§ The following Amendments stood upon the Order Paper:
In page 1, line 17, to leave out the word "If," and to insert instead thereof 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 and."—[Mr. Bevan.]
§ In line 17, to leave out the word "Treasury," and to insert instead thereof the words "Commons House of Parliament."—[Mr. Buchanan.]
§ In line 19, after the word "obligations," to insert the words "entered into after the passing of this Act."
In line 19, after the word "obligations," to insert the words:
which have been entered into since the sixth day of December, nineteen hundred and twenty-two."—[Mr. Maxton.]
§ The CHAIRMAN
The first Amendment which I propose to select is the second in the name of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), in page 1, line 19.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not propose to select that Amendment. This question will arise on other Amendments. It was discussed at very great length on the Financial Resolution.
§ The CHAIRMAN
No, I must leave the right hon. Gentleman to judge of that. I can only tell the right hon. Gentleman that I do not propose to select that Amendment.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I understood that it was to be selected. Is it proposed to select the proposed new Clause—(Reference to Ottawa Conference)?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I will tell the right hon. Gentleman at once that it will be quite impossible to select that.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
If it is not selected I do not see where we shall get the chance of discussing the question raised in the first Amendment which you have not selected.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I should like to ask what are the reasons that have led the Chair to pass over the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan)? That proposes to place the House of Commons in control of these duties.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have no difficulty in answering the hon. Gentleman. I do not usually give reasons for not selecting 692 Amendments, but in this case it is not selected because it amounts practically to a negative.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Do I understand that the Amendment you are calling is the one immediately following that, namely, in page 1, line 19, after the word "obligations," to insert the words "entered into after the passing of this Act"?
§ Mr. MAXTON
I rise to move, in page 1, line 19, after the word "obligations," to insert the words,entered into after the passing of this Act.I should have thought that this Amendment was somewhat more fundamental than the Amendment not selected. The purpose of this Amendment, as will be clear to the Committee, is to agree to the principle that the Irish Free State and Mr. de Valera should be responsible for any agreements that they enter into themselves for the future, 'but shall not be held responsible for agreements that were made by their predecessors in office. In support of the Amendment, I want to urge the Dominions Secretary to realise the justice of this point of view. He has all along in the discussions on the Bill and the antecedent Resolution laid insistence on the necessity for agreements honourably entered into being honourably kept. I accept that as a sound general principle. I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman has reiterated more than once, that ordinary life is impossible if the agreements that are entered into are not honourably kept. But it is equally true to say that if we as individuals are to be determined by agreements that are made by somebody else, and if the agreements of the past are to be made dominant over the present and the future, no human progress is possible. If it be said, as has been argued on this Bill, that Mr. de Valera and the present Irish Government cannot depart from agreements that have been entered into with their predecessors, we simply tell the Irish people in so many words that to change the Government is a. waste of time.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I have not reached yet the depths of cynicism of the hon. and 693 learned Gentleman who says that it is a waste of time to change Governments.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
What is the use of agreements if all you have to do in order to break them is to change your Government?
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am saying that men can only be held in honour bound to observe agreements to which they themselves have been parties.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am going back to what the Dominions Secretary is fond of going back to, namely, his experience in the trade union field, and I am going to remind him that his first step on the ladder which he has climbed so successfully was achieved when he deposed from power in the railway union of that day his predecessor, Mr. Richard Bell. From the day be assumed power, he began to alter the agreements and bargains that had been entered into by his predecessor. He began to alter all the methods, all the tactics, and all the agreements and understandings that had characterized that union in the past. There was no reason for putting him there except that he was going to change policy. That is what the Irish people had in their mind when they returned Mr. de Valera to replace Mr. Cosgrave. They wanted a complete change of policy, and they wanted Irish affairs to be run on different lines and principles from those on which they had been run in preceding years. Therefore, while I am prepared to agree, as is suggested by this Amendment, that the obligations which Mr. de Valera enters into on behalf of Ireland from now onwards must be binding on him. I say that this House and this nation are asking something which they have no right to ask when they say that Mr. de Valera, must be responsible to all eternity for a policy to which he did not assent and of which he was the most active opponent in the whole of Ireland. The purpose of my Amendment is to make this Bill operative so far as the obligations of the Irish Free State entered into by Mr. de Valera's Government are concerned, but to waive responsibility for action previously taken.
The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
I must indicate quite clearly that the Government cannot accept this Amendment, and I can scarcely think that my hon. Friend seriously suggests it. Boiled down, it means this: that the Government of any country, any Dominion, are entitled, because of political changes, to repudiate any sort of obligation made by their predecessors. If that principle were accepted no Government and no business could ever be conducted. Supposing the present secretary and president of the Miners' Federation or the railwaymen's union, to which my hon. Friend referred, said "Notwithstanding the agreement we made solemnly on behalf of our members, because there is a change in the personnel we have a right to repudiate it." Does the hon. Member accept that proposition? If he does, then I ask him to visualise how any business, or -any State, could continue on those lines?
I will come to the late and lamented predecessor of myself, Richard Bell, though I do not know why these personal references are introduced.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I hope that I always show a proper respect for the dead and for distinguished public figures, but surely it is a new principle in this House that one may not use the name of some person and refer to his activities in the past. Surely there is no breach of decorum or of the courtesies of debate in doing that?
I do not complain on those grounds at all. Richard Bell is dead, and I pay a tribute to his memory. I succeeded him, and my hon. Friend has paid me the compliment of showing the changed condition in the railwaymen's status following my succession to Mr. Bell. But I want to make it perfectly clear that I never sent an ultimatum to the railway companies and said, "I propose to tear up this agreement." What I did was to send them a reasoned statement in which I said that, in my judgment, the agreement should be altered, and they responded by asking me to meet and discuss the situation. Let my hon. Friend observe the difference in the methods.
It was my hon. Friend who first raised the issue—not I. I want to say that I do not accept his Amendment, and that I cannot conceive even a Government—and here I am giving him tremendous latitude—of which he was a Member—and if ever there was such a Government he would be a distinguished ornament of it—ever accepting this principle, because it would mean, after once solemnly entering into an obligation, all the merits of which had been settled after examination and discussion, conceding the right to a successive Government to repudiate it. Business, government, the ordinary affairs of life, cannot be conducted on that basis. If that is my hon. Friend's conception of the future State, I merely say to him, "I am not accepting it to-night, and God help those who ever do accept it!"
§ Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT
The Committee ought to be very grateful to the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) for moving this Amendment, because now we know exactly where he stands, and as I think we may say that he was the leader of the opposition on this point in the earliest days, it is only right that the Committee should understand his motives. He declares that, in his opinion, no treaty is binding on the Free State unless it has the assent of the present Prime Minister of Ireland, Mr. de Valera. What is the logical sequence to that? It stands to reason that any agreement which is arrived at to-day can be broken if there is a change of Government in the next month, or two months, or even a year—[Interruption]—or if the said gentleman were to die, which we all hope may not happen for many years, and were succeeded by anybody else. That is reducing the whole idea of agreements to nullity. The hon. Member is asking the House to assent to an Amendment which really means that every Government in turn can repudiate the acts of its predecessors. If that were so, the whole basis of our Parliamentary decisions would fall to the ground, and it would be inconceivable that we should make any agreement with any other country or any other part of the Empire. I think we ought to be grateful to the hon. Member for having so clearly laid down his views, because now we know where he stands.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Let me assume that Mr. de Valera gets his way about this and that the arrangement is repudiated. If Mr. Cosgrave came into power, would he not expect to repudiate that in his turn?
