argument so fallacious that it is impossible to entertain it.
I notice another thing. We are only dealing with a certain number of the anomalies that exist in London. Why are they selected? We are dealing with the difficulties about successive occupation and the difficulties of plural voting. I do not believe anyone sitting upon this side of the House doubts that there are anomalies which ought to be dealt with by a comprehensive measure. But why select these particular anomalies now, when there are much greater anomalies left untouched? There is the question of the female worker. Hon. Members smile; but why? Because they know that numbers of them are pledged to this, and they have done nothing whatever to redeem their pledges. Personally I am in favour of woman suffrage, and I always have been. But, for the moment, let me put myself in the position of a Radical Member. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It is not a position I at all desire. But I cannot conceive, and never have been able to conceive, how a Radical can possibly resist such a claim. Every argument the First Commissioner put forward in favour of his Bill applies equally to the enfranchisement of women, even the fact that they vote for county councils, yet there is no provision at all for 77 redressing that particular anomaly. The First Commissioner of Works has the audacity to rise in his place and smile with all that natural dignity of which he has such great command, and to tell us solemnly that this Bill has no reference to party politics. I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman believes what he says, but I venture to say his observations came with supreme surprise upon everyone else in the House. Everyone knows that the right hon. Gentleman is the only person arguing this measure for reasons having nothing to do with party politics. Everyone knows this Bill is put forward simply and solely to try and secure the position of the Radical party in London. It is the merest piece of jerrymandering, and the Leader of the Labour party would have done better to have said boldly, "We have a majority in this House; we propose to make a change in the law that would suit our electoral book, and that is the reason why we have brought in this Bill." It is the merest rubbish for any man to talk about the eternal principle that requires that a man who lives in London shall not have two votes, whereas if he lived in London and West Ham he may have two votes, and to ask us to believe in the difficulties of successive occupation in London which do not apply at all in Manchester and Liverpool. That is part of the jerrymandering scheme to improve the condition of the Radical party in London, and therefore I shall vote for this Amendment.
§ The PAYMASTER-GENERAL(Mr. R. K. Causton)
After the speech which has just been delivered by the Noble Lord the Member for Marylebone, I feel I must say a few words. After all, it must be remembered that this is not a disfranchising Bill; it is an enfranchising Bill, and it is not a new proposal, for I myself more than 20 years ago introduced a Bill into this House to get rid of this objectionable state of affairs with regard to successive occupation. The Noble Lord talked about nothing else but of men losing votes. This is a Bill to enable men who have votes to continue to retain them. Taking the constituencies of London as a whole, you will find that in every London constituency, with perhaps one exception, there is a change in the register every year of something like 30 per cent. of the voters. The voter who goes from one constituency to another loses his vote for one or two years. This Bill, if it becomes an Act, will enable a man if he moves from one constituency to another, which may happen, very often, if he moves from one side of the road to 78 another, to continue to have his vote, whereas as the law stands such a man is disfranchised.
All my right hon. Friend the Commissioner asks in this Bill is that London shall be placed in the same position as other great cities in England, Ireland, and Scotland. I should be very glad to hear from my hon. Friend the Member for the Toxteth Division of Liverpool (Mr. Austin Taylor) the conditions that prevail in that great city. Liverpool is one city and one borough, and a man does not lose his vote because he changes from one part of it to another. The same thing applies in Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, and other great cities. All we ask is that London shall be placed in the same position as these. We know that was the policy adopted by the late Government when they passed the County Councils Act, and all we now ask is for a continuation and an extension of that policy. From the speeches delivered from the hon. Members opposite one would imagine I myself would be a sufferer. I have more than one vote for London, and I am quite prepared to give up these votes. So long as this unsatisfactory state of things is allowed to continue there wilt always be dissatisfaction, and I only hope the House will not be led away by what I may call the discussions raised outside the boundary of this Bill. I agree with the Noble Lord when he asks why should a man on the borders of the borough of Liverpool be deprived of his vote when he moves into the city. I say he ought not to be deprived of it, and when we have succeeded in placing London in the same position as ether great cities in the country, let us then have another Bill for successive occupation throughout the different parts of the country.
