§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. COWAN
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
The Bill which I have the honour to move is one which deals with constitutional questions of greater magnitude, and possibly of greater complexity than are usually dealt with in Bills introduced in this House by private Members. In extenuation of my seeming temerity, I desire to take the earliest opportunity of explaining to the House that I am not introducing this Bill as an individual private Member, nor on behalf of any small group or section of Members, but on behalf of the whole body of Liberal Scottish Members in this House. I should like to remind the House that when I speak on behalf of the whole body of Scottish Liberal Members, I speak on behalf of 85 per cent. of the total Scottish representation in this House. A Bill introduced under these circumstances, I feel quite sure, will receive, at any rate, attention and respectful consideration. I perhaps ought to say one further word at this stage. The principle of the Bill has already been endorsed by the House. It is not a new thing. In 1894 my right hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir H. Dalziel) proposed a Resolution in these terms:—That it is desirable, while retaining intact the power and supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, to establish a Legislature in Scotland for dealing with purely Scottish affairs.In the following year again, on the Motion of my right hon. Friend, this House resolved:—That it is desirable to devolve upon Legislatures in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England, respectively, the management and control of their domestic affairs.And so recently as last year my hon. Friend the Member for Stirlingshire (Dr. Chapple) moved and the House adopted the following Resolution:—That in the opinion of this House, the measure providing for the delegation of Parliamentary powers to Ireland should be followed in this Parliament by the granting of similar powers of self-government to Scotland as part of a general scheme of devolution.But that is not all, for in the year 1908 my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Pirie) introduced a Bill granting self-government to Scotland. That Bill was passed on the First Reading in this House by a large majority. Again, in 472 1911, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy, who has done so much for the cause of Scottish Home Rule introduced a Bill to grant self-government to Scotland, which again was passed on First Reading by a large majority. If the Bill which I am introducing this afternoon should be fortunate enough to be read a second time, as I hope and believe it will, I desire to state that in view of the importance of the subject I should move that it shall be committed to a Committee of the Whole House. Going back to the Resolutions which I have read and to the Bills which I have recalled to the memory of hon. Members, I desire to claim and I do claim with the utmost confidence that these Resolutions of previous Sessions and those Bills introduced in 1908 and 1911 justify me and more than justify me in introducing a Bill for the better government of Scotland this Session. But that is not all, for much has happened since the 28th February, 1912, when my hon. Friend the Member for Stirlingshire introduced his Resolution. An epoch-making event has occurred; the Irish Home Rule Bill has been passed in this House through all its stages under circumstances such as never existed before and which I am profoundly thankful to find exist now and which ensure for the Bill a safe passage to the Throne. The Government—the strongest Government, let it be remembered, which has controlled the destinies of this country in modern times—is in possession of constitutional machinery under the Parliament Act which will enable it to give effect to the will of the people. Therefore we can assume with absolute, confidence that that Bill will become law in the life-time of this Parliament, and that an Irish Parliament will meet in Dublin. It is unthinkable that a Government in possession of the powers which we hold for the first time, which place us in a position of equality with hon. Members opposite, should throw those powers away. Therefore I say with absolute confidence that Ireland is safe, and Scotland has a right to come next. Mr. Gladstone, at the very beginning of his Home Rule campaign, used these words:—I will consent to give to Ireland no principle, nothing that is not upon equal terms offered to Scotland, and to the different parts of the United Kingdom;while the present Prime Minister, on the 6th May, 1912, in reply to a deputation of Scottish Liberal Members, declared thatHome Rule for Ireland only would leave the Constitution 'lop-sided,' incoherent, and logically inconsequent.473 We do not desire that the Constitution should be left in that position. Scottish enthusiasm for Irish Home Rule is well-known, and will, I am sure, be recognised by every Irishman. The representatives of Ireland here will recognise that in introducing this Bill Scottish Members have no desire or intention of doing anything whatever to jeopardise the Irish claim. It is because we recognise that Ireland is safe that we are free to act at what we believe to be the psychological moment for our country. Hence this Bill is introduced to-day. Scotland demands Home Rule. That proposition I propose to prove. Her demand is a reasonable one. I am prepared to prove that. The demand cannot be satisfied except on the lines laid down in this Bill—I do not say on those precise lines, but generally on the lines laid down in this Bill and by the process of devolution. This question of Scottish Home Rule has passed through various stages. I do not know whether it has yet entirely emerged from the atmosphere of ridicule. Judging by the attitude of some hon. Members opposite I think that possibly it has not. But I want to put it to those hon. Members that this is a serious proposition, and one to which they are bound to give earnest attention. I want to point out to them that ridicule is not argument. Ridicule is an obsolete weapon, a boomerang which returns upon the head of the man who uses it. Do hon. Members remember 1910? Do they remember the days when the Constitutional Conference was sitting? Have they forgotten how the whole Unionist Press teemed with articles, letters, and arguments in favour of devolution as a means of settling the constitutional question? Do they forget—and I point this out as indicating how dangerous it is to apply the method of ridicule to a matter of this sort—that as soon as the Constitutional Conference was broken up, or broken down, the Tory Press—or the Unionist Press, if they prefer that it should be so called—made a complete volte face, went back upon all that it had said and done during the previous weeks, forgot "Pacificus" and his inspired letters in the "Times," and came into line on the principle of complete opposition to Home Rule for Ireland and to devolution anywhere and everywhere? In short, it came back to old-fashioned Toryism. I say that that is a record of which no party need be proud. If the method of ridicule 474 is any longer to be applied to the demand of Scotland, two can play at that game.
I have undertaken to show that there is a demand for Home Rule for Scotland. There has been within recent years a great awakening in Scotland on this subject. Many agencies have been at work during many years. Much spade work has been done. Thirty years ago a body called the Scottish Home Rule Association was founded. Some of the leading spirits have passed away without seeing the promised land, but their work lives on and is being carried on by other organisations. The most influential political association of an unofficial character in Scotland to-day is undoubtedly the Young Scots Society, a society which from its very inception has placed Home Rule for Scotland in the forefront of its programme. For years, in season and out of season, that organisation has carried on throughout the length and breadth of Scotland an active campaign in favour of self-government. Its meetings are largely attended by enthusiastic audiences; its resolutions are uniformly passed. I claim that it has brought about a position of affairs in which this question can no longer be treated with contempt or ignored. Take the Scottish Press. I admit that if you go back far enough, say to the eighties, you will find, even in the papers which are now pouring cold water upon the Scottish constitutional demand, an advocacy of Devolution in its widest sense. I admit that we have had to deal with a great deal of opposition and apparent indifference from the Scottish Press quite recently; but I maintain, without fear of contradiction, that you cannot nowadays take up a Scottish newspaper with very much chance of finding no reference to this burning question. I do not care who goes to Scotland to-day, if he speaks to anybody, if he goes anywhere, if he consults the people, he will find that, after the land question, this is the most absorbing political topic in Scotland. I make that statement without fear of contradiction.
The Scottish Liberal Association is, it is true, a political organisation. But the Scottish Liberal Association occupies a very peculiar position in Scotland in this sense: Scotland is so predominantly Liberal that, in the absense of a Scottish Parliament, that body can claim to be the most representative institution in the country. I maintain that because that association is responsible for sending to this House six out of every seven Scottish 475 Members. At nineteen out of twenty General Elections since 1832 Scotland has returned a Liberal majority to Parliament, and I say that a political association which has organised victory on so enormous and so constant a scale is entitled to be regarded as a representative body. That body advocates without reserve Scottish Home Rule. At its annual meeting year after year it debates the question, and it passes resolutions, which become only more urgent as time goes by, calling upon the Government to introduce a measure giving self-government to Scotland. At Aberdeen last November this great body declared in its resolution the urgent need for a federal system of Home Rule and demanded that a measure granting Home Rule to Scotland should be introduced and passed through all its stages without delay. The Scottish Liberal Members to a man are declared and convinced Home Rulers. That seems rather curious if there is no demand for Home Rule in Scotland. It is well-known that ours is a cautious race, and I am perfectly certain that Scottish Members would never be so foolish as to place themselves far ahead of public opinion in Scotland upon so vital a matter as this. The mere fact of their associating themselves with the measure that we are discussing to-day, is evidence that Scotland is behind them. Therefore I have not another word to say as to whether there is a demand for Home Rule in Scotland. The demand exists, and is becoming so urgent that it will no longer be ignored. That demand is reasonable. I do not know that I should need to make that point, for the simple reason that the Scottish people themselves are so reasonable that you could not imagine them taking up such a demand unless it were itself reasonable. But in case any hon. Members on the opposite side may be in any doubt on the matter, I must cite a few facts. In the first place, history justifies the demand. The Scottish people never voluntarily renounced their ancient Parliament. It was filched from them by methods scarcely less discreditable than those which accompanied the parallel transaction on the other side of St. George's Channel at a somewhat later date. Ever since 1707 protests have been heard against a transaction which took too little into account both the sentiments and interests of a proud and ancient people who had maintained their independence for 476 centuries against tremendous odds. I am not here to declare that the Act of Union has been disastrous to Scotland. Far from it. I am even ready to admit that if that union had been on a federal basis, which the Scottish Unionists, or those who desired the union, favoured at the time, it might and probably would have been wholly beneficial to our country. But I do take exception to the statement so often made, that Scotland can trace the whole of her prosperity during the last two centuries to the union of the two Parliaments. I do not take quite so much exception to its being traced to the Treaty of Union. There were many good things beside the Union of Parliaments in the Treaty of Union, but these good things we could very well have obtained with a separate and subordinate Legislature. I can cite no better authority on a matter of this sort than one who is closely connected with Scottish administration—I refer to the present Secretary for Scotland, admittedly a most able administrator. The other day he spoke in the city of Glasgow to an audience of Home Rulers—he has made our cause his own—and he said:—Our cause is unanswerably strong both from a legislative and administrative point of view.A Scottish Office in London can never be other than a geographical absurdity. It is admittedly the centre of an efficient bureaucracy. No one disputes that. It governs Scotland more or less autocratically—largely by methods of administrative decree. I do not blame the members of that bureaucracy. They are courteous and considerate, especially to Scottish Members. But they can do very little to mitigate evils for which they are not responsible. Scottish legislation—what there is of it—is initiated mainly by the permanent heads of the various Departments. If these Departments are situated in Edinburgh they are out of touch with the Scottish Members here. If they are situated in London they are out of touch with the Scottish people. Let me call attention to one or two Scottish grievances—briefly. The Scottish People have been clamouring for a simple measure of temperance reform for more years than most of us care to remember—
§ Mr. COWAN
I have no doubt that is correct. To my knowledge there has been a Scottish majority in this House in favour 477 of Scottish temperance reform since 1885—a majority which, being a minority of the House, has been always voted down by the English Members. So the Scottish Members have found it impossible to make effective the mandate that they have been given. England, as usual, has lagged behind. What has been the result of delay in a matter so vital? If this measure had been given to Scotland a generation ago, much might have been saved to Scotland—neglected children, ruined homes Again, I do not ask the House to take my word for these things. Let me again quote the words of the Scottish Secretary, at the same meeting at Glasgow to which I referred. He said:—Take the question of temperance. If you had had a Scottish Parliament, they would have settled this question according to Scottish ideas a generation ago.In the second place, let me call attention to an urgent and pressing question, second only to that of self-government—land reform. Hon. Members are well aware that Scotland is being depopulated. They cannot have failed so far in their duty as not to have examined the Emigration Returns. They must know that emigration from Scotland, according to the last Government Return, is double that from Ireland. What is the explanation? Surely that feudalism, unchecked by legislation, survives in Scotland. What is feudalism? I do not think it would be irrelevant for the purposes of this Debate if I quoted in this connection the words of a former Unionist President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. In 1904 this Noble Lord wrote:—Let us not grudge a share in the supply of our wool and of our mutton to our Antipodean brethren, but keep the Scottish mountains for sport with the noblest wild animal that Britain produces.I hope hon. Members opposite, representative of the land interest, are proud of that! That utterance may represent good Tariff Reform, but it represents very bad Imperialism. Scotland has become a reservoir for the filling up of Canada. We recently had the Crofters Act extended to the non-crofting counties of Scotland. You gave it too late. We had to wait twenty-five years for it. Do not excuse yourselves on the ground of the House of Lords Veto. We wrung it from you. If we had had a Parliament in Scotland this would have been given to us, and given to us in time, and thus saved to Scotland thousands of her worthiest sons who have been driven into exile by the callous indifference of this House. Scotland has seventy-two representatives in a House of 670 Members. Surely this 478 is a predominantly English institution. In the future perhaps we may have to deal with the question of Disestablishment, and Scotland may decide by a majority of her Members to Disestablish her own Church. If that demand is made by Scotland and the matter comes before this House we shall have to refer this definite mandate from Scotland to a jury of 598 persons who know little or nothing of Scotland or her ecclesiastical system, and it is to those people we have to submit that question. On the other hand the churches of Scotland—the great Presbyterian Churches—are inclined for reunion; personally I am hopeful these negotiations may result favourably, but if they result in agreement for reunion that agreement must be given legislative effect to, and that can only be done by an act of a House in which there are 598 persons who know nothing about it. Let me turn to administration. The present Lord Advocate, speaking in October, 1911, used these words:—A single permanent official rules Scottish education with almost despotic sway.A most admirable official. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Yes, a most admirable. I am not here to make any attack on any official, but on the system, and it is a scandalous thing that it can be said by a Member of the Government that a single Scottish official rules Scottish education with almost despotic sway. And why? Because in the early seventies this Scottish Department was transferred to London. That was a gratuitous insult to the nation, which had its own national and democratic system of education before England ever dreamt of educating her people at all, and if Scotland has not fully maintained her lead during the forty years since that transfer we must attribute it to this attempt to Anglicise Scotland, and that that attempt has largely failed, as it has, is one of the strongest evidences of the vitality of Scottish nationality. Then take the case of the Scottish Estimates. This House grudgingly allows to Scotland one day of seven hours in each Parliamentary year for the discussion of Scottish Estimates, on which alone any question regarding Scottish administration can be effectively raised. It is perfectly true this year we are to have two days, or some fourteen hours. We are indebted for that concession, which we value, to the intervention of the Prime Minister, on the urgent representation of the Scottish 479 Members, but this will profit us little because, judging by past experience, when these two days come on English Members will be conspicuous by their absence, or will be represented by gentlemen who, having shootings, fishings, or deer forests in Scotland, imagine themselves experts on Scottish affairs and insist on wasting our time and their own by intervening in Scottish Debates. Is it any wonder Scotland is tired and demands a Parliament of her own? That she demands her own legislation for land, for the liquor trade, for education, for housing, for fisheries, for ecclesiastical affairs, for one-hundred-and-one matters of purely local concern? We have tried other palliatives. This House has tried all-night sittings; it has tried autumn sittings; Guillotine and Kangaroo Closure; it has tried setting up Grand Committees, and has set up even a Scottish Grand Committee, encumbered by the presence of fifteen "undesirable aliens." Yet 75 per cent. of the moneys voted by this House is voted under Closure and without a word of discussion, and half the Bills the Government introduce each year are jettisoned because they have not the time to carry them through. We are attempting an impossible task; the machine is breaking down, the men working are giving way under the strain. Devolution is the only cure. This is not really a party question if our Friends on the other side did not insist upon making it one. Everyone should recognise this is an Imperial question. I wish we might agree, even at the eleventh hour, upon this question of devolution. It is as a contribution to the solution of this problem of congestion at Westminster that we submit this Bill to-day.
I should like in conclusion to say a few words on some of the details of the measure I am asking the House to read a second time. The Government of Scotland Bill is introduced on the footing that it represents a further instalment of the Government's policy of devolution. It would be easy to give evidence that this is the Government's policy. The Prime Minister has repeatedly said so, and other Members of the Government have made similar statements. We are proposing this Bill as a further instalment of that policy. The powers delegated to subordinate Legislatures under a federal system are those at which we must aim; those powers must be similar, if not identical. Personally, I do not see why they should be identical. There are considerable differences which 480 make it impossible for a uniform system to be applied to all, but the variation need not be great. That is the principle upon which we are acting, and it is for that reason the promoters of this measure have taken the Irish Bill as their model. Remembering the Debates on the Irish Bill which took place last Session, I, hold myself excused from going into much detail, as the Bill practically reproduces the Government of Ireland Bill. I would like to refer rather to a few of the points which must be stated to understand the slight divergencies. In the first place, the Government of Scotland Bill revives three ancient institutions—the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Privy Council, and the Lord High Commissioner in his political capacity. The Scottish Parliament will consist of His Majesty the King and a Single Chamber, which, again, will consist of 140 Members, practically two for each of the existing constituencies and four for Dundee, and we propose to omit the representation of the universities. In this matter the feeling of the Scottish people must be consulted. The present electorate will be the electorate for the Scottish Parliament, which will have power to deal with its own franchise, and the power to enfranchise women. The supremacy of the English Parliament is safeguarded in precisely the same manner as in the Irish Parliament, and we have lifted from the Home Rule Bill Sub-section (2) of Clause 1, which provides that:—
"(2) Notwithstanding the establishment of the Scottish Parliament or anything contained in this Act, the supreme power and authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall remain unaffected and undiminished over all persons, matters, and things in Scotland and every part thereof."