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
But that would not be a bargain. The speech of the Dominions Secretary has shown up the hollowness of the whole case by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). Look at the boundary commission. There was a unanimous report of both the representatives of the South and the North of Ireland and a distinguished South African judge who was called in, and yet it is now represented as a bad report, though, as I have said, it was unanimous. This is a refusal to pay a debt, to hand over money collected. Mr. de Valera's Government is collecting this money from the Irish farmers and is holding it up. Why all this talk about arbitration? You cannot arbitrate about a debt which is admittedly and patently due. We are being asked to consider this matter as if there was some doubt about it. There is no doubt about it. The money is due, and is being held up. It is not the money of the Irish Free State. It is not the outcome of the taxation of the Irish Free State. It is private money; individual farmers made a bargain, and were glad to get the money at such a cheap price. They have not said they will not pay, and the Irish Free State have collected the money, but will not hand it over. We are not going to send over bailiffs to try to collect it. We shall collect it at the ports. Now the suggestion is put forward that Mr. de Valera is to be held responsible only for agreements made in the future—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) has mistaken the Amendment. The Amendment which I put to the Committee was the second Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). It was not the Amendment to insert the words:entered into after the passing of this Act.but the next one.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I think the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) spoke on the Amendment to insert the words:entered into after the passing of this Act.697 and I was replying to that speech. If he made a speech on that Amendment, I was also making one on the same Amendment, and so we are both involved in a common error.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I rise to support the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and I understand that you will allow me to proceed on the same lines as he did.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am sorry. I owe the Committee an apology. When the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) was moving his Amendment I did not really hear what he was saying, because I was occupied with hon. Members who wanted to know something as to the course of the procedure, and if I allowed him to stray out of order I am afraid that one sin of mine cannot be a reason for my committing another.
§ Mr. MAXTON
All my arguments were directed to supporting the Amendment which is the third on the Paper, to insert the words:entered into after the passing of this Act.That is what I was speaking to.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I did not follow the speech. I thought I had made it quite clear that the Amendment I called was the second Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member—In page 1, line 19, after the word "obligations," to insert the words:which have been entered into since the sixth day of December, nineteen hundred and twenty-two.That is the one which I actually put to the Committee.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The entire Debate has been occupied with the other Amendment, and I think it would be hard on the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) that after he had spoken on one Amendment we should then continue with the discussion of another Amendment on which he has not had the opportunity of saying a word.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member knows quite well that in Committee an hon. Member can speak a second time, and I have not the least doubt that the case for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bridgeton will be put by his colleagues, so far as it has not been put already.
Then, I understand, the Amendment is: In page I, line 19, after the word "obligations," to insert the words:which have been entered into since the sixth day of December, nineteen hundred and twenty-two.This Amendment makes a much less claim. The earlier Amendment to which I was speaking, made the claim that the present Irish Government should only be responsible for the present Irish Government's obligations. It is upon that point that this further Amendment makes a smaller claim, which is that the present Irish Government should only be responsible for obligations which were entered into since the date mentioned in the Amendment, which is the date of the passing of the present Irish Constitution, and the establishment of the Irish Free State as a separate nation. The Land Annuities were an obligation entered into previous to that time, and they constituted a debt which was in existence before Ireland had a separate existence as a nation. It was obvious that the Committee and the Dominions Secretary were not prepared to accept the major claim of the previous Amendment, but I hope they will see the justice of the claim made in this one, that the Irish Free State Government should not be made responsible for obligations which the Irish Free State Government did not incur.
The Amendment meets fully the arguments that were propounded by the Dominions Secretary, the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) and the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten). They said that no State could exist if each successive Government denied the obligations of its predecessor. I am not asking that Mr. de Valera's Government should refuse the obligations of its predecessors, but merely that this Parliament should not attempt to make the Irish Free State responsible for debts that the Irish Free State did not incur, but which this Parliament incurred for the Irish people, before the Irish nation had a separate political identity. That is the claim of this Amendment. Since I spoke at considerable length on the last Amendment, I will not detain the Committee, but I will urge the Committee to accept this Amendment.
Let me explain at once to the Committee how very cleverly, with 699 all respect to him, the hon. Member has moved this Amendment. Under the assumption that he was moving another Amendment, he said: "I ask the House to keep clearly in mind that no Government is bound by its predecessor." That was the substance of his previous claim on the Amendment which we assumed that he was moving.
Shall I say "get on with"? Having disposed of the first Amendment, we get on with the next. Now my hon. Friend says: "What I want the House to keep in mind is that whatever may have been the position at the signing of the Treaty, nothing beyond that should be kept." I think that is a fair interpretation of what has been said. My hon. Friend, who has had, we all appreciate, a long experience in a movement, has never reached in that movement what I would call a responsible stage. I hope he does not mind my saying so. He will not misunderstand me. I refer to that stage where he would be called upon to implement something to which he is a party. He will understand that. Therefore I want to put to him, for that purpose, the circumstances of the Treaty which was signed. I do not want to dwell upon the atmosphere of that time. There were, obviously and naturally, in that Treaty certain details left over, as there are in all big agreements. This was a very big one. The matters left over were negotiated, and included in there was the matter of the Land Annuities and other matters.
Then, in the calmer, the quiet and cool atmosphere of those negotiations, the Land Annuities were dealt with, and an agreement was reached and signed, and ratified twice by the Irish people, in so far as they returned, as a Government, those who had made that agreement. What my hon. Friend seeks to nullify is the agreement made by the representatives of the Irish people at that time. Those are the facts. It may be it was wrong to have done it. It may be that 700 my hon. Friend thinks that it is a bad procedure. It may be that he visualises a period where he will be making agreements, and it will be awkward for him not to forget what the previous agreements were. That does not alter the fact that in this case the representatives of the Irish people made an agreement. That agreement was accepted by us as the Government of the day. The Treaty was followed by 10 years of successive Governments by the representatives of the Irish people, and we to-day, the British Government, refuse to repudiate their signature. The Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend would have that effect. There is very little difference betwen the previous Amendment and this, and I do not propose to accept it.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Again I rise to support my colleague the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). I would ask the Committee to remember what the Dominions Secretary stated just now. He said: "Let us try to remember the atmosphere in which this agreement was drawn up." If we can only remember and visualise the atmosphere in which it was drawn up, we shall find that the Government have a very weak case. The reason is that this Government drew up this agreement and made this Treaty with a subject people, a people that had fought for their independence right down the ages. I can remember as a boy at school—not an Irish boy, a Scottish Protestant boy—that we were educated to believe that Cromwell ruled Ireland with a rod of iron. Do not forget that this is a people that fought to get rid of that rod of iron, and fought hard. They sacrificed everything time and time again. The whole history of this race is written in blood, after all these centuries of fighting for home-rule in Ireland. The Irish drank it in with their mothers' milk. The Irish were trained to believe that the liberation of their country was through Political action; that is why they were all great Home-Rulers and that is why the Irish became the greatest politicians in this country. Wherever they were in Britain, they were politicians, because they believed that through political action they would get the right to make the laws of their native land.
After going through all that trouble, the time arrived when they got what they fought for; but you have to remember 701 what they have just come through. This subject people, not completely free yet, with whom we are negotiating, had not got clear away, because they were a small nation standing up against the most powerful nation upon which the sun has ever shone, the British Empire. So it is not to be wondered at that the Irish did not get all that they wanted and all that was their right as a race. No race has a right to impose upon any other nation, and Britain has imposed its will upon Ireland right down the ages, and is trying to do it again to-day. There is no doubt about that. During 10 years the Irish have laboured under this disability—Southern Ireland not Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is out of the picture. It has been pampered, and special considerations have been given to Northern Ireland by this House, differently from Southern Ireland. The chief of the Free State believes that Ireland has been robbed in this agreement. The British public knew quite well. This is almost the first man who in our time has kept faith with the people who voted for him. When he went into power he did what he said he would do. [Interruption.] This National Government has betrayed the people of this country.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), knows better, I hope, than to answer an interjection which is not relevant.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
My class are being roasted as they have been all down the ages, and as the Irish have been, but now a man has arrived who is going to stand by his comrades. He is not going to be pushed on one side. Neither flowery language, nor great diplomats or any clapping on the back and coming to London to see the King and Queen, etc., will alter him. He has laid down a certain line of action for himself. Whether we agree with him or not, it is not our business. We have been told here time and time again that we have no right to interfere with the internal affairs of another country. Here we are interfering with the internal affairs of Ireland in no uncertain fashion. We gave the Irish people the right to say what kind of Government they would have. They call it the Dail, and they have elected this Dail. De Valera and his colleagues went before the people of Ireland stating definitely what 702 they would do if they were returned to power. This is not a light matter to Mr. de Valera, because both he and his colleagues have been in prison. I know what it is to be imprisoned for one's opinions, and so does Mr. de Valera. He has been threatened with his life being taken. So it is not a light matter to him. He went before the people of Ireland who have a right to say whether he shall be their leader or not, and the Irish people decided that. He says that he is not going to agree to a Treaty that has been signed by his predecessor.
