§ (1) If any Bill other than a Money Bill is passed by the House of Commons in three successive Sessions (whether of the same Parliament or not), and, having been sent up to the House of Lords at least one month before the end of the Session, is rejected by the House of Lords in each of those Sessions, that Bill shall, on its rejection for the third time by the House of Lords, unless the House of Commons direct to the contrary, be presented to His Majesty and become an Act of Parliament on the Royal Assent being signified thereto, notwithstanding that the House of Lords has not consented to the Bill: Provided that this provision shall not take effect unless two years have elapsed between the date of the first introduction of the Bill in the House of Commons and the date on which it passes the House of Commons for the third time.
§ (2) A Bill shall be deemed to be rejected by the House of Lords if it is not passed by the House of Lords either without amendment or with such amendments only as may be agreed to by both Houses.
§ (3) A Bill shall be deemed to be the same Bill as a former Bill sent up to the House of Lords in the preceding Session if, when it is sent up to the House of Lords, it is identical with the former Bill or contains only such alterations as are 1608 certified by the Speaker of the House of Commons to be necessary owing to the time which has elapsed since the date of the former Bill, or to represent amendments which have been made by the House of Lords in the former Bill in the preceding Session.
§ Provided that the House of Commons may, if they think fit, on the passage of such a Bill through the House in the second or third Session, suggest any further amendments without inserting the amendments in the Bill, and any such suggested amendments shall be considered by the House of Lords, and if agreed to by that House, shall be treated as amendments made by the House of Lords and agreed to by the House of Commons; but the exercise of this power by the House of Commons shall not affect the operation of this section in the event of the Bill being rejected by the House of Lords.
§ Sir PHILIP MAGNUS
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "passed" ["If any Bill other than a Money Bill is passed"], to insert the words "with a majority of at least one hundred."
It is scarcely necessary to say that no one would desire that an important measure should be passed by this House without the consent of the Upper Chamber, if it were passed by such a majority as the Prime Minister last night so emphatically described as a "casual, temporary, precarious, and in point of numbers, insignificant majority." It would be very unfortunate indeed if such an important measure as any one of those which were the subject of Amendments that were rejected, were passed by a very small majority. I need scarcely say that I 1609 attach no value to the number of one hundred, and the figure might be altered if the Prime Minister were prepared to accept the Amendment. I cannot think it possible that the Government would refuse to accept it, seeing that it limits the minimum majority by means of which a Bill might be passed by this House alone. without receiving the assent of the Upper House. I therefore beg to move this Amendment on the distinct understanding that for the number one hundred such other number might be substituted as the Prime Minister might suggest There should not be any doubt whatever that an Amendment to this effect will be accepted by the Government.
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
We had a similar proposal by way of Amendment made by a Noble Lord below the Gangway, to the first Clause, that it should not be operative unless a Money Bill was passed by not less than a majority of two-thirds. I then pointed out, and I do not want to repeat myself, that it was totally without precedent in our legislation to require a specified majority, whether it be a majority in point of numbers counting heads, or any majority in the shape of proportion, to give special validity and sanctity to the decision of this House or Parliament as a whole. I used those arguments, which are equally applicable to the present Amendment, and nothing which the hon. Gentleman has said seems to me in any way to invalidate them. I need only repeat what I have said more than once, that, in our view, we have provided special security against hasty legislation by a "precarious and insignificant majority," to which reference has so frequently been made. The security is sufficiently provided by the safeguards in this Clause, which require that the Bill should go to the House of Lords in three successive Sessions, and after an interval of two years has elapsed between its introduction and its passing into law. Nor, again, can I do more than reiterate the argument which I employed on a previous occasion, and which is applicable to this Amendment, that if you require a specified majority in order to bring this Clause into operation you are introducing and you are sterotyping an inequality as between the two parties in the State. A Bill carried by a majority of one here passes to the House of Lords, and it passes into law without any attempt to invalidate its legislative qualities because 1610 of the narrowness of the majority secured here; whereas, mutatis mutandis, we shall require, according to this Amendment, m order to override the Veto of the House of Lords, a majority of not less than one hundred. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment has not mentioned any particular number, but my argument is equally applicable whatever the artificial majority is. Both on this Clause and on the Clause already passed by the Committee, there seems to be good and sufficient reason against the acceptance of this or any similar Amendment.
The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister bases his objection to my hon. Friend's Amendment in the first place upon the fact that this Amendment or one like it was discussed on the first Clause, and was rejected. The cases of the second Clause and that of the first Clause are entirely different in their relation to this particular expedient. The theory of the Government, be it right or be it wrong, in the first Clause is that the House of Lords had nothing whatever to do with Money Bills, and, that being the case from their point of view, whether we accept it or not, and that being their answer, of course it stands to reason, from their point of view, that the smallest majority in this House would be conclusive on a Money Bill as against the House of Lords, because, in fact, according to the view of the Government, the House of Lords have never had for many years past, anything to do with Money Bills, except the privilege of barren criticism and discussion. But the case is of quite a different order when you come to Clause 2. Under Clause 1 there was no case of the Government's overriding a Money Bill, the House of Lords not being entitled to interfere. But by Clause 2, you are avowedly providing machinery by which the will and view of the House of Lords can be overriden and are intended to be overriden, even after this Bill, when the House of Lords legitimately express an opinion upon a subject which is admitted to be entirely within their competence. Surely in these circumstances it is most reasonable that we should take care that this House, when it overrides the Second Chamber, should not merely represent the precarious and narrow majority of which the Prime Minister speaks, but that it should have behind it something in the nature of a solid majority, an important majority such as would justify the highhanded action that the Government propose 1611 this House should take. The right hon. Gentleman replies that we have never, in our system, hitherto considered whether there should or should not be a large majority in passing a measure.
A majority of one is as good as a majority of 100; that has been argued and it may be a very proper rule, as you are dealing with a bi-cameral Constitution. What we point out to the Government and the framers of this Bill is, that it ceases to be a proper rule when you are making your system into a uni-cameral system. Consider that aspect of the question from which the Government steadily and uniformly avert their gaze, I mean the example of other democracies, whether speaking our own language or other languages, who have, broadly speaking, imbibed their political notions from us in framing their Constitution largely on ours. For the purpose of preventing rash and hasty legislation, they have introduced this idea, that either there must be a two-thirds majority or a considerable majority in the case of any legislation which touches fundamentals. This particular Amendment is, of course, not confined to that. Nevertheless, surely if you make a scandal of this Bill, doubly scandalous it will make it if you override by a majority of ten in three successive Sessions a vast minority almost equal to the majority in its numbers, and in addition override a Second Chamber whether that be reformed or unreformed. Then just consider the case that may well happen. The Government representing the party opposite came into power in 1892 with a not very considerable majority, and that majority went on dwindling until it was reduced at the end to, if my memory serves me right, something between thirty and forty. An hon. Friend and colleague reminds me that I overrated the figure, and that the Government of that day started with about forty, and ran down before their tenure of office reached conclusion to about twenty. I think it would be a scandal if a Government supported by such a majority, small originally and steadily dwindling, were to be given power to override not merely a minority in this House, and as proved in the country, but to override also a Second Chamber, whether reformed or unreformed.
The right hon. Gentleman says, I am not sure if he repeated his argument, but he has gone on the idea that no Government 1612 could go on bringing in these Bills if it found its majority dwindling. That was not our experience of Radical administration in the Parliament of 1892 to 1895. Their boldness of legislation did not diminish as their popularity waned. Weak as they were when they started, and impotent as they were on the conclusion of their term of office, that did not prevent them introducing measures revolutionary in their scope, and persevering in those until finally they were beaten in this House, and then had that repeated and endorsed in the country. That is an example actually within the historical memory of many whom I am now addressing, and it is certainly within the memory of the Prime Minister because he was a distinguished Member of that Administration. And I say it is perfectly monstrous that if the Gentlemen opposite came back after an election in the strength they did in 1892, and brought in a Home Rule Bill as they did bring it in in 1893, and on its rejection if they went on with it in 1894, and then in 1895, and that, when everybody with the smallest Parliamentary knowledge saw that they held their office by the most attenuated thread, and that the smallest accident, the dissatisfaction of the merest handful of their party would land them in defeat, that at that time they would still be in the power to carry out a great revolution against the opinion of the Second Chamber. It is a legislative paradox. Can you conceive, or is it possible to conceive, any Parliamentary position more monstrous than the one, which I have not conjured from my imagination, but the one which I have actually drawn with the few necessary variations to fit in with this Bill from the experience of many who were amongst the audience I am addressing. I cannot imagine a House of Commons reduced to this degree of impotence in its own conscience under which, although plainly losing the small remains of public force it ever possessed and power to come back again with a majority, that nevertheless it should have all the tyrannical powers which this Bill gives through a great majority, really it may be representing the great mass of opinion in the country, and that they should be able to carry out any change, however great, however violent, however irreversible, in the face of what everybody knows is the opinion of the country, and in face of what our Division lists show is the opinion of almost a majority, and which is against the opinion of the Second Chamber, reformed or unreformed. From a scandal of 1613 that kind the hon. Member desires to preserve us, and I think everybody will admit he is right.
I am simply amazed at the only other argument which the Prime Minister has chosen to give us. He has repeated it, and is almost unblushing in the repetition of that argument. I think he is not wrong to repeat it, but he ought to be ashamed, not of the repetition, but of the argument itself. That argument is that this acts unfairly as between the two sides. Observe, if I am right, that this Bill does represent or may produce a legislative scandal. Is it any argument against it, when the legislative scandal would be diminished, that my hon. Friend's Amendment would still leave it possible for one side, though not for the other. If it be wrong that such a thing should be done, at all events diminish that wrong as far as you can, and if you think that the revolutionists who sit behind me on these benches are likely to embark on the frantic career which is so attractive to hon. Members opposite, then have methods which will apply to both sides. By all means, if you think we are going to wreck the' Constitution by our proposals when we are in office, provide some machinery by which that disaster may be averted. But if the disaster can take place under your Bill, then at all events take everything that can be suggested by which the magnitude of the evil can be diminished. I I cannot understand any Gentleman seriously saying, "Here is a proposal which in itself may be good and in itself may be a useful check upon the House of Commons, but inasmuch as it only puts that useful check on one party, and therefore only fulfils half the function we should like it to fulfil, we will not have that half." I do not think that is good reasoning. I do not think it is very honest reasoning. I think it does make the contest on the floor of this House too much in the nature of an interesting battle, in which the last persons to be considered are the people at large. I greatly regret the right hon. Gentleman refuses to accept either the Amendment of my hon. Friend or any modification of that Amendment, but I still more regret, or almost as much regret, that he has found no better arguments for the course he is determined to pursue.
§ Mr. BYLES
I wish to give, according to my recollection, the state of affairs from 1892 to 1895, to which the right hon. Gentleman has drawn attention. He said 1614 that with a dwindling majority the Government went on proposing legislation. I think the instance was a most unfortunate one for the right hon. Gentleman. I was a Member of that small majority, and I remember, and was not surprised, that after the three years of legislation—heroic legislation—which was carried by the Government at that time, that the majority did somewhat dwindle, but when it dwindled, so far from the Government pursuing its line of legislation and continuing to propose great measures, what the Government did was to avail itself of a snap division on a summer afternoon, and a trifling defeat, in order to abandon its legislation, and to say we have no longer the confidence of the country, and to resign its powers. If I am right in that interpretation and in that recollection of what occurred, I suggest that the instance which the right hon. Gentleman has quoted to the House is one which not only does not tell in favour of his argument but is a splendid instance in reply.
§ Mr. SANDERSON
I confess I was perfectly amazed at the answer which the Prime Minister gave to the Amendment. I think the answer which he tried to give is no answer at all. Let me take his last point. I understood his last answer was this, that if a Conservative Government were in power a majority of one in this House would be quite sufficient for them, because the House of Lords would pass a Bill which was passed by a majority of one in this House, but that if the Radical party were in power then they would be required to have a majority of 100 in this House. Let me ask the House to consider where that argument leads us to. Does it not mean that the right hon. Gentleman has no intention of carrying out the Preamble of this Bill, and that he is not going to stick to what he has said, namely, that he intends to reform the constitution of the House of Lords. On the other hand, if he is going to stick to what he has said, and intends to carry out the Preamble of the Bill and reform the constitution of the House of Lords, why then both parties would be treated quite equally. With regard to the other point, that hitherto in our parliamentary institution it has not been customary to insist upon any stereotyped majority in this House and that there was no precedent for this proposal, suppose you admit that that is so, does the right hon. Gentleman not recognise that he is proposing to do something which is entirely without precedent, and that he 1615 is endeavouring, instead of relying on an unwritten Constitution, as we have done in the past, to put our Constitution, at any rate to a certain extent or to a great extent, in writing. If we are going to have different conditions prevailing in the future, ought we hot to consider them on principle and not with regard to the present. It seems to me on those grounds that both points which the right hon. Gentleman raised in answer to this Amendment are entirely without foundation.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It is rather difficult to carry on a Debate when the arguments are all on one side. As far as I could make out the argument of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Byles), it was that the question of Home Rule was introduced in the early stages of the 1892 Parliament, and that, therefore, the argument of my right hon. Friend did not apply.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The point of my right hon. Friend was that if this Bill had been law the Government, which in 1893 introduced a Home Rule Bill, would have carried that Bill through the House of Commons again in 1894, and again in 1895; and it would have become law in spite of the loss of the confidence of the country. In the meagre reply put forward by the Prime Minister there are two arguments to which I wish to call attention. If the right hon. Gentleman were really guided by his own sense as to the soundness of the arguments, I do not think he would use either of them again. But then he would be in a difficulty, because he applies them to every Amendment. First of all, he said that to limit the decisions of the House of Commons by the size of the majority is entirely unprecedented. Of course it is. But the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as anybody that the question at present only applies to a Constitution which has grown, which is historic. You cannot deal with precedents when you are yourself creating a Constitution by the light of reason, or perhaps in this case by the light of nature. When the right hon. Gentleman is destroying all the precedents on which our constitutional history rests, surely it is obvious that he must defend his case, not only on the ground of precedent, but on the ground that the proposal he is making is in itself right and justifiable. Nobody can pretend 1616 that it is justified in that light. Nobody can contend that a Single Chamber should have absolute power to make any changes it pleases, however small the majority may be, and however much it may recognise that it no longer represents the country.
The next argument put forward by the right hon. Gentleman against every Amendment is that it would be unfair to his party. It is a curious kind of argument. The idea of the Prime Minister seems to be that he is the captain of a particular football team; that on some previous occasion the other side bribed the referee, and that now he is going to bribe the referee and take all the advantage he can by so doing. As a matter of fact, the use which the Prime Minister constantly makes of that argument is itself the best proof that he regards the Preamble of the Bill merely as a useful instrument for getting votes for Members of this House. It is perfectly obvious that if the Preamble were part of the purpose of this Bill all that kind of argument would fall to the ground. The right hon. Gentleman told us earlier in these Debates that he held the fulfilment of the Preamble as an obligation of honour. But he gave a curious illustration last night of what he means by an obligation of honour when he said that it would depend on the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) whether he was able to carry it out or not. Could anything be more absurd? The very same majority which enabled him to carry the Parliament Bill in this form would enable him to carry the Preamble if he could get its support. For that reason it is perfectly obvious that all these arguments about unfairness are based upon what is now clearly the intention of the Government, namely, to have Single-Chamber Government and nothing else.
§ Mr. GUINNESS
The Prime Minister stated that it was totally without precedent to require a special majority in order to give validity to any legislation. Revolutionaries have worn very strange garments in the past, but never have they chosen more ill-fitting clothes than those of precedent. There is equally no precedent for having no check at all on a chance majority in the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman seems to forget that under our representative system we get a very inaccurate picture indeed of public opinion in the country. We have no representation of minorities. We have such vast differences between large and small 1617 constituencies that you get the most ludicrous misrepresentation of the people. In the 1906 Parliament the Radical Government should have had a majority of fifty-four; they actually had a majority of 300. In the 1900 Parliament the Unionist majority should have been only sixteen, but, as a matter of fact, it was 134. In the Parliaments of 1874 and 1886 the majority of seats in this House actually represented a minority of the votes given in the country. I do not say that this Amendment would absolutely prevent such anomalies, but it would do something in that direction. It would ensure that a considerable majority existed in this House, and presumably a certain majority in the country before a revolutionary change could be carried out. If the Government have not thrown over Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's resolution in favour of making the will of the people prevail, surely they must take some steps to find out what the will of the people is before using these violent and hitherto unconstitutional methods. They must gauge the will of the people and find out that it is above the average level. They must ignore the fluctuations which are merely waves in the popular will and do not represent any permanent level of opinion. This Amendment would not touch finance. It would enable the Government to get the necessary ways and means, even if it had a very small majority. Equally it would not touch the power which Governments with a small majority possess under the present system. They could go on quite well as they have in the past by confining themselves to measures with the support of both Houses. If this House does not want to set up a system whereby the will of the majority may easily be flouted, if they really want to see the will of the people prevail, they must see that a chance majority does not get this revolutionary power into its hands. If the Government refuse this Amendment, and give power to a majority of two or three votes to carry out a revolution in the face of the opposition of the Second Chamber, they will not be securing the will of the majority of the people, but they will be opening the way for a party caucus or a haphazard combination of parties to play the confidence trick.
§ Mr. BARNSTON
I am somewhat disappointed that the Government have not seen their way to accept this moderate Amendment. What does the Amendment really mean? When the Second Chamber is practically reduced to a farce, and when 1618 the Prime Minister is unable to carry out the Preamble—because many of his followers have declared that they do not intend to let him do so—surely it is reasonable to ask that a great change shall not take place unless it is backed up by a substantial majority in this House. This Amendment will not affect the present Government as they are now because, unless the hon. Baronet for the St. Ives Division of Cornwall (Sir C. Cory) and the hon. Member for East Denbigh (Mr. John) join with some other Members against them, the Government would have the majority required. The position taken up by this Amendment, that measures when they leave this House must have a substantial majority behind them, is much more moderate than the position taken up by the Prime Minister himself a few years ago. The right hon. Gentleman yesterday laid great stress on speeches that he had made to his constituents. I find that speaking some few years ago he used these words:—
If the Irish Party is free and independent, so also, I venture to claim, is the Liberal Party. I hare for some time held the opinion, which I have expressed to you. my constituents, before now. that the Liberal Party ought not to assume the duties and the responsibilities of Government unless they could rely on an independent Liberal majority in the House of Commons.That was said when we had what we shall not have when this Bill is passed—a Second Chamber with a real Veto on legislation. We do not go so far as the Prime Minister went. We merely ask by this Amendment that, when we are living, as we shall be living, practically under Single-Chamber rule, great changes shall not take place unless they receive the stamp of the approval of a large majority in this House.
§ Mr. HENRY TERRELL
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words "one hundred," and to insert instead thereof the words "two-thirds of the Members present and voting on the Third Reading."
The point of the Amendment is simply that we should have some really substantial safeguard against legislation being passed by the force of a mere scratch majority in this House. We have been told over and over again that the object of this Bill is to secure that the will of the people shall prevail. But the will of the people is not always represented by a scratch majority in this House. On that point I would call attention to what the Prime Minister said on 11th April last year, when introducing the Resolutions which 1619 are the foundation of the Bill now before the House:—I quite agree, and I acknowledged when I was speaking a fortnight ago on the Motion to go into Committee, that there are conceivable, and indeed actual, cases in which the decision of the House of Commons does not necessarily, and perhaps does not even presumptively, express that opinion. You might have a case, a conceivable case, of what is called a scratch majority combined together under the coercion or party exigencies for a particular and transient purpose.The Prime Minister called particular attention to that danger, and went on to say that they intended by the Bill to provide safeguards against such a scratch majority usurping the power which it was intended should be given to the people of this country. When the Prime Minister last Thursday was making his speech upon what he referred to as the Constitutional Amendments, he dealt with one of the dangers against which he sought to provide safeguards. One of the dangers was that this House might, and probably would, after the lapse of two years cease to represent the opinion of the majority of the electors of this country. For the purpose of providing against such a majority exercising the unlimited powers intended to be given to this House by this Bill, the Prime Minister provided, as he said safeguards. He said:—The Government, carefully safeguarding, as they have done in this Bill the rights of the electors, have provided two special precautions against a House of Commons which has ceased to be representative in its character, carrying measures as to which there was no presumption that the constituencies approved of them. The first is the provision that after the second session of a new Parliament you cannot, under this Bill, take advantage of its machinery for overriding the veto of the House of Lords without a fresh election. The second is the shortening of the duration of Parliament from seven years to live, which in practice no doubt will be four years.The Prime Minister pointed out that the Bill introduced what he called safeguards against the exercise by any majority of this House of those great powers after that majority had ceased to represent the opinion of the people; but no where in his subsequent speeches after that speech last April, or in this Bill, is there to be found any reference whatever to any safeguard to prevent a danger which he himself pointed out in the exercise of these great powers by a scratch majority of this House. It is for the purpose of providing this safeguard that I venture to move this amendment. Safeguards, the Prime Minister himself has said, are necessary against the danger of which he has warned this House, but against which 1620 this Bill provides no safeguard. I do submit, therefore, to this Committee that it is absolutely necessary that some safeguards should be introduced, otherwise we can easily see what may arise. We may have that very thing, as in the past, and as the Prime Minister has said, when a scratch majority, elected for some transient and passing question, and not representative in any sense of the will of the people on other questions, would have power under this Bill, in this House, of passing any legislation they might like to do.
Turn from that, and consider our own practice in regard, for instance, to local authorities. You will find that in connection with local authorities, when great questions affecting the locality have to be decided that a safeguard is always provided by the Legislature against a scratch majority passing any great measure of the sort. Take, again, Corporations coming to this House. We have among the Standing Orders that known as the Wharncliffe Standing Order, which provides that before any Corporation can come to this House and ask that its constitution shall be altered, there must be a majority of two-thirds of the ratepayers or constituents in favour of this alteration; and this before even the matter will be considered by this House. Turn to foreign countries. Take, say, the constitutions of our Dominions beyond the seas. You will find there again there are safeguards against the action of a scratch majority to which I have referred, and which was referred to by the Prime Minister. It is only in this country, and by this Bill, that it has ever been proposed to vest in one Single Chamber the great, unlimited, and absolutely uncontrolled power which this Bill would give to this House, without providing some kind of safeguard against the abuse of this power. I venture to appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite, especially to those that perhaps I may call without offence the Moderato Liberals, and suggest that this is really a very serious and important question, one far above party, and a question which may have very far-reaching and possibly disastrous results in the future. I do entreat the Government's support in this matter, and the support of Members on the other side of the House to this Amendment, which, after all, only seeks to introduce a safeguard which would prevent the abuse of these powers in the circumstances which I have suggested. I beg to move.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has proposed the Amendment that he has, because I feel that the case is far better met by some specified and definite figure. In the original Amendment the figure of 100 is named. I am perfectly prepared to admit that I think that figure is too large. But may I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister to name the figure which he believes would suit the case. The right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension if he thinks that he dealt with the Amendment on the preceding Clause. I had the honour of moving that Amendment, and I have a very vivid recollection of the attitude which the right hon. Gentleman took. He did not address himself for a moment to the principle of the Amendment on which I was addressing the House. He confined his arguments to heaping ridicule on the form in which the Amendment was drawn. I should like to have the right hon. Gentleman's attention for one moment.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
Yours. When I moved the Amendment on the pre vious Clause the right hon. Gentleman, instead of directing his attention to the principle of the Amendment, did nothing but heap ridicule—
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I have a vivid recollection of what took place. If the conclusive arguments which the right hon. Gentleman suggested on that occasion are still at the back of his mind, I am sure the House would be very grateful if he would put them forward, because in the speech that he did make he led us to believe that he had put forward all his arguments. This Amendment is one of substance. It certainly deserves more attention than the right hon. Gentleman has given to it. The Amendment stands, I am prepared to admit, possibly in a different relation to this Clause than to the previous Clause in the Bill, because in the previous Clause it would be possible to pass great financial measures into law by a really scratch majority; but I do not know that we are really in a very different case in respect of this Amendment, because we have seen the proportions to which the party system has attained in this House. I think that it is perfectly possible to realise that a Bill might be passed in three sessions by almost exactly the same majority by hon. 1622 Gentlemen who sit on the other side of the House, so rigid is the party discipline under which they are governed. I think it is certainly necessary, therefore, that some safeguard should be put into the Bill in respect of this consideration. The attitude of the Government is that under no circumstances will they legislate for possibilities. They say, "Oh, it is not likely that we shall do such a thing in the days that are to come; it is not likely that we shall pursue a course which the Opposition are endeavouring to pin us to."
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think I must raise the question again as to whether we should discuss and decide the Amendment to the Amendment, or the Amendment itself; whether we should discuss the Amendment to the Amendment in the first place, and then discuss whatever form the original Amendment may take. I have interrupted the Noble Lord, because he has obviously spoken on the general question quite as much as on the Amendment to the Amendment.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
On the same point of Order, Mr. Emmott, I was following the precedent that when two similar amendments have not been discussed very long, either can be taken.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is done by consent on the understanding that a decision is arrived at on both matters about the same time. I would ask the Committee to give me some guidance upon the point.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
When you, Mr. Chairman, interrupted the proceedings, I was dealing with the attitude which the Government have taken throughout upon this Bill in this matter of legislative possibilities. They have had no other argument, but have said: "Oh, circumstances of that sort will not arise." I say when you are endeavouring to write a Constitution that you must legislate for possibilities, and you must place in the Constitution a definite provision in view of certain circumstances arising. It is for that reason that I support the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend, who desires to lay down that no chance 1623 majority shall have the opportunity of passing a great measure into law. It is more than likely, as I have said, that, as we have seen in the past, a party majority may assume exactly the same proportions in three successive Sessions, and that that party majority, it may be under twenty, may pass a measure into law over the heads and without at all consulting the people of this country. In any Constitution, however you like to create it, this is an anomaly which it is the duty of the Government to provide against. I think that the Government will do well to accept the Amendment.
§ 5.0 P.M.
Mr. STANLEY WILSON
I have listened to the arguments of the Prime Minister, and I have listened to the arguments of hon. Gentlemen on these benches. As usual, the Prime Minister has been completely defeated in argument. I am quite sure that any intelligent witness who has listened to this debate will agree that no argument brought forward by the Prime Minister will have any effect in leading to the defeat of this Amendment. Under those circumstances I hope it may be still possible at the eleventh hour to persuade the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision. I venture to say to him that unless this Amendment, or some Amendment of a similar character, is accepted that there is a very real danger of the avowed object of the Government being defeated. We take it that the avowed object of the Government is, as has been already stated from these benches, that the will of the people shall be given expression to. We all know how hon. Gentlemen opposite at the last General Election spoke. Their one cry was "Peers versus people." I should like to point out that it is quite possible that in some future Parliament a Government may pass some important measure by a small majority, as the Noble Lord who has just spoken has stated, by, it may be ten or twenty. It is quite possible that on the side of the minority of hon. Members voting in regard to that Bill there might be a majority of the electors of this country. It cannot possibly be the desire of the Government that that should be the case. Such a possibility, such a state of affairs, would be an absolute scandal. I should like to appeal to hon. Members who support the Government. We saw last night the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir H. Dalziel) and we have seen this afternoon the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Byles) break the orgy of 1624 silence existing on the benches opposite ever since the commencement of the proceedings in Committee upon this bill. I think the moment has arisen for hon. Gentlemen opposite who talked so much of the will of the people at the last General Election to rise and make some statement with regard to their views upon the Amendment we are discussing at the present moment. I shall vote for that Amendment, at any rate, with the greatest possible pleasure.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
I propose for a moment to deal with the last argument of the Prime Minister, namely, that it was quite right that when the House of Commons passed a Bill three Sessions, even by a majority of one, it should become law. His argument was that if the Liberal party had not that power the House of Lords would always be willing to pass Conservative measures when sent up to them. May I say that the Prime Minister, that, as he knows, it is quite wrong to attempt to do wrong simply because you think somebody else is going to do wrong. It is no justification for the right hon. Gentleman to say that he is going to propose something injurious because he fears the Unionist party would do something injurious in the future. Our desire, and the desire I am sure of the right hon. Gentleman in his heart, if the powers that be did not refuse to allow him to put it into operation, is to do something which would promote the prosperity of the country and in no way injure it; but passing from that for a moment, how does the right hon. Gentleman know the House of Lords would pass bad measures brought in by the Unionists if they were in power? What proof has he that such a contingency is possible? Personally I have been nearly as long in this House as the right hon. Gentleman and I do not remember the House of Lords passing a measure which was brought in by us which was bad and injurious to the country. An hon. Friend of mine showed that no less than twenty-six Conservative measures were amended by the House of Lords in the past twenty years. I see no foundation for supposing that anyone who sits on this side of the House is going, when their party comes into power, to propose injurious measures, or, if they did, that they would be passed by the House of Lords. I would also point out that the Preamble of the Bill comes in; I would ask the right hon. Gentleman is he aware 1625 that in every public company no alteration in the constitution of the company or in the articles of the company can be introduced without a certain fixed majority. I do not know what the majority is, but I suppose it is according to the particular articles of each company, and if that is good for a private company, surely it is good for the Constitution of the Empire, and therefore when we are making a new departure and doing something we have never done before, we ought to safeguard ourselves against the effects of small and chance majorities.