§ Sir W. BULL
I do not think the last speaker realises the difficulties in the way of carrying out a Bill of this description. I listened with considerable interest to what the hon. Member for Barnard Castle said with reference to the successive vote. There are a great many ways of giving the successive occupation vote in the country without an elaborate Bill like this. It can be secured by Section 10, 48 and 49 Vic, c. 23; by the Representation of the People Act, 1832; Section 28 of the Representation of the People Act, 1867, and the Registration Act of 1875, all of which could have been embodied in a much shorter Act, which would have done far more justice than a Bill of this kind. It is quite true that practically this Bill has been introduced for the purpose of doing away 79 with plural voting, but I object to this measure because there ought to be no taxation without representation. A man who has property in various parts of the country has to pay rates and taxes in those localities, and therefore he should have a vote in each of those places. I object to the way in which the various boroughs are going to be placed in this Bill under the heel of the London County Council. The clerk to the London County Council is going to be made the returning officer for the whole of London, and he will control the election of 59 Members of Parliament polling nearly 750,000 electors. I think the other municipal boroughs in the Metropolis will be jealous if such a power is placed in the hands of one man. I want to know how the expenses of registration are going to be dealt with? Why should the municipal boroughs collect the money for this registration and then hand it over to the London County Council? Upon the second reading of this Bill I pointed out some of the registration difficulties, the delays that would occur, the immense amount of applications which will have to be made owing to the starring principle and the principle of selection, and I showed how practically there would have to be two registration courts sitting all the time. I showed that not only would there have to be a registration court for every constituency in London, but that there would also have to be a revising court, where the clerk to the London County Council would sit in supreme judgment over the other courts. That is something entirely new in our registration law, and it is an anomaly and innovation which we have not met before. I should like to point out that hard cases are bound to occur wherever there is a boundary line drawn. When such a line is drawn there must always be someone near that line who will suffer from the fact that he happens to be near that line, whether it happens to be electoral affairs or taxation above or below a certain standard. That does not seem to ma a valid argument why the whole of the constituencies of London should be massed into one Parliamentary borough. The suggestion of deciding by lot will work a great deal of hardship in the case of a man—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must reserve those remarks until we reach the Amendment dealing with that point.
§ Sir W. BULL
I was under the impression, Mr. Speaker, you were allowing us a little licence in dealing with generalities.
§ Mr. AUSTIN TAYLOR
The hon. Baronet the Member for Wandsworth has put in a plea in favour of the discussion of this subject on non-party grounds. That is an aspiration which will find an echo in all our hearts. I notice whenever a Bill of this kind is introduced in this House which cuts against the party interests of any particular set of Gentlemen, there are always some hon. Members who call upon the House to rise superior to party. A careful study of the career of those Members of this House, both to-day and in previous years, who have endeavoured to rise superior to party is not encouraging. Even the Noble Lord the Member for Marylebone has certainly been conspicuously successful amongst those who allow themselves to bathe in party waters on the strict condition that their skin is never wet, but I should like to go a little further into futurity before asserting that he will furnish an exception to the almost universal law in this respect. The speeches which have been made by hon. Gentlemen opposite are conclusive that party considerations are dominant, and will be dominant, in the discussion of this question. I only rise to speak upon this complicated question because the city of which I have the honour to be one of the representatives has been invoked more than once during this Debate. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London referred to Liverpool, and remarked that no Member for Liverpool was present to hear his speech. I was present, and I can assure him, on behalf of the other representatives of the city of Liverpool, that the reason for their absence is in no sense personal, and they are all aware that if they miss one speech made by the hon. Baronet, at no very distant date they will be consoled by the opportunity of hearing another from him. Liverpool has been pointed out as an anomaly in the sense that it has Bootle inside it, but that is surely no argument against the Bill which is now before the House. It is quite true that this Bill only endeavours to get rid of an anomaly in London, but what a curious frame of mind that is which says that unless we can remedy all anomalies at once throughout the country we will not remedy any. Surely it does not lie in the mouths of those who in their secret heart are little disposed to move in 81 the direction of redressing anomalies at all to make that observation. The hon. Baronet said that Liverpool is inferior to London and a much less important place, and, therefore, he argues that what prevails