§ (1) If a Money Bill, having been passed by the House of Commons, and sent up to the House of Lords at least one month before the end of the Session, is not passed by the House of Lords without amendment within one month after it is so sent up to that House, the Bill shall, unless the House of Commons direct to the contrary, be pre- 1851 sented to His Majesty and become an Act of Parliament on the Royal Assent being signified, notwithstanding that the House of Lords have not consented to the Bill.
§ (2) A Money Bill means a Bill which in the opinion of the Speaker of the House of Commons contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following subjects—namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration, or regulation of taxation; charges on the Consolidated Fund or the provision of money by Parliament; supply; the appropriation, control, or regulation of public money; the raising or guarantee of any loan or the repayment thereof; or matters incidental to those subjects or any of them.
§ (3) When a Bill to which the House of Lords has not consented is presented to His Majesty for assent as a Money Bill, the Bill shall be accompanied by a certificate of the Speaker of the House of Commons that it is a Money Bill.
§ (4) No amendment shall be allowed to a Money Bill which, in the opinion of the Speaker of the House of Commons, is such as to prevent the Bill retaining the character of a Money Bill.
§ Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS
I beg to move to postpone the Clause.
I move this Amendment because I think it will be generally convenient to deal with the Clause about general legislation before we deal with the narrower issue of financial legislation. The Committee will remember that the Resolution passed in Parliament presided over by the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, on 24th June, 1907, was confined to general legislation. It ran in these terms:—That in order to give effect to the will of the people, us expressed by their elected representatives, it is necessary that power of the other House to alter or reject Bills passed by this House, should be so restricted by law as to secure within the limitation of a single Parliament that the final decision of the Commons shall prevail.I admit that when the Veto Resolutions were passed last year another element was introduced. The Resolutions passed in 1910 came about in this way. The Budget had been referred by the House of Lords to the judgment of the people, and an additional Veto Resolution was moved by the present Prime Minister to cover the case of a Finance Bill which had been passed by this House and had been rejected by another House. I think it would be very much more convenient if the larger issue were discussed first for this additional reason. It may be that in 1852 the discussion on Clause 2 matters may arise which may largely affect the financial issue on Clause 1, and it would be extremely inconvenient to the Committee, having discussed and disposed of Clause 1, to have to discuss matters which naturally enter into Clause 1 on Clause 2. That, I think, is a very good reason why we should postpone Clause 1 as being the narrower issue. There is a further reason. Various Resolutions have been from time to time passed by this House on financial matters. The first I will mention was in the year 1671. There was another in. 1679, and a third in 1860, when the Paper Duties were rejected by the House of Lords. If we discuss this financial Clause now, all these Resolutions, I take it, will have to be opened up in a most complete manner before we are in a position to deal with the question of general legislation. That is another very good reason why we should take the Clauses in their natural and logical sequence, which is that we should take the general question and general legislation first, and then take the narrower issue and limit it to financial questions.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I must congratulate the hon. Gentleman and his Friends on the fertility and resource which they are all exhibiting, from a dialectical point of view, in the discussion of this Bill. I observe the hon. Gentleman himself who has moved the Amendment, has also got down an Amendment on page 58 to postpone Clause 2, so what provisions of the Bill he desires the Committee to discuss I am at a loss to know. If the hon. Gentleman had his way, we should commence our discussions in Committee by discussing Clause 3. "Any certificate of the Speaker of the House of Commons given under this Act shall be conclusive for all purposes, and shall not be questioned in any court of law."
§ Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS
My object was clearly to postpone Clause 2 until after the Preamble of the Bill had been taken.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Let us see exactly where the hon. Gentleman is. He wants us first to postpone Clause 1, and then, when we come to Clause 2, he proposes we should postpone Clause 2, and then, I understand, he proposes ws should postpone Clauses 3, 4, and 5 in order that we may discuss the Preamble of the Bill. So much for the hon. Gentleman. But what of those who are sitting around him? 1853 I suppose they are going to support him in this dilatory Motion. We have been engaged for nearly two hours in discussing an instruction—I am not complaining—to divide the Bill into two parts. Why? In order that we may take Clause 1, the Clause dealing with finance, and that Clause may be exhaustively discussed and reported to the House before we ever entered upon the consideration of any other part of the Bill. Now, after two hours spent on that discussion with a division which has negatived that proposition, we have an hon. Gentleman getting up to move the direct contrary, and that we should proceed at once to postpone Clause 1, the Clause on which we were assured at any rate there was a certain amount of common ground, in order that we may enter at once upon the most controversial part of the Bill. I think I have said enough. It seems to me, quite apart from these dialectical difficulties on the other side of the House, that the logical course is to begin with finance, where we are absolutely limiting the powers of the House of Lords, and then to proceed to general legislation, where we only impose a qualified restriction.
§ Sir R. FINLAY
If the object of this Amendment were simply to postpone Clause 1 in order that we might proceed with the consideration of Clause 2 there would be some ground for the reasons given by the Prime Minister, but what my hon. Friend desires is that we should postpone the Clauses of the Bill in order to get to the discussion of the Preamble. I think what took place on the last Amendment is enough to show how absolutely desirable it is that we should know exactly the position of the Government on the Preamble before we come to the Clauses of the Bill. We had in the course of that discussion two hon. Gentlemen sitting below the Gangway on the other side, one of whom said he would support the Bill out and out on the ground that it was permanent and intended to be permanent, and the other of whom declared he would support it on the ground that it was temporary and intended to be temporary. How is it possible the House should with advantage engage in the discussion of a measure when they are absolutely in the dark as to what the Government mean with regard to the intention stated in the Preamble?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Preamble stands postponed until after the whole of the Bill 1854 is dealt with, and we cannot now therefore discuss the question which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is discussing.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I should like to give a few reasons why it would be convenient that Clause 1 should be postponed until we have considered Clause 2. The case for Clause 1 will be in a large measure destroyed if Clause 2 is passed in its present extraordinary form. If Clause 1 stood alone, and if the proposal in the Bill was one to deprive the House of Lords of their constitutional right to amend and reject Money Bills, it might fairly be argued that is bringing the constitutional right of the House of Lords in accord with what is the usual practice. That would be a proposal that might be considered on its merits, and as a separate proposition, as was proposed by my hon. Friend earlier in the afternoon. Clause 2 does not stand alone. The Bill proposes not only to exclude the House of Lords entirely from the domain of finance, but also to restrict its power in the most drastic manner as regards Bills not Money Bills. It must be obvious that to deprive the House of Lords of its financial powers, while leaving its powers as regards general legislation, is one proposition, and that to propose to deprive the House of Lords of its financial powers, while restricting its powers over general legislation in an extraordinary manner, is an entirely different proposition, and I think we are entitled to know what is the exact proposition before the Committee with regard to Clause 2 before we come to the discussion on Clause 1, If Clause 1 stood by itself and was the whole Bill it could be considered in an entirely different way than what we understand to be the conjoint proposal of the Bill.
The proposal of the Bill, as a whole, is a proposal for which I venture to say there is no precedent in the whole world. The Australian and South African Senates can reject a Money Bill, and they have only a suspensory veto as regards general legislation. Provision is made for joint sittings of the two Houses, and in the Australian case there is power of reference to an electorate. While the whole of Clause 1, taken by itself, might be accepted as a temporary measure, it cannot be accepted in conjunction with Clause 2 and what we understand to be a permanent proposal as regards the powers of the Second Chamber in this country. Therefore I venture to 1855 submit that really, as a matter of convenience, it is extremely desirable to know in what form Clause 2 is going to be passed before we have to consider what should be the financial powers of the Second Chamber. For that reason I hope the Government will agree to let Clause 1 be postponed.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I think the Prime Minister was really not quite fair to my hon. Friend in suggesting that the present Amendment was irreconcilable with the Instruction of my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Colonel Griffith-Boscawen). The object of that Instruction was not that Clause 1 should be taken before Clause 2, but that it should be taken and reported as a separate Bill. That was the whole, I think, of that proposition. The ground then taken was that if it were discussed and reported as a separate Bill it might be possible for all sides to agree.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I do not like to be accused of misrepresenting the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Samuel Roberts). The hon. Gentleman (Mr. James Hope), although he is seconding, does not appear to have read the Instruction. What was it?To divide the Bill into two Bills, the one dealing with the powers of the House of Lords as to Money Bills, and the other with the restriction of the powers of the House of Lords as to Bills other than Money Bills and with the duration of Parliament, and that the first Bill be reported to the House before the other is proceeded with.In effect Clause 1 was to be reported before we could proceed to consider Clause 2 at all.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
The idea was that the first Clause should be reported as a separate Bill, and the reason why we put that forward was that an agreement of that Clause as a Bill by itself was not impossible, when the Clause had been threshed out and amended. In the speech I made I suggested it would be practically possible that it should not only be reported as a separate Bill, but even passed as an agreed Bill. The right hon. Gentleman would not consent to that course; hence the present motion. There are certainly very good reasons why the second Clause should be taken first, and I think the right hon. Gentleman will see that it is really to his own interest that it 1856 should be so. There are certain objections applicable to both Clauses, but some of these apply in a far greater degree to the second Clause than to the first. If the objections are argued on the first Clause it may be that the answer given will not apply to the arguments that would be advanced on the second Clause, and when the first Clause has been disposed of these arguments may again be put forward with still greater force as against the second Clause. The Debate will consequently have to be taken all over again. I think the course which the right hon. Gentleman has taken will very much prolong the Debate. Important as the first Clause is and great as is the evil that lurks in it, as at present drawn, undoubtedly the whole pith of the controversy, as it is understood outside this House, turns on the second Clause. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman wishes our Debates to be conducted not only for the edification of Members of this House, but also for the information of the country outside, and I suggest that the proper course is to go straight to the important issues involved. I would add that that cannot be achieved if we discuss the technicalities of Clause 1 instead of proceeding to the broad issues of Clause 2 at the first possible moment.
§ Mr. F. E. SMITH
I think my hon. Friend is fully entitled to say that the discussion which took place on the Instruction dealt entirely with the question whether or not the Clause should be reported as a separate Bill, and not with the chronological order in which the discussions should take place. My hon. Friend, in moving his Amendment, based himself entirely on the recommendation of the Committee and on the desire that the Preamble should be discussed in a certain place under certain circumstances. You have ruled that out of order. I should have supported my hon. Friend for the reasons he gave had it been possible for us to discuss the point, but I am not sure he will think it worth his while to carry this matter to a Division in view of your ruling, in which you tell us that at this point it is not convenient to discuss the question of the postponement of the Preamble.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I wish to make an appeal to the Government. It is in their power to suspend the Standing Order which prevents a postponement of a Clause until after the Preamble. I think such a suspension might easily be carried by 1857 agreement, and that would enable us to raise the question whether the Preamble should be discussed first. The Standing Order certainly was not passed in view of Preambles of this kind; and, therefore, I would invite the Government to consider whether it would not be wise, in the interests of sensible discussion in this House, to have the Preamble first discussed, and then pass to the discussion of the Clauses. It certainly would be much more convenient and much more businesslike
§ Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS
I would have withdrawn my Amendment if the right hon. Gentleman had agreed to suspend the Standing Order; but, as he will not, I fear I must press it to a division.
§ Question put, "That Clause 1 be postponed."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 190; Noes, 282.1861
|Division No. 105.]||AYES.||[6.10 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Newman, John R. P.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fleming, Valentine||Nowton, Harry Kottingham|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Forster, Henry William||Nield, Herbert|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Foster, Philip Staveley||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gardner, Ernest||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gilmour, Captain John||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Goldsmith, Frank||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor||Haddock, George Bahr||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Barnston, H.||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Quilter, W. E. C.|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hardy, Laurence||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Harris, Henry Percy||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Hills, John Waller||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Bird, Alfred||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Boscawen, Col. A. S. T. Griffith-||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Boyton, James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hunt, Rowland||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Joynson-Hicks, William||Stanier, Beville|
|Butcher, John George||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Campion, W. R||Kerry, Earr of||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Carllie, Edward Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hall)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cassel, Felix||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Swift, Rigby|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Larmor, Sir J.||Sykes, Alan John|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Chambers, James||Lewisham, Viscount||Valentia, Viscount|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lonsdale, John Browniee||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Mackinder, Halford J.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Macmaster, Donald||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Croft, Henry Page||Magnus, Sir Philip||Winterton, Earl|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Malcolm, Ian||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Morpeth, Viscount||Younger, George|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Fell, Arthur||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert||Mount, William Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Samuel Roberts and Mr. Cave.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Newdegate, F. A|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Goldstone, Frank||Muldoon, John|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Munro, Robert|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Greig, Colonel James William||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Neilson, Francis|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Hackett, John||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Armitage, Robert||Hancock, J. G.||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Dowd, John|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Ogden, Fred|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Grady, James|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Hayward, Evan||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Barton, William||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Malley, William|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Higham, John Sharp||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Bentham, G. J.||Hinds, John||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Hodge, John||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Holt, Richard Durning||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Boland, John Pius||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Pirie, Duncan Vernon|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Johnson, W.||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Jowett, Frederick William||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Joyce, Michael||Rainy, Adam Rolland|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Keating, Matthew||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kellaway, Frederick George||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Clynes, John R.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Kilbride, Denis||Reddy, Michael|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lansbury, George||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Logan, John William||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lundon, Thomas||Robinson, Sidney|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Davies, S. W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||MacGhee, Richard||Rowlands, James|
|Dawes, J. A.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Delany, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||St. Maur, Harold|
|Devlin, Joseph||M'Callum, John M.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Dickinson, W. H||M'Kean, John||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Donelan, Captain A.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Doris, William||M'Laren, H. D. (Leicester)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Linc., Spalding)||Seely, Col., Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Sheeny, David|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Marks, George Croydon||Shortt, Edward|
|Elverston, Harold||Martin, Joseph||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Meagher, Michael||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrlm, S.)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Snowden, Philip|
|Falconer, James||Menzies, Sir Walter||Soares, Ernest|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Millar, James Duncan||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Ffrench, Peter||Molloy, Michael||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Field, William||Molteno, Percy Alport||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Furness, Stephen||Mooney, John J.||Sutherland, John E.|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Morgan, George Hay||Tennant, Harold John|
|Glanville, Harold James||Morrell, Philip||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. Clackmannan)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Thorne, William (West Ham)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Toulmin, George||Watt, Henry A.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Webb, H.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.)|
|Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Verney, Sir Harry||White, Sir George (Norfolk)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Walton, Sir Joseph||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Whitehouse, John Howard||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Wardle, George J.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Waring, Walter||Whyte, A. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Wiles, Thomas|
§ The CHAIRMAN
The first Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. James Hope) is not in the right place. It will come in later on. The Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for West Derby (Mr. Watson Rutherford) is also in the wrong place.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I wish, Sir, to call your special attention to the fact that unless my Amendment is allowed to be Moved at this stage there will be no opportunity of making it clear at what stage we are to know whether we are discussing the case of an alleged Money Bill or a Bill that is not a Money Bill. May I draw your attention to the fact that the Clause as drafted begins by saying:—If a Money Bill having been passed by the House of Commons and sent up to the House of Lords at least one month before the end of the Session,We ought to know in the first stage of a Money Bill whether it is a Money Bill or is claimed to be a Money Bill, and not wait till it is passed, because there are different provisions made with regard to such a measure, and it comes in a different category if we pass the Clause. In my judgment, there is no place so proper as the commencement of the Clause for putting in the words which I propose, which are:
"A Bill which has been certified by the Speaker of the House of Commons (in manner hereinafter provided) to be exclusively a Money Bill shall," and so on—I think it will be proper to make it clear whilst we are passing this part of the Clause that it cannot be made a Money Bill by a subsequent proposal.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have listened to the hon. Member, and the point which he wants to make, because later on in the Clause I may tell him I was completely puzzled as to what he meant, because the very next Amendment standing in his name is to leave out the word "if" which stands at the commencement of the Clause.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment is out of place and will come later on. The same thing applies to the Amendments of the hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel) and the hon. Member for Wirral (Mr. Stewart). The hon. Member for St. Ives (Sir Clifford Cory) proposes an alternative Clause, which is not in order. The hon. Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave) has an Amendment which is also out of place.
§ Mr. CAVE
I do not know what has happened in connection with the Amendment standing in my name. Have you ruled that out altogether, or will it come on later in the Clause. The substance of it is that I want to raise the whole question of substituting a Joint Committee of the two Houses for the Speaker. Although, of course, it can be raised in another way, this is a way in which it is open to us to raise the discussion, and I think the Committee will be glad to come to the discussion of the question early.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the best way would be to take the alternative course after that which is at the beginning of the Clause. I take the order in which the provisions are in the Bill as a general rule, unless there is some definite advantage to be gained by taking another course. The next Amendment which appears on the Paper is to leave out Sub-section (1), and it is not in order. The Sub-section in question is an operative part of the Clause, and its omission would necessitate leaving out the Clause. The next Amendment of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. James Hope) is not in order unless it is to be taken in conjunction with the consequential Amendment later on.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
It is to be taken in conjunction with the Amendment later on. I beg to Move in Sub-section (I) to leave out the word "If." ["If a Money Bill having been passed by the House of Commons."]
I desire to move this Amendment in order to ask the Government what func- 1863 tion they expect the House of Lords to discharge in future with respect to Money Bills at all. Under the Section a Bill will go to the House of Lords in the ordinary course, and I presume it will go through all its stages. I presume it will be moved and discussed, but apparently whether it is moved or whether it is not, whether it is discussed or whether it is not, it equally becomes law at the end of a month's time, and is sent for the Royal Assent at the end of the month. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he attaches any importance to keeping up the form on this occasion. This Bill will be discussed, and the Peers may say "content" or "not content," but the result at the end of a month is the same and the Bill is to receive the Royal Assent. If this Amendment is considered in the light of a subsequent one which is on the order paper, the substance of the proposal is that the House of Lords may suggest changes in a Money Bill and send them down to the House of Commons simply by way of suggestion, just as in a similar way it is provided in a later Clause in this Bill that Bills are to be passed about between the two Houses.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
Will the hon. Member explain where the subsequent Amendment which he means to propose is to be found
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I know it is a little difficult to follow. I am now proposing to leave out the word "If" subsequently to that is an Amendment at the bottom of page 38 to leave out from "Commons" to end of Sub-section and to insert:—
"Shall be presented to His Majesty and become an Act of Parliament on the Royal Assent being signified, notwithstanding that the Bill has not been before the other House of Parliament."