The United States in their Constitution have been very careful to provide that a chance majority neither in the Congress or in the Senate shall have the power the right hon. Gentleman is desirous of giving to this House, and if that is good for a democratic country like America surely it would be good for this country to have the same power. I come to the particular Amendment of my hon. Friend. The principle of the two Amendments to my mind are the same, and I do not care really which is adopted, so long as some Amendment is adopted which would prevent a chance majority passing all sorts of laws that it may be impossible afterwards to repeal. Unless something of that sort is done, one does not know what may happen under this Bill if it becomes an Act. I may say I am not alone in my fear that the Government if they succeeded in passing this Bill may do something which will altogether alter the Constitution and future of this country. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor off the Duchy of Lancaster, speaking on 13th April, 1910, said it would be very easy to do certain things. He said:—If the situation arose in which the House of Commons in its sixth session was under the impression that it was necessary that it should remain in power, and a Bill had previously been passed which contained words such as are suggested in the amendment, the course of the House of Commons in these circumstances would be very simple. It would only have to do two things. It would have to repeal what may be Septennial or a Quinquennial Act or any other Acts fixing the duration of Parliaments, and at the same time repeal the very words of this particular Bill, and it would be quite a simple process. It is certain that if they could repeal the Septennial Act they could also repeal at the same time any words appearing in this Bill, and if they could secure the passage through the House of Lords of a Bill repealing the Act they could also secure the passage of a measure repealing these words.Therefore it is perfectly clear that unless this Amendment is carried such changes as will alter the whole Constitution may be carried. The Chancellor of the Duchy went on to say:—Let us conceive a House of Commons misrepresenting the people. I think they would be almost 1626 imbecile who can imagine the situation, but let us imagine a House of Commons determined during the first year to get rid of the prerogative of the Crown, say, in regard to the creation of Peers. All that Parliament would have to do would be first of all to repeal the section of a particular Act which gives the House of Lords power to prevent this change, and then they could at once proceed with the next and much more drastic step of abolishing the prerogative of the Crown.In these circumstances, and in view of that very explicit and candid statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy, there surely ought to be some Amendment of this sort accepted. I do not pin myself to one hundred or two-thirds of those present, but some Amendment ought to be accepted which shall provide, at any rate, that to accomplish any of these things anything like a chance majority should be provided against, and some reasonable number ought to be put in, in order that the House of Commons should come to a well-considered judgment before it proceeds to deal with Bills affecting the vital interests of the country.
The argument of the hon. Member for Salford in favour of the rejection of the Amendment was not wise, because it amounted to this: that when Liberal Governments found they are losing their hold upon the country they immediately retire from office. They do not do anything of of the sort, because the very last act of the Government of 1902 was to bring in Welsh Disestablishment. What they do is to bring in a measure which they think will please the electors, and which would help to keep them in office, and it is most important that they should not be able in the days of their dwindling majorities to pass measures that may mollify that portion of the electorate that do not understand all matters in connection with the government of a great Empire, or that may allow themselves to be captivated by the eloquence of the Home Secretary or of the Chancellor of the Duchy. Under these circumstances, the best we can do is to see that the country is made aware of the fact that on this side of the House we are still more or less in our senses, and that we do not desire any House of Commons to be able to pass important measures except by a considerable majority of its Members.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
The arguments urged by the Prime Minister for the rejection of this Amendment are quite unsatisfactory. I do not propose to repeat any counter-arguments which have been adduced from this side of the House, but there were in the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman a number of 1627 Statements which demand and deserve criticism. I shall address myself to two, and to two only, which occurred to me. The right hon. Gentleman founded himself to a great extent upon the fact that a similar Amendment to the first Clause of this Bill had been rejected at an earlier stage of our proceedings in Committee. Yes, that is so; but the first Clause of this Bill dealt with Money Bills, and in the stress of the debates in Committee, the Government found themselves obliged, or were ready, if you like, to promise that they would still further define Money Bills. Contrast that with the attitude the Government have taken up in respect to that of Clause 2. Yesterday they committed the House, not only to the opposite policy of not attempting to define legislation in the different classes, but they absolutely refused to draw any distinction whatever under Clause 2 between one kind of Bill and another kind of Bill. A complete distinction is made between Clause 1 and Clause 2 by the very fact that the Government refuse to define or make any distinction under Clause 2, and, therefore, we are obliged to bring in this Amendment and other Amendments of a similar character. This Amendment does not represent what we consider the best way of dealing with this difficulty; the course we urged yesterday was a preferable one, that is to distinguish Bills of great magnitude, and say that they require special treatment; but when, under Clause 2, the Government refuse to take the course they took under Clause 1, and decline to make any distinction between Bills of various character, we say that it is necessary that these Amendments should be carefully considered. That is the first observation I think it my duty to make. I put the second point forward as an addition to the very forcible criticism urged by the hon. Member for Bootle. He pointed out that the Government could not appeal to precedent in this matter, because they are departing from precedent, and therefore their action must be judged on its merits alone. I would add to that argument that although the Government cannot appeal to the precedent of the past history of our own Constitution, there is a precedent, and a great corpus of precedents which might guide them, which are to be found in all other written Constitutions to which when they ask us to adopt a written Constitution they can cast their eye.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
The importance of this Amendment is that it constitutes an attempt to induce the Government to create a third class of Bills. Under the Parliament Bill there are two sharp divisions. First of all there are Bills which come under Clause 1 which are Finance Bills. Then under Clause 2 there are Bills which we are told represent the passionate desire of the country so fully felt and expressed in this House that they must go forth and become law whether the House of Lords approve of them or not. Under these circumstances I suggest that it is only reasonable there should be created a third class of Bills in regard to which there is no evidence that they are so passionately desired by the people. The whole foundation of the Parliament Bill, in fact, the whole excuse for it, is that Parliament represents the will of the people, that it reflects the desires of the people, and, therefore, an obstructive House of Lords should no longer be allowed to interfere with the will of the people. If this House really does reflect the will of the people, surely you cannot hesitate to apply to the proceedings of this House the same safeguards which you impose upon local authorities, and which you adopt in many relations of life when you are embarking upon the consideration of some really important things. The whole idea which underlies this Amendment is that you should really be sure, before you adopt the procedure of Clause 2, that the Bill to which it is to be applied is a reflex of the opinion of the people. You are going to reform the House of Lords. If you agree to create a third class of Bills which do not obtain the stipulated majority, whether it be two-thirds or any proportion you like, then you leave your reform of the House of Lords something to do in the future. Under this Bill, when the House of Lords is reformed it has to sit splendid but impotent, while Clause 2 is operative, to every Bill, and the House of Lords as far as we can make out in the future will have nothing to do but create delay which is irritating in the extreme. If you get a Bill which does not obtain a sufficient majority in the House of Commons to indicate that it is a real reflection on the then existing will of the people, why not leave that measure to your reformed House of Lords, thus leaving them something to do, and let those Bills which cannot obtain a majority of that kind pursue the normal course. The House of Lords ought to be left the power of considering those Bills and to say 1629 whether they approve of them or not. For those reasons I support the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That the question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 293; Noes, 182.1633
|Division No. 177.]||AYES.||[5.20 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Elverston, Harold||Lundon, Thomas|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Adamson, William||Essex, Richard Walter||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Falconer, James||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Fenwick, Charles||Maclean, Donald|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Alden, Percy||Ffrench, Peter||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Field, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||M'Callum, John M.|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Fitzgibbon, John||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||France, Gerald Ashburner||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Gelder, Sir W H.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Barnes, George N.||Gill A. H.||Manfield, Harry|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Glanville, H. J.||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Goldstone, Frank||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Barton, W.||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Masterman, C. F. G|
|Beale, William Phipson||Greig, Colonel James William||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Griffith, Ellis J.||Meehan' Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Benn W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Bentham, G. J.||Hackett, John||Molloy, Michael|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hancock, J. G.||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Boland, John Pius||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Montagu, Hon. E. s.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mooney, John J|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Harmsworth, R. L.||Morrell, Philip|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Brace, William||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Muldoon, John|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Munro, Robert|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Haworth, Arthur A.||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hayden, John Patrick||Neilson, Francis|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hayward, Evan||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Helme, Nerval Watson||Nolan, Joseph|
|Byles, William Pollard||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Higham, John Sharp||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Hinds, John||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.|
|Chapple, Dr William Allen||Hodge, John||O'Connor T. P. (Liverpool).|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Holt, Richard Burning||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Dowd, John|
|Clough, William||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Ogden, Fred|
|Clynes, John R.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Grady, James|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Isaacs||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||O'Malley, William|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||John, Edward Thomas||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Johnson, W.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Shee, James John|
|Cowan, W. H.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Crooks, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Parker, James Halifax|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Cullinan, John||Jowett, Frederick William||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Joyce, Michael||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Keating, Matthew||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kellaway Frederick George||Pirie, Duncan Vernon|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kelly, Edward||Pointer, Joseph|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pollard Sir George H.|
|Dawes, J. A.||Kilbride, Denis||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Delany, William||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lambert, George (Devon, Molton)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Dillon, John||Lansbury, George||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Doris, William||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Radford, George Heynes|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (S. Shields)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Logan, John William||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Elibank Rt. Hon. Master of||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Reddy, Michael|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Redmond, William (Clara, E.)||Snowden, Philip||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Richards, Thomas||Spicer, Sir Albert||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Richardson Thomas, (Whitehaven)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Summers, James Woolley||Whyte, A. F.|
|Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Sutton, John E.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Tennant, Harold John||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Robinson, Sidney||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Thorne, William (West Ham)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Rowlands, James||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Verney, Sir Harry||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Wardle, George J.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Waring, Walter||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Sheehy, David||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs, Clitheroe)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fisher, William Hayes||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Fleming, Valentine||Malcolm, Ian|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Forster, Henry William||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Foster, Philip Staveley||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Gardner, Ernest||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Gibbs, George Abraham||Mount, William Arthur|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gilmour, Captain John||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Goldman, C. S.||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Barnston, H.||Goldsmith, Frank||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Gordon, John||Nield, Herbert|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gretton, John||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Haddock, George Bahr||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Bird, Alfred||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Boscawen, Col. A. S. T. Griffith.||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hardy, Laurence||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Harris, Henry Percy||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Helmsley, Viscount||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bull, Sir William James||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Rice, Hon. Walter Fib-Uryan|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Butcher, John George||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Hills, John Waller||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Cator, John||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Horner, Andrew Long||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Cave, George||Houston, Robert Paterson||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Hunt, Rowland||Spear, John Ward|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Joynson-Hicks, William||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Stewart, Gershom|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Kerry, Earl of||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Sykes, Alan John|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kirkwood, John H. M.||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Larmor, Sir J.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Valentia, Viscount|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hante, W.)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||War de, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Wheler Granville C. H.|
|Fell, Arthur||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert||M'Mordie, Robert||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude||Worthington-Evans, L.||Younger, George|
|Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.|
|Wolmer, Viscount||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Cassel and Mr. Lane-Fox.|
|Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Wood, John (Stalybridge)||Yorburgh, Robert|
Question, "That the words 'one hundred' stand part of the proposed Amendment," put, and agreed to.
§ Question put, "That the words 'with a1634
§ majority of at least one hundred' be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 184; Noes, 298.1637
|Division No. 178.]||AYES.||[5.40 p.m.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Gibbs, George Abraham||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gilmour, Captain John||Nield, Herbert|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Col. J.||Goldman, C. S.||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Goldsmith, Frank||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Gordon, J.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Gretton, John||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. W. E.||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Peel, Hon. William R. W. (Taunton)|
|Barnston, Harry||Haddock, George Bahr||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (Montgom'y B'ghs.)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Harris, Henry Percy||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish.||Helmsley, Viscount||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bigland, Alfred||Henderson, Major H. (Berks., Abingdon)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bird, Alfred||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Rothschild, Lionel D.|
|Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith.||Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Horner, Andrew Long||Spear, John Ward|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Butcher, John George||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Cassel, Felix||Ingleby, Holcombe||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cator, John||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Joynson-Hicks, William||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Cave, George||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Swift, Rigby|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kerr-Smiley Peter Kerr||Sykes, Alan John|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, N.)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Kirkwood, John H. M.||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Larmor, Sir J.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lawson, Hon. H (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Wor., Droitwich)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Mackinder, Halford J.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Evres-Monsell, Bolton M.||M'Mordie, Robert James||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Malcolm, Ian||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.|
|Fell, Arthur||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Finlay, Sir Robert||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Fleming, Valentine||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Younger, George|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Forster, Henry William||Mount, William Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Newdegate, F. A.||Castlereagh and Mr. Henry Terrell.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Addison, Dr. C.||Alden, Percy|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Agnew, Sir George William||Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)|
|Adamson, William||Ainsworth, John Stirling||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. c (Pembroke)||Muldoon, John|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Munro, Robert|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Hackett, J.||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Barnes, George N.||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Hancock, John George||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Neilson, Francis|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Barton, William||Harmsworth, R. L.||Nolan, Joseph|
|Beale, William Phipson||Harvey, A. G C. (Rochdale)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Norton, Captain Cecil William|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Boland, John Pius||Hayward, Evan||O'Dowd, John|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Helme, Norval Watson||Ogden, Fred|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Grady, James|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W. J|
|Brace, William||Henry, Sir Charles S.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||O'Malley, William|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Higham, John Sharp||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Hinds, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hodge, John||O'Shee, James John|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hunter, W. (Govan)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||John, Edward Thomas||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Johnson, William||Plrie, Duncan V.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Clough, William||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Clynes, John R.||Jones, William (Ca narvonshire)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Jones, W. S. Glyn. (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jowett, Frederick William||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Joyce, Michael||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Keating, Matthew||Radford, George Heynes|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cotton, William Francis||Kelly, Edward||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Cowan, W. H.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Kilbride, Denis||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Crooks, William||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Reddy, Michael|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cullinan, John||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Richards, Thomas|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lansbury, George||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Logan, John William||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Delany, William||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Robinson, Sydney|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lundon, Thomas||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Dillon, John||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Rowlands, James|
|Doris, W.||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Duffy, William J.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Maclean, Donald||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||M'Callum, John M.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Elverston, Harold||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Sheeny, David|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Essex, Richard Walter||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Falconer, James||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Manfield, Harry||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Snowden, Philip|
|Field, William||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Masterman, C. F. G.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Summers, James Woolley|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Menzies, Sir Walter||Sutton, John E.|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Millar, James Duncan||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||Molloy, Michael||Tennant, Harold John|
|Glanville, H. J.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Mooney, John J.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Morrell, Philip||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Whitehouse, John Howard||Wilson, w. T. (West Houghton)|
|Wardle, George J.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||Winfrey, Richard|
|Waring, Walter||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Wiles, Thomas||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Wilkie, Alexander||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Watt, Henry A.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Williamson, Sir A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|White, Sir George (Norfolk)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I beg to move that with respect to the wording of the Clause down to the word "Bill" ["a Bill shall be deemed to be a Bill"] at the beginning of Sub-section (3) the Chair be empowered to select the Amendment to be proposed.
§ Question put, "That with respect to the wording of the Clause down to the word 'Bill' in the first line of Sub-section (3) the Chair be empowered to select the Amendments to be proposed."
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON (seated and wearing his hat)
You have put the question down to the word 'Bill' in line 35. May I call your attention to the fact
§ that the word "Bill" occurs twice in that line. To which of the two does the Motion refer?
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
(seated and wearing his hat): I beg to call attention to the fact that the Bill is misprinted, and that what you call line 35 is line 34.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is in line 35 that the two words occur. It is the fact that in a number of copies of the Bill the lines have been incorrectly numbered.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 293; Noes, 183.1641
|Division No. 179.]||AYES.||[5.45 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Clough, William||Glanville, Harold James|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William Rhondda)||Clynes, John R.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Goldstone, Frank|
|Adamson, William||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Greig, Colonel J. W.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Griffith, Ellis J. (Anglesey)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)|
|Alden, Percy||Cotton, William Francis||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Cowan, W. H.||Hackett, John|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Crooks, William||Hancock, J. G|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Crumley, Patrick||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Cullinan, J.||Hardle, J. Keir|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Harmsworth, R. L.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Barton, William||Dawes, James Arthur||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Beale, W. P.||Delany, William||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Hayward, Evan|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-shire)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Dillon, John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Doris, William||Henderson, J. M'D. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Duffy, William J.||Henry, Sir Charles Solomon|
|Black, Arthur W.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor|
|Boland, John Plus||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Hinds, John|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hodge, John|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Brace, William||Elverston, Harold||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Esmonde, Dr John (Tipperary, N.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Essex, Richard Walter||Hunter, W. (Govan)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Falconer, James||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Fenwick, Charles||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||John, Edward Thomas|
|Byles, William Pollard||Ffrench, Peter||Johnson, William|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Field, William||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Fitzgibbon, John||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||France, G. A.||Jones, W. S. Glyn. (T. H'mts., Stepney)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Jowett, F. W.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Gill, A. H.||Joyce, Michael|
|Keating, Matthew||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Kelly, Edward||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sheehy, David|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||O'Doherty, Philip||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Lambert, Gorge (Devon, Molton)||O'Dowd, John||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Ogden, Fred||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Lansbury, George||O'Grady, James||Snowden, P.|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wickiow, W.)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rl'nd, Cockerm'th)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Malley, William||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Summers, James Woolley|
|Logan, John William||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Sutton, John E.|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||O'Shee, James John||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lundon, Thomas||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Tennant, Harold John|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Parker, James (Halifax)||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Macdonald, J M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Maclean, Donald||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pirie, Duncan V.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Pointer, Joseph||Wardle, George J.|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Pollard, Sir George H.||Waring, Walter|
|M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wason, Rt. Hen. E. (Clackmannan)|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Manfield, Harry||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Pringle, William M. R.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Radford, George Heynes||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Reddy, Michael||Wiles, Thomas|
|Millar, James Duncan||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Molloy, M.||Richards, Thomas||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wilson, Hon G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Mooney, John J.||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Worrell, Philip||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Muldoon, John||Robinson, Sidney||Winfrey, Richard|
|Munro, Robert||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Rowlands, James||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Needham, Christopher T.||Rowntree, Arnold||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Neilson, Francis||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Nolan, Joseph||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cassel, Felix||Fell, Arthur|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Castlereagh, Viscount||Finlay, Sir Robert|
|Ashley, W. W.||Cator, John||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Cautley, H. S.||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Cave, George||Fleming, Valontine|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Foster, Philip Staveley|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Gardner, Ernest|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Gastrell, Major W. H.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Clive, Percy Archer||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Barnston, H.||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Barrio, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Courthope, George Loyd||Goldman, C. S.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Gordon, John|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Craik, Sir Henry||Greene, Walter Raymond|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Gretton, John|
|Bigland, Alfred||Cripps, Sir C. A.||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward|
|Bird, Alfred||Croft, Henry Page||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith.||Dalrymple, Viscount||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Dalziel, D. (Brixton)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Hamersley, A. St. George|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Dixon, C. H.||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Duke, Henry Edward||Harris, Henry Percy|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton TM.||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Butcher, John George||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon)|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Falle, B. G.||Hickman, Colonel T. E.|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Mason, James F. (Winstor)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Hillier, Dr. A. P.||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Hills, J. W.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Stewart, Gershom|
|Hill-Wood, S. (High Peak)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Mount, William Arthur||Swift, Rigby|
|Homer, A. L.||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Sykes, Alan John|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Newdegate, F. A.||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Hume-Williams, W. E.||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Nield, Herbert||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Touche, George Alexander|
|Kerry, Earl of||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Kirkwood, J. H. M.||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||White, Maj. G. D. (Lanc, Southpert)|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Rolleston, Sir John||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rothschild, Lionel de||Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)|
|Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Sanders, Robert Arthur||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Sanderson, Lancelot||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)||Younger, George|
|M'Mordie, Robert||Spear, John Ward|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount|
|Malcolm, Ian||Starkey, John R.||Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.|
§ The CHAIRMAN
In virtue of that decision, I call upon the hon. and learned Member for South Bucks to move his Amendment.
On a point of Order. May I ask whether it would not be possible to indicate roughly to hon. Members which Amendments are in order. I should like to point out that this Bill, with all its complications, requires considerable study. On each Amendment one has to refer to documents and books and to refresh one's memory with the speeches of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, and the consequence may be that, after studying these things for a long time, he may find his Amendment ruled out or order. This causes hon. Members a considerable amount of unnecessary work, when their attention might be usefully devoted to something else.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot always say at once what Amendments I shall take, but where it is possible to do so I have no objection to stating them in advance. In this particular case the very next Amendment which introduces the question of the Joint Conference (that of the hon. and learned Member for South Bucks) is in order. After that the Amendment to omit the figure three and to substitute some other figure is also a substantial Amendment.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I am anxious that the Amendment standing in the name of 1642 the hon. Member for Dudley (Colonel Griffith-Boscawen), which raises the question of voting by ballot, should not escape your notice. Since this question was raised on the last occasion we have had a striking illustration of the intimidation applied to Members of the majority and I am anxious to know if that Amendment will be discussed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have very carefully considered that matter. I do not propose in regard to the selection of Amendments to state reasons. I think it would be inadvisable to do so. I am quite willing to be asked about any individual Amendment, and as to the one mentioned by the Noble Lord I may say T. have very carefully considered it, and I have come to the conclusion not to call it.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I understood you to say that certain Amendments you selected were in order. I suppose you did not mean by that to convey that the Amendments not selected are out of order. This point is important, as it may constitute a precedent.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I used the wrong word. I did not mean that the Amendments that I did not select were out of order.
You said you would not state reasons, but is it not possible for hon. Members to state shortly their reasons to you. May I respectfully suggest that hon. 1643 Members in charge of Amendments might possibly have some argument or reason which might not occur to you. The Chairman cannot be omniscient. I ask the question with the greatest possible respect.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot allow the question to be debated. I have a right to ask any hon. Member as to the meaning of his Amendment, and he can then state his case in order that I may decide. I may tell the hon. Member for North Paddington (Mr. Arthur Strauss) that the subject of the Referendum is an important question which must be considered, but when I came to look at his Amendment I did not think it was in proper form, and I therefore propose to take the Amendment on that subject of the hon. and learned Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave) as, perhaps, the more satisfactory one for raising the issue.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
May I ask you, Sir, whether you have in your mind my Amendment on the paper at page 21 to substitute "years" for "sessions," as one which we may have discussed; also may I ask whether your attention has been called to an Amendment which has been raised in regard to the question of present representation?
§ The CHAIRMAN
My attention was called to that, but the negative of the time limit which the Committee adopted has put that out of the question, and the subject itself, of course, is outside the scope of the Bill. With regard to the other Amendment on page 21 about which the hon. Member asked me, I do think that Amendment is a substantial one, but what I want the hon. Member to consider is whether it would not be well for him to raise the question at a later stage. I am inclined to think that the question would be much better raised by Amendments to the proviso, but I shall allow the hon. Member to move that Amendment if he desires to do so.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "Commons" ["Money Bill is passed by the House of Commons "] to insert the words, "and having been sent up to the House of Lords is rejected by that House or passed with Amendments to which the House of Commons do not assent such Bill shall stand referred to a joint session of the two 1644 Houses, and if passed at such joint session, whether with or without Amendment, shall be remitted to the House of Commons, and if the Bill in the form as remitted."
The point which I desire to raise is an entirely new one, and the proposal that I make is that in the case of a difference between the two Houses the matter should be settled by the principle of Joint Session. I want to explain to the Committee why it is that I take it that if we are to have any constructive work as regards this Bill at all, the proposal of the Joint Session is the right way of dealing with difficulties which arise between the two Houses except in cases of Referendum. I want to put the question of Referendum entirely on one side so that I may deal with this question of Joint Session. The Prime Minister pointed out that this method would not be applicable under our present system, and he has made the same argument more than once. He has said that although he was quite in favour of the general principle of Joint Session, yet it would be inapplicable to the present conditions existing between the present House of Lords and the present House of Commons. I will deal with the argument more in detail by and by, but I want to say this at the outset: surely it is a false argument when you are seeking to bring about the reconstitution of our country to deal with what I may call matters of prejudice against the House of Lords in that it is the existing Second Chamber. Are we to disregard what I think is the main and crucial fact of having a new Constitution that we have a Second Chamber constituted somewhat in the way indicated by the Preamble of the Bill. It is no argument at all to say that a particular Amendment ought to be negatived because there is a difficulty in its application under existing conditions, although, as soon as there is a properly constituted new Second Chamber no such difficulty will arise. I want to point out to the Committee that the real necessity for the constitutional change with which we are now dealing and the real cause which has led to the introduction of the Bill of the Government is that under existing conditions we have no satisfactory method of solving difficulties which arise between the two Chambers.
Our present system is based upon the necessity of the concurrence of both Houses before you can have anything in the nature of legislative enactment, and under these circumstances it is extremely 1645 important that you should have some system of solving the difficulties between the two Houses, and not try to cut the Gordian knot in the crude way proposed by the Government, namely, that the only solution of this difficulty is to keep the entire power in the House of Commons and destroy the Veto of the Lords altogether. Let me give an illustration of what I mean by a Joint Session. I do not want to refer in detail to what passed in connection with the Education Bill of 1906. I only refer to it as an illustration of one of the difficulties which might have been met by Joint Session principle. What really happened in that case? It has been very often misrepresented. The Bill passed this House and it was given a Second Beading in the House of Lords. Certain Amendments were, however, introduced in Committee, and when those Amendments came back to this House they were rejected en bloc. After that there were certain negotiations and they did not come to a satisfactory conclusion in the sense of passing the Bill, because there was a difference of opinion on a very small point. What I say about the Education Bill applies to all differences between the two Houses. So long as you have two co-ordinate authorities, a fact which is the basis of our Constitution and in the event of a difference between them, you have no satisfactory method of settling it, it is quite clear that you will have friction and difficulty arising from time to time. But in considering what I say ought to be not a revolutionary change but a constitutional reform, I ask the Prime Minister to bear this in mind, that when a difficulty has arisen between two Houses of co-ordinate jurisdiction, the true direction of constitutional reform is to constitute some body to which these difficulties can be referred in order that they may be satisfactorily determined, not in the sense of victory to one body or the other, but in a way which ought to be satisfactory to the whole country.
That is the meaning and object of the Joint Session principle. The Prime Minister has pointed out more than once that although, to use his own words, he thinks the scheme of the Joint Session has a great many recommendations, and he certainly would not brush aside the procedure, he considers it would not apply to the present difficulty. Let me answer that objection, because if it is applicable, it is a way of settling these difficulties which, from the constitutional point of view, he would have been prepared to support. What is the difficulty? Of course, it is 1646 quite clear that if you had the Joint Session principle in operation at the present time with the House of Lords and the House of Commons as at present constituted meeting together in Joint Session, there would be a difficulty in the application of the principle in that form under existing conditions. No one denies that, but the Answer to it is this, that if the Prime Minister really believes that the Joint Session is a proper way of solving these constitutional difficulties, he would have no difficulty whatever in devising and forming a Joint Session which would be perfectly equal and fair to both parties pending the constitutional reform, which cannot be carried out until the proposals indicated in the Preamble of this Bill are carried through and we have a newly constituted Second Chamber. Supposing we had a Joint Session and selected a hundred Members from each House. Supposing the Members of the House of Commons were a microcosm of all the parties in this House, and fairly represented them, giving a majority to the Government. That being a body which in its essence and substance would represent all the various grades of opinion in this House would be able to present its views.
Then let us take the House of Lords. I admit that while the House of Lords is constituted as it is at present you will have to have some temporary system as regards a Joint Session, but then, as I understand we have under this Bill a temporary system, and one of the worst forms of argument is that during a constitutional interregnum the power should all be exercised by one Chamber. If that were so during such a period of interregnum it would be nothing more than a revolutionary period, but during such a time there would, I think, be no difficulty whatever in arranging the terms of a joint meeting of selected bodies from both Houses in order that the principle of general session might be introduced and in order, if differences arise between the two Houses, you should not cut the difficulty by giving the authority to one or the other, but you should solve it by an impartial body in order that the country might benefit from fair legislation adopted after fair consideration by a body of that character. The Prime Minister has spoken more than once of what he calls the principle of inequality which exists, and when he has referred to that, he has always alluded to the House of Lords as it exists at the present time. I want to 1647 answer his argument, if I can, before it is brought forward again. I want to put this to him: Assume that the House of Lords as at present constituted, has a large permanent, Tory or Conservative majority. There will be no difficulty if you wanted to solve a question of this kind on a true constitutional basis, of settling that basis by agreement between the two parties by which a Joint Session might meet which would not give any undue predominance to one party or the other, but which might be so selected that all parties might be fairly represented. What is the difficulty if you really desire to do it? Of course, if you desire during the period of interregnum to make this House absolute it is easy to be critical as regards any proposal brought forward, but I would ask the Prime Minister to approach it from another point of view. If, as he said himself, the principle of Joint Session is a principle which he favours as a method of solution of the constitutional difficulty between the two Houses, would there be any real difficulty by consent at the present time conceding the principle of that Joint Session in seeing that it might be made fairly representative of all classes of opinion and did not indicate inequality towards one side of the House or the other.
