§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Sir DENNIS HERBERT in the Chair.]
§ IRISH FREE STATE (SPECIAL DUTIES).
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That (1) the Treasury, if it appears to them that any failure of the Irish Free State to implement their obligations has resulted or is likely to result in a loss to the revenue of any public fund of the United Kingdom or in an additional charge on any such fund, may make an order charging duties of customs on articles of such classes or descriptions as may be specified in the order which are either imported from the Irish Free State into the United Kingdom or exported from the Irish Free State to any other country and thence brought into the United Kingdom.
(ii) The duties to be charged as aforesaid on any articles—
- (a) shall be such duties as may be specified in the order not exceeding one hundred per cent. of the value of the articles;
- (b) may be charged by reference to value or to weight or any other measure of quantity, as may be provided in the order;
- (c) shall be chargeable in addition to any other duty of customs for the time being chargeable on the articles.
(iii) Articles chargeable with the duties to be charged as aforesaid shall not for the purposes of the Import Duties Act, 1932, be deemed to be chargeable with a duty of customs by or under any enactment other than that Act.
(iv) Any Act of the present Session for giving effect to this Resolution may include all such incidental and consequential provisions as may be necessary or expedient in connection with the duties to be charged as aforesaid, and in particular may include provisions for authorising the making of regulations for the purpose of preventing evasion of the duties aforesaid in the case of articles brought into the United Kingdom from a country other than the Irish Free State, or otherwise for carrying the said Act into effect, and for amending any enactments relating to customs.
§ 4.0 p.m.
The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
There can be no Member in this House sitting for any party or in any quarter of the House who will not agree with me when I say that I deeply regret the circumstances which have necessitated this Motion. I suppose there has never been a time within the memory of any Member of this House when anyone 50 could say with greater truth that this is above all a time for peace, and not conflict. There can be no Member of any party who would not, in broad outline, agree with me that the one hope at the moment is to bring people together, and not do anything which widened any breach. The British Government are no exception to that principle, and I venture to submit to the House that, whatever their view of the particular dispute may be, no Government could have gone further, could have shown more anxiety and could have done more than we did to try to find an amicable settlement if possible. That has been our attitude up to this moment, and so it is while I am addressing the House. We still desire a peaceful settlement. We want a peaceful settlement as everyone else wants a peaceful settlement. But, after a consideration of the facts of the case, and after a moment's reflection on the dispatch which I have just read to the House, I venture to ask anyone Who is going to oppose our action, what is the alternative, and what other course is open to the Government, having regard to the treatment we have received in this matter up to the present moment?
The history of land purchase in Ireland covers a period of over 60 years. There are some Members in this. House who will remember discussions altogether different from the discussions taking place to-day with regard to the Irish land problem, but it is sufficient for me to say that we had reached a stage when this British House of Commons and the Government of the day said, "Very well, if we can ease the situation, if we can do anything to facilitate peace and good will, and enable the Irish farmer to feel that he is master of his own household, and bring contentment that way, we are prepared to take our stand in doing it." In a sentence, it was with a single-minded desire to ease the land agitation in Ireland, and make the farmer his own landlord, and all that that meant, that the British Government passed that particular legislation. I want this House and the great mass of democracy outside not to get confused with the idea that any constitutional issue is involved in this matter, because there is none. I want the British democracy and the Irish democracy clearly to understand that it was a short and simple transaction which the 51 Government undertook, namely, to find the money, to guarantee the money, and provide that easy means whereby they should become their own landlords.
That, in essence, was the means by which the British Government facilitated the arrangement. They did it by first undertaking the money; secondly, by guaranteeing the payment to the lenders of the money, and, over and above that, supplied large sums themselves, so that the tenant farmers, as a result of our assistance, bought their land on easier terms than they otherwise could have done. The landlords were paid partly in cash raised by the issue of the stock, and partly in the stock saleable in the open market. All that the Government did, having passed the necessary legislation, was to say to the people, "Here is your chance; here are facilities open to you unexampled in any previous kind of legislation. All that we want from you is the assurance that, so far as the payments are concerned, there will be no doubt about it." Here let me say that there were some people in this House who doubted the wisdom of this legislation. There were some who said, "Not only is this wrong, but you will be faced one day by repudiation." But the folk who took that attitude then, did not have in mind repudiation by Governments. On the contrary, they had in mind repudiation by individual tenants, and it is very significant that the spokesmen of that day for the Irish people felt it their duty to give an answer on that point of repudiation. I will give a few brief extracts from those whose sincerity as champions of Ireland and statesmen in great Imperial affairs those of us who were privileged to sit in this House with them will not challenge for one moment. First, there was Mr. Parnell, who said in 1891:I have always been desirous that, in connection with land purchase, there should be no repudiation, because I believe that the use of British credit would very materially facilitate a solution of the land question.That was Parnell's advice, given to the Government of the day, on which they acted. Mr. Dillon, in 1903, said:I entirely agree that we might dismiss from our minds all idea of repudiation.He went on to say that he believed repudiation, as far as the Irish people were concerned, was entirely out of the ques- 52 tion. Then Mr. John Redmond, in 1909, said:I would remind the House that liability has never been disputed by any of us who speak in the name of the tenants.That is, the Irish tenants. Mr. Tim Healy said, in 1903:Every shilling under this Bill, in my opinion, is absolutely safe. It will be absolutely impossible, in my judgment, to suggest any doctrine of repudiation.I will quote one other—Mr. Swift MacNeill, in 1903:The gentlemen farmers of Ireland were an honourable as the gentlemen farmers of England or Scotland, and would fulfil their obligations to the very letter.I answer that they have. We have no complaint against the farmers of Ireland. They have met their obligation in the main, and paid their dues. Our complaint is against those who withhold our money. But it will be observed that the quotations which I have just given clearly demonstrate that, even as far back as 1891 and right up, whenever the honour—for that was what it meant—of the Irish people was challenged, their representatives in this House did not hesitate to defend their honour, because they knew it was essential to do so. While keeping that in mind, observe for a moment the effect of the Act which was passed. It was passed notwithstanding all the misgivings, notwithstanding all the difficulties, and the result at this moment is—and I wish quite sincerely I could say the same for the farmers of this country—that 300,000 farmers became their own landlords. The quotations which I have given are quotations from the period when there was a dispute, when folk had doubts. Let me show the House in a sentence what the Irish Land Commissioners, which are essentially and exclusively Irish Free State administrative bodies, reported for the years 1930–31 on this very question. They said:In a period of 50 years, over 300,000 holdings, occupied by tenants who previously had no fixity of tenure, have been vested in the tenants, subject to a terminable half-yearly payment representing practically in all cases a substantial reduction in the amounts payable as rents to the Commissioners, either by way of judicial reduction in rent or conversion of rent into annuities. They have secured a total reduction of over £3,500,000 per annum on their original rental of approximately £7,500,000, so that the average tenant purchaser is now repaying to the State as purchasing 53 instalments little more than half the amount payable to the landlord as rent prior to the Land Act of 1881.What more conclusive proof is there of the value and benefit of the Act and the way the Act was and is welcomed by the Irish people? Indeed, so far as I know, up to the moment of this particular dispute, no Government received intimation of any sort or kind that the Irish tenants—who have benefited as I have already described—did other than desire to meet their real and genuine obligations. That shortly is the history of the Land Act.
When the Treaty was made and the Irish Free State became a Dominion, the Irish Free State Government accepted the position, and that position was embodied in two agreements which are public property to-day. That was the position when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in presenting his Budget to the House in April, budgeted for the receipt in this financial year of £3,000,000 which he intended to meet himself and which he assumed he would receive from the Irish Free State. That money was due to the bondholders on the 1st July. Hitherto it has been received by us in the latter weeks of June. We knew a few weeks ago that we were not to receive this money. We had budgeted for this amount, and we knew that unless steps were taken there would be a. deficit of that amount. We had to say, "What shall we do? Shall we repudiate our obligations? Shall we on the 1st July say, 'Ah, well, we have not received it, and, although we guaranteed it to you, we do not propose to pay it'?" The people who would have been affected by that action are not only in England but in Ireland. There was no question. There was no doubt. We did not hesitate a moment, and we said, "No, although we have not received the money, although we have budgeted for the money, we will meet our obligations on the 1st July." The cheques to all those who were entitled to their interest were sent and have been received. That was the position.
It must be realised that there is considerable interest and misapprehension in regard to the history of these Land Annuities both inside and outside the country, and it is necessary for us here to state the actual facts as far as the Government are concerned. Let me sum- 54 marise them. It was only on the 22nd March this year that I received any communication from the Irish Free State Government. In that communication they dealt exclusively with the Oath and said nothing whatever about Land Annuities or any other financial differences. On the day that I received that communication Mr. de Valera made a speech in Dublin and stated that he intended to withhold the annuities. Please observe that, although I had received a communication from him, there was no mention of Land Annuities. The first intimation of Land Annuities was in the speech which he made in Dublin. Therefore, in replying to his note on the 23rd March I immediately drew attention to his speech, and said: "Although you have stated that you propose withholding the annuities, I want to remind you that these annuities are the result of agreements solemnly made between the two Governments." He replied on 5th April, and said: "What do you mean by this undertaking to pay? I am not aware of any such undertaking. Please let rue know all about it." I replied at once on the 9th and gave the terms and dates of the agreements.
Nothing further happened until the meetings in Dublin and London. In the course of the discussions in London on the Land Annuities, we said: "Very well, if you are so sure of your case, and if you believe that your case is as watertight as you proclaim, surely there is some means open to us. Let us go to arbitration." That was the first offer of arbitration, made by us. We made it with a genuine and sincere desire to find some solution of the difficulties. The only qualification we made—and it is important to keep it in mind—is this, we said: "Remember that the last Imperial Conference provided ways and means whereby internal differences could be settled. It was by an Empire tribunal, and we offer you, in accordance with the decision of the Imperial Conference, an Empire tribunal for this dispute. "Mr. de Valera said: "No; an Empire tribunal is too restricted and will have the dice loaded against us." Then he said: "Beyond that, I shall want a large number of financial agreements examined as well." In other words, be said:" I want practically every financial clause of this Treaty reexamined." We said: "That is an impossible solution." We also said: "When 55 we made that Treaty, with all that it involved, with its give and take on both sides, we meant it to be a binding instrument, and only on points of interpretation or difference would we submit it to an Empire tribunal." Unfortunately, he refused to accept that. I repeated it in a further plea, and I have just read to the House the latest message, which says in substance: "While agreeing to the principle of arbitration, I refuse to accept an Empire tribunal; and, over and above that, not only do I now raise the question of Land Annuities, but I raise every issue made by my predecessors in the last 10 years on financial matters, and I want them re-examined as well."
I meant settlement. I put this point clearly to the Committee. If that be the attitude, the only alternative to us, speaking for the British taxpayer, is this: Are we to take the responsibility, and are those who will oppose us to-night going to take the responsibility, of saying that the £3,000,000 for which we budgeted this year, in a Budget which threw an immense strain on every section of the community, is to be carried by the British taxpayer, because the other people repudiate their obligations? The answer which I give on behalf of the Government is "No." There were open to us many courses. We had to consider every difficulty, however delicate—and, frankly, I am not going to disguise from the Committee that this may involve much harm. There are certain things with which you can compromise; there are questions on which you should take every opportunity of reaching an amicable agreement. If Mr. de Valera had said: "Here is a burden, let us argue it: here is a difficulty, let us consider it; here is something that can be removed by negotiation, good will and consultation," none of these things would have been refused by me on behalf of the Government. Mr. de Valera has taken no such steps. He has calmly and deliberately said, without consultation first: "No, it is our business, it is our money, and we are going to withhold it."
Therefore, I am submitting to the Committee a Resolution that makes our intention perfectly clear. I am not going 56 to define to the Committee what may be done. It is no good any Member asking us to exclude butter, eggs, cheese or anything else. It is no good any Member getting up and asking me which will be the first or which will be the second. The Government ask with confidence for power from the Committee to impose in their own way, at their own time, but immediately—[Interruption] —to impose it, in such a way as they feel the circumstances warrant, but only to obtain the amount due and not one copper more. When that amount is obtained we shall cease. Let there be no misunderstanding or misgiving. We intend, if possible, to receive that amount of money. That, therefore, is the position with which we are faced this afternoon. I want to make it clear that this is not intended as any tariff war. It may be others will develop it into that, but that must not prevent us putting this simple question: "Do you intend to allow the other people to get away with your money, or do you not?" It is to giving a simple answer to that question that the House must direct its attention this afternoon.
I observe, and with some surprise, the Amendment which stands in the name of the official Opposition. I observe that the name of neither my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition nor of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) is attached to the official Amendment. I do not know whether that is intended to be so, but I hope it is. They will correct me if I am putting the wrong interpretation on it, because they are the only two Members on that bench who were responsible for the Empire Tribunal. Prior to the Imperial Conference being held, the question of settling disputes between one member of the British Commonwealth and another was a matter that occupied the very serious and daily attention of the Government of that time. The late Government were themselves responsible for proposing it to the Imperial Conference, and the Conference unanimously accepted the recommendation, and the first time that that decision of the Imperial Conference is being called upon to function it is repudiated by one section of the British Commonwealth; and I want to know quite clearly from my right hon. Friends whether the omission of their names from this Amendment is 57 due to that, or do they throw over the decision of their late colleagues in this matter?
In the absence of an answer, I am going to interpret it as association with the Amendment. If it is association with the Amendment, I put to them, and I put it to my hon. Friend the Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn), who, with me, was a party to much of the detail, that they should hesitate before they become a party to throwing over- board the machinery for which they were responsible. I ask the Mover of the Amendment to tell us, in the course of the Debate, whether he is satisfied that, so far as the British Government are concerned, they have done all that was possible to get this matter settled by arbitration, because I again assure the Opposition, and it is the only point of the Amendment I want to emphasise, that according to our last dispatch, and even at this moment, if Mr. De Valera were prepared on the Land Annuities question to accept an Empire Tribunal we would welcome the opportunity; but we will not be a party and cannot be a party to allowing a question of this kind, which is a solemn obligation made between two peoples, to be treated simply as if it were a scrap of paper.
In conclusion, I want also to say this to the Opposition. I have endeavoured throughout the whole of this dispute to keep clear of any constitutional issue or constitutional difference. I have endeavoured to make it a simple issue of the breaking of agreements between two peoples. I have done that because, on the benches opposite, are the representatives of the great trades unions of this country, who have fought—and I fought with them—more than once, and have taken part in trade disputes, in order to prevent employers breaking agreements with impunity. If the sanctity of agreements is good as between workers and employers, how necessary it is to emphasise that principle as between Government and Government. That is the simple issue. It is a difficult task we are undertaking, it is an unpleasant task. Even at this moment I would welcome a peaceful solution. We have gone to the limit of compromise, we have gone to the 58 limit of concession. We regret the circumstances that compel us to ask for this power. We hope even now that the Irish Free State people will see the reasonableness of our case and our claims, but if they do not we submit to the House that, however unfortunate, however difficult the task may be, and however unpleasant the consequences, there is no other course open, and we intend to proceed with it.
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
We have had this afternoon a speech of the greatest seriousness from the Secretary of State for the Dominions. Unfortunately, most of that speech did not deal with the realities of the situation. A good deal of it dealt with history with which some Members of the House are familiar. It is true that the history of Ireland is bound up with the history of land annuities, and that it is a very long and tangled history, and one which the present situation shows cannot he discussed in vacuo apart from other considerations. The relations between England and Ireland have in the past been relations of misunderstanding, relations of tragedy. Wherever the blame lies, in this particular dispute the primary fact is that there is a dispute, and because of this complicated history that lies behind us we are to-day faced with a serious situation. I do not understand all this talk about "limits of concession". So far as I understand, the British Government have not made any. The British Government have said what they have said before. On the other hand, the Irish Free State have declared their intention not to pay over the sums due with regard to the land scheme, and certain other payments, though I think it is only fair to remind the House that the Free State do intend in the interval, pending the financial settlement of all the outstanding problems, that the income which the State receives shall be put into a quite separate fund.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
This was merely said in passing. [Interruption.] If hon. Members opposite would give a moment's thought to this, and if there be truth in my statement, they will see that it is an earnest of the good intentions of—
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
On a point of Order. If an hon. Member states that he has authority for saying that a certain decision has been arrived at by a foreign Government, are we not entitled—[An Hon. MEMBER: "Shut up and sit down "]—to ask that the hon. Member shall lay before the House the papers on which he bases that information?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think that that applies to a Member of the House of Commons who is not a responsible Member of the Government.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman stated, as a fact, that this was the intention of the Irish Government. The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs says that His Majesty's Government of Great Britain have had no intimation to that effect. Is it unfair or unreasonable to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) to tell the Committee upon what authority his statement is made, as a matter of fact, that this is the intention of the Irish Free State Government?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
What I said was that it was a fact that—[Interruption.] I am not in a position to speak for the Free State. Government; indeed I have had no communication with them. [Interruption.] There are other sources of information than the President of the Irish Free State. I say that, according to my information, it is the intention of the Free State Government to set aside the receipts from these funds—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who says so?"]—until such time as a settlement has been made. Far from being a matter for levity, I would say that that is an indication that the Free State Government realise that the matter is one which still may be open for further discussion.
This is too important. The Committee must realise what is the statement made. I read to the House the last despatch from Mr. de Valera, and I read out certain items of money now overdue. The right hon. Gentleman now 60 says that he has received information from a source that satisfies him, that these moneys, including Land Annuities, are being placed to a separate fund for some purpose until there is an adjustment of the difference. This is vital, and we are entitled to know where he got that information.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
There are two entirely different questions. [Interruption.] The question in dispute during the passage of despatches between the two Governments has been the payment of these annuities, and not what is to happen to them if they are not paid. If the right hon. Gentleman has not asked that question of the Irish Free State Government, he might have done, and he can do it now. But, whatever may be the right and wrong of this dispute, the fact of the dispute is one which is undeniable. The question is one which involves a good many legal considerations, and involves the consideration of historical facts, but I attach less importance to the particular merits of the dispute than I do to the possible consequences of the dispute. Hon. Members who have not had as much experience as the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs may smile, but the right hon. Gentleman knows that it is not always the issue or magnitude of a dispute that matters; its possible consequences matter infinitely more.
The history of Anglo-Irish relations in the past ought to have been a warning to the Government to think, and think again before they took action such as they have done. It is the common fate of statesmen—there are three right hon. Gentlemen present in the Committee today who took part in the negotiation of the Treaty with Ireland—to have to exercise infinite patience when the man in the street would throw up the sponge. In matters of this kind patience i perhaps the greatest gift of statesmanship when there are serious matters in dispute. No important agreement between nations would ever have been reached if the first word had been the last word. During this dispute—only a few months—we have had a few despatches, and we have had a hurried visit by the Secretary of State to Dublin, and an equally hurried return visit by Mr. de Valera to London, and at the end of that we are told that we have arrived at the limit of concession.
61 There have been no concessions. I appeal to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, who has had unrivalled experience of industrial negotiations, far greater than that of any hon. Member of this House and who knows that negotiators have to learn the art of hanging on when there is hardly a gleam of encouragement anywhere. He knows that the negotiator who means business never says "No" as long as there is a single ray of hope. Unless this essential quality of patience is exercised at Lausanne and Ottawa, what is going to be the result? At Lausanne this very day, after days and days of negotiation, with telegrams to newspapers saying, "We have arrived at a deadlock," or somebody "has arrived at a deadlock," Lausanne has continued, and as long as statesmanship is in evidence their discussions will continue, and will not come to an end until there is some result.
If the right hon. Gentleman, when this difficulty became a real one between the two countries, had gone to Dublin and stayed in Dublin—[Interruption.]—we could have spared him from the House—and if he had shown the same pertinacity as the Prime Minister is showing at Lausanne and tackled this question of Ireland on the spot, I feel sure he might have achieved good results. Remember that, from the point of view of Ireland, arid from the point of view of the future of this country, this dispute is not one which can be ignored. Far from it. It is going to be very serious for the future of both nations unless there is a peaceful settlement. It is barely three months since this question was first raised, and now, after these hurried visits and a series of despatches, the Government issue their ultimatum and propose to arm themselves with the necessary powers to take drastic action, although, as the Secretary of State says: "We still desire a peaceful settlement." Not only so. The Government did not wait until alter the time that the payment was due, but they announced their decision to take action quite unnecessarily before the payment was legally due.
Just a moment. It is very important to make it quite clear that we waited a week after the period in which it had always been paid. Please remember that it is collected months in 62 advance in Ireland. We only receive it about the second or third week in June. That is the first point, but Mr. de Valera, when we said to him, "We have to pay this money on the 1st July," gave as his answer to us, "We intend to withhold it." How could we wait any longer?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The right hon. Gentleman is a past master of this kind of evasion. In the first place, there is all the difference between what has been the practice and what is the law. In fact, that payment was not legally due until the 30th June. In the second place, it may be that M r. de Valera said that he was not going to pay, but nobody would put the brokers in until they were legally entitled to do it. [HON. MEMBERS: "We have not done it."] You have started a legal process to enable you to do it. I submit to the Committee that it is serious enough to take a step which might prove to be irrevocable, but it is even more serious to take it before you are legally entitled to do so. There is bound to be misunderstanding. The Government have to be condemned for declaring war before there was real casus belli—[Interruption] —and they have put themselves in the wrong by introducing legislation before the need for it has been proved to have arisen. It is not a case of taking time by the forelock. There was no sense of urgency about the matter. It is merely ill-timed and precipitate action which cannot have good results, and may conceivably do very serious harm.
Now as to the method which the Government have adopted. The sweet reasonableness and patience which they are prepared to exercise in negotiation with other Governments have been thrown to the winds, and the Government have, by this Motion and the Bill to follow it, simply seized the thick stick. Instead of the Free State being treated as a coequal, as she is entitled to be treated, she has been treated with a lack of courtesy and with a brusqueness—and indeed a brutality—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"]—which is bound to create the most serious effects upon enlightened opinion outside this country.
What is the method? I do not propose to go into details at this moment, but, if the Government mean to use their powers, there is little doubt that there will be certain serious economic consequences. The right hon. Gentleman has 63 told us that the Government do mean to use their powers, and that they mean to use thorn "in their own way, and in their own time, but immediately," from which I gather that it is the intention of the Government forthwith to impose these new duties. [Interruption.] Very good. Let us see what follows. We are dealing here with inter trade relations between the Free State and this country amounting to over £75,000,000 a year. You cannot disturb those trade relations by a method of this kind without repercussions on the whole of that trade. Eighty per cent. of Irish imports come from this country; over 90 per cent, of Irish exports come into Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are imports from the Free State to this country of over £36,000,000, and there are exports from this country of over £30,000,000, quite apart from a re-export trade of nearly £9,000,000. What is going to be the effect on that trade? Assume, if you like, that these new duties, these 100 per cent. duties, are going to achieve their object and keep out Free State goods. I will give one simple illustration of what may happen. Half the exports of boots and shoes from this country go to the Irish Free State; every year 5,000,000 pairs of boots go to the Irish people in Southern Ireland. What is going to be the effect on Leicester, Northampton and Kettering if we have duties on foodstuffs which are successful enough to keep them out, or successful enough to impoverish the ordinary producer in Ireland who may have to pay the duty? I submit that the economic reactions of this policy, if it is put into effect, will be reactions which this country will live to regret.
But this is not the worst of the story. What is far graver than the actual imposition of the duties is that this Motion is an act of economic warfare. The Government's idea of tariffs, we have been told—the Lord President of the Council has told us, and other members of the Government have told us—is to bring down tariffs in other countries; but this Motion, if the Government implement it, may easily be the beginning of a tariff war, and a tariff war which can do nothing to improve the economic position of this country or of our customers in the Free State, but which will certainly injure 64 them. There is a statement in the "Statist" which I should like to read, because that newspaper generally supports the Government and is in favour of Protection, and, therefore, hon. and right hon. Members opposite will probably regard it as an organ of great authority. In its most recent issue, referring to the Motion which is now before the House, the "Statist" says:The effects of this move, if it is allowed to remain in force, will probably be serious for the Free State farming community and at least inconvenient for our own livestock industry. Moreover, there can be little doubt that the Free State Government will retaliate with similar measures. The scene, therefore, seems set for an idiotic tariff war which, while no doubt gratifying to the rabidly nationalistic politicians on both sides, will impair the livelihood of large sections of both nations.That, from the "Statist," seems to me to be rather strong language, which proves that this august organ regards the situation as one of the greatest gravity.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I imagine so; I do not know who is responsible; it is not signed. It is an editorial note. But the situation may be even more serious than that. This action by the British Government will demand a reply. The Free State Government must have regard to its own public opinion; it will not be able to sit still and do nothing, and what the political consequences of this move may be no man can tell. I do not wish to prophesy, but this is an economic reprisal. There are some of us in the House who know that the word "reprisal" has a very ugly connotation in Southern Ireland. It is reminiscent of the dark days of Black-and-Tanism, and the Government may in this matter be embarking on a course of action which will have very far-reaching consequences.
I am not trying to make any party capital out of this Debate, and my hon. Friends are not; the situation is far too serious; but I should be shirking my duty if I did not say that I believe this action may lead to the possible disintegration of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I do not think that the House realises the forces that it may liberate as the result of the action that it is taking to-day. There is a prospect of even wider political consequences both in Europe and the United States of America. I do not 65 want to dwell upon that aspect of the question; it is, perhaps, rather too delicate for discussion here; but there is not an hon. or right hon. Member of the House who does not know that this action will have an effect upon public opinion elsewhere outside the British Empire, and I would suggest to hon. Members opposite that it is not always wise to stand on the letter of the bond, it is not always wise to insist on the pound of flesh. Nations that have tried to do so have almost invariably been defeated. We agreed to a Peace Treaty, which has been the subject of constant adaptation and modification, and, in the light of hard economic circumstances, we have had to let the letter go in order to try and engender a spirit of agreement and understanding. This policy of economic reprisal is, in the view of my hon. Friends and myself, a policy of short-sighted folly. It is bound to be regarded as a proposal for an economic boycott; in fact, that is its purpose. Its purpose is to strangle the economic life of a struggling nation still in the throes of nationalism, and with a long tragic history behind it.
What is the alternative? The alternative is not an easy one. It is the exercise of patience, and still more patience, and a determination to find a solution which will leave no festering sore. We cannot by force majeure impose our will on a member of the free commonwealth of nations—[An HON. MEMBER: "We are not trying to do so!"] We have, in this world of nations, to learn to live together; we must learn to live in amity even with nations with whose policy and actions we are not in agreement. We come, therefore, to the only way out of this difficulty. The Government have applied the thick stick. The Government insist on going through with this policy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] As I have said, I think we shall live to regret it. The Government themselves supported arbitration—indeed, proposed arbitration; but, as soon as they were met with difficulty, as soon as there were obstacles to be overcome, as soon as there were determined men to meet, as determined as they were, they threw their hands in. Arbitration, the way they suggested themselves, is still the way.
The right hon. Gentleman quoted what happened during the days of the Labour Government. I do not, myself, think that 66 his account was strictly accurate; he put a. higher value and importance on the recommendations of the Imperial Conference than the Conference itself did. But I am not running away from that, and neither is my right hon. Friend. We would still prefer, and we would still try and try again, to get arbitration under the auspices of the Imperial Conference. Because it has been turned down once or twice is no reason—[interruption.] It has happened in his lifetime many a time. There is no reason why this painstaking, long-distance industrial negotiator should become a narrow nationalist. It is his business to try again. I would quote a phrase which I have heard him use scores of times: it is his duty to explore every avenue; and pertinacity is needed. [Interruption.] Hon. Members do not know the Secretary of State as well as I do. I know of.his industrial negotiations, and I am appealing to him, and not to Members who know nothing about them. I am saying to him that he is facing a situation now which is no more difficult than those he has had to face in his old days with the National Union of Railwaymen, when he could give way, not once, but a hundred times; and I say this for the right hon. Gentleman, that, so long as there was the slightest ray of hope, he hung on.