The effect of the two Amendments taken together is that the Bill will not go through these forms in the House of Lords. I move, then, not because I am enamoured of their substance, so much as to ask the Government what importance they attach to any of these Bills going before the House of Lords at all. Presumably they go through all their stages. I suppose it is brought in and read the first time, and then another day is given for its discussion on the Second Reading, then, perhaps there will be a Committee stage and a Third Reading, but whether it is discussed or not, whether it is divided against or not 1864 it is apparently to have the force of law at the end of a month. As things stand, I do not see why the Government attach importance to these stages. If they would accept an Amendment lower down on the Paper, which would give the House of Lords power not to make amendments but suggestions to the House, the matter would be entirely different. By that Amendment I suggest that the House of Lords may at any stage return to the House of Commons any Money Bill requesting by message the omission or amendment of any provisions therein, and the House of Commons may if it think fit, make any such omissions or amendments with or without modifications. If anything of that kind were possible the Clause would have some value, but if nothing of the kind is possible I really do not see any explanation of the point as to the necessity for going through these stages. I cannot help thinking that this is done deliberately in order that the ugliness of the Government proposal may be cloaked, and, perhaps, if Thomas Carlyle were yet alive he would re-write another chapter in "Sartor Re-sartus" to show how the present Government had adopted certain clothes so as to cloak their present proposals. I think that is the reason why the Government want to retain these old forms while they are still proposing by this Clause to deprive the Second Chamber of any right to do anything with a Money Bill, the result of such a proposal being to throw an unendurable onus upon the Crown.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
It is always very dangerous to reason by metaphor, and the hon. Gentleman has alluded to the philosophy of clothes as explained in Carlyle's "Sartor Resartus." The difference between the hon. Gentleman and us in this matter is that we propose to retain the present constitutional arrangement, whereas he proposes to divest us of it altogether. That is the most revolutionary proposal that has yet been made, and I wonder whether it will be supported by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford (Lord Hugh Cecil). It is, as I say, the most revolutionary proposal that has yet been made. It is not merely that we should assert the supremacy of this House in matters of finance, but that we should not even allow the House of Lords to have an opportunity of discussing any financial measure which has passed through this House. That is the proposal, and when the hon. Gentleman asks me why I resist it, I say it is because I see no reason for 1865 it. It is going further than the Government think it necessary to go in asserting the rights of this House, because our view has always been that in this Clause we are giving legal and statutory effect to what has hitherto been, or was till 1909, the almost unbroken constitutional usage. There is no innovation here of any sort or kind—absolutely none—except that we are putting into the form of an Act of Parliament now that the necessity has arisen that which up to a couple of years ago, by universal consent, was the adopted practice without any Act of Parliament at all. The House of Lords discussed Finance Bills; they did not amend them; they did not reject them. We are proposing to leave them in the position in which by constitutional usage they always have been, to discuss financial proposals which emanate from this House. That other is a power which for over fifty years they never claimed, and certainly never exercised—namely, that to amend or reject. The hon. Gentleman proposes to go further, and deprive them of the power even of discussing these proposals. The Noble Lord shakes his head, but he has not read the Amendment, or has not read the consequential Amendment, because, according to the hon. Member for Sheffield, if this word "if" is omitted, the Clause will run as follows: "A Money Bill having been passed by the House of Commons, shall be presented to His Majesty and become an Act of Parliament on the Royal Assent being signified, notwithstanding that the Bill has not been before the other House of Parliament." The House of Lords would then have no power of expressing any opinion upon it or considering it. That is the proposal. The advantage of the Government proposal is three-fold, although the Noble Lord attaches no importance to it. The Government view is that we should disturb the existing constitutional system as little as possible. In the second place, if the Bill is sent to the House of Lords, in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred the House of Lords will pass it.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
That is exactly the point. What I am arguing against is the proposal that the Finance Bill should not go to the House of Lords at all.
§ Mr. REMNANT
I understood that, but the right hon. Gentleman said, in reading it, "and sent up to the House of Lords at least one month before the end of the 1866 Session." If the Amendment is carried that will be left out altogether.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I admit that. I apologise. We are talking about the difference between sending a Bill to the House of Lords under the limitations proposed by this Clause and not sending it to the House of Lords at all. In the first place, we make the minimum of disturbance with existing constitutional practice. In the second place, the House of Lords in all probability will pass the Bill. It always has done so, and most likely it will do so again. The Bill will go to the country with the joint assent of both Houses of Parliament. Perhaps the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil) attaches no importance to that. In the third place, even when the House of Lords refuses to pass the Bill, is it to be said it is no advantage whatever to have a debate there, considering the manner in which that House is constituted and the eminent persons who take part in its deliberations? We are constantly being told that is the real reservoir of political wisdom and ability. Is it to be said that the country is to deprive itself of the advantage of hearing the financial proposals of the Government discussed and reviewed with all its vast resources of dialectical skill. I do not go so far as that. On the contrary, it is very desirable that we should preserve in the House of Lords the powers it already possesses, and that we should not plunge into revolutionary innovations in our Constitution unless abundant reason is shown for doing so. As regards the only other point raised by the hon. Gentleman—namely, the later Amendment of his own—I need not point out that it will be quite out of order to discuss that at this stage. It is an alternative proposal. It assumes that Finance Bills do go to the House of Lords, and it gives the House of Lords a new power of suggestion, as distinguished from Amendment, which would bring Bills back to this House for further consideration. We can discuss that point if and when the Amendment is reached. It is sufficient for present purposes to say that the Government is proposing the least possible disturbance of our existing arrangements which is consistent with the assertion of the uncontrolled supremacy of this House in all matters of finance.
I really should like to know what place the word "revolution" fills in the right hon. Gentleman's vocabulary. He informed my hon. Friend Mr. Hope) that this was the most revolutionary proposal ever made in this House.
I suppose by "this discussion" the right hon. Gentleman means the discussions which have been going on for the last two or three years?
There has been no proposal to-day. If it is the most revolutionary proposal yet made to-day, I quite agree. The proposal which we have discussed at great length, though very important, is not revolutionary. No doubt it is possible to deal with the Constitution in a more revolutionary spirit than at all appeared on the face of the Instruction which occupied the earlier part of this afternoon's debate. In truth, my hon. Friend's proposal, whether it be good or bad, may deserve many epithets, but it certainly does not deserve the epithet "revolutionary." The right hon. Gentleman is passionately attached to the existing forms, which he seemed to think only carry with them that the House of Lords and the eminent persons in that Chamber may make speeches, but may do nothing else with regard to finance, and he has taken this opportunity of reiterating the amazing doctrine, for which he has made himself responsible on more than one occasion, that the House of Lords have at present, under our existing system, no constitutional right whatever to reject Money Bills. That is really a profound delusion on the part of the right hon. Gentleman. Quite apart from party purposes, I understand and agree with those who say the House of Lords has not the power of amending, but certainly has the power of rejecting Money Bills. There can be no doubt whatever. It is perfectly true that that power has never been exercised since 1860 because in that year arrangements were made by this House, not with a view of preventing the House of Lords from rejecting Money Bills, but with a view of preventing the House of Lords dealing with part of the financial proposals of the year without dealing with the whole of them, and no doubt if you put, as since 1860 you have put, the House of Lords in the position of either leaving alone or rejecting in toto the financial provision of the year, of course the constitutional power which they possess is one which must be exercised on the rarest possible occasions. I really do not believe that any impartial student of our constitutional history can doubt that that is the true interpretation 1868 of the development of our Constitution in regard to the power of the House of Lords over Money Bills. That power has not been exercised for amending purposes for more time than is worth considering now. When it could be exercised in the form of rejection of a part of the financial schemes of the year, of course it was much easier for the House of Lords to use that power. The House of Commons made it extremely difficult for the House of Lords to use that power, and, having made it more difficult, of course the result is that it has been very rarely used and ought only in cases of extreme necessity to be used. Whether 1909 was a case of extreme necessity is, of course, open to dispute. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may think the Budget of that year was of so ordinary a type that the House of Lords ought to have let it go through as all other Budgets have gone through since 1860. I think the House of Lords would have been failing in its duty if it had not referred to the people so very exceptional and so very remarkable a departure in the finance of the country. However, that particular point may be disputed, and I cannot conceive why the right hon. Gentleman should have raised it on this Amendment, to which it appears to be only remotely relevant.
What we have to discuss now is whether we shall retain these forms which the Government propose to leave to the House of Lords, and which my hon. Friend (Mr. Hope) proposes to withdraw from them. To withdraw these powers is not revolutionary—it is absurd to call it revolutionary—but in my judgment it is not expedient, and I should be sorry to see these forms withdrawn from the House of Lords, not in the least, because I think the proposal of my hon. Friend is revolutionary, but because I think the possession of these forms by the House of Lords on a Money Bill might, in certain very easily foreseen circumstances, be extremely useful. Supposing this Clause passes, as I most earnestly hope it will not pass in its present form—supposing, in other words, it is left to the Speaker of this House alone to decide, after a Bill has gone through its stages here, whether it does or does not contain tacking provisions, I think it is an excessively bad proposal, but if the Amendment is carried there would be no opportunity for reviewing the decision of Mr. Speaker, which may have the most far reaching consequences, beyond the sphere of the House over which Mr. Speaker reigns, stretching perhaps into the life of 1869 every man and every commercial institution of the country. The House of Lords, if your Clause passes, will have no power of rejecting the Budget, but they will have the power in debate of showing that the Budget, which has been decided by Mr. Speaker to be purely a financial measure, is nothing of the sort. They will be able to show that it goes far beyond the limit of a purely financial measure, and it may be that, as the result of their debates, the Government themselves might think it worth while to modify a scheme, the unconstitutional character of which has been thus exposed. That is only one illustration, though I think a very important one of the sort of advantages which might still accrue, even under this Clause, to the House of Lords, if you leave with them the power of surveying the Budget. I do not take so low a view of the effect of discussion in Parliament upon public opinion as some critics of our Parliamentary institutions are disposed to do, and even if the House of Lords retains the constitutional power which it now possesses of referring great new financial departures to the constituencies, debate in that House upon some great issue, in which the whole country is interested, cannot fail to modify and mould public opinion. In these circumstances, though I think the epithet "revolutionary" is probably the last epithet which the Amendment really deserves, I am disposed to think that this Clause will not be improved by the modification which my hon. Friend suggests.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
After what has fallen from my right hon. Friend I do not desire to press the Amendment on the Committee, but there are one or two points which deserve attention as a matter of Debate. The Prime Minister seems to suppose that because a power is not exercised for a number of years it is non-existent and, whether existent or not, is of no importance. That is a profound misconception. This House has never exercised in the whole course of its history the power of rejecting an Appropriation Bill. Would he say it is desirable that the passing of an Appropriation Bill should be taken as a matter of form? It is obvious that the existence of a power, even, may be a valuable thing. It may check proposals being introduced. It remains in the background, a security against scandalous and unusual abuses of the power of this House, and for that reason I regret that, whether in the hands of the present House of Lords, to which 1870 there are objections, or in the hands of a more popularly constituted body, there should be no financial power. Some financial check on this House will ultimately be found to be necessary.
But the important objection to the Government proposal, though I quite agree with the weighty argument my right hon. Friend has put forward, is simply that it is an untruthful proposal, which makes believe that you have a security when there is no security. In the language of the late Lord Salisbury, it erects a rotten fence on the edge of a precipice, against which people may lean, and, leaning, fall over. Lord Rosebery, in a memorable metaphor, said the Bill was like hamstringing a horse and entering it for the Derby. If you are cruel enough to hamstring a horse, it is better not to enter it for the Derby. To see it limp round the course is unseemly and merely an exercise of cruelty. However, my right hon. Friend thinks the House of Lords limping round the course will produce an effect on public opinion, and it is possible that it may show the inhumanity of the hamstringing to which it has been subjected. From that point of view no doubt there is a good argument against the Amendment, but I think the Prime Minister's speech was a revelation of his point of view. What he cares about is the clothing of the Constitution—the seemliness, the pretence, the unreality—that is what he values. The real power of the Second Chamber he does not value at all. He does not value it because it is inconvenient to the party he leads. Because the thing is merely pretence, he likes it for the purpose of throwing dust in the eyes of the public among other useful functions. My hon. Friend's Amendment shocks his constitutional sense, and he rebukes him for being revolutionary. The right hon. Gentleman's conception of a sound Constitution was what the late Mr. Carlyle would have called a thing which depends elaborately on pretence. The right hon. Gentleman wants one House managed by the guillotine in the interest of the Liberal party, and another going through mere forms. I quite agree that my hon. Friend's Amendment, if pressed, would shut out other Amendments, and there is so much weight in that that I do not think he should divide the Committee upon it.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The Prime Minister says this proposal is the most revolutionary that has been made in this discussion. It is the most honest proposal made 1871 since the Bill was brought before the House. I say so because it says what will happen if the Clause is passed. The Prime Minister objects to the Amendment because it is going to get the clothes off the Government and the party opposite. That is exactly what I want to do. I want to take the clothes off hon. Gentlemen opposite. That would have a startling effect upon the electors of this country. My hon. Friend, like myself, is a businesslike person. We both dislike shams, and therefore my hon. Friend says, "This Bill is going to take away from the House of Lords their power to alter or amend a Money Bill. Take away their power to debate, and do not let them sit in the gilded Chamber discussing nothing at all, or only subjects which are not to be affected by their discussion." He says further, "Let the House of Commons say whether a Money Bill is for the good of the country or not." I was rather surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he likes to hear speeches.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I thought he did. I apologise. I see where I made the mistake. He said he liked speeches in the House of Lords where he cannot hear them. He does not like them here. Why does he not like to hear speeches in this House? There would be only one advantage apparently if this Amendment were carried. My hon. Friend desires to allow this House to send up a Money Bill once. "Alice in Wonderland" said, "If I say a thing three times it is so." Why does not my hon. Friend say, "If the Liberal party pass any Bill three times it must become law." When passed the first time Parliament can be prorogued to meet on the following day. It can then pass the Bill a second time, and prorogue again. In the third Session it would become law. Then we shall all be happy, and hon. Members opposite will be able to indulge their love of legislation. I share with my hon. Friend the desire to reject, if possible, every Clause in this Bill, but if we are going to have a Bill let us have an honest one. Let the Government say to the country, "In our opinion we are the only people who ought to have any power in legislation." That may be a very laudable ambition for them, but my business instincts prevent me from supporting such a proposal. I think it is a sheer waste of time. I think my hon. Friend has done a 1872 very valuable service in bringing forward the Amendment. If his speech is reported it will show clearly that he wishes to be straightforward and honest.
§ Viscount MORPETH
The Prime Minister said that it was desirable that the Second Chamber should be able to express its assent. I wonder if that commends itself to hon. Gentleman below the Gangway on the other side. What is the value of being able to assent if a person has no power to dissent. If a slave had power to assent to his sale that power would have no value if he could be sold contrary to his will. The power of assent by the House of Lords is a thing to which not the slightest attention would be paid by this House or Government. It seems to me that the pretence is not worthy of the Government of a constitutional country. The Prime Minister attaches great importance to discussion. Personally I attach no importance to discussion where it is not accompanied by any power to act. Everyone who has sat on a Consultative Committee knows it is the most weary thing that has ever been known. The Committee has power to make recommendations, but no power to enforce them. I assure my hon. Friends below the Gangway that I dislike unrealities. If this were to be a permanent. Bill I would say that the unrealities had better be swept away. On the other hand, if it is not to be permanent, I would say that before we part with realities we should know what is to be done. If the realities are left, some control to the Second Chamber may be restored. When this Government are no longer in power and others have taken their places, the very forms which are left may be utilised to restore what has been destroyed.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
I think the Committee is very much indebted to the hon. Member for bringing forward this Amendment. The discussion of it has led to a remarkable speech by the Leader of the Opposition. The Amendment itself is based upon the proposition that this Bill is intended to establish Single Chamber Government. That is entirely denied by the right hon. Gentleman, who has admitted that the mere power to discuss a Finance Bill in another place is a valuable possession. I build upon that a fortiori the argument that the power of discussion and revision contained in the Bill will be valuable also under the second part in 1873 relation to ordinary legislation. Therefore early in this Debate we have got the admission that this Bill does not set up Single Chamber Government, but leaves powers to the other place which are valuable. I hope I shall have an opportunity of saying later on that that admission carries the right hon. Gentleman a little further with the powers which are left to the other place. I think I am speaking for other hon. Members on this side of the House as well as for myself when I say that the powers so retained or left to the other Chamber instead of being too shadowy or too vague, are rather too large to be entrusted to that Chamber.