We desire nothing but the power of local legislation and administration. The Lord High Commissioner, as the King's representative, will be the head of the Administration, and he will be advised by a Cabinet, which will be an Executive Committee of the revived Scottish Privy Council. The powers of the Scottish Parliament will closely resemble those of the Irish Parliament, with the exception that we do not desire to control the Post Office, and there will be no reserved services. We shall take over the administration of old age pensions, national insurance, and Labour Exchanges—in fact, the Bill will give Scotland control of 481 purely Scottish affairs. I will run over a list, which comprises most of the matters which we leave entirely to the Imperial Parliament. Everything affecting the Crown, peace, war, foreign affairs, national defence, naturalisation and domicile, trade marks, Scottish lighthouses, coinage, weights and measures, external trade, postal service, public loans to Scotland before the passing of the Act, and the collection of Imperial taxes. All those will remain in the full control of the Imperial Parliament with which the Scottish Parliament will have nothing to do and surely we have reserved a large measure of the activities of the Imperial Parliament.
The Scottish Parliament will not be allowed to impose any religious disabilities nor can it deal with Customs or Excise. The Imperial Parliament will impose and collect all taxes except new taxes. The Scottish Parliament may vary taxes, but in the case of Customs and Excise the Scottish Parliament—here is a divergence from the Irish Bill necessitated and justified by the conditions of Scotland—takes over all the taxes on heritable property, both as regards imposition and collection. The Scottish Parliament may impose new taxes provided they are not substantially the same as those imposed by the Imperial Parliament. The Imperial Parliament has to contribute to the Scottish Exchequer an annual sum towards the cost of the Scottish services. A Joint Exchequer Board is set up as under the Irish Bill to determine all questions arising under that head. As regards the judiciary the Bill simply recognises existing conditions, but provides that the judges of Court of Session, sheriffs, and other judges shall be appointed by the Lord High Commissioner. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is substituted for the House of Lords as the final Court of Appeal, and will determine all constitutional questions. We ask for the Scottish Parliament only what is necessary, and we have shirked no burden which we are able to bear. Fortunately, our financial position is sound, and we require no subsidy. When this Bill has become law I predict with the utmost confidence that there will be no stronger testimony to its satisfactory working than that we shall receive from the generous consideration of hon. Members opposite. I predict that Scotland will be contented and prosperous under the new system, and will remain 482 in the closest and most intimate partnership with England in regard to the development of the common heritage, and the completion of the devolution which must follow when England and Wales have Parliaments of their own to deal with their local affairs. Surely this will be a great relief to many hon. Members on the other side of the House. The setting up of this federation of the United Kingdom will lead, and must lead at no distant time, to the creation of a truly Imperial Parliament in which the representatives of the Overseas Dominions will sit and take part at their own time and in their own way and on terms of absolute equality. Only in this way can Britain remain faithful to her destiny, and only in this way can she give contentment and prosperity to the people under her rule.
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
In the admirable speech to which we have just listened my hon. Friend has taken a wider range of argument than I think it is necessary to take on the Second Reading. I shall rest my case in support of this measure solely on the congestion of the business of this House. No one in any part of the House denies that congestion exists, and no one denies that some means of relieving it must be found. We are all agreed that the present condition of things cannot and ought not to be allowed to continue. We all recognise and deplore the existence of congestion, but unhappily we are not all agreed as to its cause or as to the means which ought to be adopted for getting rid of it. On this point two opinions prevail amongst us. One is that it is due to obstruction either on the part of individual Members or groups of Members, which can be remedied by an Amendment of our procedure; the other opinion is that it is due to a steady and continuous growth in the actual volume of business, for which the only remedy is to devolve on subordinate Legislatures some of the work which this House at present attempts hopelessly to get through. I hold the second of those two opinions. I support this Bill not exclusively in the interests of the people of Scotland, but as part of a general scheme of devolution promoted in the interests of the Parliament of the United Kingdom as a whole. That will form my case for the Bill, and if I carry the House with me I must try to convince hon. Members that those who hold that congestion is due to obstruction are wrong. The most recent exponent of that view in our Debates is the Noble 483 Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil), who in the early days of the Session brought forward a Motion in favour of the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into our procedure with a view to expediting the transaction of the business of the House. In introducing the Motion he said:—The congestion in this House is not due to the great amount of business that it has to transact; it is due to obstruction.He then went into the history of the matter.Obstruction,he found,was invented by the Irish Nationalists in 1877 or thereabouts. In that year the House was able to transact its business without any Rules of Procedure. Later, in consequence of obstruction, it became necessary to devise further and further restrictions of debate. The present state of things,he concluded,is intolerable; but alter the Rules of Procedure so as to diminish the opportunities and temptations to obstruct, and congestion will at once disappear.If this could be accepted as a just account of the origin of the evil, which we are all united in deploring, I should be quite willing to admit that, so far as I am concerned, there would be no case to present to this House in support of the Bill. But I think I can prove that the Noble Lord is wrong. It is certain that his investigation into the history of the matter did not carry him very far. He was right as to the date when obstruction as a Parliamentary art was first invented by hon. Members from Ireland.
§ 1.0 P.M.
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
Well, that was the Noble Lord's contention. He was right, too, in his view that obstruction hinders the transaction of business, but I think he was wrong, entirely wrong, in his view that obstruction and congestion appeared simultaneously, and that the one was the direct and immediate cause of the other. The Noble Lord made no reference in his speech to the vastly important change in the character and extent of the work of Parliament brought about by each succeeding extension of the franchise of the people. He did not tell the House that ever since the Reform Act of 1832 there has been a constant and continually growing complaint that the House of Commons is incompetent to discharge the business that has been steadily accumulating upon it. He did not tell the House that the Committee for which 484 he asked would be the sixteenth Committee that has been appointed for precisely the same purpose and with precisely the same reference—the changes in procedure that might be adopted with a view of facilitating the transaction of public business. He did not tell the House that the first of these Committees was appointed in 1837, forty years before the time he assigned for the invention of obstruction and the appearance of congestion, which he rightly described as intolerable. One of the most important of these, the Committee of 1848, stated in its Report that the business of the House seemed to be continually on the increase, and it went on to describe the injurious effect which this increase was having on the conduct of the Debates in the House in language which might be used to-day, but with enormously greater justification. The evidence furnished by the mere appointment and the Reports of these fifteen Committees even by itself would, I think, be sufficient to prove that the Noble Lord was wrong in his diagnosis of the cause of congestion. It is not the only evidence upon which we have to rely. There is hardly one of our great and leading statesmen during the last seventy years of our history who has not drawn attention to the ever-increasing accumulation of business in this House and to the need of devising some adaptation of our Constitution that will enable us to deal with it. I have taken some trouble with this part of my case, and I could detain the House for far longer than it would care to listen by reading quotations from speeches against the view that our difficulties in the conduct of business in this House could be removed by changes in our Rules of Procedure. I must content myself with a few examples. I begin with Sir Robert Peel, who was certainly one of our greatest Parliamentarian figures. In the record of an interview which Mr. Gladstone had with him in July, 1846, Sir Robert is reported to have spokenof the immense multiplication of details in public business, and the enormous task imposed upon available time and strength by the work of attendance in the House of Commons. He agreed that it was extremely adverse to the growth of greatness among our public men: and he said the mass of public business increased so fast that he could not tell what it was to end in, and did not venture to speculate even for a few years upon the mode of administering public affairs He thought the consequence was already manifest in its being not well done.If that was true of the condition of things in 1846, what might be said of the state 485 of things to-day? Whole new departments of work, of the most onerous kind, have sprung into existence since then; and in not a single department that then existed, unless it be the Department of Foreign Affairs, was the work for a moment comparable in mass and volume with what it is now. If the pressure of work in 1846 was so great as to hinder the growth of greatness among our public men, how much more certain is it that the burden of work to-day must hinder that growth? I appeal next to the authority of Mr. Gladstone. In his second Midlothian speech, delivered in November, 1879, six years before he became a convert to Home Rule, and at a time when the House of Commons, according to the Noble Lord, was still "able to transact its business without any Rules of Procedure," he said:—I desire, I may almost say I intensely desire, to see Parliament relieved of some portion of its duties. I see the efficiency of Parliament interfered with not only by obstruction from Irish Members, but even more gravely by the enormous weight that is placed upon the time and mind of those whom you send to represent you. We have got an overweighted Parliament; and if Ireland or any other portion of the country is desirous and able so to arrange its affairs that by taking the local part, or some local part, of its transactions off the hands of Parliament, it can liberate and strengthen Parliament for Imperial concerns, I say I will not only accord a reluctant assent, but I will give a zealous support to any such scheme.Again, in a speech delivered in the House of Commons, on February 20th, 1882, in which he reviewed in some detail the history of the subject, he attributed the "constantly increasing labours of the House" mainly to three causes—the enlargement of the Empire, the extension of trade relations with all the countries of the world, and the changes in the ideas and views of men respecting the sphere of legislation and of government. Who will deny that all these causes are existent to-day with vastly increasing power?
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
May I ask whether it is possible for this House to discuss the particular Bill before it if each Member taking part in the Debate intends to describe the history of the various stages of business within this House?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I cannot put a limit on the lines of argument which hon. Members choose to take so long as it is substantially relevant.
I did hope I was making a statement entirely relevant. My whole case rests upon the view that this House has imposed on it an amount of work that it cannot transact. We are all agreed 486 there is no difference of opinion in any part of the House as to that, and what I want to prove is that there is no method of procedure that can be adopted that would enable this House to get through that amount of work. I will go on to refer to my authorities. Speaking in Edinburgh, on the 28th October, 1890, and drawing a contrast between two views at that time as to the method of getting rid of congestion, Mr. Gladstone stated that the only way of restoring freedom to our Parliamentary machinery was to adopt large plans of what is called devolution.
I will not weary the House with other quotations which I have here, because they are to the same effect, but I should like to recall one from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour), which supports the view I desire to lay before the House. It is from a speech delivered on 11th November, 1902, in moving the Resolution for Closure by compartment on the Committee stage of the Education Bill. He said that such a Resolution was not brought forward in consequence of obstruction or because of any excessive burden of work imposed on the House during the Session, and he went on to say—it amounts to an admission that our ordinary procedure is insufficient to carry on the business of the House.The right hon. Gentleman then mentioned various forms of procedure suggested as a means of facilitating business, and he dismissed them as all inadequate. He continued:—I confess I am reluctantly compelled to the belief that what has hitherto been done three times—and after to-night's Debate will have been done four times—has not been done for the last time, and the House ought really to take into serious consideration some better machinery for dealing with a situation like the present.I cannot, of course, on the strength of this claim the right hon. Gentleman as a supporter of devolution, but I am entitled to claim him as a supporter of the view that the congestion is due not to obstruction, but to the mass of work, and that no amendment of procedure known to him would provide a remedy. In face of a body of evidence like this—evidence which begins five years after the Reform Bill of 1832, and accumulates in weight and volume as years go by—I do not think it ought to be difficult for us to come to a common agreement that the future efficiency of this House cannot be secured by a change of its procedure. Congestion has 487 not its source in obstruction; it is more deeply seated, and demands a more drastic remedy than has hitherto been applied. But the only other remedy that has been seriously proposed is devolution of some part of the business of the House on subordinate Legislatures. I find it very difficult to believe that anyone can deny there is a primâ facie case to be made out in support of this alternative. I do not think it will be disputed that if it were passed it would be effectual. Two objections, however, were taken to it in the course of the discussions on the Irish Bill. The first was that it is a retrograde movement and would tend to undo what the Union effected. That is an objection frequently taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London And the second was that, even if it were in itself admissible, no Bill modelled on the Irish Home Rule Bill, as this Bill is, could be accepted as a first step towards its realisation. I must say a word or two on both of these.
The first is the historic objection to Home Rule in any shape or form, or as applied to any of the component parts of the United Kingdom. I believe that it rests on the totally unwarranted assumption that the Union between the three countries has been of such a character as to bring them all under the same law and the same administration. There is, of course, a region within which the interests of all the component parts of the Union are common, and within which there prevails a common law and a common administration; otherwise there would be no Union. The attempt to devolve upon subordinate legislatures power to deal with any of the interests included within this region would unquestionably tend to undo what the Union effected, and be injurious to it. But there is also a sphere of interest within which this does not apply. The Union, in fact, has never been, nor was it ever intended that it should be, a completely incorporating one in the sense that all the interests brought within it were to be subject to the same law and the same administration. They were, indeed, to be brought under the authority of the same legislative body, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, but that body was to exercise its authority subject to the recognition of certain pre-existing differences among its component constituents; and these differences are as pronounced to-day as they were when the 488 Union was first effected. Scotland, for example, has never been, nor was it ever intended that it should be, a part of England in the sense in which Middlesex or Lancashire are parts of it. In most of the fundamental relations and interests of life, in the relations of husband and wife, of parent and child, of master and servant, of landlord and tenant, in all the interests associated with religion and education, England and Scotland had before the Union, and continue to have to-day, different laws and different and independent systems of administering them.
Within the sphere of these relations and interests, the two countries were, and are, and, as so far as can be foreseen, will continue to be, to all practical intents and purposes separate and distinct countries. The interests of the three countries were so far alike and yet so dissimilar that they could not be brought completely under a single system of law and administration. All this will not be and cannot be disputed. The facts are too obvious, and every day experience of them is too pressing and insistent to allow of their being seriously questioned. The work of this House falls year and year, almost day by day, into at least five separate and distinct divisions. It is concerned with the regulation and administration of the interest common to the Empire. It is concerned with the regulation and administration of the interests common to the three countries in the Union, in which the outlying portions of the Empire have no direct or immediate interest. It is concerned with the regulation and administration of the interests peculiar to each of the three component parts of the Union.
But that is not all. The difficulties which this House and Parliament as a whole has had to encounter in the performance of the work that actually falls to it, so far as the United Kingdom is concerned, have never been associated with its treatment of the interests common to the three countries. They have always risen in connection with its treatment of the interests peculiar to one or other of the component parts of the United Kingdom. It is essential to success in administering the interests of the component parts of the United Kingdom that the opinion of England should predominate in this House in regard to English matters, that the opinion of Scotland should predominate in regard to Scottish matters, and that the opinion of Ireland should predominate in regard to Irish matters. I 489 assert confidently that it is just within this sphere of its work that the House of Commons and Parliament as a whole has actually failed. Within the sphere peculiar to the common interests the work of Parliament has been an unprecedented success, but within the sphere of the separate interests of the three countries, the work of Parliament has not been a success. That has been the one source of weakness in it. A composite Parliament, such as ours is, may succeed in legislating for and in administering the separate interests of its component constituents, but the difficulties must always be great. The local knowledge and the local sympathy essential to success in the case of each can never be easy of acquirement by all. If this is true, can it reasonably be said that to devolve upon the people of England, and of Scotland, and of Ireland, the power to legislate for their separate interests, as we propose to do, is, in the circumstances of our time, a retrograde movement and likely to undo what the Union effected? May it not, on the contrary, with far more show of reason, be said that it would get rid of the one source of weakness in it, and give to it a strength and cohesion it has never hitherto had? The authority of the Union, within its own peculiar region, has in truth, become too deep-seated, the interests directly associated with it are now too varied and too large to make it probable or even possible that it could be injured or weakened by the giving in our time of a formal and express recognition, by means of subordinate legislatures, to the differences in law and administration between the three countries which, in its actual working, it now involves and sanctions.
The second objection urged was that even if it were admissible to accept the principle of devolution, no Bill modelled upon the Irish Bill, as this Bill is, could be accepted as a step towards its realisation. The objection was grounded in the course of the Debate upon the Irish Bill on the view that the Bill was not federal in its character. But it was urged in quite general terms, or, in so far as it condescended to detail, it was confined to the examination of the financial provisions of the Bill. These provisions, however, do not, as a whole, or in detail, affect the principle either of this Bill or of the Irish Bill. They might be lifted out of both Bills, as the original financial provisions of the Bill of 1893 were lifted out of that 490 Bill, and other provisions incorporated in their place, without the principle being in any way weakened or changed. The principle of this Bill is to be found in the creation of a Scottish Legislature, and a Scottish Executive responsible to it, with powers to deal with those peculiarly Scottish interests which are at present regulated by Scottish law, administered by Scottish officials, and provided for by Scottish Estimates. It is based upon the firm foundation of existing historical differences between Scotland and England. I would ask what other principle than this can be adopted that would not lead to endless friction between the central and the subordinate authorities? It is the acceptance of this principle, and of this principle only, that is involved in the agreement to read this Bill a second time.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I beg to move, as an Amendment, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words, "upon this day three months."