It is surely a very poor argument that it is beyond the legislative skill of Members of this House to devise a fair system of Joint Session; assuming that it is a fair and adequate system to have recourse to in matters of this kind. Let me address myself to the proposal which the Prime Minister has made. Can anything be more crude, can anything be more unsatisfactory than the way that he proposes for dealing with a difference of opinion between the two Houses. It is nothing more nor less than this; a total, an absolute disregard of the opinion of one of the two bodies altogether. It is called the destruction of the Veto, but it is the destruction of the self-respecting character of the House of Lords altogether, because I am quite certain that no self-respecting Second Chamber would undertake the laborious duties which it undertakes at the present time, if its voice is to have no authority and no power at all. I want to bring this point also to the attention of the Prime Minister. Does he agree that our present constitutional crisis has been brought about by the inability to arrange difficulties and differences between 1648 the two Houses of Parliament? Does he agree with this, that if we had a system under which the differences between the two Houses could be fairly and equally compromised and settled there would be no case at all for the Veto Bill which he is now bringing forward?
If that is the crux of the decision what answer has he to the Joint Session principle except what he stated more than once that during the period of the interregnum, that is before the Second Chamber has been reconstituted in accordance with the Preamble of the Bill, you have to have some special method of adjusting your Joint Session in order that it should be absolutely fair to both parties. At any rate, from my point of view of constitutional reform, no principle of Joint Session ought to be entertained unless it would hold the scales as fairly as anybody possibly could between the different parties which constitute either the majority or the minority in this House of Commons. I hope the suggestion will not be made again that owing to the constitution of the present House of Lords a principle which is in itself good ought to be rejected, instead of being formulated into what I should like to see, a system of constitutional reform as against a system merely of revolutionary propaganda. There is one other argument which I want to address to the Prime Minister. Owing to the course through which this Bill has gone in Committee, the House of Commons, with practically no veto, would have power to deal with every possible form of legislation. That being so, does it not become more important that you should have a proper principle for solving the difficulties as between the two Houses and that you should have some system which the people of this country are likely to trust and are likely to look upon as a final solution rather than this temporary system during the period of interregnum where we are always met by the particular difficulties of the existing Second Chamber when we bring forward proposals of constitutional reform? I do not think it is necessary to go into analogous cases in other countries, but I do not believe there is any case where the principle of Joint Session has been tried where it has not been found to be both expedient and useful. In fact, in all cases where it has been tried it has been found to answer the purpose for which it has been put in force. It has been found to be an adequate and useful solution as regards' difficulties between the two Chambers 1649 If you are to have a bi-cameral system, a system in which absolute power is not to be given to one of the two Chambers, how else should you solve the difficulty except by Joint Session of the two Chambers? I am one of those who entirely and absolutely disapprove of any question of an outside authority as regards anything that is done in this House or in the House of Lords. The two Chambers must solve these things for. themselves, and I think this matter can be solved by the principle of the Joint Session. The only difficulty suggested is during the period of the interregnum, and I say that difficulty could easily be overcome if there is the will on the part of the Prime Minister to bring about a fair solution, and on that ground I move the Amendment, which is really the first Amendment of constructive mechanism, which I am afraid the Prime Minister is not likely to accept because he is opposed to all Amendments which we bring forward, but which I appeal to him to consider and which I wish he could accept, because he has himself given his imprimatur in favour of the principle and the suggestion has only been that during the period of time there may be certain difficulties in its application.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The speech of my hon. and learned Friend seemed to have very little practical relevance to the Amendment. I have myself stated on more than one occasion that I see no objection either on the ground of policy or of justice to the principle of Joint Sessions as a means of solving difficulties between two Chambers in a democratic country. I adhere to everything I have said on the subject, in fact I may quote what I said a year ago in this House when I moved the Resolution on 29th March, on which this Bill is founded. I said:—Let me now come to another and the only other solution which, as far as I know has been suggested, and that is a Joint Session between the two branches of the Legislature.I mentioned the fact that that is the remedy which has been adopted by two of our great self-governing Dominions, Australia and South Africa. I do not know, although it is adopted in those two Constitutions, that it has ever yet been re sorted to. [HON. MEMBERS: Oh, yes."] Perhaps on very trivial occasions. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It has certainly not been resorted to in South Africa, though it may have been on one or two occasions in Australia. In Australia, of course, the favourite method is not Joint Sessions.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
On important matters the Referendum has been resorted to. In the United States, as far as I know, whether in the case of Congress itself or of the separate States of the Union, this procedure by way of Joint Sessions is practically unknown. I do not think it exists. In France it exists in theory, but wholly in theory, and, as far as I know, it has never been resorted to in practice. Therefore, though it has been put in practice in Australia on more than one occasion, as a matter of fact it is entirely in the experimental stage. That is no reason to deprecate it, but it is a reason for saying that, so far, we have no-relevant experience which will enable us to judge how far it is or is not adapted to the very special conditions under which we live in this country. To go on with what I said after citing these examples I proceeded to say:—This scheme of a Joint Session has, I think, a great many recommendations, and I desire to say most distinctly here and now that if you have two legislative Chambers composed upon a democratic basis and related to one another somewhat after the fashion I indicated earlier in my speech, with a proper numerical relation one with the other, I think there is a great deal to be said for settling differences that might arise between them by means of a Joint Session. I do not in the least prejudge it, and when it arises I think the hands of Parliament ought to be perfectly free with regard to it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th March. 1919, col. 1175.]I adhere to every word of that statement, and I think it is quite as true now as I thought it true a year ago. What is the proposal of my hon. and learned Friend? We are dealing with an existing state of things, with a House of Commons constituted as this House is constituted, with a Second Chamber composed as the House of Lords is composed, and the proposition is—and that is why I said a moment ago I did not think the abstract arguments of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech had much relevance to the practical proposition he was submitting—that, things being as they are, every Bill which passes the House of Commons and is then sent to the House of Lords, and is rejected by that House or passed with Amendments to which the House of Commons will not assent, should stand referred to a Joint Session of the two Houses. I presume that means what it says, that these two Houses shall sit together as one body, and that the decision of that composite body shall determine the result.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I thought I explained quite carefully that I did not mean that at all. I said that during the interregnum you must have a selection of the two Houses fairly made.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I see nothing in the Amendment about selection. Are we to understand that this Amendment is to leave it open as to whether the Joint Session is to be a Session of the two Houses sitting together in full number or whether it is to be a Session of some selected representation of the two Houses, selected upon some principle which is not even indicated or adumbrated by the Amendment. How can the Committee be asked as practical men to discuss a proposal of that kind? I take the proposal as I find it in the Amendment and it has only to be stated for its patent absurdity to be seen. Consider what it means. I take one concrete case. Although under this Clause Money Bills would not be subject to it, yet nevertheless for the sake of illustration I take the Finance Bill of 1909, as for the purpose of my argument it is quite immaterial that it was a Finance Bill. That Bill was passed in this House on Third Reading, Ayes, 370; Noes, 140—majority 230. In the House of Lords, on the Second Reading, Contents, seventy-five; Non-contents, 350—majority against, 275. On a Joint Session of the two bodies it is perfectly obvious that the Bill must have been rejected because of the preponderance of one party in the Second Chamber. No one will suggest for a moment—I am sure the hon. and learned Gentleman himself is the last to suggest, it—
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Then why put down such an amazing Amendment, of which that is the only intelligible meaning. In the form in which it is presented it simply deals with the two Houses as now composed and constituted, and the House of Lords would always have the last word in every matter of legislation. That, of course, is not only entirely contrary to the principle of the Bill, but to the intention of every intelligent constitutional reformer. That would be sufficient, I think, to dispose of the Amendment. But I have given a very great deal of care and thought and attention to the matter, and I can assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that the problem, which he thinks so easy, of devising some machine of Joint Session as between the 1652 two House of the Legislature is a problem of extreme, and, I believe, under existing conditions, insuperable difficulty. I quite reserve my freedom of judgment, as I said a year ago, in regard to this matter if and when we have a Second Chamber reduced in number and constituted on a democratic basis, to find some machine of that kind which will deal with the practical situation in the years, at any rate, which lie immediately before us. I cannot devise, nor have I ever seen anyone who is able to devise, a system of Joint Session which would not really place the representative body at the mercy of the Second Chamber, which would not in other words, in some cases, delay and, in some cases, altogether frustrate the objects with which the representative body had been returned to this House. That being so, the Government, under no circumstances, can accept this Amendment. It is obviously unworkable, and it is not attempted to be justified by those who put it forward, and the Government cannot assent, in anticipation of some change as yet undefined in the future composition of the Upper Chamber, to devise some other mode of settling constitutional difficulties, and cannot postpone or set aside the perfectly logical, just, and workable proposal of this Bill, which gives to the House of Lords the fullest opportunity of delay, discussion, deliberation, and revision, and which, in our opinion, affords an ample safeguard against hasty and precipitate legislation of a House of Commons which has ceased to be in touch with the constituencies. The proposal of my hon. and learned Friend with respect to a Joint Session as a means of solving the present constitutional difficulty is one which the Government cannot accept.
I have listened to the speech of the Prime Minister with feelings of very profound regret and disappointment. He had a chance of showing in this great constitutional crisis that he was prepared to consider some sounder method, and not simply to attempt to introduce the crude form of destruction which has been attempted in this Bill. This Bill is the sort of effort which a child might make to deal with a complicated machine. It pulls wheels out of the machinery and puts nothing in their place. It destroys and does nothing to create. It contains no sign of permanency. There is no sign of statesmanship in it. The whole experience of every country in the world which has tried democratic government condemns it 1653 at the very beginning. Every great democratic country in the world—
I will take up that interruption, though it is not quite pertinent to the general observations I was endeavouring to make as to the course of action which the Government have chosen to adopt. Does it not stand to reason, after the interruption of the hon. Gentleman and the speech of the Prime Minister, that in the whole treatment of the subject the Government have deliberately begun at the wrong end? The Prime Minister said that a joint sitting of the two Houses might be a possible thing if we had a good Second Chamber. The right hon. Gentleman says that democratic countries which are English-speaking, and other nationalities, have no hereditary Chambers. Well, then, why do you not begin at what you admit to be the proper end, and put the reform of the House of Lords at the beginning? You put in the reform where you know it has no effect. You begin with the Preamble, no doubt, but you take care that it shall be a preamble and not an operative Clause. My hon. and learned Friend truly says that had you begun with the reform of the Second Chamber you could then no doubt have made use of the full wisdom not only of our own experience tout of the experience of all other countries, and you would have avoided the extraordinary and almost simple-minded absurdity which seems to have governed the counsels of those who framed this strange method of dealing with an ancient and venerable Constitution. The Prime Minister's method of dealing with experience is very extraordinary. A few moments ago there was an Amendment moved by my hon. Friend behind me in which the question of the numerical magnitude of the majority was taken into account. The right hon. Gentleman said there was no precedent in our Constitution to deal with questions in that way. We come now to the Amendment moved by my learned Friend, and the Prime Minister brushes it aside, saying, inaccurately that the method proposed has not been used in Australia. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, he inaccurately minimised it. It is immaterial how inaccurate he was. He was inaaccurate. He was quite ready to admit that he had perhaps understated the relative importance of the case, I do not wish to press the matter, nor do I think it of any importance.
1654 Then the right hon. Gentleman said that in France the provision in the Constitution for a Joint Session existed in theory, but not in practice. It would be in practice in France at once if a case arose requiring its exercise. If you had in France one of those serious deadlocks which have figured so largely in this controversy, if you had a difference between the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in France, or if you wanted to change the Constitution, which I think is a matter on which a Joint Session comes into working, of course there would be a Joint Session. It is not an instrument which has fallen into desuetude. It is an instrument which is rarely required, but if required would be used. The Prime Minister has told us that if you had the Second Chamber which he desires to see, it might be a proper thing to have a Joint Sitting. I say under these circumstances why have not the Government in the first place given us this reformed Chamber with which we could have Joint Sittings? Why have they not begun with that? If they could not do that, why do they resist every effort to get over the difficulty which they themselves have created as they are doing by refusing to accept Amendments. The Prime Minister says that my hon. and learned Friend's proposal is impossible because there is an overwhelming Unionist majority in the Second Chamber, and that the majority is so great that, however large might be the number of the supporters of the Government in this House, they would always have this overwhelming Unionist majority in the case of a joint sitting with the other House. My hon. and learned Friend in his speech stated that he distinctly foresaw that that was an objection to having a joint sitting of the House of Commons and the House of Lords as now constituted. He never suggested that that should be the case. He has put on the Paper an Amendment which would have to be supplemented by some later provision under which the House of Lords should not sit completely, but only by a delegation of that Assembly sitting with the House of Commons or a delegation of the House of Commons to deal with those difficult points in which the two Houses were in dispute. But there is nothing in my hon. and learned Friend's Amendment which makes it impossible to have that further constructive Amendment. The Amendment lays down the foundation of that structure. It was distinctly directed towards a temporary modification on those lines until the 1655 Preamble proposed by the Government will materialise from a debt of honour into a substantial payment.
In these circumstances the House ought to feel that the way the Government are attempting to treat this suggestion is quite unworthy of them, of the party they lead, and of the magnitude of the problem which is before us. I describe this Bill as really a childish and simple-minded attempt to deal with an ancient Constitution. The Government themselves admit that it is only provisional, and the Preamble which is there staring us in the face makes it very difficult to say that it is anything but provisional. The real problem to which this Committee ought to set itself is this. Let us grant that it may be right to deal with the present Constitution in a constitutional fashion. The question is so large, I agree, that under the existing system of legislation it would be extremely difficult to cover the whole ground quite satisfactorily in the course of one Session. At any rate I am prepared to grant that for the sake of argument, but I think we ought to have begun at the other end, and all those things would have fallen into place. But you may say, and rightly say, that it is too late to begin with that. The Government have preferred this strange, irrational, illogical, and reckless method of procedure, and all we can do now is to make the best of a bad job. Let us try to make the best of a bad job.
You are trying, as is admitted by all those who like and dislike the Bill, to set up a provisional system. In your provisional system you should do two things. You should make it lead up naturally and harmoniously to your completed system, and while it lasts in a provisional state, and before its completion, you should see that it carries out as far as possible the ends which a sane and sober constitutional legislature ought to endeavour to arrive at. What have you done and what do you insist upon doing if you will not accept an Amendment of this kind? You are practically saying, "The British Constitution in its old form will no longer work, and we think the new Constitution to be substituted for it is one which should be bi-cameral, and the Second Chamber should be an effective Second Chamber, which should be in touch with the general current of public opinion. That is what we aim at in the dim and distant future, but in the meanwhile let us destroy the bi-cameral 1656 character of our Constitution, and let us live for an indefinite period under a Single Chamber, although we think two Chambers are the only safe system under which you can legislate." That is your argument. We say that that is surely not the method in which rational and sober-minded legislators ought to proceed. You are pulling down the old house, and you are drawing the plans in rather vague outline of some palace of the future. Why are you in the meanwhile compelling us to live in this shapeless hut which does not keep out the weather, and which has none of the attributes which even the simplest building ought to possess.
I say that meanwhile when we have got to live under these unhappy conditions, make your new building, although temporary, at least watertight. Try to find some system which will not be the unicameral system which you yourselves condemn. I believe that that object could be attained if you set honestly and sincerely to work on the lines suggested by my hon. and learned Friend, and if you try meanwhile not to have a Joint Sitting of the House of Lords as it now is and the House of Commons as it now is, but to evolve some temporary arrangement which would be reasonable and fair and which would last until you have contrived to pay your debt of honour, until you have really turned your plans for a renovated Constitution into something like a reality, until you have not merely planned but built that new palace in which you think that we and our children are to live happier and freer than our forefathers succeeded in living under the ancient institutions which now exist. That is really what statesmen would have done, and statesmen could still do, even on the foundation of this most absurd Bill if they would take my hon. and learned Friend's Amendment as a basis of construction and set to work to add to it. It does not require modification, but to add at later stages of the Bill some arrangement which would bridge over the interval between the Constitution as our forefathers knew it and the Constitution which you think you will be able to create in some dim and distant future which none of us can forsee.
These are the reasons why I shall certainly support my hon. and learned Friend and which make me feel how very unsatisfactory are the professions of constitutional faith which the Prime Minister has made in the course of these discussions. 1657 The speech which he has made this evening fills me with a feeling of greater depression than any yet made as to the spirit in which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are approaching what is one of the most difficult, and ought to be one of the most honourable processes which we can indulge in, that of dealing with our institutions in a spirit of reverence and with some attempt to maintain their excellencies during the period of transition until your state of ideal perfection can really be reached. I hope even now that hon. Gentlemen opposite will accept this Amendment. I do not ask those who are Single Chamber men, because, of course, I am not arguing with them, but I am accepting the premises which are common to all the rest of the House who believe with the Foreign Secretary and with the Government, and with almost all political thinkers of almost all great and free countries that an effective Second Chamber is a necessary and integral part of any sound Constitution, and I beg them to think twice before they reject an Amendment which is the only one I can see which will give any foundation within the compass of this Bill for reconstructing our constitutional fabric on sober and on rational lines.
§ Colonel GRIFFITH - BOSCAWEN
I think that hon. Members on this side of the House have reason to complain of the answer given by the Prime Minister to the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend which is on constructive lines designed to meet the difficulty that exists. The only answer of the Prime Minister, and it is practically the only answer to every Amendment to this Bill, is that it is impracticable because things are as they are at the present time. Things are as they are at the present time simply because the Government have chosen to proceed by this particular Bill instead of having the courage to carry out the principles they laid down in the Preamble. The answer given by the Prime Minister is on purely technical grounds. He did not attempt to controvert the arguments of my hon. and learned Friend. He did not attempt to show what a Joint Conference was not probably the best solution of differences between the two Chambers in any country in the world. He simply said that, because the House of Lords is as numerous as it is now, and because my hon. and learned Friend has not put down any consequential Amendment providing machinery for a Joint Conference on smaller lines, he cannot for a moment ask the Committee even to consider this 1658 Amendment. Having regard to the great importance of this matter and having regard to the fact that unless you have a Joint Conference you have practically Single-Chamber Government and nothing-else, we might have expected from the Prime Minister that he would have argued the matter upon the merits instead of giving merely technical objections to the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend. The only attempt he made to argue upon the merits was, he said that in the case of the Colonies and other countries in which the principle of Joint Conference has been established the working is in an experimental stage.
The Prime Minister is not present, but I venture to ask the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Pease), who often makes very enlightened remarks upon this Bill when we are told that a Joint Conference cannot be taken as a precedent, because it is in an experimental stage in our Colonies, was there ever a greater experiment than this particular Bill? We at all events have got some experience of the Colonies. We know it has been used effectively in the case of Australia. We know it has been put into force in South Africa. We know that in some foreign countries, such as France, joint conferences are held. We also know that they are held in the case of the United States of America. Mr. Bryce tells us that in the case of Financial Bills joint conferences are of constant occurrence. This is even going further than this particular Amendment, which is confined to Bills other than Financial Bills. Mr. Bryce tells us:—Of the right to propose Amendments to Financial Bills received in their House, the Senate avails itself freely, and Bills are returned to the House of Representatives bearing effectively the imprint of the Senate. Then follow again amendment on the part of their House, and a conference, and the final passing of a com promised measure.Can the Prime Minister say really that that is an experimental state? That is what takes place in the American Constitution. It has been working now for a great many years with great smoothness and in a very satisfactory manner, and even in the cases of Financial Bills results in compromises which are entirely due to the smooth working of the principle of conference. Then for the Prime Minister to tell us that he cannot assent because in other countries it is only in an experimental stage, when he himself and the Government are proposing the biggest experiment in Single-Chamber Government which the world has ever seen is the poorest argument we could possibly have had from the Front Bench opposite. 1659 I would like to call the attention of the Government to another matter in which they prove themselves to be singularly inconsistent with themselves, because I suppose the origin of this Bill for limiting the powers of the House of Lords is to be found in the celebrated Campbell-Bannerman resolutions of 1907, and in these resolutions joint conference was a very important feature. As far as I remember, when a Bill is thrown out by the House of Lords after having passed this House, there was to be a conference. Then if the House of Lords rejected it a second time there was to be another conference. Then, if they rejected it a third time, there was to be a third conference, and it was only after the third conference that the measure was to become law. How is it now that the Government, having produced a Bill which apparently is based more or less on the Campbell-Bannerman resolutions, have entirely rejected the principle of conference? In introducing the Resolutions of the 24th June, 1907, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman said: "Now I come to the outline of the plan which the Government propose. It is proposed that if a Bill is sent up to the other House, and in the result the two Houses find agreement impossible, a conference shall be held between members appointed in equal numbers by the two Houses. That conference will be of small dimensions," and so on. Then be went on to point out that conferences between the two Houses in this country had been of frequent occurrence. They had been part of the practice of the country. So far from being an experiment abroad, they are not an experiment even in this country. He pointed out that Members of this House did not care about it, chiefly because when they went to the House of Lords they had to go bare headed and they had to remain standing. Therefore, in the year 1836 it was discontinued. I imagine that my hon. and learned Friend would be willing to introduce into this Amendment words to make clear that we need not go to the other House bare-headed and need not stand the whole time.
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman proceeded as follows: "What the Government propose is that statutory provisions should be made for such meetings in the event of disagreement, and that the conference should occupy a definite place in the transactions between the two Houses." If the Government had as part of their plan in 1660 1907 that small conference or delegations from this House and delegations from the other House should be held, why are we to be told by the Prime Minister that it is perfectly impossible and impracticable in the present year? What has come over the Government to render what was possible and practicable then and what they definitely proposed themselves quite impossible now? If it was possible then to bring forward some plan whereby a certain selection should be made from the Upper Chamber for the purpose of this conference, why is it impossible now? The Government object to the Amendment that my hon. and learned Friend has not put in any machinery. As I understand, all he intended to do was to establish the principal of Joint Conferences which the Government themselves proposed four years ago, and it will be perfectly possible for the Government to introduce such machinery as will effect this purpose. For these reasons I sincerely hope that my hon. and learned Friend will press this matter to a Division, because I am convinced that on these lines will be found probably the best solution of a very difficult question, and because I think we have not had any fair treatment in the very cursory way in which the Government have pushed aside this Amendment on the present occasion.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
I noticed the sounds arising from the Labour Benches when my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Balfour) invited the Government by accepting this Amendment to make the best of a bad job. One of the features I think of our Committee stage is the extraordinary complacency with which hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite regard this measure as if it were a piece of superhuman machinery that required absolutely no Amendment, even if explanatory or constructive, from any part of the House, unless from the Front Bench opposite. My hon. and learned Friend is perfectly right in his proposal, and I can only repeat the words of the Secretary of State for War, spoken by him when sitting on that Bench only two months ago, with a candour quite uncommon in that quarter, that this Bill was not an ideal instrument with which to work. My hon. and learned Friend has made a genuine contribution towards peace in the Amendment he has put before the Committee. This Bill seems to be not one which is to make for the prosperity of the country but one which is 1661 more likely to be an engine of war, and in the main an engine of war against Church and State, so long as it happens to be in operation. My hon. and learned Friend makes a contribution towards constitutional peace, and it is treated in the way to which we are all becoming accustomed at the hands of the Prime Minister, who will have nothing to do with any Amendment which comes from us. I must say I am extremely disappointed by the attitude taken by the right hon. Gentleman, after all he has told us about his abstract delight in Joint Sessions. We have heard speeches from him which I need not repeat. The Home Secretary, also, has said that he sees no reason why differences which arise between the two Houses should not be settled by the process of Joint Sessions.
Lord Crewe paid a perfectly gratuitous tribute to the advantage of Joint Sessions. But when it comes to putting Government professions to the test the Prime Minister assumes a non possumus attitude against taking from us anything, however good it may be, until he has a democratic Second Chamber which can go into Joint Session with this House. The plain meaning of the speech which the Prime Minister made the other evening is that Home Rule and Disestablishment and other questions are to be passed in the interval between the Single Chamber and the reform of the Second Chamber, which we may have or may not have in the future. We have great doubt as to the bona fides of the Government in respect of carrying this Preamble into effect in the course of the present Parliament. We have the words of the Patron age Secretary, which, I am sure, if we had happened to have heard them at the time, would still be ringing in our ears, when he said, on the occasion of his being heckled at the last general election, "I do not want it reconstructed, I want it abolished." That is the point of view of the Patronage Secretary in regard to the House of Lords. And he speaks as the mouthpiece, I have no doubt, of those Gentlemen opposite who are supporting the Parliament Bill. I can understand now why it is that the Prime Minister is so very doubtful about bringing his preamble forward in the concrete form of a Second Chamber Bill. The Labour party help to keep him in office, and they are Single Chamber men. We have therefore above the Gangway opposite those Members for whom the Patronage Secretary speaks, and we have below the Gangway 1662 those Members who represent the Labour party, and who are in favour of Single-Chamber Government. Therefore, we say that it is really impossible for us to believe in the professions of the Prime Minister that he is in favour of Joint Sessions hereafter when a Second Chamber-is brought into existence, because we do-not believe, if he seriously tries to put the preamble into the concrete form of a Second Chamber measure, that he would get support either above or below the Gangway of his own party.
In this Bill, with all its imperfections it is one of the most curious and suspicious of lacunae that there is absolutely no-machinery in the measure for bridging: any difficulties between the two Houses. The reason is that hon. Gentlemen opposite and hon. Members from Ireland unfortunately prefer we should differ rather than any golden bridge should be-constructed between the two Houses. It is a matter of the greatest disappointment and despair to some of us that the Government should take that line. The Patronage Secretary used the expression, "Let us; smash the pendulum." So long as that is the spirit in which the Government proceed with this Bill, so long I hope will opposition and criticism be given to it by my hon. Friends on this side of the House. I hope they will not be deterred from going: on with their Amendments, which are constructive Amendments of real worth, that may do something, in the words of the Leader of the Opposition, to make the best of a very bad job.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
The hon Member opposite failed to draw a distinction between Joint Sessions and joint conferences, and reference has been made to the Joint Session in the Australian Commonwealth. There are two conditions which must be fulfilled if Joint Sessions are to serve the functions expected of them. First of all, the two Houses must derive their power and authority from the same constituents as in the Australian Commonwealth. If the two Houses derive their power and authority from the same source, from the same constituents, there is no-reason whatever why the two Houses should not sit in Joint Session, allowing the majority of that Joint Session to decide the issue. The first condition, in order to make a Joint Session acceptable at all, is that it must be upon a democratic basis, and that the two Houses sitting in Joint Session should derive their power and 1663 authority from the same political source. The next condition is that their decision should be final. That is, they should not merely confer as to what is best to be done, and then report, but they should have power of finally deciding and disposing of the issue. In the Australian Commonwealth the Joint Session has this power. When a Bill has been rejected by the Upper House on three successive occasions, a Joint Session is called of that House which is elected by the people, and of the Lower House which is also elected by the people, and the majority of Members, not the majority of Members present, but the majority of those elected to both Houses, decide the issue. Then, if the Bill is passed, it is submitted to the Governor-General for his signature.
In the Australian Commonwealth the Upper House derives its power and authority from a popular constituency. They have adult suffrage, and the electors of the State elect the Upper House just as the electors in the individual constituencies elect the Members of the Lower House. But these conditions do not exist under our Constitution, so that it is impossible to argue that because Joint Sessions in Australia are successful therefore they will be successful here. The Liberal party could not for a moment agree to Joint Sessions with a House which derives its authority from the hereditary principle. Both Houses would have to be on the same basis. Under that condition, the difficulty would be perfectly easy of solution. The Leader of the Opposition said this Bill was provisional. Undoubtedly it is. The Preamble presupposes that reform is to follow. But the Bill which we are now discussing is a matter of urgency. There is an arrear of measures which require to be dealt with, and reform of the other House is a difficult and protracted business. This Parliament Bill is so simple a matter that it can be got through in a comparatively short time, and the Prime Minister has expressed the opinion that it can go to the Upper House and probably become law before the Coronation. But reform of the other House is a very difficult and protracted matter, and there is no unanimity on this side of the House with regard to it, neither is there unanimity on the other side of the House.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I am dealing with the proposition that this Bill is only provisional, and that reform of the other House should come first. I was trying to point out the urgency of this Parliament Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is transferring the Debate wholly to the question of the reform of the House of Lords. The right hon. Gentleman, when he referred to that question did so in connection with the general trend of his argument. The hon. Member is not doing that; he is replying solely on the point of the reform of the other House.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I will confine myself to replying to the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition that reform is so simple a matter that it could be taken first and gone on with now. He gave us the illustration of a simple hut, and of the finished structure that we might occupy. I would like to say that the question of reform is so complicated and protracted that it is impossible for us to deal with it now. In view of the urgency of this Bill we have need of some covering to shelter us in the meantime. Reform of the Upper House has always been a very difficult matter.