Here we have the fate of millions of people at stake, with consequences which short-sighted people cannot now foresee, but which may be, and probably will be, serious, not only to this country and to the Free State, but possibly to the Empire, and it may be to the world; one does not know. This matter cannot be treated lightly, and, so long as it is possible to hang on with a demand for arbitration, so long ought the British Government to do their best, and in that matter we should support them. If arbitration fails, then some other way must be found, but not the way of force and domination, because that settles nothing. So far as we on this side of the House are concerned, we shall never agree to the use of force, whether military or economic, in the settlement of this question. We have to live with the people across the Irish Sea, not merely to-day and to-morrow, but in the generations to come, and the future of the world depends, not on creating new sores, but on healing old ones and preventing new ones. I should hope that even now the Government will put out, not a stick, but 67 [...] olive branch, and will hold their hand [...] what I am bound to consider a most [...]sastrous step, fraught with serious [...]sequences.
§ Sir ARTHUR STEEL-MAITLAND
[...]ay I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. A. Greenwood) to clear up one point which he left [...]uite obscure? He has given us to understand that these revenues would be put meanwhile to a suspense account. An[...]normous lot depends on the reliability of his information; cannot he give us the source of his information?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I think that before the Debate is over one of my hon. Friends may be able to give the infornation—[Interruption.] I must say that I think it is quite open to the right hon. Gentleman himself to find out from official sources, and I hope he will do that to corroborate my information. If I am in a position to make a statement, I will certainly do so, but I must ask for permission.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I am one of the three Members of my party who, in conjunction with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), signed the Irish Treaty. Two of those who then represented the party to which I belong have passed away, and I remain to carry what I have always known was a great responsibility, but what, I would add, I have always thought was something for which I might claim the gratitude of my country. Anything which touches the sanctity of that agreement must intimately and deeply concern me, and I regret that, in the speech to which we have just listened, the right hon. Gentleman could not spare a single word to dwell upon the sanctity of the obligation which the Irish Free State had undertaken. There is a twist in the minds of some men that always causes them to feel that it is easier to agree with the opponents of their country than with their countrymen. There was just one sentence in the right hon. Gentleman's speech that I was glad to hear for it is up to the present, I think, unique in his mouth or in the mouth of his colleagues. He paid a well-justified tribute to the Prime Minister for his patience, perseverence, and courage at Lausanne. I 68 only regret that he paid that compliment merely for the purpose of being disagreeable to his other late colleague, the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. I should have preferred that it had stood alone.
But I do not want to dwell upon these matters. The issues at stake are far too large for that. The right hon. Gentleman dismissed history in a sentence. You cannot dismiss history in that way. He confined himself to the narrow question of the Land Annuities. We are not allowed to do that by the Irish Free State Government. This is not a policy standing by itself. It is part of a larger policy, and the House has to ask itself whether we are prepared, not merely to make some concession here or there, but how far we mean to insist on a solemn Treaty being kept and how far we mean to allow the Irish Free State Government to claim successfully all the advantages of being a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations and to repudiate all the corresponding obligations. Was there ever an obligation more founded in justice and merit or more solemnly and freely undertaken?
The land settlement out of which these annuities arise was the most generous agrarian legislation ever undertaken in any country to place her people in possession of their own soil. So generous was it that, as the Dominions Secretary has said, the tenants purchased their holdings upon payment of an annuity less than the rent that they had been charged for their occupation. Such an operation would have been impossible without the credit of the United Kingdom, and that credit was invoked to raise the money necessary to carry out this great scheme of purchase, this vast transfer of property, and to guarantee to those who provided the money that they should receive interest on the debt. There can be no question that one penny of that money was spent upon any but an Irish purpose. There can be no question that the beneficiaries were not the tenants of Ireland, nor that the Free State Government to-day reaps, in what has been even in these difficult times a prosperous peasantry, the result of the credit which this country extended to Ireland for the purpose of land purchase and which the Irish Free State Government now repudiate.
69 I must say a word about another matter. The right hon. Gentleman speaks as if we had driven a hard bargain over finance at the time of the Treaty.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I am glad to see that he repudiates that. I wish he had not used language which lends itself to that suspicion. I wish he had not gone seeking everywhere through the world for an unquiet spirit who would judge us wrongly. Why did he not tell them that they would be judging us wrongly instead of giving a sort of ground for their suspicion in the innuendoes which he whispered across the Floor. This was not a hard bargain—the exacting of a pound of flesh, as he said. This was a most generous settlement made in pursuance of the Treaty for the settlement of all financial questions between us, in which we forewent a great part of what we had a right to claim under the Treaty. Mr. de Valera takes it upon himself to say: "I shall collect the moneys due to you for the payment of our creditors. I shall not relieve the Irish farmer of the annuity which he is bound to pay. All I do is to intercept it en route and to put the money which belongs to someone else into my own pocket."
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
That must not be interpreted as a charge of personal dishonesty. Let me say: into the pockets of the Irish Government. He collects the money. Admittedly it is not due to the Irish Government, but he refuses to hand it over to those to whom it is due and he retains it for the Irish Government. There are also the Local Loans which went to the building and improvement of Irish harbours, the telegraphs, of which the Irish Government are in the enjoyment and from which they are deriving revenue, and the railways for the development of the country. Even the claims of the judges and the police were recognised by those big and broadminded Irishmen who negotiated the Treaty with us. They told us that they would not be ungenerous in their treatment. The men who negotiated the Treaty kept their word. Throughout the long years that I have sat in this House it has been the common observation of Members of all parties that, how- 70 ever bitter the strife—and bitter it was—between the Irish Nationalists who used to sit on those benches and other parties in the House, if an Irishman passed you his word you could rely upon it. I do not believe Mr. de Valera speaks for a race which, bitter as it may have felt, is never ungenerous, and which was always faithful to any cause that it upheld or any word which it plighted.
The right hon. Gentleman tells us that the Government should pursue the project of arbitration. They have pursued it. They have pressed it. They have subjected it to one condition, that the tribunal of judges between brother and brother in this Commonwealth of Nations shall be a tribunal chosen from the nations of the Commonwealth itself. Does Mr. de Valera undertake to say that to offer him such a tribunal is to ask him to play with loaded dice? Let him take that story to Ottawa. Let him take that story to Australia. Let him take it to South Africa.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
Let him see whether the Dominion of South Africa would give the verdict that he gives on that distinguished South Africa Judge. That is nonsense. It is not because he does not think he can get a fair verdict, but because he is as unwilling to recognise the British Commonwealth of Nations as he is to maintain the Treaty that was signed between the Irish Free State Government and our Government. I hope, whatever difficulty we may have to face, we shall all stand fast to this great principle, that between Member and Member of the British Empire we will admit no foreign interference. This Government was the first to propose arbitration. It has repeated its offer. My right hon. Friend has again said that even at this moment, subject to that one essential principle, the Government are ready to arbitrate. What does the right hon. Gentleman say? That we are to wait until the other party consents to it and that in the meantime we are not to receive the money which we have to pay out to third parties? The charges which should fall, and do fall, upon individual Irishmen shall remain in the possession of the Irish Government? I hope the right hon. Gentleman, who did after all agree with the Imperial Conference that an Imperial Tribunal was the right 71 tribunal for Imperial differences, and who in other spheres of life recognises the duty of the faithful discharging of honourable obligations, instead of encouraging Mr. de Valera by speeches such as we have heard to-day or the other day, will use that source of influence from which they have backdoor messages as to the intentions of the Irish Government to convey plainly to them that they will not stand for the repudiation of obligations and that they will not stand for bringing foreigners in to decide among different members of the Empire.
What we are going to vote on to-day are not the issues put by the right hon. Gentleman. There never was a time when it was more important that the sanctity of Treaties should be upheld. Without them, you cannot restore the world's confidence, and without the restoration of its confidence you cannot restore its prosperity. There never was a time when it was more important to uphold the sanctity of Treaties. If the right hon. Gentleman and his friends had their way we should be voting to-night that any party to a treaty is at liberty to repudiate that treaty without agreement with the others. We should be deciding that anybody may collect money due to another person, or, shall I say, that any nation might collect money due to another nation and keep it for itself, arid we should be saying that not £3,000,000 but more than £3,000,000 collected from the Irish people, in the possession of the Irish Government and due for payment to the stockholders in this country or in Ireland, should be charged' a second time upon the taxpayers of Great Britain. That is what the right hon. Gentleman means when you bring his phrases down to the facts of the situation. I do not believe that if we refuse to follow that course we shall fail in obtaining the support of our own countrymen or the approval of those other foreign nations to which he has referred.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I have not previously taken any part in the discussions on the Irish problem in this House, but I have been deeply interested from the very start of the dispute. I regret very much that the Government have seen fit to rush, in my view, into this action without 72 proper consideration and without adequate previous discussion in this House. Of all the actions of the Government this one shows the greatest lack of perspective and the greatest failure to tackle in a realistic way a problem which, from the point of view of the major problems affecting this country, is a matter of very minor importance indeed. To attempt to say that the question of £3,000,000 justifies us in upsetting our relationship with Ireland and the other nations of the world end jeopardising Anglo-Irish trade of a very much higher volume at a time when every pound's worth of trade is of vital importance to this country is to me an act which is not in keeping with the experience of the various individuals who sit on the Front Bench opposite.
The main and fundamental consideration involved is a consideration of democracy. The British Commonwealth of Nations, I have always been told as an anti-Imperialist, is something different from Imperialism, because each. of the constituent elements is a self-governing Dominion with a right to define its own destinies and direct its own development in its own way, and that all that binds us together is a bond of sentiment, friendship and good feeling. That is the thing which distinguishes the relations of the various parts of the British Dominions as compared with the relationship of Great Britain with countries which are not inside the Empire. When I examine the attitude, temper and general tone of the utterances with reference to this action of Ireland and compare it with the attitude towards every other country in the world, I can see a bitterness, an antagonism, and a dogged attitude, something entirely different from the bond of friendship and blood relationship which is supposed to characterise the relationship between different constituent parts of the British Empire. If a part of the British Empire is granted self-government and establishes an electoral system on a democratic basis, it implies that it is entitled to elect its own Government and that it is to carry on all the functions which any sovereign nation is entitled to carry on.
Mr. de Valera has carried on since the Treaty a perfectly constitutional political agitation for his point of view as against the attitude of Mr. Cosgrave and the others when they accepted the Treaty. 73 He accepted the fait accompli that Ireland had become a sovereign nation within the Empire. He became the constitutional Parliamentary Opposition. He did not accept at any time the Cosgrave-Collins agreements. But, from being the great national leader of the Irish people from 1915 or 1916 up to the time of the Treaty, because he could not honestly and genuinely accept the Treaty, he fell from the position of greatest influence in Ireland to being the leader of a Parliamentary fraction, and for a dozen years he has patiently by agitation, by Parliamentary opposition, by all the methods which are open to a constitutional democracy—[An HON. MEMBER: "Backed by gunmen!"] Not including the gunmen and not including the murders, because my hon. Friend has got his dates mixed up. The Treaty we are talking about was made succeeding all the murder. The Treaty which we are asked to regard as sacred was made at the point of the gun.
This is very important. The agreements with which we are dealing, namely, the Land Annuities, were neither made in the circumstances my hon. Friend mentions nor at that period. The dates were—the first, 1923, and the second, 1926. Therefore, do not let us mix the periods, but keep in mind those dates.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am not mixing them at all. I was in this House at the time they were made and passed. Every one who was a Member of the House at that time—and it is a quibble on the part of the right hon. Gentleman—knows that these were consequential on the Treaty and were delayed by the difficulty of putting the Treaty into full operation.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The Treaty was made when both nations had got sick of the warfare which had continued for a number of years. The point I am making is simply—and the interruption was scarcely relevant—that in the intervening years Mr. de Valera has carried on the political work which any constitutional Parliamentary democrat was entitled to carry on and has turned himself from being a minority point of view in Ireland into a majority point of view. At the last General Election he secured the mandate of his people which put him into 74 governmental possession. He was elected upon a definite and specific programme laid fully before the Irish people, and two of the items of that programme were the abolition of the Oath, and the denunciation of the Land Annuities. He is elected. He gets power. He gets the mandate of the Irish people. He assumes office under the constitution which has been laid down for Ireland along perfectly constitutional lines and then proposes, by Parliamentary action again, to put into operation the things which he was elected to put into operation. [Interruption.] My interest in this matter is not Mr. de Valera's interest. I do not know Mr. de Valera, and I do not know any of his friends. I do not know their political ideas. I do not know their conceptions for the development of Ireland in the future. I imagine that they have ideals of a developed, contented and a prosperous Ireland, but as far as I know they are not similar to mine. But if I put myself in Mr. de Valera's place and if I were sitting in the seat of power in Ireland with my point of view, elected by the votes of my people, I also would do what he has done, attempt to put into immediate operation the things I was elected to do. As far as repudiation is concerned, I am afraid that I should have a very strong disinclination to be hound by the agreements which had been entered into 50 years before by people whose political views were diametrically opposed to mine. [Interruption.] Oh, yes.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
If in the next few years, for example, a German Government was elected by a democratic vote with power to denounce the Treaty of Versailles, would the hon. Member approve of the action of that Government?
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am coming to that point. It is not a question of whether I approve or disapprove. I have already said that if I were handling Ireland's affairs to-day I should be handling them from the point of view of a different social objective from that of Mr. de Valera. I should do things which Mr. de Valera is not doing. But you can take it as being very definite, that the repudiation of the Oath of Allegiance would be one thing and that the repudiation of Land Annuities would be a minor detail on the economic side. According to all 75 the rules of democracy which have governed the world hitherto, I should be entitled to do it. [Interruption.] My hon. Friend says: "What about Treaties?" I am not learned in foreign affairs. I have never regarded myself as one of the experts on foreign affairs in this House, but I have heard, in the last Parliament and in the present, strong agitation from the Conservative benches for the denunciation of certain treaties which stood in the way of the full development of a tariff policy in this country. [Interruption.] "Repudiation" was not the word used. "Denunciation" was the word used. The point made by hon. Members up to now, including the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), who has been a distinguished Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and, as stated by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, is that a Treaty once entered into between two or more nations can never be departed from at any time.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member makes two mistakes. In the first place, I was speaking only of Treaties which run indefinitely, not of Treaties which run for a fixed time, and may or may not be renewed. It is customary, in diplomatic phraseology, when you give notice not to renew or to determine a Treaty in accordance with the terms of the Treaty itself, to call that denunciation. I am far from saying that a Treaty which is in the other class is never to be changed at all, but it should only be changed by agreement between the parties to the Treaty.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I understand the different grades of Treaties and the different degree of importance that may be attached to them, but I cannot imagine that any two intelligent nations would enter into any Treaty and say: "We will be bound by this Treaty to all eternity." If no one makes that assertion, then the only question that arises is not whether Mr. de Valera and the Irish people are breaking a Treaty, but whether they have adopted the proper manners in setting about the breaking of it. That is all. We start an economic war because they have not written the right kind of invitation, because they have not read a book of etiquette on how to be a perfect political gentleman. They 76 have not learned how to do it. It is a matter for regret that all of us have not the manners of the British Foreign Office or of the Quai d'Orsay—
§ Mr. MAXTON
Or of the Dominions Secretary. We start a new war with the Irish people, who are our blood brothers—[HON. MEMBERS "Who started it?"] Even if they started it, my first appeal to this House is not for the setting up of an arbitration court. I support the submitting of this dispute to an international court of arbitration. I support the view of even submitting it to the Dominions, if the proposal for an international court fails, but my first appeal to the Government is that they should accept the will of the Irish people, and say, "You have decided these two things"—
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am surprised at the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison). He has devoted an undue proportion of his Parliamentary efforts to the collection of debts from Russia.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I know, and up to date the British taxpayer has not got one halfpenny. If the hon. Member had applied his mind to developing trade with Russia, British people would have recouped themselves far more through the ordinary processes of trade than they have lost in their unfortunate investments under the Czarist regime. We are told that the Land Annuities were a great act of benevolence on the part of this nation towards the Irish people. It gave them possession of their land. I regret that the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) made his public appearance, after his extended absence, the occasion for supporting this congerie in their attitude towards Ireland, and particularly on the question of Land Annuities, because I can remember, as a very callow youth politically, hearing the great song about God giving the land to the people, and the fervour which was worked up by the right hon. Gentleman. 77 That has to be modified to meet the practical exigencies of the Irish case. God gave the land to the Irish people on condition that the bondholders should continue drawing rent in perpetuity. [Interruption.] I beg pardon. To all intents and purposes.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I know. The easy way in which the Government supporters take alarm or begin to laugh whenever there is a slip made by an Opposition speaker is very clear evidence to me of the discomfort they are feeling about their action in regard to this matter. I have been in this House long enough to know just exactly how we laugh off a lot of things when we are a little bit distressed and nervous about them. If there is any Member of this House who is happy about the line of action which is being taken to-day, he is a man of very curious mentality, or one who has not given very much consideration to the relations between the Irish nation and our own. Sixty years' payments. How much has expired now?
It is not a question of 60 years' payments. It varies. Some tenants are in a position to pay off earlier than others. Some pay more than their particular proportion every half year. Let the hon. Member bear in mind this fact, that if his policy were adopted those who have already paid would have a grouse, because they would say, "What about us?"
§ Mr. MAXTON
I have not the statistical capacity of my right hon. Friend, and my memory for figures is always defective, but when I went into this matter I found that, whether it was a long or a short payment, the individual landowner paid about three times the original capital value of the land before he became the possessor of it. That is a fact. This great benevolent act meant this: the Irish landowners were nominally drawing a rent of £7,500,000, I think the figure was, a large proportion of which they could not collect and the collection of which was always a grave personal risk. For that risky, insecure, indefinite £7,500,000 they substituted a secure 78 £3,500,000, with the whole financial power of the British nation behind them.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member has forgotten that the rents of which he is speaking were not rack rents but fair rents fixed by the courts and the tenants were able to purchase at about one-half the cost of those fair rents.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am not denying that, but what I am denying is that it was a great act of benevolence, arising out of the goodness of the British Parliament. It was a stroke of business which substituted a Government bank security for an insecure right to draw rent. That was what precisely took place. Hon. Members opposite may shake their heads, but the fact remains none the less true. Is not a nation, a self-governing nation, entitled to say after the expiry of years: "On this business we made a bad bargain. To continue this bargain will destroy the future of our economic life. Our ideas on how Ireland is going to be developed in the future cannot be applied if we agree to continue these payments. Moreover, we regard it as the greatest indignity that a sovereign people can suffer that they should have to pay toll for the use of their own land to persons outwith their own borders"?
What is the device for collecting this money? I should like the Financial Secretary to answer this question when he is replying to the Debate, as I assume he will. Is the Financial Resolution that we are passing to-day designed to raise sufficient revenue to cover Land Annuities only, or is it also designed to raise sufficient revenue to cover the additional payments that were read out by the Dominions Secretary to-day?
This Bill was drafted and intended to deal with Land Annuities alone, and I informed the House that when we had obtained the money required we did not want a copper more. But if other money is withheld from us, we shall not hesitate to use these powers.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Will this Financial Resolution be regarded as giving sufficient power to cover that additional raising of revenue?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Major Elliot)
Certainly. The object of this Resolution is budgetary. 79 We have been informed that there will be a certain shortage on the Budget, and we are taking powers to collect a certain sum of money. It has been represented that there will be a further shortage. If that materialises, it will be necessary to collect still more money. This gives us full authority.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I have been looking at the terms of the Resolution, and I see that it is wide enough to cover the collection of revenue to any amount, and that it is a very much bigger scheme than the House originally believed it to be. The device for collecting the money is that we should stop Irish food, eggs, butter, bacon, cheese, livestock from coming into this country. We are to impose such a very high tariff as will make it prohibitive, but if produce comes in it will come in under such a penalty as to make essential foodstuffs for the poorest section of the British people excessively dear. The poor in the part of the country from where I come eat Irish butter, Irish eggs and Irish bacon— [Interruption]. The hon. and gallant Member for Ayr Burghs (Lieut.-Colonel Moore) must not be unfair. He knows perfectly well that Irish foodstuffs form an important proportion of the food supply of the working population in various parts of the country, and if this 100 per cent. tariff is going to be effective in producing the revenue then these foodstuffs must pay 100 per cent. duty. [Interruption.] The duty may be 100 per cent. so far as this House is concerned. The matter is left entirely in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman to decide, with a simplicity and trust which do them credit but which are not in keeping with the attitude of responsible parliamentarians who know the right hon. Gentleman. The people who are going to pay this, if it is paid, are the people of Great Britain, and the poorest section of the people. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] What it boils down to, this practical measure of high Imperial statesmanship, is that the poor of Great Britain are to have their incomes taxed to pay the land annuities of Irish bondholders. [Interruption.] I cannot see it in any other way.
§ Mr. de ROTHSCHILD
Is the hon. Member aware that the British taxpayer will have to pay the Annuities just the same?
§ Mr. MAXTON
I agree, and I do not mind if the Income Taxpayers, including the hon. Member, have to pay. I am not worried at all about that. What I am worried about is that my constituents will have to pay.
§ Mr. MAXTON
If there are other sources of supply, if the people of Great Britain turn to other countries to get these particular commodities, then this will not raise the necessary revenue. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] I am surprised that the interjection should come from the traditional Free Trade party, the Liberal party. How quick they go down the slippery slope. The doctrine that I am enunciating is not Socialism, but a doctrine taught to me by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. I have said sufficient to show that this is not a practical device for collecting the revenue. It is only a device for embittering the feelings between this nation and the Irish people. I thought that these national disputes belonged to a past period in history. The problems of to-day are economic. They are problems of poverty and the distribution of wealth, of intelligent trade relations between nation and nation. This Government is spending a tremendous proportion of its effective energy on the Continent in trying to get arrangements and bargains with nations in all ends of the earth; and they are going to Ottawa next week to try to get arrangements and bargains with all the various nations of the Empire. Here we are to-day sitting solemnly in this House and the rump of the Government announcing to the whole world that with our nearest neighbour, with those who are most closely akin to us, with those who have had an integral say in the working of this House itself, with those nearest and closest in blood and association, we cannot come to an intelligent and reasonable arrangement about a miserable matter of £3,000,000.
A Government which has a Budget running into hundreds of millions of pounds is intimating to the world that it cannot manage to work in peaceful association with its nearest neighbour, and is announcing to the other self-governing Dominions of the British Empire that self-government is only a reality as long 81 as self-government is only exercised to the extent that the home Government thinks right, proper and desirable. That is what we are announcing to the world to-day. [Interruption.] This National Government is announcing to the world its complete failure to apply in practice the general principles which it has enunciated to other nations of the world. I oppose in the strongest manner possible the Resolution because it is the negation of the democratic rights of an independent nation, it tends to spread ill-will between two nations which ought to be friends, gives to all other nations of the world a demonstration of the ineptitude of the Government of this country and in its practical details is incapable of producing the result which the right hon. Gentleman and his Government expect.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) is usually so attractive a speaker that we always await his intervention in Debate not only with interest but with pleasure. When he fails to convince, he often tries to persuade, and many are found drawn gradually into a comprehension of his point of view, if not of sympathy with him. But I must say that the speech he has made this afternoon has left a wider gap between himself and the great majority of this assembly than any speech I have ever heard him deliver. A long string of errors of fact, of half-truths, of partial statements and of wrongful deductions, have been presented to us upon what is, after all, a matter almost squalidly plain and simple. The hon. Member used an argument which was put forward to some extent by the right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench. He says that the Irish are an independent, self-governing Dominion; that they are exercising only their constitutional right, and proceeding in a Parliamentary manner, and so forth. He says that Mr. de Valera obtained a mandate from the country to abolish the payment of the annuities; that he proposes to take office and obtain proper sanction from his own Parliament, and that, therefore, there is no ground of complaint. But where do we come in? The hon. Member talked about the will of the people. He says that the will of the Irish people must be given effect to, even if that involves an extra burden of taxation upon the people of this country.
82 After all, we ourselves are a self-governing country, and we still possess some control over our own burden of taxation. The mere fact that Mr. de Valera obtains a mandate from the Irish people—not much of a mandate either, a few votes and a very questionable Parliamentary bargain with the Labour party, which there, as here, has fallen into evil days—to take a course of action which is entirely wrong—action does not cease to be wrong because it is constitutional or Parliamentary—and which is most injurious to us, does not mean that we are not entitled to consider our own course. To say that we are not is absolutely to deny us the most primary rights of self-government. The Secretary of State said that we were a Dominion. I am not sure about that definition of our exact status, but, at any rate, we are a Sovereign, independent State, and we are entitled, in the presence of any action by any Power or any country, inside or outside the British Empire, which is injurious to our well-being, to take such steps as we choose to protect our own people. That is all that we are doing.
We have heard in this Debate from both hon. Members who have spoken for the Opposition a repeated recurrence to the language of war. A "peaceful solution," it is said, it to be abandoned; there is to be "a new war"; you have launched your "ultimatum." The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) used the expression "brutality." If we were going to war, I should be the first to resist His Majesty's Government in their proposal. If we were going to use lethal weapons in order to extract duties, it would be an act of wrong and folly. If proposals were being made to land armies at Cork, Limerick and Dublin, and use armed forces against the Irish people, all the arguments which have found expression from the Opposition Benches would be repeated by the overwhelming masses of the people of this country, and all such action would be absolutely prohibited. Why use the language of war when there is no question of violence of any kind? What we are proposing to do is to take peaceful action. I deprecate the suggestion that there is no peaceful settlement. An amicable settlement is what we are hoping, and if we cannot obtain that we will take steps to obtain a just settlement by peaceful means. That is all we are proposing to do.
83 I listened to what the hon. Member for Bridgeton said about the Land Annuities, and I thought, what a poor encouragement he gave to future statesmen and Governments in this House to make sacrifices in order to mitigate the lot of working farmers and poor people! This was the legislation of one of the greatest statesmen we have had in this House, Mr. Gladstone, and afterwards Mr. George Wyndham, who gave an amount of enthusiasm and personal effort to the framing of these Bills and carrying them through, which is not to be seen often in the conduct of our Parliamentary affairs to-day. Here is Mr. Gladstone's Measure to build up a peasant proprietary in Ireland, a thing which, as is well known, we have never been able to achieve in this country—here is his Measure spoken of with scorn and in terms which would mock and discourage the hopes of responsible reformers in every generation. I do not know how, upon the doctrines which the hon. Member put forward, any business can ever be done by any Assembly in the world, how any negotiation can ever be conducted on the basis that at any time all may be repudiated.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield said that there is a dispute, that the matter is very tangled. It is not tangled a bit. The right hon. Member said it is very complicated, and that much may be said of both sides. It is said, "Because there is a dispute you are to give way, or, at least, you are to make a compromise solution apart from the merits of the case at all." Where is the use of making any agreements at all, if you make an agreement and the next year or the next week up come the other side, having taken your sacrifices, after taking all they can get, and they say, "We have looked into that contract and think it is not good business, and we are not going on with it any more." What that is doing is to reduce civilisation to chaos and anarchy. I thought the hon. Member for Bridgeton was a Socialist. He must be an Anarchist. He has gone after Bakunin, and left Lenin in the lurch. "On the eve," he says, "of going to Ottawa, you behave in this manner." But it is just because we are going to Ottawa and are labouring at Lausanne for settlements by agreements that it is essential that the Gov- 84 ernment should mark with reprehension the attempts to render settlements by agreement nugatory. That is the very reason. What is the use of going to Ottawa or staying on at Lausanne if the next week or month either side were entitled to say, "We are going back on all we have signed"? The hon. Gentleman is not only destroying the generous impulse which moved Mr. Gladstone to aid the Irish peasantry, and thus darkening and narrowing the hopes and prospects of future Parliaments, but, at the same time, he is throwing a handspike into the whole machinery of international agreement.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I was wanting to get the statesmen of the day to extend a generosity in proportion to that which Mr. Gladstone extended in his time.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
As I say, I do not think this country has been ungenerous. All the financial arrangements with the Irish people were declared by them to be most generous. I remember well. When it was found that there were some difficulties, they came over here and asked us—I was at the Exchequer at the time—to consider their position. We considered it, we made further sacrifices, considerable sacrifices, to meet them, and Mr. Cosgrave went back to Ireland and said they had met generous men who had treated them in a generous manner. But that is not the language we get now. We meet with very different treatment. Now it appears that we are Shylocks, insisting on our bond. We have made a settlement which in every way went. to the utmost limit and was accepted as generous.