We have now had an hour and a quarter's discussion upon the Bill. The Mover confined his observations upon the Bill to ten minutes, and the Seconder to one minute. That does not seem as if they attached much importance to what really is the matter we are now discussing. The same observation might be made with regard to the condition of the Treasury Bench during the discussion. I observe that we are now favoured with the presence of the Scottish Whip, and with the presence of the English Whip. With the exception of the presence of the Scottish Whip and that of the Secretary for Scotland, who, of course, as a Scottish Member, is entitled and ought to be present, we have not had a Scottish Member upon the Front Bench at all. There are several Scottish Members of the Government, and there are other Ministers who, although they are not Scotsmen, represent Scottish seats, yet they have not been here, from which I deduce the fact that there is no very burning interest in this subject. The hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire (Mr. Cowan), who moved the Bill, said that he was the representative of the Scottish Radical Members. I do not know whether he used the word "Radical" or the word "Liberal," but he will not quarrel with that.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
And he said that they represented 85 per cent. of the Scottish Members. Of course, the hon. Member is quite aware that the Radical party is grossly over-represented at present in this House, and that there are about nineteen Members more than the electors who supported them would entitle them to, and while we individually represent something like 25,000 constituents, the Scottish Radical represents about 6,000.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
That does not at all meet the point of what we are discussing now. The hon. Member's suggestion was that he was representing something like 85 per cent. of the Scottish people. Of course there is a very great difference between that and 85 per cent. of the Scottish representatives. Then the hon. Member intimated that he was going to move that the Bill should be committed to a Committee of the Whole House, which is equivalent to saying he is making it perfectly certain that nothing more will be heard of the Bill. That does not seem to indicate a very burning desire to make progress. He referred to a speech which the Secretary for Scotland made quite recently in Glasgow. I refer to it only as showing that really, after all, there never has been any demand in Scotland for this Bill. I have been through all the General Elections during this generation, and several by-elections, too, and I do not think in any of them it mattered a straw that I said I was against Home Rule. I do not think anybody cared. I find that the right hon. Gentleman, speaking at Glasgow, when he was approaching the conclusion of his speech upon this matter, said:—What had they to do? He thought they had to get the interest of people in Scotland in this question, and make them look at it as a practical question.That exactly bears out what I think is the position, that the people in Scotland have not got the interest. They have never yet regarded it as a practical question. The hon. Member who moved the Bill no doubt said he would have the support of hon. Members from Scotland who sit on this side of the House, and, I suppose, whatever qualifications may be made, the right hon. Gentleman, who will speak on behalf of the Government, will give the Bill his blessing. We had a description the other day from the hon. Member (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) of the position of the Scottish Radi- 492 cal Members, so far as the Government is concerned, and he put it in this language:—We in Scotland have been known as faithful sheep.I think that a quite accurate description of those of my fellow Members from Scotland who sit on the Government side. It is not a very grandiose position to hold, but it is yours, and I accept it.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
And you are still faithful—faithful among the faithless. It is only the other day that the hon. Gentleman referred to the Temperance Bill. It is only the other week that there was a revolt amongst yourselves about the Temperance Bill, which has done more to prevent a temperance measure being carried than anything else. But the right hon. Gentleman was referred to then as the steam roller of Scottish Members. So that it will not do to put it that the prevention of business is entirely due to those on this side. We were told that this Bill was really founded on the views of what are called the young Scots. That may be. Hon. Members on the other side know better than I do. But that is a body which I do not think serious politicians pay very much respect to. They have been referred to on this side of the House as nursery politicians. I do not know whether that is a correct description of them or not, but I do not think it is a body which will justify the introduction of a Bill of this sort. I notice that the hon. Member (Mr. Cowan) put his case rather upon nationality, as I understood it. Scotland was a nation, and should be treated as such. The hon. Member who seconded the Bill did not say a word about that until just the concluding sentences of his speech. All the speech was taken up by explaining history as to the congestion of business and discussing whether obstruction or a pure want of capacity to cope with the work was the cause of congestion. Would the House for a moment look at what the Bill itself does. It proposes, in the first place, to set up a Scottish Parliament, and that Parliament is to consist of the King and a House of Representatives. To begin with, I do not believe in this partial exercise of devolution. I can understand if you are going to have devolution because the work gets congested, or treating the business as a whole and giving devolution all round. There may be something to be said for that, but you have to think out 493 your scheme. You propose now to have an Irish Parliament, and you propose to have a Scottish Parliament—to break two Unions—but you do not propose to give poor England or gallant little Wales anything of that sort, except in this sense, that you have put it in the Bill this time. I suppose you realise that pledges in a Preamble do not count any longer, and you have said, "Bother Preambles; stick it in the Bill. It will not count any more there." You are not likely to get any Government on that side, and certainly no Government on this side, to carry out a scheme of devolution. The only suggestion of a thorough scheme that we have had is from one of our distinguished Scottish Members who is not present, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who is going to have half a dozen Parliaments in England. You are not likely to get that carried through or proposed, but this piecemeal method of carrying it through is the worst possible, because you find that you have no sooner proposed in this Bill to have a Scottish Parliament with only a single House than you proceed to say that the Imperial Parliament is still to remain supreme over everything that is in Scotland. I suppose we are to have the blessing of a Scottish Secretary in this House and a Scottish General Committee and private Bill legislation all in this House, so far as the Bill is concerned.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
There is not a hint in the Bill of any change in that respect, and certainly if there was I should have expected to hear it from the Mover or Seconder. You are going to run two concurrent systems, one under the steamroller and one under the Lord High Commissioner, one in Edinburgh—at least I do not know whether bonnie Dundee would not put in a claim or my own native city, but you are going to run the two systems concurrently.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I have enough to do with the Scottish Home Rule Bill at present. You are going to run the system, not on the old theory which the hon. Member for Aberdeen put in his Bill, that you were to specify the particular things the Scottish Parliament was to deal with, but on the principle that the Scottish Parliament is to deal with anything except what is exempted. You 494 omit the thing to which the Scottish nation or any nation would want to deal with. Look, again, for a moment at the proposal in the Bill with respect to religion. I would ask the House to refer to the Irish Bill and to contrast the proposal it contains with Section (3) of the Scottish Bill. The House will remember that the Irish Bill prohibits the passing of laws interfering with religion, or, directly or indirectly, estabishing any religion in Ireland. The contrast between the Irish Bill and what the promoters propose for the Scottish Parliament, and the respect in which they hold it, may be more clearly seen than anywhere else in the third Clause of this Bill, which says:—
"In the exercise of their power to make laws under this Act the Scottish Parliament shall not make a law so as to prohibit or restrict the free exercise of religion, or to impose any disability or disadvantage on account of religious belief or religious or ecclesiastical status, or to abrogate or derogate from the right to establish and maintain any place of denominational education or any denominational institution or charity; or to affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend a school receiving public money without attending the religious instruction of that school; or to impose duties of Customs or duties of Excise, as defined by this Act, or either of such duties, or to affect any Act relating to such duties or either of them."
Can you justly believe that Scotsmen, in creating a Scottish Parliament, have so little trust in it that they have to prohibit it by an express provision from restricting the free exercise of religion? If that is necessary, what becomes of "trust in the people"?
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
If that is the best reason the right hon. Gentleman can give for it, it is about the lamest excuse I have ever heard. This is a Bill for Scotsmen, and Scotsmen alone, and nobody has ever heard it suggested that they would do anything to prohibit the free exercise of religion. Another noticeable thing is this: The hon. Member wants the Scottish Parliament to have power to disestablish the Church there. He was good enough to make a passing reference to the negotiations going on in 495 Scotland just now for closer union, and I hope nothing which is said in this Debate will interfere with that. For my part, I think they are making good way, and the more way they make the better for the cause of religion in Scotland, but I really was struck with one omission. After all, it is said that Scotsmen are very fond of looking after the bawbees. We have heard nothing of finance, and I should have liked immensely to have the views of the eminent financial authority who last addressed us on that question, and also the views of business men who support this Bill. It seems to me that the Scottish Parliament is to start with a bankrupt exchequer, or, if not bankrupt, with an allowance which, if given to landlords, you would call a financial dole. You have got £500,000 for eight or nine years. That does not seem a very good start for the Scottish Parliament when we remember that the creation of it will involve expenditure for the building of the Parliament House, and for creating the functionaries who are to do the work. But even more important than that is, I believe, the provision in Clause 9 dealing with the representation of Scotland in this House after the Bill has been passed, if it ever does. The Irish Members were much too modest, and I am afraid you will have trouble with them, not in getting this Bill through, but, whenever it is through, on the question of representation in this House. They will say, "The Scottish representation is to be continued at the present number, seventy-two. Why are we reduced to forty?" We have got a very good answer to that from a very high authority. Lord Morley, then Mr. Morley, speaking in 1886, said:—I only ask myself, supposing the Scottish Liberals were to be by any calamity withdrawn from the legislative body that deals with the affairs of England—poor England!—how we should fare without you, and I, for one, am not at all willing readily, and without very strong cause, to lose the advantage of the noble Liberalism of Scotland.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
It was received with vociferous cheers by Gentlemen on the other side, and I am inclined to think that it is selfish in some respects. You have allied yourself with the selfishness of it. At a meeting to which the Secretary for Scotland was sent down specially by the Prime Minister—[An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Well, he went down on his own 496 motion, so to say, and I see that his chairman, who is a distinguished Member of this House, the hon. Member for the Central Division of Edinburgh—I do not see him present now—explained that he would never tolerate any reduction of the representation of Scotland in this House. He said that England is a Conservative country, and that if you take away any of the Scottish Radicals—why, you might have Tariff Reform! The right hon. Gentleman followed suit by saying that they had no intention and never would consent to give up one jot or tittle of their right to share in the Imperial government of the nation. That is why you do not want to reduce the Scottish representation in this Parliament. You are going to retain your right to manage your own affairs and also claim a controlling voice in the management of the affairs of Englishmen. You have Bills to abolish plural voting. Is this not plural voting of the worst kind? You cannot indict a nation, but you can make them plural voters, and that is what you are going to do. I should like to see Englishmen, who are going to vote for this Bill, going down to their constituents and saying, "We are going to have forty Irishmen and seventy-two Scotsmen in the Imperial Parliament. Eighty-six per cent. of them are going to be Liberals, and we will regulate your affairs for you, not in accordance with your representation, but in accordance with what Irishmen and Scotsmen think of them." Is that your idea of creating a federal system? Why, you are packing the jury again! It has always been said that this Bill is to be part of a great federal system which will do justice to England and justice to the Empire, but poor England, to use Lord Morley's words, will have a long time to serve before the carrying out of your federal system. Instead of doing anything to promote federation, the Bill you are now bringing in is running the contrary way. You have no mandate for the Bill. There is no enthusiasm for it in Scotland. It will do no good to England, Scotland, or Ireland, or to the United Kingdom as a whole. There has been no argument at all advanced in support of it.
Let me remind you of what your history has been as to this matter of conferring Constitutions and Parliaments. We have only finished creating three large Constitutions, the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Union of South Africa. How would you proceed then? In the very last of them, where there were four Parliaments existing, you 497 abolished them all in order to create one central Parliament, though no doubt you proceeded to create what were called provincial councils. You refer to that as a statesman's great work. It may be so, but in all these cases we have taken care that there should be a second House, and a second House has been introduced even into your Irish Bill, because it was recognised that, however powerful democracy may be, or, rather, the more powerful it may be, the more need there is for a check on the House, which by convention is spoken of as the Lower House. Why are you doing away with that now and reducing Scotland from being on the same level with our own Dominions and with France and Germany, and putting it into the meticulous condition of these great Powers, I think Costa Rica and Greece? That is the kind of measure you propose, not as a well-considered thing, because the hon. Member for Edinburgh took care to say that it had not been fully considered in all its details. It is what he called a suggestive Bill. I do not think that a suggestive Bill is worth wasting even the Friday's sitting of the House of Commons upon it. Certainly it has not been supported by any weight of argument. Evils have been pointed to, but the remedy has not been discussed. The details of the Bill have hardly been referred to. That is not the way in which a measure so important as this should be considered and discussed. I do not think that the measure is worth considering. My advice is that you should take it at once up to some glassy glade in Altrincham and cremate it. The very best thing you can do is to try your hand again. At any rate, it will be a long time before you will get any Government to take this question up, and before they will begin to think that Scottish Home Rule will serve them any better than either the Insurance Act or the Irish Home Rule Bill. I am content with the discussion so far as it has gone. It is quite clear that this is not a Bill that will serve either Scotland, England, or the Empire, and therefore I move that it be read upon this day three months.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
The right hon. Gentleman has been very severe in his criticism of this Bill. He says that it has never been submitted to the people of Scotland, and that it is not worth reading a second time. Scottish Liberal Members consider that this is a Bill which is much needed in Scotland and which ought to be 498 passed both in the interest of Scotland and of this House. There is a claim in this Bill for the nationality of Scotland, and the right of the Scottish people to make their own laws in their own way, for their own selves, and every Scottish Liberal Member present will give very hearty support to the Second Reading of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman complained of the retention of the existing numbers of Scottish Members, but he failed to show how that will hurt England. I should be the last man to do any injustice to England in any shape or form, but what we feel about this measure is this that in process of time there may be Home Rule both for England and for Wales. If the right hon. Gentleman had read the remaining part of the ninth section to which he alluded, he would have seen that the provision for the retention of the Scottish Members in the Imperial Parliament is only to be until the representation of the components parts of Great Britain in the Parliament of the United Kingdom are reconsidered and readjusted. We are quite willing when that time comes that our numbers should be reduced. I dare say that the right hon. Gentleman remembers the story of the Englishman who was boasting of the size of the tiger he had shot, which he said was forty feet odd from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail. The Scotch laird listened to this and said, that that was nothing to the fishing in his part of the country, because the other day they had landed a skate which was a quarter of an acre in extent. The Englishman who saw that his leg was being pulled said that that was ridiculous. "My friend," said the laird, "if you take a few feet off your tiger's tail, I will see what I can do about reducing the dimensions of my skate." So we are quite prepared when the proper time comes, but not until then to have the Scottish Members in the Imperial Parliament reduced in proportion to the numbers that come here from Ireland and Wales.
There is one thing which the right hon. Gentleman said with which I am in hearty agreement in reference to the negotiations which are going on between the Established and the United Free Churches. I dare say that the right hon. Gentleman has been following these Debates very closely. I do not know whether he has seen a speech which was made by a Scottish nobleman, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, the other day. In parenthesis, I may say that I was glad to notice that the 499 right hon. Gentleman did not say one word in his speech against the principle of Scottish nationality. Lord Balfour of Burleigh, speaking in reference to this question at the General Assembly last week, said:—They had heard a great deal about Home Rule for their country. He was not himself much of a believer in Home Rule in some senses, but so far as things Scottish could be decided in Scotland he was an advocate of Home Rule, and he claimed that if ever there was a question which was a Scottish question pure and simple, which through its long history concerned the people of Scotland mainly, it was the question of Church divisions and Church relations to the State. If Scotland had been left alone to decide those matters for herself there would not have been those secessions and difficulties which we all deplore. They would take care whatever happened that when those questions which were soon to come up for more prominent discussion than they had ever come up for in the past, came to be decided, they would be decided by the public of Scotland according to Scottish ideas.It is that which we claim, not only in reference to the question of the Church, but in reference to other questions which appertain to Scotland. We in Scotland are entitled to have our Scottish laws made in accordance with the views and wishes of the Scottish people. As chairman of the Scottish unofficial Liberal Members for the past half-dozen years, I may say that this is the first time on which they have spoken with the united voice. So far as I know of my colleagues there is not one of them who does not give his hearty support to this Bill. Lord Roberts when he was speaking in Glasgow respecting compulsory service claimed that had the poet Burns been living he would have been on the Noble Lord's side in advocating and seeking to establish Scottish national service. Lord Roberts quoted with approbation the address which Bruce delivered to the Scottish soldiers when they were resisting the Southern invasion. I cannot of course say what Burns would have said about compulsory service, but I do know what he said with reference to the question before the House at the present time, because if anyone will take the trouble to read his poem on the Union, there can be no doubt as to what his views were upon that question. I am not going to quote the whole of it, but in one line of it he said, "Scotland was bought and sold by English gold." Then he went on to say of the Sark, which marks the boundary between England and Scotland, and runs into the Solway Firth:—Now Sark rins o'er the Solway Sands, And Tweed rins to the Ocean, To mark where England's province stands: Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.500 We decline to be considered in Scotland as a province of England. We decline that entirely. We have our own system of laws. We have our own ecclesiastical system, we have our own methods of administering justice. Our complaint is not the Irish complaint; it is not that we do not get sometimes good measures passed for Scotland in this House. With us it is a case of neglect, whilst with Ireland it is a case of the shoe pinching; and I feel that the action we take on this question to-day will have a very great effect in Scotland, and that Liberal Scotland will stand solid to Scottish nationalisation, and that we shall not rest until we in Scotland have the right on Scottish soil to make our laws, always at the same time remembering that this Imperial Parliament is supreme, and in that Parliament Scotland must have ample representation.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I do not know whether the most interesting speech has not been delivered by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. Eugene Wason). If I mistake not it is the first time his name has appeared on the back of the Scottish Home Rule Bill. The right hon. Gentleman is one of those Friends who are excellent Friends to have. The right hon. Gentleman never sees anything wrong in what his Government does, and the moment the Prime Minister, in order to get out of his fix on the Home Rule question, suggested Home Rule for Scotland, then the right hon. Gentleman opposite put his name on the back of the Bill.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
I voted for all the Bills which have been brought in, and for the two Resolutions also.