§ The CHAIRMAN
How does the hon. Member connect his observations with the Amendment which we are considering? I see no connection between them.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I will revert to the question of Joint Sessions as a remedy, and I reiterate my previous remark that a Joint Session cannot possibly be a remedy for the deadlock which exists to-day, unless the Upper House derives its power and authority from the same source as that from which we derive our authority. In present conditions Joint Sessions would simply be an attempt to arrive at an agreement, as did the conference we have already had, and, if an agreement is not arrived at, the matter simply falls to the ground. Any Joint Session which is to be effective must have power to come to a decision which shall be final.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
The hon. Member who has just spoken, in the latter part of his speech, reiterated a statement which he had made in the first part. He was neither strictly accurate in the original statement nor in the reiterated one. There are two distinct instances—classic instances now of Joint Sessions in the Dominions of the Crown: one is in South Africa and the other in Australia. The 1665 Prime Minister was quite in error in saying that the Joint Session had not been used, and frequently used, in Australia. It has. The only difference between it in Australia and in South Africa is that in Australia the decision of a Joint Session is not, as the hon. Member supposed, final, but is subject to the right of dissolution, whereas in South Africa, gathering experience from Australia, His Majesty's Government made the decision of the Joint Session final. That is the distinction between the two systems; I think, on the whole, there is much to be said for both: the one system, which has nothing to say for itself, is that which is being adopted by His Majesty's Government—I mean the providing for no Joint Session. It is sup posed, or the Government profess not to enact specially harsh measures—
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
When a Joint Session is held in Australia and a decision is come to by a majority of all the Members representing both Houses, what then is the next step—dissolution?
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
It is open to the Governor, on the advice of his Ministers, to dissolve in order that reconsideration of the matter may take place, even after the decision of the Joint Session. The system of South Africa is that the decision of the Joint Session shall be final, and in Australia that the decision of the Joint Session shall be subject to Dissolution, which Shall be the right of the Governor to give on the advice of Ministers, except within six months of the time when that Parliament would have come to an end by effluxion of time. The great merit of a Joint Session is that it enables a Conference to take place between Committees of the parties. If that Conference fails, then you have a Joint Session, and it is a very great argument for a Joint Session, as against a Referendum, that it enables both Houses to preserve their dignity, their self-respect, and reputation with the country even if in the Joint Session their original view has been altered or reversed. Where a position is taken up by the Upper House or the Lower, they may in Joint Session debate it, and carefully consider it with a view to compromise, and with a view also to what the ultimate effect would be in the country. All that leads not to exasperating differences of opinion, but tends to such a result in legislation, and to such compromises in legislation, as will make it fairly acceptable to both sides. In addition, neither the Upper House nor the Lower, if they accept some of the 1666 views put forward, lose their dignity or reputation in the country. That is a very different thing from the Referendum.
Just take the distinction between a Referendum and a Joint Session, and I should say a Joint Session was infinitely preferable in all except very, very few cases. In a Referendum, supposing one position has been taken up by the Lower House, and supposing that that matter, after being rejected by the Upper House, goes to the country on a Referendum, the decision of the country must be either to reverse the position of the Upper House or of the Lower House. If it is the decision of the Upper House, then that House loses all reputation for the time being, while if it is the decision of the Lower House it cannot practically continue under the Ministry which advised the decision which the public has reversed. Therefore I think it is only in case you have absolutely no other opportunity to avoid a deadlock that you should have a Referendum, but in my opinion by a Joint Session important matters in which deadlocks occur at the present time would be solved without great friction and with less party bias than at present if delegations, such as are suggested by my hon. and learned Friend, met together and discussed, perhaps under more tranquil circumstances, the question at issue than they do now. I think one of the great advantages of a Joint Session is that the difficulties or controversies which come really to an issue are more likely—I do not say it is a certainty—to be discussed upon less strictly party lines than in the discussions which take place in this House. For the first time the Peers and Members of the Upper House would meet the Members of the Lower House in actual Session. They would see that the decisions that have been arrived at could be maintained by legitimate arguments, and they would be maintained by legitimate and courteous arguments. When matters came really to an issue, it would be possible that the result of the debates should not be decided on strictly party grounds, as if it were discussed in this House alone.
For my part, I had the greatest possible hope that the ultimate solution of this matter would be found in a system of Joint Session. I should be perfectly prepared myself, as regards almost all class of legislation, to allow the decision of a Joint Session of this House and of a Second Chamber consisting of about half the numbers, I should be perfectly prepared to allow the great majority of Bills to be 1667 settled by the majority of a Joint Session of those two Houses sitting together. Many of the greatest measures of social reform have been, I think, agreed upon by both Houses in substance, and a Joint Session upon such matters as there are differences of opinion about would be nothing but profit to those measures of social reform. That is just the function which a Second Chamber could discharge very well, and just such a function as I am sure they would discharge. As regards those measures, you would have a more salutary and more expeditious process and passage than you have at present. There are, of course, and I shall reserve myself as to those, some cases of such pre-eminent importance and magnitude that you could only finally decide by referendum to the people, or by dissolution as you have in Australia. I think it is absolutely deplorable that the Government at this stage, and considering the history of this country should impose an absolute obstacle to an Amendment of this kind, an Amendment which is not in the least degree hostile to the principle of the Bill, and an Amendment which I believe would commend itself to every person of moderate liberal opinion in the country.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
I am sure on these benches we were very glad to hear the genuine intervention in this Debate from the somewhat silent shades of the Back Benches opposite. I did not rise, however, to point out that, but I should like to point out that in this Amendment we are approaching the sacrosanct ground of the Constitutional Conference of last year. I tried to draw the Prime Minister on the point, but failed. I tried to get him to tell the House what common ground had been occupied, and what agreed results had been arrived at by that Conference. I still think, though it may have been impossible, and I am not reproaching him because he fairly says that the responsibility was shared between the two sides, I still think it is the greatest loss to this country, and a very serious thing in these Debates, that we do not know what were the common results arrived at by aid of the eight picked men of all parties, who sat for nearly a whole year, and entered into every detail of this question. But unless rumour lie, as rumour has hardly ever lied before, the one thing that is certain from newspapers and inspired communications to the Press and elsewhere, is that the principle of a Joint Session or a Joint Conference 1668 was adopted, and that it was on those lines that the discussions of the Conference were prolonged for so many months. We are not likely to hear an answer—
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I would recommend my hon. Friend not to place too implicit credence on what he reads in the Press.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
It is not what I read in the Press; it is what I do not read in the Press; it is what does not appear in the Press, to which one does attach a certain amount of credence if one has an opportunity of seeing it. I am not, however, pressing the point. I only say, again, it is a deplorable thing that we do not know more. I venture to think we are justified in assuming that it was the principle of a Joint Session or Joint Conference upon which so prolonged a discussion took place, and which the highest hopes were raised. Whether that is so or not, I quite agree with my right hon. Friend who has just spoken, that the whole hope of working this Bill, and the whole hope of working a Constitution such as we are fixing now, rests upon the adoption of the principle of a Joint Session or Joint Conference. Perhaps that may not be quite the same thing; but the Prime Minister very well knows that there is not a fixed Constitution in the world, and all the Constitutions are fixed except our own, in which that principle has not been adopted. Whether it has been often re sorted to in practice is another matter, but it has been adopted after the most ample discussion, and adopted and carried to its furthest point in practical working in the United States. I am not now going into that which we can gather from the Reports in the Library, but does not foreign example tell us the way, and, after all, as we are now fixing our Constitution, we have every reason to listen to those who have framed Constitutions abroad. It is congruous to our own Constitution.
Everybody knows that the conferences that took place in the eighteenth century between these two Houses were not a matter of form, that they were genuine in every sense of the word, and that it would be possible to adapt them to present day conditions and to derive very great advantage from them. And if it is congruous to our own history as well as in accord with every element of approved Constitutions in other countries, I say it is an extraordinary thing that the Government 1669 do not intend to introduce any such principle in this Bill, and do not provide any substitute for it. I should like to know how they think our institutions are going to work in the future without the spirit of compromise. You may alter machinery, or rather, you may provide new machinery as much as you like, but unless there is a spirit of accommodation between the two Houses, that machinery is bound to break down. I do not believe it is possible to provide that machinery unless there is some such principle as this introduced. I think it is a lamentable thing that we should not have anything suggested which will solve the difficulties that are bound to arise between the two Houses except by exasperation between us, which is bound in the end to produce worse results. The Prime Minister knows very well, he said so, that if the House of Lords exert their powers under this Bill, they may make almost all legislation impossible by delay. He anticipates that they will not. The only way in which it is possible to bring about a revival of that spirit of compromise, which has obtained in a large measure in the past, and which must obtain if we are to preserve our reputation as a people of common-sense in politics, is by introducing some such proposal as this. I do not suppose that a Joint Session in the old sense is possible, but I believe that a Joint Conference is not only possible but feasible, and although the Prime Minister tells me that I have no reason to put any trust in report, I fancy we were very nearly arriving at a settlement on that basis in the constitutional Conference of last year. It is a great pity that by agreement he cannot open his mouth and tell us, as I know he would, how nearly a settlement was reached, and whether this was not the means by which he hoped to bring it about.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I quite agree with my right hon. Friend that a Joint Session really depends for its success upon some relaxation of party spirit on the part of its Members. It is quite certain that unless there were such a relaxation it would be merely a useless formality. Therefore, I think it may be said that the Joint Sessions peculiar sphere of usefulness would not be on great party issues, but in regard to other measures on which there was a difference of opinion, but which did not so deeply excite party feeling. I conceive, indeed, that party measures might be dealt with in that way when not only the Upper House has been reformed, but when 1670 this House also has been reformed, as I should like to see it reformed, on some proportional system, which would make it less disproportionately of one way of thinking or the other, and therefore make it work more smoothly in a Joint Session. The point I desire to make is, whether you have a Joint Session or a Referendum, either is better than the proposal which the Government put forward. What is proposed in the Bill? It is that for two, I was going to say blessed years, but they would be anything but blessed, we should be handed over on great controversial questions to a period of unceasing agitation. The proceedings of this House on purely party issues would be useless and degrading, because they would be merely a reiteration under party pressure of the same proposition three times over. In the country there would be unceasing agitation, a great effort being made to bring public opinion to bear, the success of which effort would entirely depend on whether the Government could be tripped up on some other issue before the two years had elapsed. It is like a lunatic nightmare.
Conceive a self-respecting country submitting to this Constitution! Everyone would be careering over the country holding meetings, agitating here and agitating there, except a few who stayed in London to take advantage of some party split or some trivial opportunity in the way of a snap division or any other method of getting the Government turned out before the fateful two years had elapsed. I am sure that that system will not survive a single Parliament. However the matter is settled, whether by Joint Session or by Referendum, or by a combination of the two, which would probably be best, it will not be settled in this way. The system of handing over the country to agitation on great controversial matters, and leaving the House of Commons merely to reiterate its opinion three times over is a method as unstatesmanlike as foolish, and as temporary as it is possible for any wild politician to conceive.
The Prime Minister treated this Amendment with great contempt, but I have noticed that when the right hon. Gentleman is specially sarcastic the Amendments are particularly good. They apparently cause him searchings of heart, and in my experience irritation is always engendered by searchings of heart. We ought to bear in mind the very clear distinction between Joint Sessions and joint conferences, because there is another 1671 Amendment on the Paper dealing with the latter, whereas this Amendment deals with Joint Sessions. A Joint Session is final; it is, as it were, plenipotentiary; whereas conferences are not. The latter merely refer back to the House from which they come a question on which they may have arrived at agreement, and those Houses have to say whether or not they will agree to the arangement made. That is an absolute distinction between the two, which has not always been kept clearly in view. The hon. Member who broke the silence on the benches opposite went even further than the Prime Minister, whose argument—it is not a very original one—was that he could not use Joint Sessions because the House of Lords is wrongly constituted at present.
The hon. Member, who spoke with some experience of other countries, said that as a basis for a Joint Session you must have Chambers similarly constituted. I think that is going much too far. First of all, you would suppose that in bringing about a Joint Session between two Houses at war you might assume that there was a difference of composition between the two Houses, otherwise they might not be at war. The hon. Member knows that all those philosophers, politicians, or statesmen who support a bi-cameral system have always searched about to try and find some basis on which the Second Chamber should be constituted. One reason why the Second Chamber in this country has been so much admired, I do not say imitated, is that it is has been constituted on a totally different basis. When statesmen are searching about for a Second Chamber in other countries, they find the greatest difficulty in drawing a distinction between the First Chamber and the Second. Therefore, I hope the hon. Member does not rule out entirely Second Chambers constituted to some extent on a different basis from that of the First Chamber. If he ties them down to Chambers constituted on the same basis he is getting very near a Second Chamber which, under those circumstances, would be almost useless or worthless, and is nearly arriving in his argument at a Single Chamber basis. The argument in this case is very different from what it was on the first Clause. We were told then that it was no good talking about a reformed Second Chamber, because the powers were to be the same whatever the Second Chamber might be. Here the question is quite different.
1672 I would ask the Prime Minister whether, when he has reformed the Second Chamber, he will be prepared to face these different arrangements which he rejects with such contempt when they are applied to the Chamber as at present constituted. I am a strong supported of Joint Sessions. I agree with my Noble Friend as regards what would happen in the two years. What you want to do in making your constitutional arrangements is to avoid every source of friction possible. You want to avoid them as regards classes and as regards Houses and Constitutions. Is it not therefore better to try to arrive at that result by getting the two Houses to agree? There are many points on which they would probably agree if they could come together. Many Amendments when explained in the course of discussion between the two Houses would probably appear to be not nearly so important as they appear in the heated atmosphere of the separate Chambers. I believe that as regards not only the dignity of the two Houses but also the respect in which they were held by the people, the position would be greatly improved if it were found that the two Houses could agree by the method of Joint Session on matters which at first sight seemed to be very controversial. We have to remember that possibly even the House of Commons is not regarded with great respect outside.
I do not think that all-night sittings and so forth are followed with much interest in the country. If we were able to settle our difficulties between one House and the other by conferences or peaceful arrangements of that kind, I am confident that there would be amongst the people far greater respect for, and a far higher opinion of, those Chambers and their constitution than could be secured in any other way. It cannot be good to have the two Chambers constantly at war. In dealing with Amendments the Government have been too ready to consider how they could hit the Second Chamber. They seem to have been too much influenced by the feeling aroused by the House of Lords during the last few years, and they have not been looking further ahead as to the real principle which ought to obtain as between the two Chambers. That principle is good feeling and confidence. You ought to strive to eliminate every possible cause of friction and to bring about the utmost confidence between the two Chambers. I am convinced that this system of Joint Session is the simplest and best 1673 method by which that growth of confidence can be brought about.
§ Mr. J. M. HENDERSON
This Amendment presupposes two Houses which are coequal. That may be the constitution of some countries; it is not the constitution of this. If you are to have Joint Sessions it must mean that the vote of the other House is to count as equal with the vote of this House. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Then how is it to count? We hear a great deal about Single Chamber government, but hon. Members opposite seem to forget that, as a matter of fact, the highest Constitutional authorities will tell you that there is a point at which the House of Lords must give way to this House. What is the meaning of that? It means that this House, as representing the electorate, is what Professor Dicey has called "the political sovereign of the State." If that be so, are you going to create a Second Chamber, even a reformed Second Chamber, which is to have equal powers with this House in ordinary legislation? If you do, you are going to effect a revolution far worse than anything proposed in the Parliament Bill. The best text books will tell you that there is a point at which the House of Lords must give way to this House, and then we come to the creation of Peers. But we cannot go on creating peers for ever. This Bill fixes the point at which the Lords shall give way. I oppose the proposal for Joint Sessions because it starts with the principle that you are going to have men meeting men of equal power. That is not so. The Members of this House—be it good or be it bad, that is the Constitution—have the right so long as they represent the electorate to demand that their will shall prevail at some point or other.
§ Mr. J. M. HENDERSON
We represent the people. You say that we have got no mandate for this Bill. Does anybody say that? Of course you cannot say that! Look at "The Times 'of 17th December. What do you find there? They say: "We accept the fact that this Bill has been before the constituencies on two occasions." What does that mean? If ever there was a mandate for any Bill surely it is this Parliament Bill? I for one should certainly object to any Joint Session that would in any way adumbrate the idea of power to the other House. I do not care if it is a reformed House. This House, if it is going 1674 to represent the people, must ultimately prevail. I say the Second Chamber may delay and discuss and set the Press discussing throughout the country on any subject, but you must return to what Professor Dicey says is the Constitution. He says:—That the House of Lords is expected, in every serious political controversy, to give way at some point or other to the will of the House of Commons, expressing the deliberate desire of the nation.That being so, I do submit we have no case for a Joint Session with the other House, which admittedly has not the same power as we have.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. Gentleman opposite has rather misunderstood Professor Dicey. The whole position is that the House of Lords surrenders, not to the House of Commons, but to the people. That is the whole difference between hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House and hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. We are always prepared to obey the will of the people when that will has been ascertained. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentle men may laugh, but you cannot have a better instance that what I say is correct than what took place last year. The House of Lords threw out the Budget of 1909. The people expressed their will through their representatives at the new election in December that that Bill should be passed, and the House of Lords at once bowed to the decision of the people and passed the Bill. That is a recent instance of what I am contending for that the House of Lords and hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House have submitted to the will of the people when that will has been ascertained and declared. Where hon. Gentle men opposite go wrong, if I may say so, is that they have got a fixed idea in their heads that if they get elected by a chance decision that whatever they may—
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I apologise for not speaking upon the Amendment. I was at the moment replying to the hon. Gentlemen who advanced certain reasons for not supporting the Amendment. But I will not pursue that any further. In regard to the question of Joint Sessions, I would very much like to see things left as they are, and that no alteration should be made of any sort or kind. I am contented with the present system. There are people who in five years time will regret the change that is proposed. But if there is 1675 to be a change, if this Bill is to be passed, it is perhaps well to make the best of a bad job, and make some arrangement by which the two Houses may meet together and consult upon their differences. I do not hold the view that there is any chance of the Government accepting this Amendment, because I have long since come to the conclusion that any Amendment, however reasonable, proposed on this side of the House, will not be accepted. Perhaps for the moment I forget that the suggestion I put forward was promised consideration on Report, and it is possible that I may have had some influence on the Government, but I am afraid we are rather wasting time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I mean the time of this House, for in pointing out where we think the Bill requires Amendment it does not at all follow that we are wasting the time of the country. On the contrary, in our arguments as to Joint Sessions we have another electorate, that is the country, where possibly these arguments may have weight. It is a bad thing for any body of men to be supreme in anything, whether they be Radicals, Conservatives, or anything else.
§ Captain TRYON
There is only one point I would like to put before the Committee. It is said that in regard to any question of Joint Session this House should be careful to guard itself from disadvantages at some future date. Objections to a Joint Session have been based on the present composition of the other House. But I understood that there was a Preamble to this Bill. That Preamble is intended to change the composition of the Upper House. It seems to me, therefore, an extraordinary thing that this Amendment is to be rejected by the House because it would only be effective if the Government carry out their policy.
§ Mr. NIELD
I understand that the non-acceptance of this Amendment is based upon the theory that the Government have a mandate for this Bill, line by line, Clause by Clause, "the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill." Anything more ridiculous and absurd I never heard. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] The cheers of hon. Members opposite show that hon. Gentlemen are very much like the witness who sometimes goes into the witness box at the Law Courts, and, after having been carefully drilled as to what he has to say, he has come to the conclusion that black is very emphatically 1676 white. Have we the right to say that the whole of this Bill was before the country, line by line, and was accepted by them as was the Reform Bill of 1832? I agree that the Reform Bill, which was formulated with its schedules, which set out which of the boroughs were to be disfranchised and which were to have one and which two Members, was before the country. If I may say so—and I say so with an amount of confidence as one who, not having been opposed at the last election was able to go about and assist my Friends who were—if there was one thing upon which this country decided, apart from the gross misrepresentation which accompanied the election, it was the question of whether this House was to be supreme in finance, and nothing else. I recall one thing that was put out by way of counter-attraction, a delectable poster, issued by the "Morning Leader," which represented a grotesque Peer protesting against the taxation of his land.
§ Mr. NIELD
Well, Sir, the relevance is this: I was going to show, if hon. Members would have allowed me to proceed, but their laughter stopped me, that the only answer that is made to this Amendment is that the whole Bill was before the country, and that, therefore, the question of Joint Sessions was before the country. My retort to that is that it is a gross misrepresentation to say that the question of Joint Sessions was ever before the country. The Bill was not before the country. It was never discussed. The House of Lords was only allowed to peep at it by courtesy, but was refused the opportunity of discussing it. The object of this Amendment is to decide questions between the two Chambers which have no relation to questions of finance. To say that that matter is excluded by the mandate of the electorate in December is to add another gross misrepresentation to those which lie upon the consciences of hon. Gentlemen opposite, or certainly ought to do.
§ Mr. MEYSEY-THOMPSON
The arguments of the Prime Minister on this occasion in refusing this Amendment—and others which we bring forward—goes to the root of the Government policy and bears out our contention that the Government refuses every Amendment not because 1677 he did not believe that Joint Sessions were or were not the best solution of the difficulty, but because he believed if we had Joint Sessions the majority would be invariably against his measures. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out that there was one occasion on which 270 were in favour of a particular measure, and in the House of Lords 274 were against it. The numbers were about equal to one another. I think that if we had Joint Sessions that probably agreement would be arrived at, unless the proposition of the Government was one bad for the country as a whole. In that case, if the Joint Session refused to pass the measure it would be to the very decided advantage of the country. If, on the other hand, the proposal was not bad for the country, I venture to suggest that a solution could be arrived at. I wish to make this point: The whole objection raised by the Prime Minister was not because he believed that Joint Sessions would not be the best way of solving the difficulty, but because he believed that if we had Joint Sessions the majority would be against the Government and against the measures that he brought forward. For the reasons I have given I shall support the Amendment.
§ Captain NEWMAN
I listened with a certain astonishment to the cut-and-dried attitude taken up by the Liberal Front Bench in this matter. For good or ill, we are rewriting the British Constitution. I have listened to the whole of this debate very patiently, and I have not heard a single mention from the Front Bench opposite or the benches behind touching the constitution of foreign Chambers. Yet every single civilised country in Europe, or in the world, has had in the last fifty years to rewrite either wholly or partially its Constitution, and, therefore, we have surely got their information from which to draw. The great fiscal agitation in this country has done one thing. It has opened up the social and financial system of Germany to the people of this country.