There was one remark made by the Dominions Secretary with which I very cordially agree. That was that if the Irish leaders, the Irish Ministers, had come to us and said, "We find the burden oppressive; it is more than we can bear. We would like to discuss it with you and ask for mitigation," and so forth, we would be bound to hear what they had to say arid bound to go into the matter in a spirit of good will. We would be bound to go into it with the spirit which should distinguish one of the greatest and the wealthiest Powers in dealing with a small weak, poor, agricultural community. I have been sometimes anxious as to whether the burden of cross-channel payments upon Ireland, however legal and however 85 well established by agreement, was perhaps unduly severe. I have made some inquiries. I understand that the amount which is now to be withheld by Mr. de Valera amounts to £5,000,000 a year, out of a Budget of £27,000,000. It would be a very great mistake to assume that that was the end of the story. You have to look behind these figures and see what are the actual facts. First of all, there are the Land Annuities which are all paid for beneficial services, which cannot be in the slightest degree compared with War Debts or Reparations arising out of the sterile and devastating operations of war. I am bound to say that until I obtained the following figures I was not fully apprised of the facts.
Does the House realise that if there is £5,000,000 paid for Land Annuities and other matters across the Channel of St. George from Ireland to England, there is more than£3,250,000 paid back out of that very money to residents in Ireland? £2,000,000 in pensions goes back to be spent in Ireland by the brave Irish soldiers who fought for the cause of the Allies in the Great War. There is £1,250,000 for the pensions of the Royal Irish Constabulary and others, and although the money is paid under some heads to us, this vast flow goes back across the Channel, and the net balance of payments is less than the £2,000,000 a year. Payments which go out of Ireland to be spent elsewhere are less than can be accounted for by these Land Annuities, as a result of which the Irish have a peasant proprietary, which through all that country's misfortunes has enabled them to have a very great measure of happy rural life.
I felt bound to intervene for a few minutes in order to congratulate the Government not only on the course they have adopted, but upon how little there is found to be said against it by those who are its professed opponents. I consider that the Dominions Secretary has acted with extreme patience and forbearance. He has gone to the limit of courtesy and of good will, and he has not at any time allowed anger to disturb his judgment. The right hon. Gentleman used a great many homely phrases which will be echoed by the ordinary British workman in every street and village in this country. Everyone under- 86 stands the simple language which the right hon. Gentleman talked, the language of ordinary honesty and fair play. I know there are some who are his critics on this and that, but in this matter it seems to me that he has trod with success a path at once of moderation and of firmness. For my part, I shall certainly give him any support that is in my power.
I agree with one thing that was said by speakers on the opposite side—that this is a serious matter. The House, I have no doubt, is convinced that it can embark upon it, and that there is no other course open, turn where you will. How could you say "All right. We will put on the extra taxes arid collect this money from our own people and wait for better days, until the Irish Free State has wiser rulers"? Would that be the way to bring about, perhaps, a condition of affairs in which a more happy and more convenient relationship would be established? All we are doing is to withdraw for a time some of our custom from a shop where we have—I am abandoning the phraseology of war, and using more peaceful similes—been treated not only with great incivility but with very open and palpable dishonesty. We are withdrawing our custom for a time. We may return. It will be free to us at any time to return to our old and intimate commercial arrangements. But there are very great numbers of people in this country who have the greatest reluctance to deal with Mr. de Valera's Government.
With regard to the point that if the supplies are purchased elsewhere the tax will not be collected from Ireland, that, I do not think, corresponds at all with the facts. The commodities which will be the subject of this tax are produced in enormous quantities in many different markets, and a very great deal is produced in our own market, or is capable of being produced in our own market. I am told that if these taxes are imposed skilfully and judiciously, and careful selection is made, the supplies from many quarters will be so abundant that the price of the commodities will not be markedly raised, and if the price is not markedly raised, it will be the Irish exporter who will have to pay the tax by taking a lower price still and forgoing a share of his profits. That, I believe, is a wholly 87 feasible and orthodox economic line of argument.
I offer my congratulations to the Government on the course which they have taken. But, do not suppose that this is a resolution to be taken to-day and forgotten to-morrow. Do not suppose that it will all be plain sailing. The Dominions Secretary pointed out the hardships and inconvenience of having to change a market with which you have dealt for long and to go to another. Undoubtedly some inconvenience is to be caused, but if it is for good reasons we ought to face it. Do not let us lose heart or patience or change our views if a few months hence we find that there are still friction and difficulty. For my part I have every sympathy with the Irish people. I know that we have millions of friends in that sister island, people who love this country although they are proud of their own. Besides those there are great numbers of Irishmen whose self-respect makes them loathe the course on which they are being led now.
I have the greatest sympathy with the Irish people. I have no anger or malignity against them, nor, I am sure, is there any on the Treasury Bench. It is our honest hope and desire that although for the time being there may be friction, after a period not too remote we may again have those close and amicable arrangements which were being built up under Mr. Cosgrave's long and memorable tenure of power. He made a Treaty and kept a Treaty. He did more. He built up the structure of the Irish nation. He made this small Free State a reality. He made it live when many people thought it had no chance of life. He made it respected in many quarters all over the world. He made it a centre chosen for conferences which appeal to all those of his communion in every land in the most intense manner. Now for the time being there is a setback. I am sure that the course we are adopting will not only give us the only means of doing justice to our own people, but I believe that, in the long run, it will do more to abridge the period of friction which must now ensue, than any other action which His Majesty's Government could take.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. 88 Churchill) has said that this is a very simple question, and I intend to approach it from that point of view. In listening to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), I was struck by the pathos with which he uttered those eloquent declarations with regard to the sanctity of treaties. I think he said that in all his negotiations and associations with the constitutional representatives of Ireland in this House during the period when he had dealings with them, they always kept their word. I wish he could say so much for his own party. I wish that that had been the case in the long record of Ireland's relations with this country because if anyone chooses to go back on the past—and I do not propose to do so—he will find that it has been one long road strewn with broken promises and broken contracts by English politicians towards Ireland. Whatever view may be taken by Members of this House on the issue which we are now discussing I venture to say that the less said about the sanctity of treaties by British politicians past and present the better.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping has said that he has no feeling against Ireland, and I believe that that is true. I believe it is equally true that the Irish people have no feeling against England. It is one of those peculiar psychological facts that, even in times of the most bitter relationships between this country and Ireland, there never was any hatred between the peoples. I have never known an individual Englishman in Ireland being either attacked or disliked. I have always heard the English people personally spoken of in the highest terms. The difference and the hatred were largely political, and caused mainly by the breaking of Treaties on the part of British politicians towards Ireland. I, therefore, say that we ought to deal with this question to-day, apart from the past and as a very simple proposition.
What is that proposition? To hear English Members one would imagine that this was a most preposterous demand which Mr. de Valera was making. He is asking the right to withhold or to keep for Irish purposes—and in my judgment to relieve the Irish farmers who 89 are in a much worse position, in Southern Ireland, than this House can understand—a sum of £3,500,000. [HON. MEMBERS: "He is taking it."] What is the good of quibbling about words? He is claiming the right, if you want to put it in bat way, to hold this £3,500,000 which he says belongs to Ireland and not to this country. He goes further and he says: "I am not withholding it if an impartial tribunal set up to discuss the question decides that I have to pay it. In that case I will pay it, but if they decide that we have not to pay it then England will not press for it." That is his position.
What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of setting up an impartial tribunal? [HON. MEMBERS: "A foreign tribunal!"] I do not know what is meant by a foreign tribunal. There was one occasion on which a tribunal was set up to adjust differences in Ireland. That was the Boundary Commission. The suggestion of a British tribunal to adjust differences in Ireland has always left a bad taste in my mouth from then until now. The Treaty declared that the boundary was to be determined by the will of the people, yet this Boundary Commission which you set up cast two counties into Northern Ireland which were overwhelmingly in favour of going into the Free State. We have suspected those Commissions ever since. May I put this question to the Dominions Secretary? If this is to be a British Commission and if Mr. de Valera agrees to the appointment of this Commission, will the right hon. Gentleman be satisfied with two members appointed by the British Government, two members appointed by Mr. de Valera and myself as arbitrator?
I have known my hon. Friend for a great number of years, and I am delighted to feel that he has now reached that judicial stage as far as he himself is concerned. But I want to make it clear that we have never suggested a British tribunal. We have never even gone to the length of suggesting the personnel. We have never even said that we wanted a representative of this country on it. None of these things have we ever said. All we said was that it should be a tribunal limited in its personnel to the British Commonwealth of Nations, and once that principle is accepted we will discuss the personnel with Mr. de Valera right away.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I do not force the point, but I make a recommendation which will get you out of your difficulties. I am not a supporter of the Government here, nor am I a supporter of Mr. de Valera. I belong to neither side. I am in this controversy an impartial and judicial person. Like the right hon. Gentleman the Dominions Secretary, I have grown older even if I have not grown wiser, like him. I do not suppose I will ever grow so wise as to be a Member of any Government, but, sometimes, wisdom is to be found outside Governments. What is all this about? It is about a sum of £3,500,000. But would you believe it—these gentlemen who are going to have an economic war with Southern Ireland over this sum, have already relieved Northern Ireland of £7,000,000 and there was not a word about it. I should have thought that to an Englishman, judging the matter according to the English mentality, from the practical and material point of view, would think that £7,000,000 was twice as good as £3,500,000. Yet there has not been a word about that sum. I would like the attention of someone on the Treasury Bench. Why is there to be an economic war between this country and the Free State, which is the best customer this country has, about £3,500,000 which they propose to withhold, when you have made a free gift of £7,000,000 to another part of Ireland without a word of protest?
§ Mr. DEVLIN
These are friends of yours. You belong to the party who traditionally believe in breaking Treaties—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] If no one will listen to me on the Front Bench opposite and if I can get attention only from hon. Members who are behind me I, naturally, address myself to them in a spirit of intellectual reciprocity. If the people concerned are friends of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, they need not pay £7,000,000, but if they are hostile, politically, there is to be an Act of Parliament and weapons of economic warfare are to be introduced to fight 91 Southern Ireland. I notice that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has been specially requisitioned to answer on this point, and I will give him some figures. After it was agreed that Northern Ireland should pay £7,000,000, she paid, in 1922, £4,641,000; in 1923–4, £3,900,000; in 1925–26, £2,700,000; in 1927–28, £1,680,000; in 1929–30, 21,253,000; in 1930–31, £1,489,000; in 1931–32, £1,128,000. [Interruption.] No, I should say that these were sums she received. She did not actually pay that. At any rate, last year—to come down to the very year as to which you are now going to wage economic war on Southern Ireland—the contribution of Northern Ireland was not £7,000,000 but £400,000 and she has been receiving contributions from this country as well.
In these circumstances, is it not perfectly clear that you are subsidising one section of Ireland against the other; that you are maintaining and fostering a disunion in Ireland which has brought misery and ruin to Ulster, because Ulster is a derelict in the industrial shipwreck that has taken place in recent years? You have kept Northern and Southern Ireland asunder by subsidising Northern Ireland against Southern Ireland, and you are forgiving Northern Ireland £7,000,000 or £6,500,000, while you are going to wage economic war on Southern Ireland because Southern Ireland refuses to pay £3,500,000. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham seemed really to think that this action of Mr. de Valera was part of a truculent and aggressive movement against this country; that the farmers of Southern Ireland were living on milk and honey; that there was abounding wealth and that they were ready to pay the instalments of these annuities. The fact of the matter is that, to my knowledge, in one county in Ireland alone 30,000 of these farmers are not able to pay the annuities at all and the Government could not collect the payments. It is no argument to say that these people could pay the annuities and want to pay the annuities and that the annuities are simply being withheld in order that this country should not be paid.
I have no desire to see anything done here unless something to avoid a deep and bitter political and economic quarrel between this country and Ireland. What 92 are you going to do if these proposals which you have submitted to the House are carried out? You will tax Irish produce coming into this country until you secure your £3,500,000. Mr. de Valera will proceed to tax your goods in return until he repays himself. [HON. MEMBERS: "He is already doing so."] Very well, but where is the advantage to accrue to this country by that? Ireland is your best customer, and you are the best customer of Ireland. Is this a patriotic method to adopt? [An HON. MEMBER: "What do you suggest?"] I suggest the appointment of an impartial committee within the British Empire. I made that suggestion, and it will be within the ambit of the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman; and I say that if that is done, we can avoid this war. We know what the physical war, the political war, the religious war, the racial war has meant for these islands in the past, in Ireland and in England. We know the misery and ruin it brought to Ireland, the dishonour and the shame it brought to this country. We know that beyond the shores of Ireland, in Canada, in Australia, in New Zealand, apart altogether from the countless millions of people in America, there are people whose hearts beat in unison with Ireland and who are with Ireland, right or wrong.
At a time when the whole heart of all Christian men is moving them to desire and to labour for universal peace and friendship among the nations and the peoples, are you going to engage in a puny war of reprisals of this character? The principle of good win is more to you than your petty £3,500,000. It would he a far more generous thing to do than even setting up a commission. [Interruption.] It would be sure of success if I was president of it. It would be far better to say that you would do in Southern Ireland what you have done in Northern Ireland, that you are willing to wipe out the debt altogether. You are ready to wipe out all that is due to you by almost every country in Europe, millions and millions of pounds. Why not wipe out this petty £3,500,000, and stop this war? It cannot mean so much to this country. If you could lose £7,000,000 to Northern Ireland, it cannot be such a great loss to lose £3,500,000 to Southern Ireland, and I say that this 93 House ought to take the view expressed by the right hon. Member who opened this Debate and remember that there is something much greater involved than the mere securing of this petty sum in great national finance of this character, and that good feeling and good will would be worth the £3,500,000 that you are attempting to collect, which you may collect, but which will be collected in return by Ireland.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
I have the privilege of being the first Liberal to speak in this Debate, and if I may express the view of some of my Friends and myself on these benches, I want to say to the Opposition that on this matter they will have no kind of support or sympathy from us. We believe in arbitration just as much as does any hon. or right hon. Member opposite, but we do not believe in the policy that has been advocated by the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood), which is merely a surrender, not of our own interests, but of the interests of people for whom we act as trustees. We Liberal Members on these benches, in the course of this Parliament, have expressed constant and sustained opposition to tariffs in general and food taxes in particular. We dislike the use of those methods, and we are always inclined to regard anything of that kind with very great suspicion, but I think I can speak for my colleagues here, as I do for myself, when I say flat on this matter we feel that the only possible course open to us is to give the Government our whole-hearted and ungrudging support.
The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) referred to the bitterness and antagonism which appear to be present in this House with regard to Ireland. That is a charge which cannot be brought against the party which sits on these benches, and we gladly accept the assurance given by the Government that there is no question of keeping out Irish produce or penalising the Irish producer. This is not a question of economic reprisals at all. It is not a penalty inflicted upon Ireland, but, properly conceived, the one aim of this policy is to avoid placing upon the shoulders of the British taxpayer a burden which it was never intended that he should have to bear. The hon. Member for Bridgeton raised the question of who was going to pay these duties. As has already been 94 pointed out, if we put on these duties, it may be arguable whether it is we who are going to pay or whether it is the Irish who are going to pay, but if we do not put on these duties, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that it is we who are going to pay.
As a general rule, most of us on these benches will agree that when you put on import duties over a wide range or over the whole source of supply, it is the home consumer who has to pay the tax. That is true whenever you put on a duty over a large part of your source of supply, but in this case we are only putting it on a very small part, an almost infinitesimal part. In the last year in this country we imported from Empire and foreign countries altogether over £475,000,000 worth of food, drink, and tobacco. The share of that sent by the Irish Free State was only £35,900,000. That is to say, the supplies that came from the Irish Free State of food, drink, and tobacco were rather less than 7 per cent. of the whole of our importations, and when you take into account as well our home produce, the proportion is smaller still. Further, as the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) pointed out, we are imposing these duties, not at a time of scarcity, but at a time of abundance, when there are great surplus stocks in nearly all the producing countries of the world, so that, without abandoning any of our principles on tariffs and Free Trade, we on these benches believe that in this instance it will be possible to get the debt from the Irish producer and not from the British consumer.
We heard just now from the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone (Mr. Devlin) that it would be a comparatively simple matter for the Irish Government to impose counter-tariffs. Would it? I notice that that has been suggested in the Press and, I believe, by Ministers in Mr. de Valera's Government. After all, in order to collect a specific sum of money, you have to have a revenue tariff, and in the matter of imposing a revenue tariff in order to collect money we have a very great advantage over the Irish Free State, because in this matter of tariffs we have the advantage that we start from scratch. We have no tariffs at all against the Free State, and we have only to put on a revenue tariff, which is a comparatively simple matter, but it is a very much more 95 difficult matter to impose a revenue tariff on top of a tariff already in existence.
We were told by the right hon. Member for Wakefield—and this is the chief point that I want to put before the Committee—that we had made no concessions to Mr. de Valera, and all the references that were made from the benches opposite represented this country as if we were demanding our pound of flesh. I submit that it cannot possibly be said that this country has behaved ungenerously in the matter of these Land Annuities. It is true that the Land Purchase Acts were not originally intended to involve the British Exchequer in any ultimate liability. It is true that the payments to the stockholders were originally guaranteed by the British Government, on the credit of the British Government, but for any deficiencies they were entitled to recoup themselves from a guaranteed fund which would otherwise apply to certain services in Ireland. Under the Act of 1909, however, the Birrell Act, the British taxpayer has in fact been involved in a very heavy and a very considerable liability, a liability which has had to be borne by the taxpayers of this country alone.
Under the agreement of 1923, which was laid down in respect of the bonus and excess stock, that is to say, the stock that we issued in 1909 at a discount, that the Irish Free State should pay £160,000 a year and that any further payment that had to be made in that respect should be made by the British Government out of moneys provided by Parliament. Then, in the ultimate financial settlement of the 19th March, 1926, signed by a Free State Minister and by the right hon. Member for Epping, the Irish Free State contribution was reduced from £160,000 a year to £134,500. That left the British Exchequer responsible for payments which have amounted in the last few years to the best part of £1,000,000 annually. In the financial year 1927–8 this House voted £976,000 for the payment of this stock, and in this year in the Estimates there is provided £809,000 for the same purpose; and in addition to that we have to provide over £20,000 a year to the banks of Great Britain and Ireland for the service of this particular fund.
The point that I want to make is that it cannot possibly be said that this 96 country has behaved in any way ungenerously in regard to Land Annuities, because at the present time and for the last few years the British taxpayer has been mulcted to the best part of £1,000,000 a year, not for his own benefit, but for the sole and exclusive benefit of the tenant purchaser in Ireland. In 1923, followed by the agreement in 1926, we said in effect to the Free State, "We will take over these liabilities in regard to these particular stocks, and the only contribution that we ask you to make is a mere fraction of what was to be paid. We only ask you to pay £134,500 a year." I think everyone will agree that that was a very fine bargain from the Free State point of view, and yet in the announcement made by the Dominions Secretary to-day we were told that Mr. de Valera intends to withhold even that small compounding sum which the Free State was asked to pay in respect of bonus and excess stock.
We have been told that Mr. de Valera has fortified himself with legal opinion. It is not the first time that, the legal authorities in the Irish Free State have been consulted upon this question of the Land Annuities. The payment of these annuities was challenged in the Dail in 1929, and only last year Mr. Cosgrave's Government determined to examine the question snore closely and to get an authoritative legal opinion. First of all, they got the opinion of Mr. Costello, who was at that time the Attorney-General for the Irish Free State. He produced a very long and comprehensive examination of all the facts in dispute, of the whole history of the Land Annuities, and of the agreements which have taken place since 1922. He examined the matter very fully, and I would like to give the Committee one quotation at the end of his report. Referring to this proposal for the diversion of the annuities into the coffers of the Irish Free State, he said:Such an act would amount to nothing less than misappropriation of moneys to which the State have no legal or moral claim, and would cause permanent injury to the fame and to the credit of the State.Not content with that opinion, the Government of the Free State determined to seek a further and, perhaps, more impartial opinion. They submitted all the facts of the case to the notice of five of the leading jurists of the Irish Free State 97 for their joint opinion. They returned an opinion not quite so full, but very much in the same terms as that of the Attorney-General. They came to precisely the same conclusion and their report ends with the words:We are of opinion that the Government of the Irish Free State has not and never had the right to retain the Land Purchase Annuities for its own use.Those are the two reports completed only last year not merely for the use of Mr. Cosgrave's Government, but presented in a White Paper to the Dail. Yet Mr. de Valera in his last despatch declares that he does not know of any legal agreement on which the payment of these annuities can be founded. He must be aware that a very large part of authoritative legal opinion in the Irish Free State only last year declared that the payment of these annuities was legally and in honour binding on the Government of the Free State.
May I refer before I close to the question of arbitration, which was raised in the speech of the right hon. Member for Wakefield We on these benches are as much in favour of the method of arbitration as any Members of this House. We entirely agree that the Government should do as they are doing, and should go on offering the arbitration of a Commonwealth tribunal. The hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone like Mr. de Valera apparently objects to an Empire tribunal. I fail to understand precisely what the objection is. Surely you could not have a fairer form of arbitration than a tribunal, in which Mr. de Valera is entitled to appoint two of his own representatives to two of ours, and in which it is necessary to agree upon a chairman. The machinery was provided by the Imperial Conference of 1930, which did not make it an optional form of machinery but said that, if arbitration was to be resorted to between members of the British Commonwealth, this should be the form of arbitration that should be used. Mr. de Valera wishes to go to the Imperial Conference of 1932 while throwing over the decisions of the Imperial Conference of 1930. By all means let us keep open the offer to arbitrate, this offer of a perfectly fair, equitable and just form of arbitration, but in the meanwhile, while this dispute is being settled, while Mr. de Valera is making up his mind as to what form of arbitration he will or will not accept, let us support the policy of the Government 98 in this regard and make sure that in the meantime, before the dispute is settled, the burden shall not be placed upon the already overburdened shoulders of the British taxpayer.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
We have just had a very interesting exposition of the view of the modern young Liberal, and I am quite sure it interested some of the old Liberals. I understood that in this House there were distinct divisions of opinion in the Liberal party on Protection, that one section might believe in it while another might believe in Free Trade. But, while the former section is prepared to support Protectionist measures in the interest of the trade of this country, the other section will reject them for that purpose but is prepared to support them as a method of coercing Ireland. The only point I want to make about the hon. Member's speech relates to his endeavour to quote a legal opinion. You can get a legal opinion in favour of almost anything. He quoted seven distinguished Irish jurists, but Mr. de Valera has got another seven distinguished Irish jurists who say, in contradistinction to what the hon. Member says, that no question of misappropriation or repudiation arises. I am not in a position to say whether his team of lawyers is better than Mr. de Valera's team, or which team is right. It only goes to show that here is a dispute on which lawyers differ, and which is therefore a justiciable dispute.
The other thing that struck me about the speech was that the hon. Member seemed to strike very much the same note as the Secretary of State for Dominions Affairs and the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain). All three of them struck an attitude which is very often struck by people in this country and which accounts very largely for a certain amount of unpopularity we have with other people, and that was the unctuous self-righteousness of our position. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham read us a long sermon, and was extremely indignant that anyone should dare to hint that this country might not be right. We on this side are not making any decision on the rights or wrongs of this case. That is not what this House is discussing now but a piece of legislation introduced by this Government, though no one could 99 have told that from the speech of the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs or from the speech of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham. They all went off into the question of the rights of the matter. They all held that the rights are entirely on one side. Most people who go into a legal question think the rights are all on one side. The speech of the Secretary of State is exactly the sort of speech that a lay client makes when he goes to a solicitor or into Chambers. He assures you he has got a perfect case and will not hear a word on the other side. I have no doubt that Mr. de Valera will say the same.
The point we are discussing to-day is whether, in these conditions and circumstances, the Government are taking the right course. They have the support of the elder statesman in the right hon. Member for West Birmingham and they also have the support of the junior statesman in the Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot). I confess that what struck me about the speeches of the elder statesmen, the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, and the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) was that they were such very elderly statesmen. They were obviously all pre-War. During the last few years I have read a very great deal of the diplomatic history that preceded the War and the kind of speeches that they make is exactly the same kind of speech that statesmen on every side then made about their case. They were all sure that they were quite right, that they were quite reasonable, that, if only other people accepted their point of view, everything would be all right. Many of them said, like the right hon. Member for Epping, "Of course we do not intend to go to war. We are only taking certain steps. We are merely asserting our rights." Everybody knows that you cannot arrange these things in that careful way. You take one step, you have to go on to another, and you go on and on. That is the danger we fear if a different tone and temper are not adopted in this matter. I am not in a position to argue the rights and wrongs of this matter. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right; he thinks he is. It is equally clear that Mr. de Valera thinks he is right. We think it is 100 a case for arbitration. The Secretary of State thinks he is absolutely right in saying that Mr. de Valera should accept a, Dominions tribunal; Mr. de Valera is absolutely certain that he should not be bound to accept a Dominions tribunal.
What have the Government done? They have rushed into this with a somewhat violent action. It would appear so if we were dealing with the actions of a continental country. They have acted in a hurry. I cannot see what the enormous hurry was about dealing with this matter in this way. I believe it would have been possible for them to have had a great deal more patience. There is one point on which I would like to correct the Dominions Secretary and the hon. Member for Dundee. The right hon. Gentleman constantly tells us that this idea of an Imperial tribunal was decided at the last Imperial Conference. He knows perfectly well that it was not, that no agreement was come to with regard to the setting up of an Imperial tribunal. He says that Ireland agreed to it last year but this year does not, although he knows perfectly well that no tribunal was set up. It was nothing more than a pious opinion, and he knows perfectly well that there was no agreement on it.
The hon. Member challenges me on a point of fact. He has made a statement that my reference to the last Imperial Conference having agreed to an Imperial tribunal was not true. I want to repeat again what I have stated, and what is confirmed in this document. There was a dispute going on with Ireland, as my hon. Friend knows, on another principle—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
If the right hon. Gentleman is going to quote from the private proceedings of the Imperial Conference, I shall claim the right to bring the documents here. I dissent altogether from his interpretation. If we are going to have this conflict, we must have the documents here. My recollection of the matter is that the reason this was not put in the Statute of Westminster was that there was no agreement among the Dominions.