§ Mr. CAVE
I cannot help pressing a little further the metaphor of the Prime Minister when he said that the Government proposed to leave to the House of Lords their clothes. There is a story in Hans Andersen which relates that there came at one time to a town people who gave out that they were going to make clothes of such wonderfully thin texture that no one could see them except people who were wise. What followed was that they went through the gesture of making clothes, and they sold like wildfire. Everybody bought them and admired them, until one day a little child came, and, looking at them, said, "Why they have got nothing on." Then the whole fraud came out. It came out that these people had been trading on the credulity of others. In this case the Government are conferring power like the merchants in these clothes. My hon. Friend takes the part of the child, and is frank enough to say, "If this Bill passes there will be no clothes at all." I think the Amendment is useful as showing that the Bill is, in fact, a sham. Those who pretend to leave under this Bill any powers whatever to the House of Lords are only misleading this House, and it would be better, if possible, to have reality in the Bill, and to say that no Money Bill can go to the other House at all. The Prime Minister said in terms that the Upper House has now no constitutional right either to reject or to amend a Money Bill. I venture to differ entirely from that statement, and I think he is the first Minister and this is the first Government who have said it in this House or elsewhere. I need only refer to Mr. Gladstone, who said in the clearest possible terms——[An HON. MEMBER: "He is dead."] Mr. Gladstone's 1874 reputation is not dead. There are many in this House, mainly I think on this side, who have still some reverence for what Mr. Gladstone said on constitutional matters, because in these matters no one was more Conservative in the best sense of the word than Mr. Gladstone. On 5th July, 1860, he said that the House of Lords had the right both to reject and to amend. What he said was this: that, in fact, the two Houses meant the same thing:—The House of Commons by its privilege with respect to Money Bills has meant to reserve to itself the integrity of the taxing power, and the House of Lords, by declining to admit the claim of the House of Commons, has intended to preserve to itself an effective means of preventing the House of Commons from forcing upon it other matters of general legislation under cover of Money Bills.Mr. Gladstone was not the only one, because Lord Morley, in very recent times indeed gave utterance to sentiments something of the same kind. I have his words here:—The bare legal right (to reject the Budget) has not been denied. Some, no doubt, and I do not know that I would quarrel with them, would argue that the bare legal right may, on certain occasions, be appropriately transformed into a moral duty. Yes, but I can imagine a state of things—I can imagine it with difficulty—which would justify the transformation of a legal right into aspect of moral duty by reason of the wildcat proposals of a demented House of Commons."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th November, 1909, cols. 1140–1.]That admits the constitutional rights in an extreme case. That is all that anybody can look forward to. I think it right to protest against the view as things stand that there is this constitutional bar, and if you are going to define a Money Bill in the wide terms of this Clause, I should strongly oppose the restrictions of the House of Lords further in this matter. If you are going to restrict the House of Lords against interfering only with—to use the old word—Bills of aid and supply, that is one thing, but under the terms of this Clause the Government will be able to bring in, without any check whatever, without even the check of delay, proposals which may alter the whole aspect of this nation. I am glad my hon. Friend moved this Amendment, because it will enable us to know, though, of course, we knew it before, but it will expose to the Committee what this Clause really does, namely, to remove, so far as these matters are concerned, all power whatever from the other House.
Sir HENRY DALZIEL
I do not think we can congratulate the Opposition on the skill with which they have selected the Amendment of which they are taking their first stand. The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down described the Bill which we are discussing as a sham.
Sir H. DALZIEL
Then there is some reality in the Bill itself. I only refer to that in order to describe this Amendment, and to say that if this Amendment is not a sham then I do not understand what a sham is. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House have been denouncing the very extreme character of the proposals of the Government in regard to finance, and the limitation of power of legislation on the part of the House of Lords, yet here we have them to-day-occupying a great amount of valuable time of the Committee in supporting an Amendment which will go a great deal farther than any proposals which the Government have made. In effect the intention of this Amendment is that a Finance Bill cannot go to the House of Lords at all. How many of them will have the courage to vote for that in the Division Lobby? They have brought it forward for discussion, with no real earnestness of intention of pressing it upon the House.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The Amendment has been brought forward in order to expose the character of the Government Bill.
§ 7.0 P.M.
Sir H. DALZIEL
Are we to understand that the attitude of the Conservative party is simply to expose the policy of the Government? I think that that policy will stand any exposure, but we are now to understand this, that in exposing the policy of the Government you bring forward proposals of your own that have no reality as far as you are concerned. Those who talk of exposure have no belief in their own proposals, and they have not the courage to vote for them in the Division Lobby. This is, in my opinion, a good proposal, and but for the argument put forward by the Prime Minister as to leaving the existing state of things to some extent as they are, with regard to the machinery of Bills passing from this House I certainly would have advocated this Amendment myself. If we mean, as I presume the Government do that in future the House of Lords shall have no power in regard to finance then I contend there is a great deal to be said for the view that we might send the Finance Bill direct from the House to the Throne to receive the Royal Assent. That is the purport of the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman has moved. If 1876 they care to go into the Division Lobby in favour of that with any real earnestness I shall certainly support him. So far as I can see, the Amendment is only put forward with a theoretical, but not very useful object, because they have not the intention of voting for it in the Division Lobby. Unless it is unanimously rejected I shall vote for it in the Division Lobby.
§ Sir R. FINLAY
I think that the speech to which we have just listened shows rather less than the sense of humour which is said to be possessed by natives of the country to which the hon. Gentleman and myself both belong. I consider that this discussion has been extremely useful in showing up the real character of the Government proposals. What the Government propose is this, to leave the people under the impression that they have a Second Chamber, and I say that the simulatum of a Second Chamber is a great deal more dangerous than the absence of a Second Chamber altogether. The Prime Minister talked about constitutionality and about the danger of revolution. But he is carrying out a revolution. I absolutely differ from the right hon. Gentleman when he asserted that this Clause merely embodied the existing law of the Constitution. Of course, I do not intend to enter on that subject at the present moment, but no one who looks into the precedents can assert that the proposition laid down by the right hon. Gentleman is a correct statement of the law upon the subject. This proposal is revolutionary, because it deprives the. House of Lords of any right to deal with Bills of this class, while at the same time it proposes to leave the country under the impression that that right exists by leaving to the House of Lords the power of discussion. The Amendment moved by my hon. Friend has been extremely useful in unmasking the real character of the Government proposals, and having unmasked the Government proposals, I think that my hon. Friend will be of opinion that the whole purpose of the discussion has been served, and that any one who is capable of appreciating that ridicule is sometimes the best way of combating dangerous proposals will agree that he was well advised in moving this Resolution.
§ Earl WINTERTON
The hon. Knight the Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir H. Dalziel) mentioned the other day, I think, in a speech in the country that when he sat on this side of the House he delayed business with more artistic flavour than 1877 those who sit here now. All I can say is that he has lost that art since he went to sit on that side. I must protest against the assumption which is apparently held by him and his friends that it is not for the Opposition to bring forward an Amendment in order to obtain a discussion, and an answer from the Government, and not to go to a Division. I never heard such an argument before. I think we shall have had a most useful discussion on this Amendment if we can get an answer to a question which I now propose to put to the Government. There is a point which I think has been hitherto missed in the course of this discussion. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister in the course of his speech was good enough very wisely to refer to a head shake of mine on the subject whether or not a Money Bill could be discussed if this Amendment is carried. This is a point which I think is very clear. There is nothing whatever, and there cannot be in this Act anything that will prevent the House of Lords from discussing anything they want. Nothing that the Government can put into this Bill can affect the power of the House of Lords to discuss money or any other Bill. As I understand my hon. Friend's Amendment, it is that these Bills shall be presented to His Majesty and become an Act of Parliament, the Royal Assent being signified notwithstanding that the Bill has not been before the other House of Parliament. The point I thought made admirably by my hon. Friend which has not been taken up is this: Are you going to say that the House of Lords is in future to go through all the action of discussing the Bill? Is the Chancellor to rise upon the Woolsack and ask the "contents" and "non-contents" to signify their approval or disapproval, and is all the form to be gone through when they know perfectly well that by going through it they will gain absolutely nothing and that they have neither power to give assent to or dissent from the Bill. In this Amendment there is nothing to prevent them discussing it, but, as I understand it, the point of my hon. Friend's Amendment is to prevent the hollow mockery being gone through of this Bill being brought to the other place and their assent being asked for when it makes no difference what they do. The junior Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie) said on 7th April, 1910:—They are not to have the power to amend the Bill, nor to reject it, nor to suspend it. Why send it to them? Why make two bites at, the cherry? Why not say emphatically here and now that the House of Commons is supreme in finance, and so show that in practice as well as in theory by sending the Finance 1878 Bill direct to the Crown, without going to the House of Lords at all?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th April, 1910, col. 705.]That is exactly what the Government propose to do. They propose to make these unfortunate gentlemen whom they have sent in such confusion to the other place Viscount Morley, Viscount Haldane, and all the rest of them—give their time and sit in the House while they are being asked whether they are in favour of the Bill, and, whether they say Yes or No, it will not make the slightest difference on the question of whether the Bill will become law or not. If that is not a mockery I do not know what the meaning of the term is.
§ Mr. GUINNESS
The hon. Member for Northamptonshire quoted the words of the Leader of the Opposition as admitting that discussion of financial provisions on the part of the House of Lords would be valuable, and the hon. Member said that, therefore, there would be still a two Chamber system. But the point we are making is that under the new powers, though the House of Lords may have opportunity of discussing, they would have no power of revision; there would not be an opportunity for the House of Lords to do so, even if they thought fit. For that reason the Prime Minister was not accurate when he said that this Clause leaves the House of Lords in the position in which they have always been. Of course, he was alluding to the fact that it is very rare for the House of Lords to reject the Finance Bill; but he seems to forget that it is a very common occurrence for the House of Lords to put Amendments in Money Bills which are often accepted.
§ Mr. GUINNESS
My point is that under the present proposal of the Government there will be no opportunity here for considering Amendments which have been made in the House of Lords by consent.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member can deal with that point in a later Amendment. A question upon it was asked of the Prime Minister, who said that this was not the time to deal with it. It arises on a subsequent Amendment, and therefore the hon. Member is out of order.
§ Mr. GUINNESS
May I ask the Prime Minister to deal with this question? He said that the House of Lords would have power to discuss Money Bills. May I ask whether they will have any opportunity of 1879 making Amendments, and whether the House of Commons will have an opportunity of reconsidering the matter after it has been discussed in the House of Lords?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must point out that we cannot discuss these questions over and over again. There are later Amendments which raise the point. A question was put to the Prime Minister in regard to it, and he refused to deal with it now because it comes on at a later stage. I think, therefore, the hon. Member should wait until we come to that Amendment.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The Prime Minister stated that the situation of the House of Lords under the Government proposals will be left as it has always been, but we show that it is changed, suggestions made by the Lords cannot be sent down to this House for consideration.
§ Mr. GUINNESS
May I point out that the House of Lords has very often amended Money Bills, and those Amendments have been accepted. May I quote the ruling of the Speaker on the occasion of the Old Age Pension Bill:—Almost every year, certainly very frequently this House does not insist upon its privilege. It accepts amendments, and in sending a message to the other House the statement is made that this House does not insist upon its privilege.My point is that the position of the House of Lords will not remain the same under this Clause, and for that reason we are perfectly entitled to resist it. We have seen the House of Lords making Amendments to Money Bills with the consent of the Government, yet the House of Commons under these proposals will have no opportunity of taking those Amendments into consideration. What will be the effect? The Bill will go to the House of Lords, and there will be no means of reconsidering it here, unless the Government withdraw it, prorogue Parliament, start a new Session, and reintroduce it. If there is to be no power of reconsideration, though it might be of merely drafting mistakes in Money Bill——
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is really dealing with a later Amendment, and the hon. Member is arguing a point which does not rise upon the Amendment before the Committee.
§ Mr. MORRELL rose in his place and claimed to Move:—"That the Question be now put," but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that question.1880
§ Mr. CLAVELL SALTER
I hope the hon. Member will restrain his impatience. I fancy that we had better all arm ourselves with a certain amount of patience considering the magnitude of the enterprise upon which we are now entering.
§ Mr. SALTER
I will endeavour to do so, Sir. A more legitimate Amendment than that which my hon. Friend has moved was never placed before the Committee of this House, and if only because of the speech elicited from the Prime Minister, a speech which appears to me to contain a tacit admission of the profound sense the Prime Minister has of the value of the cooperation of the House of Lords in matters of finance in any Constitution. If my hon. Friend does not press this Amendment to a Division it is not because of any one of the three reasons which the Prime Minister urged upon the Committee against it. What were the three reasons the Prime Minister gave? He said, first of all, "We are retaining the old system, and you are departing from it." That is a very edifying observation in the mouth of the Prime Minister. Why is it that our Finance Bills—and I observe with great interest that the Prime Minister used the expression "Finance Bill," which may be very important at a later stage of this discussion—have gone to the House of Lords? They have gone there in order that we might have the additional authority and assent of the House of Lords, and because the House of Lords had the undoubted and unchallenged right to reject Money Bills. The Prime Minister talked about retaining the old system. Is it retaining the old system to substitute for a discussion in the House of Lords, which was real and which could be followed by action, a discussion which is to be academic and have no more practical result than the discussion of a college debating society? The Prime Minister's second point, and, to me, the most interesting, was that the House of Lords will support and carry ninety-nine out of one hundred Finance Bills which we send up to them. But there is one out of the one hundred to which they will refuse their assent, and we are going to make a new and invidious distinction between those Money Bills which are styled an Act of Parliament in the present day, and those Money Bills which are mere decrees of the House of Commons.
1881 We shall have to invent a new Preamble, and we shall have to divide our Money Bills into two classes—those which receive the assent of both Houses, as I take it, under the Preamble of the Bill, "by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled." But for that percentage—and I agree with the Prime Minister it would be a small one—which is not assented to by the House of Lords, we shall have to find some new term which will distinguish those House of Commons Money Bills from Money Bills which are Acts of Parliament in the old sense. That invidious distinction will have to be made. The Prime Minister's third point is this. He said that we will have the great advantage of discussion in an assembly, so illustrious as the House of Lords, where there are able and highly qualified men and financiers, who are there to give us the advantage of their mature consideration. But does not it follow that the more valuable the discussion in the House of Lords the more invidious this distinction will be between those Money Bills to which they have assented and those Money Bills in regard to which they differ from this House, and from which they withhold their assent. These are the three points which the Prime Minister urged, but which, if I may respectfully say so, seem to have no very great substance in them. While I agree with what fell from the Leader of the Opposition in regard to the Amendment, I submit that it is one which substitutes a reality for a sham, and it would save the last month of the Session for finance, a period which will be wasted under the Government proposals.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
As the hon. Members who have proposed and supported the Amendment do not intend to go to a Division, I would appeal to the Committee to let us dispose of it, and proceed to other questions such as that raised by the hon. Member below the Gangway, and which come up for discussion on later Amendments.
§ Dr. HILLIER
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question. He dwelt with some seriousness upon the value of discussion in the House of Lords among the distinguished Members of that illustrious assembly on any measure, including even Finance Bills. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell us by what means the 1882 views of that illustrious Chamber on a Finance Bill will be conveyed to this House. As I read the Clause, it will be impossible for the Lords to move an Amendment to a Money Bill. Will the Prime Minister be good enough to explain to us by what constitutional means under the Clause, if carried in its entirety, the House of Lords will be able to convey to this House their valuable views on a Finance Bill which he insists should be sent to them?
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
With regard to what the Prime Minister says as to the House of Lords not having rejected any Money Bill between 1860 and 1909, I would remind him that, in 1861, the year after, Mr. Gladstone proposed to make it more difficult in the future for the House of Lords to deal with these questions, and Lord Derby, who was Leader of the House, entered a very emphatic protect against any interference with their rights. Of course, Money Bills in former days were something very different from Money Bills as defined in this Clause, and I must enter that caveat against what the Prime Minister has said, because undoubtedly we have had instances of Money Bills having been dealt with by the House of Lords. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir Henry Dalziel) referred to the fact of the Amendment being moved for the purpose of discussion, and with no intention of dividing upon it. The hon. Gentleman must know that when he was in opposition such a thing was constantly done, and perfectly legitimately done. I must say frankly that I did not propose this Amendment with a view to going to a Division, but simply to see what the Government had to say in defence of their position. I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I beg to move, after the word "if" ["If a Money Bill"] to insert the words "within" three years of the passing of this Act."
I hope this proposal will meet with a better reception from the critical hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir H. Dalziel) than did the last, because I think he will agree that this is an Amendment of real substance. I am seeking to limit the period of what I may call the interregnum, within which the Government are to be entitled to have the advantages derived from the passage of this Bill. At the present moment there is a declaration of their 1883 intentions in the Preamble, that at some period or other, which is not at all defined, they will reform the Second Chamber. The purpose of my Amendment is to limit the period during which this transition time will last, and to place on the Government the responsibility and the duty of reforming the Second Chamber after the period of three years. I think that an Amendment of this kind is not unusual in Bills of a certain class. It is one which gives the Government the opportunity of declaring before this House whether their intentions with regard to the reform of the Second Chamber are honest or are not honest. In point of fact, the Amendment in very few words crystallises the Preamble of the Bill. I think in proposing that the term should be extended for so long as three years that we are giving the Government rope enough. This Bill is, of course, only a means to an end. Everybody knows that, it is not denied. How long should the Government be placed in a position to exercise the immensely increased powers which they will get under this Bill, and within what limits shall it be confined. Within three years of the passage of this Bill it would be perfectly possible for the Government to pass through this House and the other its Home Rule proposals. It will be possible to pass certain other measures in the logrolling condition in which it is placed, and it will also enable all extremists to get their particular views carried into effect. There is no lack of generosity in the period which this Amendment offers to them for their very fell and unfortunate purpose. Therefore, I think, if there is a real intention on their part, and if they have any plan in their minds as to what proposals they intend to make for the reform of the Second Chamber, then three years would be plenty of time to formulate and pass a scheme. I do not know whether the intention of the Government, as expressed in the Preamble is ultimately to find its way to that place which we are told is paved with good intentions. I have my own suspicions. It is with a view to bringing the Government out to a definite and distinct statement on this question that this Amendment is submitted. I should be very glad, and I am sure hon. Members on this side would be glad, to know that the Government were able to accept an Amendment of this kind, which as I say, would be an earnest not only of their intention in the Preamble, but of their honesty in this matter.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill)
The hon. Gentleman proposes also to move a similar Amendment, limiting the duration of this Bill in Clause 2. It would be far better, and I believe in accordance with the Standing Orders, that he should attempt to deal with that in a separate Clause at the end of the Bill instead of by Amendment at this point. This, at any rate, is not at all a convenient point for embarking on the discussion which it is now desired to raise. Even if he were not to take the course of moving a separate Clause to make a temporary limitation which he desires to establish, it is clear that what he desires to raise would come in more acutely on Clause 2 than on Clause 1. For after all, Clause 1, as the Prime Minister has shown in a speech on an earlier Amendment, only has the effect of restoring to the House of Commons the powers which, at any rate judged by the practice of the last fifty years with the exception of the Budget of 1909, have always been enjoyed by the House of Commons. To say that the operation of this most essential safeguard, namely, the assurance of our rights over finance, should be limited to a period of three years is obviously putting forward a proposal which we on this side of the House could not accept. We do not think this is a satisfactory time to embark on the general discussion of the Preamble. No doubt there would have to be a very grave and important discussion of that part of the measure, but coming as it does at this point of the Bill, I can only say that the Government hope the hon. Gentleman will not press his Amendment, but, in any case, it will not be in their power to accept it.