I do not know why the House and the Government should say that this has; never happened before, and that it is the end of all things. Why, at the Presidential elections in America this country gets excited, because somebody who is hostile to Britain might be elected President of the United States. It is the same with France, and particularly with Greece, about which I could tell a tale, only I do not want to tell anything that I have been told privately, how they are anxious lest some President should be elected who would turn down certain agreements that have been made by big financiers in this country. It is not a precedent at all. It just happens to be that this House has been in the habit of telling the Irish what they are to do, and if they do not do it, then they ride roughshod over their heads. All that has gone There is not only a different atmosphere in this House and in the country, but in the world in general. It is the order of the day, this idea of breaking agreements. Nobody knows, better than the powers behind the Throne to-day why they are so anxious about this business. They know perfectly well that if ever a Socialist Government comes in with the power of the people behind it, the same as Mr. de Valera has got the Irish people behind him, that Socialist Government will break all the agreements that have ever been administered.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must remind the hon. Member that he is developing into a Second Reading speech on the Bill.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I really did not hear your Ruling, but I know perfectly well that you consider I have gone outside the limits of this Amendment. I was taking the opportunity of letting the Committee know where I and my friends 703 stand in this business. We are right up against the idea of the workers being wage slaves, and all the agreements that have been made have been on that understanding. The moment you get the workers to believe they have a right to be free, then we will disavow all the agreements which have ever been made. Mr. de Valera can rely on our standing by him and the Irish at the present moment.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I would like to ask the hon. Member not to press this Amendment to a Division, and for this reason. If this were carried, it would mean that the rest of the Bill would become operative in certain conditions, and I am not in favour in any conditions of adopting the procedure which the Government propose, in order, as they think, to bring any Government to reason, whether the Free State Government or any other. It is because of that that my friends and I are unable to support the Amendment. Further than that, we are unable to support it because the whole of our case in regard to the Government's proposal is that this is a matter which must go to arbitration. We are not going to back down from that. Mr. de Valera admits that. Much of the discussion so far has been on the questions which are in dispute between the two Governments. We cannot support putting in this sort of proviso in regard to any obligations after 1922, when the Government would be free to do what they propose to do in the Bill. Therefore, we cannot support the Amendment.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I cannot understand the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, namely, that if we carry the Amendment the rest of the Bill cannot be amended or set aside. It seems to me if we carry the Amendment the rest of the Bill could still be amended.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
There is an Amendment here. Possibly we should have put down consequential Amendments, but everybody knows the stress under which we are working. Two or three of us here attend diligently to our duties, and we have to draft our Amendments ourselves. We are not allowed a. single thing, and last night, while the hon. Member for 704 Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) was taking part in the Debate, I drafted the Amendments. I had to consult him an hour later after he had spoken. We have not the facilities which others have. What we have done is to put down the principle, knowing that if the Committee agree to it, the whole Bill will be washed out and defeated. If we carried one of our Amendments, the consequential Amendments would not matter. If this were carried, it would be tantamount to defeat of the Bill. I am voting for all the Labour party Amendments, some of which I do not quite accept, because if any of them were carried almost all the Bill would go, excepting one or two things which might be adjusted. It would mean the defeat of the Bill, and I am voting for the principle of defeating this Bill with any one's Amendments. We had to do the best we could in the time, and put down our Amendments. Consequential Amendments would afterwards follow, but we know that on a defeat the Government would withdraw the Bill.
I speak only for the small group with whom I am associated. We have taken arbitration, but we have taken it only as occupying the second place. We take the view clearly and distinctly that there never was a treaty on this subject between Ireland and Great Britain, that this was done by force and that, therefore, while a country or Government acting for a country might accept it at the time, such an agreement to be a proper agreement must be made by persons who approximate to equality at the time the agreement was made. There was no equality. There was a big, powerful nation equipped in the art of war in the way no other nation was equipped, and against that you have a nation which was ill-equipped from the war point of view and financially. Therefore, we say we cannot accept the idea that there was a treaty. If we could defeat the Bill without arbitration, we would do so, because we hold that there can be no arbitration if there was no treaty. Once we are defeated in our point, then we try the next best thing. Not having gained our point, we try to make the tribunal satisfactory on both sides. But we have never admitted the principle that there are agreements on this subject.
Those who vote for this Amendment will be voting for an Amendment which 705 is calculated to defeat the whole purpose of the Bill, and must, if carried, mean the ultimate withdrawal of the Bill. We take an entirely different view of the Treaty from that taken by the majority of the House. We do not accept the Treaty argument. We take the view that, as with trade unions and other organisations, it may well be that these things have been forced on a beaten people ill-equipped to resist, and I say that in such circumstances we cannot accept them as being agreements. Agreements presuppose something like equality in fighting ability and capacity to sustain between the two rivals, and we say earnestly, to those who are desirous of seeing that everything possible is done in this House to place on record their opposition to this Measure, that they should vote with us.
Question, "That the words,which have been entered into since the sixth day of December, nineteen hundred and twenty-two,be there inserted ", put, and negatived.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I beg to move, in page 1, line 19, after the word "obligations," to insert the words "to the British Government."
This Amendment is of a different order from the last one. It is not obstructive, and it is not destructive. We think that it would correct a defect in the phraseology of the Bill. The point is a simple one, and is, I hope, obvious to the Government. The Bill says:If it appears to the Treasury that any failure of the Government of the Irish Free State to implement their obligations.That may mean obligations to anyone under the sun. It may mean general obligations as between the Irish Free State Government and its own nationals. There is no limitation. The Bill as it is phrased at present takes power for the British House of Commons to butt in on Ireland's affairs and make her observe obligations whether we have anything to do with them or not. All that this Amendment proposes to do is to limit the operation of the Bill to failures of the Government of the Irish Free State to implement their obligations to Great Britain. I think the Dominions Secretary will agree that that is all we are entitled to do, and it is certainly all that this House has in mind. It is only obligations as between the Irish Free State and Great Britain 706 that the House is anxious to see implemented, and, therefore, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will agree that the addition of these words makes for greater clarity and precision, and makes the wording of the Bill conform to the intention.
After the speech of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), I am sure there will be no complaint from below the Gangway if I say right away that no Amendment will be accepted. I am sure my hon. Friend will not challenge that, after the speech we have just heard. The hon. Member made it perfectly clear, notwithstanding the plea of the Leader of the Opposition, that the object which they had in view—I am sure he will not quarrel with this statement—was clearly and definitely to destroy the purpose of the Bill.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
As regards the Amendment in question, that is true, and I do not wish to deny it, but we put down two other Amendments. This one we thought was a good drafting Amendment to put the Bill in order, and the other Amendment is the one in page 2, line 17, after the word "to," to insert the words "livestock or."