in Liverpool is no guide as to what ought to prevail in London. I thought that was a very remarkable observation. It is not entirely true, because in the matter of exports, which under our Free Trade system has some importance, Liverpool exceeds London. Be that as it may, Liverpool has what London has not, namely, homogeneity. With regard to Bootle, let me inform the hon. Baronet that nobody in Liverpool views with favour Bootle as a separate Parliamentary borough, and very strong efforts have been made to absorb Bootle and do away with this anomaly. The only regret in Liverpool is that those efforts have been attended with so little success. Another point made by the hon. Baronet is the necessity which arises of voters having to elect in which part of the city they will vote, but I can assure the hon. Baronet that in Liverpool that problem presents no difficulty. We have in Liverpool gentlemen charged with party interests known as election agents and agents of the great political parties, and it is the function of those gentlemen in Liverpool, whatever it may be in London, to follow up the individual voter and see that he has a vote, that his name is put on the register, and that he has an opportunity of recalling it either at a general or a by-election. In Liverpool there never is any difficulty about finding the voters who have dual votes.
§ Mr. AUSTIN TAYLOR
The fact of the matter is that, having began well in Liverpool, that is an argument not for doing nothing in London but for doing the same thing in London. If Liverpool, being "a little place," has got a system which works with perfect ease, surely there is no reason why the same principle would not be appropriate and possible in London. In Liverpool at any rate we have got homogeneity.
§ Mr. AUSTIN TAYLOR
I am surprised the hon. Member for West Derby instances Birkenhead. Does he really suggest that there is any comparison between the position of Liverpool and Birkenhead, which are separated by the Mersey? There 82 are bridges over the Thames, but there are no bridges over the Mersey. Anyone who knows Liverpool knows very well that as between Birkenhead and Liverpool there is no comparison whatever to be made with the municipalities of London. I do feel that this Bill, brought forward as it is entirely free from party considerations, is a move in the right direction, and will give to London that homogeneity which it ought to have. I know very little about the political machinery of London, and I will leave those conversant with that system to speak upon it, but I do know that the system in Liverpool works well, and I do feel that that is an argument not against, but in favour of this Bill.
§ Mr. HAY
The hon. Gentleman who has just resumed his seat tried to draw a comparison between London and Liverpool. I venture to point out that that is a proof of his ignorance of London conditions. There is one great fact which must be borne in mind. The population of Liverpool is something like 700,000, whereas the population of London is about 7,000,000. What is possible in connection with the arrangements for voting in a population of 700,000 is obviously not so easy or even likely to be done with any facility, especially with the elections on the same day, in a population of 7,000,000. The circumstances in different parts of London vary to such an enormous extent, and the character of the population is so different in different parts of the Metropolis, that it is idle to suggest this Bill is the simplest piece of business to which man has ever set his hand. My hon. Friend the Member for North Hackney (Mr. Hart-Davies) said that in going about his constituency he found there was a considerable wish on the part of his electors that the Bill should pass. I have been at some pains to ascertain the views of my constituents of all political opinions on this matter. I found considerable difficulty in doing so, because the vast bulk of the electorate know very little of the Bill, and do not care twopence about it. I have not received a single resolution from any body of workmen, or from any Liberal or Radical, or even Socialist Association in the borough of Shoreditch asking me to be present and support this Bill, but I have received many personal representations from workmen, some of whom are well known to me as Radicals, that, owing to the development of the tubes and trams in the Metropolis, they find that this 83 Bill will to all intents and purposes disfranchise them. So far as I am personally concerned, I do not believe the Bill from a party point of view will make much difference in Shoreditch, but I am perfectly satisfied, and I think the electors of Shoreditch are certainly satisfied, that the Government have no honest intention of purity in this Bill; it is purely a gerrymandering Bill by which they are trying to preserve a position of control over the London electorate. There is another point which seems to me to be of importance. When the right hon. Gentleman proposes, as he does in this Clause, to turn London into one great constituency with 59 Members, he gives the go-by to all the traditions of London, and to that which practice has shown to be the very best way of governing the Metropolis. It is alleged by him that one very sound reason for converting London into one great constituency is that the London County Council practically represents one constituency. The analogy, however, will not hold water, because the members of the London County Council are not returned to represent London, but the various boroughs which elect them to that council. It is, therefore, idle to suggest that you can draw any sound analogy between the conditions of London County Council elections and Parliamentary elections.