§ 2.0 P.M.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
That may be quite correct. I say nothing about voting. We know very well that to vote for the Second Reading of the Bill does not involve the responsibility which attaches to formally backing a Bill. The right hon. Gentleman told us that Scottish Members are absolutely unanimous about this Bill. I should like to ask the hon. Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) why his name is not on the back of the Bill? He is one of the most sincere believers in Home Rule for Scotland in this House, and he has been a most enthusiastic speaker on the Resolutions and Bills which have been brought before the House, yet in this magnificent and splendid atmosphere he 501 finds it impossible to put his name on the back of the measure.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
I think the hon. Baronet draws a rather wide inference. Though I was a hearty supporter of those Bills and supported the Second Reading, and shall continue to do so until we get a Parliament in Scotland, yet there are one or two points in the present measure which I do not thoroughly accept. I admit the force of the criticism of the right hon. Gentleman opposite—it is the only point on which I agree with him—when he spoke as to maintaining the existing number of Scottish Members in this House after Home Rule has been given to Scotland. I admit his criticism.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Maclean)
The right hon. Gentleman has a right to make an explanation, but he should not make a speech.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
I was asked why my name did not appear on the back of the Bill, and I thought it a reasonable opportunity to state why I thought the Scots representation should be reduced in the Imperial Parliaments, and I also thought that women should have the vote for the Scottish Parliament.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I am only too glad that I gave way to the right hon. Gentleman, and I do not at all complain of the length of his explanation. It is interesting to note that on a very important provision of the Bill there does not exist that unanimity which the right hon. Gentleman the chairman of the Scottish Liberal Members opposite said exists, and I think that this entirely disposes of the claim of the right hon. Gentleman that there is unanimity on this question on the opposite benches. I confess I never deal with this subject of Scottish Home Rule without feeling a certain amount of indignation at a proposition which I so heartily and thoroughly dislike. I am opposed to any proposal to set up a Scottish Parliament, and most certainly I am opposed to a proposal of this kind, which would set up a Single Chamber without any sort of guarantee or 502 protection of the rights of minorities, and without any generous consideration whatever for Scottish representation in this House as it exists, with Scottish votes as they are. I do not think it is very creditable to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who promote this policy, and who wish it to be regarded seriously—at least, I hope they do—that they should have brought in a measure of this kind without showing some desire to give the minorities, important minorities, in Scotland reasonable representation. The Bill will not advance any interests of Scotland, and I heartily agree with my right hon. Friend in opposing it most strongly, as I will always continue to do, I hope, when proposals on the lines of this measure are brought forward. It is, of course, part of an attempt at the present time to manufacture opinion in Scotland in favour of some such proposal. I do not know what the experience of hon. Members for Scotland has been about it, but although I have not been very long in this House myself, I have had a very great deal of experience of Scottish opinion, and I do not think that I have ever once been asked my views on Scottish Home Rule. I have never been asked by any of my Constituents to express an opinion upon it, nor has it ever been discussed on any platform on which I have appeared. [HON. MEMBERS: "Everybody knows your views."] My Constituents, at all events, have certainly not objected to my views, and they have sent me here, and they have done so on some occasions under pretty adverse circumstances. Apparently, therefore, they have no great objection to the strong view I take upon this subject, and which I have expressed on frequent occasions, and shall continue to express as often as I have the chance. I gather from that, at all events, that there is no very great excitement about it, and know of none myself. Of course, we know bon. Gentlemen opposite are in a very great difficulty about it. They have committed themselves to passing a measure of Irish Home Rule which, if they are to be consistent at all, involves further devolution in Wales, and in Scotland and in England.
An hon. Member of this House said to me not long ago, "We cannot possibly pass a Home Rule Bill for Ireland unless we do the same thing for this country." Scotland is to be made a stalking horse, and to be made the victim of the consistency of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Because the Prime Minister cannot justify 503 his Irish Home Rule Bill without a measure of devolution of this kind, hon. Gentlemen opposite come to heel and support him and bring in this measure in order to try and create, if they can, some sort of assistance. This is a put up job. This is part of a scheme to manufacture Scottish opinion, and not an unimportant part, I agree—I mean this day's Debate and the introduction of this Bill. A proof of that is that the hon. Member who brought in the Bill said very little about it, and the hon. Gentleman who seconded talked about nothing but the congestion of this House. This is a window-dressing Bill, purely and simply. On a hot day, when we would all much sooner be anywhere else, we are brought down to a farcical discussion with no real bottom behind it, and no real anything behind it only the desire to manufacture a theatrical display of opinion from the benches opposite. That is the whole position. If we want to test the sincerity of hon. Members opposite about this question, we do not require to go any further than the speech referred to by my right hon. Friend, and made by the Secretary for Scotland in Glasgow not long ago, in which he gave away the whole case that there is a burning demand for this Bill. He told his audience they had got to educate Scottish opinion. I think that will be difficult amongst sensible Scotsmen when they realise the risks they are running. He went on further, and he said that they had got to educate their Radical brethren in England, and that is a very tall order. I see no burning desire on the part of the Radical brethren in England to bring in a Home Rule Bill for England. On this principle I do not know why that Bill is not being introduced if there is this burning anxiety to see this devolution applied to the various countries. [An HON MEMBER: "One at a time."] It cannot be one at a time; it has got to be three Bills together if you are going to be fair and reasonable, and you should have them simultaneously if you are at all honest or sincere.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Try me. It would depend entirely on what is in the scheme, and entirely on the framework of that scheme, and whether the devolution, which, I admit, in some cases, would be advisable, is carried out on lines I approve of.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
You do not suppose I am going to answer a question of that kind; you will hear something about what I concede before I am done, which is the best answer I can give. I was dealing with the Secretary for Scotland's speech, and I said he postulates the necessity for educating not only your Scottish, but your English Radical brethren. I was asking why it is Radical Members for England are not bringing forward a measure of this kind. Everybody knows that they do not bring in a measure to establish a Parliament of this kind because they know that in that Parliament their party would be impotent. As a matter of fact, England is Conservative or Unionist, and at the present moment the English Unionist Members are in a very considerable majority in this House. If hon. Members opposite believe in their principles, the Minister who is going to introduce the Education Bill ought, first of all, send it to the Leader of the Opposition for his approval, because he is the man who represents the majority of English opinion in this House and not the right hon. Gentleman. It is all very well to talk about Scottish opinion being overridden in measures which come into this House, but what about English opinion being overridden; and what about the Celtic element that has been sitting on England for the last five or six years? I am bound to say I have always been surprised at Scottish Radicals having the pluck to bring forward a measure of this kind. What has surprised me since I came to this House is that the English Members have not long ago shoved Home Rule down the throats of Scotland and Wales, in order to get rid of them and in order to become masters in their own house; but, knowing that, and knowing the value of the present absorption of the two Legislatures, I am not prepared to run the risk of the results of anything of that kind, and I object to this Bill strongly. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland gave away the whole case. He practically denied the sincerity of the Government, and gave away the Prime Minister when he said that you first of all have to educate Radical opinion in England as well as in Scotland in favour of this measure. He knows he will not be able to educate that opinion perfectly well, and therefore I say that he gives away the whole case. I do not wish to say anything harsh, but I think that shows the whole 505 insincerity of this movement. I think he was perfectly right to postulate that you must have a process of education. That is even more indefinite than the Preamble of the Parliament Act, and we know the value of that Preamble.
This particular question was once said, I am told, though I do not know with what truth, by a prominent politician, to be very useful in Scotland for platform purposes, but utter nonsense anywhere else. I think the adjective was a little strong, and I do not propose to use it, but no doubt the subject is attractive for platform purposes, and plausible to those who are not so familiar with things here to convince them that all that was said by the hon. Member for Falkirk (Mr. Murray Macdonald) is literally and accurately true. Of course, the answer to the hon. Member for Falkirk to a great extent is that first of all the programme of business attempted to be passed through this House by the present Government has never been a reasonable one. It has always been too extreme, for they have been trying all the time to put a quart into a pint measure. There is plenty of time in the history of a nation without trying to crush every kind of measure into three or four years, but there is not much time, of course, for a Radical Government which loses the confidence of the constituencies. At all events the real answer to the question is that we are asked to do too much. The Government is not content with one or two big measures in a Session, but they introduce five or six, which should be carried over several years. That is one reason, but there is another reason, and that is to be found in the attitude of the Scottish Members themselves towards Scottish legislation ever since 1906. Have they not been in a position to force the hands of the Government if they chose to do it? I do not say that they could have done it in the Parliament of 1906. The Government then had such an enormous majority that they could afford to flout the Scottish Members, which they most thoroughly, regularly, and effectively did, without, as far as I could see, any protest whatever from the faithful Gentlemen opposite. But that has not been the case of late. Scottish Members opposite have been far more than the balancing factor in this House. They have had the whip hand of the Government, if they had chosen to use it. They have had on the Treasury Bench the Prime Minister, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the late Secretary of State for War, and so on. What interest have they ever taken 506 in Scottish questions? Take the Prime Minister's record. He has been for twenty-five years a Member of this House. What interest has he ever shown in Scottish measures? He is not here to-day, and I am sorry to attack him in his absence. I do not say that the Prime Minister is now in a position to give so much attention to Scottish affairs; I do not think he is. But when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer he confined himself to the duties of his office. He did not bring in any extreme Bills; he looked after his work, and he did it well. During that time the House was struggling over the Scottish Landholders Bill. How much part did the right hon. Gentleman take in the discussion of that measure? How often did he turn up in the Committee stage? He came in on one day. He stayed seventeen and a half minutes, and had quite enough of it. He heard a good deal of nonsense talked, and went out.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
With all respect to my hon. Friend I have heard him talk nonsense, and I have probably done it myself. However, that was the Prime Minister's record. That was a very important measure, and it occupied weeks and weeks in Committee. The chairman of the Scottish party must have a very vivid recollection of the time he spent in that Committee. That, however, was the measure of the interest shown by the Prime Minister, and that is the measure of the interest of Scottish Members on the Front Bench generally in measures in which hon. Members opposite, and we also, are very interested. I repeat that the seventy-two Scottish Members in this House, if they chose to do so, could force any Government, particularly the present, to look after and deal with any legislation that we wanted. Reference has been made to Church union, which I earnestly hope and pray may come. Does any one suggest that if those two Churches agree on a constitution and that constitution is sent up to this House for legislative purposes, if Scottish Members here say to the Government, "You have got to take that up and pass it," the Government will refuse to do it, and say that there is not time for its consideration? Of course they will not. If they do, it will be the fault of Scottish Members opposite and nobody else's. They can turn them out if they like. Thy have the power and the right. 507 Wherever there is a unanimous feeling on the part of Scottish Members, or even on the part of Scottish Members on the other side, in favour of any measure, it is ridiculous to say that time cannot be found for it or that the Government will refuse to deal with it. I do not want to occupy too much time, but as there are not many on this side who want to speak, I may occupy a little longer than I should otherwise do—[An HON. MEMBER: "Why do they not want to speak?"] They think it rather a farce.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Because I am trying to treat the Bill more or less seriously, although I think it somewhat of a farce.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Yes, I have often done so before, and the hon. Gentleman himself has shown considerable capacity for doing the same thing.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
As to the Bill itself, the Mover did not say a great deal about it. I wish to refer to one or two points, not so much of agreement with as of difference from the Irish Home Rule Bill. Something like 95 per cent. of the whole measure appears to be a mere paraphrase of the Irish Bill, with certain changes to meet local conditions. First of all, you are imposing on Scotland an autocratic Parliament without check of any sort or kind, without any fairness to the minority, without any proposal for proportional representation, or any provision with regard to membership of the Senate or otherwise, by which the minority might be given some voice in the legislation proposed in that Parliament. Generally speaking, you place those who share my political views in a position of inferiority and very great unfairness. You very wisely refuse to take over the control of the Post Office, and you also leave out all dealings with Customs and Excise. On the other hand, you take over the administration of old age pensions, insurance, and so on; but, as far as I can see, you make no reasonable or proper financial provision in connection with the matters that would devolve upon the 508 Scottish Parliament. You take the existing figures, and deal with them in a very haphazard way. You accept as gospel the White Paper which is used from time to time, showing the relative income and expenditure of each of the three countries, although everybody knows that it is largely guesswork, and is not and cannot be accurate. You also take over that problem of enormous difficulty and perplexity—local government. No more difficult or complex problem faces the present Parliament. It has been admitted over and over again by the Lord Advocate and others that local government in the Highlands has utterly broken down in many parts. We have imposed obligations which the local authorities cannot discharge from want of means. That is a question which ought to be and must be dealt with.
There is also the question of emigration. The hon. Member who referred to it seems to be one of those who think that a further partition of land would put an end to emigration. He was never more mistaken in his life. To a large extent the people who are going away would not look at a small holding if it were offered them. They are people who have the evidence of the experience of friends who have gone out to Canada, and they desire to have the same opportunities of making their way in the world. They are the very best of our population. It is deplorable that such people have gone and continue to go. Nothing that you have done in this House will stop them. All that your Land Bill will ever do is perhaps to keep those on the soil who might otherwise leave it. That, I admit, is a very good thing to do, and I should be very glad to see it succeed. But I am looking at this matter in a practical way, and I say that this is no solution of the difficulty at all. Take the Island of Lewis. If the whole were apportioned to-morrow, not one of the applicants could live on his holding. Although a large revenue can be got from fishing, it, seems to disappear in some fashion without doing any good. These are the problems with which the Scottish Parliament would have to deal. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Quite so; but what financial provision have you made to enable the Scottish Parliament to deal with them? You have made none at all. You take over the exclusive power to tax land. Do you think that that is going to be a gold mine? Do you believe that the river of gold which, according to the Lord 509 Advocate, was to flow from Lloyd-Georgian finance, will be available to the Scottish Parliament. Has not that bubble been burst long ago? [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Well, if it is not so hon. Members take a great deal of education on this question; it would seem to be comparable with the process of education which apparently the Secretary for Scotland thinks is required for Radical England.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
What do I say the land values of Glasgow are worth? In the first place I am not a walking Encyclopædia, and, in the second, I am not a maniac on that question; but I am satisfied of this, that if hon. Members opposite think that the proposed Executive, by dealing with the land taxation of Scotland, are going to raise money to the extent required, I think they will be a good deal mistaken. A successful dealing with this matter, assuming that a Parliament is set up in Scotland, will require very different financial proposals from those embraced in this measure. For the secretary of the Cobden Club, with his great financial reputation, to come down and deal with this Bill in the way he has done without saying a single word about the finance of the Bill, speaks for itself; and I think is the very best evidence of the extreme difficulty of the question. Then as to the proposal to retain the whole of the Scottish Members at Westminster. I do not quite know how to characterise that proposal. It is pretty cool to suggest that seventy-two Scottish Members are to be left in the Imperial Parliament to deal as they now do with English interests in the face of the fact that they are going to be allowed to deal exclusively with their own interests in Scotland. That they are to come here in full as at present, while the Irish Members—and I hope hon. Members below the Gangway on this side will note this—are reduced to a miserable forty is a little interesting to those on this side of the House, and we are now satisfied I think as to why my right hon. Friend opposite has not backed this Bill. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman would never put his name on the back of this Bill; he is much too sensible on this question to back such an absurd proposal. It may be that the name of the hon. Gentleman opposite is off the Bill for the same reason.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I would remind the hon. Baronet that when the Bill was presented my name was not on the back of the Bill, and so it could not be taken off.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
All I said was that it was not there. I never suggested the hon. Member's name was on the back. I really do not know. But I took the omission as evidence that possibly the hon. Member supports my right hon. Friend the Member for Leith in objecting to this proposal. But it may be that I am quite wrong; it was the good sense and wisdom of the thing that made me associate the name of the hon. Member with it. A good deal has been said as to the effect of the Act of Union. Much was said about the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament. We have had quotations from Burns, though I do not know that Burns was a very competent historian, nor do I know that poetical licence necessitates poets sticking to strict accuracy or fact. [An HON. MEMBER: "He stuck to Ayr."] Yes, he stuck to Ayr, and other people have also stuck to Ayr, and Ayr has also stuck to them. Probably the latest historian dealing with this question, Mr. John Hill Burton, takes, I think, a very different view of the situation.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I have no doubt my mind is capable of improvement by anything I read from Professor Rait. A good deal of nonsense has been talked about the Act of Union. Everyone knows that England was very lukewarm about it. There was no question of British gold or any nonsense of that sort. Everybody also knows that many Scotsmen who agreed to it were very strongly opposed 511 to it on many grounds, but Scotland had got into a position which made absorption of the Legislature an absolute necessity. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It did. Scotland was quite unable to defend itself against foreign aggression. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] She admitted it herself by her own spokesmen. Fletcher of Saltoun was one who admitted it. They were inevitably a subordinate people. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It could not be otherwise. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] I adhere to my own opinion, and no amount of contradiction will shake it. Absorption was an absolute necessity, and, as the event has proved, was a magnificent advantage to Scotland. What did she exchange for it? She exchanged for her various disadvantages an undivided partnership in a vast Imperial heritage which has been to her of the most enormous advantage, and which has given to her sons the opportunity and privilege which otherwise they would not have had; and which has given Scotland the opportunity of increasing her commercial position and of establishing it on a firm footing. Scotland had her aspirations—rightly so; but her partnership with England has been the cause of the greatest generosity towards Scotland, who has not shown the same generosity towards England. The best positions in England have been open to the Scot, and he has filled most of them, and with credit to himself; but do you ever hear of an Englishman being appointed to a Scottish position? If you do, what follows? There was such an appointment not long ago in Glasgow, and there was an outcry, a scandalous outcry, that was very different to the treatment meted out to Scotsmen in England. By wanting a separate Legislature or Parliament in Scotland you are going to risk engendering a feeling against Scotsmen in England which would be disastrous to the commercial prosperity of Scotland and her sons. I say this is a totally unnecessary measure; it is not required in the interests of Scotland. It is, in my view, a betrayal of her very best interest, and as long as I have a voice in this House, I shall oppose anything of the kind. It is not a heroic remedy required for any deficiency in the Scottish Office. You want, perhaps, a change in administration. I agree. You want certain devolutions, probably a large local council. I agree. The Secretary for Scot- 512 land, speaking the other day, alluded to the Board of Agriculture Report, and to his inability to cope with the situation which is created by the report with which he was dealing. Whose fault is that?