That being so, there is no difference between us. It is quite clear that the object is definite: Destroy the Bill if you can, but, if you cannot destroy it, make it as little effective from your point of view as you can. This particular Amendment proposes to insert the words "to the British Government"—
Then I am sure that, if I can satisfy my hon. Friend that it is better without these words, he will agree. The object of the Amendment is to deal with what we may call for short the Joss to someone, and the Amendment proposes to insert the words "to the British Government." I want to put it to the House quite clearly that there could be no purpose in submitting this Bill to the House unless the British Government was incurring a loss. It may be argued that they are not entitled to recoup themselves, but that Is the object of the Bill; my hon. Friend may rest assured that we are only concerned with the loss to the British Government. The British Govern- 707 ment in this case means the British taxpayers, who will be called upon to bear the loss unless we get the money from some other source. If that is the only object of the Amendment, there is no need for it, and we are with the Mover, for once, in protecting the British Government. The hon. Member for Gorbals said that the previous Amendment had had to be drafted hastily, without consideration or consultation with legal experts. I now give him the benefit of the best legal advice. He may take it from me that our words are much more watertight than his, and that, therefore, there is no need to accept his words.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Anyone coming from Scotland is always glad, particularly with one's knowledge of the Dominions Secretary, to accept something for nothing. It is always thankfully received, small and mean as it may be. I am doubtful, however, about the right hon. Gentleman's legal advice about Ireland. I remember some other Irish advice which was rather expensive, and I am rather doubtful about such advice. I may have been inclined to belittle myself and my colleagues about the hasty drafting of our Amendments, but I am inclined to wonder if they are not better in the end, seeing that common sense is applied to them, than some legal Amendments upon which a great deal of time and money has been spent. At least they have never cost the country large sums of money. I cannot see the right hon. Gentleman's case quite as he has put it. I would ask the older Members of the House to read the words of the Bill:If it appears to the Treasury that any failure of the Government 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.…All that we ask is that, after the word "obligations," the words "to the British Government" should be inserted. Let me suppose a case. I admit that it may be far fetched, but I can quite imagine it happening. Suppose that the Irish Free State has obligations to someone outside Great Britain—say to a, Colony—and that failure to implement those obligations may have an effect on a public fund in Great Britain. In that case the obligation is not to Great Britain; it is 708 to someone else; and all that we ask in this connection is that as a precautionary measure the obligation in question shall be defined as an obligation to Great Britain. If we had represented bigger interests than we do represent, and had been more accommodating, we might possibly have got what we ask.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That has nothing to do with the Amendment. The hon. Member can raise it later on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Let the right hon. Gentleman forget that he was annoyed at my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) saying we were anxious to smash the Bill. Surely we have not left that in any doubt. That stands. It is constant, as we used to say in mathematics. We have admitted that our Amendments were drawn hurriedly and that we are not experts. I think the right hon. Gentleman might be as candid and say that the Bill has been drafted very hurriedly. He knows perfectly well that in the course of examination of Bills in this House—it is about the only valuable function that the Committee stage performs—adjustments are made in words to make the intention of the Government more clear. It is all very well to say he knows precisely what he wants, but it is not precisely what he wants that becomes the subject of litigation later on. It is what the Bill says. As I understand it, what the House wants in this legislation is power to collect moneys for certain outstanding obligations of the Irish Free State and that the Bill should lapse as soon as that immediate purpose is served. They do not want to give the Committee power to butt in at any time between now and 50 years hence and use this weapon to make Ireland observe obligations which we have nothing to do with. They only want to use it with reference to obligations that directly affect the British Government.
§ Sir GEORGE GILLETT
I should like to ask the hon. Member whether his attention has been drawn to an earlier part of the Measure. I should have thought his point was met on the first page, line 5, where it refers to "any loss incurred by any public fund of the United Kingdom."
§ Mr. MAXTON
That is the Preamble. Here we are talking about obligations. That is the word that the Law Courts will fasten on to in the event of any dispute. The word is used in the most general sense, unlimited and undefined. If it is the right hon. Gentleman's intention to have a bigger weapon in store than Parliament believes it is giving him, he ought to tell us. If it is his intention not merely to have a weapon that is to raise the necessary revenue to pay the Land Annuities but one to use against Ireland on any and every occasion when they think some obligation has not been met, in honesty he ought to tell us. If the purposes of the Bill are to be limited to the intentions that have been announced to the nation, these words in our view are necessary to make that quite clear.
I was not annoyed by the statement of the hon. Member's colleague. How could I be annoyed? I thank the hon. Member for indicating so clearly and definitely that every successive Amendment that he had was directed to a purpose that he made perfectly clear. Let me also assure the hon. Member that, in talking about 50 years, he is about 49 years and nine months beyond the time. The Government have no other object than to recoup the money that they believe they are justly entitled to. They have no other object than to prevent the constituents of the hon. Member and his friends being called upon to bear a burden as British taxpayers that we do not think they ought to bear. When that is accomplished, there will be nothing else. The Amendment is hastily drawn and, on the advice given to me, it is bad. They can take it from me that, if their object is the same as mine, it will be better attained by my words than by theirs.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
We have once again heard the declaration from the right hon. Gentleman that the purpose that he has in view is to secure certain sums of money which he says are due to this country, 710 and the method by which he proposes to recoup himself for the refusal to pay is by putting taxes on the food of the British people, because I take it that the taxes that will be put upon Irish imports will be largely food taxes. If he puts up a tariff against Irish imports, the Irish Government will tax English articles coming into Ireland.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
The hon. Member seems to be getting far from the Amendment. The question before the Committee is whether the obligations are due to the British Government or to anyone else.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I did not raise this point at all. It was raised by the Dominions Secretary, who told the Committee why the Bill was introduced and who has made it clear 90 times that the purpose is to raise an amount equivalent to the amount which be claims is due on these land annuities. He has told the Committee, without being ruled out of order, that the Bill is for the purpose of securing this £3,000,000, and that he wants to relieve hon. Members' constituents of the responsibility of having to bear this burden, and the method by which he proposes to relieve them is by putting a tax upon Irish food which British working men will have to pay.
I am sure the hon. Member has not followed the Amendment that we are dealing with. We are in Committee and the Amendment is in page 1, line 19, after the word "obligations" to insert the word "to the British Government." I have explained that the obligations are only those to the British Government and nothing else.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I will resume my seat after you have heard what I am discussing. I am discussing the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on the Amendment. There is no need for presidential or any other kind of indignation. I have yet to learn that, when a Minister makes a series of statements dealing with a subject which is absolutely germane, any individual Member is to be denied the right to discuss, analyse and dissect those 711 statements, and that is precisely what I am doing now. I am not concerned with the Amendments one way or another. I take it that they are largely proposed as a matter of Parliamentary procedure. There is not much hope that any of them will be carried. I know that they are moved, with the characteristic skill of hon. Members below the Gangway, for the purpose of embarrassing the Government, but I recognise that they cannot possibly have any effect. The real effect of the Bill is to raise £3,000,000, and I repeat, How are you going to raise it?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It is not in order to raise that matter. It might come in on the Question, "That the Clause stand part," but not on the Amendment.