§ Mr. F. E. SMITH
The right hon. Gentleman has explained the reasons which have influenced him in advising the Committee not to accept the Amendment. He says my hon. Friend would be well advised if he had made his proposal in the shape of a new Clause. My hon. Friend would perhaps reply to that observation by asking whether if he did put this in the shape of a new Clause, the right hon. Gentleman would afford any guarantee that there would be the opportunity of discussing it. I have not the least doubt, if such an assurance were forthcoming even now, my hon. Friend would concur in the view that that would be a more convenient course. I do not understand the right hon. Gentleman to offer any such assurance, and in that case I am a little surprised that he 1885 should have suggested to my hon. Friend to withdraw this Motion. As to the substantial merits of the proposal, my hon. Friend says that if three years were inserted in the Bill, it would give the Government reasonable time to make reform proposals to which so many of them are committed. I fully agree that there may be more suitable opportunities during the progress of these discussions for the whole of that argument to be laid before us. I do not dissent from that, but, at any rate, here at the very earliest stage of the discussion an opportunity is offered to the Government to state whether they contemplate any arrangement of the kind in three years. I would ask the Government, are they determined to take up the position that, however a Second Chamber may be constituted or reformed, or ultimately transformed, that under no circumstances whatever, and however such a Second Chamber may be constituted, will they leave to them any control of finance. It is a very different proposition to lay down here that as the Second Chamber is at present constituted, the Government is not prepared to allow any. I can only hope, when the full discusson is reached which raises the whole question of the Preamble, that we may obtain assurances which are satisfactory. I confess I am astonished that the right hon. Gentleman has not found it in his power to make some statement in answer to the particular Motion of my hon. Friend.
I only rise at this stage of the discussion because I am not absolutely sure that I wholly agree with one part of what has fallen from my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. F. E. Smith). He apparently takes the view of the Home Secretary that the whole of this question could be better discussed on a new Clause. I am not absolutely sure that is so. The question of finance is really different. The question of how the financial relations between the Houses may be modified by an entirely reconstituted House of Lords is really rather different. I do not say it could not be discussed on a new Clause, but it is really different from the question of how a reconstituted House of Lords would deal with ordinary legislation. For example, my own view is, that you may leave with propriety the practical control of our finance, except in certain grave cases which I will not deal with now, but, broadly speaking, you may leave the ordinary financial work of the country to the House of Commons, even if we do have a reconstituted House of Lords, 1886 provided that House of Lords were not simply elected. On the other hand, I think it is ludicrous, with a purely elected Second Chamber, to say that you are now going to give it no place whatever in financial matters. Therefore, it is really vital to discuss this question on this Clause, whatever we may think it necessary to do on the second Clause, and whatever may be done to bring the whole discussion together. If my hon. Friend were fortunate enough to be able to deal with it on a separate Clause, this is an entirely special question of what the relation between the two Houses is to be on questions of finance, and it entirely depends on what your Second Chamber is going to be.
If your Second Chamber is going to remain as it is, then I desire to see the great powers of the House of Commons maintained. Whether they be strengthened, they certainly ought to be maintained, but if you contemplate, as you say you contemplate in your Preamble, the creation in the near future of a Second Chamber on a completely representative basis, then, I say, it is all important that we should limit this Clause to a period of three years, because as soon as you have constituted your new Second Chamber, conditions will come into existence which, in my opinion, will make this Clause absolutely absurd and absolutely untenable. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman, even if the Preamble were carried out, would still wish to see this House the First Chamber absolutely uncontrolled, absolutely free, with regard both to the broad principles and to the details of every financial proposal and of every Bill which could be called a Finance Bill. If that is his argument, he is running counter to the views and opinions of every statesman in Europe, in America, or in the free self-governing dominions of the Crown, who has set himself to the task of framing a constitution and of determining what should be the relations between the two Houses in that Constitution. Wherever you have a completely elective Second Chamber there you have a Second Chamber which has a certain amount of power at all events in modifying and moulding the financial policy of the country. As the Government have announced their intention of having a completely elective Second Chamber, I cannot understand why they refuse, I will not say the actual time limit of three years, but a relatively short time limit, which would enable them to bring in their new Second Chamber, and in the light of its constitution to frame their proposals as to the 1887 relation between the two Houses, not on the basis of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, but on the basis of two Chambers both elective, the Second as completely as the First. That is the justification for my hon. Friend's proposal. In one sense there is a stronger reason for discussing this question on Clause 1 than on Clause 2, because it seems to me that in Clause 2 at all events there are some powers beyond the delay of a month or two which you propose to leave to the Second Chamber. But there are no powers in regard to finance. Therefore, when the time comes to fulfil the promises which they have somewhat rashly made in the Preamble, when they have induced Parliament to create a new Second Chamber elected on a democratic basis, the Government will be obliged to revise the provisions of Clause 1. That being so, it seems only rational, logical, and statesmanlike to put into the Clause itself a time limit which would enable them to do their best to carry out the pledges which they have made to the House and to the country.
Mr. STANLEY WILSON
The Home Secretary endeavoured to persuade us to postpone this discussion to a later date, asking us to wait until the Preamble came on or until we could discuss the question on a new Clause. But is it advisable for us to wait, in view of what we have suffered from this Government since 1906? Is there any guarantee that we should have any opportunities to discuss the Preamble at all or any of the new Clauses? We know what happened on the Revenue Bill recently, when no new Clauses were discussed. Therefore, unless we have a guarantee that such an opportunity will be given, knowing how greatly the Government loves the closure, I think it will be most inadvisable to postpone this discussion. I agree with my hon. Friend that it is absolutely necessary that some sort of limit should be imposed on the operation of the Bill. Surely three years will be ample time for the Government to fulfil the numerous pledges they have made to the various sections of their supporters and the new pledges they will probably be compelled to make in the course of the next year or so in order to get this and other Bills through Parliament. At the end of those three years the Government may have thought out what their Preamble really means, and if they are still in office—which, in the interests of the 1888 country, I sincerely hope they will not be—they will have arrived at some sort of conclusion as to what their reformed Second Chamber is to be. I therefore strongly support the Amendment.
§ Colonel GRIFFITH - BOSCAWEN
We ought really to press the Government to give an answer on the very important question raised by this Amendment. The Government's plan seems to be, whenever a difficult question is put to them, to ride off on a technical objection. At an earlier stage of the proceedings, when I moved to divide the Bill, the chief answer of the Prime Minister was that the proposal was not necessary at that stage, and that all we had to do was to leave out certain Clauses when we came to them in Commitee. When I pressed the point as to whether he would agree to leave out those Clauses he declined to give an answer. NOW when my hon. Friend has raised the very important question whether the Bill is to be a permanent measure or strictly limited in its operations to three years, the Home Secretary simply says that it is not convenient to answer at this stage. I think we are entitled to have a definite answer on this substantial point. On its merits there is a great deal to be said for the Amendment. The Bill is obviously a temporary measure. The word "provisional" is writ large all over it. I would direct special attention to the extremely strong words of the Preamble:—
"And whereas provision will require hereafter to be made by Parliament in a measure effecting such substitution. …"
And so on. The Government apparently insist that something totally different is to come into being at a future time. That being so, why do not the Government come forward and candidly propose a strictly temporary measure which will have effect until they are able to carry out the great changes which they say "will re quire hereafter to be made"? The question has been raised whether it is necessary that this limitation should be put in in this particular Clause. It seems to me to be far more important in this Clause than in Clause 2, because this Clause raises the whole question of what is to be the future relation of a newly-constituted Second Chamber in regard to finance. We know that it is the opinion of the Home Secretary that not only the existing House of Lords but also any newly-constituted Second Chamber should have no power whatever over finance. That is a most 1889 extreme doctrine. To set up a popularly-elected Second Chamber such as you have in foreign countries or in our own Colonies, and to say that it is to have no power over finance, not even power to refer a Finance Bill back to the House of Commons, or to amend it in any particular, is to introduce a principle which is unknown in the whole civilised world. For these reasons it is necessary to insert these words at this particular point, and I shall support my hon. Friend if he goes to a Division.
Sir H. DALZIEL
This Amendment has more substantiality than the one previously before the Committee. I understand that its object is to bring the operation of the Bill to an end at the conclusion of three years, and its Mover urges that it will give the Government an opportunity for bringing forward their reform scheme either before or at the end of that period. Does the hon. Member seriously imagine that the Government are committed to bringing forward a scheme for the reform of the House of Lords in the course of the present Parliament? No Minister has ever said such a thing either inside or outside of the House of Commons. It is, therefore, altogether without foundation for hon. Members opposite to imagine that the operation of the Bill can be limited on that ground. It is true there is the Preamble. That is a pious opinion which will have to be dealt with when the time comes at a later period. It says "hereafter." When is "hereafter"? I have always understood that "hereafter" was a long way off.
Sir H. DALZIEL
When we come to the Preamble it will be time enough to consider it. It is not before us now. The suggestion is that we should do our work now, and that it should all come to an end in three years' time. No responsible Minister has suggested that we are to have a reform scheme in the present Parliament. I say that the Government has no authority, and would be ill-advised, to bring forward any proposal for the reconstitution of the Second Chamber in this Parliament. What may happen at the next General Election no one can at present tell, but, so far as this Parliament is concerned, we are not likely to see any proposals of the kind suggested. I hope, therefore, the Amendment will be rejected.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
The Home Secretary would considerably facilitate the discussion if he answered the reasonable request put to him by the hon. Member for the Walton Division (Mr. F. E. Smith). The Home Secretary suggests that we should wait until a new Clause was under discussion, but when he is asked whether we should have an opportunity to discuss that new Clause he remains silent. I appeal to him to give an answer to that very fair question. If it is intended to give that opportunity there can be no difficulty in saying so. If, on the other hand, it is not the intention of the Government to give such an opportunity, I suggest that the honest, straightforward course will be to tell us so. Am I to understand that we are to have no answer?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is usual in discussions in Committee that there should be time to discuss new Clauses, and the Government certainly hope that there will be time for the discussion of new Clauses on this Bill. In that case there will be an opportunity for the Clause to which the hon. Member refers. But, of course, the progress made in discussion is always a matter which must be taken into consideration by those who are responsible for the conduct of business.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
I am much obliged for that answer. I hope that it is not merely a pious hope. I hope that the hope which the right hon. Gentleman has just expressed will be given effect to, because he has the power to give effect to it. As the right hon. Gentleman has told us that he has every hope of giving us this opportunity, I suppose it will be possible, and that he will see that it is done. I ask him one thing: The object of this Amendment is to limit the operation of this Clause to three years. I should like to know do the Government intend that this Clause shall be permanent or not permanent?
§ Mr. BUTCHER
The hon. Gentleman below the Gangway answers for the Government. I am very much obliged to him, but I should prefer the answer from the Home Secretary. If the right hon. Gentleman does intend that this Clause, shall be permanent it means this: that whatever change is effected in the composition of the Second Chamber then for all time that Second Chamber is paralysed as regards finance. I have no doubt that 1891 hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway will take care to ensure that result. Whether they will succeed in their object or not, I do not know; but am I to understand that the policy of the Government is that when this Second Chamber is reformed, as they say it must be reformed, that it still has to have no power whatever to reject or amend the Money Bills? If that is the intention of the Government, all that can be said is, that it will be utterly unlike the Constitution of every civilised country in the world wherever there is a Second Chamber or anything like a Second Chamber. It is utterly contrary to the Constitutions the Government have conferred on our Dominions. If, on the other hand, they tell us that this Clause is not permanent then is it not obvious that there ought to be some limitation placed upon it in the terms of the Bill itself? What an enormous advantage it would be to the Government to have here a limitation of three years. It would force them, and I think perhaps they want a little coercion in this matter, to bring in their proposals for this reformed Second Chamber, because at the end of three years the matter would come up for reconsideration. This Clause would drop automatically at the end of three years, and the Government would have to bring in their proposals which, I assume, from their Preamble, they desire to bring in in order to reconsider the whole question of the reform of the Second Chamber. Therefore, if they are sincere in their desire for reform of the Second Chamber they should welcome this limitation, which will enable them to bring some pressure to bear upon hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I note those cheers.
I hope the Government will be able to bring some such pressure. Hon. Members seem to have the Government now easily enough in the hollow of their hand. If, on the other hand, the Government will not give effect to this Amendment by introducing some limitation, then I am afraid I must assume that this Preamble is a sham. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members below the Gangway agree with me. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes; have I the assent of the Government to saying that this Preamble is a sham? What, is there already a rift in the lute? Hon. Members below the Gangway declare that this Bill is a sham, a hollow, miserable sham, and hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway, at any 1892 rate at present, do not dare to differ from them! The hon. Baronet the Member for Kirkcaldy referred in terms of withering scorn—— [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] yes, withering scorn, to the word "hereafter." Possibly he is right in assuming that "hereafter" may be a long time to come. The object of this Amendment is to assist the Government against these rebellious people below the Gangway in putting in a time limit of three years, so that in that time they may carry out the excellent intentions expressed in this Preamble and bring in a measure for setting up a real reformed Second Chamber
I do not want to make a second speech arguing the merits of the case, but I want to appeal to the Home Secretary, who surely must see that this Bill cannot be properly discussed without the House knowing something as to the intentions of the Government in regard to the Preamble. We know their intentions about Clause 1. It may be very proper to carry out the suggestion of the Home Secretary and focus the whole of the discussion on the second Clause, but how can we discuss the merits of this Clause without knowing what the policy of the Government is with regard to it? That is the real difficulty. I am sure the Home Secretary will agree with me that it is not a question of prolonging Debate or of deferring the real issue. This is one of the most fundamental of all issues. The position of the Government and the announcement of policy which they make upon it will cover the whole of the discussions from this time on to the end of our proceedings on the Bill. The Home Secretary, I think, will not be prepared to deny that this question of the Preamble comes up with special force and with special characteristics in relation to Clause 1. But both on Clause 1 and Clause 2 I think that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway—indeed hon. Gentlemen in every part of the House—will feel that the Government ought not to keep us in the dark as to what exactly this Preamble does mean. The hon. Baronet the Member for Kircaldy made a speech just now, in which he told us that it was preposterous to suppose that the Government ought in the next three years to bring forward, or that they in the course of the next three years thought of bringing forward, their scheme for House of Lords reform. How then does he interpret the words of the Preamble? How does he interpret the words of the King's Speech immediately after the 1893 election of 1910? Hon. Members may have forgotten the terms of that speech which the Government then put into the mouth of the King. The words that I wish to quote were as follows:—Proposals will be laid before you with all convenient speed to define the relations between the Houses of Parliament so as to secure the undivided authority of the House of Commons over finance and its predominance in legislation.So far everything is plain sailing. Then the Government go on:—These measures, in the opinion of my advisers, should provide that this House——The House of Lords.should be so constituted and empowered as to exercise impartially in regard to proposed legislation the functions of initiation, revision, and, subject to proper Safeguards, of delay.The reason I quote that is that in 1910 reform of the Second Chamber was part of the immediate programme of the Government. We are now, in 1911, told that in the next three years there is not the slightest prospect of this Government or any Government thinking of undertaking that reform.
If it is the business of the Prime Minister first to recommend words to His Majesty and then subsequently to modify those words, it is quite a new view—it is new to me, at all events—of part of the duties ordinarily undertaken by the First Minister of the Crown. I do not remember the modification, though I daresay, this and many other things have been modified by the Prime Minister in subsequent utterances. At all events, we have the King's Speech of 1910, and we have the Preamble of 1911, and I do not see how to reconcile the two in the light of the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Kirkcaldy—a speech assented to by hon. Gentlemen sitting below the Gangway on the other side. In spite of these loud-mouthed utterances that the Government mean to bring in reform of the House of Lords, we are now told that there is no such chance of their doing so for three years! Will the hon. Gentleman tell us that before the end of the three years, or before the House of Lords reform can be undertaken, there will not be another General Election? Apparently, therefore, his view is that that General Election may perhaps give us a third modification of the Prime Minister's policy! What then means this Preamble? It does not stand as an announcement of 1894 Government policy beyond three years. What does it mean? It may be obliterated three years hence by the General Election. What then is the use or the function of this Preamble? It seems to me that in the absence of explanation by the Government as to what is their policy, they will prolong the discussion needlessly by compelling us, whether we like it or not, to ask with regard to each provision: "What is intended by this?" This query, whether we like it or not, must come up again and again; possibly in this Clause, certainly in the next Clause, probably in the new Clause. Why? Until we know what the policy of the Government is as to the new Second Chamber, we cannot form a judgment about their Bill. The hon. Gentleman opposite in his heart thoroughly agrees with me on that point. Everybody must agree upon that point. Here we have a Bill with a promise in its Preamble, and no time given for that promise, which promise must, when fulfilled, react upon every single line and Clause of the Bill itself. Well, then, we must ask over and over again what is the Government policy about the Second Chamber?