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Of course, it is yours, and the hon. Member has the honesty to acknowledge it, but his colleagues have not. The hon. Member was not in the House when the Scottish Agricultural Board Act was passed. He was not a Member of this House at the time, but if he looks up the OFFICIAL REPORT he will find that the very state of matters which the Secretary for Scotland now says exists, was predicted by hon. Members on this side, and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson). The right hon. Gentleman had the courage and the honesty and the knowledge to say that that was an unworkable proposal. If the Board of Agriculture in Scotland was a department of the British Board, under a British Minister, with the Parliamentary Secretary representing the Scottish Department, there would be no difficulty to-day. I quite agree the Secretary for Scotland is put in an impossible position. Take the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith Burghs on this question. You find, generally, that he talks of a legislative Parliament, but he gets on the subject of administration. He asked why do the Scottish Office do this and do that. The remedy is, let us change the administration; let there be an alteration of the system. Hon. Gentlemen opposite think nothing of creating thousands of new officials. Two or three additional Under-Secretaries, in view of that fact, would not matter much, so far as money is concerned, provided the result was to put Scottish administration on a better footing and put this House in more close touch and more direct connection with Scottish affairs. That is what is wanting—some alteration in the administration, some greater devolution in the way of extension of councils and a further extension of Private Bill legislation. The remedy is to provide more Scotsmen here who could make their weight felt in the Department. I strongly support the Amendment for the rejection of this Bill.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I intervene reluctantly in this Debate because I must occupy some portion of the time which would much better be occupied by Scottish Members more intimately acquainted 513 with the subject, but this is a Debate in which I think it is desirable the views of Ireland should be heard. I have listened with great attention and some amusement to the speech of the hon. Baronet who has just sat down. It was characteristically genial and characteristically wrongheaded, if he will allow me to say so. The hon. Baronet is exceptional in being a Tory among Scotsmen, and is still more exceptional in being less of a logician than most of his countrymen. I regard his speech as one of the best made in favour of this Bill. I first take his observations, not altogether flattering, and I think not altogether deserved with regard to the Prime Minister and the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) the Member for the City of London. He gave us so vivid and picturesque a description of a visit of the Prime Minister to the Scottish Grand Committee that I thought he was a journalist spoiled; and he made two complaints. His first complaint was that the Prime Minister, though a Scottish Member, devoted very little attention to Scottish business, and as an example of that lack of attention he described how the Prime Minister, after listening to some nonsense being spoken for seventeen minutes and a-half, got as much of the nonsense as he could stand, and left. I heard with surprise that the Gentleman who had spoken the nonsense which sent the Prime Minister into ignominious flight was the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. I put it to the House, could anything, as it were, in microcosm, better describe the case for Home Rule. Here was a Bill dealing with Scotland and Scottish land—a land system which is essentially different in Scotland from the land system in Ireland or in England—and the Prime Minister, under the illusion that he was going to hear a well-informed discussion on a purely Scottish question by Scotsmen, found nonsense being talked by an Englishman. Is not that the summing up of the whole situation.
Affairs in Scotland are discussed and decided, not by the local knowledge of Scotsmen, but by the ignorance of Englishmen and Irishmen and Welshmen; and that is what goes on all round. Irish affairs are discussed and decided by English ignorance. Scottish affairs are discussed and decided by English or Irish or Welsh ignorance. Welsh affairs are discussed and decided by English or Scottish or Irish ignorance, and English internal affairs are decided not by English know- 514 ledge, but by Irish or Scottish or Welsh ignorance. That is our case. I speak here as a citizen of London, though not as a constituent of the hon. Baronet, the Member for the City, and I want to say a word for poor England. It is about time something should be said for poor England. I was present in the Parliament of 1892–5. There was a Bill brought in then by the late Sir William Harcourt in favour of local option with regard to the liquor traffic. The Ministry of which Sir William Harcourt was a Member was in a considerable minority so far as England was concerned. The Government was kept in office by about forty of the majority which was made up of Scotch Liberals and Irish Nationalists. This Bill for local option applied to the English people and to them alone. It did not apply to Scotland or Ireland, and yet that measure, if it had come to a Second Reading, would probably have been carried by a majority of forty, and although applying to England and England alone, with a huge majority of the English people against it, it would have been forced upon the people of England by Scotchmen, Welshmen, and Irishmen. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the House of Lords?"] Well, if you are going to rely upon the House of Lords in this matter, I think you will have very poor support. So far as local affairs are concerned, they are decided in the Imperial Parliament not by the knowledge of the Kingdom to which the legislation applies, but by the comparative ignorance of all the other nationalities in Parliament. I speak in favour of this Bill because I want Home Rule all round. I am a little concerned by the attitude of the hon. and learned Member for Central Glasgow, and I would like to know where he stands. He stated there might be something to be said in favour of a large, general, and common measure of devolution. That is an extraordinary attitude to take up. Practically the hon. and learned Gentleman says, "Let us have a proposal for Home Rule all round, and then we can discuss it."
The hon. and learned Member knows exactly what that means. Does anybody suppose that if any Ministry were to propose Home Rule all round that those sitting on the Opposition Benches would support it? I take it that the hon. and learned Gentleman is not willing to commit himself against the principle of devolution, and he takes refuge in that kind of cheap commonplace methods of 515 criticism to which politicians in a difficulty always resort. What we are asked to decide by his Bill to-day is not the particular methods or details by which this principle is to be carried out, but what we are deciding is whether we are in favour of leaving the Imperial Parliament in its present position or of relieving it by a process of devolution. That is what I am going to vote for. As to the small and meticulous objections about there being seventy-two Scottish representatives in the Imperial Parliament, the hon. Gentleman knew that according to Clause 9 that was to be regarded simply as a transient state of affairs. I will make this concession to the hon. and learned Member: You cannot bring forward any Home Rule Bill for any single part of the four Kingdoms which is not open to objection from logic choppers. Every proposal must be unilateral. Every proposal can be riddled by men who think that Parliamentary tactics are more important than policy, but, as everybody knows, any proposal with regard to Scottish or Irish representation in the Imperial Parliament is meant and is avowed to be a temporary expedient until the time comes when a complete system of devolution will be proposed, under which each nation will have representation in the Imperial Parliament proportionate to its population.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I wonder what the hon. and learned Member would say if the Home Rule Bill proposed seventy-two Irish Members! Why the glass roof of this House has almost been shattered by arguments dealing with the omnipotence of forty-two Irish representatives in the Imperial Parliament after Home Rule, and now the hon. and learned Gentleman criticises us because we have not asked for more. We are often asked to give a decision upon Scottish questions. I do not profess to know anything about Scottish affairs, and when I hear an hon. Member speaking with a good Glasgow accent I almost think that I do not even understand the language. The phraseology of Scottish law is absolutely a foreign language to anybody who is not a Scotsman. When it comes to Scottish theology, immediately I have to acknowledge my entire ignorance. Fancy eighty-four Irish Nationalists, three-fourths or nine-tenths of them Catholics, being asked to decide the ques- 516 tion of the comparative merits of the Free Kirk and the Wee Kirk on the doctrine of predestination! That is a question which actually came before this House, and although I went into the Lobby, I am not sure whether I was on the side of the Free Kirk or the Wee Kirk. I maintain that the affairs of Scotland should not be decided by anything except Scottish opinion.
The hon. Baronet said that what was wanted was a change of administration. There is no doctrine more embedded in my mind than this, that there is only one safeguard in the world for good administration, and that is the responsibility of the administrators to local opinion. Does that exist to-day? If to-morrow a Conservative Government came into power, and if three-fourths of the Scottish Members protested against some administrative act, they would be impotent if the Tory Government was in charge of the administration. The Scottish Members might make out a splendid case and debate the question with their usual ability, but they would speak to a House empty of all Members except those from Scotland, and when the Division came the English, Irish, and Welsh Members who had not heard the Debate, and who might not have understood the Debate if they had heard it, would come in from the terrace, the smoke room, the dining-room and from their homes and vote down the voice of Scotland in regard to the affairs of Scotland: Finally, I am in favour of the process of devolution in this Bill on the ground of the efficiency and even the existence of the Imperial Parliament. In my opinion, the Imperial Parliament now has ceased to be an effective instrument of government in this country. The hon. Baronet said that the reason why there was so much congestion of business was that there was a Liberal Government in office, which desired to do too much. The statement is historically and obviously inaccurate. When the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour) was in office, and when certainly he could not be said to be too ambitious in his desire to propose legislation, we ended more than one Session by voting away without discussion millions of money. Congestion is the result of conditions, the growth of population, the growth of popular necessities, and the larger sphere of action which politics and administration now take, and I do now most honestly and sincerely believe that if we are to preserve the repute and 517 efficiency of the Imperial Parliament as an instrument of deliberation and of action some such steps as these are necessary. I know hon. Gentlemen from the North of Ireland are inclined to smile and mock when an Irish Nationalist says anything about the interests of the Empire, but I beg to assure them that they are entirely mistaken. If you go to the Colonies you will find that there is not one of them that is not astounded and shocked at our Parliamentary institutions in this country. People speak in favour of Home Rule for Ireland on the ground that Canada has a Parliament. That only half states the position. Canada has nine Parliaments. Canada, with only about 8,000,000 people, was not satisfied with one central Parliament, the Dominion Parliament, but each one of the provinces has a Parliament, because the local conditions are so different, though not half so different, as the local conditions of Wales, Scotland, England, and Ireland are from each other.
What does it all come to? In the Imperial Parliament hurried men, scamped work, undebated Bills, undebated great issues, and at the same time two or three hours during several weeks of the Session given to a turnpike in Ireland or to a tramway in Scotland, or to the question whether Liverpool shall have 32 or 26 candle-power in its gas. That has reacted, and must react upon the Government and the rulers of the country. I have never been a member of the Cabinet; but members of the Cabinet have told me that in addition to having a congested House of Commons you have a congested Cabinet, where the most serious Imperial affairs have to be scamped. If you read the life of the Duke of Devonshire, you will find that when the life of Gordon depended upon hours, it was week after week, and sometimes month after month, before they could get a quarter of an hour for the discussion of an expedition to relieve Gordon. I believe the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour) is to take part in this Debate. The House, I think, has a right, if I may say so, to expect from him a speech different from some of the speeches to which we have listened. No one knows better than an old Member like myself how deadly the right hon. Gentleman can be in his analysis of the apparent contradictions of a measure which is before the House. I dare say that he can make an admirable 518 and powerful speech against some of the details and proposals in this Bill, but that is not enough. No man has given more eloquent testimony to the congestion of business in this House, and the impossibility of going on the present lines, and, as he admits the evil, has he no remedy? Will he not give the country his idea of the means by which an evil, admitted on all hands, can be remedied?
§ Mr. FALCONER
I should like to state the reasons why I support the Second Reading of this Bill. I agree with what has been said with regard to the congestion of business in this House. I have taken some pains to ascertain what the growth in volume and importance of the business of this House has been, and I agree with what has fallen from my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Murray Macdonald) on that subject. So far as I have been able to judge during the short time I have been here, it is an absolute impossibility for this House, under existing conditions, to discharge, in a businesslike way, the duties placed upon it. That is my settled opinion, arrived at after the short experience I have had of the House. I have been driven further to that conclusion by a consideration of the interests of Scotland and the necessity for having the business of Scotland attended to in the way in which it ought to be. I take a very strong view of the importance of having Scottish business properly discharged, not only from the parochial point of view, but also because, to my mind, the efficiency of the legislation and administration for Scotland is essential, if Scotland is to maintain her influence in the Empire and throughout the world. The claim which Scotland has to the position which she occupies rests, to my mind, upon the fact that year after year she has turned out men who are physically, intellectually, and morally well equipped for doing the work of the Empire in all its parts; and, if you are going to retain that position—this is my point, and my whole point—it is essential that you should maintain the race in Scotland on the land, and that you should also maintain the system of education in Scotland up to the highest standard at which it can be kept. I would like to direct the attention of the House to those two questions and to see how they have been dealt with in legislation and in administration during the last few years within my own experience. Take the education system of Scotland. The latest legislation on the 519 subject was the Education (Scotland) Act of 1908, a measure of great importance and a great step forward. What was the history of that measure? It was passed by this House and sent up to a Committee, then sent back to this House, and was ultimately sent up to the House of Lords, where Amendments of serious consequence were proposed. It came back to this House. I have looked into the records, and what do I find as to what took place? There is but one line:—Amendments of House of Lords considered, and agreed to.There was absolutely no discussion. There were many matters upon which people in Scotland interested in education had set their minds which had to be passed over because there was no time to deal with Scottish affairs. It was on 17th December that the Bill was considered a second time, and I remember the explanation given by Scottish, Members of their having given way on matters which were not generally approved in Scotland was that it was a question of either accepting a mutilated or limited Bill or of having no Bill at all. That cannot be regarded by anyone—even by those who were in favour of the Lords Amendments—as a satisfactory method of dealing with matters of such importance as that of the education of the Scottish people. Then, again, as regards administration, what are the two chief points in connection with education which have been canvassed and discussed in this House since I entered it? One is the question of the distribution of the Education Grant—a question of real importance for the cause of higher education in Scotland. That was one of the questions which could not be settled in that Bill because there was no time to do it, and since, in consequence of the inadequate settlement then made, there has been constant discussion in this House and the matter still remains unsettled. I believe it will not be satisfactorily settled until you have a Parliament in Scotland to legislate on these matters. To deal with another educational question upon which there is considerable difference of opinion in Scotland—with regard to cumulative voting for school boards—that again, is a matter of controversy, and it will not be disposed of until it is relegated to a Scottish Parliament. Take another question—the question as to whether the Education Department should be placed in 520 Edinburgh or in London. On that again, there is a great difference of opinion. Indeed, my own view upon it has varied. I think it is impossible to have a satisfactory administration with the Department here. It is also an impossibility to have an efficient administration while the Department is in Edinburgh and the Secretary for Scotland is in London. The only solution is to have both the Department and the responsible Minister at the head of it in Scotland dealing with it in a Scottish Legislature. So much for education!
Take another question, that of the land. Look at the history of the Small Landholders Bill which has already been referred to. It was only by the merest chance, and as a result of constant and persistent pressure on the part of Scottish Members, that the Bill was taken on a Friday. It was the very last chance of the Session, I think, and by the concession of hon. Members opposite, it was agreed to be taken on that day and it was taken and sent to the Scottish Committee. In that Committee there was a great deal of discussion. The Bill came back to this House and was sent to the House of Lords. There, serious and important questions were raised, and, I think, it will be agreed that very substantial modifications were made in the Bill. It was sent down to this House and not a single Member here had an opportunity of seeing those alterations before the Bill was read a third time on the 21st December.