§ Mr. TINKER
I cannot understand why the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs cannot accept the Amendment. He urged that because Members below the Gangway had stated that they intended to wreck the Bill whatever the consequences, he was not prepared to listen to any kind of Amendment. That is not a right kind of attitude to adopt. In regard to any Bill to which they object the Opposition take a direct line against it on Second Reading, and afterwards attempt to improve it. It is the work of the House of Commons to try to improve a Measure. The dispute in this matter is between the Irish Free State and the British Government, and all that the Amendment seeks to do is to make the position clear in the Bill. The Secretary of State states that the whole outline of the Bill is to make good any loss, and if that is so, why cannot he accept words to make it clear and definite so that everybody will know what the Bill really means? We often find in regard to Acts which have been passed that lawyers comment on the fact that they ought to have been made more definite, and point out that if the House of Commons meant this thing or that thing they should have made it more definite in the Act. The Amendment is not for the purpose of wrecking the Bill, but improving it.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for 712 Dominion Affairs sneers at my hon. Friends when they state their difficulties in dealing with Amendments which have had to be put down in a hurry to a Bill of this description. The Bill is not very definite about anything at all. If the Bill were put into the hands of a person who had not been reading the newspapers or perhaps listening to the wireless, he would not know what it was about. It does not state that it is for the purpose of recovering certain Land Annuities. It does not mention the term "annuities." It does not specifically state what funds are in arrears. It is not clear as far as the public outside are concerned. I do not know whether it is the proper way of presenting a Bill of this description, but it strikes me as being particularly vague. If it were stated that the Bill was for the purpose of securing money to meet certain lapses in the payment of Irish Annuities, the position would be much clearer than it is at the present time. While the right hon. Gentleman prides himself on the clearness of his drafting, I would point out that I have a recollection of drafting carried out on the Front Bench opposite with regard to an Irish question which cost the country £100,000. I suppose that perhaps the same legal advisers are responsible for the drafting of the present Bill. There was much cause to regret the drafting of Bills long before the present Bill came before the House. Would the insertion of these words make the Bill worse? Will the right hon. Gentleman answer that question?
I have nothing to add to what I said previously. The object of the Bill has been defined in the explanation which has been given, and it is to the British Government, and the British Government only, that this default applies. I have given the hon. Member reasons, and I put it to him that if he is as anxious about the British Government as I am, he will accept my word and not bother about the Amendment.
I am sorry to be controversial, but I am afraid that my hon. Friend has not been in his place or has not followed the controversy.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I know that Annuities are said to be in default, but the Bill does not declare them. That is my point. It does not mention Irish Annuities; it is as vague as it can be.
§ Mr. LOGAN
I wish to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the loose phraseology of the Bill. We are told that it is draftsmanship, and that the Clause is quite plain. We are told that it is tantamount to including "the British Government," and yet the words are not to be inserted. If it is tantamount to including "the British Government" why should there be any objection to making it absolutely clear? It says:If it appears to the Treasury that any failure of the Government of the Irish Free State to implement their obligations…" To whom? Is the Dominions Secretary, of all people, going to tell us that as far as draftsmanship is concerned his word is the last? I should think that it is the first and the last in all things. Any elementary school boy on reading the Bill would certainly say: "Daddy, who do they refer to?" You would say, "I do not know. It says, Implement their obligations.'" He would then ask, "Who to Daddy?" He would think that they had left out some words. Is there no necessity to make the Bill explanatory? It has been a hurried Bill introduced into the House in a panic, and now because the Government are in a panic they will not accept something which puts English into the Bill. Why should not the words "to the British Government" be inserted? Why not be specific and put into the Bill what you really mean? If the right hon. Gentleman is really serious and wishes to make the Bill definite and understandable, surely he must realise that the first thing one wants to know, if the Irish Free State are under an obligation, is to whom they owe that obliigation? What harm is there in inserting the words "to the British Government"? I want to obstruct as much as I possibly can.
§ Mr. LOGAN
With all due respect to you, Captain Bourne, I should have thought it, and not said it. I will continue with my thoughts without giving expression to them. I am at a loss to understand why an Amendment of this kind which has been so ably and intelligently moved should not be accepted by the Government. I am in full agreement with my hon. Friends below the Gangway.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
It seems to me that the House suffers, as it has suffered all through these Debates, from the absence of the Law Officers of the Crown. We have sought to have legal definitions given in regard to difficulties that have arisen. I recognise that the Secretary of State for the Dominions, as we have been told from time to time, is a very distinguished negotiator, that he has handled delicate and difficult situations, and that he has gone through many trials in the arena of controversy. He was congratulated from these benches last night on the fact that he has shown marvellous acumen, but this Debate has demonstrated that, however successful his career may have been in the sphere of diplomacy and negotiation, he has shown himself to be a very bad lawyer. That being so, I want to know why a Law Officer of the Crown is not here or why both of them are not in their places to advise the House, to advise individual Members, and to advise the Government as well as the Secretary of State for the Dominions upon the points that have been raised. Therefore, in order that our minds may be made perfectly clear upon the issues involved, I move to report Progress.
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 40; Noes, 261.715
|Division No. 294.]||AYES.||[8.2 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Buchanan, George||Edwards, Charles|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Betsy, Joseph||Cripps, Sir Stafford||Greenwood, Rt. Hun. Arthur|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Daggar, George||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Devlin, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.|
|Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Logan, David Gilbert||Wellhead, Richard C.|
|Healy, Cahir||Lunn, William||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Hicks, Ernest George||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Hirst, George Henry||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Maxton, James||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Milner, Major James|
|Kirkwood, David||Parkinson, John Allen||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Price, Gabriel||Mr. Gordon Macdonald and|
|Lawson, John James||Thorne, William James||Mr. Groves.|
|Leonard, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Fraser, Captain Ian||Magnay, Thomas|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Maitland, Adam|
|Albery, Irving James||Ganzonl, Sir John||Mender, Geoffrey le M.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Llverp'l, W.)||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Goff, Sir Park||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Grenfell, E. C. (City of Lennon)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Monsen, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro',W.)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Munro, Patrick|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Nall, Sir Joseph|
|Bernays, Robert||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Normand, Wilfrid Guild|
|Blindell, James||Hanley, Dennis A.||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nunn, William|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Briant, Frank||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hornby, Frank||Pearson, William G.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Horobin, Ian M.||Penny, Sir George|
|Burnett, John George||Horsbrugh, Florence||Petherick, M.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Howard, Tom Forrest||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Pybus, Percy John|
|Cassels, James Dale||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Blrm.,W)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Clarke, Frank||Janner, Barnett||Ramsden, E.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jennings, Roland||Rankin, Robert|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ray, Sir William|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Ker, J. Campbell||Remer, John R.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Law, Sir Alfred||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Robinson, John Roland|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Leckie, J. A.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Lees-Jones, John||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Curry, A. C.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Levy, Thomas||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Lewis, Oswald||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Dickle, John P.||Liddell, Walter S.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Rutherford. Sir John Hugo|
|Doran, Edward||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Salt, Edward W.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Mabane, William||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Waiter E.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Scone, Lord|
|Elmley, Viscount||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Selley, Harry R.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Falls, Sir Bertram G.||McKie, John Hamilton||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||McLean, Major Alan||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Ford, Sir Patrick J.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Templeton, William P.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Smithers, Waldron||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Somerset, Thomas||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Somervell, Donald Bradley||Thompson, Luke||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Stones, James||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Storey, Samuel||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Strauss, Edward A.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||Withers, Sir John James|
|Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Summersby, Charles H.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Sutcliffe, Harold||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Tate, Mavis Constance||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)||Sir Victor Warrender and Captain|
§ Original Question put, "That those words be there inserted."718
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 39; Noes, 249.719
|Division No. 295.]||AYES.||[8.12 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Healy, Cahir||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hicks, Ernest George||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, George Henry||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Slivertown)||Thorne, William James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lansbury, Rt. Hen. George||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark. Hamilton)||Leonard, William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Maxtor and Mr. Buchanan.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Crooke, J. Smedley||Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Albery, Irving James||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Crossley, A. C.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hornby, Frank|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Curry, A. C.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Davison, Sir William Henry||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Dickle, John P.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Doran, Edward||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Dunglass, Lord||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Edge, Sir William||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Bernays, Robert||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Janner, Barnett|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Eimley, Viscount||Jennings, Roland|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Blindell, James||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Boulton, W. W.||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Briant, Frank||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Fox, Sir Gifford||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Ganzonl, Sir John||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Burnett, John George||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Glossop, C. W. H.||Leckie, J. A.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Glucksteln, Louis Halle||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Goff, Sir Park||Lees-Jones, John|
|Cassels, James Dale||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, M.)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Levy, Thomas|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Greene, William P. C.||Lewis, Oswald|
|Clarke, Frank||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Clary, Reginald George||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middiesbro', W.)||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Reginald George C||Gritten, W, G. Howard||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Mabane, William|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||McConnell, Sir Joseph|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hanley, Dennis A.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Ramadan, E||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Rankin, Robert||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Ray, Sir William||Stones, James|
|McLean, Major Alan||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Storey, Samuel|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Maitland, Adam||Remer, John R.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Mender, Geoffrey le M.||Hentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Mannirsgham-Bulier, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Robinson, John Roland||Templeton, William P.|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Rosbotham, S. T.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Martin, Themes B.||Ross, Ronald D.||Thompson, Luke|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Rose Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ruggles-Bribe, Colonel E. A.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Runge, Norah Cecil||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Moss, Captain H. J.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Muirhead, Major A. J.||Salt, Edward W.||Vaughn-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Munro, Patrick||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Nall, Sir Joseph||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Normand, Wilfrid Gulld||Scone, Lord||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Nunn, William||Selley, Harry R.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Penny, Sir George||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Perkins, Waiter R. D.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Petherick, M.||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Pickering, Ernest H.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Pike, Cecil F.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Somerset, Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Sir Victor Warrender and Lord|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Erskine.|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment I select is that standing in the name of the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell)—in page 2, line 10, after the word "description" to insert the words:(other than articles included for the time being in the First Schedule to the Import Duties Act, 1932).Before I call upon the hon. Member to move that Amendment, I must point out that it covers to a large extent the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) in page 2, line 17, after the word "to," to insert the words "livestock or." I think it would be for the convenience of the Committee if we took a discussion on these two Amendments together, reserving to the hon. Member for Gorbals the right to claim a Division on his Amendment if he desires.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that we cannot do that, because there is an Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) 720 which comes in between; but I will call the Amendment of the hon. Member for Gorbals after we have disposed of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Leigh.