A workman in East London, speaking to me the other day, put the matter very pithily. He said: "Is it not an old principle of the Liberal party, and one of which they are very proud, that you should trust the people? Why, then, if the Radical party in London trusts the people, are they so afraid of men having a dual qualification, or having a chance of voting twice in favour of the Liberal party?" When it is suggested that dual votes are possessed and exercised only by the wealthier classes, I would remind hon. Members that there are thousands of workmen who have a small qualification in the borough where they work and have their business, and who use the trams and tubes and live in another borough and are entitled to a vote there. Hon. Members may laugh, but when they laugh they show their ignorance of the circumstances. I am only stating what is a common fact, and well known to Members of this House. The real fact is that, whilst the Government desire by this Clause to disfranchise the well-to-do and the wealthier classes, in practice, so far as a great many of the London constituencies, 84 east and north, are concerned, they will disfranchise a great number of the lower middle and working classes. I can prove that from my own knowledge of the register of my division. The right hon. Gentleman said that if they had included redistribution in the Bill they would have been accused of gerrymandering. How on earth anyone could accuse them of gerrymandering if they had introduced redistribution in the Bill I cannot conceive. No one can say you are gerrymandering the constituencies of London by making the vote of a man in Wandsworth equal to the vote of a man in St. George's-in-the-East. At present the vote of a man in St. George's-in-the-East counts 12 times as much as the vote of a man in the constituency of Wandsworth. There could not, therefore, possibly be any question of gerrymandering if the Government carried out the constitutional practice of redistribution wherever there is a rearrangement of the franchise, so that we should have not only one man one vote, but one vote one value. The Government, in my humble judgment, are making a great mistake if they think they are going to win any support by this Bill. The vast bulk of the London electors do not care a brass farthing for this Bill. What they want is that London should not fare worse than the rest of the country, and should not be degraded, as the Government are endeavouring to degrade it, into the position of a small city.
§ Mr. G. N. BARNES
I had no intention of taking part in this Debate, but, as a London workman, I think it is incumbent upon me, after the extraordinary statement we have just listened to, that I should say a few words. We have been told this is a gerrymandering Bill. I cannot help thinking that those who indulge in remarks of that character might possibly pass gerrymandering Bills themselves if they had the chance. I may say, as one who represents in a special sense London workmen, and as one who has lived in London, east, north, south, and west, for the last 30 years, that I have not come across these extraordinary workmen who are said to be plural voters by the thousands. I have during the past 30 years come in close contact with London workmen of all sorts in pretty well all occupations, having myself worked in at least a dozen workshops on the banks of the Thames, from Woolwich right up to Chiswick, and I have never come across a single workman, let alone thousands, who 85 is a plural voter. I want to offer myself as a concrete example of the need for this Bill. I removed from Peckham on 12th September last year to Streatham, and I am not only disfranchised now, but, in consequence of having removed just after the register was made up last year, I am actually disfranchised till the beginning of 1911. That is a strong fact, which it will take a great many of these imaginary cases to get over, and for my part I hope and trust this Bill will pass. It will remove what I know to be a long-felt injustice and anomaly in London. I should like to say a concluding word as to the desirability of London being considered as one unit, even perhaps more than other towns. London is the centre of the Empire. We always hear about the great need for what might be called some local patriotism in London; but, so long as London is split up as it is at present, and so long as a man loses his vote for a year and sometimes for two years when he removes from one part of London to another part, you are not likely to have that unity of purpose and feeling which some of us desire to see. Therefore, for that reason, as well as for the reason that this Bill will do away with a simple, crying injustice, I shall give it my hearty support.