I cannot lay something that is public property. My right hon. 101 Friend can go to the Vote Office and obtain this document. I assure him that I will not quote from any document that is private or confidential, but I am entitled to quote from the official documents that are public property and open to every Member of the House and the public. The document from which I am quoting is the "Summary of Proceedings" of the Imperial Conference of 1930. I repeat that the late Labour Government, because of a difference with the late Irish Government on another matter, agreed to raise the issue of an Imperial tribunal at the Imperial Conference on their own initiative. I was responsible for the Government in putting it forward. We discussed it, and here is the Summary of Proceedings:
This matter was examined by the Conference, and they found themselves able to make certain definite recommendations with regard to it…As to the composition of the tribunal, it was agreed: (1) The tribunal shall be constituted ad hoc in the case of each dispute to be settled. (2) There shall be five members, one being the chairman,
and so on. That was the unanimous decision of the Imperial Conference, and that was the tribunal which I offered to Mr. de Valera.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I will now supply the lacuna. The right hon. Gentleman made an omission. The Summary of Proceedings says:Some machinery for the solution of disputes which may arise between the members of the British Commonwealth is desirable. Different methods for providing this machinery were explored, and it was agreed, in order to avoid too much rigidity, not to recommend the constitution of a permanent court, but to seek a solution along the line of ad hoc arbitration proceedings. The Conference thought that this method might be more fruitful than any other in securing the confidence of the Commonwealth. The next question considered was whether arbitration proceedings should be voluntary or obligatory, in the sense that one party would be under an obligation to submit thereto if the other party wished it. In the absence of general consent to an obligatory system, it was decided to recommend the adoption of a voluntary system.The point is that there was not a conclusive agreement.
This is very important. If my hon. Friend will read on, he will see this important point: 102There shall be five members, one being the chairman; neither the chairman nor the members of the tribunal shall be drawn from outside the British Commonwealth of Nations.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The point is that it is not obligatory that every dispute between two members of the Commonwealth of Nations shall go to a Commonwealth tribunal. The matter was left voluntary and not obligatory. If that be so, the right hon. Gentleman's argument falls to the ground. The right hon. Gentleman is well aware of what was done at the Conference, and he knows that it was not accepted that all disputes between the Dominions should as a matter of obligation come before a certain tribunal.
Is it true or not that, while it is not obligatory on the part of all Dominions to accept arbitration, it is obligatory on them, if they do accept it, to accept an Empire tribunal?
§ Mr. ATTLEE
That is an entirely different point. The whole point which we are discussing is what form of arbitral tribunal is suitable in a case that might arise between this country and the Irish Free State. The right hon. Gentleman says that the membership of the tribunal shall be entirely drawn from within the Dominions. The Irish Free State say that they do not object to having Dominion members, but they do not want to be tied absolutely to accept membership entirely drawn from the British Commonwealth. As a matter of fact, it is not absolutely decided that every dispute between two members of the British Commonwealth of nations shall go before this particular tribunal. Some, the right hon. Gentleman will admit, would go before the League of Nations. The point here however is that it is not absolutely agreed that the Empire tribunal is obligatory. That point is perfectly clear now.
We are concerned with considering what will be the sequence of events owing to the actions of the Government. I suppose that the Government's calculation is that their action will bring the Irish Free State to heel. They conclude that the pressure will be sufficient either to ex- 103 tract the money or to bring about submission or agreement. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would much rather have an agreement. It is certain that the Government's action will give rise to a discussion which will occupy the Liberal party a few days as to whether this money will come out of the pockets of the Irish farmers or the pockets of the English workers. Events will tell us what will happen.
The right hon. Gentleman said that directly the Government have collected the amount they wanted the duties will come off. So year after year we shall not be quite sure when the tap will be turned on or turned off; it will depend on whether the right amount has been collected. That is ridiculous, and I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that is possible. As a matter of fact, this is a method of bringing coercion to hear on the Irish Free State. It is the method of war. We do not say that it will necessarily lead to other forms of warfare, but it is not the method of conciliation and arbitration. It is a method of force and of bringing pressure to bear. You are seldom able to live in friendly relations with the man who puts the brokers in. We have to realise that, after all, we have to live with these people. It is easy to be short-sighted in these matters. The cause of half the wars and troubles is that people do not realise that they have to live together. If France and Germany had realised that they had to live side by side in Europe, we should not have had a war. We are living next to Ireland, and, whether we collect the duties or not, we shall have to deal with them afterwards and find some modus vivendi.
We believe that the Government have adopted the wrong method here, and that, even if they collect all the money required, it will not pay them in the long run. The Government have been too precipitate, and in the long run the burden of payment will fall on the British workers in this country. We do not see any reason why the people of this country should bear the burden. The burden of the speeches on this subject is: "Because you do not like the Government plan, you are approving everything that Mr. de Valera does." That is quite untrue. We are not passing judgment on the case: we are not saying whether Mr. de Valera 104 is wrong or right. We are saying that there is a dispute, that there are many elements in that dispute, and that when you have a dispute of this kind it is worth while doing everything possible to get it before some arbitral tribunal. There was no occasion to rush this matter. By their action the Government are creating a bad atmosphere and doing irreparable injury to the growth of good relations between the two countries.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. DAVID REID
The hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone (Mr. Devlin) has argued that Northern Ireland has been forgiven £7,500,000 per annum and that the Free State should in like manner be allowed to retain the sum now in dispute. Whether his argument is logic or not, his facts are inaccurate. It is true that in the Government of Ireland Act of 1920, Section 23, provision was made for an Imperial contribution from Northern and Southern Ireland. The amount fixed for the first two years was £18,000,000 a year, and of that 56 per cent. was to be paid by Southern Ireland, and 44 by Northern Ireland. In subsequent years the rate of contribution was to besuch as the Joint Exchequer Board, having regard to the relative taxable capacities of Ireland and the United Kingdom, determine to he just.No particular sum is named for any period after the first two years, and there was a provision that even as regards the first two years the Joint Exchequer Board might revise the amount if they found it expedient to do so. The Government of Northern Ireland was set up under this Act of 1920, and those financial provisions still apply to Northern Ireland, and every year since the Government of Northern Ireland has been in existence a contribution has been paid to the British Government at the amount fixed by the Joint Exchequer Board in accordance with this Act. The amount is absolutely immaterial. If the Joint Exchequer Board were to hold that sixpence was the proper amount, that would be paid, as it would be the amount legally due. It is absolutely untrue to say that any amount has been forgiven Northern Ireland in regard to her obligations under the Act of 1920. No amount has been forgiven, and the contribution has been paid every year.
The hon. Member put forward his argument once before in Debate, and I then 105 had only a very few minutes in which to reply to him, but I do hope that now that the facts have been brought to the notice of the House again—and I hope that they will also be brought to his notice when he reads the report of the Debate—we shall have heard the last of his argument, because what he alleges to be facts are not facts at all. His statement is based on an entire misunderstanding and misreading of Section 23 of that Act. I would like to point out that the two matters are not comparable. Northern Ireland does function under the Act of 1920 and pays its contributions under the machinery set up by that Act. All these contributions from Southern Ireland, whether they are payable or not, are claims under a set of agreements between the Governments of the United Kingdom and Southern Ireland, and there is no connection between the financial relations between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom and the financial arrangements between the Irish Free State and the United Kingdom.
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
I beg to move, in line 1, After the word "That," to insert the words;in the event of the Secretary of State for the Dominions certifying that there has been a decision of a court of arbitration, set up by agreement between His Majesty's Governments for the United Kingdom and the Irish Free State, or, failing such agreement, appointed by representatives of the Dominions assembled in Imperial Conference, that the Irish Free State have failed to implement their lawful financial obligations to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.The speeches we have listened to from the Government benches so far have reminded me somewhat of the statements that are made by a plaintiff when he comes to his first consultation. He is always perfectly satisfied that he is right, and that the defendant is not only wrong but dishonest; but his view is not always borne out when judgment is subsequently given. It is important to bear in mind a matter of which I think the right hon. Gentleman now has official notice, that the sums which Mr. de Valera is holding in hand are to be paid to a suspense account. They are not being dealt with by the Irish Free State as moneys which are inevitably their own possessions, but as moneys which have got to abide the decision of some arbitral tribunal in the future. Indeed, one would rather imagine 106 that, reading from Mr. de Valera's letter of 5th April, 1932, where he stated:The British Government can rest assured that any just and lawful claims of Great Britain or of any creditor of the Irish Free State will be scrupulously honoured by this Government.If that was to be so, clearly the sums of money as to which there was a dispute must have been put aside in order to meet the judgment of the arbitral tribunal, if necessary. I think the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) suggested that we had come by this information by a backstairs method. I can assure him it was not so. We were informed of this as a matter of apparently common knowledge by the Chairman of the Irish Labour party.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
That is exactly what I supposed, but why did not the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) say so? Why was he ashamed, after making a confident assertion of a fact, to give the source of his information?
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The reason why he did not say so was because he had first to ask the permission of the gentleman who made it to him to use his name. I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit that was ordinary courtesy. We naturally assumed, and I do not think it was a very large assumption, that the Government would be in possession of the information, of which I understand they now are in possession.
I had better clear this up. I had absolutely no knowledge of it, of any sort or kind, until I heard my right hon. Friend make his statement. I challenged it at once, because, not only had I no information, but it was contrary to the facts as I understood them; because the facts were that when I asked Mr. de Valera about the collection of the money and accused him—I mean accused across the table—of being responsible for some of the tenants themselves withholding the money, he challenged me on the point, but never said a word about this; but he indicated that in his election address he had decided upon this policy, and he intended to withhold the money. The first I heard about what was being done with the money was when the statement was made this afternoon. I challenged it then, and I have since had this message—that is, since my right hon. Friend made his speech: 107Dear Mr. Thomas,I have made the inquiry I promised, and find that it is a fact that the moneys received for the Land Annuities and other charges are being set aside by the Irish Free State Government in separate suspense accounts in anticipation of arbitration.
§ Yours faithfully,
§ (Signed) JOHN DULANTY.
§ "I want the Committee to observe the importance of this. I received this since I challenged my right hon. Friend, and not before. When next I speak, I will deal with Mr. de Valera's first speech. On the other hand, I agree that if Mr. de Valera is holding this money in suspense accounts, because he believes that there will be arbitration, then the issues are narrowed and are now much simpler. The task is much easier.
Much more businesslike—only I wish I had known it before. Now the only issue is the form of tribunal.
I am afraid the hon. Gentleman is not helping us much. The position so far as the British Government is concerned is this: I had better emphasise it, because the Opposition are again parties to what I am now going to say. When we signed the Optional Clause, on which there was so much controversy, we, as a Labour Government, specially reserved inter-Imperial disputes from submission to The Hague Court. We deliberately did so because we said inter-Imperial disputes are a domestic matter for ourselves. Now, therefore, that Mr. de Valera agrees that arbitration must ultimately decide as to this money, I repeat, even at this stage, that the Government will agree to arbitration before an Empire tribunal, but they will not allow any foreign country to determine what is an Imperial domestic matter; this is what the Imperial Conference of 1930 intended.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
However the information has come to the right hon. Gentleman's knowledge, I am sure everybody is delighted to know that this is the fact, and that it has narrowed down the issue, because we on this side are anxious to do nothing which will exacerbate opinion in any quarter, and are ready to do everything we can to assist in bringing the parties together. Our Amendment is put 108 forward with a view to making a definite suggestion for a further step forward towards a solution, but, before dealing with the exact machinery which we propose, I want to consider the position in which we find ourselves. I think there can be no doubt in the minds of anyone in the Committee that we have here a justiciable dispute. Whatever we may think of the views of Mr. de Valera or of the lawyers who support him, or whatever we may think of the lawyers who support the view of Mr. Cosgrave, we must admit that there is here, bad or good, a case which may be made out before some tribunal and which is a fit case for some tribunal to decide.
After all, the whole genius of the British people ever since the beginning of the 19th century has been shown in their ability to bring about arbitration with foreign countries in the most difficult circumstances. In many ways we were the pioneers of international arbitration. We have always prided ourselves on the vast number of complicated subjects which we have been able to get referred to arbitration, sometimes in circumstances of great difficulty and where feeling has run very high. Indeed, every spokesman of every party has again and again emphasised in this House and elsewhere the importance of managing, even after a long time, to bring questions between nations to arbitration or to committees of inquiry, or to find some means which will enable the deadlock to be merged into a settlement. When we are considering this question of arbitration, it seems important to us that we should realise, whether we like it or not, that the Free State is of as independent a status as we are at the present time and that we are treating with the Free State as two free nations treating to gether—subject, of course, to any Treaty obligations which they may have entered into as regards the settlement of disputes.
The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs asked me when he was speaking to reply to the question whether we were satisfied that the British Government had done all that was possible to get the matter settled by arbitration. If he wants to know, we are not satisfied. After all, five days after due demand is rather h short period of time in which one party should sign judgment in its own favour and put the bailiffs in. I am sure the 109 right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that we think that rather more than four letters and two interviews might well have been spent upon an effort to explore a possible line upon which he and Mr. de Valera could agree, especially when both of them are apparently agreed that some form of decision, whether we call it arbitral decision or some other form of decision, must be come to at some time between the two views which are expressed as regards the rights and wrongs of this situation.
I would like to deal with the position which the right hon. Gentleman has commented upon as regards the recommendations of the Imperial Conference, because I agree with him that it is a matter of considerable importance. The passage to which he referred is to be found at pages 22 and 23 of Command Paper 3717. It starts with a report of the Conference on the operation of Dominion legislation. In paragraph 125 it sets out the desirability of having some form of tribunal to decide matters of difference between members of the British Commonwealth and ends with the statement:We recommend that the whole subject should be further examined by all the Governments.Further examination was given to the matter as to the result of that report to the Imperial Conference, and they then proceed to say this:The matter was examined by the Conference, and they found themselves able to make certain definite recommendations with regard to it.What follows are the recommendations. They are not the unanimous decision as regards the putting into operation of certain forms. They are recommendations as to what might well be done between two members of the British Common-wealth if a discussion were to arise between them.
I want to get this clear. My hon. Friend may not be aware, but the functions of the Imperial Conference limit them exclusively to recommendations. They are not empowered to give decisions. That is why they have made recommendations and not decisions.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Certainly. I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. He has dotted the "i's" and crossed the "t's" of what I was saying. The only way in which definite decisions could 110 come about is by the Parliaments of different Dominions coming to an agreement. That decision has never been come to. That was why I ventured to suggest at the time when the Statute of Westminster was being passed by this House that, in view of the fact that the Statute of Westminster was being put into legal form both here and is the Dominions, it would be wise to associate with it in legal form some of those recommendations which have been made by the Imperial Conference. If one proceeds with the recommendations, one sees that they are limited recommendations. They say:Some machinery for the settlement of disputes which may arise between the members of the British Commonwealth is desirable. Different methods for providing this machinery were explored, and it was agreed, in order to avoid too much rigidity, not to recommend the constitution of a permanent court, but to seek a solution along the line of ad hoc arbitration proceedings.That means to say that, instead of having any permanent fixed method by which disputes are to be decided, you are, on each occasion, to set up a particular arbitral tribunal in order to arrive at a decision. It then proceeds:The Conference thought that this method might be more fruitful than any other in securing the confidence of the Commonwealth. The next question considered was whether arbitration proceedings should be voluntary or obligatory, in the sense that one party would be under an obligation to submit thereto if the other party wished it. In the absence of general consent to an obligatory system, it was decided to recommend the adoption of a voluntary system.The Committee will see from the next paragraph that it was to be voluntary for either party to agree to this form of arbitration. It did not mean that if they did not agree to this form of arbitration, they could not have any other. What it meant was, "We think this is the best form of arbitration, and you can agree to this form of arbitration if you wish it." It did not preclude a decision by any other way that was open, or that was chosen by the parties provided that you could get agreement. If two Dominions like to get a Frenchman to arbitrate between them there is nothing in the world to stop them from doing it; they are absolutely at liberty to do so. But if one of them wants a Frenchman, and the other wants the sort of tribunal that is set out in this paragraph, there will be a difference, and they 111 will not be able to agree. Nobody can possibly suggest that, in those circumstances, there is a compulsion upon the one who wants to go outside to submit the matter to the tribunal set out by the Imperial Conference. That is not a voluntary system. The whole essence of the voluntary idea was that we could not impose this upon the Commonwealth as long as certain Members of the Commonwealth did not wish to accept it. It was perfectly well known at the time. The position is that we have an Imperial Tribunal which is recommended for acceptance by any two members who may disagree. When the right hon. Gentleman suggests that it is obligatory upon the Irish Free State, if they are going to have arbitration at all, to have arbitration in this form, I suggest to the Committee that no such inference can possibly be drawn from this paragraph, or was ever intended to be drawn, or ever thought that it could be drawn, at the last Imperial Conference.
§ Mr. JANNER
If that is the case, will the hon. Gentleman explain why it is definitely stated later on in this report that, by a consensus of opinion, without any exception at all, certain definite terms were laid down in regard to the constitution of a tribunal in the event of arbitration being agreed to, and, if he agrees that this was by a consensus of opinion, how can he now suggest that any other form of arbitration would be acceptable?
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The hon. Member does not appreciate what I have been saying. No doubt it is my fault, and I am not suggesting it is the hon. Member's fault. The whole essence of this Clause was a recommendation by the Imperiad Conference, because they could not get agreement to a compulsory form of arbitration for a British Commonwealth. They therefore said, "As we cannot get you all to agree to refer your decisions to any arbitral tribunal that we can think of, all we can do is to recommend you, if you are willing, to refer it to a Commonwealth Tribunal. This is the Commonwealth Tribunal which we recommend for that purpose." The hon. Member shakes his head. I think that the meaning is perfectly clear, and neither the hon. Member nor anybody else could construe this into a binding agreement by Canada, South Africa, or 'anyone else to refer inter- 112 Dominion disputes to any definite tribunal. There is no such thing. That is the only value of it so far as the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs is concerned. I have not read through the rest of the paragraph, but it proceeds in this way:It was agreed that it was advisable to go further, and to make recommendations as to the competence and the composition of an arbitral tribunal, in order to facilitate resort to it, by providing for the machinery whereby a tribunal could in any given case be brought into existence.All of which shows perfectly definitely that there was no agreement of any sort as regards bringing such a tribunal into existence. It was to provide handy machinery to be used, if wanted, by any two members of the Commonwealth. That is as far as it went. As far as this dispute is concerned, unfortunately no two members of the Commonwealth see eye to eye. The position, therefore, is not that we can insist upon it, because we have no right to insist upon it. We can say that the tribunal is the only one that we can accept, and Ireland may say that the only one that they will accept is another method. The result is that we arrive at an impasse, and the only thing to do is to find some way to cut the Gordian knot. What is to happen? Are we to accept the spirit of reprisal and revenge which seems to he in the ascendant at this moment I [Interruption.]
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The right hon. Gentleman says that it is quite untrue. I suggest it is not untrue. If anybody cares to read through the speeches in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, I suggest that every single one of the speeches made from the Government Benches proceeds upon the basis that this country is indubitably right and has the right to enforce its demands upon Ireland.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
That is not what the right hon. Gentleman has just said. What he said was that the speeches from this side of the House were imbued with the spirit of revenge. I say to him across the Floor of the House that that is not true. He has no right to say that.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
If the right hon. Gentleman had waited until the end of 113 the argument on that particular point he would have learned why I said it.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
On a point of Order, may I ask for future guidance if it is not the rule in the conduct of debate that, if one hon. Member says that what another hon. Member has said is not true, it is not admissible? I have heard your predecessors who have occupied your seat, and also the Chair, rule in that way.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. Member is only partly right. There are several different ways in which hon. Members may say that they do not believe what another hon. Member has said. It would be quite impossible to debate unless hon. Members were permitted to differ from what each other has said.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
May I withdraw my phrase if it was harsh, and say that the statement was without foundation in fact?
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I can assure him that I did not feel in the slightest degree perturbed by the remark that came from him, because I knew that there would be no ill feeling behind it. If I may just continue the explanation I was giving to the hon. Gentleman when I was interrupted: What I was saying was that, quite clearly, the speeches proceed upon the basis that this Committee and the Government were entitled to take the judgment of this thing in their own hand, and to act forthwith upon that judgment. That seems to be accurately described as a spirit of reprisal for money lost, and revenge for a wrong act done, and in that sense I believe that all the speeches from the Government side in this Debate have been imbued with that spirit.
The Committee will remember that there have been disputes in recent years with foreign countries, of a far more acrimonious nature than the present one, 114 which have never been solved in this way. If the Committee remembers, there was the Dogger Bank case. I do not think anybody was in any doubt as to the justice of the situation so far as this country was concerned. The Russian ships had fired on the trawlers on the Dogger Bank. There were no other ships which could have fired on them, and it was perfectly clear to everybody. In order to satisfy international feeling in the matter, a commission of inquiry was set up to find out the facts. Subsequently, when all the heat had cooled down, it was decided that Russia should pay £65,000, or whatever the stun was. How very different to the procedure in the present case when we are dealing, not with a foreign Power—[interruption]. I quite agree that there is no comparison, because in that case we were dealing with a foreign Power and not with a Dominion or a fellow member of the Commonwealth, and we were dealing with the lives of British subjects and not with mere money. In that case, nobody suggested that we should institute an economic war against Russia to get back the value of the trawlers. After years —[Interruption]—the hon. and learned Member will find that it took a long time for the Commission to report, and, after their report, there were negotiations. They only found in that case the basis of fact; they did not find whether damages were due. They found the basis of fact, and, upon that basis of fact, negotiations proceeded. I only give that as an instance of the way in which the Government and the House of Commons can deal with a very critical situation by allowing the heat to simmer down before any desperate action is taken to prejudice either the one side or the other.
We believe that there is no excuse for putting these measures into execution after so short a time—even admitting that there might be an excuse later on—as five or six days after the case for them has arisen, when, since the cause for them has arisen, there has been, apparently, no communication except the one which the right hon. Gentleman read this afternoon from Mr. de Valera. There has been no communication from the right hon. Gentleman to Mr. de Valera. We suggest that that is being unduly and unnecessarily speedy with the retribution which 115 is being dealt out. Any hon. Member who is interested in the matter and looks up the long record of hundreds of international arbitrations on every kind of point which have been held between this country and other countries, will find that it is very seldom less than two years after the cause of trouble has arisen before the agreement to refer to arbitration takes place. Here we have five days. What a striking difference! When the right hon. Gentleman asks us whether we are satisfied that the British Government has done everything possible to get this matter referred to arbitration, the answer is, "No, we cannot be satisfied in five days that everything possible has been done."
Let me come to the actual suggestion which we have put upon the Order Paper. We suggest that this action by the Government should be suspended until after the Secretary of State for the Dominions has certified that there has been a decision of a court of arbitration in this matter. That, first of all, raises this point: Under the Resolution as it stands, the Treasury,it it appears to them that any failure of the Irish Free State to implement their obligations has resulted or is likely to result in a loss to the revenue of any public fund…are to act; that is to say, the Treasury are specifically made judge in the matter. It does not seem to us to be right to refer a dispute, in which you are yourself a litigant, to yourself to decide. The suggestion which we make is that some form of arbitration must precede that decision by the Treasury. The view which is expressed in the Resolution seems to us to be an impossible view for anyone to take who really believes in the fundamental necessity for international arbitration. If you are to decide the matter by arbitration, and there is an impasse, what is one to do? How can one get over the impasse? Our suggestion is this: The Irish Free State appoint their two members, and the British Government appoint their two members. It then remains to decide who is to be the chairman. The right hon. Gentleman says that it must be someone from the Empire; Mr. de Valera says that he will not have someone from the Empire. We suggest that, in case of the parties disputing as to who shall be the referee in an arbitra- 116 tion of this sort, it must be left to some outside power to decide. In this case there is only one possible outside power, and that is the Imperial Conference itself. That is entirely and absolutely consistent with the idea that this dispute should be kept within the British Commonwealth.
I venture to suggest that there can be no objection by anybody, however they may feel the impropriety of going outside the British Commonwealth, to leaving it to the Imperial Conference to decide who shall be chairman. Here are two members of the Commonwealth, who both want arbitration, and who can agree on four members of the arbitral tribunal, but cannot agree on the fifth. How is that difficulty to be solved? I beg the right hon. Gentleman to consider the proposal that the Imperial Conference should be asked, not to decide the difference, but to say who is to be the chairman. Putting it at its very lowest, assume for a moment, as one would be anxious not to assume, that Mr. de Valera did not accept the decision of the Imperial Conference. What happens then is just what happened in a recent arbitration between the Soviet Government and certain British nationals. One of the parties does not appear; the other party has to make out its case; and the other party has then at least done its best to place before a duly constituted tribunal the arguments which it believes to be in its favour, and it is then entitled to the judgment of the tribunal according to the case that it has proved. That, as I say, is putting it at its lowest, but you have then at least the satisfaction of saying "These matters have been decided by an arbitral tribunal; we have not ourselves decided and given ourselves judgment and ourselves levied execution in a cause in which we were parties." I do not, myself, suppose that there would be any difficulty if one could once refer the matter to the Imperial Conference, leaving them a completely free hand as to whom they should appoint as the independent chairman; but at least one can say that this is a method which is worth exploring, and we suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that, at least until that method has been explored, we ought not to take this hasty action.
That is the method which we suggest here. There are many other methods which will occur, I am sure, to the fertile 117 mind of the right hon. Gentleman. There is the method of a commission of inquiry to find the facts, and thereafter of negotiations. That has been a common method of settling international disputes—not by appointing an arbitral tribunal to decide upon the quantum of the award, but a commission of inquiry to find the facts, and, upon the basis of the facts so found, negotiations between the parties. That has often proved to be a way out of discussions of this sort, where neither party was prepared to accept as binding the absolute decision of an arbitral tribunal; and that, again, is a proposal which we feel sure should be put forward by the right hon. Gentleman. I want to impress upon the Committee the fact that in this Resolution we are embarking upon a path which we believe to be fraught with the utmost danger, not only to Ireland and ourselves, but to the whole Commonwealth; and we feel that, before we embark upon that path, we ought at least to try some further suggestion. All the negotiation that there has been so far is that one side insists on a Commonwealth tribunal, and the other side says that it will not have it. There are many paths between those two extremes which might be explored, and during the period since there has been a default, or since the last letters passed, there has been no time to explore. We beg this Committee not to confuse strength with stubbornness, and not to think that reprisals are necessarily the sign of great statesmanship.
I propose right away to intimate the decision of the Government with regard to this Amendment. I cannot but resent the implications that the Government, and myself in particular, are guided or influenced in any way by a spirit of either vindictiveness or revenge. I am entitled to say that, because I had more interest in Ireland than any other trade union leader in this country. My union was the largest union of any in Ireland, North or South, and I can give much more testimony than most folks of anxiety with regard to Ireland in the dark days prior to this Treaty. I want to assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that, from the moment that I was faced with this difficulty, my anxiety has been to find a peaceful solution. The hon. and learned Gentleman was not in the House himself, but some on that bench were, in 1924, when I was called upon to deal with 118 the Irish situation—a grave and difficult situation; and I was not guided then, and am not guided now, by any spirit of revenge. There are courses which are difficult. This is one of the difficult courses. But there are also occasions when the difficult course, in the end, is the right course.
I want to put this quite clearly and definitely to the hon. and learned Member. The man in the street, the man who reads the Debates of this House, and the man in Ireland—the peasant—as well as our own working class in this country, will not be concerned with this legal quibble. They will not say to themselves, "The Imperial Conference did not compel this to be done, or did not say that it ought to be in that particular way." I want the hon. and learned Gentleman to answer me this question: If the Imperial Conference did not intend that all Imperial matters should be discussed by an Imperial tribunal, why did they discuss it at all?