§ Mr. DAVID GRENFELL
I beg to move, in page 2, line 10, after the word "description," to insert the words:(other than articles included for the time being in the First Schedule to the Import Duties Act, 1932).The purpose of the Bill is to give the Government authority to impose taxes upon a long list of unspecified articles. The words in the Bill are:there shall be charged on the importation into the United Kingdom of articles of any class or description imported from the Irish Free State, or exported from the Irish Free State to any other country and thence brought into the United Kingdom, such duties of customs as may be specified in the Order.The right hon. Gentleman up to the present moment has not taken the Committee into his confidence and it is difficult to ascertain whether it is intended to tax all articles coming from the Irish Free State or whether there is to be a selection of articles to be taxed at a variety of rates. Is it the intention of 721 the Government to charge a duty upon all articles coming from the Irish Free State? The Amendment proposes to limit the number of articles. Under the Import Duties Act of 1932 there is a Free List in the case of foreign goods coming into this country. In that Act provision is made for a 10 per cent. general tariff on all goods coming from foreign countries, but in this Bill Ireland is to be treated not as a foreign country, on equal terms with Denmark, France, Spain and the Argentine, but as a country subject to special discrimination. The Free List which operates in the case of trade between continental countries and ourselves is not to be allowed in the case of Ireland, which is to be treated worse than any foreign country. Apparently it is the intention to subject Ireland to this special injustice and indignity because the right hon. Gentleman and Mr. de Valera have been unable to bridge the very small difference which now exists between this country and Ireland.
In the 1932 Act provision is made for the free entry into this country from all parts of the world of wheat in grain, meat, that is to say, beef, veal, mutton, lamb, pork and bacon, and so on, and provision is also made for the free importation of livestock, flax and hemp, hides and skins. The Free List is to be applied in the case of goods coming from foreign countries but is not to be allowed in the ease of goods coming from Ireland. Bacon can come in from Denmark without paying duty, and the Dominions Secretary says "That is all right; that is sound business, in order that our people can have cheap food; but we shall not allow the same kind of meat to come from Ireland duty free because we want to teach Ireland a political lesson, and to show that we are bosses over Ireland in matters of this kind." This thing has been carried too far, this different treatment of Ireland compared with other countries.
There is a further strong reason against the Bill. It has already been said that it is not the Irish people who will pay this tariff, but the people of this country. How much satisfaction will it be to the Dominions Secretary to know that the people in Newport, the town to which he belongs, where are his school friends and the chums to whom he refers to often, have to pay a tariff on food imported from Ireland, while they can get food 722 from Denmark or France or Belgium or Scandinavia without paying a tariff? Will that be any satisfaction to the right hon. Gentleman? All this trouble has arisen because the Government are incompetent and because the right hon. Gentleman has not been as competent as the House had a right to expect him to be in connection with this miserable dispute. The people of Newport, of South Wales, the industrial workers all over the country, will be paying these Irish annuities.
If the Dominions Secretary could devise a scheme by which tariffs on imports from Ireland were not paid by the working classes of this country, if there were some means of raising the taxation from Irish sources, our resentment against the Bill would not be 30 strong. Instead of that the Government are making the poorest of the poor pay for some imaginary default on the part of Mr. de Valera. It is an injustice to the people of this country, an injustice to Ireland and the Irish people. It is a malicious and wicked discrimination. I hope that there will be sufficient support in the House to secure equal treatment, in the matter of tariffs on foodstuffs, for Ireland and other countries against which a tariff has been applied. We have opposed the tariffs as applied to all countries, but we oppose this one especially because it will make our own kith and kin the victims.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. NEIL MACLEAN
I wish to put a point which is of particular interest to the purchasing public. As has been said, this Bill discriminates against the Irish Free State in comparison with other nations. In this Amendment we are asking that the Free List under the Import Duties Act shall be applied to articles that come from the Irish Free State. It can he assumed that the Dominions Secretary will not accept the Amendment, because it would practically destroy the whole purpose of the Bill. The Bill proposes to put duties upon bacon and other articles of food coming from Ireland. In the shops of Great Britain we are likely to have Irish bacon on which a tax has been paid and. Danish bacon which has been allowed to come in free. What guarantee has the purchaser in this country that the Danish bacon, although it has paid no tax, will not be sold at the same price as the Irish bacon which has paid the tax? The Bill not only 723 discriminates against Ireland but places the purchasing public in this country in a very peculiar position.
Moreover it will place the merchants who deal in foodstuffs in a still more awkward position. Imagine anyone going into a shop to purchase an article such as bacon, and seeing that article offered at two prices. Not remembering that a duty was responsible for the higher priced article, if he was thinking of quality instead of price he would buy the dearer bacon in the belief that it was of better quality. The merchant is going to be placed in the peculiar position that if he does not add to the price of Danish bacon the possibilities are that in a district where people can afford to pay decent prices he will be left with the Danish bacon on his hands; and, contrariwise, in a working class or poor district he will be left with the Irish bacon on his hands.
In bringing forward this Bill the Government are displaying a character which I am convinced has not been revealed in this House or in the House that stood here prior to the fire, by any statesman or any Government that has passed legislation. The method adopted in the Bill is one of the most fantastic methods, one of the most vindictive methods of trying to collect what the Government claim to be a debt, and what those whom the Government look upon as debtors deny is a debt. Because the Government have 500 Members behind them they believe they have the power to apply a club to the heads of those who, they say, are their debtors. I submit to the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues that the day will come when not only those who once held progressive views and who still claim to hold those views, who are Members of this Government will feel ashamed of the part they have played in passing this Bill, but when even those whom we look upon as reactionaries and who constitute the majority of the Cabinet and of the lesser officials of the Government, will be equally dissatisfied with the part they have played in these proceedings.