§ Captain NEWMAN
Perhaps if the hon. Gentleman would wait I will get to my point, and he will get to his dinner. I should have thought that the great constitutional agitation now before the country would have sent hon. Members abroad to learn from foreign countries how to write the Constitution. Before I started to study this question I went to the Vote Office, and I asked for a return, which was issued at the expense of the taxpayers, in 1907. I asked for that paper, with a certain amount of trepidation, as I was afraid it was out of print, but the Clerk gave me a copy. I asked him if many Members had applied for this paper, and he said "No; it is not the sort of reading hon. Members of this House go in for." This paper is a great source of information. Take the case of Sweden. Sweden in the last few years had to re-write her Constitution. And what did Sweden provide in case of disagreement between the two Houses? She provided for a Joint Conference. The Re-port says: "On financial issues conflicts as they arise are decided by a joint vote. Financial questions when the two Chambers are in conflict are submitted to a common vote of both Houses, when an absolute majority decides." If that is good enough for a Constitution like Sweden it may be worthy of our consideration. Yet if we talk about conferences between the two Houses we are told the thing is impossible and not worth trying, and not good enough for us. I do suggest we might draw some information from the study of foreign countries on such matters as that we are now discussing.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 167; Noes, 262.1681
|Division No. 180.]||AYES.||[8.5 p.m.|
|Aitken, William Max.||Bathurst, Charles (Wilton)||Burn, Colonel C. R.|
|Anton, Sir William Reynell||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Carlile, Edward Hildred|
|Ashley, w. W.||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Cassel, Felix|
|Astor, Waldorf||Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cautley, H. S.|
|Baird, J. L.||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Cave, George|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bird, Alfred||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Balfour, Ht. Hon. A. J. (City, Und.)||Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith.||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.|
|Baring, Captain Hon. G. V.||Boyton, James||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender|
|Barnston, Harry||Bull, Sir William James||Cooper, Richard Ashmole|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Courthope, George Loyd|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Hume-Williams, W. E.||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Ingleby, Holcombe||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Rice, Hon. W. F.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Cripps, Sir C. A.||Kerry, Earl of||Rutherford, W. (Liverpool, W. Derby)|
|Croft, H. P.||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Dalziel, O. (Brixton)||Kirkwood, J. H. M.||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lane-Fox, G R.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Dixon, C. H.||Larmor, Sir J.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Spear, John Ward|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Lee, Arthur H.||Stanier, Beville|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Starkey, John R.|
|Falle, B. G.||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Stewart, Gershom|
|Fell, Arthur||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)|
|Fisher, W. Hayes||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Swift, Rigby|
|Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Sykes, Alan John|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||MacCaw, Win. J. MacGeagh||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||Mackinder, H. J.||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Gilmour, Captain J.||M'Mordie, Robert||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Goldman, C. S.||Magnus, Sir Philip||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Gordon, J.||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Grant, J. A.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Greene, W. R.||Mount, William Arther||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E.||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Newman, John R. P.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Nield, Herbert||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Hardy, Laurence||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)|
|Hickman, Colonel T. E.||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hills, J. W.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||Younger, George|
|Hohler, G. F.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Perkins, Walter Frank||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount|
|Horner, A. L.||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Byles, William Pollard||Ferens, T. R.|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Ffrench, Peter|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Field, William|
|Adamson, William||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Clancy, John Joseph||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Clough, William||France, G. A.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Clynes, J. R.||Gelder, Sir William Alfred|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Gill, A. H.|
|Alden, Percy||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Glanville, Harold James|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Goldstone, Frank|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Cotton, William Francis||Greig, Colonel J. W.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Cowan, W. H.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Crumley, Patrick||Hancock, J. G.|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Cullinan, J.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Barton, William||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Hardie, J. Keir|
|Beale, W. P.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Harmsworth, R. L.|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Davies, M. Vaughan. (Cardigan)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Dawes, James Arthur||Harwood, George|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Delany, William||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Boland, John Pius||Dillon, John||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Doris, W.||Hayward, Evan|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Brace, William||Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Henderson, J. M'D. (Aberdeen, W)|
|Brady, J. P.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor|
|Brigg, Sir John||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Hinds, John|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Elverston, H.||Hodge, John|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Essex, Richard Walter||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Falconer, J.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Fenwick, Charles||Hunter, W. (Govan)|
|Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Neilson, Francis||Rowntree, Arnold|
|John, Edward Thomas||Nolan, Joseph||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Johnson, William||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Doherty, Philip||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Keating, M.||Ogden, Fred||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Kelly, Edward||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Snowden, P.|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Malley, William||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||O'Shee, James John||Sutton, John E.|
|Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Palmer, Godfrey M.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rl'nd Cockerm'th)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Logan, John William||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Lundon, Thomas||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wardle, George J.|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Waring, Walter|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pointer, Joseph||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Maclean, Donald||Pollard, Sir George H.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Power, Patrick Joseph||Watt, Henry A.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Leics., Bosworth)||Pringle, William M. R.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Radford, George Heynes||Wiles, Thomas|
|M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Wilkie, Alexander|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Rainy, A. Rolland||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Marks, G. Croydon||Reddy, Michael||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, West)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Richards, Thomas||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughten)|
|Molloy, M.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Morrell, Philip||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Muldoon, John||Robinson, Sydney|
|Munro, Robert||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Roche, John (Galway, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Needham, Christopher T.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I beg to move in Sub-section (1) to leave out the words, "in three successive sessions (whether of the same Parliament or not"),
The Amendment which I move is to leave out the words "three successive sessions," but the real purport of the Amendment is to provide that, in case of a disagreement between the two Houses, the question at issue shall be referred to a Conference of ten members of each House of Parliament. That procedure is to be followed on each occasion when differences arise between the two Houses. I hope this is an Amendment which in one form or another will meet with acceptance at the hands of the Government. There is for this suggestion so much weight and authority in the utterances of the Members of the Government themselves, that if there is any logic left in the Front Bench I hope they will see their way to accept either the words or the purport of this 1682 Amendment. The scheme which is now in the Bill, the Committee will remember, was introduced to this House for the first time by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the Leader of the Liberal Party in 1907, in a Resolution declaring that the decision of the Commons must prevail. In the speech in which the right hon. Gentleman introduced that Resolution to the notice of the House, he outlined the very scheme which is embodied in the Amendment which I now have the honour of submitting to the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman explained that his scheme was that:—Where a Bill was sent up to the other House, and where they found agreement impossible, a conference of small dimensions, and whose proceedings would be private, should be held between Members appointed in equal numbers by the two Houses, to seek for common measure of agreement which the Government might find itself able to adopt. If the conference should be improductive, and if the same Bill, with or without modifications, or a similar Bill were introduced after a substantial interval—a minimum of perhaps six months except in cases of great urgency—it would be passed by the Commons without limitation as to time, discussion being restricted as far as possible to the new 1683 matter (if any) introduced. The Bill would then be sent up again to the Lords so that they could again consider it. If there was still a difference a conference might again be summoned.I need not read the whole of the passage, but I may say that the triple arrangement suggested in the Amendment is outlined. Speaking to the Resolution in the House of Commons on 24th June, 1907, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman said:—Informal conferences between Members of the Government and Opposition in the two Houses have, of course, not infrequently been held since that date, and sometimes good results have followed. But what the Government proposes is that statutory provision should be made for such meetings in the event of disagreement, and that the conference should occupy a definite place in the transactions between the two Houses.We come down to 1910, and in that year the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, in introducing the Veto Resolutions, spoke further on this subject, and this is what he said:—I am disposed to think further that in the actual working of this system—I am referring to a statement model by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman when he brought in this Resolution three years ago—we might possibly find ourselves able when we are working the machinery of this Bill, to incorporate in some form or another a provision to the effect that although Amendments are not actually agreed to by the House of Lords yet, as a result of a conference between the two Houses—a conference held in conformity with Standing Orders or Rules which each House would be at liberty for itself to adopt—an agreement might be arrived at that in certain particulars the Bill should be introduced in a reamended form, but it might also for this purpose be treated as the same Bill.In order to show how much this scheme was actively in the mind of the Government, I will further quote to the Committee the words of Lord Crewe, who, speaking in the other House on 21st November last, said:—Perhaps I may be permitted very briefly to remind your Lordships of what the terms of the plan at that time were. Speaking generally they were these. When a disagreement occurred between the two Houses a private conference was to take place, and if agreement was not arrived at through that conference the Bill was lost for the time. It could be reintroduced either with or without amendment after a period of six months, and if the two Houses again failed to agree a second conference was to be called. If agreement was not then reached, the Bill was to be reintroduced and passed by some rapid process, and a third conference might be held, but if agreement was then not reached the Bill was to become law over the heads of your Lordships' House.Later in his speech Lord Crewe referred again to this matter, and laid very exceptional stress on the importance of conferences. He said:—In the earlier proposals much was said about conferring between the two Houses, and it is a matter upon which the late Prime Minister dwelt at length when he introduced his proposals. The Bill which is before us does not explicitly provide for the holding of conferences, but in the opinion of the framers of the Bill the holding of conferences is a cardinal matter in relation to the whole question.1684 Why has it ceased to be a cardinal matter? Why has there been eliminated from the scheme of the Government proposals which Lord Crewe, speaking in the House of Lords, ear-marked as being cardinal to the Bill. Lord Crewe further went on to say:—Nothing, I think, is more curious to anyone who takes the trouble to look at the history of the relations between the two Houses than the gradual decline and final disuse of the practice of conferences between the Lords and the Commons. The causes may be numerous, but one cause undoubtedly was that the later conferences which were held—I am speaking for the moment of formal conferences—seem to have become so rigid and so unnatural in their character, that it was felt that the practice curried with it little of value. But I do not hesitate to say that in my opinion one of the reasons why the relations between the two Houses have hardened and crystallised into their present condition—a condition, that is to say, of something like perpetual conflict when one party is in power, and of perpetual acquiescence when the other party is in power—may be traced to the complete abandonment of this habit of conferring. Conferences between the two Houses are of old date.Then he uses words which seem to go to the very root of the question. He said:—I therefore do not hesitate to say that the revival of the custom of frequent conferences between the two Houses is of the very essence of the proposals which we are placing before your Lordships to-day.There is one further quotation which I will make from the speech of the present Home Secretary, who, speaking in this House on 12th April, 1910, in reply to the Leader of the Opposition, said:—But we certainly do contemplate, during the period when the measure will be in suspense and under the Suspensory Veto of the House of Lords, a system whereby every effort shall be made constantly and continually to secure the greatest possible measure of agreement and of compromise between the two parties, and to make the ultimate legislation, as far as possible, representative, not merely of the majority, but of all classes in the community, and we shall labour to introduce into our proposals the necessary machinery for that purpose.I trouble the Committee with those quotations because they seem to me to show that the proposals of the Government in 1907, right down to 1910, included some means for attempting to arrive at an agreement between the two Houses before the operation of Clause 2 and its consequent delay of two years. Let me point out the two alternatives. If you have no scheme introduced which makes it possible that by agreement differences which have arisen should be adjusted and that the Bill should pass, you are met with what I venture to speak of as this irritating delay of two years, a delay which it does not seem to me to be to the advantage of anybody. A Bill is introduced, and a difference having arisen, we are to wait for two years in order that popular opinion may be heard in the country. We are to sit silent waiting for the oracle to utter the 1685 decision, and we have to wait until wild politicians scour the country engaged in that party warfare known as educating the people. Popular agitation if that is to be made the only reason for a delay of two years is no indication of popular will. Half a dozen earnest young followers with a couple of trumpets and a drum can get up an agitation in this country upon any subject from the Celestial inconvenience in South Africa to the woes of the shepherd of Dartmoor. The truth of the matter is, until you really get some question which touches the emotions of the people, until you threaten their religion or awaken their patriotism, or until you threaten the nationality or the liberty of the country, you will not get any expression of popular opinion which is worth considering. Your agitations which occur with the aid of newspapers and cinematographs are worthless as any indication of popular opinion at all. Yet, as the Bill stands, unless some provision of this kind is incorporated, here we are to sit, and the Members of the other House are to sit solemnly for two years while nothing occurs except, as I say, a spurious agitation in the country; and I suppose at the end of that period, on a Friday afternoon, the Bill will be sent on its final journey to the House of Lords, and will become law. This Bill contains no provision of any sort or kind which gives any chance of obviating this delay. It appears to me the desire of the Government is to leave to the House of Lords in the future nothing but the power of irritation, because that is all that will result from hanging up a Bill for two years unless there is some chance of settling it in some way such as is indicated in the Amendment which I have proposed. Why have the Government left this scheme out? Why is it to be deleted from the Bill? Is it possible they do not want to give the House of Lords a chance of agreeing? It cannot be a question of machinery. It cannot be that to choose ten Members of this House is a task beyond the wit of the Government. Every day representative Committees are appointed for one purpose or another, and Members are chosen from either side of the House. The machinery presents no difficulty whatever. That which was dear to their hearts up to 1910 has disappeared in 1911, and I think it is legitimate to ask the Government why? Conferences are in this age a well-accepted means of arriving, or of attempting to arrive, at an agreement. They are in common use. Sometimes they succeed 1686 and sometimes they do not, but they are always worth a trial. We were told the other day by the Leader of the Opposition that opinions may still be swayed by argument in this House. If that is true, it is certainly more true that they would be swayed in conferences, discussing differences that had arisen with an honest desire to arrive at a conclusion. The Government are establishing for all time an entirely new departure in the Constitution. Let them at any rate attempt not to leave the House of Lords entirely impotent. Do you think your real House of Lords, when it comes into operation—when it does—will be content to sit strengthened—I presume the object of reform is to strengthen it—but absolutely powerless? I suggest to the Government, if they have a real desire not to create friction between the two Chambers but to leave the bi-cameral system as a working machine from a business point of view, then they ought in justice to the country and to those who are coming after them to accept, if not the Amendment at any rate something in the spirit of the Amendment, and in that hope I beg to move it.
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
This Amendment raises a question of method rather than of principle, and I have no complaint to make of the speech in which the hon. and learned Member moved it, except one which arises from the fact that he has quite misapprehended the intentions which the Government have in this particular. The Government have by no means abandoned the idea that conferences should take place between the two Houses during the interval of two years or three Sessions pending which a Bill is in dispute between the two Chambers. The only change since the original proposals were made by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in 1907 is this. We are now of opinion that such conferences can be more conveniently and more successfully established by the action of the two Houses through the Standing Orders or by special resolutions than by enshrining the proposals in the rigid terms of an Act of Parliament. Let me, however, safeguard myself in one particular. The Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman says: If a conference fails to secure an agreement between the two Houses on a particular Bill, then the Bill should be reconsidered by the House in which it had originated. I assume, however, he does not have in mind a conference which should consist, so to speak, of plenipotentiaries, 1687 and he does not suggest the decisions of the twenty members of that conference if they arrive at harmony should be binding upon the two Houses. Of course, the Government have no such scheme as that in mind, and certainly this House would never consent to place the whole of its powers in the hands of any ten of its Members, however representative or distinguished they might be, and guarantee to abide by their decision.
The only point in dispute between us is whether the requirement that there should be conferences between the two Houses should be a statutory requirement or not. It is true, as the hon. and learned Gentleman says, that Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman did use the word "statutory" and did contemplate that a proposal such as that just moved should find a place in the Bill; but the later quotations which the hon. and learned Gentleman made from the present Prime Minister and from Lord Crewe did not contemplate a statutory enactment. On the contrary, the Prime Minister, in words which the hon. and learned Gentleman himself has quoted, said the method could be carried out by the Standing Orders of the House, and he did not suggest that the proposal should be enshrined in the Bill. There are serious objections, which further consideration since the year 1907 have made clear to the Government, to embodying this proposal in the Statute itself. In the first place, of whom is this conference to be composed? The hon. and learned Gentleman merely said it is to consist of ten Members chosen by each House. On what principle are the ten Members to be chosen from each House? Are we to have necessarily only supporters of the Bill which is in dispute sent from the House of Commons, and consequently are we to have only objectors to the Bill sent from the House of Lords? In the old days when conferences were frequent between the two Houses, I believe any Member whose principles were opposed to the policy adopted by the House as a whole was not nominated to sit as a member of these conferences. In other words, in any dispute between the two Houses, and if each House had to choose ten Members and the Bill were a Government Bill, as it generally was, all the ten Members of the House of Commons would be chosen from the Government side of the House and the corollary of that would be that the House of Lords would choose ten 1688 Members all from the Opposition side. I am not at all sure a conference so composed would necessarily be the best to arrive at an agreement. Suppose it were a matter, for example, of education and the Bill had been attempted to be conducted through the House of Lords by the skilful and able leader of that House (Lord Crewe), whose temporary absence from its deliberations all parties regret, it would be obviously a disadvantage if such a statesman as Lord Crewe was precluded from being a member of that conference. Then the old system which the hon. and learned Member wishes to revive was deliberately abandoned by the two Houses because it gave rise to many inconveniences such as that which I have just mentioned. Since 1740 there has only been one free Conference between the two Houses and that was in the year 1836 on the Municipal Corporations Bill. It proved unsuccessful and the system was abandoned.
There are two survivals in our Parliamentary practice. One is that when the two Houses disagree on Amendments it is customary to appoint a formal Committee, who send to the other House reasons for the disagreement of this House with their Amendment. That is a purely formal and perfunctory procedure. The Committee consists of Members chosen haphazard. They adjourn to a room behind the Speaker's chair and in one or two minutes they decide upon a message which is to go to the other House, and which is usually in this form: "That this House doth disagree with the Lords' Amendment because they deem it to be inexpedient to put it into the Bill." That is only a survival of the old days, a survival of the ancient system of formal conferences, but it indicates the progress of evolution, of the rule which previously existed. There is, however, another survival, a system of informal conferences which has frequently proved of infinite value. I mentioned just now the question of education. In connection with that we had one of these informal conferences, the Members of which were freely chosen among the Members of the House as best fitted to promote an agreement. Although at the last moment the proposals of that conference did not eventuate in the passage of the measure, nevertheless, on many other occasions of perhaps less importance, such conferences have succeeded, and many of us who have had charge of legislation—when I was at the 1689 Home Office I was connected with the passage of over a score of Bills into Acts of Parliament—are well aware of the extreme value of these informal conferences between the Minister in charge of the Bill and three or four Members of the other House who have taken most interest in the measure and have put down Amendments on which there is disagreement. Again and again these informal conferences have resulted in compromises being arrived at and in the ultimate passage of the measure into law.
The Government believe that by the present method, or by some elaboration of it, it will be possible to maintain the system of conferences while abstaining from tying them down too tightly by Clauses in an Act of Parliament which, as I suggest, would not conduce to their success. Is it to be supposed that the Government of the day will force a Bill through the House three times in a period of two years in preference to paying heed to Amendments proposed by the other House? Is it to be supposed that they will brush aside any Amendments suggested by the House of Lords under such circumstances? It is not likely to be the case. Any Government, so long as it is not called upon to sacrifice the principle of the measure or to drop the essentials of the Bill would naturally be willing to arrive at some arrangement, if possible in the first year, rather than to have an agitation in the country proceeding over a period of two years and taking the time of the House in three Sessions in passing a Bill through. Therefore, we ought still to look forward to conferences being held as part of the machinery by means of which this Act will be worked, and we suggest it would be advisable to leave ease and freedom for the growth of that system. This Act must of necessity introduce a certain measure of rigidity into the working of our Parliamentary system. Whenever you attempt to write any part of the Constitution you do that, and the more it can be confined within a small area the better it is. In this particular where the views and opinions of both sides of the House have to be taken into consideration, it is better that the procedure of these conferences should be the growth of practice dictated by convenience rather than that it should be stereotyped by law.
I am glad the right hon. Gentleman is so sensitive of the risks of reducing any part of our Constitution into writing. That is the point which 1690 we have been impressing on the Government for some days past. We have endeavoured in vain to exclude as much as we could of our own Constitution from the perils of this Bill. We have pointed out again and again that the old unwritten Constitution is more elastic and altogether much more congenial than terms reducing the relationship of the two Houses in respect of legislation into writing. It is somewhat late on the part of the right hon. Gentleman; it is not only late, but it is ill-timed on his part, to ask us not to accept this not merely reasonable but very desirable Amendment. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman dealt with the unsatisfactory character of existing conferences, of conferences so dignified, so solemn, and so ceremonial that it was impossible to transact any business. But there are other conferences so loosely put together and so informal which yet sometimes produce results both sides desire to arrive at. Of course the sort of conference which is held behind the Speaker's chair, when reasons are signified for differing from the Amendments of the House of Lords are so formal and so quaint as really not to be worth mentioning as part of the business of legislation. But there are reasons, and I think substantial reasons, why we should carry out the expressed intention of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman that conferences not so ceremonial as the old conferences which we read of in Sir Erskine May—conferences for considering differences between the two Houses, should find their place on the Statute Book as a prominent part of the relations between the two Chambers. I am bound to say I think that the reason for putting this matter in statutory form has increased rather than diminished since Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman made his speech. I have been very much struck by the temper in which during the last few years, and during these Debates our relations with the House of Lords have been described, and the attitude of hostility displayed by hon. Members to the Amendment of a Bill coming from this House, however reasonable that Amendment might be, by the House of Lords. That tone and attitude is taken not merely by hon. Members below the Gangway, but by Members of the Government, who attribute to the House of Lords hostility to any measures which are likely to be in the interest of the country.
In those circumstances, assuming that the House of Commons will obtain the very large powers which this Bill confers upon 1691 it, and assuming that the House of Commons can use those powers without any communication with the House of Lords, or any attempt to settle such differences as may arise, I say that it is a desirable thing if conferences are in the contemplation of the Government and at the back of their mind, they have the idea that these great powers will not be unduly exercised and not exercised until the method of argument and discussion has been resorted to which may avoid the necessity for their exercise—then I say it would be very much better to put these Resolutions in black and white. Let us have them in the letter as well as in the spirit of the statute, and let us be assured that the powers of this House will not be exercised in an arbitrary way until every other method has been resorted to in order to settle the differences between the two Houses. The right hon. Gentleman dwelt upon what he described as the vagueness of my hon. and learned Friend's Amendment in respect to the persons who are to make up the Conference. He said it would be very unfortunate if some eminent person, such as the Earl of Crewe, were to be left out of a particular Conference as one of the representatives of the House of Lords, and he seemed to think that the Conference would be composed of Members of one party from one House and Members of the other party from the other House. I think he might have trusted a little more to the common sense of the two Houses. In the first place you have these vast powers which this Bill confers upon the House of Commons, and what is the object of constituting a conference so as to make a settlement impossible? If the two Houses agree to confer they do so with the hope more or less approaching to confidence that some accommodation will be found. If they enter into a conference in that belief, and in that hope, surely each House would so constitute its representative body as to ensure, if possible, that an agreement would be arrived at. I think, therefore, my hon. and learned Friend is sensible in his Amendment to leave it to the good sense of the Leaders of the two Houses to say who shall compose the body holding the conference. We think, in fact if we can ensure as we ought to ensure by statute the coming into existence of this machinery for settling differences, the probabilities are very strong that these great powers which have been conferred upon this House will not be resorted to.
1692 The hon. Member has referred to the Education Bill of 1906. If ever there was a contentious Bill it was that Bill. It was fought at great length, and with some asperity throughout the whole of the summer months of the year. It was elaborately discussed in the other House for some reason in an autumn Session, and an informal Conference took place somewhat hastily put together, and it worked under great disadvantages. There were strong feelings on each side, and a disinclination to give way to the other side. The year approached Christmas, and the necessity of having to work and do critical work in a very short time also had its effect, and yet I have every reason to believe that that conference as nearly approached success as any conference which failed could possibly do. Is it not desirable when we see in history the conferences of the past to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, that we should use them, and not only should we use them, but that we should make it necessary by Statute to use them in order to avoid having recourse to the powers conferred by this Bill. It is impossible to suppose that your legislation will be acceptable unless some such measure of conference is adopted if there is strong feeling on both sides. If legislation is not accepted is it desirable that this House in the future should occupy itself Parliament after Parliament in the very unpleasant and undignified task of one party undoing the legislation of the other, and present such a spectacle as that to the country. It is most desirable, and I would urge the Government that any method which can be adopted should be adopted of avoiding the use of the power conferred upon the House and the Government by Clause 2 of this Bill. My hon. and learned Friend has put with great force a reasonable proposal—a proposal which has in very recent times commended itself to the Prime Minister and the party opposite—a proposal which reasonable as it was then, is even more desirable now. I venture, therefore, to ask the Government even at this late hour to reconsider the attitude expressed by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. RIGBY SWIFT
Conferences between the two Houses of Parliament undoubtedly form part of our constitutional machinery. Of that there can be no question, and anybody who has studied the history of legislation in this country would admit the fact. It has been made quite 1693 clear by the remarks of the Postmaster-General. Conferences are not only a part of the constitutional machinery of our country, but they are also a most useful part of it, even although the more formal conferences which were more frequently used in the earlier part of our history have to some extent disappeared. But the system of informal conference has prevailed, and has frequently resulted in useful settlements of differences of opinion between the two Houses of Parliament. The Amendment seems to be one which is directed to preserving in our Constitution the system of conferences which has proved so useful in the past. I was much struck as I listened to the totally inadequate reply which the Government made to the suggestion that where you are putting into an Act of Parliament a portion of your Constitution it would be wrong further to include another part which is equally a part, and undoubtedly an important part, of your constitutional machinery. It is said that the right to hold conferences had better not be put into a Statute, because that would give to it a rigidity which the Constitution is better without. It might have been remembered by the Government when they commenced to put a part of our Constitution into the form of a Statute that the rigidity of Statute laws has disadvantages, but when they overlook that fact and commence to put a portion of the constitutional law into a written Constitution, and that portion of the Statute law which affects the relationship of the two Houses, there is no reason in the world why they should not put into their Statute the whole of the machinery which affects the relationship of the two Houses, and why they should omit from the Statute all reference to those conferences which in the past have proved so useful, and which the Government at the present time, following upon the principles laid down by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, have no intention whatever of departing from. I suggest that the only reason mentioned by the Postmaster-General for not accepting this proposition, namely, that there would be a difficulty in saying whom the Conferences should be composed of, is really not a reason at all which can for a moment be seriously considered. There can be no difficulty. If you are to make Statute laws about the relation of the Houses your Standing Orders could quite easily regulate such a comparatively unimportant and trivial detail as to who shall be the selected Members of the two Houses to go 1694 to the conference. I hope it is not even now too late for the Members of the Government to consult their supporters who throng behind them and see whether they cannot, perhaps by an informal meeting of Cabinet Ministers, or by consultation with the more enthusiastic supporters below the Gangway, accept the Amendment.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. GARDNER
As I understand the Postmaster-General does not really object to the Amendment. He agrees with it in principle, but he objects to including it in the Statute. This whole Clause is putting something into a Statute which has really existed for generations. I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to point out any Bill upon which the House of Commons had set its heart which has gone up to the House of Lords three times and been rejected each time. Whatever the Postmaster-General says has taken place in regard to conferences in bygone times there is nothing obligatory on the House of Commons to go into a conference, and when they are putting so much more into the Statute they ought to put that in. It loses no time. The Government do not want the two Houses to be glaring angrily at one another for a period of two years over some particular Bill, but rather at the time to be occupied in trying to come to an agreement. Surely the Government do not want to quarrel with the House of Lords. They would rather have their legislation put through amicably than force it straight over the House of Lords. To adopt an Amendment of this kind would make it obligatory upon them to attempt, at any rate, to come to an agreement. Without this it appears to me it entirely rests on the House of Commons as to whether they shall go into a Conference or not, and I do not wonder that there is great doubt as to whether, when a difference of opinion arises, the House of Commons would care to take the course of attempting to confer or of conferring with the House of Lords. There is no time lost in regard thereto. The Amendment does not weaken the Bill in any way whatever. It only carries out what the Minister himself agrees should be done, and why it cannot be adopted I cannot conceive. It can only be refused, to my mind, to keep the House of Commons entirely independent of the other House in regard to coming to an agreement, and unless legislation is to be brought about concurrently I do not think it is the right course simply to leave it in its hands entirely as to whether any agreement 1695 should be attempted or not. The adoption of the Amendment would make it obligatory on the part of the House of Commons to attempt it.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
The Postmaster-General, I gather, rather repudiated what was said by Sir Henry Campbell-Banner-man in 1907. He admitted that it was then the intention of the Government to give statutory effect to this provision of a Conference. That assurance of the then Prime Minister was one of the most emphatic kind. He said:—What the Government proposes is that statutory provision shall be made for such meetings in the event of disagreement, and that Conferences should occupy a definite place in the transactions between the two Houses.That, I understand, is their view, on the ground that subsequent reflection has convinced the Government that it would be an inexpedient course. May I remind the right hon. Gentleman of what Lord Crewe said on 21st November last:—The holding of Conferences is a cardinal matter in relation to the whole question.He went on to say—
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I do not think the latter part has been read twice. That was only in November last, and I would ask the Postmaster-General whether, as the leader of his party in another place has said, it was the essence of the proposal he should not give some better reason than hitherto why the essence of the proposal should be dropped. If the essence of the proposal is dropped, surely the rest of it has not the same authority. If the electors had the whole Parliament Bill in their minds, they would be voting on the proposal for a conference which had been put before them in that speech in November.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
How you can get a non-statutory essence into the Bill without an Amendment of this kind the Postmaster-General has not explained. The very difficulty must arise when the Standing Orders are drafted. The right hon. Gentleman has merely put off the difficulty which he says the House would be confronted with if they attempted to put 1696 in this Amendment. Whenever a Joint Committee is to be appointed the composition of it may give rise to difficulty. The Committee of Selection has to consider most delicate questions in the appointment of the ordinary committees for this House. Surely if that can be done in this House, it can be done in the case of a conference like that proposed. It is not necessary to put in the schedule of the Bill exactly how the Committee representing this House and the House of Lords is to be constituted, but in the ordinary course of business it would be constituted on the same principle as other committees. There ought to be no greater difficulty experienced in constituting the proposed Joint Committee than that which has to be faced under our present procedure. It is probably better that this House should frankly and distinctly say that it does appeal to this conference than that Ministers should suggest that they have it in view as part of the mechanism in future. Assuming that the Bill passes into law the intentions of the Government may change, or there may be others in their place who will not be in the least bound by what the Postmaster-General has said any more than the right hon. Gentleman himself is bound by what Lord Crewe said in November last.
Lot us trust to the working out of the mechanism in the same way as this House has succeeded in discharging the duties that have been put upon it. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the distinction between formal and informal conferences. It is not necessary to have such a conference as he alluded to in relation to the Education Bill. The members of that conference who represented the Government were not nominated by this House. The conference was merely a meeting of influential politicians arranged by themselves, and it had no constitutional sanction whatever. Surely it would be possible for each House to nominate their ten men without binding them to definite procedure, or giving them definite instructions, or insisting that their proceedings should be private. I think we all know from experience the difference between the kind of formal transactions, where we have to take sides and range ourselves on party lines, and the transactions which can be carried through when we are allowed to meet without any of these trammels. I think there is something in the arrangement of this House when we sit opposite to each other which creates an unatural feeling of hostility. If you could get ten 1697 men constitutionally appointed by each House round a table, you would find that the results which would arise would be very different from those which would arise if you tried to solve the same problems by the ordinary methods of parliamentary procedure. I cannot see what possible harm would ensue from the Government accepting this Amendment.
§ They are pledgd to it in essence, and if that is so, why not adopt in a statutory form and let the details work themselves out, as they undoubtedly would do?
§ Question put, "That the word 'in' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 114.1699
|Division No. 181.]||AYES.||[9.15 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Essex, Richard Walter||Marks, G. Croydon|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Falconer, J.||Martin, Joseph|
|Adamson, William||Fenwick, Charles||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Ffrench, Peter||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Agnew, Sir George William||France, G. A.||Millar, James Duncan|
|Alden, Percy||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Molloy, M.|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Gill, A. H.||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Glanville, H. J.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morrell, Philip|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Goldstone, Frank||Muldoon, John|
|Barnes, G. N.||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Munro, R.|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone N.)||Hackett, J.||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Barton, William||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Neilson, Francis|
|Beale, W. P.||Hancock, J. G.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Harmsworth, R. L.||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.|
|Bentham, G. J.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Black, Arthur W||Harwood, George||O'Connor, T P. (Liverpool)|
|Boland, John Pius||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hayden, John Patrick||Ogden, Fred|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Hayward, Evan||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Brace, William||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon N.)|
|Brady, P. J.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Malley, William|
|Brigg, Sir John||Henderson, J. M'D. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Hinds, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Hodge, John||O'Shee, James John|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hughes, S. L.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hunter, W. (Govan)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Rotherham)|
|Cawley, Sr Frederick (Prestwich)||John, Edward Thomas||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Johnson, W.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jones, Edgar R. (Methyr Tydvil)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Clough, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Clynes, J. P.||Jowett, F. W.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Joyce, Michael||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E. J|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Keating, M.||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kellaway, Frederick George||Radford, George Heynes|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Kelly, Edward||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cotton, William Francis||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Cowan, W. H.||Kilbride, Denis||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Crawthay-Williams, Eliot||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Reddy, M.|
|Crooks, William||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid., Cockerm'th)||Richards, Thomas|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Logan, John William||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Delany, William||Lundon, T.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lynch, A. A.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Dillon, John||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Doris, W.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||M'Callum, John M.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||M'Curdy, C. A.||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||M'Laren, H. D. (Leices.)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Elverston, H.||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Seely, Col. Right Hon. J. E. B.|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Sheehy, David|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Ward W. Dudley (Southampton)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Wardle, George J.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Wilson, John Durham, Mid)|
|Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Watt, Henry A.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Snowden, P.||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wood, T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Whitehouse, John Howard||Young, Samuel (Cavan E.)|
|Sutton, John E.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Thomas, J. H. (Derby)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wilkie, Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Aitken, William Max||Fell, Arthur||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Ashley, W. W.||Forster, Henry William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Foster, Philip Staveley||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Gastrell Major W. H.||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Baird, J. L.||Gibbs, G. A.||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gilmour, Captain J.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Goldsmith, Frank||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Baring, Captain Hon. G.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Greene, W. R.||Rice, Hon. Walter F.|
|Barnston, H||Gretton, John||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Barrie, H. T (Londonderry, N.)||Guinness, Hon. Walter E.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Haddock, George Bahr||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Harris, Henry Percy||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Helmsley, Viscount||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Bird, A.||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Boscawen, Col. Sackville T. Griffith.||Hills, J. W.||Spear, John Ward|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid.)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanier, Beville|
|Bull, Sir William James||Horner, A. L.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cassel, Felix||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Swift, Rigby|
|Cautley, H. S.||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Sykes, Alan John|
|Cave, George||Larmor, Sir J.||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Lee, Arthur H.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Macmaster, Donald||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||M'Mordie, Robert James||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Magnus, Sir Philip||White, Major G D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Croft, H. P.||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Nield, Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Hume-Williams and Mr. Gardner.|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
Sir HENRY DALZIEL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "three" ["three successive Sessions"], and to insert instead thereof the word "two."