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I can easily answer the right hon. Gentleman. Because they hoped they would be able to arrive at a. unanimous agreement to set up an Imperial tribunal. They failed. All they could do was to make the recommendation of this tribunal.
That does not answer my question. If they did not think that an Imperial tribunal was essential for an Imperial matter, there was no need to discuss it at all. But why did the late Labour Government themselves unanimously decide upon the reservation in the optional clause? They did it because on Imperial matters, on matters in dispute between one Dominion and another, they were not going to be a party to any outsider determining the issue. The hon. and learned Gentleman has asked me not to close the door. He said in substance, "You have had four letters and two interviews, and surely that is not sufficient." Is that fair statement of the case? Let me state the facts. Mr. de Valera never wrote to me on the matter at all. Those of us who have been engaged in industrial disputes all our lives know that, if an employer intimated without consultation of any sort or kind that on and after Monday an agreement is to be broken, the first people to challenge it would be the 119 organised labour movement. Those sitting there and myself have done it for years, because we believe that the keeping of agreements is the very basis of collective bargaining.
Then the hon. and learned Gentleman casually says: "You have had four letters and two interviews." Let us examine that. On 22nd March Mr. de Valera made a speech in Dublin and said: "I intend to withhold this money." That is pretty clear and definite. He did not write and say: "Let us discuss it." There was no communication of any sort. On the 23rd I wrote and said: "I observe this. Surely you are wrong. This is a legal and moral agreement." He replied: "I did not know it was an agreement. I did not know there was one in existence." Then I gave him the two dates of the agreement. He replied straight away: "I do not accept those agreements." When I put the specific question to him across the table, "Surely by your refusal of an Empire tribunal you are admitting to the world that there are not three honest people in the British Empire," his answer was, "I believe the dice would be loaded against us." That was his answer, not yours. If he believes that the dice would be loaded against him, he believes obviously that not a single Dominion could be trusted to give him a fair deal. The hon. and learned Gentleman says we have acted hastily. In March, April, May and June we had the intimation that we were not to be paid, and it was repeated in April, May, June and July, and it is not paid. My answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman is this: How much longer are the British people to bear the burden? We seem to forget that this money was budgeted for. It is being paid out, and Mr. de Valera is collecting it. So far from being hasty, I think we have been very considerate.
The hon. and learned Gentleman has made a suggestion. Let us see what it means. He says, on behalf of the official Opposition: "Go to Ottawa and say to the delegates there: 'You appoint a Chairman' and, if that is refused, your action is justified."
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
No, that is not what I said. I said, if the Imperial Conference appointed a chairman to the tri- 120 bunal, and agreed upon that tribunal hearing the dispute, even if Ireland would not appear before it we should be entitled to put our case and get a decision from the tribunal.
Let us see what is the difference in procedure. I said to Mr. de Valera: "I am not dictating or even suggesting a particular tribunal in number. I am not even suggesting the Dominions that they are to be chosen from. I am not even suggesting who shall be the chairman. We can talk about all these things afterwards. All I want you to do is to agree that this matter shall be referred to a tribunal within the Empire. The British Government need not go on it at all." Mr. de Valera's answer was: "No, I do not propose to allow an Empire tribunal to determine the matter."
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The point I was trying to put was that, if it were left to the Imperial Conference to decide absolutely at large who the chairman was to be, whether from outside or inside the Empire, that matter of dispute between us and the Irish Free State, that is as to who the chairman should be, would be left absolutely to the decision of the Imperial Conference.
I hope the Committee will take this simple issue. If there are two people in dispute, and one says, "I refuse to have any tribunal exclusively connected with the British Commonwealth," and then adopts the hon. and learned Gentleman's policy and the Imperial Conference merely said, "Here is a chairman," how much forwarder are you, if that gentleman says, "No, I have already told you I am not having an Empire tribunal."
I see. We are now in this position, that, although the money is withheld, although I have read to the House to-day an intimation that other moneys due are going to be withheld, we have to go to the Ottawa Conference and say: "We want you to appoint a chairman, but in advance we want to warn you that the other side do not agree with it."
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The right hon. Gentleman has no right to say that. He may 121 know it, but I certainly do not. The discussion is as to who shall be the chairman. Mr. de Valera wants a foreigner, and the right hon. Gentleman wants someone from the British Commonwealth.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Never mind whether he is a foreigner or not. He is a national of the Irish Free State. I am only suggesting that the dispute shall be left absolutely to the Imperial Conference to decide.
May I remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that there is a White Paper? If he has any information other than that, I have not.
There is not a word in the White Paper about the chairman. The dispute has never been as to the chairman or the personnel. Mr. de Valera has been quite consistent. He has left me in no doubt whatever. He says: "I want a court not limited to the British Commonwealth." [Interruption.] There is no question of a chairman or anyone else.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Surely the right hon. Gentleman will agree that the only material person is the chairman, because if the Irish Free State appoint two members and the British Government appoint two members, a neutral chairman is the important factor, and it is on that factor that the whole question turns.
I would again remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that we have never come within miles of discussing either two or four members. I put it quite clearly that Mr. de Valera is capable of stating his case, and do not forget that we had two days, one in Dublin and one in London, and we went into detail far more than can be the case across the Floor of the House. I begged and pleaded. In fact—and let our Friends of the Opposition observe this fact—I put the question to him quite -clearly. I said, "You, as the representative of the Irish Free State have intimated, and we have evidence, that you love your country. You realise that if there is an industrial dispute in Ireland and the employers take one attitude and the em- 122 ployés take another, the country which you love will suffer. When you say to them, 'Surely, you ought to trust to some independent body to arrive at a judgment,' it will be awkward for you, Mr. de Valera, to refuse arbitration in such circumstances." That was put quite clearly in the debate across the floor, and therefore do not let the hon. and learned Gentleman assume that he is introducing something which is new. Mr. de Valera's opinion is quite clear, and it would be an insult for me to assume that the hon. and learned Gentleman could speak for him; but if anyone now speaking in a responsible position, and on behalf of Mr. de Valera, would intimate at this stage that they would accept arbitration on this matter within the British Commonwealth, the Government would accept it. But we cannot and will not allow this matter to go outside the Empire.
With regard to Ottawa, let me remind the Committee quite clearly about the position. This agreement and other agreements were broken without any consultation with us. We have made it clear that we do not propose to enter into fresh agreements with people who have acted in that way. That is the broad view which we take. Therefore, I regret that I am unable to accept the Amendment, but it is not because we do not desire peace. We do desire peace. We would welcome peace. We will welcome overtures made by anybody, but it will be deceiving you, it will be deceiving our own people, and it will be deceiving the Irish people if we leave them in any doubt as to where we stand. It is arbitration within the British Commonwealth. The personnel and the chairman can be discussed. That is the first condition.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Why? The right hon. Gentleman has made that assertion half-a-dozen times, and he resents the suggestion of Mr. de Valera that an Imperial tribunal would be loaded against them. He resents it, but he says, "We must have an Imperial tribunal." Why?
Because the British Commonwealth of Nations has a constitution which has changed and developed, and the inevitable results of that changing and developing situation are so interwoven and so much attached, and they themselves having said that they 123 are going to settle their domestic matters themselves, I am not going to be a party to departing from what they themselves have decided.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. COCKS
I do not intend to say anything of a provocative character in this Debate. We all know that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs is a very skilful negotiator, and all I want to say which might be thought provocative, but which is not intended to be so, is that I do not think that his speech to-night was quite as conciliatory as it should have been regarding the seriousness of the situation. I am prepared to say that all through the negotiations he has been conciliatory. I am prepared to admit, although I was not present, of course, that in his negotiations with Mr. de Valera he put his case without any undue prejudice or force. But that is not the point I want to make. I do not intend to deal with the question as to whether the Irish Free State has a legal right to withhold the Annuities or not, but it is not—and it has been admitted that it is not—a simple issue. It is not very clear to the ordinary man-in-the-street as to what are the rights upon that particular point. The hon. and learned Member for Swindon (Sir R. Banks) in a previous Debate said that it was a very complex issue, and that it was necessary to read many documents and treaties and to study other matters, and that therefore it was essentially a matter for arbitration. That is the first point. The Government have accepted the principle of arbitration. Mr. de Valera has also accepted the principle of arbitration. So that the difference can be narrowed down to the point that both sides have accepted the principle of arbitration, and the trouble now is the question of a tribunal. I read on Sunday in a Conservative paper, the "Sunday Times," that the Irish Free State correspondent of that paper said:The gulf is really not wide, for the principle of arbitration has been accepted, and the composition of the court is the only essential matter is dispute. One suggestion is that the Ottawa Conference should be asked to find some means for arbitration, and there is the possibility that this might bring the twofold blessing of both arbitration and conference, and still further testify to the value of the Free State's association with the Commonwealth.
§ Mr. COCKS
I have read that to show that only yesterday a correspondent in the Irish Free State said that the gulf was not so wide as some Members of the House might imagine. I believe that the difference can be narrowed down. In fact it has come down to the rather narrow issue almost of one man. As everybody knows, even a narrow issue not handled in a very careful way by methods of the highest statesmanship may lead to disaster. We found that out in 1914. Many people believe now that if certain negotiations had been carried on at that time the whole War could have been avoided. Both sides agree to arbitration but they differ as to the tribunal. The Government want an Imperial tribunal. When they say that they want an Imperial tribunal, we cannot get out of our minds the idea of the tribunal suggested in 1930 by the Imperial Conference. What was the nature of that suggested tribunal? It was suggested that the composition of the tribunal should be this: that one party, in this case Ireland, would be entitled to select one person from Ireland and one person from the Dominions outside Ireland. This country would be entitled to select one person from outside England and one person from England, or if they preferred they could choose two people from outside England. The problem is as to the chairman. The right hon. Gentleman knows that in connection with tribunals of Arbitration the selection of the chairman is the greatest difficulty. The difficulty is to select an impartial chairman. Mr. de Valera's suggestion is, I understand, that he should be entitled to select someone from outside the Empire, such as a jurist from the Hague.
§ Mr. COCKS
I am trying to put the case as I see it at the present time. I am trying to put the difference between the two parties, and I want to narrow it down. It is a question of one person, and Mr. de Valera would prefer some jurist from the Hague while the British 125 Government insist upon the fifth member of the Tribunal being from within the Empire.
Statements are repeatedly made which imply that there is a very narrow difference, and that either Mr. de Valera is acting stubbornly or that I am acting stubbornly over this matter. Let me again say that until it was mooted here by speakers from the opposite benches it was the first that I had ever heard of it. Mr. de Valera had a chance in the document which I read to the House to-day, which I received this morning, to say something about it, but he does not say one word such as is now indicated. I want to make it quite clear that if we had got to that narrow stage we should have reached a point where we could have argued, and I should have said: "Why are you withholding the money and keeping it in suspense if you have not a doubt yourself as to the validity of it?" Do not let it go forth that we have even discussed the personnel. Mr. de Valera swept that on one side.
§ Mr. COCKS
The right hon. Gentleman will admit that the Irish Free State favour the principle of arbitration, but the difficulty is the question of the tribunal. I have no access to any unpublished official documents but I have read everything I could in the newspapers and in telegrams from Ireland. I have no private source of information. I have gathered, however, that on the question of arbitration the issue is narrowed down to one person, either a foreigner or a person from the British Empire. The British Government in their last despatch to Mr. de Valera insisted upon an Imperial tribunal, but Mr. de Valera in the despatch read this afternoon by the right hon. Gentleman said:The Government of the Irish Free State does not abandon the hope that the British Government will reconsider its attitude in this regard.Those are not the words of a flat refusal. They express the hope that the British Government will not insist upon its position but will reconsider its attitude in this regard. That leaves the door open for further negotiation. If the right hon. Gentleman was in an industrial dispute he would seize upon such a point and say: "That means that we must argue about matters a little further." I 126 have seen in statements from Dublin, from circles near Mr. de Valera, that Mr. de Valera might perhaps weaken on that, point and that he would be prepared to accept someone like General Hertzog. I was disappointed that in the despatch read to-day from Mr. de Valera some such suggestion as that was not made. But all that this means is that Mr. de Valera is a hard negotiator, a quality which the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate. However, that is an issue which might be pursued. Similar issues have been pursued in the last few weeks at Lausanne, and some have led to satisfactory conclusions. Is it less important that we should have peace in Ireland than peace with Germany? I suggest that the method that has been pursued by the Government in proposing this Resolution is unfortunate and that the Government should hold their hands a little longer. There is no need to impose the duties right away. The imposition of the duties at this moment may have the effect of banging and barring the door against a peaceful solution of this business.
There are two main parties in Southern Ireland, the party of Mr. de Valera and the party of Mr. Cosgrave, who have been in office for the last 10 years; but there are some parties even more extreme than that of Mr. de Valera. On his left there is the Irish Republican Army and the party which is led by Miss McSweeney. If the Government proceed with their policy they will strengthen the hands of the extremists in Ireland. Mr. de Valera is in a difficult position between his left and his negotiations with this country. If he shows that he has surrendered it will probably mean that he will be deposed and someone more extreme will be placed in his position. We are told that we must not consider Irish history, but the Irish people do consider their history. They have very bitter memories, not merely of 100 years ago but 14 or 15 years ago. At that time, I walked the streets of London with downcast head feeling ashamed at being an Englishman because of the things going on then in Ireland in our name. I am sure the Irish people must feel far more deeply. It will take very little to range the whole of Southern Ireland as a solid block behind Mr. de Valera if we are Act very careful in the attitude we take up. That is a matter which the Government ought to consider 127 very carefully. There is also the very dangerous position of the Ulster frontier. When these duties are put on Ulster will not be included in Ireland, and there are many sympathisers with Mr. de Valera's party in Ulster.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must not forget that we cannot have a general discussion on this Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member knows perfectly well that when an Amendment is before the House he is not entitled to talk on the main Resolution. He cannot on the ground that the Government are resisting the Amendment, discuss the Resolution as it would he without Amendment. That will not do.
§ Mr. COCKS
I bow to your Ruling. I have said enough to suggest to the Government that it is wiser to adopt the path of high statesmanship and conciliation in this matter. No harm would be done if the Government accepted the Amendment. This country is great enough not only to be generous but to be sensible. As we are great let us be sensible, and not allow any prejudice created by the conduct of Mr. de Valera, whose diplomacy resembles that of Germany in being extremely tactless, divert us from the path of statesmanship and serenity and patience, but right to the very end, until the last minute of the last hour, let us pursue the path of arbitration and not until that fails—I do not think it will—consider taking up the weapon suggested in the Resolution.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) has spoken of the procedure of the Government as being a very summary process, but Mr. de Valera has announced his intention to refuse payment of these annuities for some time and in my view the action of the Government is fully justified. I suggest to the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol, as a member of the higher branch of his profession, that he must know the ordin- 128 ary process in the case of a recalcitrant debtor. I as a member of the lower branch of the profession know that the usual way is to engage in endless discussions and endless correspondence. When I was acting for a debtor and I knew that he wanted time I used to try and entangle the opposing solicitor in a long correspondence, but when I was trying to recover a debt I served my writ first and negotiated afterwards. The hon. and learned Member says that this is putting in the bailiffs. In this matter Mr. de Valera, and his Government are a mere debt collector, just like a house factor or a collector of debts, and he says that he is not going to hand over the money he has collected. In ordinary life that is not a civil debt at all, and you do not put in a bailiff but a constable. It is what we should in ordinary circumstances call an impudent embezzlement; and yet Mr. de Valera and his Government will not arbitrate about it. The suggestion put forward by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol is to give Mr. de Valera, the recalcitrant debtor, more time. I do not think he has had any word from Mr. de Valera, but in a little time Mr. de Valera will say that he will not agree to it.
I am glad that the Colonial Secretary has not been led up the garden. When he first suggested going to Dublin I thought that he was making an awful mistake. This is like a bill of exchange. The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol knows that if you have a bill of exchange of an ascertained debt you do not negotiate about it, you pay it; and in Scotland if you do not pay it you are made bankrupt in six days. I say that the action of the Government is merely serving the writ; we can negotiate afterwards. Nor will this mean any increased price of foodstuffs. If the Irish Free State had their way the hon. Members for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) will not be Members of this House in future because they are returned purely by the Irish vote. The House will be relieved of the presence of very capable debaters, probably the better for the House. If the Colonial Secretary weakens on this matter at all it will only mean fresh delays and give Mr. de Valera an occasion for triumphing over all his enemies. He has got into a hopeless difficulty, and it will be 129 a very good lesson for politicians and statesmen throughout the British Empire not to make rash and foolish promises which involve the repudiation of agreements if the result is that they are ultimately brought to account. We have sufficient supplies in our own country, and I should like to see the land of Scotland cultivated in order to replace some of the supplies which may fall short from Ireland.
There are several Amendments on the Order Paper mainly covering the same wide aspect of the matter, and the Government do not want to keep the House sitting late. At the same time, we hope to get the Motion to-night, and I appeal, therefore, to hon. Members to allow us to get it by agreement.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The right hon. Gentleman should appeal to his own side. Statements Save been made by the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) about my constituency which I must answer, and if the right hon. Gentleman is going to appeal to the Committee then he must appeal to the Government supporters not to make speeches. I want to be called to answer the slander which has been cast upon my constituents.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am anxious not to stop hon. Members more than I can help, because I know that it is inclined to prolong the Debate. I am afraid that I mast plead guilty for having allowed the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) during one or two asides to refer to matters which cannot be discussed in the Debate.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire, with the dignity of a King's Counsel and a Scots connection, has made a most serious suggestion when he deliberately said that we shall not come back here because our constituents are aliens—
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Yes, but meaning that they are aliens. I have a right to defend my constituents in this House, and I say that it is an unfair thing to say. These poor people, whatever may be their faults, are subjects of Great Britain and the hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot) knows very well how they joined the Army. Now they are to be maltreated and not allowed to vote for me. I say that whether it is three years or five years hence I shall fight my Division and whether the hon. and learned Member comes back to this House or not I shall remain a Member much longer than he will.
§ Mr. HEALY
I agree with what has been said by an hon. Member opposite that there are many debtors of this nation who have refused to pay their debts, and they stand in a different category to Mr. de Valera, who has told us very frankly that the British Government can rest assured that any just and lawful claims of Great Britain will be considered. That is a different thing from repudiation of debt. It is at once a challenge as to whether the debt is legally and morally due. The Secretary for the Dominions said that Mr. de Valera was in doubt whether an Empire tribunal would not be in the nature of dice loaded against him. Mr. de Valera has good ground for suspicion of that kind. He remembers the composition of the Boundary Commission that arose out of this Treaty. He remembers how the provision to ascertain the wishes of the inhabitants was interpreted by the Chairman of the Commission as the decision of himself. In other words he refused to carry out Article 12 of the Treaty. Therefore it is that Mr. de Valera and the Irish people, North as well as South, have the most profound suspicion.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Supposing that a foreigner had taken the place of the distinguished South African judge and had done exactly the same, would the hon. Gentleman guarantee that he would not have been repudiated?
§ Mr. HEALY
The provision was that the wishes of the inhabitants should be ascertained. They have never been ascertained to this moment, and we say that in that respect the Treaty has not been carried out. There were two matters left undetermined after the Treaty was 131 set up. One dealt with the financial question that we are now discussing, and the other with territorial matters. Article 5 of the Treaty assumed that the Free State would be responsible for a certain proportion of the National Debt. But there was a certain condition inserted:Having regard to any just claims on the part of Ireland by way of set-off or counterclaim the amount of such sums being determined in default of agreement by the arbitration of one or more independent persons being citizens of the British Empire.That Article was completely set aside by an agreement entered into in 1925 by members of the Imperial Government and members of the Irish Free State Government. The agreement was signed by the present Lord President of the Council, the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), Mr. Joynson-Hicks, Lord Birkenhead and the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery). It was that:The Irish Free State is hereby released from the obligations under Article 5 of the said articles of agreement to assume the liability therein mentioned.In other words the Free State was released from any demand to contribute to the National Debt.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not want to rule the hon. Member out of order, and I trust he will explain how his speech relates to the Amendment that we are now discussing.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. HEALY
The Dominions Secretary, in his speeches, has gone into the agreements of 1923 and 1926, but has omitted all reference to the agreement of 1925, which was supplementary to the Treaty. Therefore one must take into consideration what the real case of the Irish Free State is. The people of the Free State believe that they were absolved from the obligation of Article 5 of the Treaty by the agreement of 1925. The agreements made in 1923 and 1926 were in the nature 132 of departmental agreements, and were concerned entirely with the transition stage, the payment of the Land Annuities until an ultimate financial agreement could be reached. The ultimate financial agreement has never been reached. One cannot surely say that the agreement signed in 1926 had any authority behind it. It was never ratified by this House and it has never been ratified by the Free State. And for a very good reason, that it would have repealed both the Articles of the Treaty and the agreement of 1925. But the most extraordinary thing of all to my mind is that the agreement entered into in 1923, with regard to land annuities, has never been published up to the recent correspondence, has never been presented to this House and has been kept secret both in London and Dublin.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is getting beyond the terms of the Amendment. It is not sufficient for him to keep within the terms of the Resolution; he must keep within the terms of the Amendment.
§ Mr. HEALY
I am trying to establish a connection between these agreements and the Amendment which is upon the Paper. It is well known that 30 years ago the Childers Commission sat and determined the position of this country in relation to Ireland. It was then held that Ireland was overtaxed to the extent of £2,000,000, and that was the relevant fact in connection with Article 5 of the Treaty. It had not been decided then how much Ireland was entitled to receive out of this partnership, because of course it could not have been held that the British Empire was all liabilities and no assets in 1921. Ireland was obliged to pay a certain sum for Land Annuities, as well as certain sums with regard to public buildings and other matters, but Ireland, on the other hand, could make no claim to the assets of the British Empire and had made no such claim. Therefore, that Clause was put into the Treaty, so as to enable some independent tribunal to be set up to decide what assets the Free State was entitled to on the dissolution of the partnership. I maintain that such a tribunal has never been set up and that the financial settlement of 1926 was not the ultimate financial settlement at all, inasmuch as the Irish Free State never ratified it. It was not sufficient to correct it by 133 means of a Minister coming here and meeting the Chancellor of the Exchequer and coming to an arrangement. Neither that agreement nor the agreement of 1923 has ever been ratified. What you are asking the Irish Free State to do is to collect £3,000,000 which is part of the National Debt of this country which was forgiven under the 1925 Agreement.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that the bon. Member has, so far, completely failed to connect the points which he is making with the Amendment before the Committee.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
On a point of Order. Is not one of the contentions at present before the Committee that this matter should be submitted to arbitration; and is not the case of my hon. Friend the Member for Tyrone and Fermanagh (Mr. Healy) that the Land Annuities, the payment of which is one of the subjects to be submitted to this arbitration, are part of the National Debt according to certain Acts of Parliament passed before the setting up of the Irish Free State.
§ The CHAIRMAN
What the hon. Member is arguing does not lead me to alter the Ruling I have given. The hon. Member must keep to the Amendment.
§ Mr. HEALY
I shall try to keep to the Amendment. Any arbitration set up would necessarily have to take into consideration the position as between the Irish Free State and the Imperial Government, both in 1921 and in 1925. They would be obliged to consider all these circumstances which I have mentioned. Mr. de Valera and the people of the Irish Free State hold that under the only relevant agreement which is in existence they are not entitled to pay this £3,000,000 of Irish Land Annuities which properly belong to the National Debt of this country. It may be argued that they do not form part of the National Debt, but it must not be forgotten that any loss on Land Stock was to be financed from the Consolidated Fund of this country. That fact surely connects the Irish land legislation of 1891, 1903 and 1909 with the National Debt Act of 1870. In every one of the Irish Land Acts, the Act of 1870 was quoted, to show that the debt so created was part of the National Debt. Therefore, when the Secretary for the Dominions says that this is not a debt owed by one Government to another, he 134 surely forgets these circumstances which, to my mind, show that it must be regarded as such a debt. The stockholders never had any connection with the Irish tenant purchasers.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is now apparently trying to argue matters which he or some of his friends propose to submit to the arbitration. He cannot do so, but must confine himself to the Amendment before the Committee.
§ Mr. HEALY
I am giving these facts to show that any arbitration which is set up will have to take these matters into consideration—matters which so far have not been considered. It is on these facts very largely that Mr. de Valera is relying and the Irish people, certainly, are not satisfied that the Land Annuities form any part of their indebtedness to this country. They believe that the money was advanced, as all other such moneys are advanced, from the Treasury, and that the Consolidated Fund was to bear any losses. It has also been said that Mr. de Valera has been collecting these Land Annuities, but I do not think that is quite correct. I believe very little of that money has been collected.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That has nothing to do with the question of whether or not the matters in dispute are to be submitted to arbitration. I have called the hon. Member to order several times. I must now warn him that I shall not do so again more than once.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is now going back on matters which were discussed before this Amendment was called. He cannot discuss the general merits of the case on this Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Yes. The hon. Member can discuss the proposal which is on the Order Paper and, possibly, it may be well for the hon. Member to read it.
§ Mr. HEALY
I have read the Amendment on the Paper and during my observations I have been trying to connect my speech with the Amendment. I am sorry if I have not succeeded but that was my intention. Reference has been made to counsel's opinion on Mr. de Valera's contention and while it is true that certain legal opinion is against that contention, it is equally true that Mr. de Valera has also fortified himself with the opinion of eminent counsel, some of whom do not agree with him politically.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I am not going to question your Ruling, Sir Dennis, I merely wish to ask your guidance. The last part of our Amendment contains the words:have failed to implement their lawful financial obligations to His Majesty's Government.Are we not entitled to talk about those "lawful financial obligations"?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Yes, I several times called the hon. Member for Tyrone and Fermanagh (Mr. Healy) to order for not doing so.
§ Mr. JANNER
I found some difficulty in following the speech of the hon. Member for Tyrone and Fermanagh (Mr. Healy) and I must say that as far as I am concerned the terms of this Amendment seem to upset the whole argument put forward by the Opposition on the general proposal before the Committee. I cannot, in the first place, understand, if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are serious in their suggestion that Mr. de Valera should have the option of choosing a tribunal outside the Empire, how they can, consistently with that view, put an Amendment of this description on the Paper.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I think the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, when the hon. Member reads it, will convince him that none of us have said that we want Mr. de Valera to have a tribunal outside the Commonwealth.
§ Mr. JANNER
If that is the case, I am surprised that there has not been absolute unanimity, with the exception, of course, of a few hon. Members below the Gangway opposite, with regard to the 136 Motion as it stands. I understood from the speeches that have been made from the Opposition benches that they disagreed with the point of view that was put forward in respect of the recommendations contained in the Summary of Proceedings of the Imperial Conference of 1930. I understood that the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) was arguing that those recommendations were not binding either upon Mr. de Valera or upon anybody else, and that the intention of that argument was to show that Mr. de Valera was correct in insisting upon having a tribunal which was not constituted according to those recommendations. If my right hon. Friend now says that he agrees that the whole of these matters should be conducted by a tribunal constituted according to these recommendations, then all that I can say is that the Amendment is entirely futile.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I am sorry my hon. and learned Friend is not here at the moment, but the point that I understood him to make, and which I should have tried to make if I had spoken on the subject, was that it ought to be a tribunal within the British Empire. Mr. de Valera does not agree with that, and, as I understand it, he takes his stand upon the fact that it is not obligatory, even according to the statement made in the Summary of Proceedings from which the hon. Member quotes, that the tribunal should be within the Empire.