What attitude will be adopted by some of the Government's own supporters who represent agricultural and stock-breeding constituencies? It is proposed to impose a tariff upon livestock coming into this country from Ireland. According to an answer given in the House of Commons 724 only a day or two ago the greater part of the livestock which comes into this country from Ireland, or a large proportion of it, is for breeding purposes. A supplementary question was put to the Minister on that occasion as to why we could not dispense with the importation of this Irish livestock, and in reply to his questioner who was a Tory Member, the Minister said that we could not do without the introduction of this livestock from the Irish Free State. I think hon. Members opposite who represent stockbreeding constituencies will agree that we cannot do without it just now, and the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues will be questioned by their own supporters about this barrier which they propose to raise against the importation of stock for the improvement of British stock.
At the present time they are filled with the idea that they are going to have another smack at Ireland because Ireland has dared to be naughty towards this great strong National Government. Because Ireland has dared to suggest that Ireland also has a voice in the selection of a tribunal to arbitrate upon this dispute; because Ireland will not agree, entirely and at once, to the tribunal asked for by the British Government; because they dare to differ from this wonderful and powerful British Government, you are going to use all your strength and power to do what? To pass this vindictive legislation for the purpose of collecting £5,000,000. If this is what you can do to those whom you have looked upon in the past and in the days of the War as your own kith and kin, and people of your own blood, for a paltry £5,000,000 a year, what sort of action should you have taken towards Italy and France? In the case of those countries you forgave a total of over £600,000,000.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
You can forgive the foreigner his debt, but, in the case of a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, you produce the club. You are going to be the strong and powerful men instead of the generous statesmen. I do not say that the Government are going to play the part of Shylock. Shylock was an honourable man compared with this Government. Shylock at least had his bond. The Government's bond in this case is in dispute; Shylock's was not. 725 He stood by the letter of his bond; the Government stand by what they think is the letter of a bond which has never been produced and which is disputed. If there is an agreement, if we are discussing a debt which is alleged to be based upon that agreement, why have not all the material papers been lodged in the Vote Office for the information of Members? Why is not the ultimate financial agreement, which I understand has not yet been agreed to by the Irish Free State, which is, as yet, only something in the air, not to be found in the Vote Office? Why are we to take so much upon trust from Members of a Cabinet who will not trust the Irish Free State?
§ Mr. MACLEAN
We are fast approaching the day when distrust among themselves will bring them down. But I want to Appeal to the right hon. Gentleman—
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I know that the present Government have no hearts, but I ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept this Amendment and to show, at least, that the Government are beginning to consider the point of view of other people, and are not content merely to see matters from their own point of view and exercise 6a judgment which in my opinion is warped.
My hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) opened his speech by saying that if this Amendment were carried it would destroy the Bill. That was his own statement, and he wound up his arguments in favour of the Amendment by expressing the hope that the Government would accept it. The position is that my hon. Friend pleads with me, at this stage, by accepting his Amendment, practically to withdraw the Bill. He knows perfectly well—no one better—that there is "nothing doing" in that respect. He also knows that it is not a fair argument, either from his point of view or the nation's point of view, to argue that any discrimination in regard to foodstuffs or other matters covered by the Amendment is directed against Ireland merely because we, the Government, desire to discriminate against Ireland as apart from Denmark or any other country. My hon. Friend 726 knows perfectly well that as far As the British public are concerned that argument will not go down. If Denmark or any other nation had entered into a solemn agreement—
I will come to that point in A moment, but accept for the time being that there was an agreement. If Denmark or any other nation entered into an agreement and broke that agreement, and if the breaking of that agreement involved, the British public in a liability, which in our judgment they were not entitled to bear, then, speaking for myself, I would not hesitate to do what is proposed in this Measure.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
If Denmark had disputed some point in an agreement into which they had entered with this country, or into something which they disputed as being an agreement at all, would not the right hon. Gentleman, instead of imposing any vindictive tariff on Denmark, have placed the matter before a tribunal?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think we are beginning to anticipate the next Amendment, in the name of the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), which raises the whole question of the tribunal. I think we had better leave it till that Amendment is called.
I was going to draw attention to the fact that the hon. Member made it clear that the acceptance of the Amendment meant. the destruction of the Bill. Therefore, no one can argue for a moment on any other basis than that, in his judgment, the agreement that we are taking steps to preserve from our point of view is one that, in his judgment, notwithstanding anything that the Irish Free State may say, ought to be wiped out.
It is no good saying "No" when the hon. Member has admitted that the only step to recover this money is the Bill which we are introducing. No one suggests any other proposal. I am asked as to the validity of the agreement.
The answer to the Amendment before us is that to obtain the amount of money requisite to meet the deficit would be impossible, if we accepted the Amendment. Therefore, having decided, rightly or wrongly, but rightly in our opinion, that we do not intend the British taxpayer to bear this burden, which we do not believe he ought to be called upon to bear, the acceptance of the Amendment would make it impossible to obtain the necessary revenue. My hon. Friend opposite knows that very well, and he has admitted without any ambiguity that the acceptance of the Amendment means the destruction of the Bill. The Bill having received a Second Reading and being confirmed by the majority of the House of Commons, the hon. Member knows very well that it would be impossible to accept the Amendment, which would destroy the very principle which the House has already approved.
§ Mr. THORNE
I must say that I am a little surprised at the statement of the Dominions Secretary, because he said that he would not allow the taxpayer to pay this additional £3,000,000 or £5,000,000, whatever it is, but he never said that the consumer was not going to pay it. It is plain to my mind, and it is as plain as the nose on one's face to anyone who has given this matter the least consideration, that these duties which are to be imposed on imports from the Irish Free State, whether they be Battle, eggs, butter or cheese, will have to be paid by the consumer; and the consumer will be called upon not only to pay the additional duties, but something else as well, because it is evident that any importer who has been in the habit of buying things from the Irish Free State, if he has been buying, say, £100 worth of butter or eggs, and there is to be an additional charge of 100 per cent., will be called upon to pay £200 instead of £100 for those goods, and will want 5 per cent. on the £200, and the result will be that the consumer will have to pay double. I would like the right hon. Gentleman to come down to my Division, or to the Division of any one of us, to come down Green Street, or down Queen's Road, or down Silvertown—
§ Mr. THORNE
I do not know about that. I could show my right hon. Friend in any of the shops any amount of Irish rolled bacon, any amount of cheese, butter, eggs, and things of that kind, and whatever he may say, or however he may wriggle out of it—and I have had a good many dealings with my right hon. Friend during the last 30 or 40 years in the trade union and Socialist movements, and he can wriggle out of anything. He is the champion wriggler. I was rather surprised by the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman. It is evident to all of us that, whatever we may say to the contrary, the Government are going to impose these taxes.
I was going to reply to what the right hon. Gentleman said earlier in the evening, that he was not inclined to accept any Amendment of any kind to this Bill. If I had been Leader of our party, I should have seized on that statement in two minutes. I dare say the right hon. Gentleman knows what I mean, and it will be referred to in the course of a few minutes, perhaps. I have been in this House since 1906, and I have never heard a Minister of any party make the same declaration that the right hon. Gentleman made to-night. Perhaps he is just thinking about what he did say; I am not quite sure whether he remembers it. Anyhow, we are going to support the Amendment. We know that the result is a foregone conclusion and that whatever we do we shall be beaten in the Division Lobby, but I am amazed at the quarrel that is going on over the paltry sum of £4,000,000 or £5,000,000. My hon. Friend mentioned about what was given to Italy and France, but he was a long way short of the mark. Ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what we gave to France and Italy. As a matter of fact, we gave £500,000,000 to France and £400,500,000 to Italy.