§ Mr. FALCONER
I am not disputing the good faith of what was done by the leaders on either side of the House, but that is not giving the House itself an opportunity of discussing the Amendments. I am not ungrateful for the attitude taken up by hon. Members opposite on that occasion, because if there had not been a real desire on their part to solve the question, legislation of that kind would have been absolutely impossible. But my point is this: Substantial and real modifications were made in that Bill in the House of Lords, and they were modifications which deserved careful consideration for days by men who are in earnest about the reform of the Land Laws in Scotland. Did they receive such consideration? We say they did not, and they did not simply because of the state 521 of business in this House on 21st December, which rendered it a hopeless impossibility to give consideration to the Amendments. We were consequently again faced with the same alternative of either accepting a Bill, some of the provisions of which we did not like—and there are some I do not like—or go without a Land Bill, with the result that emigration to Canada and Australia must go on unchecked and without any effort to check it I say that that is not a creditable state of affairs. What is the use of our being here to look after Scottish affairs unless we can do real work for Scotland in a right way? That is my whole case. So far as I am able to judge, legislation on any really important question, and real good work for our country is an impossibility under existing conditions. The only answer to that has been the one given by the hon. Baronet the Member for Ayr Burghs, who suggested we should tell our leaders that we would turn them out if they did not concede our demands, and he reminded us that we have a sufficient majority to do that. I do not know whether he meant that seriously.
§ Mr. FALCONER
Does the hon. Baronet really suggest that Scottish business is only to be done on that footing, and that we are only to get Bills on the threat of turning out a Government which is protecting the interests of this great country? Surely that is not an argument worthy of him.
§ Mr. FALCONER
It is a hopelessly impracticable suggestion to make that every time we desire to get a local piece of business done we should do it at the sacrifice of those great interests to which I have referred. I would like to take this opportunity of saying that the stream of emigration has not yet been checked. We have got machinery which, I believe, is capable of doing excellent work for the purpose of finding places on the land for those who are willing to settle thereon. But we want much larger administrative machinery. We want much more money; we want much more attention given to every way that can be suggested for ensuring that people will not be led away by attractions, which, I think, are very often illusory, and that they will be induced to settle on lands at home near our own 522 markets. But how are we going to get time for the purpose of discussing these methods and bringing Scottish opinion from all parts to bear upon Parliament? We may be told that we can do so when the Estimates come under discussion. I have been present at all discussions on Scottish Estimates since I came here, and my opinion is that through the limitations of time the opportunities are absolutely insufficient for dealing with all sorts of subjects from the Scottish point of view, and that therefore those discussions have become more or less a farce. That is a very serious thing. I have been ashamed that we Scottish Members should find it so difficult to do what I believe we ought to do, and I believe the reason is that we know it does not matter what we say or do, because the great Imperial interests represented by the whole House outweigh Scottish subjects in importance and gravity and require so much more time for consideration. It is therefore really more or less a farce, pretending to control Scottish legislation from these benches.
I should like to say this on a question which has been raised with regard to the representation of Scotland in this House. I am an ardent Scotsman, and the reason I am here is very largely associated with my desire, in a humble way, to do what I can in connection with the matters to which I have referred. On the other hand, I recognise that apart from local Scottish affairs there are Imperial affairs in which Scotland takes her part, and that they cannot be set aside. If I am told that I must take something less than the fair share of Scotland in regard to representation as the price of being allowed efficient legislation and administration for Scotland, I say that is not a fair choice to offer. Scotland is entitled—I do not believe there is a single Member who differs from me—to have her affairs efficiently and well administered in whatever way it can be done. If this House is not, as I believe it is not, capable of giving us efficient administration, then this House must submit and allow us to manage our affairs in our own way. We have no desire to be over-represented, but we must be adequately represented in this House. Ireland is upon a different footing. Ireland has a history with regard to the Home Rule movement which is entirely different from ours. I am not dealing with the memories of the past, but with the necessities of today, and what will do the people good now and in the future, and I want, so far 523 as I am concerned, Scotland to have its full voice in the representation of this House The duty rests upon this House to see that, so far as her local affairs are concerned, they shall be efficiently managed. If it cannot be dealt with in any other way—and no other way has been suggested except legislation of this character—until some method equally efficient is put before us I shall continue to support a separate Legislature for Scotland.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I have listened to every word of the Debate which has taken place upon this Bill. It has had its various interesting points. We all welcome the intervention of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor). He never more happily intervened in Debate; he never played the role expected of him more happily than he did to-day. It was necessary in order to preserve unimpaired this compact or arrangement between the different parts of the House which support the Government that some Member from the Irish branch should speak, and none could better do it than the hon. Member. How easy it was for him, in the blessed name of Home Rule, to pour his benedictions upon this Bill, and, if there were any huge disproportions and absolute incongruities between the Irish Home Rule Bill and this abortive attempt, to treat them as mere meticulous insignificancies which were not worthy of consideration in such a serious discussion. I am glad that we had the intervention of the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. Falconer). For the first time in the whole of the Debate he attempted to give us some real grievances which require to be dealt with. Some of them happen to come within my own experience in a very particular way. He dealt with certain educational grievances. There was the difficulty as to distribution of certain funds which had to be distributed in certain proportions. I can assure the hon. Member that if I could get him in a room with two or three of his colleagues I could persuade him in ten minutes how very difficult it was to get a scheme satisfactory to all. It is not a matter of great legislative principle; it is only a matter of extreme difficulty in adjusting small points. He spoke of this as being left over when the Bill of 1908 was under discussion. I do not think he was a Member of the House in 1908, or 524 he would not venture to cite that experience. When that Bill was before the Committee upstairs, which was composed almost entirely of Scotsmen—there was only a sprinkling of English Members—I repeatedly urged that it was necessary to make more definite arrangements with regard to the distribution of this money. I was told I was wasting time, and the Secretary for Scotland of that day said it could be easily adjusted later on. That it was not dealt with was not the fault of the House, nor was it the fault of the English Members, but that of hon. Members opposite, who absolutely refused to listen to the warnings given.
Another point raised by the hon. Member was that the cumulative vote was not taken away. Will the hon. Member allow me to recall to him the facts with regard to the cumulative vote? When the Bill of 1908 was introduced by the Government, it provided for the abolition of the cumulative vote, and even we on this side of the House saw that it was the point upon which we could offer no effective resistance. What was our astonishment when, on the very last day that the Bill was before the Scottish Committee upstairs, the late Secretary for Scotland rose and told us that he had changed his mind, and produced an Amendment continuing the cumulative vote for the present. Was that the fault of the English House of Commons, or was it a case of being outvoted by English Members? The hon. Member could not have selected a more ridiculous instance to prove the grievance he desires to prove. The next point was the transfer of the Education Department to Edinburgh. Is the hon. Member aware, or could he not have taken the trouble to consult some of his colleagues who were on the Committee to find out that that very question was discussed by the Scottish Committee when the Bill was before it, and that by a large majority of the Scottish Members it was decided to keep the Department in London.
§ Mr. FALCONER
May I explain that I did not refer to the Bill? I was referring to the situation which I found existed in the House. There was a great desire to deal with that question.
§ Sir H. CRAIK:
I think the hon. Member himself announced from the place where he is now sitting that he had changed his opinion upon that subject.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
That is a specific instance of grievances which are easily disposed of. If this were merely a question of improving Scottish administration and giving greater attention to Scottish wants, I would join the hon. Members opposite. I am quite ready to join with them in regard to Scottish needs and requirements. I desire to refer to the travesty of the arguments of the hon. Baronet the Member for the Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger) which was indulged in by the hon. Member for Forfarshire. What my hon. Friend said was not that you should turn out the Government upon each occasion when Scottish interests did not receive sufficient attention, but that you should, by consistent, persistent, and unyielding insistence upon your claims, make your influence felt. What are the facts? Hon. Members have over and over again indulged in fervid rhetoric upon the wrongs of Scotland. As soon as they saw that they had some support from Members on this side and we told them that we were ready to go into the Lobby with them, they saw reason to withdraw their Motions and so avoid danger to the Government. They preferred the safety of the Government to insistence upon what they had previously asserted to be the interests of Scotland. If the interests of Scotland were the only point at issue, I would support them, but it is not the point. They know perfectly well that they do not honestly, consistently, and with courage and persistence insist upon the objections they raise with such perfervid oratory, and that they do not follow them up in the Division Lobby. What is the real grievance of which the redress is required? Scotland has her own law, she has her own principle of land tenure, she has her own Church and she has her own system of education, all absolutely distinct and separate from the systems that prevail in England. Is not that a sufficient amount of independence? The question is simply this: How is administration of these laws best carried on and how is the legislation best carried on which is to adapt them to present and everyday needs? I assert, without fear of contradiction, that your administration is most active, most energetic and most powerful when it is at the centre and close to where the throb of Empire is beating, and that you cannot, if you send your great administrative offices down to Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Perth, have that close and unbroken touch with what is going on in the general administration of the Empire which is of immense 526 importance to Scotland. What about legislation? Everyday legislation is not based upon historic conditions; it is based upon the experience that we have from day to day, and is the experience from day to day in England and in Scotland so different? What really is the great difference? Do we not in Scotland share in the great work of Imperial administration and have we not an exaggerated share? Are you going to deprive Scotland of the inheritance which is hers and which she has so fully and so successfully and so ably accepted and fulfilled?
But more than that, I would ask, after all, what is the Scottish nation, and this is a point which I think some hon. Members opposite very often forget? Is the Scottish nation merely that portion of Scotsmen who happen to be living in a small portion of one island of the British Empire? Is there not something else in the Scottish nation? Is it not a fact that Scotsmen all over England and all over every corner of the Empire have taken a leading part in the administration of that Empire? Have they no interests, and do you think they want their centre and their home to be confined to a Parliament in Perth or Edinburgh? Last year when I was in Canada I happened to visit the city of Vancouver and I was invited by nineteen of my own Constituents living there, and taking part in the work of the Empire there, to dinner. I do not think that is an experience which will fall to many Members of the House, but it surely shows that the Scottish nation is something more merely than that small part of it that happens to confine its energies to the north of the Tweed. What is there to gain, and if there is nothing to gain, is there not a very great deal to be lost? Is it worth while stirring up discontent which will arouse jealousies on the part of our southern brethren and which will divide Scotland into two bitterly hostile camps? You are merely "rubbing the poor itch of your opinion till you make yourselves scabs." You will arouse out of this discontent a fractious criticism of central administration. You will arouse antipathies on the part of your own southern brethren, and you will give rise to long and calamitous disputes and dissensions. This Bill now, as always, shall have my strongest opposition.
§ Mr. JOHN
I wish to express, on behalf of my countrymen, our warm sympathy and hearty approval of the course the Scotch 527 Members are taking. We regard with sympathy this effort of theirs to obtain fairly complete powers of self-government undoubtedly, in the first place, on the broad principle of nationality and of allowing every nation to be governed in accordance with its characteristics and aspirations. We also support this measure and policy on a less lofty but possibly more generally accepted ground, that of common sense and of general advantage to the community. Wales has strenuously supported the principle of Home Rule for Ireland, but we recognise that the claim of Scotland is just as undoubted as that of Ireland. We also regard that of Wales as even stronger than either. We regard the diversity of character which marks the nations of the United Kingdom as a source of strength and unity, and we are satisfied that the immediate recognition of these characteristics of the four nationalities by entrusting to them the management of their domestic affairs, will redound enormously to the advantage of the entire British Commonwealth. We regard this as an essential initial stage in the way of enabling the Imperial Parliament to discharge properly its Imperial functions and responsibilities. We in Wales congratulate the Scottish Members upon their courage in assuming control and accepting the responsibility for practically the entire range of domestic affairs. There are practically no reserved domestic services, with the sole exception of the Post Office. I am myself an ardent federalist, and can quite appreciate the argument in favour of regarding the Post Office as a federal service, but I should have preferred that Scotland should, in this case, follow the example of Ireland. I regard the Post Office as capable of being greatly utilised in connection with insurance, and I rather demur from the attitude generally taken up by federalists in the matter. I think the Post Office might well be left to the Scottish nation, and, perhaps, in this respect, we have a special interest in Wales. We should be very reluctant to have all our postmasters and postmistresses appointed by a Department in London. In addition to this, there are no fewer than 21,000 Civil servants in the employ of the Post Office in Scotland, so that they are excluding a very extensive and important branch of domestic affairs from the Purview of the Scottish Parliament. We wholly approve of this wider scope of the Bill, and we 528 approve emphatically of the absence of a Second Chamber.
We regard this as a bolder and better Bill than the Irish Act. We greatly desire that the Welsh measure should be brought up to an equality of opportunity with the Scottish standard, and that is why we propose to follow the Scottish rather than the Irish precedent. I regret very much that the Scottish Members do not propose that women should have the fullest opportunity of sharing in the administration of domestic affairs. I regret that this Bill has adopted two-Member constituencies. To my mind it is the least defensible electoral unit. I trust that Scotland with its high level of culture and intelligence will adopt proportional representation with large constituencies returning three to five Members.
I may, however, confess that I do not see how, having removed from the scope and cognisance of this House all Scottish domestic business, our Scottish friends can reasonably ask for representation here on their present scale. Ireland is to get forty-two Members—one for every 100,000—on which basis Scotland should have forty-eight and Wales twenty-four. This, however, is largely the crux of the difficulty which is involved in the adoption of federal Home Rule, piecemeal, or by instalments. If, as I trust, the Government will next year remit Scottish and Welsh as well as Irish business to national Legislatures, it follows inevitably that the domestic affairs of England must be placed under the sole control of the representatives of English constituencies. And, speaking for myself alone, I claim that concurrently with measures establishing national Legislatures in Scotland and in Wales, the Government should submit their scheme for a reconstituted Second Chamber, where alone Ireland, Scotland, and Wales would require representation at Westminster. I am not without hope that when both the great parties in this House appreciate that Scotland and Wales are determined to achieve domestic autonomy practically simultaneously with Ireland, they will unite in this great task of constitutional reconstruction, which is to all an urgent and palpable necessity. Federal Home Rule was happily described by the "Times" as quite conceivably "constitutionally logical and administratively convenient." I hope that in the course of the discussion of the Irish Home Rule Bill in another place due regard will be had to Unionist 529 opinion as expressed by Lord Dunraven and Earl Grey, and that the whole question will be dealt with on the lines of federal Home Rule and general devolution. I trust that all parties will see their way to act on these lines. I consider that the Scottish Members in pressing their claims so persistently and pertinaciously are rendering a valuable service to Ireland and Wales as well as to Scotland, and I venture to assure the House that once Wales has secured equality in spiritual matters she will proceed to demand with equal emphasis, and perhaps more general agreement, complete autonomy in all domestic concerns.
I think it will be admitted, quite apart from the substance of the speech to which we have just listened, that this Debate would have been quite incomplete without some testimony from Wales as to its admiration of the measure before us. We have had the testimony of Ireland in the shape of the speech delivered by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), and now we have had the testimony of Wales. In fact, we have had the testimony of everybody on the Bill except the English, who, I think, have really more to say, and whose interests are more vitally affected by it than perhaps any other part of the United Kingdom. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division made an appeal to me in the concluding words of his speech that I would not occupy the attention of the House this afternoon by minute criticisms of this measure, or by any endeavour to point out wherein in one direction or another it failed in either legislative coherence or propriety. I should be almost ashamed if I were to show more interest in the details of the Bill than the Gentlemen who have fathered it. We have gone through about three-quarters of the time which is allotted to our Debate, and the one subject which has never been mentioned, except by some passing and purely parenthetical reference, is the provisions of the Bill. If I remember rightly, the Mover of the Bill chiefly occupied his time in trying to persuade us that Scottish opinion is strongly in favour of it, and he produced such impartial evidence as that provided by the Scottish Liberal Association, which, I gather from him, is the most representative body now existing in Scotland. I have nothing to say against the merits of the Scottish Liberal organisation. I am sure it does its party work admirably, but I was rather amused when the hon. 530 Gentleman at the beginning of his speech quoted the Liberal Association as the great national authority proving how much this Bill is desired, and ended his speech by saying, "This is no party matter."
It should be no party matter! I think that, amid their multifarious occupations, the Scottish Liberal Association should not put it in the forefront of their programme. Then the hon. Gentleman, having dealt with Scottish opinion, as he called it, in a conclusive fashion, went on to explain the legislative grievance which he thought rendered such a proposal as this justifiable and even necessary. I do not deny that there are legislative grievances in every part of the United Kingdom, probably in every Colony—I believe in every country in the world governed by legislative assemblies. You will always find plausible reasons for coming down and saying that such-and-such a measure was introduced in a perfect form, that it was then, in obedience to some wretched compromise, deprived of all its merits. "Let us so arrange our legislative institutions that such compromises should never occur again." That is impossible as an ideal. If your Scottish legislative assembly was started tomorrow you would have compromises. It is of the very essence of legislative assemblies, where people of different opinions are brought together, to have compromises. Compromises are very often found, in the opinion of those who bring forward those measures, to do those measures a great deal of harm. But to come forward in this House and say, as the hon. Gentleman did, that if there had been a Scotch Assembly it would years ago have passed temperance legislation, and that so many homes would not have been broken up, and that such and such evils would have been avoided, is to beg the whole question.