§ Mr. RUPERT GUINNESS
I should like to say that, so far as my experience goes—it is true it is only the experience of Haggerston—I can quote 50 or 60 cases of workmen who have two qualifications, and in several instances they are at present disqualified by residing in my hon. Friend's constituency, Hoxton, because we share one borough (Shoreditch). I know a good many other cases of workmen who have workshops for which they have votes and who no doubt reside in other constituencies. I admit there is a great grievance in workmen losing their votes, but I do not see why it should be cured by creating a new grievance in another way. It should surely be cured by allowing the voters to take their qualification, so long as it is a similar qualification, from one place to another. That would be much simpler, and you might thus deal with the whole country from one end to the other. The case of a removal from Bow to West Ham would be dealt with, and you would not create the disqualification of which at any rate in Shoreditch I can give a good many examples.
§ Mr. W. PEEL
I would like to call attention to one matter which is involved in the first Clause, and I wish to do so 86 on behalf of the long-suffering London ratepayer. As one of the consequences of this Clause you are going to put a large, new charge on the London ratepayer, and, in this House, where hon. Members are so much occupied with the question of taxes, they appear to think nothing of the rates; as a consequence no provision whatever is made for relieving the ratepayers of London from the charges which are to be put on them not for any purposes connected with local administration, but solely in order that some changes may be effected in the conduct of Parliamentary elections. I have listened with a good deal of amusement to two speeches which have recently been delivered, and to the very pious hopes which have been expressed in them that in consequence of a Bill like this, which declares that London is to be, for certain purposes, one borough, there is to grow up in London a new civic spirit. Those of us who have had a good deal to do with the administrative side of London government may be inclined to think that some of our efforts in that respect may have more power and influence on London citizens than a little Bill of this kind. One of my objections is that this Bill does not state frankly and squarely what it means to do. We have heard a good deal in this House in the form of complaint with regard to legislation by reference. That is an objection with which I strongly sympathise, but I believe it applies with still stronger force in a case like this in which an unintelligible measure is flung upon a democratic country which nobody but an extra super-expert could possibly understand. This is not a case of legislation by reference, it is rather one of legislation by inference. It is said that it is a disenfranchising Bill. On the other hand, it is claimed to be an enfranchising Bill. But whether it is the one or the other, everybody must know that there is no precedent for a proposal of this nature. It is not usual to alter an electorate—to-add to it or to take away from it—except immediately before a General Election. It may be that this Bill will be carried immediately previous to a General Election, but then we cannot have a special election affecting London only. You are therefore promoting a Bill which entirely departs from all precedents connected with changes in our Electoral Laws. An hon. Member opposite told us that we ought certainly to agree with this particular object of the Government, because it was introduced into the Bill which estab- 87 lished the London County Council in the year 1889. But has that Bill been very fortunate in its results? Let me take two points. It is only during the last two years that London has really been properly governed. Under this system, out of 45 millions of rateable property you have only 30 millions represented by votes, and you have consequently the extraordinary result that persons possessing one-third of the rateable property of London are not represented at all on the electoral register. If you are going to base your action on this precedent, I venture to suggest that it is an extraordinarily bad one, in view of what has happened in the case of the London County Council. I wish to protest, as a member of the London County Council, against the absurdity of saying that while London is one administrative county, with 30 boroughs, it is only one borough. It is an anomaly to introduce that into an Act of Parliament, and it becomes the more absurd when hon. Members consider, if they will do so, the importance of some of these London boroughs. I know it is part of the general Liberal programme for London—and this is only a shred of it—to depress the status of the London boroughs, but when we consider that some of these London boroughs are, in point of rateable value, greater than any of the cities of the United Kingdom, not excepting Glasgow or Manchester, and that in point of population they are far more populous than five-sixths of the county boroughs in Great Britain, to suggest that you are to call London, with its 30 boroughs, one borough is really to put into an Act of Parliament a thing which does not exist, and to write down that which is entirely contrary to facts. This Bill is founded on a complete misconception of history. I do not propose to go into the history of London, but when you say you want to introduce into London the system which obtains at Birmingham or Bristol, I would ask you to remember that those great boroughs used only to be represented by one Member of Parliament, and then at a certain stage—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Before the hon. Gentleman came into the House the whole of that argument was fully covered, and he is not entitled to speak on at now.