§ Mr. JANNER
I am glad to hear that my right hon. Friend 'agrees with our point of view that the tribunal itself should be constituted according to the suggestions contained here. I go further and say that he has no alternative but to agree to that, and that if Mr. de Valera or anyone else suggests anything different, he is not entitled to do so, because the recommendations are perfectly clear. In my view, the question of whether arbitration should be resorted to or not depends upon the wishes of the parties. It does not say that the arbitration must be compulsory, but that it may be voluntary; in other words, that the parties can resort to arbitration if they choose, but it definitely says that in the event of the parties resorting to arbitration, the arbitration tribunal should be constituted in a specific form.The next question considered was whether arbitration proceedings should be 137 voluntary or obligatory, in the sense that one party would be under an obligation to submit thereto if the other party wished it. In the absence of general consent to an obligatory system it was decided to recommend the adoption of a voluntary system.In other words, it means quite clearly that you could not compel the parties to go to arbitration, but, in view of the fact that we now have an agreement on both sides that arbitration is necessary, the recommendation states how that arbitration should be conducted. It states that there shall be five members, and so on. It is clear that it was definitely agreed how that body was to be constituted, and, that being the case, what do our hon. Friends opposite really want? They ask thatin the event of the Secretary of State for the Dominions certifying that there has been a decision of a court of arbitration, set up by agreement between His Majesty's Governments for the United Kingdom and the Irish Free State, or, failing such agreement, appointed by representatives of the Dominions assembled in Imperial Conference,and so on. In other words, as soon as the Conference is convened, the Imperial Conference will state there and then that they fix the arbitration court, and they can do so in precisely the same terms as in this report, which they undoubtedly would do, and in a very short space of time you would get a decision, irrespective of what Mr. de Valera wanted. Ultimately it would mean that you would be driving the matter to a worse issue than now, because you would be calling into your body the Imperial Conference, which is being held now, and incidentally you would be creating a precedent, because if you ever wanted to bring matters before an arbitration court again on these terms, you would have to call a further Ottawa Conference.
In this instance you would merely be delaying the evil day, if you call it an evil day, for a matter of about a fort-night. In these circumstances, and in view of what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has said, I would ask him to withdraw the Amendment and to say that he is in full agreement that arbitration should be held and that the tribunal should consist of members constituted in the manner set forth in these recommendations. Instead of having two or three weeks' dilly-dallying about the matter, he should assist in persuading Mr. de Valera that after all this 138 is the right way of going about it. No one wants to suggest that there are not two sides to the argument with regard to the Land Annuities, but at the same time we are definitely of opinion that this is the method of arbitrating the matter, and the Amendment would merely mean the same thing with a fortnight's delay.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Two or three of us have a similar Amendment on the Paper, and I wish to express our point of view. We differ from the right hon. Member the Leader of the Opposition in the sense that he wants to keep it to arbitration within the Empire, and we take the view that Mr. de Valera, rightly or wrongly, suspects any tribunal set up within the Empire. When I have wanted to go to arbitration, I have always taken the view that I want to be certain that I shall get what I think, maybe wrongly, will be proper justice. Mr. de Valera thinks, rightly or wrongly, that he cannot get justice from that source. That is his case, and it is useless talking about an Empire tribunal when one of the parties to the dispute thinks he cannot secure justice from such a tribunal. There cannot be arbitration if one of the parties thinks that he cannot get a square deal from it. The arbitration is rejected on different grounds by both sides. Mr. de Valera rejects any Empire arbitration, and this country rejects anything but Empire arbitration.
That is the issue. From the point of view of the history of Ireland, Mr. de Valera feels that he is in the right, for to Ireland the Empire represents all that is worst. For the great bulk of the Irish people, the Empire is hostile to their views and aspirations, and they are anti-Empire. The great bulk of the fight in connection with Ireland, although it is true they compromised because they hated bloodshed, was for Ireland to be a nation again, and to have its independent national status. Ireland is anti-Empire. From his point of view, Mr. de Valera cannot and could not propose an Empire tribunal, seeing that if he does he cannot get a fair and square deal, and the point of view of those on these benches is that he is entitled to ask for a, tribunal outside the British Empire.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I am not a lawyer, and, as an ordinary person, I understood that this matter came up for discussion to-day, as the right hon. Gentleman has 139 said, because there was disagreement in the Imperial Conference as to this particular business, and because of that disagreement no definite decision was arrived at. It was left voluntary, as was read out just now. The hon. Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Janner) says that we are all in agreement that it ought to be a Commonwealth tribunal. As far as I am concerned, I think that is the best method of dealing with the subject; but we are in a difficult situation, and what we are proposing is that, because of that situation, we should appeal to the body which represents the whole of the Dominions. The hon. Member said, "Yes, but Mr. de Valera does not agree." The Amendment is quite specific. We leave it to the Imperial
Conference. Our Amendment says definitely:
or, failing such agreement, appointed by representatives of the Dominions assembled in Imperial Conference.
We do not say whom they shall appoint, or how the whole tribunal shall be appointed. We say that here is a dispute between members of the Commonwealth. We do not see our way out of it, so we ask the Imperial Conference to help us out. That is quite an intelligible proposition, which leaves it to the Imperial Conference to decide how the tribunal shall be made up, and its personnel. That is clear in the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 43; Noes, 321.141
|Division No. 272.]||AYES||[9.30 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Healy, Cahir||Milner, Major James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hicks, Ernest George||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Hirst, George Henry||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Thorne, William James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wailhead, Richard C.|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lunn, William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Groves, Thomas E.||McGovern, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Boyce, H. Leslie||Cook, Thomas A.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Bracken, Brendan||Cooke, Douglas|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Copeland, Ida|
|Albery, Irving James||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Courtauld, Major John Sewell|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Briant, Frank||Cowan, D. M.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Broadb[...]nt, Colonel John||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.|
|Amery, Fit. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Brown. Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Browne, Captain A. C.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Buchan, John||Culverwell, Cyril Tom|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Curry, A. C.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Dalkelth, Earl of|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Burnett, John George||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Bainlel, Lord||Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Davison, Sir William Henry|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Cougar||Caporn, Arthur Cecll||Dickle, John P.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Carver, Major William H.||Dixey, Arthur C. N.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Castle Stewart, Earl||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B.(Portsm'th, C.)||Cauti[...]y, Sir Henry S.||Doran, Edward|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Duckworth, George A. V.|
|Bernays, Robert||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Duggan, Hubert John|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Dunglass, Lord|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Eastwood, John Francis|
|Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Eden, Robert Anthony|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Clarke, Frank||Edge, Sir William|
|Bilndell, James||Clarry, Reginald George||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Elliston, captain George Sampson|
|Boulton, W. W.||Colfax, Major William Philip||Elmley, Viscount|
|Bowater, Col. sir T. Vanslttart||Colville, John||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Conant, R. J. E.||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare|
|Evans. R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'side)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||McCorquodale, M. S.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Invernela)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Glimour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||McKeag, William||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Glucksteln, Louis Halle||McKie, John Hamilton||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||McLean, Major Alan||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Goff, Sir Park||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Scone, Lord|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Macqulsten, Frederick Alexander||Selley, Harry R.|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Maitland, Adam||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Malialleu, Edward Lancelot||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Grimston. R. V.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Slater, John|
|Hales, Harold K.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Klnc'dine, C.)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Millar, Sir James Duncan||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Hartland, George A.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Hasiam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)||Mitcheson, G. G.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Monsen, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Stevenson, James|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Stones, James|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Morrison, William Shepherd||Storey, Samuel|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Hornby Frank||Nall-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Nunn, William||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||O'Connor, Terence James||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Summereby, Charles H.|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G.A.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Palmer, Francis Noel||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Hunter-Weston. Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Patrick, Colin M.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'at'n,S.)|
|Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Peaks, Captain Osbert||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Peat, Charles U.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Penny, Sir George||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Janner, Barnett||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Jennings, Roland||Petherick, M.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstapie)||Titchfield, major the Marquess of|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Blist'n)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Train, John|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Pike, Cecll F.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Wallace, John (Dunferml[...]ne)|
|Kerr, Charles (Montrose)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||Ramden, E.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Knebworth, Viscount||Rathbone, Eleanor||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Knight, Holford||Ray, Sir William||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Rea, Walter Russell||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||White, Henry Graham|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, s)|
|Leckie, J. A.||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel Georges|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Lewis, Oswald||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Womersley, Walter James|
|Liddell, Waiter S.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Robinson, John Roland||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe,||Rosbotham, S. T.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Ross, Ronald D.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Liewellin, Major John J.||Rose Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Liewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Rothschild, James A. de||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward and Lord Erskine.|
§ Mr. HICKS
I beg to move, in line 2, after the word "a," to insert the word "direct."
We hope that the Government will be able to see their way clear to accept this Amendment. We are concerned that the 142 language in a Resolution of this character should be definite and convey what it is intended to convey, that is to say, that any loss of revenue is intended to be loss of revenue from the Land Annuities only. We are apprehensive lest, if the language 143 of the Motion remain as it is, it be possible by some circuitous means to bring in some third party in respect of loss of revenue in some other direction. We want this to be a direct loss of revenue and that losses on account of administration should not be included. The Motion refers to "their obligations." The Secretary of State stated to-day that there were other arrears that may accrue from Ireland in regard to judges' pensions, telegraphs, and the Royal Irish Constabulary, and it may be Possible, if the language of the Motion is not definite and clear, to make it apply to contingencies other than that for which it is intended.
§ Major ELLIOT
We desire to look sympathetically at this Amendment, but I am not quite sure what the hon. Gentleman has in mind. With his Amendment the Motion will read:That (i) the Treasury, if it appears to them that any failure of the Irish Free State to implement their obligations has resulted or is likely to result in a direct loss to the revenue of any public fund of the United Kingdom or in an additional charge on any such fund, may make an order charging duties of customs on articles,and so on. The hon. Gentleman seemed to be anxious that indirect losses should not be brought in, losses, let us say, that might follow if the Irish Free State took some tariff action which might bring in a claim from a third party that they had suffered some loss. I want to be quite clear on the fact that even with this word included the Resolution would certainly cover the further short falls which were indicated by the Irish Free State Minister for External Affairs in his Note and were enumerated by the Secretary of State for Dominions this afternoon. The withholding of the Local Loans Annuities would result in a direct loss to the Local Loans Fund and it would be reasonable to say that that direct loss is a loss exactly similar to the loss of the Land Annuities. Similarly failure to pay compensation annuities or charges in regard to judicial pensions would cause a loss of revenue to the Exchequer. As long as it is quite clear that no charge of breach of faith is in the minds of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite I am certainly prepared to look into this question sympathetically with a view to having this word inserted in the Bill. Of 144 course, the hon. Member will understand that this is merely a Resolution on which the Bill is founded. If he will be satisfied with that—I shall, of course, have to consult with our officials, now that I have heard what is in his mind, before the drafting of the Bill—I hope we may be able to pass on to other discussions.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
I am at a loss to know what is the difference between a loss and a direct loss. Will the Leader of the Opposition tell us of a case in which the word "loss" would not cover a direct loss?
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Supposing the hon. Member had been in receipt of some money from the Irish Free State, and he ceased to get that money, he would then be able to pay less Income Tax, and there would be an indirect loss to the Consolidated Fund, and we should not like to think that in order to recoup himself for that indirect loss he was putting pressure on the Secretary of State for Dominions to put on tariffs against the Irish Free State.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. LUNN
I beg to move, in line 4, after the word "may," to insert the words:after consultation with the Secretary of State for the Dominions.The object of this Amendment is to ensure that before the Treasury put into force this Resolution there shall be consultation with the Secretary of State for the Dominions. We should have preferred that a previous Amendment had been carried, and this matter adjourned to the Ottawa Conference. We have misgivings about this idea of handing over the power of government to a dictatorship. Nearly everything is in the hands of the Treasury. Nearly every Government Department is under the control and fear of the Treasury. In this Money Resolution we make the Treasury absolute without any reference to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, and we think that before any duties are imposed on the Irish Free State he and his 145 Department ought to be consulted. After all, it is the Secretary of State who is in communication with the Dominions and the Irish Free State and who knows the facts of the situation. After we have passed this legislation the Dominions Office seems to go out of the business altogether, and we are again in the hands of the Treasury, as we have been in most of the legislation passed during the present Session. Personally, I am opposed to duties of this character. We feel that in this business we have not seen the best that can be done by the Secretary of State for the Dominions in negotiations. If it had not been for the over-riding, monstrous powers of this Government we feel that we would not have been discussing this question to-day. The Government seem determined not to accept any policy which means peace and amity between the two countries. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That seems to be the idea. In any event, we feel the Dominions Office ought not to be left out of the matter where two Dominions are mostly concerned.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)
There is obviously substance in the point of my hon. Friend, but it is primarily a machinery point and therefore does not have to be dealt with in the Resolution. It is no part of the intention of the Government that the Dominions Office should disappear from the picture from now on, so far as this question is concerned. It is the intention of the Government to cover this point in general terms in the Bill itself.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
I beg to move, in line 4, after the word "descriptions," to insert the words "(other than food)."
We feel that it would be quite wrong to include duties on food in these duties in view of the fact that legislation imposing duties on a large number of foodstuffs has been passed so recently by this House. This Resolution would appear to be imposing taxes upon the Irish nation, but that is more apparent than real, for if we come to examine the matter we shall find that, properly speaking, it is not the Irish nation which will meet the charges which are being imposed but, 146 in the last instance, the consumer. The poorer people will feel these charges more directly than anybody else, as time passes. It has been stated here to-night that the consumer will eventually have to pay all the duties which are being imposed. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not under this Bill."] That was stated by an hon. Member opposite, and I never heard anybody challenge the statement. These duties cannot be imposed without somebody paying them, and they will not be paid by the Irish exporter, but by the poorer people who consume the goods.
In supporting the Amendment I wish to draw attention to the fact that if this money is to be got in the way suggested in the Resolution it will certainly mean that the people of this country will pay the duties. We do not think that all the efforts at negotiation which could have been made to secure a just settlement of this dispute have been made, but if the Government are intending to use reprisals we strongly object, in view of present depressed conditions, against the people who depend on imported food being made to shoulder this liability. It is no good anyone suggesting that if these duties are laid on imports it will make no difference to retail prices. Hon. Gentlemen who sit opposite me, have, on many occasions during the discussions on the Import Duties and their consequences, totally denied that they have made any difference to the retail prices which the housewife who is dependent upon a small wage has to pay. We who live in the districts and are watching the conditions that have already arisen, know perfectly well, whatever the Board of Trade figures may suggest, that in many instances foodstuffs have gone up in cost. We cannot be led to believe that, if these imposts are imposed, the working class will have no higher prices to pay for the commodities that come from the Irish Free State. In various parts of the country, in regard to butter and eggs and other forms of food, a large proportion comes from the Irish Free State. If you are going to challenge the position and use any kind of force, there are other ways and means of doing it without imposing the liability on, the poorest classes in the country, who will have this position to meet if the duties are imposed upon their food. We ask the Government to find other ways and means of asserting their authority with- 147 out putting imposts on the people's food. We say very seriously that, in the position of the country to-day, people cannot afford to pay any further increased prices for their food on top of the heavy import duties that they are now having to meet, and which affect thousands of homes with small incomes. We suggest that the Government ought to take up some other attitude than the imposition of taxes on the food of the people.
§ Mr. HASLAM
Neither the Mover of this Amendment nor the Seconder gave us any reason why they considered that the action proposed in the Motion would cause any rise in the price of food. Both of them referred to the existing tariff which affects food prices, and neither of them offered evidence that existing tariffs had raised the price of any food products. Neither did the Mover or the Seconder discuss the position that would be left, presuming that their Amendment were carried. They did not point out what articles would be left on which the tax might be levied, and how the people of this country might escape the burden which Mr. de Valera is seeking to impose upon them. They offered us no evidence as to what articles might be taxed if food were left out.
An hon. Member who spoke previously in this Debate has given us figures, and has pointed out that the proportion of food products derived from the Irish Free State is not more than 7 per cent. of the whole of the food products imported into the United Kingdom. In addition to the food products imported into the United Kingdom there is yet, I am glad that rural hon. Members will be able to say, a considerable amount of food raised in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the amount of the food consumed by the people of this country and on which this tax may fall, must be less, and very distinctly less, than 7 per cent. Do the hon. Members who have moved and supported this Amendment expect the Committee to believe that a tax on this minute fraction of the amount of food consumed in this country is going to have any effect on the price Before the Committee even considers this Amendment, it will want a little evidence to show that a tax of, say, four or five percent. of the food consumed in this country, is going to have any effect on the 148 price. Perhaps some other hon. Member will give us that evidence. Until that evidence is forthcoming the Committee should not consider the Amendment. As a Member representing those who produce food, I do not mind saying unhesitatingly that the rural population of this country will be able to produce all the food to equal all that may no longer be sent in on account of this Resolution, and that the people of this country will be able to eat home-grown food at the same price as if the food were coming in from outside.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I support this Amendment. I can see that the working-class has to pay because the Irish Free State has refused to pay. This stupid Government is going to saddle it upon the working class of this country. This is not the first time that this statement has been made to-day; it was made by my colleague the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), and when he was making it, Tory hon. Members shouted from different parts of the House, particularly the hon. Member for Ayr Burghs (Lieut.-Colonel Moore) who, I am sorry, is not in his place at the moment. What the Tory shouted at the hon. Member for Bridgeton was that the working-class did not get butter, but margarine. If ever there was an attack on the Tories, that was it. They do not give the working classes of this country money enough to buy butter, and the people are reduced to margarine. There is a good deal of truth in the statement that it is margarine. The artisan class for whom I can speak authoritatively in the West of Scotland get Irish butter, Irish eggs, and Irish pork. As I said to the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr Burghs, if he had had some more Irish stuff he would have been a better looking man than he is. [Interruption.] Here you are going to deprive the artisans of Britain of good, fresh food, and you are going to condemn them to Egyptian and Chinese eggs. [Interruption.] The English Tory, whenever he gets the bit between his teeth, is prepared to do anything, even to go to war, to accomplish his ends. It is all right for them to stand at that Box today and say, "We do not intend to do them any harm; we are going to be generous," but where is their generosity? 149 They are the predominant partner, and it has always been so, both in England and in Scotland.
They are going to tax the food of our folk. If our folk could afford it, it would not be so bad, but, to take the people in my own trade of engineering, they are driven nearly desperate with reductions all round, and the National Government not only stood for reductions in their purchasing power, but put them, into practice. They did that openly and above-board, for I will say this about my opponent at the General Election—he said he was in favour of the means test. When I told him, during the election, that the means test meant hell for the working-class, they thought I was exaggerating. But this is another and scientific method of again reducing the workers of this country; you are taxing their food. This is what is called indirect taxation, and the individual who introduced it was the Earl of Chatham. He was the great Tory, the old die-hard Tory, who gave the statesmen of the world the idea how to tax the folk, how to reduce their wages so that they did not know they were getting a reduction. Here is another reduction for my class.
I want to ask the Government if they can see no other way of legislating in order to prove that they are statesmen than by hammering the British working-class? Every trouble that this Government get up against they heave on to the British working-class. Here they are up against a tight place with the Irish, and again they make the British working-class pay, because it is not the well-off folk that buy Irish butter and Irish eggs in this country; they get fresh eggs—[Interruption.] It is all right for Members to laugh when I make a mistake. I can see a learned individual laughing who last week was making nothing but mistakes. Those who can afford them buy fresh eggs, country eggs,, not Irish eggs coming from across the sea, and everybody knows what I mean; but hon. Members have such acute brains, and can see when a mistake is made. No doubt they are so brilliant in the hope of getting a judgeship, but they can take it from me that they will not get it.
I suggest to the Government that they try another way of getting round their difficulties than throwing them off on to 150 the poor working-class, because let them remember that it is on the working-class that they depend for their votes, and they cannot go on indiscriminately crushing the British worker in this fashion and thinking that the British working-class will not notice what is being done. The Committee can take it from me and my colleagues that we are going to do what we can to draw the attention of the British working-class to what is being done, so that they may not be gulled by any racial prejudice against Ireland, or by any religious prejudice—because that is abroad in the House to-night, though it ill becomes the Government to do anything of the kind. I hope that my comrades in every part of Britain will do what they can to draw attention to this dirty attack on the working-class by the National Government, and I have the greatest pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
§ Mr. DIXEY
I very much regret that the speech of the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) was not delivered in different circumstances from those of this particular Motion. I cannot understand the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Parkinson) saying that this Motion is likely to increase the cost of food, because the hon. Member must know quite well, and his hon. and learned colleague must know quite well, that a small tax, dealing with possibly 7 per cent. of the food imported into this country, could not be alleged, even by the most ardent Free Trader, to have any effect upon wholesale imports of food into this country. I am very much surprised that the Leader of the Opposition should have given his blessing, as I take it he has, to such an absurd and idiotic suggestion. In point of fact, the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment knows quite well that the Free State food producer thoroughly understands that the person who is going to pay this tax is the gentleman resident in the Free State. If not, he would not object to the tax at all. I am not always as firmly with the Government as I am upon this occasion. A very proper action has been taken, and the only taxes that could be levied are those upon food and livestock. No farmer in the Free State is under any delusion, as the hon. Member for Wigan is, that this is going to be borne by the consumer in this country. 151 He knows quite well that the full effect of these duties is going to fall upon agriculture in Ireland, and that is why Mr. de Valera is so anxious to find a way out. Surely it would be far more dignified for the Opposition to content themselves with moving series Amendments and withdrawing this.
§ Mr. TINKER
We on this side have always stood against the imposition of food taxes, and that alone is an adequate reason for opposing this Resolution. In the second place, this Amendment, if carried, would defeat the Resolution. I make no bones about that. An Opposition has a. perfect right to use every legitimate means to defeat the intentions of the other side. A third reason for bringing the Amendment forward is that eventually, even though it affects only 7 per cent. of the food that comes into the country, it will make some material difference. [Interruption.] Of course, whatever we say will have no effect on the hon. Member. I am not attempting to convince thim. I am addressing other Members with whom my words may have greater weight. He has always been a pronounced taxer of food. The taxation of 7 per cent., of our food imports will, in my opinion, gradually come to be borne by the consumers.
§ Mr. TINKER
We often hear the argument that, if we restrict food from overseas, it can be produced here. But, if we restrict our supplies from Ireland, most probably the food that we grow or import to take its place will go to a higher price because of the absence of competition from Ireland. I am not arguing the merits of the £3,000,000. All I am arguing is that this is a wrong method of trying to get the money, and I am very much afraid that in the end it will come on the backs of the working community. That is our point of objection, and the reasons we give are quite adequate why we should try to prevail upon the Government to withhold their hand for a time. I will try to prevail upon the Dominions Secretary once more to see where he is going.
I do not want the people of this country to have to find the £3,000,00000 152 eventually. I want it to come from those who borrowed the money, but I think the Government would be wise at a time like this not to let it go on imported food. Let them stay their hand and see if we can bring to bear upon Ireland some sense of reason in what we think is the fair claim we are making upon them. The only result of doing it in this way will be to arouse antagonism amongst our own working-class people and amongst the vast numbers of Irish in this country. On the whole, it would he far better for the good will of both countries if the right hon. Gentleman could accept this Amendment. It would lead to a much better decision than will be got if he goes through with his Money Resolution.
The last sentence of the speech of my hon. Friend gives the key to the situation. There can be no one who will go to a Division and vote for the Amendment knowing the facts without saying to himself, "I am now going to vote for something which will nullify absolutely the intention of the Government." My hon. Friend knows that quite well.
Therefore we do not want any quibbling. We will strip it right away, and we shall have this position, namely, that my hon. Friend proposes something which renders everything contained in the Financial Resolution non-effective. Is that a wise course? The underlying motive of my hon. Friend is, first of all, not to antagonise British democracy, that is, the great mass of the working classes, and, secondly, the great mass of Irish people in this country.
I think I am putting the position fairly. Let me take the latter consideration. If I were convinced for one moment that the mass of the Irish people stood for the principle of the repudiation of agreements, I should have no hesitation in saying that it must be fought regardless of the consequences. But I am not convinced that the great mass of the Irish people stand for that. I have had too long an association with them not only in this country but in Ireland, and in their name I say "No." Whatever may be the constitutional diffi- 153 culties upon the short simple issue of being bound by an agreement made on their behalf, the Irish people as a whole, when the issue is put to them, will be the first to repudiate those who repudiate their obligations. That is my answer. With regard to British democracy, I suppose that it will be argued from the other side that only they speak for British democracy. [Interruption.] I want to be quite fair. I do not pretend to speak officially for organised labour, and I shall never make that claim.
Yes, because I have had much more experience in Ireland even than my hon. Friend. When we talk about democracy in this country let us be fair and try to interpret what the average man-in-the-street desires above everything else. I have endeavoured in this Irish difficulty to put myself in that position, and I have said, "Suppose this was a body of ordinary working men whose daily worry was work for themselves and the maintenance of their families." That is a fair view of the great British democracy. They desire to do the right thing and they desire work in order that they maintain their families. Putting myself in that position, as I. have done in this Irish situation, I am convinced that the course that I am now submitting to the Committee, is, in the long run, the right course for British democracy. I took my stand, and I may be pardoned for repeating what I said to Mr. de Valera, face to face. He expressed surprise at my note. He said:I was amazed to receive your document.I said:You may know, and you do know, a lot of Irish history, and I believe in your sincerity, but I am sorry that you did not look up the history of English democracy. You did not even look up the record of this Government, because you have expressed surprise at my attitude in challenging your right to repudiate an agreement. Do you forget that in 1917 I was the head of the greatest trade union in the world, as well as in this country. I made an agreement on their behalf and they repudiated it, and I resigned my position, because I refused further to lead an organisation that repudiated their agreement. If "—my hon. Friend opposite will know the significance of this—I could demand in 1917 a standard of honour from the humble platelayer, I have 154 a right to expect a standard of honour from those who speak for the Government of a nation.That is the simple issue now.
§ Mr. TINKER
I am not disputing about the right to demand that an honourable agreement should be kept, but I am disputing the method of getting at it.
We agree that we are entitled to enforce an agreement. The only point in dispute is the method.
I am dealing with my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), who says "Yes." The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) says "No."
§ Mr. MACLEAN
The right hon. Gentleman is begging the whole question. We dispute that there is an agreement.
I am sure there will be complete silence on that side in regard to that statement. My hon. Friend is the only one who will associate himself with that statement.
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order. I am very interested in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, but I want to know how exactly this cross-talk arose on an Amendment to omit foodstuffs.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
It appeared to me that the right hon. Gentleman's argument that the taxation of foodstuffs as a, method of keeping an agreement was in order, but any argument as to whether or not any agreement exists cannot possibly arise on this Amendment.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
How can an argument as to whether the railwaymen in 1917 had an agreement or not arise on the question whether or not we should exclude food?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think the right hon. Gentleman was using it as an illustration, and he had just finished as I was preparing to interrupt him.
§ 10.30 p.m.
I put to the Committee this simple proposition, that this is an Amendment to exclude foodstuffs, and it is admitted that if it were carried it would destroy the whole purpose of the Resolution. Therefore, if the Committee is satisfied that we have exhausted every means open to us to find an amicable settlement and are left with this alternative, they will say that it is far better to have a straight issue; that the course before the Government is clear and definite; that this is the only way open to the Government and that no alternative has been proposed.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
I rise to associate myself with the Amendment. I should have been content with an open and straight issue and to have voted for or against the measures which the Government propose instead of dealing with the various amendments, which only lead to the same conclusion. The argument has been used in connection with this Amendment that the people who are going to pay the proposed taxes on foodstuffs are the people in the Irish Free State. I have asked before, and I ask again, if it is the case that by tariff reform and the taxation of foodstuffs the foreigner pays why do you not place sufficient taxation on goods coming in from foreign countries to wipe out the whole of the Debt? I believe, however, that a certain section of the House are not concerned only with the differences which have arisen between the Irish Free State and the British Government. They see in the proposals which are put forward something which is very dear to their hearts—the imposition of taxation on foodstuffs coming in from what is termed a part of the British Empire, and they are prepared to try it out and impose food taxes on the exports from the Irish Free State in the hope that it will be extended to all countries. Then they will have completed their ideas in regard to the taxation of food. [Interruption.] Hon. Members may grunt and groan like their brothers do in other fields, and it only proves that I am beginning to arrive at the right conclusion, that that is what they are aiming at at the present moment.