He thinks that, but there is no evidence that it would have been so. Even if it has been so, even if legislation has been deferred by the existing system, it would have been deferred under any system. If Scotland has a grievance in such a matter, Yorkshire has a grievance and Lancashire has a grievance, and you will never avoid the particular kind of grievance on which the hon. Gentleman insisted if we simply look back on the 531 course of legislation and say that if we had taken a different line these particular evils, A, B, and C, would not have occurred. Believe me, this is not the way in which these great constitutional and legislative matters should be approached by any party. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Bill, I think, went back to the Reports of Commissions in 1837 and the speeches of politicians ever since in order to show that the business of this House was congested, not merely because there was obstruction, but because, by the inevitable augmentation of population and the complications of modern ideals, greater labour was thrown upon this Assembly. I think that there is some truth in that. I go further, and say that one of the great difficulties which I foresee in the future, not merely for legislative assemblies but for heads of offices and great administrative Departments which cannot be cut up, like the Foreign Office, is that the labour does increase, has increased, is increasing, and is likely to go on increasing, and it carries with it no doubt a strain upon individuals which is a very serious matter. Whether that is the main cause of the difficulty in getting through business in this House I do not say. I think that it is a contributory cause. I think probably that much might be done by modifying our Rules. I do not think that everything can be done. But if you suppose, which is the conclusion of the hon. Gentleman, that some form of devolution is the proper remedy for that, you are approaching the whole question in a wrong spirit.
If you begin with Home Rule for Ireland and go on to Home Rule for Scotland, and in future schemes propose Home Rule for Wales, and then I suppose at some dim and distant future, Home Rule for England, then that is not the way to do it. If you are going to approach this question, not from the Nationalist point of view, saying that the United Kingdom is composed of three or four nationalities and should be broken up into them, but if you are going to approach it purely as an administrative problem, this is not the way to deal with the subject at all. The First Lord of the Admiralty, in a speech which caused considerable disquiet among all his Friends and considerable entertainment among all his political opponents, really did approach this question in the proper spirit if administration is what you have got to deal with. He was 532 right if what you want to have is devolution alone. Then you must take the United Kingdom as a whole, and consider into what districts it may conveniently be cut up, and then give to each of those districts, not a Parliament—of course, that is absurd—but something in the nature of a glorified county council. I am not at all sure that such a scheme would succeed if it were carried out, or that it would really lighten the labours of this House, but, at all events, if that is your object, believe me that is the way to approach it. It is not the way in which this Bill approaches it. In fact this Bill has really emphasised all the criticism that was passed upon the Irish Home Rule Bill from this point of view. Now we see, as everybody must have conjectured, exactly what this so-called devolution comes to. It does mean cutting up into separate nations the United Kingdom, and giving to each of them, according to the last speaker, the Post Office, and I suppose, though he had not the courage to go that length, their own Customs barrier. I do not know that he proposes to carry the principle of nationality and improved administration to that point, but I do not see how he is to stop short of it.
You are giving it to Ireland. I do not know whether it is on the ground that Ireland is a nation or that this is an improved administrative expedient, but there is no conceivable ground for refusing it to Scotland or Wales or to England, if England is ever to be allowed a share in all the blessings that are supposed to come from having a separate Assembly to manage your own local affairs undisturbed by external interference. I do not grumble particularly at the absolute, and, let me say, discreet, silence which has been preserved by the authors of this Bill as to its merits. I should not expect on an occasion like this any very minute account of its qualities, but surely there are one or two things that do require justification and explanation. Why is the general taxpayer, for example, to give Scotland £500,000 a year? It may be quite right. As a Scotsman, I should rejoice if such a sum were given, but no explanation has been given, and not a single word has been said by any speaker upon that subject. Then I should like a little explanation about the methods of taxation which are to be left to Scotland. As I understand, Scotland is to be confined practically to increasing the Death Duties or increasing taxation upon lands and 533 houses, but in regard to everything that the Scottish Parliament may agree to do in the way of social reform or administrative change the proposal made is a very extraordinary one, and I should like to have heard some justification of it. I heard a good many attacks on the land system of Scotland, which did not appear to be very relevant to this Bill, and I heard some observations indicating that the speakers supposed that directly Scotland had Home Rule Scottish emigration to Canada would cease, and that the attraction of exchanging an infertile crop in a very unfavourable region for 150 acres given for nothing in a region where the soil is peculiarly suited for the growth of cereals would cease to have any influence with Scottish agriculturists. That appears to be a very singular delusion, and not one which is very relevant to this Bill.
The point I am now upon is this: You are confining your new Scottish Assembly to a form of taxation which cannot by any possibility touch any but the propertied classes. Of course they will get their share at least, their full share, of any reforms or changes which you may wish to bring in either in the United Kingdom or any portion of the United Kingdom; but whoever heard of a scheme of taxation which absolutely prevents your laying a shilling upon anyone but the owners of land and houses, and on those whose property amounted, or those whose income amounted, to a sum on which the Super-tax could be charged, or could be estimated at such a large amount of realised property that additional Death Duties would be a useful form of taxation? We all know that it is preposterous on the face of it. In Ireland they have not the power of the taxation of land, but they keep the Customs. You have given up the Customs and the Assembly in Scotland will be deliberately excluded from taxing the wage-earning classes of the country, in whose behalf, I hope in the main, all the essential social reforms will be undertaken. I do not think I am misrepresenting the Bill. This has not been mentioned by a single speaker, but surely it goes to the root of the whole of your financial arrangements! You must have thought it out, because you have deliberately separated yourselves from the Irish example in that. Just conceive what would have been thought about the Irish Bill if they had not been allowed to tax anything but small freehold farmers in Ireland! They would have had fits. The Bill would have had no more chance 534 of passing the Second Reading in this House on that scheme of taxation than it would have had of passing the Second Reading in the House of Lords.
Therefore, here are these Scottish legislators, my hon. Friends opposite, who come forward to complete a scheme which is so happily begun in the case of Ireland, and because the Irish constituencies chiefly consist of small freeholders, or men who hope to become small freeholders, therefore practically the taxation of land is excluded and taxation by Customs is admitted. Because the people who bring forward this Bill have some scheme, good or bad, for rehandling the land system of Scotland, therefore you have these vital differences introduced into the very fabric of your financial proposals, and no single attempt at the defence of them is made by those who brought in the Bill. I think that is really reducing the discussion of legislation to an absurdity. I leave the Bill, having devoted to it more time than many of those who have preceded me, and I come to the more fundamental propositions which underlie, not this particular proposal, but any proposal for giving a National Assembly to Scotland. I want just to say a word about this so-called contribution to federation. Federation hitherto has always been the expedient by which disparate and scattered fragments are brought together in legislative union. For the first time we are reversing that process, but, if you do mean to reverse it, in Heaven's name reverse it rationally! No system of federation in the world has ever been carried out as you propose to carry out the federation of the United Kingdom. You have begun by taking a province and saying, "We will give you such and such privileges," and taking another and saying, "We will give you more or less the same privileges, though there may be different political considerations, and we will make variations." Then you go to a third portion. You cannot make a federated system on those terms. You cannot build it up in this preposterous fashion. Do observe how impossible your plan is if looked at from the general point of view! This Debate has not been listened to, I think, by many Members other than Scottish Members. There has just been a quorum of Irish Members; I do not think even the Welsh Members have been here in large numbers; certainly English Members, who 535 are most concerned, have been here in very small numbers. But we have got to consider it from the general point of view. I, for example, represent an English constituency, and I am a Scotsman by birth and residence. Just see how those two positions are affected by this Bill. As the representative of an English constituency I ask, in the first place, why has England to pay this £500,000 a year to Scotland for the privilege apparently of allowing Scotland to manage her own affairs and to manage our affairs as well? Nobody has answered that question, though it is a very simple question.
The Bill has never been explained by its promoters, and I may be wrong. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell me what is in the Bill?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
The right hon. Gentleman, in the earlier part of his speech, said that the £500,000 comes from the general taxpayer, and it is not true to say that England pays it.
I hoped the interruption of the hon. Gentleman would have had a more solid foundation. Of course he is perfectly right, that it comes from the general taxpayer. He is very particular, and he is quite right and justified in being particular, and I will modify my statement so as to meet his scruples, and I will say, "Why should the City of London "—I mention that because I represent it—"pay a sum to Scotchmen as Scotchmen in order that Scotchmen may manage their own affairs and retain all their rights to manage English affairs as well?" If that question is asked, and it will be asked, I hope, of every English Member who votes for this Bill, I really should be glad to know what is the answer. I am surprised that none of the Scottish Members who defend this Bill have helped to supply us with an answer. I hope the right hon. Gentleman, who, I understand, is going to bless this Bill as soon as I sit down, will give us the answer. When I talk of their retaining their full share of management of our affairs, let it be observed that this is a very vitally important point. These things are not merely questions of legislation. There is a deeper and more important underlying problem. Who is going to settle the administration which is to rule the country? The House of Commons settles it, that is to say, it is 536 a well-understood constitutional maxim that no Ministry can retain office for any material or important length of time unless they have the support of the House of Commons behind them. Therefore, Scotland, under this Bill, is going to send its full quota of Members here, and will determine the nature of the administration under which England is to live, and that administration will constantly be drawn from a different party and of wholly different opinions from that which the administration would have if England, unmodified by Scottish opinion, were allowed to vote.
That is a right and tolerable system as long as there is equality between Members returned for Scotland and Members returned for England, but this destroys all equality. As long as the two portions of the Island elect Members with precisely similar privileges, and each part of it bears the same relation to each other part, that is quite a fair system, but conceive the intolerable injustice, and could you exaggerate the intolerable injustice, when Scotland is to get £500,000 out of the general taxpayer, mainly out of the English taxpayer, and then appropriates the whole and sole control of all local affairs in Scotland, and then still retaining unimpaired your full share and weight in determining the complexion of the British Ministry. Has that been touched on, and does it not lie at the very root of the whole question of federalism. Then if you come to the question of determining who are to be the Ministers on the Front Bench opposite, remember that this is not a speculation without practical interest. I do not know how the country may go at the General Election, but let us suppose it goes as the most sanguine Gentlemen opposite think it may go—nobody thinks the Government will retain their present majority. The more sanguine think they will retain some majority. Supposing that the confident anticipations of the Mover of this Bill occur, and that the Irish Bill becomes law under the Parliament Act, and supposing, as the immediate result of that, that some sixty Gentlemen are withdrawn from the support of the Government, that may make the whole difference and may make a great deal more than the difference. Yet with the Irish example before you, and knowing what the Government think just—I will come to whether it is directly—knowing that the Irish quite acquiesce in the diminution of 537 their numbers, Scotland, with a courage worthy of my countrymen, which might be displayed in a better cause, insist that they shall retain their whole seventy-two Members. That is ridiculous. We know exactly what the result has been with regard to the English Church in Wales. That Bill would never have been carried without Scottish and Irish votes—never.
It does affect the Church of England. Perhaps that has not occurred to the hon. Gentleman. You really cannot say that the Church of England is a matter on which Englishman cannot have a voice. We all know, all the legislation, all the controversial legislation, which this Government has made for England, and which does not touch Scotland or Ireland, has nevertheless been carried by Scottish and Irish votes. That has actually happened, and that is going to happen after your Bill passes. You want it to happen.
I was not talking about the desires of the hon. Gentleman which I am sure are all that could be wished. I am talking about the effect of his Bill. I am talking not about the desires expressed in the Bill, but about the operation of the Clauses of the Bill if it became law. I am not going into the question of the Preamble, but we all know that there is a great distinction in point of time between the expression of a desire or policy, and the carrying out of that desire or policy. If England is to wait until it gets this federal equality, I say you are condemning England to a long period of the grossest injustice, without any reason for it at all. I do not see how that can possibly be justified upon any principle whatever. The hon. Gentleman expressed a pious hope that this was only the beginning of a happy time in which England also should be given all the blessings which this Bill proposes to confer upon Scotland. Has he really thought that out? Are there to be sittings at Westminster at the same time an Imperial Parliament and an English Parliament, differently constituted, and composed of different individuals? England is of necessity, from the mere accident of history if you will, by far the largest, by far the richest, and by far the most popu- 538 lous part of the United Kingdom. A Parliament which really adequately represented England, would be a Parliament which could hardly sit side by side in a position of admitted inferiority to another assembly sitting within these walls. A collision with an Irish Parliament will be bad enough. A collision with a Scottish Parliament is not a desirable thing to think of. But conceive a collision with an English Parliament! I believe that directly you face the question of England's position in your ideal federal system, you will see the utter absurdity of it. To cut up England would be greatly unfair to England, on your own principles. You think it would be grossly unfair to cut up Ireland, and I presume it would be equally unfair to cut up England. Therefore England will remain as a unit, I presume. A system of four provinces of which England is one, is so lop-sided, so top-heavy, and so unequal a system, that it is impossible that it should retain its equilibrium for any great length of time, and your whole federal system would fall into the grossest absurdity.
However, I leave these shadowy schemes of federalism, which really have no more solid existence than the dreams of certain hon. Gentlemen who I do not think have ever attempted to think them out, and I come to the effect of this Bill not for England so much as for Scotland. Its injustice to England, I think, I have fully proved. At any rate, I cannot imagine what contradiction there can be. Now I come to the effects on Scotland. I am not one of those, to begin with, who have a blind belief in the multiplication of representative assemblies as the true and only possible method of government, as some hon. Members seem to think they are. Depend upon it, one of the great difficulties in the future of democratic societies—I was going to say in the future, but I say in the present—in other countries—perhaps in this, certainly in other countries—is to find men of character, standing, and capacity in sufficient numbers to carry out the work you give them. In addition to sending seventy-two Members of Parliament to the Imperial Assembly to ask Scotland to provide 150 other Members who are going to work at local affairs, will result, I believe, in one of two things: either you starve your representation in the Imperial Assembly or you starve your representation in the local assembly, and one of the two will fall into, 539 probably, a deserved discredit. I do not say that at the immediate moment you start the Scottish Parliament there might or might not be enthusiasm, but if the Scottish Parliament is really to feel itself a national assembly—which I understand is what is desired—if you are going to try to collect in that assembly all that Scotland has best of legislative worth, of men who can give the sort of time, attention, and trouble required of modern representatives, then for that reason alone I do not think you do much good by multiplying your assemblies.
I have a far stronger reason for that from the Scottish point of view for objecting to this Bill. I am not going to go into the history of the Union, or the benefits which Scotland has derived from the Union. I do not know that there is a very profound difference between hon. Members opposite and myself on that point. I think it would be perfect folly to say that everything good that has happened to Scotland in the 200 years that have followed the Union has been due to the Union. I am quite sure myself that it would not have occurred but for the Union. But to say that the idea of the Union, or any legislation under it, has produced the enormous growth and development that Scotland has enjoyed in the last 200 years would be an excessive statement. This, at all events, is certain, that during that time Scotland has gained not merely within her own borders in the way of growth of population, growth of wealth, and growth of culture, but perhaps more than any other part of the United Kingdom—perhaps more than any other part, I was going to say of Western Europe—Scotland has grown outside Scotland in the larger sphere of Empire in a manner which I need not dilate upon, because it is known to everybody. "Poor England"—that is a quotation from one of Lord Morley's speeches referred to earlier in the Debate—has looked upon that I think without either regret or envy because everybody has felt that Scotland, while nobody ever desired or could deprive her of her national sentiment, in the fullest sense of the word was an integral member of the United Kingdom. Certainly in this House Scotland has had at least its share of influential Members ever since, let us say, the days of the great lawyer who afterwards became Lord Mansfield. I think it has had a great deal more than its fair share. That is all very well 540 so long as people account the two countries as equal, but do you think you can pass a Bill of this kind without at once arousing, and justly arousing, on the part of England every form of jealousy?
Let us put our minds forward a little and suppose this Bill does pass and receives the Royal Assent, and comes into operation with an expenditure on the part of the taxpayers of the United Kingdom of £500,000 a year, with seventy-two Gentlemen representing Scotland in this House, and let us suppose by one of the revolutions of political fortune which, however long delayed, always comes about, that it is not the Radical party who are in power, that it is not the party to which the majority of these seventy-two Gentlemen belong that is in power, do you think a majority drawn mainly from England is going to tolerate for a day seventy-two Gentlemen from Scotland interfering with their affairs, upsetting their Government, threatening their existence as an administration while there is no reciprocity, no intervention in Scotch affairs at all? Of course, that is a thing that would call for an immediate remedy, and the whole of England would feel that it called for a remedy; and at all events one form of remedy is a one which could not be resisted by Gentlemen sitting upon the benches opposite because it is the form they take in dealing with the case of Ireland. By what plausibility could the Front Bench opposite, or those who support them, or Gentlemen from Ireland, refuse to cut down the Scottish representation at least as much as they cut down the Irish representation? I object to that. I think this hybrid business is one of the follies of Home Rule. It at once gives Ireland a grievance and yet leaves Great Britain with a grievance also. Still more do I think that to be the case in Scotland. Look at it from the Scottish point of view.