In my opinion the hon. Member will know our policy long before that of the Government; because, though I have made this appeal with all the persuasiveness that is in my power, I am afraid, from the obstinate signs which the Government have shown, that I shall be as unsuccessful on this occasion as I have been on previous occasions.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman has appealed with his usual persuasiveness, and I think I can in a very few sentences give him the answer of the Government to his question. The answer, I need not say, is no different to the answers which have been given by the Prime Minister in the speeches which he has made upon the subject last year and also in the present Session. We have expressed the view of the Government in the Preamble. We have also said that we do not propose to embark upon a reconstitution of the Second Chamber while the question of the Veto of the House of Lords is still unsettled. We regard the passage of this Veto Bill as an indispensable preliminary to the discussion of any grave questions in regard to the constitution of the Second Chamber. This is no mere 1895 obstinacy or perversity on our part. It is obvious that we could not embark upon discussion on equal terms while the last word rests with the House of Lords, and while we should be forced after all our suggestions and resolutions have been put forward to accept the decision of the House of Lords on all the points which have been under discussion. That position had been made perfectly clear from the very beginning of these discussions. The Government have no intention of departing from it whatever either during the currency of this Bill as to what will happen in that time in the future when there is a reconstituted Second Chamber. All I say on behalf of the Government is that while not assuming to prejudge these matters we do not prejudge them in either direction. They are matters which the House of Commons of the time, with the knowledge of the time, and in view of the facts before them, will have to decide, and it would be hampering altogether the discussion of this Bill for us to go forward into that future time, and having first of all to imagine a reconstituted Second Chamber then to proceed to consideration of the relations between that reconstituted Second Chamber and this House. We adhere with no desire to be unreasonable or discourteous to hon. Gentleman opposite to the simple course of policy in this Bill, and it is not until this Bill has been put upon the Statute Book that the consideration of these grave questions to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred; that is the consideration of future questions which will arise hereafter, can be profitably undertaken.
§ Mr. REMNANT
I venture to think the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down could, if he had chosen to do so, enlighten the Committee upon the points raised by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs. I know no one in this House, perhaps with the exception of the Prime Minister, who has greater power of expressing himself than the right hon. Gentleman, but he has carefully avoided the points raised, upon which I venture to think the whole support of this Bill rests. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy says there is no intention on the part of the Government to proceed during this Parliament with the reconstruction or Reform of the House of Lords. I submit that the present majority in this House would not exist if hon. Members had told their Constituents 1896 that that was the policy they proposed to follow. It is well know that a very large number of Members of this House, when explaining the Veto Bill of His Majesty's Government, distinctly said that, directly the resolutions which they had already submitted to the House of Commons were carried out by a Bill that was to follow, it would be immediately followed by reform of the House of Lords. Are we to take it now from His Majesty's Government that they do not intend, during the lifetime of this Parliament, to proceed with the reconstruction of the House of Lords. If that is the intention I appeal to the Home Secretary to say so. We want, as far as we can, to get from the Government the exact position in which they stand. Do they or do they not propose to proceed to the reconstruction of the House of Lords during this Parliament? Surely that is not an unreasonable question to ask the Government. I understood before the right hon. Gentleman got up just now he was going to give us some information about that. He is an admirable debater, but he fenced all round the subject, either because he did not wish to let the House know, or because he did not know himself. He is in charge of the Committee now, and I appeal to him direct to say, is it or is it not the intention of the Government to proceed forthwith to the reconstruction of the House of Lords? I do not believe the Government would command a majority of the Committee if it was known that they did not intend to proceed at once with reconstruction. If they pass this Bill giving us to understand they are not going to proceed at once with the reconstruction of the House of Lords they should say so. If they say they do not intend to proceed to reconstruction that would alter the whole course of these proceedings.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
I think it is high time that the Committee of hon. Members opposite who are drafting these Amendments came to an agreement and said the same thing. We have been assured, over and over again, in the course of the last few years, that the period of danger in regard to the Parliament Bill was what was called the interregnum. It was during that period we were told that the "Dollar Dictator" was to have his sway; that we were to have Home Rule and disintegration of the Empire. It is quite evident other hon. Members opposite think we should exercise that power for three years. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Well, that is the meaning of their Amendment upon the Paper. I pass from that to the question 1897 of the words themselves. What is the case with regard to the position of this House in matters of finance. For a century, with the single exception of the year 1860, the House of Lords has not rejected any Money Bill, and the rejection of the Paper Duties Repeal Bill is now over fifty years old. During these fifty years constitutional practice has become constitutional usage. The proper and successful control of the House of Commons over finance has grown into custom; custom has grown into usage, and this usage has grown into an unwritten law which we call the Constitution, and surely during that period we have got it as thoroughly established as any constitutional doctrine can be that the Lords cannot touch Money Bills. Yet we are asked in framing a Bill the avowed purpose of which is to write part of what was heretofore the unwritten Constitution of this country to limit the writing of the period for three years. Surely we cannot listen to such a suggestion as that. Then I come to the really important point cited by the hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. I fully recognise in regard to that point his utterances in this House have always been perfectly consistent. I refer to the point as to what would be the position in the relationship of the two Houses with regard to finance if we are to set up, in time to come, a Second Chamber on an elected or purely elected basis. The Leader of the Opposition holds that if such a Chamber is set up it will have to have larger powers than have been possessed by the House of Lords in the past. Surely we cannot resign the function of deciding in their entirety what those relations shall be. It is true that certain other Second Chambers possess powers to a greater or a less degree with regard to financial matters. But those powers differ considerably as between the various countries——
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Whitley)
I think the hon. Member is going a little beyond the scope of this Amendment.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
I was only following the Leader of the Opposition's argument, which you, Mr. Whitley, may not have heard, but I will, of course, bow to your ruling. I think, however, I am entitled to point out in direct reply to the right hon. Gentleman, that those over-sea precedents which he quoted vary very considerably in their dimensions and scope, and we in this House, who have set up so many precedents for foreign and Colonial 1898 Parliaments—we, who claim to be the Mother of Parliaments—must claim that Clause 1 shall remain Clause 1 whatever Second Chamber we may seek to set up in the future.
§ Mr. ROYDS
I wish to refer to the statement that has been made by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, who said no responsible Minister on the Front Government Bench had stated that it was the intention of the Government to attempt to reconstitute or reform the House of Lords in the present Parliament. I desire to refer to the election address of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. In that address he made no reference to the Parliament Bill or its provisions at all. What the right hon. Gentleman said to the electors of Bristol was that the House of Lords, having renounced the hereditary principle, it was the duty and the business of this Parliament to reconstitute and reform the Second Chamber. His colleague, the Secretary to the Treasury, who shares with the right hon. Gentleman the representation of Bristol, in his election address carefully ignored the provisions of the Parliament Bill, and made no reference to them. He appealed to the electors to support him on exactly the same grounds which were put forward by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. There you have two cases of right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Government Bench directly returned to Parliament by the electors of Bristol, not to destroy the powers of the Second Chamber and not even to diminish them, but to re-constitute and reform the Second Chamber. I do not know with what objects one Member on the Front Bench opposite appeals to his supporters on one ground, and another Member appeals on another ground, but obviously they have appealed on many grounds, and at any rate they have not appealed on the same ground. I rose to draw attention to that fact, and to reply to the inaccurate statement made by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy.
§ Sir W. MENZIES
I rise to reply to a remark which was made by the last speaker on the Opposition side who stated that in his opinion the supporters of the Government would not have been here in such large numbers if they had not undertaken at once to re-constitute the House of Lords. I have no authority to speak for any one on this side of the House, but for my own part I deny that assertion, because I took great pains in my constituency to assure the electors that I should 1899 very much have preferred it if the Preamble had not been there at all. It is a very easy thing to limit the powers of the House of Lords in the way it is suggested, but it is a very different and almost impossible task to re-constitute it, and whichever side in politics undertakes the task of re-constituting the House of Lords or the task of altering its Constitution in any way whatever will find themselves in a very great difficulty. In my opinion this Preamble, which I understand I shall not be in order in discussing, is the only blot on this Bill.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
Before the Debate proceeds any further I wish to draw attention to the reply made by the Home Secretary to my right hon. Friend. We are placed in a very extraordinary position by the speech of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy who informed the House that there never had been, was not, and never would be, the smallest intention on the part of His Majesty's Government of carrying out the statement contained in the Preamble at all events during the present Parliament. My right hon. Friend followed him almost immediately, and called the attention of the Government to the statement which had been made with regard to their intentions, and the Government sat perfectly still, never opened their mouths, and never repudiated the statement in any kind of way whatsoever. My right hon. Friend challenged the Home Secretary to state what was the policy of His Majesty's Government on that point on the ground that it was impossible to discuss either the first or the second Clauses of this Bill until the House was in possession of the views of the Government on that point. What was the reply of the Home Secretary? He referred to speeches made outside this House, and to some speeches made in this House, to the effect that the Veto Bill must be passed first, and he said it is quite impossible for us to deal with the question of the reform of the House of Lords until that Bill is out of the way. Nobody asked him to say anything else. Nobody disputed that point, but the question put to him was: Is it, or is it not, your policy, as attributed to you by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, that there is not the slightest intention on the part of the Government of dealing with the question of the reform of the House of Lords during the present Parliament? The Home Secretary went further, and he said, "I adhere to the Veto Bill, and I adhere to the Bill 1900 which is now before the House." Is not the Preamble part of the Bill before the House? That was the question put to him, but to that question he gave no reply whatever. Nor did he even attempt to do so. I wish to place on record that at this moment that His Majesty's Government, in reference to a statement made by one of their most ardent supporters, are allowing it to go forth to the country to-morrow that they have not the slightest intention of dealing with the reform of the House of Lords during the present Parliament, whatever may happen to the Veto Bill, and there they have remained up to the present moment silent, without repudiating that statement from one of their supporters.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
This Amendment is to limit the duration of this Clause to three years. I think that is a point which has been lost sight of. The first answer we had from the Government was that this particular suggestion was in the wrong place, and that it was a sort of invitation on the part of the Home Secretary that if it was brought forward in the right place the Government would not only tell us how they propose to deal with it, but would be prepared to give some reasonable acceptance to the suggestion. When the Home Secretary was afterwards pressed to say how far he would go he entirely withdrew from that position. I will not say that we were very considerably "taken in," but that is what it amounted to by the earlier speech of the Home Secretary on this point. The complaint that this Amendment is brought forward in the wrong place is entirely owing to the manner in which the Bill has been drafted, because the measure does not lend itself to reasonable Amendments being brought forward in the way they ought to be brought forward and in the way we are entitled to bring them forward. I make no apology for addressing the Committee on this particular point. The question of the duration of this particular Clause and the real meaning of the Preamble are governing points which we ought to know the intention of the Government upon in order to enable us to deal with other points which may arise in the course of the discussion upon other subjects. The point we desire to put at the start is this: Are you honest in your Preamble, because in the Preamble it is elaborately explained that some day with a popularly-elected House of Lords there will have to be different arrangements made with regard to the relations between 1901 the two Houses. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir Henry Dalziel), who, I should say is about as honest a Member as there is in this House, has told us in the clearest possible manner that the Preamble was nothing but a pious hope, and that it was not the intention at all events of himself and of those who supported him—and at the time he made that statement they consisted of over three-fourths of the Members present on that side of the House—to allow Clause 1 to be ever interfered with again, whether the House of Lords was reconstituted or not. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs said no Minister had ever committed their party as to how long this should last. Of course, he had not; if any Minister had been honest and straightforward upon this question, we should not have been obliged to have moved this Amendment and to say, "Now, what do you mean?" Do you intend the arrangements in this Clause to be temporary or do you really intend to do what you say in the Preamble, and bring in a Bill within a reasonable period to define the relations of the two Houses in a permanent manner? The Home Secretary then followed, and he withdrew his first suggestion about discussing this point in another place, and said this part of the Bill is intended to be permanent.
I submit the position is a very serious one. The Preamble indicates that the provisions of the Bill are of a temporary character, and we cannot get an answer from the Government of the day as to how temporary they are to be. They tell us, "We will discuss that perhaps if you put it in another shape." Then they withdraw from that position. Their principal supporters take up another attitude altogether, and finally the Homo Secretary says this portion of the Bill is intended to be permanent. Why do they not make it clear in the Bill itself? I can only say that, so far as I am concerned, I shall go into the Lobby to support my hon. Friend on this Amendment, but, before I do so, I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill if he can give me a straight answer to one question. If the Government will not accept three years, will they accept four? What do they mean? They have deliberately evaded the point to-day on each occasion that it has been put to them. Would they accept four? If they would not accept four, would they accept five? I can understand the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill always preferring to accept two. Whatever period is put in, 1902 and however long these arrangements are to last, there is one very great difficulty. The Government of the day would not be able to collect a single sixpence from Members of the House of Lords for taxes, because whilst this Bill is in operation it is perfectly clear Members of the House of Lords, not being represented and not having taxed themselves, could not have taxes levied upon them. I consider for that reason it is very important to cut down the operation of this Bill, because I for one do not desire to see Members of the House of Lords walking off free from all taxation. If the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill will not accept a time limit, would he at all events accept some kind of Amendment that would oblige the Government to proceed with or introduce their new House of Lords Bill within a reasonable period after the passing of this Act? I think that might meet the case, but, whether they accept or do not accept any of these suggestions, I think it would be a great relief to everybody concerned in this Debate, and to the country generally, if somebody on behalf of the Government would get up and give us some intelligible answer as to what they do intend to do on this point.
I rise to support my hon. Friend on this Amendment. I am surprised the Home Secretary, when the proposition was made to him, did not jump at it, because it would smooth the path of the Government considerably later on when they come to deal with hon. Members below the Gangway. My hon. Friend appealed to the Home Secretary and asked him what he proposed to do on this particular Amendment, and the right hon. Gentleman gave the answer which we are beginning to expect from the Front Bench, namely, that it would come better later and this was not the right opportunity to deal with this particular suggestion. It was one of those vague answers to which we are getting accustomed, and we on this side of the House are right therefore in continually pressing the Government until we get some definite answer. Fortunately, we do get some sort of information from the other side of the House on the rare occasions when Members opposite other than those on the Front Bench open their mouths. We had a most illuminating speech from the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir Henry Dalziel), who gave the House, and especially those who sit on this side, some very interesting information. In fact, the hon. Member seems to me 1903 rather taking up the part that we generally associate with the Lord Advocate. He seems to be becoming the understudy for letting the cat out of the bag. He informed us that the question would be dealt with, not within three years, which is the reasonable proposal of my hon. Friend, but hereafter, and, he added, that hereafter was a very elastic term, a remark which was cheered by hon. Members below the Gangway. Before this Bill gets through Committee, I hope we shall have been able to show to the country, which after all is the important thing, how absolutely fraudulent—I think that word is right and that it is in order—is the proposal of the Preamble. Hon. Members may laugh, but I tell them that outside this House there are men in the country who look upon this as very serious business; anyhow it is not a legitimate subject for joking, except possibly on those benches. We are now trying to put into a Workable shape this Bill, and we would like to know from the Government—it is very hard to extract information—upon what particular Clause or Amendment it will be in order to put this question. I hope we shall get some answer, instead of the matter being shirked and burked and run away from, as it has been by the Home Secretary to-night.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I desire to point out the extreme gravity of this Amendment. With hon. Members opposite it may be a mere matter of amusement, but it is not so with us. We are dealing with a very important Clause, a Clause which has a very wide bearing upon the Bill. We are told by hon. Members opposite that this Bill has been very carefully drawn. It contains two Clauses and two Preambles. There is not only the Preamble which says:
"It is intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists, with a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis, but such substitutions cannot be immediately brought into operation," but the next Preamble, which, I assume, is also of some importance, has a great bearing on the statement made by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy. It reads:—
"Whereas provision will require hereafter to be made by Parliament in a measure effecting such substitution for limiting and defining the powers of the new Second Chamber, but it is expedient to make such provision as in this 1904 Act appears, for the restricting the existing powers of the House of Lords."
Thus we are told in this Preamble we are to have hereafter another measure for effecting and defining the powers of the new Second Chamber, and we are also informed, on the authority of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, which is acquiesced in by Members of the Government present, that this Clause as to the powers on Money Bills is to remain constant in the Constitution in all cases. When the first Preamble is brought into operation there will be no need for the second. I do not think the Committee have fully appreciated what they have been asked to accept in the terms of the two Preambles contained in the Bill, and when we come into the House to debate a Bill which says, on its face, not only that there is to be another House constituted, but also that there will be the question of defining and limiting its powers, we naturally are astonished and surprised to find that Clause 1 is to be a permanent Clause in all circumstances, and that, under no circumstances, will any alteration be made in it. I doubt very much if the full effect of the two Preambles has been appreciated by hon. Members opposite. I hold we are perfectly right in asking that we should have some reason why this Clause, which we are now debating, is to be permanent, whatever the future may bring forth. The Amendment of my hon. Friend is very simple. Its object is merely to introduce a time limit as to the operation of this Clause. I have no doubt that the question whether it shall be three, four, or five years is comparatively unimportant. The point is whether or not there is to be some limitation of this Clause so that we may know the intentions of the Government as to carrying out the proposals foreshadowed in both Preambles. I desire to point this matter out because if it be the case that under no circumstances Clause 1 is to be altered, it makes a very considerable difference to us. It certainly renders unnecessary the second Preamble. We ask, in the uncertainty which exists, to be given some indication of the intentions of the Government and of the meaning of the two Preambles. Why are the Government unwilling to accept any form of time limit which, after all, would only be a guarantee that the Preamble would be carried out?
§ Mr. TIMOTHY DAVIES
It seems to be assumed by nearly all the speakers on the other side of the House that, but for the existence of this Preamble many Members now seated on these benches would not be 1905 Members of this House. But as far as I am concerned, and as far as I gather from other hon. Members, the chief point raised was not as to the Preamble of this Bill. The hon. Member for Holborn certainly thinks that it is to the Preamble many of us owe our presence here.
§ Mr. REMNANT
What I intended to convey was that a large number of hon. Gentlemen opposite would not be in the House to-day unless they had distinctly told their Constituents that the Veto Resolutions were to be immediately followed by a Bill for the reconstruction of the House of Lords.
§ Mr. TIMOTHY DAVIES
That, I understood, but I can assure the hon. Member that the main question before the country, both in the counties and in London, where I had experience, was the Veto Bill, which everybody assumed was simply a Bill to limit the Veto of the House of Lords. The voters did not care what the intentions of the Government may be hereafter. It may hereafter think fit to reform the House of Lords, but certainly my experience is that the country did not understand we were to have Veto first and reform immediately after. The hon. Member, in his Amendment, suggests a limitation of three years. I rather gathered from the speeches we heard on the Second Reading that that was deemed to be considered a dangerous period, because within three years it would be possible to pass Home Rule. I do not know what was the chief question put before the constituency of the hon. Member for Sleaford (Mr. Royds), but I am aware that over the Border it was quite understood that what was required was the abolition of the Veto of the House of Lords in order that a Liberal Government might have a chance of getting its measures through.