I think that this is the first Radical Amendment of substance that has been moved to the Government Bill. I do not think that the Government have any cause to complain that Members on this side of the House have occupied too much time on these Debates or have moved too many Amendments, and when we entertain important views with regard to some of the provisions of the Bill I make no apology for stating our views to the Committee. I am encouraged to do so by the fact that the Government themselves have stated that they are not entirely wedded to the framework of the Bill. They 1700 have stated at an earlier period of the Debates that they would entertain any Amendments which were consistent with their general object, and which did not disturb the general character of the measure. The Amendment which I have the honour to move is one which, I think, ought to commend itself, at all events, to all democrats in the House of Commons, and if we had a full vote of the supporters of the Government in this House as to whether the Bill should specify two Sessions or three the proposal to have two Sessions would be carried by a very large majority. As the Bill will operate it cannot, I think, be claimed that the public and the House of Commons would not have their full opportunity of considering the main principles of any measure that would be passed under the operation of the Parliament 1701 Bill. The Parliament Bill, in the main, will apply to the great and important measure of any Government. Therefore, before any Government would ask a new House of Commons to dispose of the first year of its existence by discussing any great and important measure they would first of all have been persuaded that the country was with them in the proposal they put forward. We have in the first place, then, full and adequate discussion in the country of any measure that would come under the operation of the Parliament Bill. We have the Government convinced that the public is behind them outside, and they are convinced that they have a majority in the House when they bring forward any Bill. There are the First Beading, the Second Beading, the Committee, and the Third Reading stages, and who will say that the public during that process would not have a full knowledge of the provisions contained in a particular Bill? The Bill goes to the House of Lords, and it is rejected. For all practical purposes it is dormant until the second year. Then the Bill is passed again by the Government of that time, and the country have full opportunity during the two years to make their opposition felt if they are opposed to any particular measure. I would point out here that, even if my Amendment were accepted, there would be a delay of two years before the Bill became law. With the full discussion during the two years which this Bill has been before the country, and in the House of Commons, and in view of the fact that the House of Commons, for the second time, has declared its allegiance to the original measure, I ask how can any democrat say that the Bill does not then represent the will of the House of Commons and the will of the people.
I want to ask the Government what is the virtue between three years and two years in regard to the Parliament Bill. I am sure the intention of the Government is that any measure which the House of Commons was elected to support should be passed in the lifetime of that particular House of Commons. I think if we give two years it is quite enough to conciliate the moderate supporters of the Government either in this House or outside. The whole question turns upon whether the Government trust the representatives of the people as sent here by the country to make out laws. I say that if the House of Commons deliberately devote the greater portion of a Session to passing a measure 1702 through its various stages, and subsequently in a second Session declares its unfaltering allegiance to the principle of that measure, I say that ought to satisfy any Democrat, or any Radical Government. So far as the proposal of three years is concerned, it simply means placing a premium upon agitation in the country. If there is a Bill about which there is any great divergence of opinion under this Amendment, the opponents of that measure would, of course, have every opportunity in the country to hold mass meetings and to do everything they could to influence public opinion. The work of the House of Commons, duly elected, ought not to be interrupted by practically a sequel to a General Election. The sooner agitation, after the House of Commons has been duly elected, is brought to an end the better it will be for popular Government and for the passage of progressive legislation. I appeal to the Government to tell us why the three years should be included. I should have thought two years sufficient. I am not one who believes in the policy of checks so far as this House of Commons is concerned. I believe whole heartedly in the decision of the people and in their judgment, and I see no reason for any checks whatever on any decision which the House of Commons might come to. But we are willing, in order to conciliate a certain class of opinion, that there should be a delay of two years, which is surely sufficient. In order to give an opportunity to the Government to state their reasons, I beg formally to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill)
No one will complain that my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir H. Dalziel) should have moved the Amendment, which was placed on the Paper by an hon. Gentleman on this side of the House, and even if I were moved to complain I doubt whether I should have the courage to do so after the severe bludgeoning he would administer to any one who ventured to run counter in any way to his wishes or desires. But although the Government do not venture for one moment to deprecate in any controversial spirit the course that he has taken, we are unable to meet him. We cannot assent to reduce the period to two years, or the number of times a measure must be passed through the House from three years to two years. We have never disguised from ourselves or from the Committee the fact that 1703 the powers which the House of Lords will possess when this Bill is passed into law are very great and substantial powers, and that if they were vexatiously used, that is to say in that partisan spirit which has characterised the action of that House in recent times, they would undoubtedly impose severe disabilities and disadvantages against the present Government, and probably any democratic Government, from which the Governments which are returned by Conservative majorities would be wholly exempt. We have never disguised that. We recognise that we are leaving them real, serious, and practical safeguards, and, whatever they may say in the course of the Debate, I think hon. Gentlemen opposite realise that these are important safeguards. We have not altered our claim for more than four years during which this question has been before the country. We have not altered our demand in any respect.
The main outlines of the original proposals of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman have been adhered to throughout the long course of these discussions. During the four years that have passed, we have had periods when it has seemed that our fortunes were not good, yet we have not reduced our demand; and there have been times when our fortunes have been improved, and when we had no doubt that we had adequately support for it, and we did not increase our demand. We are not prepared on this occasion to go beyond what we have deliberately set out as being the real and proper means of dealing with legislation in future. On the other side of the House the hon. Member for Dudley (Colonel Griffith-Boscawen) is waiting to propose that the Bill should be four times passed through the House instead of twice, as the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy suggests. Between the North and the South Pole the Government occupy the temperate zone. and we shall continue to occupy it—[HON. MEMBERS: "The Equator"]—let me take it between the Equator and the North Pole—we shall continue to occupy that agreeable and temperate line, and I hope the Committee will confirm our residence there.
§ Colonel GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
Half way between the Equator and the Pole is, I believe, a very hot place. I congratulate the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy that the Radical party has been at last articulate, and that they have moved an Amendment. That is an Amendment which they say the 1704 Government as democrats ought to accept, and the hon. Member also said that if an honest vote or a straight vote was taken that he was sure the great majority on this side would vote for leaving out three and putting in two as the number of times a Bill should be passed through this House. Let us have that straight vote. After all, it is not a bad argument for an Amendment I moved earlier in the proceedings, and which was supported by the hon. Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil) for a vote by ballot. Perhaps we may get a straight vote now, and the word "three" omitted in order that some other word may be inserted.
Sir H. DALZIEL
What I mean is a free vote. That means that the Government would not put their Whips on.
§ Colonel GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
A free vote is exactly what we have been contending for all along, and we hold one great argument against this Bill is that in an assembly where you do not get a free vote, as the hon. Member himself admits, Bills go through without any check from another place. We want to see that free vote very much. I intend to support the hon. Member in his proposition to omit the word "three," but not in his proposition to insert the word "two." I am very anxious that we should get this free vote independent of the malignant influence of the Government Whips. The proposition I want to make is to omit the word "three" in order to insert the word "four." I quite agree that the passing of a Bill three times is not very useful if we want really to have any sort of check upon the proceedings of this House we ought to have at least four times. I think that is following strictly on what the Home Secretary said, and in which I entirely agree with him. He said "If this Bill passes we ought to leave great and substantial powers to the House of Lords, and we ought to have read and serious safeguards." The only really serious safeguard is that between the passing of a Bill in this House and its final passing into law there should be a General Election. There is far more likely to be a General Election if the Bill has to pass four times instead of three. After all, what are we doing? The House knows quite well we are setting up Single-Chamber Government. If the Government had agreed to any of the Amendments from this side for example, that providing a Joint Session, or creating the procedure of Referendum, or if they had agreed that the last time a Bill had to pass the House 1705 before being submitted up to the Crown that a General Election should intervene, then there would be no necessity for the Amendment which I am pressing. But the Government have absolutely refused to accept any of those Amendments, and the only chance we have is to extend the time as long as we can. Therefore, I want to extend the time and give the country a fair chance of judging these matters. I want, if possible, to give the opportunity of a General Election intervening, and for those reasons I shall certainly support the hon. Member if he goes to a Division on the question put from the Chair that the word "three" be omitted, and then I hope he will support me in inserting the word "four."
§ Mr. WATT
I am surprised that the Government have not seen their way to accept the Amendment. The object of this Bill is to bring about fair play between the two parties in the State. When the electors choose a Conservative Government to rule over them the programme or measures of that party are freely passed into law and go on the Statute Book, but when the elector chooses a Radical Government, or perhaps I should say a moderate Liberal Government, instead of the measures of that party being placed on the Statute Book the other Chamber has in the past had illimitable power for mutilating, destroying, and throwing out the measures of that party. The object of this Bill is to bring about fair play between the two, and if Liberal legislation is in the future to be delayed for two years, and if Liberal legislation has to pass through this House three times while Conservative measures are instanter put on the Statute Book, then fair play does not exist. The Amendment of my hon. Friend, although not perfect, because equality will not even then exist, places matters nearer equality than in the measure which is now before us. I therefore think the Government would have been wiser, and would have taken a line of action that would have served better for bringing about that fair play they are aiming at if they had accepted the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I venture to hope, at any rate, that they will reconsider their decision and make it two Sessions instead of three.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has pursued the almost universal practice of hon. Gentlemen who have spoken from the other side in entirely discrediting the oft-repeated assertion of the Government that the 1706 Preamble is intended. We give them credit for that assertion, and wish to argue on the basis of having a Second Chamber at what the Prime Minister calls some remote contingency. On that ground we entirely deny, if the Preamble is carried out, that this constant series of injustice will continue, as the hon. Member has suggested. I do think that hon. Gentlemen on the other side might go as far as we do and give credit to the Government for their repeated assertion as to the Preamble. Everybody must have admired the parade of virtue presented to the Committee by the Home Secretary a short time ago. The right hon. Gentleman explained to an admiring House the absolute consistency of the Government during all these years. In times of adversity they never flinched; in times of prosperity they were never carried away by the feeling that the country was with them and that they had greater strength than on previous occasions. They are so over weighted by their feelings of intense virtue and respectability that they will not even listen to any suggestions for the possible improvement of their Bill. As to the Amendment, if I thought for an instant that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy was going to a Division, I should be inclined to treat him more seriously, but until I see him in the Lobby with me I shall refuse to believe in the sincerity of the motives with which this Amendment has been moved. The hon. Member declared that the Bill as it stands is setting a premium on agitation, that it will mean for three years there will be intense agitation against Radical measures in the country, while at the same time he stated that he believed in the judgment of the people.
If the judgment of the people is to be believed in for two years, why is it not to be trusted for three years? It is giving far more credit to the powers of persuasion of hon. Members on this side than we are prepared to take to ourselves to suppose that the extra year will have such an effect as the hon. Member seems to fear. We believe in the judgment of the people, and we do not care if the agitation goes on for two years or for three. What we do want, and what we shall insist upon—if we do not get it in this Parliament we shall get it some time—is that what the people really want that they shall have. We have heard an appeal for a free vote. We should be very glad to see a free vote, but I do not believe we are going to have it. We shall believe in the sincerity of hon. Members in making that demand if they 1707 join with us in voting for the deletion of the word "three," whatever step they may take afterwards. This is the first occasion in the history of this Bill in Committee on which they have shown sufficient independence to move an Amendment, and I hope they will show the strength of their convictions by going into the Lobby in support of it. In any case, I congratulate the hon. Member on having gone so far as to stand up and move an Amendment, even though he does not go into the Lobby in support of it.
§ Mr. COWAN
We on this side want to get as much as we can out of the Parliament Bill, and I do not think we shall do that if we require measures to pass three times when, if this Amendment were accepted, they could be passed twice and then be sent forward for the Royal Assent. We are only too glad to assist the Nationalist party in obtaining a measure of Home Rule next year; at the same time we do not see why the whole of that Session should be occupied, as it probably will be, by the passing of that vast and important measure. I want to see other measures, which seem to me, as I have not the good fortune to be an Irishman, to be of equal importance, passed into law. I want to see the desperate situation created in the rural districts of Scotland by the present iniquitous land laws dealt with, and to some extent redressed. I cannot forget that recent census returns, so far as we have received them, prove that the rural districts of Scotland are being rapidly depopulated, and I can see no remedy for that except in the reform of the land laws.
I have no hope of that reform within any measurable distance of time unless in the next Session of Parliament we pass a measure to redress these wrongs, which measure by being passed a first and second time may become the law of the land, in spite of the opposition of the other House, which has already twice rejected such a measure. I desire to see the Amendment accepted because it would enable such measures as the Scottish Small Landholders Bill, the Welsh Disestablishment Bill, and Bills for the establishment of Home Rule in Scotland, no less than in Ireland, passed in this present Parliament. We are not ashamed to say that we want to get as much as we can out of this Bill and out of the present Parliament, and for that reason I should like the Government to accept this extremely 1708 moderate proposal. I am in favour of the establishment of a strong elective Upper House, but we are agreed on both sides that that reform cannot be brought into immediate operation. [Several HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Hon. Members opposite are as clearly convinced of that as any Member on this side. They know that it is impossible to set up a reformed elective House of Lords immediately, however ardently they may desire to do it. [Several HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] We are therefore entitled to get all we can out of the Parliament Bill, and because we can get more by substituting two years for three, I cordially support the Amendment.
§ Mr. G. J. SANDYS
We are exceedingly grateful that for some reason or other the muzzling order seems to have been temporarily relaxed on the other side of the House. We sincerely hope that those who have broken through what has been hitherto the golden rule of silence are not in consequence running any serious risk of being eliminated from the list of prospective peers. The hon. Member (Mr. Cowan) has given us credit for knowledge which we really do not possess. In spite of the fact that many of us have gone carefully into the matter, we do not know why it is impossible to set up the new Second Chamber about which we have heard so much, but the creation of which, as far as we can ascertain. is postponed to the dim and indefinite future. With regard to the speech which was made by the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment, I cannot help thinking that it was full of contradictions. He first of all stated that his reason for suggesting that the substitution of "two" for "three" should be made was because in his opinion the time would be ample to give the country the full opportunity of coming to any decision. Then he went on to say that in the event of the Bill being introduced which presented some unpopular features to a certain portion of the electorate he had no doubt that a serious agitation would take place throughout the country and that mass meetings would be held in all directions. Then he went on to make what I consider rather an extraordinary statement that in his opinion the sooner these agitations were brought to an end the better it would be. For an hon. Gentleman who poses as a supporter of the principles of democracy and for the tree and full expression of public opinion, it seems to me to have been an extraordinary 1709 remark to make. It shows, I think, very clearly the very curious attitude which Members on the other side of the House take up. When that expression of public and popular opinion is made in favour of Liberal principles they very strongly urge in every case that it should be fully attended to and that the greatest possible weight should be attached to it. But when popular agitation is brought forward in the other direction and acts against those principles which hon. Gentlemen opposite are in favour of, they say that the sooner this undesirable agitation is brought to an end the better for everybody concerned. The fact is that, as the hon. Gentleman himself very frankly said, what he really desires is that there should be no checks whatever. He believes that the delay which is interposed by the provisions of this Bill, and which he would make shorter still, has merely been put in in order to conciliate a certain section of public opinion which is not so far advanced as some of the Members of His Majesty's Government. I have no doubt at some future date he would like that check to be swept away altogether. The right hon. Gentleman, the Home Secretary, in the course of his remarks, stated that if the powers of the House of Lords were—at, least, he threatened that if the powers of the House of Lords were—vexatiously used, that different means might be adopted in order to bring them to a more reasonable frame of mind. While he recognised, or stated—that which we do not recognise in the least—that he was leaving real safeguards against hasty legislation, he certainly made that remark in a tone of complete regret. In fact I think his remark this evening bore out that previous speech he made on another occasion in the House in which he openly declared himself to be in favour of a Single-Chamber system of Government. Certainly I shall be prepared to follow the hon. Gentleman who proposed this Amendment into the Lobby, and I sincerely hope that he will press his Amendment to a Division.
§ Mr. HOLT
I hope I am not an unduly servile supporter of the Government. May I be permitted to say in a word or two on this occasion why I support their proposal. Whatever intrinsic merits there may be in two or three years we must not forget that in commending this Bill to our Constituents most of us—certainly I did—expressly emphasised the fact that there 1710 was these three opportunities for discussion in both Houses of Parliament. We commended the Bill to our Constituents on that ground, and I do submit to my hon. Friends below the Gangway that to depart from that, and to ask their friends to depart from that, would be asking them to do something—whether it be good or bad in itself—which was not perhaps absolutely straightforward. To my mind, I cannot possibly vote for this proposal, because I do not think I would be dealing straightforwardly with my Constituents if I did.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
We have listened to a very instructive discussion. I have listened with great respect to the speeches of hon. Members on the other side and with keen regret that they should have exercised so much self-restraint of late, because of the instruction and enlightenment that their speeches might have afforded us. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy began his interesting speech by asking for a free vote. I am very glad he made that request. I hope that freedom may even now be accorded in this House, but I confess that I think there is something a little hypocritical in hon. Members opposite going about the country and pretending that this House is a free deliberative assembly, and is to be entrusted absolutely with power over legislation and finance, when we all know that this House does not freely vote, but votes under duress and—if I may be pardoned for saying so—under intimidation, in that Members opposite dare not vote against their party on an issue of this kind. To sum up the whole doctrine that certain expression cuts at the very root of the whole doctrine upon which this Bill is founded. If this House is not free it is not to be trusted with these functions. If it is not free it matters very little whether a matter be discussed once, twice, or three times, for the discussion that arises is reduced to nonsense. If that be so, it. matters little, and, personally, I do not care whether it be four years or two, for discussion in this House on the repeated question would be formal and unreal. What will be the result of the hindrances or precautions to legislation? The majority for the time being are subject to all sorts of diseases and difficulties. We suspect that the Government are already divided from their supporters on two issues: the issue of the reform of the House of Lords and the issue of the Navy. 1711 It is at least possible that these differences of opinion before two years are up will bring the Government to disaster. It is an extraordinary and ridiculous way of legislating, and it is a burlesque safeguard to say that a Second Chamber will be able to arrest legislation until some other question turns the Government out. One can hardly believe that sane human beings can support machinery so utterly unworthy of a great country—so utterly unworthy of reasonable human beings. But still, after a fashion and after a sort is it a safeguard? It has the advantage that there will be a period of time interposed, not because that there is any real consideration in the matter, not because the House of Commons is a free Assembly—because notoriously it is not—but because a chapter of accidents, something else may intervene, which may stop the Government from getting their way. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, in their interesting and instructive speeches, said quite openly: "Moreover, we want to get as much as possible out of the Parliament Bill." That is the spirit in which you undertake to revise your ancient Constitution. It is shady and speculative; to say that you will get what profit you can. That is what you call constitutional reform! Was there anything more cynical than the avowal of the hon. Member who said that, and said it in a tone which showed that he did not think it was at all surprising or out of the way. You intend to rig the Constitution to get your desires.
If the majority are animaed by a purpose of that kind this discussion is a useless discussion. The proceedings of me House of Commons on this Bill are a shame in themselves, and the sooner the Government closure this Bill through without discussion the more nearly will they be brought to shame, and the further they will be from all the true principles of democracy and self-government. The question remains how are we to vote in this Division? I should certainly myself vote for eliminating the word in the Bill because I think the word "four" would be better. [An HON. MEMBER: "I thought you would."] I hope the hon. Member will have the kindness to explain what he means.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Yes, but if the word "three" stands we cannot substitute "four." that is common sense. Is the hon. Member so little versed in the forms of the House as not to know that no other course can be taken? I think, therefore, the only thing we have to do is to make clear for what it is we are contending. We intend to interpose as much to-day as possible between the passage of a Bill in this House the first time and its ultimate passage into law. It is a very whimsical and absurd safeguard, but it will be a sort of a safeguard. I believe this Bill will not pass in its present form. I am quite sure if it does pass it will not last beyond the present Parliament. We have got to go through if the Bill passes two or three years while this Parliament lives. If we could extend the period to four Sessions the dangerous time would be passed and we should then have an opportunity, as we will have, of settling this question by a Unionist majority on sound lines.
Sir HENRY DALZIEL
I desire to say one or two words with regard to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of the Government. I was disappointed he did not accept the Amendment which I formally moved. I cannot say that I was greatly surprised in view of the attitude which the Government have, rightly or wrongly, taken up with regard to this proposal in their measure. At the same time I have no regret whatever for having moved the Amendment and no apology to offer for having brought it under the consideration of the House. My view is that the argument, even from the Government point of view, is in favour of two Sessions instead of three. I venture to say that some of us may live long enough to come to the opinion that two Sessions would be quite enough and that three are unnecessary. With regard to two years we could always have one Session, a spring Session, and another autumn Session in one year, which would still be three Session within the meaning of the Bill, coming within two years. I confess I would rather have two Sessions than three, but any Radical Government which means business can always within the Clause as it stands get their Bill through within two years. I am very much obliged for the compliments of hon. Gentlemen opposite. The Member for Dudley was particularly enthusiastic, and the Noble Lord who has just sat down was 1713 equally entertaining in his support of my proposal. The Noble Lord said some, thing about the word "hypocrisy" in the course of his speech. I do not think it necessary at this stage to analyse the application of that word too closely Hon. Gentlemen opposite say they are in favour of four Sessions as against two, and the Government position is for three, but they are going to vote for two. [HON. MEMBERS: "No; but against three."] The division on the Amendment I moved would be a division as between three and two. [Hon. MEMBERS: "NO."] I am perfectly well aware of the Parliamentary way in which the question will be put, but in effect it will be a division as between three Sessions and two Sessions. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Our intention in proposing "two" is that two should take the place of three, and now hon. Gentlemen opposite who desire four are going to vote for two. When I was at school three was nearer four than two.
We fully understand the position of hon. Gentlemen opposite. They are out to destroy this Bill in any company on any Amendment proposed by anyone. That is not the object either of myself or any of my friends. When hon. Gentlemen speak about a free vote on an Amendment, what do they mean? When I speak of a free vote I mean that the Government should not put on their Whips. The Parliamentary expression is well known, and we often hear it. I mean by a free vote that the question should not be made a Government question. On a measure of this kind if the Government take up a certain position they are responsible for the measure, and it is obviously their duty to do all they can to carry the measure in the way in which it is framed, and, therefore, I do not blame them for putting on their Whips and doing their best to carry the Clause as it stands. The whole situation is this. Do we, or do we not, desire the Parliament Bill as it stands rather than defeat the Government and reject the Bill altogether? That is really the proposition. I can assure the Noble Lord we are not going to adopt the suggestion he made and join him in the Division Lobby. The object of hon. Gentlemen opposite is entirely destructive; ours is destructive and also creative. We want to destroy "three" and insert "two." They are prepared to adopt any expedient and vote for anything, even Single-Chamber Government, if they can defeat the Ministry. We claim the right, 1714 and we shall exercise the right at all times, to move any Amendment to any measure which the Government may bring forward, but we shall exercise our discretion as to the way we play the game; and I am convinced from the expression of disappointment on the faces of hon. Gentlemen opposite that we are right. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Mr. CROFT
The House must have been extremely impressed by the speech of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy. I think he took to heart the words used by my hon. and gallant Friend, and remembered a further honour of his which is coming in a few weeks' time. I think after the display of courage we have seen this evening those sitting near the hon. Member must be extremely disappointed at seeing their gallant leader running away at the very moment when they thought he was at last going to put his words into action. I think this Debate is very interesting from the point of view of the speeches we have heard from hon. Members opposite. The hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Holt) made a very loyal speech, but I think we ought to remember that his majority was very much reduced at the last election, and naturally he did not want to follow the political adventurers who wished to take him still further on the path of revolution. Another point we are grateful for is that it is perfectly clear now that if this Bill is passed into law, at the earliest opportunity the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and his Friends are going to make this two Sessions instead of three Sessions. The only question I ask, if the hon. Member believes in that course is, Why was his Amendment not one year instead of two? Our position is that this is the only opportunity that we shall have of expressing our disapproval of three years, and it is not for hon. Members opposite to tell us whether we ought or ought not to vote for this Amendment. In our opinion three years is quite long enough for the Government to sneak through Home Rule, Land Nationalisation, Welsh Disestablishment, and their various other policies which the people do not want, and will not have if they are permitted to have any voice in the matter at all. The people will not allow those measures to become law by the backstairs method contained in the Parliament Bill. We have no fear whatever 1715 in voting for this Amendment. We consider that democracy is being silenced by this Bill, and the electors have been twice misled. For these reasons I shall have the greatest pleasure in supporting the hon. Gentleman's Amendment.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 284; Noes, 180.1719
|Division No. 182.]||AYES.||[10.20 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Elverston, Harold||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Logan, John William|
|Adamson, William||Essex, Richard Walter||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Falconer, James||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Fenwick, Charles||Lundon, Thomas|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Alden, Percy||Ffrench, Peter||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Field, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Maclean, Donald|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Fitzgibbon, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||France, Gerald Ashburner||M'Callum, John M.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Gelder, Sir W. H.||M'Curdy, Charles Albert|
|Barnes, G. N.||Gill, A. H.||M'Laren, H. D. (Leics., Bosworth)|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Glanville, H. J.||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding).|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe).|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Goldstone, Frank||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Barton, William||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Manfield, Harry|
|Beale, W. P.||Greig, Colonel James William||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Griffith, Ellis J.||Marks, George Croydon|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Hackett, John||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Boland, John Plus||Hancock, J. G.||Millar, James Duncan|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Molloy, Michael|
|Bowerman, C W.||Haraie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Harmsworth, R. L.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Brace, William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morrell, Philip|
|Brady, P. J.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Muldoon, John|
|Brigg, Sir John||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Munro, Robert|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Harwood, George||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Haworth, Arthur A.||Neilson, Francis|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hayden, John Patrick||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hayward, Evan||Nolan, Joseph|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Helme, Norval Watson||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Henry, Sir Charles S.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Clough, William||Hinds, John||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Clynes, John B.||Hodge, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Holt, Richard Durning||Ogden, Fred|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Malley, William|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cowan, W. H.||John, Edward Thomas||O'Shee, James John|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Johnson, W.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Crooks, William||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Cullman, J.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Jowett, Frederick William||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Joyce, Michael||Phillips, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Keating, Matthew||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Delany, William||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Deninan, Hon. R. D.||Kelly, Edward||Pointer, Joseph|
|Dillon, John||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Doris, William||Kilbride, Denis||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Lambert, George (Devon, Molton)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Radford, George Heynes|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Sherwell, Arthur James||Watt, Henry A|
|Rainy, Adam Rolland||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Snowden, P.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Reddy, Michael||Spicer, Sir Albert||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Strachey, Sir Edward||Wiles, Thomas|
|Richards, Thomas||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Summers, James Woolley||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Sutton, John E.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Tennant, Harold John||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Robinson, Sidney||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Rose, Sir Charles Day||Verney, Sir Harry||Winfrey, Richard|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Walters, John Tudor||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Wardle, George J.|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Waring, Walter||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Seely, Colonel, Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Sheehy, David||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Aitken, William Max.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Frewen, Moreton||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Gardner, Ernest||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gastrell, Major w. Houghton||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gibbs, George Abraham||Mount, William Arthur|
|Astor, Waldorf||Gilmour, Captain J.||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Goldman, C S.||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Goldsmith, Frank||Newman, John R. P.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Grant, J. A.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Greene, Walter Raymond||Nield, Herbert|
|Baring, Captain Hon. G.||Gretton, John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Barnston, H.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Haddock, George Bahr||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish.||Hardy, Laurence||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Bigland, Alfred||Harris, Henry Percy||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Bird, A.||Helmsley, Viscount||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Boyton, James||Hillier, Dr. A. P.||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hills, John Waller||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Horner, Andrew Long||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, John George||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Cassel, Felix||Hunt, Rowland||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool,. Exchange)|
|Cave, George||Joynson-Hicks, William||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kerry, Earl of||Spear, John Ward|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Stanier, Beville|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Kirkwood, J. H. M.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Larmor, Sir J.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Swift, Rigby|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lee, Arthur H.||Sykes, Alan John|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Croft, Henry Page||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Thomson, W. Mitchell. (Down, N.)|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Fell, Arthur||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Macmaster, Donald||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Fleming, Valentine||M'Mordie, Robert||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)||Younger, George|
|Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)||Worthington-Evans, L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount|
|Winterton, Earl||Yate, Colonel C. E.||Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.|
|Wolmer, Viscount||Yerburgh, Robert|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'three' stand part of the Clause."1720
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 289; Noes, 137.1721
|Division No. 183.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Elverston, Harold||Logan, John William|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Adamson, William||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Essex, Richard Walter||Lundon, Thomas|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Falconer, James||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Fenwick, Charles||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Alden, Percy||Ffrench, Peter||Maclean, Donald|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Field, William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Fitzgibbon, John||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Callum, John M.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||France, Gerald Ashburner||M'Curdy, C. A.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Gelder, Sir W. H.||M'Laren, H. D. (Leicester)|
|Barnes, George N.||Gill, A. H.||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Glanville, H. J.||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Goldstone, Frank||Manfield, Harry|
|Barton, William||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Beale, W. P.||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Marks, George Croydon|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Griffith, Ellis J.||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Bentham, G. J||Hackett, John||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hancock, J. G||Millar, James Duncan|
|Black, Arthur W.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Molloy, Michael|
|Boland, John Pius||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harmsworth, R. L.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morrell, Philip|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Muldoon, John|
|Brace, William||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Munro, Robert|
|Brady, P. J.||Harwood, George||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Brigg, Sir John||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Neilson, Francis|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hayden, John Patrick||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hayward, Evan||Nolan, Joseph|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Helme, Nerval Watson||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henry, Sir Charles S.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hinds, John||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hodge, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Holt, Richard Durning||Ogden, Fred|
|Clough, William||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Clynes, John R.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Malley, William|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||John, Edward Thomas||O'Shee, James John|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Johnson, W.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parker, James Halifax|
|Crooks, William||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Cullinan, J.||Jones, W. S. Glyn. (T. H'mts., Stepney)||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jowett, Frederick William||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Joyce, Michael||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Keating, Matthew||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Delany, William||Kelly, Edward||Pirie, Duncan Vernon|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pointer, Joseph|
|Dillon, John||Kilbride, Denis||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Doris, William||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lambert, George (Devon, Molton)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Pringle, William M. R.||Seely, Colonel, Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Radford, G. H.||Sheehy, David||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Sherwell, Arthur James||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Rainy, Adam Rolland||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Snowden, P.||Whyte, A. F.|
|Reddy, Michael||Spicer, Sir Albert||Wiles, Thomas|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Strachey, Sir Edward||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Richards, Thomas||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Summers, James Woolley||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Sutton, John E.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Tennant, Harold John||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Robinson, Sidney||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Verney, Sir Harry||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Rose, Sir Charles Day||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Walters, John Tudor||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Wardle, George J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Waring, Walter|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow. Bridgeton)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Aitken, William Max.||Gardner, Ernest||Newman, John R. P.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Goldman, C. S.||Nield, Herbert|
|Astor, Waldorf||Goldsmith, Frank||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Grant, J. A.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L, (Dorset, N.)||Greene, Walter Raymond||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. V.||Haddock, George Bahr||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Barnbton, H.||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (M'tgom'y B'ghs.)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hardy, Laurence||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bigland, Alfred||Harris, Henry Percy||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bird, Alfred||Helmsley, Viscount||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Rutherford, W. (Liverpool, W. Derby)|
|Boyton, J.||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hills, John Waller||Stanier, Beville|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hohler, G. F||Stewart, Gershom|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Butcher, John George||Horner, Andrew Long||Swift, Rigby|
|Cassel, Felix||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sykes, Alan John|
|Cautley, H. S.||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Thomson, W. Mitchell. (Down, North)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Kerry, Earl of||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Kimber, Sir Henry||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Courthope, George Loyd||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kirkwood, John H. M.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Larmor, Sir J.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Winterton, Earl|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon).|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Macmaster, Donald||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||M'Mordie, Robert||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Magnus, Sir Philip||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, George|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Fleming, Valentine||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Colonel|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mount, William Arthur||Griffith-Boscawen and Mr. Lane-Fox.|
|Frewen, Moreton||Newdegate, F. A.|
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1) to leave out the word "sessions" ["in three successive sessions "], and to insert instead thereof the word "years." 1722 I move this because the word "sessions" is so very indefinite, and, at the same time-so very elastic. The Session may last for a week or it may last for practically the whole of the year. The first Session I came 1723 into this House, in November, 1900, lasted some ten days. Two years after there was a Session which began in January and lasted almost until Christmas Eve, and I believe in 1894 the Session lasted from early in one February till early in the next. Therefore the Session is a very bad unit when you are considering a matter of this kind, because it may mean a very long period or it may mean a very short period. The hon. Gentleman (Sir H. Dalziel) on the last Amendment spoke of special Spring Sessions, and special Autumn Sessions. What use did he mean those Sessions to be put to? When you speak of Autumn Sessions the name as a rule is a misnomer, because the Autumn Session ordinarily is merely an adjournment from some date in July or August to the following November. The Prime Minister the other day said the essence of a Session was that it should be opened by a King's Speech and prorogued by Commission; but of course that may be done at the end of one week or at the end of one year. I should like to cast myself forward in a spirit of hypothetical prophecy. On the hypothesis that this Bill passes—a large assumption—I would throw myself forward a year from the present time, about April, when, I presume, the great Home Rule Bill is brought in. I assume that it passes this House and is rejected by the House of Lords somewhere about November, 1912. Then the normal Session of 1912 will come to an end. That will be the first Session and the first year. That process, I presume, will be repeated in the following year, except that, I imagine, the Home Rule Bill of 1913 would have an exceedingly sharp Closure Motion governing the procedure under it, something like that which was applied to the first Budget of last year. The Session of 1913 would come to an end in the ordinary course, and then we would come to the year 1914 when Parliament presumably would meet in January or February. It would be necessary for that Parliament in that Session, of course, to pass the Supplementary Estimates and the Army and Navy Votes, but all the time hon. Gentlemen from Ireland would have their eyes fixed very attentively on the clock. I understand that the hon. Member for the Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir H. Dalziel) is seized of that matter already. Pressure would be brought to have a special spring session and all the business that would be done in that Session would be the passing of the necessary 1724 votes. Then there would be a prorogation, and as soon as the two years were up, or within a month of two years being up, a fresh Session would be begun, and the Bill which had been twice through this House in the two Sessions before would be rushed through and become law. That is what I mean when I speak in a spirit of hypothetical prophecy. Assuming that all the Members opposite, and especially those below the Gangway on this side, wish this to come to pass, I am quite certain that procedure would be adopted. When you talk of "Session" in these circumstances that I think would be a misnomer. You would have two regular Sessions and another merely technical Session for the purpose of passing the Bill through.