156 I was rather interested, coming up from Scotland this morning, in a speech made by the Secretary for Mines in regard to this proposed taxation of food. I want to know where the Liberal dissenting Ministers are at the moment. What is their idea of the taxation of foodstuffs? If they believe that the one predominant issue in this country is the question of tariffs as against Free Trade, I want to know how they can support the taxation of foodstuffs from the Free State. The Secretary for Mines put it very cunningly. He said that while it is true that a general tariff on foodstuffs would have the effect of raising the cost of living, in this case it is not going to have that effect because of the small amount of food affected. I understood that it was always the first bite that was the most deadly portion of any poison that one was going to swallow. If Liberal Members swallow the first bite of taxation on food, how can they oppose the taxation on foodstuffs from other parts of the world? If the Liberals can square that they can square anything. Personally I believe that they can square anything and I am not a bit annoyed.
We are told that in this special Measure we must deal with the people of the Free State because they have broken a contract and a bargain. Are we to take it that the people in any part of the world or the Empire, when they get a change of Government, have no right to repudiate the actions of past Governments, and that if they do they are to be punished like naughty boys by the great Imperial British Government? The Government are imposing a tax on food to-night. I am not particularly worried about that, because this is 'a dispute which has a bearing not only on foodstuffs. The Government are here making a defence of their whole policy of keeping the Empire together. They are attempting to keep control of the Empire by every possible punitive measure. In this case they are opposing the democratic instincts and the will and aspirations of the Irish people by declaring 'an economic war. I hope that before long we will find the backbone of the Scottish people developing on the same lines, and that they also will take their stand against English domination, and will develop the democratic instinct.
I recognise that this is a dangerous experiment for Ireland to be allowed to continue in, for if Ireland is allowed to 157 continue all the other parts of the Empire might persist is the same method, and your glorious Empire would disappear like all other Empires. We have heard from the Dominions Secretary about his varied experiences. No one would deny that he has had varied experiences. But we say that just as one trade union leader enters into an agreement regarding conditions of work and in due course, after notice has been given, the agreement can be ended by his successor, so the Irish people are free to discontinue what was decided by their predecessors. The Irish people have declared against an agreement and against the Annuities, and the Government are attempting to bring them to book. But the Government will find that they have scored another gigantic failure. I am confident that Mr. de Valera and the Irish people are quite capable of looking after themselves, but, before you have finished, you will have aroused democratic sentiment throughout the world, and instead of gaining a great victory you will probably find that you have brought down upon yourselves the condemnation of democratic peoples throughout the Empire.
§ Mr. HALES
I only wish to put forward one or two comments upon this proposal. It seems to be taken for granted that prices in this country will go up as a result of these duties. May I suggest that immediately the duties are put on other sources of supply will be found? It required a great stretch of the imagination that Denmark, Holland, Norway and Sweden—[HON. MEMBERS: "And England!"]—will not take the opportunity of a preferential tariff to jump into a market from which they have been largely excluded. This is not really a matter for Imperial discussion; it is purely a family squabble and one which never should have arisen. The only reason why Mr. de Valera wants arbitration is in order to avert the evil hour because his action is such as to jeopardise the trade of this country and is at the same time a base betrayal of the Irish nation.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 44; Noes, 346.161
|Division No 273.]||AYES||[10.43 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Healy, Cahir||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hicks, Ernest Gaorge||Price, Gabriel|
|Buchanan, George||Hirst, George Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, Sir William||Thorne, William James|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lunn, William|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McGovern, John||Mr. Cordon Macdonald and Mr.|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||John.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B.(Portsm'th,C.)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Bait, Sir Alfred L.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)|
|Albery, Irving James||Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Browne, Captain A. C.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Bernays, Robert||Buchan, John|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Birchen, Major Sir John Dearman||Burnett, John George|
|Applln, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Butler, Richard Austen|
|Apsley, Lord||Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.)||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Asks, Sir Robert William||Blaker, Sir Reginald||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Boothby, Robert John Graham||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Bossom, A. C.||Carver, Major William H.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Boulton, W. W.||Castle Stewart, Earl|
|Benne, Sir Adrian W. M.||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Chalmers, John Rutherford|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Briant, Frank||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A. (Birm., W)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Broadbent, Colonel John||Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric|
|Clarke, Frank||Howard, Torn Forrest||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.).||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Colfax, Major William Philip||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Colman, N. C. D||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Pearson, William G.|
|Colville, John||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Bring)||Peat, Charles U.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Penny, Sir George|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Petherick, M.|
|Copeland, Ida||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Pete, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bllst'n)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Janner, Barnett||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Jennings, Roland||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Crossley, A. C.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Ker, J. Campbell||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Curry, A. C.||Kerr, Charles (Montrose)||Ramsden, E.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Kimball, Lawrence||Ray, Sir William|
|Dixey, Arthur C. N.||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Rea, Waiter Russell|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Knebworth, Viscount||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Donner, P. W.||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Doran, Edward||Law, Sir Alfred||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Leckie, J. A.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Remer, John R.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Dunglass, Lord||Levy, Thomas||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Lewis, Oswald||Robinson, John Roland|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Liddall, Walter S.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Ross Taylor, Waiter (Woodbridge)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Eimley, Viscount||Llewellin, Major John J||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Entwistle, Cyrll Fullard||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Russell, Hamer Fleld (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Salt, Edward W.|
|Fernmoy, Lord||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||McCorquodale, M. S.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Savory, Samuel Servington|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Scone, Lord|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon, Sir John||McKeag, William||Selley, Harry R.|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||McKie, John Hamilton||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||McLean, Major Alan||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Goff, Sir Park||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Goldle, Noel B.||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Maitland, Adam||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Slater, John|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Mender, Geoffrey le M.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Grimaton, R. V.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Hales, Harold K.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Millar, Sir James Duncan||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Milne, Charles||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Harbord, Arthur||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chlsw'k)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Hartland, George A.||Mitcheson, G. G.||Stevenson, James|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Stones, James|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Storey, Samuel|
|Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Headiam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||North, Captain Edward T.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Hornby, Frank||Nunn, William||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Thorp, Linton Theodore||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Wells, Sydney Richard||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Train, John||White, Henry Graham||Wragg, Herbert|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)||Major George Davies and Mr.|
|Wallace, John (Dunfermline)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Blindell.|
|Ward, Lt,-Col. Sir A, L. (Hull)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I beg to move, in line 4, after the word "descriptions," to insert the words "save as regards livestock."
This Amendment is to exclude all livestock from the ambit of the Motion. The previous Amendment dealt with food, but I think it will be recognised that there is a different principle involved here. I suggest to the Dominions Secretary that this ought not to be treated as a joke. It is a serious matter, and he should put himself on a level with other Cabinet Ministers. This is put down seriously as a separate Amendment, because we have had the question of livestock before us a good deal. I understand that at least 75 per cent., if not 90 per cent., of the cattle coming into this country come from the Irish Free State or Northern Ireland. My information is that the store cattle which come into this country come practically exclusively from Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland. The argument brought against food being excluded was that the food coming into this country from Ireland was not of such large quantity and value as was likely to affect the market price.
A totally different consideration enters into the question of cattle, because practically the whole cattle trade is confined to Ireland, and, if you put on a prohibitive tax, as the Government have power to do, it will stop a large source of supply. It may be said that the Government do not intend to use the power, or only partially use it, but the fact remains that the Government have the power to put on a prohibitive tax. If such a tax is put on a certain commodity and our only source of supply is the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland, a serious position will arise not only for those who export the cattle, but for those in this country who depend on this business for their livelihood. There are large numbers of people in Scotland and England whose whole livelihood is gained by buying Irish 162 store cattle and grazing and fattening it. These people are not involved in the dispute. It may be said in regard to food that we have great supplies from other parts of the world and that if the supplies are cut off from Ireland we can go to other sources of supply, but nobody suggests that there is another market at hand for store cattle.
I am surprised at the attitude of the Financial Secretary, for his family has largely been built up in connection with the Irish store cattle business, and they have worked in alliance with people who have grazing land for cattle. These people are not Irish, and, if the Government overtax the supplies of Irish cattle, they will be smashed. Many of them have put in the business what small capital they have, and are only struggling along. Because we have a dispute with Ireland their cattle is to be taxed, and the result will be that they will be ruined. The Financial Secretary must be well up in this question. If these people are cut off from their supplies for even a month, they will be in an impossible position. They have fixed charges. In some, business people can alter contracts, but these men have to take land on a long tenure, and cannot cancel their commitments if they find their supplies of livestock cut off. The Financial Secretary knows that this is a serious subject. The people who have approached us on this matter are Scottish people who know nothing about the Irish problem or its cross currents. They are people who have devoted their lives to pasture and the fattening of Irish cattle, and have built up a very good industry. When we already have millions of unemployed, deliberately to take a step which will throw more people out of work, for a time at least, is a wrong way of tackling the Irish problem. Whatever we may do as regards other things store cattle and livestock ought to be excluded from the operations of this Resolution. In Lanark there is some of the very best grazing 163 land, and the people there live largely by this trade, and it would be a wanton act on our part to place these poor people in such a predicament. They are people who know nothing of the cross currents of our diplomatic quarrels with Mr. de Valera; they carry on a peaceful industry in a peaceful way, getting their supplies from Ireland, which is the only place from which they can get supplies.
There is another aspect of the question. I do not stress it so much, because I do not think it bears quite the same aspect of the case of the grazier, but it must be taken into account. We have built up great markets in the West of Scotland—at Ayr, Greenock and in the city of Glasgow. We have shipping lines that are almost exclusively engaged in bringing cattle from Ireland to these markets, and one of the features of that trade is that on the outward voyage the ships carry coal to the Free State. It is an important element in the shipping business that a ship shall be sure of being able to secure a return cargo. Here great quantities of coal are exported to the Free State and the shipper can be certain of a return cargo of cattle. I am not going into the question of our coal exports to the Free State, but everyone knows that the Free State must buy coal from Britain. It is one of Scotland's best markets. The fact that we send out that coal allows shippers to charge cheaper freights, because they know that they will be able to secure a cargo of cattle for the return voyage. There are the people who handle livestock at the docks. You may say that this is a mere turning of the wheel, a transferring of food from Ireland to this country and from this country to Denmark. Nobody can argue that the cattle trade, and particularly the trade in store cattle, is confined to the Free State and to Northern Ireland.
I want to make this last point, which has never been argued in connection with food from the Free State. Everyone here assumes that the trade of Northern Ireland is not to be affected, but merely the exports from the Free State. Livestock can be easily moved and transferred, and I suggest seriously that you may be setting up an industry, which it will be almost impossible to trace, in the shifting of cattle backwards and forwards across the border. I hope that this country is 164 not going to embark upon a policy which will drive decent folk into a trade which may partially become illegal. From whatever angle you view this matter, the conclusion is the same, and I ask the Minister to accept our Amendment.
§ Mr. M. MacDONALD
The Amendment has been put down as a, serious matter, and I think that the Committee will take that point of view. It is true to say that a large percentage of the store cattle that come into this country come in from Ireland, but I am bound to resist the Amendment, because of the simple fact that it will be impossible for the Government both to accept it and to achieve the purpose of the Resolution. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) has spoken of the cattle that are coming into this country from the Irish Free State as though they were imported as food, or for the purpose of becoming food. That, of course, is not the whole case. A good deal of livestock comes in for other purposes. Those two categories of livestock, for food and not for food, both of whcih would be covered by this Amendment, compose something like 50 per cent. of the total imports from the Irish Free State into this country. It is estimated, for instance, that the total value of livestock coming in this year, in normal conditions, would be £15,000,000 out of a total import value of something like £3,000,000, and therefore the effect of this Amendment would be that the Government would have to confine the proposed duties to the other £15,000,000 worth of imports.
The object of the Government is to raise at least £3,500,000 to meet a certain emergency, but it must be clear to the Committee that, if we were limited in that way, we should have to put on such duties that the trade would almost cease before anything like the amount had come in. I think that the hon. Member has exaggerated the danger. He spoke the whole time about a prohibitive tax, and about the evils that would follow—
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I said that we were giving the Government power to put on a 100 per cent. tax, which is prohibitive. I am only arguing on the facts as they are before the Committee; I do not know what the Government are doing. I am entitled to argue as to the power that is being given to the Government.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
The 100 per cent. tax would, of course, be a maximum tax, but the whole point of imposing the tax at all is to raise revenue, and, therefore, it is certainly not the intention of the Government to put a prohibitive tax on an important item of imports from the Irish Free State. We believe that we can put a tax on livestock which will help us' considerably in raising the money, and which at the same time will be nothing like a prohibitive tax, and will not bring that extent of evil upon consumers or upon people engaged in industries or shipping in this country which the hon. Member fears. For these reasons, I must make it clear that it would be impossible for the Government to accept the Amendment.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I should like to support the Amendment very strongly, and in doing so to correct what I think is the wrong impression as regards these figures which the hon. Gentleman has just given, I am sure quite unwittingly. He stated that there was a very large quantity of livestock imported from Ireland that was not for food. If he will look at the trade returns for the first five months of this year, he will see that, as regards living animals for food, out of a total import of the value of £5,105,000, all except £102,000 comes from Ireland, that is to say, £5,000,000 worth. As regards other animals not for food—leaving out horses, which come from the Irish Free State to the extent of £604,000—the total from all countries of all other animals not for food is £639,000 in the same period, so that it is obvious that the vast bulk of the importation of animals from Ireland falls under the category of animals for food, that is to say, really store cattle, because, out of that sum of £5,000,000, £4,148,000 represents cattle.
The argument that the farmer here will not have to pay the tax because there is an alternative source of supply falls altogether, because this is the only source for the importation of live store cattle into this country. The farmers in the West of England, who are accustomed through the Bristol Channel ports to get their store stock from Ireland every year, and who have arranged the whole of their farming on that basis, will find themselves confronted with the alternatives of not having store cattle or of paying the tax on store cattle, and they will be the people who will make good, as far as this amount 166 is concerned, any loss as regards Irish Annuities. It will not be a question of the Irish farmer making it good, because there is no alternative supply, and, on the argument already put from the other side of the House, where there is no alternative supply the importer pays, and not the exporter from the other country. This, therefore, is a very important aspect of the question, and one to which I think the Government ought to give more attention, because the farming industry, surely, is not in such a position in this country at the moment as to be able to bear an extra tax for the purpose of assisting the Budget. If half the imports from Ireland are livestock, which are purchased by the farmers of this country, and there is no alternative supply to which they can look if this one is raised in price, the farmers of this country will pay half the £3,500,000. Surely, although the Government may think it wise to cut off their nose to spite their face, it is not going to be the farmer's nose that is cut off in order to spite the face of the Income Taxpayer.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Certainly. It is shown quite clearly from the returns that there is no other source of supply.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
That is really a different question. [Interruption.] Hon. Members may think it a very laughable matter that store stock in this country is going to be cut off from supply. A great number of these cattle can be fed and slaughtered in Ireland and exported as meat. Alternatively the Irish need not continue to breed cattle for this country. [Interruption.] I am glad hon. Members think this is a joke. I can assure them that the country will not think it is a joke when this economic war has been launched and the country feels the effects of it.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I do not think we should rush so hastily to vote on this matter as some hon. Members seem to desire. I understand that the placing of agriculture upon a sound basis was one of the important efforts that this Government was making. I understood from various speeches of the Minister of Agri- 167 culture that before certain things could be done in the way of interfering with our sources of supply from other countries, the Government had to have time to make necessary reorganisations in this country. I have the impression from the utterances of the right hon. Gentleman opposite that the whole of their action in this matter is actuated more by spleen than by common sense and cool reason and I have the feeling that, in drawing this Resolution as widely as to include the livestock industry, they are doing something that is going to strike a serious blow at an important part of the agricultural interest in this country before the Government's plans in other directions have been carried to completion. We are not arguing on this Amendment the question of the Government's general attitude towards Ireland. We are not now questioning what is agreed to by the House, that they are going to raise the amount to pay this Land Annuity interest by this process of imposing taxes. All we are arguing is that, since the Government have decided to adopt it, they shall not at one and the same time injure an important industry in this country and make the food problem of our people very much more difficult than it is to-day. Like the hon. and learned Gentleman, I could not follow the answer of the Parliamentary Secretary. He was much too cryptic. I wish he had been more specific as to what he meant as between the two categories of Irish livestock imported into this country. I should fancy it does not matter very much for the practical purposes of the Government, in so far as the raising of this revenue is concerned, what happens to the live stock after they are brought over here. Their interest in it is the raising of revenue. They tell us that, as far as regards this particular Measure, they are not concerned with its effect upon the industrial position in this country and the food supplies of the people. They are only concerned with it as a revenue-raising device for a specific purpose. I think that they ought to have some consideration in this proposal for raising £3,000,000 as to the effect it will have on the general industrial and employment position in this country.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) says, you can 168 ill-afford at this time to take the risk of throwing additional people on to the unemployment market. You can ill-afford to throw a number of struggling trades into bankruptcy, and in our terrible anxiety to hit the Irish people, or, to put it in a more benevolent way, to consider the welfare of the few thousands of people who happen to be owners of Irish Land Annuity Stock, it is scarcely fair game to hit other citizens of this country who are just as reputable citizens and probably more useful citizens than those who draw interest from the Land Annuities. The right hon. Gentleman laid tremendous stress upon the necessity of keeping faith with those who hold this particular stock. Their interest must be paid, so that Britain's honour may be preserved, but is there no honourable responsibility to citizens of this country who are carrying on a perfectly legitimate industry and have done so for many years 1 Are the Government going to say quite coolly and deliberately that graziers, feeders of cattle, auctioneers, dealers of one kind and another, people at the docks, stevedores, shipping people, are all to be placed in danger of financial ruin and bankruptcy in order that mere interest drawers must get the income to which they have been accustomed from Irish Land Annuities?
That is the position, as I understand it, put to us by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. [Interruption.] That is how I understand it. The Under-Secretary, in reply, has just said that they must do this if they are to get the necessary revenue. The necessary revenue must be raised. Neither the Dominions Secretary, the Under-Secretary, nor the Financial Secretary dare stand up in this House and say that this interference with all the persons who engage in this industry is not fraught with very great danger to the people in that trade. Now we come to a position that in these days when the principal task confronting the nation is to place industry and production on a sound and prosperous footing, and since the Government have held that the establishment of the British agricultural industry on a sound footing is a primary part of their policy, the Government say that they do not care. The interests of agriculture, production and employment are all secondary to the interests of the bondholders in Irish Land Annuities. 169 I and my hon. Friends here cannot accept that view for a minute. We say that the whole scheme is conceived in sin and born in iniquity. That is no reason why the Dominions Secretary should adopt it as his child. Conceived in sin! The whole scheme is foolish and actuated by bad temper rather than considerations of statesmanship. It is National Government policy, the policy of the Government who are going to Ottawa next week to join closer the bonds of Empire. Go ahead with it and in the doing of it you can take care to safeguard the interests of an important section of your own people. I ask the Dominions Secretary again to consider this Amendment and the issues involved, which I am certain he has not considered up till now.
I had no intention to intervene, but the speech of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) has brought me to my feet. I represent a Division which probably absorbs as many Irish cattle as any part of the country. The hon. and learned Member seems to imagine that British agricultural interests are in the hands of the Irish farmers. He suggests that if we do not buy their store cattle they will sell their beasts as meat. To what market do they propose to send their meat? He suggests that they will no longer breed for our market. Where will their cattle go if they do not come to our market? We buy in Northumberland thousands of heads of Irish cattle and I frankly own that if this tax is put on it will to a large extent disorganise the agricultural industry in Northumberland, but I can assure the Ministry and this House that, however great the hardship to Northumberland, the Northumbrian farmers are behind the National Government. If this Measure has to be carried long enough, Northumbria will breed her own cattle.
§ Mr. J. JONES
Up to now no Irishman representing an English Constituency has had an opportunity of saying what he thinks about the policy of the Government. I was born and bred in Ireland and I am proud of it. I landed in Liver- pool, a bare faced boy, and my face was not the only bare part about me. The notices on the factory gates at the time were: "No Irish need apply." At that 170 time it was a political exclusive policy. Now it has become an economic exclusive policy because Mr. De Valera does not agree with Mr. Thomas. The right hon. Gentleman knows that this question is not a mere matter of political convenience but a matter of economic strategy. The majority of the people in the Free State are not antagonistic to Great Britain. That has been proved by the fact that Mr. De Valera cannot get a complete majority of the people. In consequence of the difficulties that have been created since the last election for the Dail this policy has been put forward, because a section of Irish politicians have decided upon a certain line of action.
§ 11.30 p.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that the hon. Member should have made his speech in the beginning of the Debate on the Motion. The Amendment we are now discussing is to exclude live-stock.
§ Mr. JONES
No, but I suppose I should come within the definition of livestock. Here you are hitting at one of the largest trades between Great Britain and Ireland. What is the object? Are you hitting Mr. De Valera and his friends 7 Livestock in Ireland is raised in the fertile plains of the south and west, not on the mountain side where Mr. De Valera comes from. [Interruption.] You are doing no good to England or Ireland by this policy of economic reprisal. This attempt to enforce a policy of coercion will only unite the people of Ireland. Those who do not agree with Mr. De Valera will come together and fight you. They are prepared to make any sacrifice. You have tried coercion in days gone by. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. JONES
No, Sir. This is a question of livestock, which is the greatest 171 trade between this country and Ireland. England is not the Empire; Scotland is not the Empire. You must remember that there are Irishmen in Australia; in every part of the Empire. I have known the Secretary of State when he was a vehement advocate of Home Rule for Ireland. Does he realise that there are Irish citizens in all our Colonies? We want to know the implications of this policy to break up the trade relations between Great Britain and Ireland. I do not know much about it—[Interruption]—in that ease, I am as ignorant as other hon. Members, but I suggest that it is the worst policy any Government could adopt. The Government think they are going to win with this policy. They are not going to win. They are going to bind Irishmen together in every part of the Empire against the policy of reprisals. I would like to see something done in the way of sending over some of our livestock—
§ Mr. LOGAN
I make no apology for intervening in the debate at this hour. I have waited all the day, and it is now twenty-five minutes to twelve. I represent a Division where there is a large Irish population as much concerned with this question as anyone in this Committee. I have listened to a lot of nonsense about many things during the debate.[Interruption.] Liverpool will be greatly affected by this proposal. The Amendment has been supported by our friends from Scotland, and I pay my tribute to them. We have built in Liverpool one of the finest abattoirs in the world, and have made special arrangements for this cattle trade. Here is an industry which could provide much work. One hon. Member opposite who hails from Northumberland said just now, "If the Irish are not able to get their cattle over to this country there is no doubt that we shall raise the necessary stock in Northumberland and get over the difficulty in that way." Is that the spirit of the Committee? If so, let us understand at once, 172 and the challenge will be taken up. Is this a vendetta against the agriculturists and stock breeders of Ireland? If so, let us be told. If hon. Members want to raise the difficulties of an Irish question they can have all the difficulties that they require. If they want conciliation they should adopt a better way of dealing with the people of Ireland, who are an integral part of the community. That would be a safer solution. I would advise some of the younger bloods, the livestock of this House, who are here to-night and who do not understand the Irish problem and do not know how it has perplexed the House of Commons in the past, to take some notice of one who is an old negotiator—I speak of the right hon. Gentleman who introduced this Resolution—in what he has said about this complex and difficult position.
§ Mr. LOGAN
I will not get away from it. I am getting close to it. What I am pointing out to the Committee is that a Vote is to be taken on the imposition of a tariff on livestock, as a vendetta, or as a means of raising £3,000,000 of revenue. Whatever you may do, I ask you not to imperil business in this country, or the loss will be felt here in the near future. [Interruption.] If any hon. Member wishes to throw anything across I will be quite capable of dealing with him, just as well as with livestock. I want to say quite seriously that I am at one with the Mover of the Amendment. It is a proposal which would be beneficial to our people. As regards the question of Ireland, I do not care a tinker's curse, if you raise the duty to 300 per cent., because it would aggravate the position and we would understand the position better from the Irish standpoint. But from the point of view of the relationships of this country and better understanding, I would advise hon. Members to accept the Amendment in the interests of peace and for the benefit of our own people.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 43; Noes, 310.175
|Division No. 274.]||AYES.||[11.43 p.m.|
|Adams. D. M (Poplar South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Healy, Cahir||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hicks, Ernest George||Milner, Major James|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, George Henry||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Price, Gabriel|
|Gripes, Sir Stafford||John, William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Daggar, George||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Day[...]es, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kirkwood, David||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Grefell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Mr. Buchanan and Mr. McGovern.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Cooke, Douglas||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Copeland, Ida||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Albery, Irving James||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)|
|Alien, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Cranborne, Viscount||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hornby, Frank|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Apsley, Lord||Crossley, A. C.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Cuiverwell, Cyril Tom||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Curry, A. C.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Ba[...]e, Sir Adrian W. M.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Davison, Sir William Henry||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)|
|Bainiel, Lord||Dickle, John P.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Donner, P. W.||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Doran, Edward||Janner, Barnett|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Duckworth, George A. V.||Jennings, Roland|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Bernays, Robert||Duggan, Hubert John||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Dunglase, Lord||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Birchen, Major Sir John Dearman||Eastwood, John Francis||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Eden, Robert Anthony||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Kerr, Charles (Montrose)|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Eimley, Viscount||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Boulton, W. W.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Knebworth, Viscount|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Lackie, J.A.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Leech, Dr. J.W.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lennox-Boyd, A.T.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Levy, Thomas|
|Briant, Frank||Fox, Sir Gilford||Liddall, Water S.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Ganzonl, Sir John||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick|
|Buchan-Hepbury, P. G. T.||Goff, Sir Park||Lloyd, Geoffery|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Goldie, Noel B.||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Burnett, John George||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Gower, Sir Robert||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Mabane, William|
|Carver, Major William H.||Grimston, R. V.||MacAndrew, Capt. J.O. (Ayr)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||McCorquodale, M.S.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||McDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A.(Birm.,W.)||Hales, Harold K.||Mcdonald, Capt. P.D. (I. of W.)|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||McKeag, William|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hanley, Dennis A.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Harbord, Arthur||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hartington, Marquess of||McLean, Major Alan|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hartland, George A.||McLean, Dr. W.H. (Tradeston)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Macmillian, Maurice Harold|
|Colville, John||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnee)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon Sir Arthur|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Stones, James|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Remer, John R.||Storey, Samuel|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Milne, Charles||Robinson, John Roland||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Rosbotham, S. T.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Mitcheson, G. G.||Ross, Ronald D.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Molson, A. Hugh E[...]sdale||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Rothschild, James A. de||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Muirhead, Major A. J.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Salmon, Major Isidore||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'w[...]ck-on-T.)|
|North, Captain Edward T.||Salt, Edward W.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Nunn, William||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Train, John|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Sandeman, Sir A.N. Stewart||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Savery, Samuel Servington||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Scone, Lord||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Peaks, Captain Osbert||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Penny, Sir George||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Shapperson, Sir Ernest W.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Petherick, M.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, B[...]st'n)||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Pike, Cecil F.||Slater, John||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-on-F.)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Smith, R.W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Smith-Carington, Neillie W.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon, Viscount|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Ramsden, E.||Somervillie, Annesley A. (Windor)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Ray, Sir William||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Rea, Walter Russell||Southby, Commander Archibald R.J.|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Mr. Womersley and Mr. Blindell.|
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I beg to move, in line 9 to leave out from the word "exceeding" to the end of line 10, and to insert instead thereof the words:the maximum amount of duty payable under any other enactments on similar articles imported from any other country into the United Kingdom.This Amendment is rather an important one, and I hope to make my statement as simple as possible. The Amendment has nothing at all to do with the merits of the case as to whether duties shall be imposed against goods coming from the Irish Free State. Its intention is to see that none of the duties on such Irish goods shall be higher than the duties imposed against any goods coming from foreign countries. I think that would be a very fair proposal, and now that the Dominions Secretary has been good enough to give way on one or two previous Amendments, I am almost inclined to believe he will accept the Amendment I am now moving. May I in a few minutes put one or two arguments in favour of the Amendment. I feel sure that, in introducing this Motion, all the Government desires to do is to settle a financial account with the Irish Free State. I do not think 176 the Government want to be vindictive in this matter. If the right hon. Gentleman tells the House that he does not want to be vindictive, I am sure I can carry him with me when I say that it would be grossly unfair, if there were duty of 10 per cent. against foreign butter, to raise the duty against Irish butter to 50 or 60 per cent. If the Amendment were accepted, it would mean that there was no vindictiveness at all in this transaction.