§ Sir WILLIAM ANSON
I sympathise with hon. Members on the other side of the House who wish that the Preamble was anywhere but in this Bill. But the Preamble is there, and I have always understood and I believe I am right in my supposition, that the Preamble determines the purport and the character of the Bill, and my hon. Friend's Amendment is designed to give to this particular Clause, at any rate, the character which the Preamble gives to the whole Bill, which is of a temporary character. I do not think anyone can read the Preamble with reference to the King's speech of last year and not see that the whole character 1906 of the Bill is designed to be temporary. The Preamble says:—
"And whereas it is intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists a Second Chamber. … And whereas provision will require hereafter to be made by Parliament …"
The Preamble clearly contemplates the creation of a new Second Chamber who are to have not merely powers such as are indicated in this Bill, because these are to be powers which are to be defined under a future Bill, and if language means anything the Preamble means that we are to have a new Second Chamber, with different powers, not merely from its existing powers, but different to the powers indicated in this particular Bill, and that new Second Chamber was to be constituted with something like promptitude because the King's Speech of last year stated that—Proposals will he laid before you with all convenient speed to define the relations of the Houses of Parliament,and goes on to speak of the re-constitution of the other House. Therefore, the Government clearly contemplate that this Bill is a temporary measure, and having promised the country in the King's speech of last year that a new constitution of the House, as well as the new powers of the House shall be laid before Parliament "with all convenient speed," surely we are entitled to ask when we are called upon to limit the powers of the existing Second Chamber how far these limitations are to be permanent and when the change is to take place? We are asked to reduce the powers of the Second Chamber with regard to finance, but not of this particular Second Chamber, but of another Second Chamber. Is that so? Will the new Second Chamber have different powers in regard to finance? We are entitled to ask that.
The Preamble, as the Leader of the Opposition said, covers the whole area of discussion on this and every other Clause of the Bill. It is not merely the present Second Chamber we are speaking of, but the future Second Chamber, and what we want to know is what is that Second Chamber to be, and has the Government any intention of presenting this Bill within any limited period of time to give us some idea of what the powers of that Second Chamber are going to be? It may be going too far to ask 1907 the Attorney-General or the Chancellor of the Duchy to do what the Home Secretary evaded doing and what the First Lord of the Admiralty has run away from attempting to-day, and that is to give us some information on what the Second Chamber in the contemplation of the Government is likely to be. It is very difficult at any time and under any circumstances to constitute a Second Chamber, and I should be the last person to ask the Attorney-General to give us his impromptu version of what his Second Chamber proposal is likely to be at some indefinite period of time. But I would like to ask whether the Government in their Preamble mean business—whether they really have in contemplation a Second Chamber which is either to have the powers under this Bill or the powers to be defined by some subsequent Bill. We are entitled to ask that, and, unless we get an answer, I think we are justified in pressing that the provisions of this Bill should be made specifically temporary. In that case the Government will be bound, or, I may say, will be assisted, having regard to the utterances we have heard from below the Gangway, in the carrying out of their promises, and their real Parliamentary intentions "with all convenient speed," if I may use the expression of the King's Speech of last year, and in furnishing us with the details of the Second Chamber which they propose to give in lieu of the present House of Lords, and to define the powers which they propose to give to that Second Chamber. The Amendment merely gives emphasis to the character of this Clause in relation to the Preamble; it merely puts the purport of the Preamble in the Clause, and I heartily support it.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
On a point of Order, Sir. Would it be possible for any Member of the Government to respond to the challenge of the hon. Member and make an elaborate statement in regard to a reconstituted Second Chamber?
§ Mr. JOSEPH KING
I should like to recall the attention of the House to this fact, that we have now been engaged for about three hours in the Committee stage of this Bill, and what do we see? We see that the Opposition have already run away. They have run away from this Clause and and are trying to fix us down to the Preamble. It is so, and we all know it. Not 1908 only so, but in regard to the second Amendment which they proposed they ran away before they ever got to the Division Lobby, and this process of running away from the point will, I suppose, continue till the end of the chapter. Why? Because the Opposition know perfectly well that we are in favour of the Bill as it stands, the whole Bill and nothing but the Bill, and we allow liberty of conscience on these benches for each man to interpret the non-operative Preamble according to his own individual ideas.
The Preamble is in the nebulous stage of development. When we come to those Clauses we do not intend to be moved from them by one single letter or word. We are going to have those Clauses without any modification or any time limit. A time limit may be appropriate for other measures, but I trust and believe that the Government will not seek to attempt any time limit to modify such Clauses as this and the consequent Clauses of this Bill. The Opposition are treating this matter as if it were very serious. This Amendment is not very serious, and their opposition is not very serious. It seems to me that we are making very rapid progress with the Bill. An hon. Friend points out that we have only agreed to one word, but hon. Members opposite expected to occupy two nights upon the Instructions to the Committee.
§ Mr. KING
I will conclude by pointing out two things which strike me as being very remarkable. The first is the way in which we have been treated by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. Their action has hardly been consistent with dignified Debate. The right hon. Baronet (Sir W. Anson) began his speech by informing us that he sympathised with those who wished that the Preamble was anywhere but in this Bill. If he agrees that the Preamble ought to be out of the Bill will he move, or support those who move, that the Preamble be deleted when we come to it? I think I have said enough to show that the opposition to this Clause as it stands and the support of this Amendment are by no means sincere or sensible.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The speech to which we have just listened has, I think, cleared up the Debate a good deal. The Amendment is one to give statutory effect to the declarations made by a great many 1909 Ministers and their supporters in the country to carry the principle of the Preamble into the Clause. To that the hon. Member replied, very relevantly, that the Preamble is only intended to convey whatever meaning any supporter of the Government likes to put on it.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
My objection to undenominational education is not in the least irrelevant to the discussion. Every one puts his own interpretation upon it. The advocates of the Preamble treat the House as the advocates of undenominational education treat the people, and that is precisely where my objection to both comes in. I understand the Preamble was put before the country, and the declarations of the Government made in pursuance of the Bill were put before the country, with a serious purpose. One was the declaration in His Majesty's gracious speech last year. These declarations were intended to convey something to the country. They were intended to convey that the Government policy included the policy of reform. When an Amendment is moved to limit, in point of time, this Clause, so as to secure that Parliament will deal with the matter within the natural life of the present House of Commons, how are we met? Owing to the rather inconvenient rules of the House I was obliged to be eating my dinner when I should have much preferred to be listening to the eloquence of hon. Members opposite. But I understand we had some striking declarations. The hon. Gentleman (Sir Henry Dalziel) proposes not to deal with the subject of reform during the present Parliament. The Government are pressed to make a declaration, and they decline to make any declaration whatever. They decline to say that they are going to carry out the re-constitution of the House of Lords during the present Parliament. They decline to say also whether any part of the Bill is to be permanent when that re-constitution is carried out, or whether it is not, and they ask the House on these terms to reject an Amendment limiting this Clause to three years. We all understand why they hold this language, and why the hon. Gentleman holds language so much more definite. I suppose it is not ill-natured to im- 1910 agine that the hon. Gentleman is more keen about the general principles he professes than about the convenience of the Government, and therefore he says outright what they are very careful not to say. They are careful not to say it because they depend on two conflicting bodies of support. Part of their supporters want to deal with reform, and, if I understand correctly the declarations of more than one Minister, part of the Cabinet honestly and sincerely want to re-constitute the Second Chamber. On the other hand, part of their supporters—an indispensable part—are resolutely opposed to that policy altogether. It comes to this, that the Government are carrying by silence and ambiguity what they could not carry by straightforward speech. If they said the whole truth they would be in a quandary, so they do not say the whole truth.
I remember very well with what scorn and indignation hon. Members opposite attacked the Leader of the Opposition seven or eight years ago, when he, depending on a party not united on the fiscal question, refused to declare himself. How can hon. Members reconcile it with their conscience to say in a much more aggravated way what they then, with language of passion and sincerity, denounced him for saying. Are we not getting into the habit of playing politics as a game, and not a very honest game? Is it creditable to hon. Members opposite that they should deliberately try to arouse, by refusing to answer a plain question, by conveying to one section of opinion one impression and to another section a directly opposite impression, support which they could not possibly get if they were perfectly candid and outspoken? I greatly regret that pressure of Departmental work prevents the Foreign Secretary from attending our Debates. I do not always agree with him, and I do not think he is always very wise; but I have been accustomed to thinking him an exceptionally honest politician. He has declared more than once—he declared himself at the time of the election—very strongly in favour of reforming the Second Chamber. I do not say he said—he probably did not say—he would do it within a specified time, but an election speech is normally understood to refer to the affairs of the Parliament about to be elected. It was natural to understand, and I am sure the great majority of those who heard or read his speech understood, that he intended, being a most influential and important Member of the Government, that the reform of the House of Lords should be part 1911 of the work of this present Parliament, and that as soon as the Veto was out of the way, then within a reasonable time the Government should proceed to deal with this particular matter.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
On a point of Order. Is it in order on this Amendment to discuss the exact intention of the Government with regard to the meaning of the Preamble? If this discussion is carried on now on the meaning of the Preamble, will it be in order to repeat the discussion when we reach the Preamble itself? I submit that if we are to take the discussion now, we cannot take it again. I appeal for your ruling on the point.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I ask whether it is a fact that whenever a question has been put from the Chair that question can be debated, irrespective of the question whether it has been debated over and over again?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
If a question is put from the Chair, it obviously can be debated unless it is one of those questions that can be put and decided without discussion. It may be that the Debate may be a limited or a wide one. I do not discuss that point at present. It is understood in taking the discussion on the words: "within three years after the passing of this Act," that naturally and formally it rules out any Amendment which attempts to raise the same question at a later stage.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The rules of debate will guide the Debates of the Committee, and no understanding will guide us. I am not discussing the Preamble, or whether it is expedient to put it in the Bill or not. I am discussing the declarations of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and whether in accordance with those Declarations this Amendment ought to be accepted. His words imply that the substitution for the present House of Lords of a reconstituted Second Chamber was to be a reform within three years of the passing of this Bill, and it is to these declarations that this Amendment applies. It is directly relevant. The question is whether the Government are not bound in consistency by the declarations made by their members at the election to accept this Amendment, or some other Amendment with the same purpose in view. I confess' that I cannot understand why a man of the scrupulous honesty of the Foreign Secretary should make these 1912 declarations if they are to be repudiated by the Members of the same Government. The Government were pledged absolutely by the Foreign Secretary to reform within the present Parliament, or within a reasonable time. We are now told by an influential supporter of the Government that no such reform is to be undertaken, and the Government do not give any articulate declaration on the subject.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the DUCHY of LANCASTER (Mr. Joseph Pease)
The Home Secretary has done so.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The right hon. Gentleman will be able to make a declaration himself. The Government have not made any declaration to my knowledge. I am very sorry I was not here. It was not my fault. The Home Secretary made a speech which did not deal in any definite terms whatever with the problem before the Committee. He did not say whether the Government were or were not going to deal with the problem in the present Parliament. He did not say whether the Clauses of this Bill were to be permanent, or whether they were to depend on a subsequent Bill. I confess I do not think that fair dealing with the public. I think it would be outrageous and impudent if the silence is continued, and if the Government claim that they have a mandate to carry this Bill through this House and the other. If you obtained a majority at the election by declarations which are in effect misleading, you have no right to ask this House and the other House to accept the Bill carried by that majority. Therefore, I say we are in a grave position. The matter may be complicated, no doubt, and I think some hon. Members are inclined to regard the course which is now being pursued as an exhibition of clever tactics. You say when you talk about reform that you are in favour of a Second Chamber. It is not a question how the votes of hon. Members opposite were obtained, because their votes would have been obtained in any case, but it is a question how the vote of the balancing elector, the moderate man, was obtained. He was conciliated by the declarations of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He was conciliated by the hope and belief that within the lifetime of this Parliament you are going to set up an effective Second Chamber, that you are, in truth, Second Chamber men. The electors were led to believe that there were men in the party with such influence that they would make their view prevail. Now we 1913 are told nothing is to be done. I do not think that that is an honest way of dealing with the subject. I protest against it, and if there is a contest in the country—and there will be a contest, and it may come very soon indeed—it may be that hon. Members will again have to face their Constituents, and in that case, will it look well if they have against them the black mark of dishonest dealing with a great question?
The Noble Lord, according to his usual practice, has imputed dishonesty to hon. Members who sit in this part of the House. He seldom makes a speech without imputing dishonesty to the Liberal party. The Amendment is intended to pledge the Government to bring in a Bill which will make operative the non-operative part of the Preamble of this Bill within three years. I should like to call the attention of the House to one or two words in the Preamble. It sets out that it is intended to constitute an Upper Chamber. It says that "provision will require hereafter to be made" for limiting and defining the powers of the Second Chamber. "Hereafter" is quite an indefinite term. In another sentence it says, "such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation." If the English language means anything, these words mean that the question cannot be dealt with until this one is out of the way. That is the honest meaning of the Preamble. The hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University (Sir W. Anson) said that the King's speech stated that this question should be dealt with as soon as convenient. I do not know who is to be the judge of convenience. We on this side of the House realise that this Bill has been made necessary by the rejection of a lot of legislation we are anxious to get on with. If the Government were to fall into the trap laid for them by this Amendment they would be postponing questions which the country is looking to them to deal with, and which we intend shall be dealt with in the near future. I trust the Government will be their own judges of convenience. I hope they will not disappoint the hopes of those who have gone through two elections for the purpose of getting out of the way the very block which has prevented other measures from coming into operation. The hon. Member for Holborn (Mr. Remnant), stated earlier in the debate that we owe our seats to our support of the Preamble.
I am speaking as a Liberal. The hon. Member said that it was well known that we Liberals had been supporting the Preamble. My election took place on the first day, and therefore I had the pleasure of going to a large number of other Constituencies right up to the end. Wherever I went I found that the one thing which had behind it the enthusiastic support of those who sent us here was the abolition of the Veto and the destruction of the power of the House of Lords, so as to make it possible to carry measures introduced by the Liberal party; and we found that the Preamble, the promise of reform—I confess there is a promise of reform—was as a millstone round our necks. So far as the rank and file of Radicals throughout the country are concerned nobody wants reform of the House of Lords. What we do want is such a limiting and defining of the powers of the House of Lords as would enable progressive legislation to go through not only this House, but theirs, and that is what we intend to get. I hope the Government will accept no Amendment that will pledge them to postpone other and more important measures in order to bring in a Bill of this kind until the other legislation is out of the way.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I do not welcome these cheers, for I intend to make very few remarks on the occasion of my maiden speech, and the idea of speaking at all was suggested to me by finding the dinner hour unusually interesting to-night. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Chancellor) complained that my Noble Friend below the Gangway (Lord Hugh Cecil) had accused the Government of being dishonest. Whether an accusation of this kind ought to have been made, or whether it has any value depends entirely on the ground on which it is made and the facts with which it is substantiated. I wish to examine that from the point of view of the hon. Gentleman. He said that the Government by their Bill intend to get reform, and then he said that this reform cannot be dealt with until the Veto proposals are out of the way. We accept that so far, but that is not the point. He entirely overlooked that we asked the Government to tell us, and that they refused to toll us, although they have been definitely asked, "when you have carried your Veto proposals, which you say are necessary to secure reform, do you intend 1915 to reform the House of Lords in accordance with the Preamble?"
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Let me take that point. In the King's speech which announced the introduction of the Parliament Bill, it was clearly stated that the proposals for reform would be taken as soon as it could be conveniently done.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Of course it did "with all convenient speed." The Government have undertaken by the King's Speech to introduce the Bill, and in the Bill itself, to have what they described this afternoon as a complete whole. They are asked by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy to state so far as he is concerned that by a complete whole he means only part of it. And none of the Members of the Government who heard his speech made any objection to it. They were definitely asked, "Do you accept by your silence the declaration of your intentions which the hon. Member has given?"