§ Mr. PEEL
I have not the slightest intention of doing it now. I was only referring to what I would have liked to have dealt with. The last point I wish to make is this—that it is a great mistake in these days, when you are piling a large and increasing part of your taxation upon a very small number of individuals, and when property is really so little represented in the electorate, it is, I repeat, a mistake to choose an occasion like this further to diminish any power that property may have through the electorate, and it is certainly a mistake to select a particular city like London as the ground for carrying out the principle of "one man one vote."
§ Mr. ROBERT DUNCAN
I would like to deal with some aspects of the principle involved in this Bill as they strike Members of the Conservative party. It may be that the present electoral laws are not satisfactory, and that Amendments are required in the direction of registration. No doubt there are grievances which need to be remedied, but I dispute the suggestion which has been made that this is not a party measure. In my opinion it is a party measure, and it deals very partially with existing grievances. I am a Conservative by principle, and I believe that you will not prosper by gerrymandering, or by depriving people of the vote which they at present possess. The right hon. Gentleman professes to aim at establishing the principle of one man one vote, and he suggests that that would involve absolute equality for all. We, as Conservatives, do not believe in that, and we hope that we may gather courage and confidence for our party from the expressions we have heard that a man should carry on his qualification, and not be deprived of his vote because of a change of residence from one part of the United Kingdom to another. We believe that the people of this country are Conservatives by reason and by instinct, and we believe further that by appealing to that reason and to that instinct we shall secure the predominance of Conservative principles.
§ Question put, "That the words the area formed by existing Parliamentary boroughs' stand part of the Clause."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 169; Noes, 55.51
|Division No. 802.]||AYES.||[5.17 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Gardner, Ernest||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Percy, Earl|
|Ashley, W. W.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Balcarres, Lord||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hamilton, Marquess of||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Heaton, John Henniker||Stanier, Beville|
|Cave, George||Helmsley, Viscount||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hill, Sir Clement||Starkey, John R.|
|Clark, George Smith||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||M'Arthur, Charles||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, George|
|Fell, Arthur||Moore, William|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord Robert Cecil and Sir W. Bull.|
|Forster, Henry William||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Esslemont, George Birnie||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Evans, Sir S. T.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Alden, Percy||Everett, R. Lacey||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Ferens, T. R.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Massie, J.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Fuller, John Michael F.||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Ginnell, L.||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Barnard, E. B.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Gulland, John W.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Myer, Horatio|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devenport)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Hart-Davies, T.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Brace, William||Hazleton, Richard||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Branch, James||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Brooke, Stopford||Henry, Charles S.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Radford, G. H.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Higham, John Sharp||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rees, J. D.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Cameron, Robert||Hodge, John||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Horniman, Emslie John||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Roch, Waller F. (Pembroke)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Jardine, Sir J.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Clough, William||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Keating, M.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Kekewich, Sir George||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Sears, J. E.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Laidlaw, Robert||Seely, Colonel|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Lambert, George||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Crossley, William J.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Steadman, W. C.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lewis, John Herbert||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Watt, Henry A.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Taylor, John W.||Weir, J. Galloway||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)||Wood, T. McKinnon|
|Thorne, William (West Ham)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Tomkinson, James||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Water low, D. S.|