This country, whatever its opinions about this trouble, does not desire to put Ireland in a worse position in relation to import duties than foreign countries. However keenly the right hon. Gentleman may feel towards de Valera, I am positive that he must feel as keenly towards Mussolini; yet he should not be less vindictive towards Italy than towards Ireland. We do not want to intensify the trouble with Ireland, but we shall do so if we put higher duties against Irish Free State goods, even though they are only 5 per cent. or 10 per cent. higher than the duties put on foreign goods. I understand that the Tariff Advisory Committee will not be consulted about these duties. The Com- 177 mittee determines very largely the policy of the Government with regard to duties on foreign imports, but in this case the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs will more or less tell the Treasury what shall be done without consulting anybody. Therefore, we want to avoid any political bias percolating into his duties in such a way that he will be more bitter towards his brother than towards his neighbour. I appeal to the Government to see that, whatever they do, it will never be said about them that they were more vindictive with these customs duties against Ireland than against foreign countries.
§ Major ELLIOT
The hon. Gentleman has put the matter very clearly, but has he conceived the matter as clearly? It is not a question of a vindictive or a non-vindictive duty, but of a deficit in the Budget which we have to get filled. There is no question of being vindictive against other countries; they have not defaulted to us. It is simply that we are informed by a certain gentleman in whose veracity we have great confidence that he is about to cause a default, and we have to take steps somewhow or other to meet it. To say that we are not to impose duties higher than a certain maximum is simply to say that we are to fill the deficit but that we are not to raises the duties to the height which may be necessary to do so. Who would condemn us more unsparingly than the hon. Gentleman if in the next Budget, when he comes with his eloquent plea to reduce the Tea Duty, we say that we cannot because we could not collect the debt that was due to us from the Irish Free State? The hon. Gentleman will say, "Why didn't you?" We shall say, "Because we accepted the hon. Gentleman's Amendment," and he will go to the Box and ask, "What business had you to accept the Amendment?" No, we must retain the power of collecting an adequate sum of money. We must have the power
§ to impose duties.at the rate which is necessary to bring in that sum, and it is from that angle and not in comparison with other duties that if is necessary for us to consider the matter. Therefore, I hope my hon. Friend will not press the Amendment.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Therefore, it is within the bounds of possibility that there will be a higher customs duty on an article coming from Ireland than from a foreign country or elsewhere?
§ Major ELLIOT
Of course there is, and that is inevitably so, because there are many articles coming from other countries within the British Empire on which, in point of fact, there are no duties at all. Is the hon. Gentleman to say that we must put a duty on Canadian live cattle because we put a duty on cattle from the Free State, for example That position reminds me of the story of the Scottish gardener who, having locked up his little son in one garden house because he had been naughty then bound up another little boy and locked him up in another place at the opposite end of the garden, and when asked why he had done it, said, "It's just for symmetry"! We must be reasonable in these matters. I can foresee the great indignation which my hon. Friend would exhibit if we were to impose a tax on Canadian live cattle, because we were about to impose a similar duty on cattle from the Irish Free State. We should have to tell him: "We had to do it because we accepted your Amendment," and then he would heap the most unmitigated condemnation on our heads for having done anything so silly.
§ Question put: "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 275; Noes, 33.181
|Division No. 275.]||AYES||[12.3 a.m.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Bateman, A. L.||Boyce, H. Leslie|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Bracken, Brendan|
|Albery, Irving James||Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Bernays, Robert||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)|
|Allen, Lt-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Broadbent, Colonel John|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Bilndell, James||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Boothby, Robert John Graham||Browne, Captain A. C.|
|Ba[...]niel, Lord||Bossom, A. C.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Boulton, W. W.||Burgin, Dr. Edward Lesile|
|Burnett, John George||Hornbrugh, Florence||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Howard, Tom Forrest||Ray, Sir William|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Janner, Barnett||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jennings, Roland||Robinson, John Roland|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Rose Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Colville, John||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Ker, J. Campbell||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Kerr, Charles (Montrose)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Copeland, Ida||Kimball, Lawrence||Salt, Edward W.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Knebworth, Viscount||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Leckie, J. A.||Savory, Samuel Servington|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Scone, Lord|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Levy, Thomas||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Liddell, Waiter S.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Liewellin, Major John J.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Curry, A. C.||Liewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. H n. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Dixey, Arthur C. N.||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Slater, John|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Loder, Captain J. de Vera||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Donner, P. W.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Mabane, William||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Duggan, Hubert John||McCorquodale, M. S.||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)|
|Duncan, James A.L.(Kensington, N.)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||McKeag, William||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hop. Herbert H.|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||McKie, John Hamilton||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Elmley, Viscount||McLean, Major Alan||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Stevenson, James|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Stones, James|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Storey, Samuel|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Malla[...]eu, Edward Lancelot||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Manning ham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Mills, Sir Frederick (Layton, E.)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Milne, Charles||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'f'd & Chlsw'k)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Train, John|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Morrison, William Shephard||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||North, Captain Edward T.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Hales, Harold K.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Palmer, Francis Noel||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Patrick, Colin M.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Peake, Captain Osbert||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Pearson, William G.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Hartland, George A.||Penny, Sir George||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenning t'n)||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Petherick, M.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, B[...]st'n)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Pike, Cecil F.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stafybridge)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hors-Belisha, Leslie||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Captain Austin Hudson and Major|
|Hornby, Frank||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||George Davies.|
|Adams, D.M. (Poplar, South)||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Cocks, Frederick Seymour|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Buchanan, George||Cripss, Sir Stafford|
|Dagger, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Milner, Major James|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Price, Gabriel|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Healy, Cahir||McGovern, John|
|Hirst, George Henry||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Maxton, James||Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.|
§ Mr. LAWSON
I beg to move, in line 15, to leave out paragraph (iii).
This paragraph is a very complicated one. I understand that it brings the new duties into the same category as those imposed by the Import Duties Act. If that is so, this paragraph needs some explanation as to why the Government take such a course. As I understand it, the object of the Motion is to collect what the Government conceive is a debt. Why the Government should bring the collection of that debt into line with the Import Duties Act I fail to understand.
§ Major ELLIOT
In what way does the hon. Member think that this is being brought into line with the Import Duties Act?
§ Mr. LAWSON
That shows the necessity of a further explanation of the paragraph. The Committee will notice that it says:(iii) Articles chargeable with the duties to be charged as aforesaid shall not for the purposes of the Import Duties Act, 1932, be deemed to be chargeable with a duty of customs by or under any enactment other than that Act.As I see it, what it means is that the duties are to be brought into line with that Act. I conclude also, from the reading of it, that the Import Duties Advisory Board may even impose these duties. I do not know whether that is a proper reading of that paragraph, but the Financial Secretary to the Treasury seems to disagree. I am sure that the Committee will see that the inference that I make is a fair one. If, after the Ottawa Conference, duties are placed upon imported goods from the Dominions, these duties on goods from Ireland would be in addition to the duties imposed upon goods from the Dominions. There is another point if my inference is right. If the duties are brought into line with the Import Duties Act, it will bring the Irish duties into line with foreign duties. One thing is certain. If this is going to have the effect of a tariff, we shall very probably have the reply of a tariff from the Free State. In every way 182 the great mass of the working people of this nation are going to be struck and it is really they who are going to pay for this action of the Government, because the poorest people will feel the weight of this more heavily than anyone else. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give an explanation which will make it clear that it is not the intention to bring these duties into line with the Import Duties Act, thus not carrying out the intention of the Resolution of collecting debts, but imposing a tariff against the Free State.
§ Major ELLIOT
I hope to be able to reassure the hon. Gentleman. In the first place this paragraph does not bring these duties into line with the Import Duties Act. In the second place it does not make foreigners of the Irish. It simply says the duties are of an exceptional character and are not to be treated on the same ground as other duties, which may have been imposed for revenue or tariff purposes. It is true that other duties of Customs take the articles upon which they are imposed out of the purview of the Tariff Advisory Committee and the procedure of the Import Duties Act. It is provided here that the imposition of duties under this Act shall not have this effect, therefore the Irish people do not suffer the indignity of being regarded as aliens. It is true that they suffer the disadvantage that possibly in the future an additional duty may be imposed upon them—I give the hon. Gentleman that—but that is necessarily consequential on regarding them for legislative purposes as entirely exceptional and not removing from Southern Ireland its birthright of being regarded as a Dominion. It remains a Dominion to which for the moment a special procedure has been applied. If after 15th November privileges are withdrawn, an additional duty will fall on goods from the Southern Irish Dominion, but that is necessary to preserve the entirely exceptional character of this legislation.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I understand from the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman that this paragraph is put in to make it certain that the taxation can be added to by other taxation as a result of the Ottawa Conference. So it opens up a vista, not only of a special 100 per cent. tax upon Irish Free State goods, but over and above that 100 per cent. tax, as a result of the Ottawa Conference, in which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs has told us he does not intend to treat with Ireland, of further taxation to be put on as a result of what is there decided. The
§ prospect as regards trade between Ireland and this country I should have thought was such as to lead the right hon. Gentleman not to imagine that Ireland would not become a foreign country, but such as to lead people to expect that, if the system of taxing Irish imports was to continue, the obvious result would be to drive Ireland out of the Commonwealth.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 253: Noes, 33.185
|Division No. 276.]||AYES||12.19 a.m.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Donner, P. W.||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Duckworth, George A. V.||Kerr, Charles (Montrose)|
|Albery, Irving James||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Duggan, Hubert John||Knebworth, Viscount|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Dunglass, Lord||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Ansley, Lord||Eden, Robert Anthony||Leckie, J. A.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Eillston, Captain George Sampson||Levy, Thomas|
|Balniel, Lord||Elmley, Viscount||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick|
|Bernays, Robert||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Loder, Captain J. de Vera|
|Bird Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Mabane, William|
|Bossom, A. C.||Fox, Sir Gifford||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Fraser, Captain Ian||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Fremantle, Sir Francis||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||McKeag, William|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Goff, Sir Park||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Go[...]dle, Noel B.||McLean, Major Alan|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Gower, Sir Robert||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Mallalleu, Edward Lancelot|
|Burnett, John George||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hales, Harold K.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Harbord, Arthur||Mills, Sir Frederick (Layton, E.)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hartington, Marquess of||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Hartland, George A.||Milne, Charles|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Morrison, William Shephard|
|Colville, John||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Hornby, Frank||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Horsbrugh, Florence||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Copeland, Ida||Howard, Tom Forrest||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Pearson, William G.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Penny, Sir George|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Janner, Barnett||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Culverwel[...], Cyril Tom||Jennings, Roland||Petherick, M.|
|Curry, A. C.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bllst'n)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Ra[...]kes, Henry V. A. M.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Sinclair, Ma). Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thnese)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Train, John|
|Ray, Sir William||Slater, John||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Rea, Walter Russell||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Wedderburn, Henry James scrymgeour-|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Robinson, John Roland||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Rosbotham, S. T.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Stevenson, James||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Stones, James||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Storey, Samuel||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Strauss, Edward A.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Salt, Edward W.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Sutcliffe, Harold||Wragg, Herbert|
|Savory, Samuel Servington||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Scone, Lord||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(P'dd'gt n, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Captain Austin Hudson.|
|Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Healy, Cahir||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, George Henry||Milner, Major James|
|Buchanan, George||Jenkins, Sir William||Parkinson, John Alien|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Price, Gabriel|
|Cringe, Sir Stafford||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Logan, David Gilbert||Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lunn, William|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McGovern, John||Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.|
I beg to move, in line 18, after the word "Resolution," to insert the words:shall provide that any order made under the Act aforesaid by the Treasury imposing ally duty of customs shall cease to have effect at the expiration of twenty-eight days from the date on which the order is made unless at some time before the expiration of that period it is approved by a Resolution of this House, and that in reckoning any such period as aforesaid no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or during which this House is adjourned for snore than four days; and.I regret more than I can say to have to intervene for a minute or two, but I do not make any apology because the Amendment which I have put on the Paper has nothing to do with any party or the Government or Ireland, but it is of vital importance to the House of Commons in its function from the point of view of taxation. There is nothing wrong with the words of the Amendment, because they are taken straight out of the Money Resolutions of the Import Duties Bill and the Abnormal Importations Bill, so that, presumably, they were drafted by the Government draftsman. They are 186 therefore correct for the purpose to which I want to direct the attention of the Committee. The procedure outlined in the Amendment is that, if an Order is made, it shall cease to have effect at the end of 28 Parliamentary days unless the House affirms it. It does not interfere with the discretion or the power of the Government to put on any kind of duty by Order at any moment it thinks expedient. If it does not want the Order to continue for a longer period than that mentioned, it may refrain from bringing it before the House, and it will lapse. It is not hampering the day-to-day executive authority of the Government. It is three months ago that this kind of procedure was introduced, and it was considered absolutely revolutionary that power of taxation should be given to a Government Department in this way, but, in view of the new technique of the whole fiscal system, the House thought that was the most satisfactory way to proceed in this difficult and complicated question of taxation.
I want to preserve as much of the powers which still remain to this House as possible. It is very dangerous indeed 187 to suggest that the Government of the day should have power to tax by Orders and that this House should not have to affirm these Orders. It is a. principle I should not willingly accept. I do not know of any precedent lay which the Executive of the day—this has nothing to do with Ireland or this Government—is given powers to impose a special tax without the specific approval of Parliament. Therefore, I do urge the Government to consider very carefully before they refuse this Amendment. I may be told that these provisions could be inserted in the Bill. I believe that is correct, but I would remind the Committee that on the Import Duties Bills it was thought.right and proper to put it in the Money Resolution to make sure it was put in the Bills. If the Government are prepared to accede to this request, it would perhaps be unnecessary to press the matter at this stage. It could be put in the Bill later. Everybody who studies this problem is agreed that an affirmative resolution is of great value. There are so many members fresh to our procedure that I may remind the Committee that when an Order is laid on the Table it can only, generally speaking, be debated if some group of members can find a suitable day and then make quite sure that the House is kept. That may be all right for some categories of Orders, but it would not add to the dignity of this House and its powers of taxation should only be discussed in that manner late at night. It should be the duty of the Government of the day, if they should think fit to impose taxation by Order of the Treasury, to come before the House and ask for an affirming Order.
Everyone interested in Parliamentary procedure and in the rights and privileges of this House would naturally sympathise with the Amendment moved by my hon. and gallant Friend. If we were only concerned with that aspect of the question I would have no hesitation in accepting it. I want also to tell the Committee that the procedure.outlined in this Amendment was considered very carefully by the Government because, as my hon. and gallant Friend quite rightly points out, the Amendment he now moves is strictly in accord with the procedure under the Import Duties Act. He himself, however, drew atten- 188 tion to the very reason, which I am now going to submit to the Committee, why the Government cannot accept his proposition. There never was a Bill asking the power that this Bill asks, but neither were there ever similar circumstances.
That is a fortunate advantage. What we have to keep in mind is that we have to deal with an abnormal situation, and we have to deal with it in an abnormal way. We had no precedent to guide us, and we had simply to say: "Can e first say to the British taxpayer that you must bear that burden?" We said, "No," and, having made up our mind on that side of the question, we said we must come to the House of Commons and ask them to trust us to get this money. We frankly say to the House of Commons that it is an innovation. I put it to my hon. and gallant Friend that, in short, the difference in procedure is this. Whatever tax we impose, we say in our procedure that if the House of Commons wants to challenge, let Members challenge right away, because they do not agree with our action. My hon. and gallant Friend wants to reverse that procedure and compel us to accept the affirmative position. I admit that, if I were viewing this question from the Parliamentary point of view, I should be inclined to accept the Amendment. But I do ask him to realise the unprecedented position. The Government on the Second Reading or on the Committee stage of the Bill cannot inform the House of any particular tariffs.
They cannot do it, because they must reserve to themselves the right to obtain this particular amount of money in the circumstances as they arise and they cannot foresee those circumstances. I frankly admit that this is asking for an unprecedented authority, but I again repeat that the circumstances are unprecedented and that we have to deal with them. If between now and the framing of the Bill any circumstances arise, I promise my hon. Friend that we shall keep this point in mind. I ask him, however, to remember that this is not being blindly done or done without consideration to the position on the other side of the water. I ask the Committee to give us this power and to trust us at the same time to use this power wisely and well.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The reply of the right hon. Gentleman has been no answer whatever to the point made by the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank). All the right hon. Gentleman has told us is that this is unprecedented, that this is a strange occasion, and that, therefore, we are going to do something very odd. He has made no attempt whatever to meet the case put up or to show that this Amendment would in any way hinder him in what he wants to do. He is asking the Committee to give the Treasury power to put on a tax up to 100 per cent. He asks power to do that immediately. All that the Amendment proposes is that any Order made shall have to come before the House of Commons at the expiration of 28 days from the date on which the Order is made and that the time during which the House is not sitting shall not be counted. We all know that Parliament is going to rise in a few days. He has all that time during which the House of Commons is not sitting in which he can do as he pleases. When the House re-assembles, under this Amendment he will have to get the approval of the House for his Order. How is he prevented from doing what he wants? He does not know what the repercussions of these measures are going to be. During the course of this debate it has been many times pointed out what far-reaching effects they may have. The House of Commons has a right to retain its power over taxation. The right hon. Gentleman has not given a single practical reason why this course should not be adopted. He has simply said: "You must trust us." The House of Commons is going to rise and, if the Amendment is carried, we shall have to trust the right hon. Gentleman while the House is not sitting. It is regrettable, but we have to do it. But the right hon. Gentleman wants to keep the House silent, too, while it is sitting. He has given no reason why the House should abandon its power over taxation.
We have had new precedent after new precedent. The precedent set in the Import Duties Act would have shocked all previous Parliaments and all previous Chancellors of the Exchequer. Now we are carrying it even further. On the previous occasion we were told that we were leaving these matters to a judicial body, to the committee of three. Now we are 190 leaving it to the Treasury. It is an example of the way that the Executive are gradually taking away all the powers of Parliament. We shall yet regret such an abandonment of the rights of Parliament. The unanswerable proposal put forward by the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough has not been met by the Government with the slightest attempt at any argument but with the mere assertion that this is a crisis. All that that means is that the right hon. Gentleman is flurried; he has got the wind up; he does not know what he is doing, and he says, "For goodness sake do not interfere with me. Let me go on as I am."
§ Mr. MAXTON
The answer of the right hon. Gentleman to this Amendment is the most preposterous of all the preposterous things he has said to-day. Such a reply is only possible in such a Parliament as this, where all the senior Cabinet Ministers are sitting on the Government Front Bench. If there were on this side of the House any Member of the Opposition who had held high Cabinet rank and experience, the Government would not dare to make the preposterous proposal that the right hon. Gentleman makes now in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank). He asks Members on his own side of the House to trust the Government and to allow the Government to suspend all the ordinary powers and responsibilities of Parliament. He cannot ask that of the Opposition; he is not entitled to ask that of the Opposition. We were not sent here to give plenary powers to the Government to suspend the ordinary rights and responsibilities of the House of Commons. He says it is because this is unprecedented that we are to divest ourselves of all responsibility. It is because it is unprecedented that the House should keep control of what it is doing. Do not let us go off our heads entirely because we have to collect £3,000,000 of debt. It is not unprecedented in the sense that it is a new situation, but it is an unprecedented thing for the Government to impose taxation to meet a specific charge. It is unprecedented for a Government to say, that they will put on this taxation and that, as soon as they have collected the necessary amount, the taxation will cease.
It is a, completely new principle in British methods of taxation that you 191 should apply a tax for a specific purpose to meet a particular debt. Taxation in this country has been general to meet the general expenditure of the nation. This is for a specific purpose to pay certain dividends to certain bondholders. Another thing that makes this taxation unprecedented is that, when the amount is collected, the taxation will terminate. These are not reasons why the House of Commons should abandon its control; these are very strong reasons why the House of Commons should insist on all its rights being preserved to the fullest point. I hope that the hon. and gallant Gentleman will carry the Amendment to the Division Lobby, and I and my Friends will give him all the support in our power.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
There are a number of us who are frankly a little perturbed by the definitely new precedent which it is proposed to set here. The hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) was not correct when he said that the Import Duties Act set up a new procedure, because that procedure was invented in 1921 when the Safeguarding of Industries Act was passed, but, if we pass this, it will be a new procedure because it will have no check at all. It is not because I believe that the Government will abuse their powers that I take this view; I do not believe that they will. I am completely in favour of the Resolution. I am thinking, not of this issue, but of other issues. Parliament should not lightly sacrifice its rights. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Resolution told us that, even if this Amendment is not pressed to a division to-night, there will still be time for reconsideration. It might be wise that we should give them time for consideration. I am certain that no one on this side wishes to hamper them in the slightest degree. I think the Committee owe a deep debt of gratitude to my hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Crookshank) for the service he has performed to-night. He has performed the proper rights of the Opposition in safeguarding the subject against the Executive. He has noticed something in this
§ Resolution which many of us did not see.
§ Mr. CURRY
I should like to express my appreciation of the action of the hon. and gallant Member (Captain Crook-shank) in putting down this Amendment. The measures, which it is proposed to adopt, would have been dangerous in ordinary circumstances, but this procedure is even a greater danger, when proposed to a Parliament, the great majority of whose Members are new to Parliamentary procedure. I speak as a new Member myself. I came here under the obligation and with the opinion that the real foundation of the liberties of the people rested upon the control of finance by this House. I believe that this House should, as its first duty, safeguard that privilege and thus discharge its duty, not merely to the electors, but to posterity.
§ Colonel GRETTON
I have only a. very few words to say, but I should like to express my thanks to the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) for raising this matter. Obviously, the reply on behalf of the Government was quite inadequate, and the real reason was not stated, and one can only surmise it. We shall be told that the reason is the saving of Parliamentary time, but it will not be possible to keep these Orders secret. These Orders will have to be public property. At any rate, I hope that this matter will be raised again on the Bill, and I hope that the Government will be pressed further to insert this Amendment in the Bill when it comes up. Parliament as a matter of principle should not sacrifice its power of control.
Sir JOHN SANDEMAN ALLEN
I should like to add my request to the Government to reconsider this matter. I understand the difficulties to-night, but, after all, this is a very serious precedent. I feel that this Amendment should receive rather more consideration than that which has been given it by the Government up to the present moment.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 49; Noes, 191.193
|Division No. 277.]||AYES.||[12.55 a.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Bralthwalter, J.G. (Hillsborough)||Champman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Brocklebank, C.E.R.||Cocks, Frederick Seymour|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C, (Berks., Newb'y||Cripps, Sir Stafford|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Buchanan, George||Crookshank, Capt. H.C. (Galnsb'ro)|
|Curry, A. C.||Jenkins, Sir William||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Dagger, George||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Price, Gabriel|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kirkwood, David||Storey, Samuel|
|Edwards, Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||McGovern, John||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Hirst, George Henry||Maxton, James|
|Janner, Barnett||Milner, Major James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Penny, Sir George|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Goff, Sir Park||Petherick, M.|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Cralg[...]e M.||Goldie, Noel B.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Apsley, Lord||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Ramsay. T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Ray, Sir William|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Balniel, Lord||Hales, Harold K.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Hartland, George A.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th.C.)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Robinson, John Roland|
|Minden, James||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hornby, Frank||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Howard, Tom Forrest||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Burnett, John George||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Scone, Lord|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Ker, J. Campbell||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Kerr, Charles (Montrose)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Kimball, Lawrence||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Knebworth, Viscount||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hon Sir A (C'thness)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Slater, John|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Leck[...]e, J. A.||smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Colville, John||Levy, Thomas||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Liddall, Walter S.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Copeland, Ida||Mabane, William||Stevenson, James|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Stones, James|
|Cranborne, Viscount||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||McKie, John Hamilton||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||McLean, Major Alan||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Mallalleu, Edward Lancelot||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Manningham-Buffer, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Donner, P. W.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Titchlietd, Major the Marquess of|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Train, John|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Yard, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Yard, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Milne, Charles||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Mitchell, Harold D. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Morning, Adrian C.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Morrison, William Shepherd||Womersley, Walter James|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Wragg, Herbert|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Palmer, Francis Noel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Peake, Captain Osbert||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Pearson, William G.||Captain Austin Hudson.|
§ Main Question put,196
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 223 Noes, 31.197
|Division No. 278.]||NOES||[1.4 a.m.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Goff, Sir Park||Petherick, M.|
|Albery, Irving James||Goldie, Noel B.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'ptn, Bliston)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Llverp'l, W.)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Asks. Sir Robert William||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Baln[...]el, Lord||Hales, Harold K.||Ray, Sir William|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Hartington, Marquess of||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Hartland, George A.||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Head[...]am, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert [...]||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|B[...]ndell, James||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hornby, Frank||Robinson, John Roland|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Howard, Tom Forrest||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brooklebank, C. E. R.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newby)||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Janner, Barnett||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Jennings, Roland||Scone, Lord|
|Burnett, John George||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Ker, J. Campbell||Slater, John|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Kerr, Charles (Montrose)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Kimball, Lawrence||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring)||Knebworth, Viscount||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Leckie, J. A.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Colville, John||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Stevenson, James|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Levy, Thomas||Stones, James|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Llddall, Walter S.||Storey, Samuel|
|Cooke, Douglas||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Copeland, Ida||Liewellin, Major John J.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Sugden, Sir Wilfrld Hart|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Mabana, William||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Ga[...]nsb'ro)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Curry, A. C.||McKie, John Hamilton||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||McLean, Major Alan||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Train, John|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Donner, P. W.||Mallaileu, Edward Lancelot||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Duncan, James A.L.(Kensington, N.)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Milne, Charles||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tl'd & Chisw'k)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Moreing, Adrian C.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Morrison, William Shepherd||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Mulrhead, Major A. J.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Sir George Penny and Mr. Shakespeare.|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Cripps, Sir Stafford|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Buchanan, George||Daggar, George|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Krikwood, David||Millner, Major James|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||Price, Gabriel|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert||Tinker, Gabriel|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-col. David|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Hirst, George Henry||McGovern, John||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Maxton, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow, Committee to sit again To-morrow.