§ Mr. JOSEPH PEASE
The Home Secretary has distinctly stated that the policy of the Government was declared in the Preamble of the Bill.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I have heard many an interruption in my time, but I never had the pleasure of listening to one which had so little bearing on the subject. We all know the Preamble, and that it declared it was the intention of the Government not only to alter the relations of the two Houses but to reform the constitution of the House of Lords. An hon. Member who supports the Government says that so far as that part of the Bill is concerned he has nothing to do with it. We ask the Government is that their intention? The Home Secretary spoke, but he gave no answer. I say, without using any strong language, that this is the fact of the position. The Government went to the country with the Parliament Bill complete. Now hon. Gentlemen opposite say that the question of the reform had nothing to do with their majority, but that they found it rather a trouble, and that in all their speeches they never men- 1916 tioned it. If that is so, why did they put it in their Bill? What is the object of putting it in their Bill? There is not a man who sits in this House who will deny for a moment that the Government did get a great measure of support because of the views which were expressed by the Foreign Secretary above all others that this Bill did not mean merely curtailing the powers of the House of Lords, but that it did mean a real reform. And further, when we remember how close the votes were at the last election, when we remember in how many constituencies they were decided merely by a fractional number, I do not think there is any honest politician in this House who doubts that if the Government had openly said, "we intend no reform, we intend shortly to take away powers of the House of Lords without making any attempt to re-constitute it," they would not have had the majority which they obtained. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy said, "we have nothing to do with the Preamble," and the Gentleman sitting behind him, with a frankness for which we are very grateful, told us that the Preamble is quite plain, that the operative part of the Bill is to take away the power of the House of Lords, and they have given the Ministerial party this liberty of conscience to treat the Preamble any way they choose. It seems to me without any exaggeration of language that the position is clearly this. The Government have put the whole Parliament Bill before the country; they claim to have a mandate for carrying it; if they deliberately refuse to declare now that the whole Bill is their policy, if they recognise that they cannot carry half of the Bill with their present majority, then clearly they have no right to go to the Sovereign or anyone else and claim that they have a majority for half of the Bill and not for the other half.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I have been a good many years in this House and I never listened with a greater pleasure than I did a few minutes ago to the speeches of the hon. Member for Somerset (Mr. Joseph King) and the hon. Member below him (Mr. Chancellor). The speech of the hon. Member for Somerset was an excellent one. He began by saying that the Bill was making excellent progress. That is what we all desire. He then proceeded to make the most obstructive speech that I ever heard in my life since I had the honour of sitting in this House. He began by remarking that my right hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. 1917 Chaplin) had referred constantly to "Her" Majesty's Government, and actually occupied two or thre minutes in making that statement. Of all the obstructive statements ever made with the least artistic sense——
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I will not; that is my, last desire. But I do wish to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that the hon. Gentleman opposite was really delaying proceedings by making the most extraordinary remarks, which have no reference whatever to the subject before us. The hon. Gentleman talked about being in the clouds. Of course they are in the clouds, because they do not know what the Government really mean.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am glad of that statement from the hon. Gentleman. The hon Member who sits below him (Mr. Chancellor) said he felt the Preamble like a (millstone round his neck during the election. Let the Committee consider what that means. It means that, after this House, sitting as a Single Chamber has worked its will, then the millstone may be applied, provided that the pressure below the Gangway is sufficient to remove the millstone from their necks and put it round the necks of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I do not know that I have ever heard a more instructive Debate upon this question. It shows perfectly why the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs (Mr. Younger) is not accepted. It is because hon. Gentlemen opposite know that if it were accepted it would defeat their plans. Their idea is to have a Single Chamber. The more violent of them do not conceal it; the more prudent—I will not say anything further than that—above the Gangway make out that there is to be a reform "with all convenient speed." But we, who have been a certain number of years in the House, know perfectly well what all this means. When pressure comes from below the Gangway, it will be said that a Single Chamber represents all Radical ideas. I hope the country will study this Debate, because it will give them an opportunity of learning a lesson. They have been under the impression that when right hon. Gentlemen make state- 1918 ments they are to be believed, but when they come to read this Debate they will come to the conclusion that those statements were only made to deceive.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
We have heard interesting and very divergent statements from hon. Gentlemen, and from one right hon. Gentleman, who represent the Radical party. The hon. Member for Somersetshire (Mr. King) tells us that the Preamble is in a state of "nebulous development." I do not know quite what he means by that. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Joseph Pease), whose usual contribution to a Debate is an interruption damaging to his own side, told us that the policy of the Government was declared in the Preamble to the Bill. I do not know which is right and which is wrong—whether the Preamble is in a state of nebulous development, or whether the whole policy of the Government is contained in the Preamble. The hon. Member for Haggerston (Mr. Chancellor) told us that he is a Single Chamber man.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I take it that if the House of Lords was a millstone round his neck he prefers a Single Chamber Government.
§ Mr. CHANCELLOR rose.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The Noble Lord is entitled to put his own interpretation upon what the hon. Member said, in replying to him.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I am very reluctant to misrepresent the hon. Gentleman, and it is the last thing I would endeavour to do. But, when the hon. Gentleman goes as far as to tell us that a Second Chamber is a millstone round the neck of himself and his colleagues, I am entitled to draw the deduction that he desires to see an absence of a Second Chamber in this country. The hon. Gentleman went further and told us that in the future, the distant future, he believed that the Government were desirous of seeing a Second Chamber established, so that in the meantime, I suppose, by means of a Single Chamber, the Government desire to 1919 see certain measures placed on the Statute Book. It appears to me, after the words of the hon. Gentleman, that he has a finite programme of legislation; that he has in view measures which he desires to see passed under Single-Chamber Government, and when these measures have been passed he will then treat his task as ended, and may perhaps leave the House on that occasion. The Preamble is a decoy, and a most ingenious decoy, which is to satisfy hon. Members above the Gangway opposite. Their object in bringing forward this reform of a Second Chamber has been to rope in that moderate section of the electorate who like and desire to see a Second Chamber established in this country. They have endeavoured to rope those gentlemen in to support them at elections, for the purpose of obtaining their confidence, and under no circumstances representing them in this House. The Government could have given us a definite answer to the question which has been put on many occasions in this Debate. They have left a singularly meagre Front Bench, and none of the Front Bench seems desirous of answering the question formulated in this Amendment. The Amendment proposes to set a limit to the time in which there is to be this interregnum, as we are told in the Preamble that it is impossible immediately to bring about the reform of the Second Chamber. My hon. Friend who moved this Amendment is desirous that three years should be the limit. We have asked the Government whether they are prepared to accept four years or five years, or, in fact, what limit of time they are prepared to accept. Not one single answer can we obtain from any Member of the Government as to what their direct and real views are with regard to the suggestion contained in the Preamble with respect to the reform of the Second Chamber. I say that the Government merely with the intention of proving that they are sincere on this question, merely with the intention of upholding the word of no less an individual Member of the Government than the Foreign Secretary, would do well to give us some indication as to what they mean with regard to the words in the Preamble. This is the opportunity which has been given to the Government, and although I have very little doubt that we shall hear nothing more from the Government, although there is such an influential Member present as the Chancellor of the Duchy, I do not know whether his reper- 1920 toire of irrelevant interruptions are now ended or whether he proposes——
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I certainly obey your injunction. But I was requesting the right hon. Gentleman, as I am entitled to call on Members of the Government, to give an answer to a specific question. As the right hon. Gentleman is the senior Member present, we are entitled to call upon him to give an answer to our question, and, therefore, I would call on the right hon. Gentleman to do so.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
I have listened to the whole of the discussion on this Amendment, and I wish to say, before we take a vote upon it, what is the position of those of us on these benches with regard to it. I think we have always made our position with regard to the House of Lords, including the Preamble of this Bill, perfectly clear. As I have listened to the discussion I have been very considerably amused, because it has wandered very considerably from the Amendment. In order to justify the position that hon. Members have taken up on the other side, they have quoted, not so much from the Bill before the House or from the Clause with which the Amendment deals, but they have quoted very considerably from the King's Speech of a year ago. I would ask hon. Members who have concerned themselves with the language of that King's Speech as to whether they seriously accept the language of that Speech. I hope to be able to show that my queries are very pertinent to the discussion. I notice that they contented themselves by quoting one or two points which they seem to think embarrass the Government with regard to the Preamble. What we are concerned with is this Amendment which is proposed to the Finance Clause of this Bill. It seeks, so far as I can interpret its effect, to limit the operation of the powers of the Finance Clause to a period of three years. I want to show that that would be altogether inconsistent with the position that we have taken up during the whole of the Debates on this question, and, moreover, it would be entirely consistent with the position put before the country. Let me quote one or two of the sentences they have omitted from the King's Speech, and let me ask the hon. Member, who reminded us he was making his maiden speech, the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Bonar Law), who quoted from the King's Speech, if he ac- 1921 cepts the language of the speech which I am going to quote. A Bill, it said, was going to be laid before the House, with all convenient speed, to define the relations between the Houses, "so as to secure the undivided authority of the House of Commons over finance." It seems to me that that is a quotation which is much more pertinent to the Amendment before the Committee than the quotations that have been thrown over the floor to those of us on this side first by the Leader of the Opposition, and lastly by the hon. Member for Bootle. He wanted to know if the Government are prepared to stand by the language that he quoted. I want to ask, are the Opposition prepared to stand by the language in the same speech which I have just quoted?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I do not quite understand the point of the hon. Gentleman. I only quoted the language of the King's Speech as indicating, presumably, the opinion of the Government.
§ Mr. A HENDERSON
The language that I am quoting represents the policy of the Government that has been approved of by the country, namely, that this House is to be predominant with regard to finance, not for three years, as proposed by the Amendment. I hold that that position would be inconsistent with the position declared for in this King's Speech, followed up in connection with the first Clause of this Bill and approved of by the country at the last election. Furthermore, that King's Speech also laid down that this House is also to have predominance in legislation. Again, I repeat, instead of quoting paragraphs from the King's Speech, which, in my humble judgment, are altogether irrelevant to the Amendment, whatever they may have to say to the Preamble of the Bill, and with the Preamble we on these benches are absolutely unconcerned—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, I am perfectly straightforward. Not a single Member on these benches has spoken on this question from the day when I moved the Amendment to the Resolutions of the late Sir H. Camp-bell-Bannerman but has consistently declared for the one policy. Therefore, I say that we are not so much concerned with the Preamble of the Bill. But we are concerned with what we put before the country, namely, that the House of Commons should have undivided authority in the realm of finance. For that reason we hope the Committee will reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
We do not accuse the hon. Member opposite of not being straightforward: he and his Friends are always straightforward to the point of absolute transparency. What the hon. Member does not see is that the King's Speech of last year does not bind us, but it is nevertheless useful to us as evidence of the intention on the part of His Majesty's advisers who framed that speech, and this Amendment is a test of the sincerity of that intention, reaffirmed as it is in the Preamble of this Bill. This is the first and probably it will be the only opportunity we shall have of asking from the Government some security that at some future time some execution will be given to the intention professed in the King's Speech. If that intention were not really sincere and were not intended to be put into execution I could understand something of the apparent loss of equanimity with which this Amendment is received on the Treasury Bench. We could then understand why Ministers felt great difficulty as to how otherwise than by accepting the Amendment they could give the country any kind of security that they ever intended to do anything remotely resembling that which they have declared their intention of doing. Let us credit them with sincere intentions. Their unfriendly criticis have been saying that this Bill is inspired largely by vindictive motives, that it never rises for a single instant above party motives, that it is devised as a temporary makeshift for the very narrowest of all possible objects, and for the purpose of carrying into effect schemes which may be the schemes of a party, but which certainly do not commend themselves to the people. We want some kind of security, and we invite the Government to give us the security which this Amendment would offer, in order to dispel these unjust and unholy suspicions.
It is said that there has been and is a deliberate intention to keep in existence for all time the present hereditary constitution of the House of Lords, with the doubly convenient consequence that it locks up in that Chamber all those great men whose presence would be so beneficial in this House, and the further convenient fact that it presents, and will continue to present, the attractions which a seat in that House always offers to the loyalty of gentlemen sitting behind the Treasury Bench. We now have an opportunity to dispel those unholy suspicions. If this Amendment were accepted, the Government, by reason of the fact that at 1923 the end of three years they would lose the efficacy even of this Finance Clause, would be compelled to show the country that they were sincere in the announcement they have made. I therefore invite them not to show so much disinclination to discuss or to reveal their intentions, but to give my hon. Friend the credit which is due to him for his virtuous and benevolent action in providing them with an opportunity to dispel the unholy suspicions which have been aroused.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
I do not think the importance of this Amendment has been sufficiently appreciated by the Government. It is not a question of honesty or dishonesty; it is test of the sincerity of what has been put forward by the Government themselves. The Government say the Veto first, with no limitation as to the time for which the Veto shall endure. What is the result of that as regards the constitution of the Second Chamber? The Second Chamber will be constituted entirely, if it is constituted at all, while the Veto may be maintained in perpetuity. Consequently you will have this Chamber really acting in the nature of a revolutionary Convention. We shall have given ourselves exceptional power as regards the Veto, and the Government will use that exceptional power to deal with any subsequent constitutional change in any way they think best, quite irrespective of the general opinion of the country and of what the best form of constitutional reform may be. Is not that wholly inconsistent with the Preamble and with what the Government said at the last two elections? What they then put before the country was the Bill as it stands, with the Preamble in it, and that Preamble expresses the intention to substitute "immediately" a new Second Chamber. The word "immediately" will no doubt be differently construed by different Members. What we desire by this Amendment is to give a definite definition—I think a rather wide definition—to what is intended when the Government say they intend "immediately" to substitute for the House of Lords a new Second Chamber. Three years is surely a sufficient time for the Government to produce their scheme. Having regard to what has been said by hon. Members below the Gangway opposite, unless such an Amendment is introduced, the Government will not have the power to bring in their scheme. If the Bill confers a perpetual 1924 power, hon. Members below the Gangway who object to any reconstitution of the Second Chamber, and who are avowedly desirous of having a Single-Chamber system, will, by taking up that attitude, prevent the Government from instituting a reform of this kind, even if they desire to so do. They have got the power now, and they are using the power now. Without some limitation of this kind is introduced they will have the power in the future, and they will use it in the future. I will give all weight to what has been said by hon. Members opposite below the Gangway, but it is because they are so sincere that we on this side want to have an absolute guarantee, an absolute security, that in due time what is said to be the intention of the Government shall be fulfilled whether hon. Members below the Gangway desire it or not. What has been said by the Government in the Preamble:—
"Provision should be made for regulating the relations between the two Houses … to substitute for the House of Lords. … a Second Chamber constituted on a popular, instead of hereditary, basis…"
Will that ever be done without some limitation of this kind is introduced? Member after Member who has got up below the Gangway has declared not only his desire not to have any reformed Second Chamber, but has also expressed further his desire that the limited power contained in this Bill should be still further reduced to what will be an absolute nullity in regard to every useful legislative power! Therefore why will not the Government accede to a proposal of this sort? We are not asking at this present time—I do not think it is the proper occasion—for information as regards the form of their Second Chamber. We are not asking what are to be the powers proposed to be given to that Second Chamber. All we are asking is this: You have come into power boasting a mandate from the country based on the provisions of this Bill to maintain not only the Clause but the Preamble as well. We ask you on that ground to give some test of the sincerity of what you told the country at the time of the General Election. Why connot you do it? It is because hon. Members below the Gangway and of hon. Members from Ireland? Is that the way to approach a great constitutional reform, particularly in this country, where we boast of being in advance of other countries in the matter of con- 1925 stitutional freedom and constitutional methods? Have we sunk so low that the Government are not able to fulfil the promises they have made, and that they should refuse to accept an Amendment of this kind, which would be in accordance wit h their promises, because they are afraid of hon. Members below the Gangway? This is the touchstone of sincerity, and I ask the Government, at any rate, to give some reason why they are refusing the Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs. If they do refuse to accept this Amendment I hope the country will take note of it. Instead of taking power to carry out their pledges which an Amendment of this sort would give them, the Government are placing themselves, as they know, in the impotent position of leaving us, so far as they can, under the absolute and tyrannical domination of a mere party majority in this House. It is inconsistent with every constitutional principle and inconsistent with everything that has been said as regards liberty and freedom by all the great Liberals of the past.
The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister I think on the Second Reading, or in one of the Debates which took place on this question of the House of Lords and a Second Chamber, was discussing the various courses that he might adopt. He might on the one hand deal with reform of the House of Lords, or he might deal with the limitation of their powers. The right hon. Gentleman said:It is a simple matter to deal with the limitation of these powers, but it is a very difficult matter, and will ake a long time, to deal with reform in their composition.I confess when first I saw the Amendment of my hon. Friend that I wondered whether he was not a little over-generous in the time he had given the Government. I thought, considering the vast ability that resides in the Government Front Bench, that three years was not too long a time. Now, I think it would not be too long a time for a Front Bench with even less ability. Surely the time is not too short for right hon. Gentlemen opposite to excogitate a plan, to work out some scheme for reforming the composition of the House of Lords which they would not be ashamed to put before this House and the country.
What I am afraid of is this—and I say this really in the interests of the party opposite. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] I do not pretend that my sym- 1926 pathies are very strongly engaged on behalf of the party opposite, but I do say that I have some respect for the way affairs are conducted in this House. I want to know what front this Government will present to the electors at the next election when they go before them and say: "True, we told you that we were going to reform the composition of the House of Lords, and we have not done it. We ask again for another mandate to reform the House of Lords." Will the electors give right hon. Gentlemen opposite much credence? Mark you, these three years will practically bring you to the end of this Parliament. If, after the passing of this measure, three years are allowed to elapse without your having fulfilled your pledges there is no possible opportunity for you at a later stage in this Parliament to fulfil them. It therefore means this, that if you refuse to accept this limitation you postpone until the next Parliament any dealing with the composition of the Second Chamber. After all, we have got many precedents for this sort of limitation. We had a precedent only the other day. We were discussing in this House the question of for how long a period the Land Taxes should be taken away from the local authorities and put into the Exchequer. It was a suggestion of hon. Members opposite that the time should be limited, and so strong was the pressure exercised upon the Government that we were actually ready to agree to a limitation of three years. It is quite true that the Government have not yet inserted that suggestion in their Bill, but I believe they will do so on some future occasion. Why was it? Surely it was not because hon. Members opposite did not believe in their own Government? It was not because hon. Members opposite did not think or believe that the Government were not fully pledged to transfer part of these Land Taxes to the local authorities. They recognise this, that so vast is the pressure that can be put upon any Government by a section of its followers to produce a measure and forget undertakings and promises that it was very useful to have some bond over them at some time that would force them in their own defence to deal with a question which under any circumstances they might be persuaded to shirk. The fact is that a limit of this kind is a little jog to the memory of the Government. Governments are apt to be very forgetful of statements made three years ago. There can be very different explanations given after a lapse 1927 of three years. There is some little limitation of a phrase that escaped for the moment the attention of those who heard the promise, and many gaps and hollows are found in the pledge that make it easy for the Government to scrape out of it. But if they are tied definitely by a limitation placed in a statute of Parliament, and that statute will cease to have effect after three years, unless the Government have regard to their promises and pledges, that is a very strong reason for compelling the Government to carry out the pledge they had given. I quite agree that hon. Members on the Labour benches frankly state they do not want any Second Chamber, and for that reason they do not agree with any limitation. I do not really know what is the attitude of hon. Members from Ireland, because, after all, I may point out to them that possibly by the end of three years Home Rule may have passed. In that case all their hidden constitutional feeling, which I feel confident is strong in them, although they are compelled to suppress it to-day, may come forth and they may have an opportunity of giving vent to their really Conservative Tory feelings, and it may be that at that time we shall find there are no stronger, more eloquent and keen supporters even of a hereditary Second Chamber than hon. Members who represent Nationalist feeling in Ireland.