I submit that there ought, as a matter of Parliamentary practice under ordinary circumstances, to be only one Session in one year. I believe it is in the essence of healthy Parliamentary life that there should be a long recess, so that Members should have time to go among their Constituents to gird themselves up for the proceedings of the following Session. But if we do proceed as suggested under this Bill there is not the least doubt that special and extraordinary Sessions will, I was going to say, become the ordinary rule. I suggest that, if "Session" as understood in the old sense, that is one Session every year, be in the mind of the Government, a Bill should not have a special Session, but should be passed in three ordinary Sessions. If that is their view, then I think it is better expressed by putting in the word "years." I am certain that if they want the Bill to work it would work better in this way. There would be the proper amount of discussion, and there would be the proper amount of pause between one Session and another to enable the wish of the country to be known as far as ever it can be known in our procedure.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The Government rely upon the two years' provision as the means by which the period of delay will be defined under the Bill, and within that period of two years it will be necessary to pass a measure three times through the House of Commons. The hon. Member now asks us to increase the provision of two years to a provision of three years, so that no Bill could pass into law against the wish of the present House of Lords unless it had been for three years from its introduction into the House of Commons 1725 passing through the House of Commons. We think that that is too long. It would be too long even within the limitations of the present period of Parliamentary life, but when it is understood that it is the intention of this Bill that the life of Parliament shall be reduced to five years clearly the period of three years from passing a Bill through Parliament would be altogether disproportionate to the total lifetime of the Parliament, and would inadequately recognise the mandate and authority of the Parliament while it was still fresh from contact with the constituencies. Even if the Parliament were prolonged to the full period of five years, which might not always be the case, it is quite clear that three years would be too lengthy a period. The Government, therefore, are not able to accept the Amendment of the hon. Gentlemen, as no doubt he had anticipated before he rose to move it.
I am not sure that the contest between my hon. Friend and the right hon. Gentleman opposite is about anything very substantial. As I read the Bill my hon. Friend behind me is perfectly right in saying that by pressing on your Session you could pass a Bill at the very beginning of the third year. But it seems to me that that could be done equally if the Amendment was carried. I admit that I may not have given to the matter all the consideration which it deserves, but as I read it, even if the Amendment were carried it would not mean, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite appears to suppose it would mean, that three years must elapse between the time the Bill is first introduced into this House and the time it becomes law, in spite of the House of Lords. All it would mean would be that in the third year, it might be on the first day of the third year, as I understand it, the Bill might have all the privileges which this measure is intended to give, and in this way it does seem to me with reference to the two years, that if it is desired to extend the time in which the House and the country have to consider and discuss these Bills you must increase the two years practically, because I do not see otherwise that there is very much between the proposal of my hon. Friend and the proposal of the Government. At the same time I should like to know exactly what the Government do mean by three Sessions? Are the three Sessions to be three genuine Sessions with three genuine discussions in those Sessions? They have never told us. The Prime 1726 Minister has always explained to us that he does leave the House of Lords the privilege of delay, or the power of causing delay, so that this House and the country will be able to discuss a measure over and over again, and finally come to a conclusion, which, if it be in favour of the Bill, should be of a kind which would override the decision of the House of Lords. There is to be the power of discussion, but I want to know whether there is to be genuine discussion or curtailed discussion and mere barren debate? I rather gathered from the Home Secretary, as to the two years, that it is a mere lapse of time, and if it is a mere lapse of time there is not very much difference between the Amendment of my hon. Friend and the proposal of the Government. I would like to ask the Government how they think the debates in this House will be conducted in the two years which, under both proposals, must elapse between the First Beading of a Bill in this House and the passing of it into law over the heads of the House of Lords. Are we to have a discusion of the kind, for example, that took place on the Budget last year, or are we to have the First Beading taken as a matter of course, the Second Reading in a day, and the Committee and remaining stages in two or more days? If that be so, then after all, the three Sessions is rather a sham, and on that point we have never had from the Prime Minister, so far as my recollection goes, the smallest indication of what the policy of the Government is. The only object of delay is that the country may have the measure under discussion, and that the measure should have serious discussion in this House. When the Government lay down three Sessions, do they mean that there should be three times serious discussion in this House? On that I should like very much, if the Government will so far honour us to know how exactly they read their own Bill. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will, as my hon. Friend put it, exercise "hypothetical prophecy," and tell us how, if the House of Lords reject a Bill, it will be dealt with in this House in the Second and Third Sessions.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Without indulging in prophecy, all I can say is what the actual provisions of the Bill are, and how they will work out in practice of course experience will show. The minimum of time from the first introduction of 1727 a Bill and its final carrying into law is two years. That is the minimum time—it may be longer, because the Bill must be carried in this House in three successive Sessions. Therefore the period of two years might be exceeded. At any rate, two years is the minimum, and three Sessions is the alternative; it may be less or it may be more, but two years is the minimum. As to the amount of discussion a Bill will receive in each of those years it is beyond my power to forecast. The House of Lords, at any rate, will have full opportunity of discussion under the provisions of this Bill in the two Sessions in which a measure goes up to them. The House of Commons, after all, is the custodian and trustee of the rights of free speech—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and if they are not I should like to know who is the custodian. [An HON. MEMBER: "The House of Lords."] The House of Lords will have its two Sessions, and can exercise them to the full and to the utmost extent with regard to any measure sent to them. I think I have sufficiently answered the question of the hon. Gentleman. Two years is the minimum period, and the condition of a third Session may make it longer.
I must confess I think the Prime Minister's explanation of the intentions of the Government or of the meaning of this Bill is quite inadequate to the serious nature of the Amendment. I treat this Amendment as one of very great importance indeed. The hon. Member who moved it did so in terms perhaps more moderate than I would have used if I had been in his position, because I see no reason whatever why the Government, if it was of the kind of the present Government, could not hold the whole of three Sessions in one year. If the Government were as much under the control of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) as they are now, there is no reason why next year it would not be possible for the hon. and learned Member to insist on having a Home Rule Bill brought in and passed through, and after rejection by the House of Lords have a prorogation, and the Bill brought in a second time, and again a third time in the year. Under the scheme proposed by this Amendment that would be impossible, because it says three successive years instead of Sessions. Therefore whatever else happened the country would have at least a year's interval 1728 before the Bill was reintroduced, and it is that year which might mean everything on a Home Rule Bill, or indeed, on any measure which was affected by this Bill. The Home Secretary, in his casual way, said it was quite enough for the wishes of the present House of Lords, but he forgets this Bill affects any House of Lords which is set up according to the Preamble afterwards. He never can resist making a hit at the present House of Lords, unjustly and unfairly, even in Debate in this House, as well as outside. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, if the same treatment is to be meted out to a future constituted Second Chamber, why do the Government cling on to this Preamble at all? I cannot conceive why. The right hon. Gentleman seems to say that as the Bill stands at present it will allow the Second Chamber to discuss adequately any question which is brought before it. That is not the case. The Prime Minister, I think, is wrong in saying that under this Bill under the system of three Sessions, that the House of Lords would have adequate time for discussion. Take a large measure, I do not care what it is, and they are to get one month to discuss it. A Bill might take this House six months to discuss, and no matter how important, the Upper Chamber were to be allowed merely one month perhaps in order to revise it.
I am sorry to have strayed out of order, but it always happens when I follow the Prime Minister. I trust that my hon. Friend will press the Amendment to a division, in order that we may make it certain that whether a Bill has a long or short discussion each time it is brought forward, there shall at any rate be a year's interval between the successive introductions, rather than these nebulous Sessions to which the Treasury Bench attach so much importance. Will the right hon. Gentleman define what a Session shall mean, after the speech of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir H. Dalziel)? The hon. Gentleman stated that a Session need not mean a year of Parliamentary time, but that, by the simple process of proroguing Parliament, you might have two Sessions in one year. In that way a new Parliament, in its freshness and vigour, might rush a Bill through the three stages in the first year, hang it up for the necessary two years, and 1729 then pass it into law. It will be a positive scandal if some restraint is not imposed upon the Government in thus rushing onwards to the destruction of the country. The Amendment is a most reasonable one, as it will ensure to the country an opportunity of making its voice heard upon any particular measure. Without the Amendment it will be possible for an ill-considered measure, after having been rushed through, to be filed away in the Chief Whip's Office, and then, at the end of two years, when it automatically becomes law, the country will find that they have been absolutely fooled by an unscrupulous Government.
§ 11.0 P.M.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I agree that this Amendment is one of considerable importance, and I was surprised that the Prime Minister failed to say a single word in reply to my right hon. Friend's speech. The Government have not attempted to define what they mean by a Session. The Home Secretary says that he pins his faith entirely to the two years. But there is no guarantee at all that there will be two years' delay and discussion. Because, after all, what is it? Two years must have elapsed between the date of the first introduction of the Bill into the House of Commons and the date of its third passing. What does the first introduction of a Bill mean? It is not as if one were even to suppose that this Government would always have the working of this Bill if it passes. One has to look to the time when another Government may work it. The first introduction may be a purely formal step. I do not know that there is anything to prevent the Bill being brought in in dummy; or if there is to be a First Beading that it may be 'one which will occupy only one day's discussion. The Government can then drop that Bill for two years. They need not carry it another stage further till two years elapse. Just before the close of the two years the Government begin to take up their Bill seriously. The country for the first time begins to understand what it is about, and the Government put it through in one Session. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent the Government from having the three Sessions in the last year. Can anybody, can the Home Secretary, deny that? He may, and plausibly, but I do not think the Government will be able to deny that the effect of the Clause, as it reads at present is, as I have stated, unless these words are altered.
1730 I do not know that there is anywhere a definition of "a Session." I take it that a Session is that period between the formal opening of Parliament by the Sovereign or by a Royal Commission and the Prorogation. There is nothing to prevent Ministers of the Crown from advising such Prorogations as often as they please during any one year. It is true that nominally when we have an Autumn Session it is only an adjournment from the ordinary Session. But there is no reason whatever, if the Government have a particular motive in altering that Clause, such as it would have under the circumstances I have contemplated, that they should not crowd as many Sessions as they can into one year, and so defeat the spirit of the Bill. I do say that this most important question should be adequately discussed. The Government should tell us what they mean. Then we would be able to see what words are necessary to add or take away from the Bill, so that it may be made perfectly clear. We will then be able to judge whether there is still to be left to the House of Lords these limited functions of revision and delay which have been so much talked about by the Government.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
On a point of Order, may I ask if this Amendment is withdrawn, or negatived, whether that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton (Mr. Peel) can be taken, because it undoubtedly does raise certain points in a better manner than the present Amendment?
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the Amendment was withdrawn it would not interfere with any other Amendment. On page 30 of the White Paper there is an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Croydon, which raises the question in a somewhat different way. I do not know which of these is best. If this Amendment is withdrawn by consent neither of these Amendments would be interfered with.
I was going to raise a similar point of Order, namely, that my Amendment lower down definitely raises that point on the question of a substantial interval between Sessions and to prevent Sessions coming in one year. I think that is rather a different point from the one raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, whose Amendment limits the Session to seventy days.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
Then the point of Order I was making was this: If this Amendment is negatived, it will be in order for my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. Peel) to move his Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
No. We have been discussing that very subject, and I do not think it would be in order.
On the point of Order, is not the question raised in the Amendment of my hon. Friend (Mr. Hope) quite different, because he deals with a longer period than two years? It is one clear definite point. My Amendment accepts the two years in the Government Bill, but merely distributes the time of the two years.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have to select the Amendment, and I have to consider what the Amendment selected raises.
May I ask this? My Noble Friend (Viscount Helmsley) has raised this point. A Bill may be introduced, not even under the Ten Minutes Rule, and the time under this Bill would run from that sham introduction. What I want to ask is whether you would allow the Amendment lower down modifying the words "date of the first introduction" or how you think we could ask the Government to do what I suspect they will be quite ready to do, namely, to make it quite clear that, at all events, the two years will be genuine? I do not suspect them of any desire of future chicane in the matter, but we know how they may be pressed in particular circumstances. I am sure they desire to follow out the limits they laid down and to make these limits precise and clear and to give a real statutory right to what they profess in the words of the Bill. I think the point made by my Noble Friend is really substantial. As the Bill now runs, the intention of the Government as to time—though we should like to see the time extended I accept it for the moment as adequate—but we should like to see this intention made perfectly clear and unmistakable in the phraseology of the Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for asking me 1732 that question. There are Amendments down to insert "the Second Reading" and "the passing of the Bill," and it was my intention to allow one of those.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The Noble Lord has actually suggested the hypothesis that a Government might fraudulently introduce a Bill under the Ten Minutes Rule. [An HON. MEMBER: "It has been done."]
§ The PRIME MINISTER
This Bill will be for all Governments. The suggestion is that a Government might introduce in dummy a Bill under the Ten Minutes Rule, lay it on the Table, and two years after, by exercising the perogative of the Crown have two special Sessions, two King's Speeches, and two Prorogations to comply with the terms of this Bill. A more preposterous proposition, and one more derogatory of all the traditions of this House, I cannot conceive. But if there are people so suspicious as to think that that is possible, then I will undertake between now and the Report stage to consider whether some words may be introduced to avoid what, I think, is wholly improbable—words which will absolutely obviate any possibility of such an abuse of our Parliamentary system.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
We are, of course, grateful to the Prime Minister for his promise. Probably owing to the enormous weight of the work which falls upon him he has omitted to realise that there is in the point raised by my Noble Friend a substantial argument. The Prime Minister spoke of "fraudulent introduction." There is no question about that. Under our Parliamentary system a Bill dates from the notice given of its presentation. The Prime Minister knows that the Government through Ministers give notice of their most important Bills on the first day of the Session.
§ Mr. LONG
They often give notice of introduction before it is actually ready for presentation to the House. A very considerable interval often elapses between: the introduction of a Bill and the time it is printed and circulated amongst Members. I can produce hundreds of cases where, during the last thirty years, Bills have been explained and their formal introduction has not followed for some time 1733 after. The Prime Minister is thinking only of Bills introduced by the Government. The other day we debated the position of Bills introduced by private Members, and we asked whether in the case of Bills introduced by a private Member and passed through Parliament and afterwards adopted by the Government such measure would be subjected to this provision, and we were told they were. In the case of private Members it is a very common thing to obtain leave to introduce Bills and a very considerable time necessarily elapses between the introduction and the Second Reading. Such measures frequently are not printed until within two or three days of the Second Reading. There is no intention on the part of those who support this Amendment of imputing anything of an improper character, and I am glad that the Prime Minister has given us his assurance that if on further consideration he regards it as necessary words will be introduced.
§ Sir RANDOLF BAKER
There is another point which I do not think the Prime Minister has considered. Supposing there is a Dissolution after the introduction of a certain measure in this House and the Government is defeated and then is returned to power again after an interval of two years and it reintroduces the measure first introduced in the Session before the last, you might have two years elapse—
I just wish to raise a point which you, Sir, said could not be raised later on my Amendment because it has already been alluded to in some expressions by an hon. Member behind me, but I venture to think it is a substantial point all the same. You have two years as the minimum time within which a Bill can be carried, but there is no provision limiting the time within which these separate Sessions may be held. An hon. Member opposite suggested you might have three Sessions in the first year. I limit it rather, to the question of the two Sessions, because we all know the passing of the Bill in the third Session will really not be a serious matter.
I am referring to a point which the Chairman said was included in this Amendment, namely, the suggestion that at least three months should elapse between the end of one Session and the beginning of the next. It is quite clear, if there is not some such provision, the whole object of the delay as stated by the Government might be defeated. After two years, you might very easily have your two Sessions in the same year with a very short interval between them. That is not merely my own suggestion, because I saw the suggestion was made by a very distinguished Liberal journalist, that this particular procedure should be applied to this Parliament Bill. He stated, if the House of Lords threw out this Bill, Parliament should be prorogued, and the next Session should begin one day afterwards-That particular Liberal journalist very often, I believe, writes under inspiration, but, whether he does or not, it is quite clear that, without making any great charge of fraud or any other charge against the Government, this might very easily be done. What would happen in that case? Two things, I think, would happen. First, there would be no opportunity at all for the public outside to digest that Bill or to express their views upon it before it was passed a second time through the House of Commons. After all, it is not enough for public opinion to be stirred outside. There must also be time for public opinion to affect this House, and how can public opinion affect this House if there is to be a very short interval, perhaps two or three days or a week, between the two different Sessions? We all have in our minds the discussion which took place on the Finance Bill.
I think we know very well that there was weariness in this House of that particular subject. Is there anybody who sat through the Debates on that Finance Bill who could have again discussed it with the same force the next year? Yet here we are dealing with a case in which the same Bill may have to be debated twice within one year. It would require a Hercules with the ability of a Demosthenes to do that, and then probably the discussion would be of a very perfunctory character. Meanwhile, even if public opinion were stirred up in the country, it would have no effect on the Bill whatever. I submit that it is of vital importance to interpose a statutory period between the different Sessions, and in that case public opinion might have some effect on the 1735 proceedings with a great measure. That is really a substantial point, and I am sorry to understand I am not to have the opportunity of moving it.
§ Sir RANDOLF BAKER
I wish to point out that it might conceivably be the case that there would be three successive Sessions in one actual year of time. The Bill might be passed in April, another Session commenced! The Bill passed again in November or December, and with another Session early in January the Bill could go through the third time by February or March. It would only need to have a separate Session in the autumn to enable a Bill to be passed three times in the course of one year. There would not, therefore, be that ample time for consideration while the Bill was before the country which the Government profess to give, as the whole process would have to be gone through in twelve months.
The point raised by my hon. Friend below the Gangway—although I am not sure that I agree with his last observation, because I think it would be rather a good thing if we could interpolate in this continuous period of two years a general election—was one which I will try to explain to the Prime Minister. Let us suppose that Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bills were identical with a Bill which was brought forward under this measure. The Home Rule Bill, I think, was introduced in this House in 1886, but did not pass; but it certainly passed this House in 1893. If this Bill were introduced in 1911, would it or would it not come under this Clause? I know it is not intended, and therefore the point I am making is not a point against the policy of the Government but against the drafting of the Bill. Everybody will agree that a Bill of that sort is not the Bill intended to be forced through the House of Lords as one more passage of the Bill so as to enable
§ this House to coerce the other House. It is a pure question of drafting, and, of course, I know that the Government do not intend any procedure of that sort; but after my hon. Friend's speech, I do think that the proceeding which I have mentioned is one which should be suggested to the Government.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Yes, I will give as much attention to it as I can. I think the hon. Member's hypothesis included a dissolution of Parliament.
It was a point raised by my hon. Friend. I do not apprehend that it is intended to take that course under the present Bill. It is mere drafting.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I quite admit that in this Amendment there is the flaw which my hon. Friend noted in it, but my vanity is somewhat consoled by the fact that the flaw was not obvious to the acute mind of the Home Secretary any more than it was to myself. I perfectly admit it would not without some addition carry out the purpose I had in my mind. Another purpose I had was to try and elicit from the Government whether the Sessions they refer to are what we understand by the ordinary annual Parliamentary Sessions, but that has not been elicited at all, and we are left in the dark as much as we were before. The Session may be such a Session as was suggested by the journalist my hon. Friend alluded to. It may be at any time of the year for the passage of certain Bills, and, unless we get some assurance on that point, I think it necessary to divide.
§ Question put, "That the word 'sessions' stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 266; Noes, 173.1739
|Division No. 184.]||AYES.||[11.35 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Barnes, G. N.||Brace, William|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Brady, P. J.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, H.)||Brocklehurst, W. B.|
|Adamson, William||Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Barton, W.||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Beauchamp, Edward||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Beck, Arther Cecil||Byles, William Pollard|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Alden, Percy||Bentham, G. J.||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Black, Arthur W.||Chancellor, H. G.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Boland, John Pius||Chapple, Dr. W. A.|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Booth, Frederick Handel||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Bowerman, C. W.||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Salfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Clough, William|
|Clynes, John R.||Joyce, Michael||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Keating, M.||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Kelly, Edward||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cornwall, Sr Edwin A.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Cotton, William Francis||Kilbride, Denis||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Cowan, W. H.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Crooks, William||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Reddy, Michael|
|Cullinan, J.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Richards, Thomas|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lewis, John Herbert||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lundon, T.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Delany, William||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lynch, A. A.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Dillon, John||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Doris, W.||Macdortald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Maclean, Donald||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Edwards, A. C. (Glamorgan, E.)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Rowlands, James|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||M'Callum, John M.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Elverston, H.||M'Curdy, C. A||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Falconer, J.||Manfield, Harry||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Fenwick, Charles||Markham, Arthur Basil||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow. Bridgeton)|
|Perens, T. R.||Marks, G. Croydon||Seely, Col. Pt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Sheehy, David|
|Field, William||Masterman, C. P. G.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Millar, James Duncan||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|France, G. A.||Molloy, M.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Gill, A. H.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Worrell, Philip||Sutton, John E.|
|Goldstone, Frank||Muldoon, John||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Munro, R.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Needham, Christopher T.||Verney, Sir Henry|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Neilson, Francis||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Hackett, J.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Nolan, Joseph||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Hancock, J. G.||Norman, Sir Henry||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Waring, Walter|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Mcrthyr Tydvil)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Harvey W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Harwood, George||O'Doherty, Philip||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Dowd, John||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Ogden, Fred||White, Patrick (Until, North)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Malley, William||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Hayward, Evan||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Helme, Nerval Watson||O'Shaughnessy P. J.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Shee, James John||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Henry, Sir Charles S.||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Palmer, Godfrey||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Hinds, John||Parker, James (Halifax)||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Hodge, John||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Hughes, S. L.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hunter, W. (Govan)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Winfrey, Richard|
|John, Edward Thomas||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Johnson, W.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Politer, Joseph|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pollard, Sir George H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Jowett, F. W.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Aitken, William Max.||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Banner, John S Harmood-||Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Baring, Capt. Hon. G. V.||Bennett-Goldney Francis|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Barlow, Montagu (Salford, South)||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish.|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Barnston, Harry||Bigland, Alfred|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, H.)||Boscawen, Col. Sackville T. Griffith.|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Pole-Carw, Sir R.|
|Boyton, J.||Hohler, G. Fitzroy||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Horner, Andrew Long||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Rawlinson, J. F. P.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hunt, Rowland||Rice, Hon. W. F.|
|Butcher, John George||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Joynson-Hicks, William||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Cassel, Felix||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Keir||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Cator, John||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Kirkwood, J. H. M.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Cave, George||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Lee, Arthur H.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Spear, John Ward|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Stanler, Beville|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Starkey, John R.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Edgbaston)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cripps, Sir C. A.||Lowther, Claud (Eskdale)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Sykes, Alan John|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Dixon, C. H.||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Mackinder, H. J.||Thomson, W. Mitchell. (Down, North)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Macmaster, Donald||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Fell, Arthur||M'Mordie, Robert||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Magnus, Sir Philip||Touche, George Alexander|
|Fleming, Valentine||Malcolm, Ian||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Forster, Henry William||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cibbs, G. A.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Gilmour, Captain J.||Mount, William Arthur||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Goldman, C. S.||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Newdegate, F. A.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Grant, J. A.||Newman, John R. P.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, ER.)|
|Greene, W. R.||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Winterton, Earl|
|Gretton, John||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E.||Nield, Herbert||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Cwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Haddock, George Bahr||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wyndham, Rt Hon. George|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Parkes, Ebenezer||Younger, George|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks., Abingdon)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Baird and Captain Craig.|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Hills, J. W.||Perkins, Walter F.|
§ Viscount WOLMER
I beg to move to leave out the words "whether of the same Parliament or not" ["in three successive sessions (whether of the same Parliament or not), and having been sent up"] and to insert instead thereof the words "in the present Parliament, but after the present Parliament in three sessions, one of which at least shall be in the Parliament next succeeding that in which the Bill has first been passed by the House of Commons."