|Division No. 803.]||AYES.||[7.58 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Alden, Percy||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Hart-Davies, T.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Haworth, Arthur A.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Beale, W. P.||Hedges, A. Paget||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Bell, Richard||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Radford, G. H.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Henry, Charles S.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Higham, John Sharp||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hodge, John||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Brace, William||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hornlman, Emslle John||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Idris, T. H. W.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Sears, J. E.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jackson, R. S.||Seely, Colonel|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Keating, M||Steadman, W. C.|
|Cameron, Robert||Kekewich, Sir George||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Laldlaw, Robert||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Clough, William||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lambert, George||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Tomkinson, James|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Verney, F. W.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Lewis, John Herbert||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Crossley, William J.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Wardle, George J.|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Daiziel, Sir James Henry||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Mallet, Charles E.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Markham, Arthur Basil||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Essex, R. W.||Massie, J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Masterman, C. F. G.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Fenwick, Charles||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Ferens, T. R.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Morse, L. L.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Myer, Horatio|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Napier, T. B.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Gulland, John W.||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nussey, Sir Willans|
|Balcarres, Lord||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Haddock, George B.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hamilton, Marquess of||Renton, Leslie|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Heaton, John Henniker||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cave, George||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Stanier, Beville|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Hill, Sir Clement||Starkey, John R.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hills, J. W.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir A. Acland-Hood and Mr. H. W. Forster.|
|Foster, P. S.||Oddy, John James|
|Gardner, Ernest||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
§ Mr. HARMOOD-BANNER
moved, after the word "boroughs" ["The area formed by the existing Parliamentary boroughs in London"], to insert the words "except the City of London."
I think we must all agree that the City of London under this Clause deserves different treatment from the other boroughs, because nearly all the voters in the City of London are non-resident, and most of them will have places of abode in some one or ether of the 59 constituencies which surround the City of London. Therefore their place of abode will be other than the place in which they work and live, and they will be disfranchised as far as regards the City of London is concerned, and all the immense representation of banking, trading, and commercial interests of the City of London will be absolutely disfranchised unless this Amendment is carried. One need not refer to the very excellent Members of Parliament that we have representing the City of London, but undoubtedly it will most seriously affect their position, because the interest which now brings them into this House will not be available. The only voters who will be left, and who will be available for the City of London, will be the office-keepers and ether people who reside in the City, and who are rateable there, unless a selection has been made qualifying the others for voting. That is a considerable hardship to those who, having business in the City, happen to live at Brighton or in the outskirts of London. I think it is an injustice to the immense financial and other interests of those who do work in the City of London that they should only vote outside it, and therefore I trust the Government will accept the Amendment.
The Amendment moved by the hon. Member would constitute the City of London as a separate borough in the centre of the whole borough of London which the proposal sets up, and that, of course, would strike at the whole policy of the Bill. Therefore the hon. Member will not be surprised that I cannot accept it. In this Bill he will find that there is special provision for the treatment of the City of London, which special treatment is made necessary owing to the circumstance that the freemen of the City of London are not freemen of the whole borough of London as would be the case, say, in Liverpool, and by this Bill they are 92 all allotted to the City of London and not distributed in the various divisions of the borough of London as they are in the ordinarily divided borough in other places of the Kingdom. Of course a freeman can select the vote elsewhere than in the City of London. He can sacrifice that qualification and vote in any other division where he possesses a vote, but in the absence of any selection the operation of the ordinary law will be to leave the freeman the qualification in the City. If he does not desire to go elsewhere he will only be put on the City of London list. Therefore I think every step has been taken to preserve not only the traditions but the vast and exceptional advantages which the City of London has. These advantages are very remarkable, because it is the only borough in the country where you can add indefinitely to the number of freemen by the purchase of livery, which is purely an accidental result of a blunder in the Reform Act of 1832.
§ Amendment negatived.