Here are we Scotsmen, who in every part of the world, for the last century and more, and never more than to-day, are carrying out the pioneer work of the Empire and supplying men of great administrative capacity, partly in the Government and partly out of the Government, who are the best colonists, the great binding influence wherever they go. Are we going when at home to have less than our fair share of governing an Empire which at this moment we are doing so much to maintain? Is that tolerable? Is that what you want? Is that what those 541 advocates of Home Rule in Scotland really desire? Are they to be cut down—to what? I have not done the sum in proportion—to thirty-or forty Members. I do not say forty would be just to England. I think it would be less than just, as I think forty, from the Home point of view, is far more than Ireland has a right to. But from the Imperial point of view, both Scotland and Ireland are monstrously used. Can anybody doubt, looking at this Bill and seeing that Scotland is to have seventy-two Members here, that it is absolutely unarguable upon the merits or upon precedent, and is utterly opposed to the interests of every party but one in the House? It is impossible that that can stand I say, as a Scotsman, that I most vehemently protest against this Bill, which is the inevitable prelude to one of the greatest injuries which can be done to Scotland. That is all I desire to say and all the time allows me to say upon this measure on the present occasion, but I should like, as I sit down, not to summarise what I have said, but to ask pointedly of the right hon. Gentleman who is going to reply to answer one or two of the objections I have raised to the Bill. Will he explain, to begin with, why £500,000 should be given by the general taxpayer to Scotland? Will he explain, in the second place, on what ground the financial arrangements of Scotland are to be made different to those of Ireland; and, in the third place, will he explain how he can possibly justify bringing it to existence this Assembly and giving it practically no power of taxation except taxation on property? And, lastly, will he explain why he and his Friends on that bench think it just that Scotland should retain seventy-two Members, and, if they do not think it just, what plan they propose to adopt in the Bill which they desire to bless? These are not points of detail. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool, who made an appeal to me to which I have referred, will admit that in what I have said I have endeavoured to take no small points of detail and no trifling objections. These are great and fundamental difficulties, and I do not think any Member of the Government has a right to get up and give a vague and general blessing to a measure of this sort unless he is prepared to give clearly and specifically the opinion which he and his colleagues have formed on the grave questions which I have ventured to bring before the House.
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)
We have had a most interesting Debate opened in a speech: which, I think, very clearly and forcibly placed the case of Home Rule for Scotland before the House, and the Seconder made a speech in which he argued with great weight that the principle of devolution should be adopted for the purpose of relieving the pressure upon the Imperial Parliament. I do not think that the points made in favour of this measure have been answered by the opponents of devolution, and no alternative remedy has been put forward. The hon. and learned Member for the Central Division of Glasgow made it a question of reproach to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire that he suggested that this Bill should be sent to a Committee of the Whole House, and he said that was a proof of insincerity. Does the right hon. Gentleman think any other-course was open? Does he think a matter of this sort can be referred to a Committee upstairs? If it was necessary to refer this Bill to a Committee of the Whole House, what is the ground of the justification for this taunt There is absolutely none.
The Member for the Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger) put an interpretation upon a, speech of mine in Glasgow which was not put upon it by those who heard it, but which was put upon it merely by Unionist papers in Scotland, who took a single sentence entirely out of its context and founded upon it an interpretation which the speech, as a whole, did not warrant. Most of the gibes which the hon. Baronet has taken from the "Scotsman" are of that nature. A more important point was made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, and by the Member for the City of London. They referred to the question of the number of Scottish Members proposed in this Bill. Before I come to that point, I think I must point out what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London knows very well, and no man better, that when the Government takes no objection to the Second Reading of a Bill, it does not mean that the Government is committed to every detail, or that they have considered the finance or made up their mind to grant all the demands put forward in a Bill drawn up by a private Member. This is a Bill which comes forward on the authority of private Scottish Members, supported by the main body of Scottish Liberal Members. It is not a Government Bill, and, if it is considered in Committee, 543 the question of finance will have to be dealt with upon the authority of the Government. The Government is not in the least pledged to these particular proposals. I propose to deal with one of the most important of the criticisms which have been directed against the Bill. It is a criticism in regard to which my hon. Friend the Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) rather shares the views of some hon. Members opposite. Why is it justifiable in this Bill to suggest that there should be seventy-two Scottish Members in the Imperial Parliament? Because it is the Imperial Parliament. This is a Bill introduced by a Scottish Member. It does not propose to deal with local legislation in England, and therefore what we are dealing with is the representation of Scotland in the Imperial Parliament. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that Scotsmen have taken a great, and perhaps it is not too mach to claim, the very first part in founding our great Colonial Empire. No one questions the keen interest which we take in that Empire, and I say plainly that the last thing we want to do is to diminish our share, which we have every title to maintain, in the administration of that Empire. We have no intention of surrendering our share in the administration of the Empire. That is where the right hon. Gentleman entirely misread the remark in my speech. He was good enough to give me a copy of the quotation, and it is perfectly clear that I was talking about the Imperial Parliament. Taking the right hon. Gentleman's own copy, I see I said:—They had no intention and would never consent to give up one jot or tittle of their right to share in the Imperial Government.But, of course, if Scotland has power to manage its local affairs and if England has power to manage its local affairs, the question of Scottish representation assumes an entirely different position. We shall not ask for English Members in the Scottish Parliament, and we shall not ask for any Scottish Members in the English Parliament; but, while we are dealing with an Imperial Parliament, we are, by every right of history and of justice, entitled to ask for our full share in the Imperial government of the Empire. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why do not you give it to Ireland?"] The historical circumstances of Ireland are entirely different from the historical circumstances of Scotland. Our proposals rest upon strong 544 grounds of practical advantage to Scotland on the one hand, and to the Imperial Parliament on the other. For generations, as my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Murray Macdonald) pointed out, English statesmen have complained of the congestion and of the intolerable load of business in the Imperial Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London confessed it. He said it was becoming too serious a strain upon the individual, not only, I should have said, upon the individual Members of the Cabinet, but upon all the Members of the House. While the right hon. Gentleman admitted that the strain was heavy—and I am sure he would admit it is becoming an intolerable strain—he offered us no remedy for it in the whole of his speech. We come forward with the remedy of devolution. It is a remedy of which the party opposite have spoken very sympathetically within the last year or two. It was their policy for some time.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
Oh, yes, we remember that during the controversy with regard to the House of Lords all the Unionist papers were full of arguments for devolution.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I think if the whole of the Unionist Press is running a particular policy we are entitled to say that they are not doing it in direct opposition to the Unionist party. Of course, you may get individual papers doing so, but when you have a consensus of opinion among the whole of the Unionist Press, I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit that is an argument which may fairly be brought forward. That argument has never been answered in this Debate—the argument, I mean, that this House is incapable of carrying out effectively the business it ought to carry out on behalf of the nation. No one denies it. Hon. Members opposite are always complaining of the congestion of business and of the necessity for using the Closure—[An HON. MEMBER "You introduce too many Bills."] Of course, hon. Members would like us to do nothing at all. If that is our first reason, I think our other two reasons are equally unanswerable. There is no doubt that Scotland has suffered very greatly in regard to ad- 545 ministration A remark of mine has been quoted, and it has been contradicted, but I adhere to it. Undoubtedly we should have had temperance legislation in Scotland generations ago if we had not been overborne by English votes. All our trouble with regard to Scottish legislation has been due to the pressure of the English drink trade. Just look at the position. Here is Scotland having a separate system with regard to education happily free from many of the ecclesiastical squabbles which have interfered with the system of education in England—an entirely different system, with different ideals and different machinery. You have a different Poor Law, a different Local Government Board, a different rating system, a different licensing system, a different legal system, and a separate system of agriculture. All these things are to be carried out, not in accordance with Scottish ideas, but in accordance with the ideas of a House of which a great majority are not even—as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London will admit—very well acquainted with what is peculiar and special in Scottish circumstances Then we come to the system of administration. I do not think because I happen to be part of the machine at the present moment that I am obliged to say it is the best of all possible machines. It is because I have experience of Scottish administration that I say frankly I can imagine very great improvements are possible. But they require consideration, and have raised the difficulty whether a set of officials should be located in London or in Edinburgh. There is no satisfactory answer to that. On the one side they must be in London because the Members of Parliament are there and the Minister is in London. How can a Minister who is obliged to spend nine or ten months of the year in London control a Department which is always in Edinburgh? How can he be responsible to the Members here? If, on the other hand, you send him to Edinburgh, you set up an uncontrolled bureaucracy. Again, if you keep Departments—as you are obliged to do in the case of some—in Edinburgh, look at the difficulties of the Minister.
Since I assumed the office I now hold the work of it has been doubled in labour and responsibility, because we have had a separate Board of Agriculture for Scotland administering an entirely new and complicated Act, with which Scotsmen are 546 not yet familiar, for the purpose of creating small landholders. As of necessity the work of agriculture must be carried on in Scotland. I cannot imagine the Board of Agriculture being in London. But here we are beginning this new work; we are beginning the work of a separate Board of Agriculture in Scotland, and I believe it will be more closely in connection with Scottish agriculture and better acquainted with the needs of agriculture in Scotland than any English Board could possibly be. But we are dealing with it 400 miles away! Look at the difficulties of the Minister. It is not at all an easy matter. Of course the Board of Agriculture pays visits to London, and I go North. We do the best we can, but the system of administration would certainly be much more satisfactory if it were entirely in Scotland. I cannot, however, see why we should give up any of our Imperial rights and privileges, or why we should be on less friendly terms with England, because we manage our own separate affairs, every one of which is based on different principles.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I hoped the right hon. Gentleman would have said we managed them. I am always proud to think he is a Scotsman—
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
After all, these casual connections of politics are hardly so important as the permanent relations of blood, and I still venture to claim the right hon. Gentleman as a fellow-countryman. The right hon. Gentleman has asked me to answer certain questions, and I think that I had better try to deal with them at once. He raised the question why this Scottish Parliament should be in a different position from that of Ireland in regard to land. There is nothing remarkable in giving the local Parliament, if you institute one, power to control the taxation of land. Our local authorities—they are minor authorities—our county councils, our town councils and other authorities have power to rate land, houses and real property at the present moment. The case of Ireland, as everybody knows, and none better than the right hon. Gentleman, who was responsible for the legislation dealing with Irish land, is entirely different from the case of Scotland. That is one of the reasons why you cannot have, what the 547 right hon. Gentleman desired in a previous speech, a symmetrical system. He would not propose, any more than anyone else, to put Scotland in the same position as Ireland in regard to land. You are not carrying out in Scotland with the support of British money the great scheme of land purchase which the right hon. Gentleman's Government carried out in Ireland. While you have to deal with that as a Reserved Service in Ireland, there is no reason under the sun why a Scottish Parliament should not have complete control of the land question in Scotland. That raises another question: Why the financial relations must be different in the cases of Scotland and Ireland. There is the broad reason that Scotland is a much richer country than Ireland, and for that reason you do not have these Reserved Services. The position is altogether different. For my part I think Scotland would be able to bear its equal share in the financial burdens of the Empire.
The fourth question put was with regard to the number of Scottish Members. The right hon. Gentleman put forward a very curious argument. He said, in the first place, that the English Members are here in small numbers. That rather supports our general claim. We say that English Members do not take very great interest in matters concerning Scotland, and that is only another proof of it. He said, further, that if we were to have devolution, we should have it on some glorified county council system, that we should cut up the country arbitrarily, and that there is no particular reason why we should deal with it on the basis of nationality. Where have you the ground of separate laws, separate customs, and separate administration to justify that point of view? One of the justifications for demanding Scottish Home Rule is that you have already a separate system. There is hardly anything upon which we do not differ—in land, law, education, and everything else we have an altogether different system from the English system. As hon. Members have said to-day, English Members cannot understand either our legal technical phraseology or the phraseology connected with the land. Behind these differences of phraseology are real differences in ideas, in methods and in principles. Surely it is a very reasonable thing to say that if you have had a combined Parliament over all these years, and have still had to 548 maintain such an enormous difference in your legislation, and not in that only, but in your daily work of administration, no violent rupture or jar will take place if you allow Acts of Parliament to be carried in a separate Assembly meeting in Edinburgh! Though he did not base his argument upon it the right hon. Gentleman absolutely confused the two things, the Imperial Parliament and the local Parliament, but later in his speech he came to the idea of an English Parliament managing English affairs and sitting somewhere near the Imperial Parliament, and ho assumed that these two would come into collision. Why should they come into collision? Their spheres of action would be very clearly delimited. The one would be dealing with the affairs of England at home and the other with big Imperial affairs affecting the four Kingdoms. What ground is there for expecting any collision in regard to these matters?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I never heard a more unsupportable assertion. I was a member of the London County Council, and to state that the London County Council dominated this House in 1906 is one of the rashest and most inaccurate statements I have ever heard in this House.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
The hon. Member says the county council dominated this House, and when I challenge the statement he says they tried to do so. Many Members have tried to dominate this House, but none of them have succeeded, and the county council did not succeed and did not try either. I remember very well in that year one of the principal measures they brought in was not even carried. I cannot help thinking that I am justified in saying there has been no answer to the argument put forward by my hon. Friends. Hon. Members have not denied that this House is failing, as Mr. Gladstone said many years ago, to bear the intolerable and overwhelming burden of its obligations to the nation. Is there anyone who denies that? We are always hearing complaints from 549 the other side which confirm our case. Has anyone in the course of this Debate put forward any other remedy? Has there been a hint or a suggestion of any other method of dealing with the matter? Then our next point is that we do claim that we have a right, with all our separate national characteristics, to manage our own affairs in our own way. We put the claim as high as that. We put the claim also on the ground of practical convenience both to Scotland and to the Imperial Parliament; and, in the last place, we put this case forward that the administration of the great public affairs of Scotland would be improved if we had an authority to whom the administrators
§ were responsible, seated in Scotland, more closely in touch with Scottish desires and Scottish feelings than any composite Imperial Parliament could be, and on these grounds I give support to the principle of this Bill, not, of course, committing myself to all the figures and details of the Bill, which would be contrary to all precedent, and all practice. I think the principle is a sound one, and the Government hopes the House will give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 204; Noes, 159.551
|Division No. 94.]||AYES.||[4.50 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Guest, Hon. Frederick E (Dorset, E)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Adamson, William||Gulland, John William||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Meagher, Michael|
|Alden, Percy||Hackett, John||Millar, James Duncan|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Hancock, John George||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Mooney, John J.|
|Barnes, George N.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Morrell, Philip|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hayden, John Patrick||Muldoon, John|
|Boland, John Pius||Hayward, Evan||Munro, Robert|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hazleton, Richard||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Hemmerde, Edward George||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon John||Hinds, John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Hogge, James Myles||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Grady, James|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Malley, William|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||John, Edward Thomas||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Johnson, W.||O'Shee, James John|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Crooks, William||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, Leif Stratton (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Cullinan, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Joyce, Michael||Pointer, Joseph|
|Dawes, J. A.||Kelly, Edward||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Delany, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Devlin, Joseph||King, Joseph||Price, Sir R. J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Doris, William||Lardner, James C. R.||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Duffy, William J.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Leach, Charles||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lewis, John Herbert||Reddy, Michael|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lundon, Thomas||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Falconer, James||Lyell, Charles Henry||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Lynch, A. A.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Roberts. Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Field, William||McGhee, Richard||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Maclean, Donald||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Ginnell, Laurence||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Glanville, H. J.||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Rowlands, James|
|Goldstone, Frank||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Verney, Sir Harry||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Sheehy, David||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Wardle, George J.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Waring, Walter||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Wing, Thomas|
|Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Watt, Henry Anderson||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Sutherland, John E.||Webb, H.|
|Tennant, Harold John||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Thomas, J. H.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Cowan and Mr. Murray Macdonald.|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Newman, John R. P.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Forster, Henry William||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gardner, Ernest||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Nield, Herbert|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gibbs, G. A.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gretton, John||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Barnston, Harry||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Barrie, H. T.||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Haddock, George Bahr||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hamilton, Lard C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Harris, Henry Percy||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Blair, Reginald||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Boyton, James||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Sandys, G. J.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hoare. S. J. G.||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l., Walton)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Holt, Richard Durning||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanier, Beville|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Butcher, John George||Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Horner, Andrew Long||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stewart, Gershom|
|Campion, W. R.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Swift, Rigby|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Cassel, Felix||Kerry, Earl of||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Keswick, Henry||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Larmor, Sir J.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootie)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lewisham, Viscount||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Croft, H. P.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droltwich)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wood, Hon. E F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Denison-Pender, J.||M'Mordie, Robert James||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Magnus, Sir Philip||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, Sir George|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Edmund Talbot and Captain Gilmour.|
Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.—[Mr. Cowan.]
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.