This Amendment has been rendered necessary by the fact that the hon. Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave) by an earlier Amendment has prevented the discussion of this particular Amendment as far as the present Parliament is concerned. This Amendment is designed simply to apply to all future Parliaments. The effect would be to give the electorate an opportunity of reviewing legislation 1740 brought forward by any Government about which the two Houses disagreed before it passes into law. This is not a referendum Amendment. A referendum is a decision of the people upon one particular point. The effect of this would be to enable the electorate to come to a decision upon the general policy of the Government in power. That is entirely distinct from the referendum and in every way consistent with the theory of representative Government that has been laid down by the Prime Minister to which he attaches such great importance. I admit that this Amendment does not go as far as we on this side of the House would like to go, but we have brought it forward from the point of view of being a compromise—something which we hope there might be a reasonable chance of the other side accepting in view of the fact that we have made considerable sacrifices on our own side.
1741 If this Amendment had been the law during the past two years, it would have allowed the Government to carry into law the Licensing Bill, the Education Bill, the Plural Voting Bill; in fact, all the Bills which they have not been able to carry into law, and which they have not liked to refer specifically to the country. In the same way this Amendment would have allowed the Unionist party, when they were in power for ten years, to carry the great measures which they did carry. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may look forward to the time when there is a reformed Second Chamber which might perhaps reject measures brought forward by a Unionist Government and, in view of the speedy establishment of that reformed Second Chamber which we have heard described by the Prime Minister, surely it is necessary to consider the care of Unionist legislation which might be rejected by a Second Chamber, but which would be allowed to pass into law if effect were given to this Amendment. The argument I desire to adduce is that this Amendment allows any Government which is capable of retaining the confidence of the people for two successive elections to carry out their policy unhindered. The Prime Minister in the course of a recent Debate laid tremendous emphasis on the fact that the Parliament Bill has been presented to the people, first in principle and then in detail. This Amendment secures that all measures on which the two Houses disagree shall be submitted to the people first in principle and then in detail, not on specific measures, but on the general policy of the Government. There is nothing in that which is in any way inconsistent with the strictest theory of representative Government as we have it propounded on the opposite benches. I believe this plan has other advantages besides being consistent with the strictest theory of representative Government. It would allow the classes of the community affected by the proposed legislation to have some amount of time in which they can accommodate themselves to the new conditions that were to take effect by reason of that legislation. Hon. Members opposite may say that that would be, in other words, merely delaying legislation.
I do not think this Amendment would delay legislation, because, if it were adopted, one of its most important results would be to shorten the life of Parliament. The Government, who had a scheme of legislation that they 1742 wanted carried into law would be ready to dissolve after a shorter tenure of office than they are now prepared to do in order that the sanction of the electorate might be obtained to their measures, and that those measures should become law. What would the result of that be? I submit that in most cases, if the legislation was popular, the Government would be returned to power again. We should not have the Box and Cox interchange of parties which is so bad for all purposes of administration where continuity of policy is important. I believe that this Amendment would lead to much greater continuity of general policy. In proportion, as the Government proposals were popular and were desired by the people so would Ministers be re-elected and given further opportunity of carrying out the policy which they had commenced. At the present moment it too often happens that the Government introduce measures which were popular in their day, and they dissolve after the benefits conferred by those measures have been forgotten, and there is a complete revolution in policy as the result of the election. I believe that the effect of this Amendment would be that greater continuity of policy would be preserved, and by that means a Government might keep in office for several Parliaments in succession. In that way you would have the double effect of preventing the Government from carrying measures for the principle of which they had not got general support, or, secondly, enable them to carry their policy to completion instead of having it arrested in the middle, as is now often the case.
I submit this is an entirely different question from the referendum, and it is simply because it is in keeping with the theory of representative Government in its strictest sense that I hope that it will receive the careful consideration of hon. Gentlemen opposite. It seems to me absurd to say that this would militate against the theory of representative Government, because the Amendment would be the test of whether the Government was representative or not. If the Government were unable to return to power on the general principles of their policy, it would surely be a proof that they were not a sufficiently representative Government. And it is simply in order to safeguard to the people the right of general survey of the principles of the Government that this Amendment has been introduced. This Amendment would not interfere with legislature's function 1743 of dealing with details. It would not in any way supplant the work of the House of Commons, but it would ensure that no general policy was carried out in its entirety without the express approval of the people of this country at a general election. I would like hon. Members opposite to remember that their great leader, Mr. Gladstone, laid it down that Liberalism was trust of the people, while, as he said, Conservatism was fear of the people—[An HON. MEMBER: "Distrust"]—distrust of the people. I think this Amendment and this Debate will test the accuracy of that statement, and, I hope, at any rate that the public outside these walls will be able to see how far the Liberal party of to-day are true to the maxim that was laid down some years ago by Mr. Gladstone. I believe if this Amendment is rejected by the Government that it will, indeed, be difficult for them to pretend that they are not afraid of having their policy judged by the people of this country at a general election or any other opportunity that they may have.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The particular topic referred to by the Noble Lord would be interesting at another time of the day, but I will confine myself strictly to the Amendment which he has moved, and which is obviously one the House of Commons cannot accept. The Noble Lord proposes in the first place that this House of Commons should be invested with a power which no future House of Commons is to have. This House of Commons could carry within two years and three successive years in defiance of the power of the House of Lords any legislation it pleased.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Perhaps I should explain that the Noble Lord is moving the Amendment in this form because I thought the form on the Paper would not. be in order, inasmuch as it would clash with the decision at which the Committee has already arrived.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I quite appreciate that. The necessities of order compel him to reserve to this House of Commons a privilege which he proposes to deny to all future assemblies. However, that is not the substantial point of the Amendment. The substantial point is this. We propose that legislation approved by the House of Commons in two successive Sessions and rejected in those Sessions by the House of Lords 1744 shall, if approved by this House in the third Session, acquire the force of law The Noble Lord says, "No; you must go to the country; there must be a general election." In other words, "You are to spend the first two years of your parliamentary life in passing measures which are rejected by the House of Lords, and then you are to go to the country and ask whether or not they approve of them." That is simply to override and overthrow the purpose and intention of this Bill. The purpose and intention of this Bill is that the will of the House of Commons within the lifetime of a single Parliament shall, subject to the conditions in the Bill, be effective. The Noble Lord's Amendment negatives that proposition, denies the competence of the electors to give effect to their will in the course of a single Parliament, and contravenes the fundamental proposition upon which the Bill is constructed. The Government therefore cannot for a moment consider it.
My Noble Friend pointed out in his speech that he had' carefully avoided touching the Referendum, which, for some reason so far-unknown, appears to be regarded on the other side as inconsistent with true democratic principles. He has confined himself to what the other side think is not wholly inconsistent with democratic principles, namely, a reference to the people at a general election. My Noble Friend suggests that before they override the Second Chamber the Government that attempts to carry out that task should have the mandate of the people, or, at any rate, the approval of the people expressed in the only way which hon. Gentlemen' opposite say is consistent with the principles of representative Government, namely, a general election. I do not know why such an Amendment should be dismissed in such cursory fashion by the Prime Minister.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
The Amendment suggested by the Noble. Lord would necessitate a general election between the second and third passages of the Bill through this House. In that it would conform strictly to the procedure in the Australian Commonwealth. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyttelton) referred to this point this afternoon, when he said that a Dissolution must take place, or might take place, after a joint Session. I pointed out that a joint Session was final—that a Dissolution could not take-place between a joint Session and the 1745 signature of the Governor-General if a Bill passed that joint Session. But this general election between the second and third passages of a Bill does not apply to the South African Constitution. The reason is obvious: the term of Parliament in Australia is three years; in South Africa five. The delay in Australia, consequent upon the election, would not greatly prolong the final passage of that measure.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The Government attached very little importance to Amendments from this side of the House. Their system is perfunctory argument and vigorous Closure. The answer of the
§ Prime Minister to our arguments is that the Amendment is contrary to the principle of the Bill. The reply to that is that in that case the principle of the Bill is hopelessly undemocratic. If this Amendment were embodied in the Bill the Bills that the country desired would pass, and the only Bills that would be stopped would be the Bills that the country did not desire to pass.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 219; Noes, 129.1747
|Division No. 185.]||AYES.||[12.10 a.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Maclean, Donald|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Fitzgibbon, John||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Adamson, William||Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Agnew, Sir George William||France, Gerald Ashburner||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Gelder, Sir W. A.||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding).|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Gill, A. H.||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Manfield, Harry|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Goldstone, Frank||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Barnes, George N.||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Gulland, John William||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.).|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Barton, William||Hackett, John||Molloy, Michael|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Bentham, G J.||Hancock, J. G.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morrell, Philip|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Muldoon, John|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Munro, Robert|
|Bowerman, C. w.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Neilson, Francis|
|Brace, William||Harwood, George||Nolan, Joseph|
|Brady, P. J.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Hayward, Evan||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Henry, Sir Charles S.||O'Dowd, John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Higham, John Sharp||Ogden, Fred|
|Clough, William||Hinds, John||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hodge, John||O'Malley, William|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Shaughnessy P. J.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||O'Shee, James John|
|Cotton, William Francis||Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Cowan, W. H.||John, Edward Thomas||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Crooks, William||Johnson, W.||Parker, James Halifax|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Cullinan, J.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jones, W. S. Glyn.(T. H'mts, Stepney)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Jowett, Frederick William||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Dawes, J. A.||Joyce, Michael||Pirie, Duncan Vernon|
|Delany, William||Keating, Matthew||Pointer, Joseph|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Kelly, Edward||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Dillon, John||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Doris, William||Kilbride, Denis||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Elverston, Harold||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Reddy, Michael|
|Falconer, James||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lundon, Thomas||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Lyell, Charles Henry||Richards, Thomas|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lynch, A. A.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Field, William||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Robinson, Sidney||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth, N.)||Summers, James Wooley||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Sutton, John E.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Rowlands, James||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Tennant, Harold John||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton)||Verney, Sir Harry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Samuel, Stuart M. (Whitechapel)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Waring, Walter||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Seely, Colonel, Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Sheehy, David||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Dudley Ward and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gibbs, George Abraham||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Gilmour, Captain J.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Goldman, C. S.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Grant, J. A.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Greene, Walter Raymond||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood.||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, S.)||Hardy, Laurence||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Barnston, H.||Helmsley, Viscount||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (M'tgom'y B'ghs.)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hills, John Waller||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rutherford, W. (Liverpool, W. Derby)|
|Boscawen, Col. Sackville T. Griffith.||Horner, Andrew Long||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hunt, Rowland||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Spear, John Ward|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Kerr-Smiley, Peter||Stanier, Seville|
|Butcher, John George||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Kirkwood, J. H. M.||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Cassel, Felix||Lane-Fox, G. R||Stewart, Gershom|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Sykes, Alan John|
|Cator, John||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cave, George||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Clay, Captain H. Spender||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Clive, Percy Archer||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Mackinder, Halford J.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Macmaster, Donald||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||M'Mordie, Robert||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Winterton, Earl|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Dixon, C. H.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fell, Arthur||Mount, William Arthur||Younger, George|
|Fleming, Valentine||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Forster, Henry William||Newdegate, F. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Newman, John R. P.||Wolmer and Mr. Ian Malcolm.|
§ Mr. BARNSTON
I beg to move in Subsection (1) to leave out the words "one month" ["one month before the end of the session"] and to insert instead thereof the words "two months."
The Clause will then run—
having been sent up to the House of Lords at least two months before the end of the session.
§ I think this is a very important Amendment, and one which can be explained in a very few minutes. If our Second Chamber is not to be a mere farce, and if it is 1748 to mean anything at all, some such Amendment as I have suggested ought to be accepted. The Prime Minister said the functions which a Second Chamber can usefully carry out are those of consultation, revision, and delay. This Clause enacts that only one month shall be allowed. Such questions as Home Rule and Welsh Disestablishment are to be thrown at the heads of the House of Lords just at the end of the Session. Take, for example, the case of the Home Rule Bill. A month before the end of the Session the House of Lords, when that Bill might be 1749 sent up, might actually not be sitting at all, or they might be occupied with some other measures. To suggest that the Second. Chamber, whose functions are to fee those of consideration, revision, and delay, are within a month to go through the First and Second Reading, and the Committee stage of a Home Rule Bill is hardly treating the matter seriously. I venture to suggest that to send a Bill to another place under such conditions is nothing but ridiculous and a farce.
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
I regret the Government is not able to accept this Amendment, and I regret it more in view of the persuasive and succinct manner in which the hon. Member has moved it. He argued, however, as though the period of one month were the maximum period to be allowed the House of Lords. That, of course, is not so. It is the minimum period of which the House of Lords are assured, and in the cases which he contemplated of long and complicated Bills being sent to the House of Lords, naturally they would be allowed due time in which to consider them. If the period of one month elapsed and it were found the House of Lords had been, and still were, bona fide considering the Bills, then, of course, the Government of the day would necessarily be obliged to postpone the Prorogation. No responsible Government would in the midst of serious and sustained discussion in another House suddenly advise the Prorogation of Parliament. If, on the other hand, we were to accept this Amendment and insert the period of two months in the Bill, great inconvenience might be caused. Supposing Parliament rose in the middle of August, it would mean that no Bill would gain the advantages of this Clause which did not leave this House before the middle of June. It may very frequently happen that a Bill which is not a complete Bill—it need not be a long Bill—may pass the House of Commons in the latter part of June, or even in the middle of July, and the House of Lords would have ample time to consider it before the Session reached its normal close. If this Amendment were accepted, that Bill would be deprived of the advantages of this Clause, or Parliament would have to be kept sitting for two months, although it had no business to transact, and although the Bill had been dealt with by the House of Lords in order that the provisions of this Bill might be fulfilled. I think that is a good reason why, with every goodwill 1750 towards an Amendment moved in so brief and cogent a fashion, the Government are unable to accept it.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
The Postmaster-General has substantially admitted the case made by my hon. Friend, the case at any rate that for most Bills sent up to the House of Lords two months would not be an excessive time to allow. I think my hon. Friend has succeeded in getting a valuable admission from the Postmaster-General on behalf of the Government, that when Bills are being debated by the House of Lords the Government's intention is to allow them at any rate more than one month, up to two months, and even more provided those discussions are bonâ fide and are serving a useful purpose. I trust the House will take note of that admission. I do not see the cogency of the argument the Postmaster-General made with regard to the date at which Bills left this House. If a Bill be of sufficient gravity and magnitude to demand the special machinery of this Act, surely arrangements should be made by the Government of the day that it should leave this House upon such a date as would enable sufficient time for the House of Lords, in the course of the ordinary Session, to give it adequate time. A very fair estimate could be made by the Government of the day as to what that time should be. I do not see why the House of Lords should be put to the inconvenience of curtailing their discussion simply because the Government have not made arrangements for the Bill to leave this House for proper discussion to take place there.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I should like to draw attention to two main points. In the first place under the Bill as it stands Home Rule and Welsh Disestablishment measures might be sent up to the House of Lords during one month, together with other Bills if the Government saw fit. The other point is that if one month is a proper period to allow under Clause 1, obviously there ought to be a longer time under Clause 2. If one month is required for what after all could only be a purely academic discussion on Clause 1, it is perfectly obvious that a month for Clause 2 would be absolutely and entirely insufficient.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
I want to draw the attention of the Committee to a most important pledge which has been given by the Postmaster-General, who is acting 1751 as Leader of the House. The right hon. Gentleman has said—and we understand him to be a man who weighs his words—that in any case where the House of Lords shows that it is seriously discussing a Bill with a view to reasonable Amendment, this particular limit of time will not be pressed against it. I ask the Committee to. take note of that, and to take it as a pledge from the Government. Although, of course, it has no binding effect in a court of law, still, in the discussion and the consideration of what would happen under this Bill, we are given to understand that the procedure contemplated under the Clause is only reserved for extreme cases. Otherwise, there will be full latitude of serious discussion allowed in another place, and they will not be pressed by the time limit of the Clause. It is most satisfactory to have that admission. It does not meet all we want, but it is a far greater admission than we have ever had before, and I am very glad it should have come from a man whose opinions are so carefully weighed as the Postmaster-General.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
My hon. Friend is more easily pleased than I am. I cannot say I have been very much satisfied with the speech of the Postmaster-General. It seems to me to work in quite a different way. I look at it not only from the point of view of the House of Lords, but also from the point of view of this House, and I say it is going to be singularly inconvenient if while the House of Lords are bonâ fule discussing a Bill towards the end of a Session this House is to be compelled to prolong its Session pending the completion of that discussion. That would be a very awkward situation and it is the evil of the other side if the position contemplated by the Postmaster-General is carried out. You cannot of course bind successive Governments: a pledge given by a Government only endures during the life of that Government. I much prefer the Amendment of my hon. Friend because that makes the Government of the day take care it is to the advantage both of the House of Commons and of the House of Lords to have the Bill sent up in good time. I regard that as far more satisfactory to us and far more fair to the Lords, and therefore I cannot see any valid reason why the Government should not accept this Amendment. After all, it is not a big question of policy, or one which interferes with the principle of the Government 1752 Bill. It is merely a matter of convenience of the two Houses. Presumably, it is not desired that the discussion in the House of Lords should be a farce, and it is wished that they should be given ample time, and if two Bills are sent up that they should have an opportunity of considering them. It is also desired to make the Government in this House push forward their business as soon as possible, and therefore I think the Government might accept this Amendment, which would give us some confidence that they are willing to listen to some argument. Hitherto we have had very little confidence of that kind.
§ Sir WILLIAM ANSON
I think we ought to be grateful to the Postmaster-General for this admission that he and the Government, of which he is a Member, put this construction upon the Bill, that if they were satisfied that the House of Lords was discussing the measure in an intelligent manner to their satisfaction they will give a liberal construction to the word "month," but, after all, that word will stand part of the Bill, and under it the House of Lords will not be entitled to more than that period. The Prime Minister said that, in regard to a measure which was to come into operation under this Bill, the electors would be informed of everything that could be said for and against it, but would that be the case, because it not unfrequently occurs that under the guillotine a measure goes to the House of Lords with large portions of it undiscussed. It is also possible that a sheaf of Bills discussed under those conditions may be sent Up a month before the end of the Session, and therefore, I think, this Amendment deserves more careful consideration than has been given to it by the Government.
§ Mr BAIRD
The Postmaster-General must forgive us if we on this side of the House are a little bit sceptical about the Government being willing to postpone a Prorogation for the House of Lords to have sufficient time to discuss a measure. But we remember that the Parliament Bill of last Session, which was probably the most important Bill which had ever been before Parliament, was thrown before the House of Lords at a period when there certainly was not time for it to be properly discussed. If that was the attitude adopted by the Government to the House of Lords in the past, why should they not do the same thing in the future? The House of Lords is to remain as to its composition 1753 substantially as it is now. There is to be no change, except the addition of a few Members, whom we have the pleasure of seeing opposite, and a few others who sat there last Session, but who are not there now, and there is no reason to suppose that the Government will show more consideration for the House of Lords in the future than it has done in the past. There is another reason why I think it is desirable that the House of Lords should be given this two months, and that the Government should put it down in black and white, and not ask the Committee to trust to their generosity. Instead of legislating in Parliament, the Government propose that we should legislate in the street, and it is very desirable, therefore, that this Amendment should be agreed to, because a discussion in this House will not be productive of much information to the people outside, with whom the decision as to the measures rest. Discussion in this House is far from free, and there is no certainty whatever, what with the kangaroo Closure and other devices for stifling debate, that the country will know what the pros and cons of the measure are unless the House of Lords is given full opportunity for discussing it. After all, the methods which obtain in Parliament with a view to eliciting support for measures which are favoured by one side or the other, differ very greatly from the methods favoured in the country. There is the method which the Lord Advocate has made his own, and which has been extensively used. There is no doubt that many electors do not have a clear conception of what they are asked to decide upon.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Whitley)
The hon. Member is going back to the discussion of the preceding Amendment.
§ Amendments might be considered pertinent with regard to this. If the Government desire that the people shall be given a full opportunity to form an opinion with regard to legislation, they can have no objection to securing that the people shall be informed of the pros and cons of the measure. Unless the House of Lords is given a longer period to discuss the measure, I do not see how that is to be possible. It is not possible by discussion in this House, and the Closure is far too often used for it to be possible. In the House of Lords there is no Closure, and there are a great many more experts in regard to all questions than there are in this House. It cannot be doubted that in the normal course of events a man is promoted to the House of Lords when he has served a number of years here, and, if he has been worthy of being listened to in this House, he is probably more worthy to be listened to there. On all grounds, particularly on the ground of giving the people a fair opportunity of knowing the merits of a measure, the Amendment is worthy of support, and I trust the Government will reconsider their decision.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
A discussion arose on a similar point on Clause 1 on an Amendment I moved, and the Government said they would look into this point before Report stage. The Amendment was with regard to moving Motions within seven days in the House of Lords. Exactly the same arguments were used by, I think, the Postmaster-General who was then in charge of the Bill. The question was to insert "two months" instead of "one month," and a promise was given that it would be looked into before the Report stage. If I am right in that, it is a reason why the Government should do something of the same nature with respect to Clause 2, but they refuse.
§ Question put, "That the words 'one month' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 193; Noes, 114.1757
|Division No. 186.]||AYES.||[12.42 a.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin)||Bentham, George Jackson||Chapple, Dr. William Allen|
|Acland, Francis D. (Camborne)||Black, Arthur W.||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Adamson, William||Booth, Frederick Handel||Clough, William|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Bowerman, Charles W.||Clynes, John R.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Brace, William||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Brocklehurst, William B.||Corbett A. Cameron|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Barton, William||Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Cotton, William Francis|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Chancellor, Henry George||Cowan, William Henry|
|Crumley, Patrick||Joyce, Michael||Pointer, Joseph|
|Cullinan, John||Keating, Matthew||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Kelly, Edward||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Davies, Timothy (Louth)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Kilbride, Denis||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Delany, William||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lambert, George (South Molton)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Dillon, John||Law, Hugh Alexander (Donegal, W.)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Doris, William||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cockermouth)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (S. Shields)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Edwards, A. C. (Glam., E.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Reddy, Michael|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Elverston, Harold||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Redmond, William Clare, E.)|
|Esmonde, Sir T. (Wexford, N.)||Lundon, Thomas||Richards, Thomas|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lyell, C. H.||Roberts, Charles H (Lincoln)|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Field, William||Maclean, Donald||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Fiennes, Hon Eustace Edward||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rowlands, James|
|Fitzgibbon, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Linc., Spalding)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||M'Laren, W. S. B. (Crewe)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||Manfield, Harry||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Markham, Arthur Basil||Scott, A. M'Callum (Bridgeton)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|Guest, Major (Pembroke)||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Gulland, John William||Millar, Duncan||Smith, Albert (Clitheroe)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Molloy, Michael||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Hackett, John||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Hancock John George||Morrell, Philip||Sutton, John E.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Muldoon, John||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Munro, Robert||Tennant, Harold John|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Needham, Christopher Thomas||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Neilson, Francis||Verney, Sir H.|
|Harwood, George||Nolan, Joseph||Walsh, Stephen (Lancashire, Ince)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Waring, Walter|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hayward, Evan||O'Doherty, Phillip||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Dowd, John||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Ogden, Fred||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Malley, William||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Shee, James John||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Johnson, William||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Winfrey, R.|
|Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Jones, Leif (Rushcliffe)||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Rotherham)|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Dudley Ward and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Jones, Wm. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Courthope, George Loyd||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Horner, Andrew Long|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Hunt, Rowland|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Dalrymple, Viscount||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.|
|Barlow, Montague (Saltord, S.)||Dixon, Charles Harvey||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton, M.||Kirkwood, John H. M.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Fleming, Valentine||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Benn, Arthur S. (Plymouth)||Forster, Henry William||Lawson, Hon. Harry (Mile End)|
|Benn, Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)||Gibbs, George Abraham||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Gilmour, Captain John||Lyttelton, Rt. Hn. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Goldsmith, Frank||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Boscawen, Col. A. S. T. Griffith.||Greene, Walter Raymond||Macmaster, Donald|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Gretton, John||M'Mordie, Robert James|
|Bull, Sir William James||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Malcolm, Ian|
|Bure, Col. C. R. (Torquay)||Haddock, George Bahr||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Cassel, Felix||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Helmsley, Viscount||Morrison-Bell, Major A. (Honiton)|
|Cator, John||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Cave, George||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Newman, John R. P.|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Hill-Wood, S. (High Peak)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid.)||Rutherford, William (West Derby)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Sanders, Robert Arthur||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||White, Major G. D. (Lanc., Southport)|
|Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)||Spear, John Ward||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Stanier, Beville||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Peel, Hon. Wm. R. W. (Taunton)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Winterton, Earl|
|Pole-Carew, Sir Reginald||Starkey, John Ralph||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Pryce-Jones, Col, E.||Stewart, Gershom||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Sykes, Alan John||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Rolleston, Sir John||Touche, George A.|
|Ronaldshay, Earl of||Walker, Col. W. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Barnston and Mr. Baird.|
|Rothschild, Lionel de||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Perhaps the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Stanier) will explain the Amendment which stands on the Paper in his name.
§ Mr. STANIER
My Amendment is, "after session" ["before the end of the session"] to insert the words "and moved within seven days in the House of Lords." This Amendment really follows one moved upon Clause 1, and the Postmaster-General undertook to consider the matter between now and Report.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
It may save time if I state that this Amendment is on all fours with that previously moved to Clause 1 and the undertaking I gave in that case holds good in this.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
I beg to move to leave out from "sessions" ["House of Lords in each of those sessions"] to "be" ["be presented to His Majesty"] and to insert instead thereof the words "His Majesty may by Order in Council made after the close of the session in which the Bill was rejected a third time direct that the Bill so rejected shall be submitted to a poll of the electors, and thereupon such Bill shall be so submitted in manner provided in the Schedule to this Act, and if the poll results in accordance with the provisions of such Schedule in favour of the Bill it shall."
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ Earl WINTERTON
I wish to ask what business will be taken to-morrow. I have no objection to any arrangement made behind the Chair, but private Members' time is now so much infringed that I think these arrangements should 1758 be publicly stated to the House. [An HON. MEMBER: "We are sick of it."] I am sure the hon. Member is not more sick of it than we are of listening to his speeches. Personally, I have no affection for the politics or personnel of the Labour party—
§ Earl WINTERTON
May I call attention to the fact, on a point of Order, that the word "insolent" was interjected?
§ Earl WINTERTON
And may I point out that it was impossible that my words, could be out of order, for I meant to say: "Personally, I have no affection for the politics or personnel of the Labour party, who obviously need sleep, and I do not desire to keep them up."
§ Earl WINTERTON
I had not finished my sentence, and I was going to explain that they were not irrelevant—
§ Earl WINTERTON
I was putting forward my reason for not opposing the Motion to report Progress, and it seemed to me a relevant reason for not opposing the Motion. I venture very respectfully, as I am perfectly entitled to do, to protest against the ruling before my sentence-had been finished.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is now disregarding my ruling, and I must request him to desist from so doing.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I shall bow to your ruling, and shall take formal means of registering my protest by putting a Motion on the subject, which I am perfectly en titled to do. I desire, and it was my 1759 original reason for rising, to ask the Government whether they can tell us what it is intended to take for the business tomorrow. I understood it was intended to deal with the question which is embodied in the Amendment on the Paper, the question of the Referendum. I ask the Patronage Secretary, so that the matter may be stated on the floor of the House.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The question of the Noble Lord is hardly one that need give rise to controversy. The Government, as well as the Opposition, are very desirous that really important Amendments of controversy on this Bill should, wherever possible, be discussed at convenient hours. As one of the most important subjects we have had to deal with is the application of the Referendum between two Houses, it was by general consent agreed to take that matter as the first Amendment to-morrow, and I think there is a general expectation that it will be disposed of by half-past seven o'clock so that one or two smaller Amendments may be considered before 8.15 o'clock.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I desire to thank the right hon. Gentleman for his very courteous reply, which is in striking contradiction to the way we are sometimes treated.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Master of Elibank)
We shall proceed with the hon. Gentleman's Amendment.
§ Viscount. HELMSLEY
I think it is a rather sanguine view of the Government that this discussion on this important Amendment would be concluded before S.15 o'clock unless they Closure it.
§ Committee report Progress, to sit again to-morrow (Wednesday).
§ And, it being after half-past Eleven of the clock upon Tuesday evening, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Two minutes after One o'clock.