§ Sir R. FINLAY
I rise for the purpose of making one more appeal to the Government, and I think that Members of the Government themselves feel that it is due to their own position that by a few plain straightforward words they should dispel the doubts that have gathered about them since the Committee listened this afternoon to the elaborate evasions of the Home Secretary. We have reason to deplore the absence this evening of the Foreign Secretary. I wish it was possible for him to be present, particularly on an occasion of this kind, and I am sure the House would have listened with the greatest possible interest to what he would have to say with regard to the Preamble and what the Government meant to do with regard to it. There is another Member of the Government whom we cannot have here to-night because he has recently moved to another place, but failing him I wish we could have had the Foreign Secretary, and have heard what he would say upon this all-important point. The Government say they cannot accept the limit of three years. Will they tell us how many years would 1928 be enough for them to mature their plans I They will not have three years. Would four years do? Or five years? Or would nine years satisfy them? Will they tell them whether they mean business with regard to the House of Lords or whether they do not. The situation this evening is absolutely unexampled in the annals of this House. You got votes at the General Election by putting forward a policy of reform of the Second Chamber. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes you did, and you know it very well. Some Members of the party opposite say that the promise of a reform of the House of Lords was a millstone round their necks. Did the Government think so at the time? Did the Government not angle for the votes of those moderate men who so often turn the scale at General Elections in this country, and have hon. Members opposite any doubts in their own minds that they got a great many votes at the last election which would have gone to the other side if reform of the Second Chamber had not been part of the Government programme?
What is the situation now? Your supporters below the Gangway openly scoff at the proclaimed intentions of the Government with regard to this reform. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy referred jeeringly to the Preamble, and said "Second Chamber to be reformed hereafter." What is to come is still not sure. Hereafter does not concern him. One hon. Gentleman on this side of the House asked, "is the Preamble a sham or is it not?" There were cries from hon. Members below the Gangway of "it is a sham," and the cheers which came in response from the benches opposite echoed what was said and confirmed it. The Government heard that, and what was the answer? Nothing but the evasive reply of the Home Secretary, which left everything perfectly open, and left everyone sitting on the benches opposite to understand that as long as they supported the Government they might hold what opinion they pleased about the Preamble. Can we not have some plain statement on the subject? I am glad to see that the Prime Minister is here. What I want to know is whether the Preamble is sincere or insincere. So far as this Debate has gone it lends itself painfully to the suspicion that the Preamble is insincere. It did its office in composing differences in the Cabinet and in winning the support of the moderate men at the General Election throughout the country. Is the Government sincere in the matter? Assuming that they are sincere in their intentions to reform 1929 the Second Chamber, and assuming that their supporters below the Gangway, and many of their supporters behind them will allow them to carry out that intention, what is it that they propose to do in the meantime? They propose to carry through some revolutionary measures while there is no effective Second Chamber in existence and before they have brought into existence that Second Chamber which they say should take the place of the present Chamber. Was the country ever face to face with such a position as this? It is said the Constitution wants amending. It is said the Second Chamber ought to be strengthened. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Not by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. What they desire is that the Second Chamber should continue in a weak and discredited position. That is what would suit them. Making the supposition for the sake of argument that the Government is sincere in its intentions of reform, do they or do they not, while the Second Chamber under this Bill, if it ever becomes law, is reduced to a state of impotence, mean to carry through changes in the capital institutions of the country? I say it is scandalous that such an intention——
§ Sir R. FINLAY
I am not, of course, transgressing your ruling. It is difficult to discuss the question of this Amendment without reference to the Bill as a whole, but I perfectly recognise what you have said with regard to the present Amendment, and another opportunity will present itself at a later stage of dealing with the topic which I indicated. I answered you at once that another subject was in my mind, and I do not know what financial changes may be in store for us while the Second Chamber is reduced to the state of entire insignificance and powerlessness with regard to financial matters. Mr. Gladstone was perfectly right when he said it was as essential for the security of our Constitution that the privileges of the House of Lords should be preserved as that our privileges should be preserved, and that the real meaning of the importance of the House of Lords retaining their rights with regard to financial matters 1930 was that they should be able to prevent measures being embodied in Money Bills which were not really of a purely financial character. What we have to do on this Clause is to secure, if this Clause passes into law, some adequate substitute for the powers at present enjoyed by the House of Lords, but I do not trespass upon that ground. What I say is that the Government, in the Preamble, after stating that it was intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists, a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of an hereditary basis, have told us in the plainest terms:—But such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation:And whereas provision will require hereafter to be made by Parliament in a measure effecting such substitution for limiting and defining the powers of the new Second Chamber, but it is expedient to make such provision as in this Act appears for restricting the existing powers of the House of Lords.Then the enacting Clause follows. I do say, after a Preamble of that kind, and after the speeches that have been made throughout the country, it is essential that this House should have some guarantee that the Government mean business in this matter. It is not so important that the term of three years should be fixed, or, indeed, any term. What is important is that we should see that the Government are sincere in what they are professing.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I have listened with interest and with respect to the speech of my right hon. and learned Friend, and I confess I have been unable to discover what reference it had to the Amendment actually under discussion. We are now dealing with finance. We are not dealing with the Clause limiting the operation of the Bill as a whole; we are dealing with the Financial Clause alone, and the Amendment now before the House proposes that the new arrangement set out under this Clause with regard to finance shall last three years. That is the sole issue on which the Committee will be called upon to decide. I can quite understand—and I dare say before we have got to the end of the Committee stage we shall see proposals made to that effect—I can quite understand the suggestion that the whole operation of this Bill should be for a limited period of time. But we are now dealing with the first Clause alone, and the question the Committee has to consider is whether that Clause should be limited in 1931 its operation to three years or to any specific period. In the opinion of the Government it should not. I can see no reason whatever why in the future, as in the past, this Chamber—this representative Chamber elected by the people of this country—should not retain its predominance in finance. I am quite prepared to deal with the larger question if and when the opportunity arises —— [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] The opportunity will arise——[HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] I do not understand that interruption. I am quite prepared to deal if and when the opportunity arises with the question whether the general limitations proposed by this Bill of the powers of the House of Lords should be restricted in point of time. But this is not the occasion for doing it. We are dealing here with finance, and with finance alone, and in the opinion of the Government whatever changes may take place in the constitution of the other House this House must retain not for three years, but for all time its effective, undisputed, unchallengeable supremacy in regard to matters of finance.
I will only say one word more with regard to the general observations of the right hon. Gentleman, and which, however, did not appear to me to have any relevance to the Amendment before the House, in respect of the Preamble. He tried to suggest doubts as to the sincerity of the Government in inserting these words in the Preamble. When this Bill was presented to the country as it was at the last election it was presented with its Preamble, and the assent given by the electors to the Bill was an assent given—I do not say in every particular or detail—to the Bill as a whole. The Government regard themselves as bound not only in honour, but bound by the strict letter of their pledges by the actual terms of the Bill itself to give effect to the Preamble as and when the proper time arises. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who supports you?"] That is not a very courteous interruption. Let me repeat the terms of the Preamble as submitted to the country. They are these:—
"And whereas it is intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis, but such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation."
Therefore everybody who voted in favour of this Bill voted, as he well knows, in 1932 favour of the scheme of which "the immediate substitution" would not form part. To represent the Government and their supporters as guilty of insincerity because they do not on this subject indicate the lines of their scheme is to reproach them as being guilty of nothing less than a fraud upon the electorate. The policy which we announced, which we put before the country, and which, as we believe, the country approved, was this: first of all, to regulate the relations between the two Houses. That is the business for which this Parliament was elected. That is the business to which we are asking this House of Commons to direct its attention. When that has been satisfactorily accomplished, then we shall proceed——[HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] Then we shall proceed in due time and season to deal with the other part of the plan, and I decline altogether to anticipate or to predict when that season may be any more than the electors when they gave us their confidence attempted to prescribe any time. Then and not until we have first accomplished this necessary preliminary task—then and not till then shall we proceed to the accomplishment of the other part of our task. I have said so much on that point, although I do not regard it as relevant to the Amendment in consequence of the challenge of the right hon. Gentleman. Let me bring back the Committee to the point which is really before them: whether the assertion of the unchallengable supremacy of this House in point of finance shall be limited in point of time. That is the issue upon which we are going to vote, and on that issue I claim with no want of confidence, but with perfect assurance, the support of all those who were elected to assist us.
I am afraid I have already troubled the Committee when it was rather thinner than it is now with some observations on this Amendment, but I would ask them before we go to a Division whether there could be a more conclusive speech in favour of it than the one which has just been delivered. The Prime Minister told us that the policy the Government presented to the country consisted of two parts, one a promise in honour some day orotherto have a popular Second Chamber, the other to regulate the relations between the present House of Commons and the present Second Chamber. That is the view of the Government. May I seriously ask any Gentleman whether under those circumstances it is 1933 not absolutely necessary to limit the duration of the time in which the avowedly temporary arrangement contemplated should last and beyond which it should not last? The Government not only admit, but they assert, as a cardinal part of their policy that that is a temporary arrangement. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Perhaps I misrepresent the Prime Minister. I will modify my statement. The Government assert that this Bill is to deal with the relations, not between two permanent bodies, but between two bodies only one of which is permanent, and therefore it is quite clear that the relations between the First and Second Chamber cannot outlast the reconstitution of the Second Chamber. Unless this Preamble is absolutely meaningless, unless it is a mere pretence and a mere fraud, to use the Prime Minister's words, surely you ought to make the relations you establish between the two Houses of Parliament as temporary as those two Houses are themselves. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] How could you lay down a permanent principle when you avow at the same time that you mean fundamentally to alter the whole constitution of one of those Houses? The thing is on the face of it absurd, and it is all the more absurd if the Committee will call to mind the ground the Prime Minister gave for saying that this House is to retain permanently not only its general supremacy in matters of finance, but absolute and sole supremacy. What are the grounds he gave? That this Assembly was representative and elected. That is the only reason he gave. What is the new House of Lords to be? It is also to be representative and elected. So that on the only two grounds given by the Prime Minister for retaining the sole control of finance in this House, the new House, which will be constituted when all the more magnificent promises of the Government have been fulfilled, in that dim and distant future, will have as great a fundamental title to deal with finance as this House itself. They find themselves dealing with a Constitution in which there is one fully representative House, and they say, "So long as the House is representative let it control finance." They also promise a new Second Chamber, which is to be equally representative.
I did not say equal power. I said they deserved equal power. 1934 If they have the same authority—they will draw their power from the people as this House draws its from the people—they will have as much title as this House to deal with finance. If that were not the ultimate or remote ideal but an ideal to be carried out as soon as possible, to give this permanent privilege to this House is an absurdity. You are bound to limit it in time. You are bound to say that if this House is to have, on the grounds of its representative character, solo control of financial matters, that Parliament should not last beyond such a period at which you may hope to reconstitute another Chamber equally drawn from the people, equally representative, having equal authority with the ancient Assembly to which we belong. In these circumstances I suggest that the very argument urged by the Prime Minister is itself the strongest proof that this Amendment should be accepted. The very line of reasoning he adopted showed that he contemplated, as a matter of honour, calling into existence a Second Chamber not less authoritative than our own, not less deeply based upon public approval, and I suggest that, even from the Benches of a Radical Government there' must be some time limit to pledges given as matters of honour. I admit that it is not an immediate pledge. I grant that the Preamble does not state that the House of Lords is to be reformed this Session, but if three years is too short a time for a Radical Government to carry out a pledge of honour, then let them say four years or five years. I do not know what length of time we must allow for carrying out a pledge of honour, but let the Radical Government state it themselves. Let them give us their own idea of honour if in this matter it comes to any period short of the day of judgment. If they will make any time limit to this pledge of honour, if within reason, if within the lifetime of those who gave the pledge, if within what insurance companies call the expectation of life, it would be an improvement on the Bill, and I think my hon. Friend would be prepared, if we cannot get anything better, to accept it. But to come down and tell us they mean, as a matter of honour, to establish a popular Second Chamber, and tell us at the same time they are going to give perpetually to this House privileges which it has only a title to accept if the Second Chamber is not representative, is an absurdity which nobody can justify, nobody 1935 has attempted to justify, not even the Prime Minister in the most able and inconclusive speech he has just delivered.
§ Mr. HARWOOD
I wish to explain to the right hon. Gentleman what I think is the position generally on this side of the House in regard to this Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman says, supposing there are two bodies and that we alter the constitution of one of these two bodies, then we alter the relationship between the two.
§ Mr. HARWOOD
Therefore the arrangement that we are now entering upon is contingent upon the other House remaining unpopular or non-elective. The position of a good many of us on this side of the House is entirely opposed to that. We say that the relationship now being fixed between the two Houses must be permanent. If the Government falter in that respect; if they make the present relationship only temporary, then I say they will be swept from power at once. I only say this because I know it is the feeling of a great many, and I know it is the feeling of the country. The feeling of the country generally is not one of dislike to the House of Lords. We have had a most marvellous exhibition of
§ topsy-turvydom of politics to-night. The right hon. Gentleman in violent language abused the House of Lords. I was here ten years in opposition and they behaved quite well. They have been throwing out our Bills one after the other. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said quite recently that they were a perfect assembly. Now we have them abused and they must be reformed instantly. Why have not they reformed them before? Why have not they reformed themselves before? As a matter of fact, I do not think that the country is opposed to the House of Lords even in its present condition. It is all very well for some hon. Members to laugh, but the difficulty of reforming the House of Lords is an enormous one. The ablest and most subtle minds have tried it, and we see no scheme that is at all likely to obtain success. Therefore we on this side are-prepared to take the House of Lords as it is. But it is quite clearly understood that whatever change you make in the House of Lords, if you fill it with archangels, we are House of Commons men and take our stand upon this: That no change in the constitution of the House of Lords shall justify the slightest going back on the relationship between the two Houses.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 207; Noes, 296.1939
|Division No. 106.]||AYES.||[10.55 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Butcher, John George||Fell, Arthur|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Campion, W. R.||Finlay, Sir R.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Carlile, Edward Hildred||Fisher, William Heyes|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.|
|Astor, Waldorf||Cassel, Felix||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Castlereagh, Viscount||Fleming, Valentine|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Cator, John||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)|
|Baker, Sir Randoll L. (Dorset, N.)||Cautley, Henry Strother||Foster, Philip Staveley|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cave, George||Gardner, Ernest|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Chambers, James||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. Guy Victor||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Grant, J. A.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Clive, Percy Archer||Greene, Walter Raymond|
|Barnston, H.||Courthope, George Loyd||Gretton, John|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim. S.)||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Craik, Sir Henry||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Hambro, Angus Valdemar|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Croft, Henry Page||Hamersley, Alfred St. George|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Dalrymple, Viscount||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)|
|Bird, Alfred||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hardy, Laurence|
|Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith-||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Harris, Henry Percy|
|Boyton, James||Dixon, Charles Harvey||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Doughty, Sir George||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.|
|Bull, Sir W. James||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Hill, Sir Clement L.|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Hills, John Waller|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Hoars, Samuel John Gurney||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Morpeth, Viscount||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Home, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Horner, Andrew Long||Mount, William Arthur||Stanier, Beville|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Newdegate, F. A||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Norton-Griffiths, J.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Swift, Rigby|
|Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Sykes, Alan John|
|Kerry, Earl of||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Kirkwood, John H. M.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Perkins, Walter Frank||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Peto, Basil Edward||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Larmor, Sir J||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Quilter, W. E. C.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Rawson, Col. Richard H.||Winterton, Earl|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Rothschild, Lionel de||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Royds, Edmund||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Macmaster, Donald||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||Younger, George|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Malcolm, Ian||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. H. W. Forster and Viscount Valentia.|
|Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Griffith, Ellis Jones (Anglesey)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gulland, John William|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Corbett, A. Cameron||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Alnsworth, John Stirling||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hackett, John|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Cotton, William Francis||Hancock, J. G.|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Armitage, Robert||Crumley, Patrick||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Davies, S. W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Dawes, J. A.||Harwood, George|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Delany, William||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Barnes, George N.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Devlin, Joseph||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Dickinson, W. H.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Donelan, Captain A.||Hayward, Evan|
|Barton, William||Doris, William||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Duffy, William J.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Bentham, G. J.||Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Hinds, John|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Boland, John Pius||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hodge, John|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Brace, William||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Essex, Richard Walter||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Falconer, James||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ffrench, Peter||Johnson, W.|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Field, William||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Fitzgibbon, John||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Furness, Stephen||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs. Heywood)||Glanville, Harold James||Joyce, Michael|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Keating, Matthew|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Goldstone, Frank||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Greenwood, Granville C. (Peterborough)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Clynes, John R.||Greig, Colonel James William||Kilbride, Denis|
|King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||O'Dowd, John||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||Ogden, Fred||Sheehy, David|
|Lambert, George (S. Molton)||O'Grady, James||Shorn, Edward|
|Lansbury, George||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Malley, William||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Snowden, Philip|
|Logan, John William||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Soares, Ernest|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)|
|Lundon, Thomas||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Summers, James Wooley|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Sutherland, John E.|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Sutton, John E.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pirie, Duncan Vernon||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Switt||Pointer, Joseph||Tennant, Harold John|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pollard, Sir George H.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Leices.)||Price, Sir Robert J.||Toulmin, George|
|M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Pringle, William M. R.||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Marks, George Croydon||Radford, George Heynes||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Martin, Joseph||Rainy, Adam Rolland||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Wardle, George J.|
|Meagher, Michael||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Reddy, Michael||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Millar, James Duncan||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Webb, H.|
|Molloy, Michael||Rendall, Atnelstan||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Mooney, John J.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Morgan, Goorge Hay||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Morrell, Philip||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Robinson, Sidney||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Muldoon, John||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Munro, Robert||Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Needham, Christopher J||Rowlands, James||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.)|
|Neilson, Francis||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||St. Maur, Harold||Winfrey, Richard|
|Nolan, Joseph||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Seely, Col., Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
§ And, it being Eleven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress: to sit again to-morrow (Tuesday).
§ Adjourned at Eight minutes after Eleven o'clock.