§ Mr. HENRY HASLAM
The last speaker left the Committee in no doubt whatever as to who, in his opinion, will pay this tax. He said it was the workers of this country, the people whom he re- 729 presents, and therefore it is clear that, in his opinion at any rate, this tax will not fall on the people of Ireland, and that they will be under no disadvantage from the imposition of this tax. He puts forward the orthodox Free Trade view, if it is not somewhat stretching that expression, that the tax will fall wholly and solely on the people of this country. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment, on the other hand, seemed in the first part of his speech to take the opposite point of view. He said that the Irish farmers would be the victims, and he referred to the bludgeon that was being forged against the people of Ireland. Therefore, in the first part of his speech at any rate, he took entirely the opposite point of view. In the second part of his speech the hon. Member made a striking change. He went over to the other point of view which the hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. Thorne) has just been putting, namely, that the duties will fall entirely on the people of this country. The hon. Member evidently remembered that the party with which he is associated had during the greater part of this Session put forward the point of view that any kind of duty which is placed on a foreign import is certain to be paid by the consumer. Do hon. Members think that they can have it both ways, that they can say that these duties will be paid entirely by the people of this country, and then turn round and talk about the unfortunate Irish victims?
§ Mr. THORNE
It is evident what my hon. Friend meant. If you put on a 100 per cent. tax, the farmers will not he able to sell as much as they did before.
§ Mr. HASLAM
In that case the consumer will not pay so much. According to hon. Members opposite, the Dominions Secretary will not only impose vast burdens on the people of this country, but will at the same time ruin the Irish people. That argument will not go down with the people of this country. The argument of the hon. Member is entirely falsified when we consider that the Irish produce imported into this country is only 7 per cent. of the total food supplies imported. That is so small that no rise in prices can possibly be anticipated. The hon. Member talks about discrimination against other countries. Surely the whole object of this Bill is to discriminate and to collect a debt. Denmark does not 730 owe us money, nor do other countries. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] That is, on a solemn agreement. The Irish Free State are in possession of this money; it has been collected from the farmers. We know that, because the Irish Free State Government have put it in a separate account. The other countries to which we have behaved generously, however, were unable to pay. That is an entirely different state of affairs. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will stand firm and will brush aside the ridiculous arguments which are advanced from the other side, and will maintain to the end the simple process of this Bill, which is to collect a debt which is justly due to the people of this country.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
On the Second Reading of the Bill, my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) was severely taken to task by some of the elder statesmen in the House, notably the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), because he declared that in this Bill there was an exhibition of a desire for revenge. This Clause and the insistent way in which the right hon. Gentleman refuses to accept the Amendment bears out the statement made by my hon. Friend. This is undoubtedly a punitive Measure. I do not understand why there should be such insistence on the fact that the Irish Free State owes a debt, the validity of which it doubts, and that we should rush to take measures such as this and refuse to consider the effect of them upon our own. people and upon the great mass of the people of Ireland. After all, there are other people who owe us debts. The Prime Minister at this moment is engaged in protracted, and I should say very bitter, negotiations about debts owed by nations who deliberately state that they will not redeem them and will not pay. Time after time in the last 12 or 18 months nations have, declared that they will no longer continue to pay debts—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is getting very far away from the Amendment. His remarks are more appropriate to the next Amendment.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I was merely illustrating my point. We are adopting a very revengeful and punitive attitude 731 towards the people of Ireland, which is involved in only a small debt, while we admit the right of other nations to repudiate their debts and to declare that they will not pay, and we negotiate with them on the terms of repudiation.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
It does not matter how long they have been paying. After all, time does bring some changes, and it must be borne in mind that, although we make a great deal of fuss about this debt, the whole of it has never been accepted—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I ruled earlier in the Debate that that subject is really appropriate to the next Amendment, and not to this one.
§ the people of Ireland or ruin the people of England. The whole thing is a very petty affair, but what will be left behind by the insistence of the provisions of Clause 1 is a, bitterness and a cantankerousness in the relationship between this country and all succeeding Irish Governments which will probably cause us to pay bitterly in the end. The Bill is a wholly bad one. I have an Amendment down in regard to livestock; it is particularly vicious that livestock should not be excluded. If we prohibit the importation of Irish livestock it must hit the Irish farmer, and he is to be made to suffer and to go through the mill. The whole thing is of a decidedly reprehensible character.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 40; Noes, 248.733
|Division No. 296.]||AYES.||[9.4 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Milner, Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Healy, Cahir||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Batey, Joseph||Hicks, Ernest George||Price, Gabriel|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, George Henry||Thorne, William James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wellhead, Richard C.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Kirkwood, David||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Dagger, George||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Leonard, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr.|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Gordon Macdonald.|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Burnett, John George||Doran, Edward|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Butt, Sir Alfred||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Albery, Irving James||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Dunglass, Lord|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Cassels, James Dale||Edge, Sir William|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Elliston, Captain George Sampson|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Eimley, Viscount|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clarke, Frank||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Clarry, Reginald George||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Bik'pool)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Colfox, Major William Philip||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Colville, John||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)|
|Bernays, Robert||Conant, R. J. E.||Fox, Sir Gifford|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Cook, Thomas A.||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Cooke, Douglas||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Blindell, James||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Craven-Ellis, William||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Crooke, J. Smedley||Gluckstein, Louis Halle|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Goff, Sir Park|
|Briant, Frank||Croom-Johnson, R. p.||Goldie, Noel B.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Davison, Sir William Henry||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Dickle, John P.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Greene, William P. C.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Donner, P. W.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Martin, Thomas B.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Slater, John|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)||Moss, Captain H. J.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Somerset, Thomas|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Munro, Patrick||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Cheimsf'd)||Nall, Sir Joseph||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Hornby, Frank||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Normand, Wilfrid Guild||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Nunn, William||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||O'Connor, Terence James||Stones, James|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Palmer, Francis Noel||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Patrick, Colin M.||Sugden, Sir Wllfrid Hart|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Pearson, William G.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Penny, Sir George||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Templeton, William P.|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnto||Petherick, M.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Pickering, Ernest H.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Thompson, Luke|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Pike, Cecil F.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Knight, Holford||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Ramsden, E.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Rankin, Robert||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Ray, Sir William||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Lees-Jones, John||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Levy, Thomas||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Lewis, Oswald||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Liddell, Walter S.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Rhys, Hon. Charted Arthur U.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Rosbotham, S. T.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Ross, Ronald D.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Weyntouth, Viscount|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Russell, Hamer Field (Shef'ld, B'tside)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Manley, Hon. Joseph Paton||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Womersley, Walter James|
|McLean, Major Alan||Salt, Edward W.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||sandman, Sir A. N. Stewart||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Magnay, Thomas||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert-Ward|
|Maitland, Adam||Savory, Samuel Servington||and Commander Southby.|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Scone, Lord|
§ Mr. TINKER
I beg to move, in page 2, line 15, at end, to insert the words:Provided that so long as the Treasury are satisfied that the Government of the Irish Free State are paying into a suspense account or suspense accounts to abide a final decision by negotiation or arbitration sums sufficient to implement their obligations as aforesaid, no such order as aforesaid shall be made, and further.The object of this Amendment is to leave this dispute over until some tribunal has decided what shall be done. When the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) made the announcement on Monday that the annuities' money had been put to a suspense account the House was filled with excitement, and it seemed to me that had the House known that beforehand probably the Money Resolution would not have 734 been brought forward on Monday, and probably the Government would have stayed the whole of the proceedings pending some final settlement. If I am correct in that surmise I think we should show better judgment even at this stage by proceeding along those lines. If we have made a mistake we do not improve things by continuing in our error. The Secretary of State for the Dominions, speaking yesterday, made quite clear what we are trying to do. He said:The object of the Bill is to provide the amount of default; that is to say, whatever be the figure clue to us for the Land Annuities, or any subsequent figure which only a few days ago for the first time we heard was challenged, whatever may be the amount due under this legally and morally binding agreement."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 6th July, 1932; col. 528, Vol. 268.]
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
The money is still in Mr. de Valera's control. It is stated that it has been placed to a suspense account. He does not say it has been put into a banking account. He says it is there. He might as well say it is in a London bank.
§ Mr. TINKER
I am speaking to the Amendment. I am taking it that the Committee knows where that suspense account is. It is certainly in the hands of the Irish Free State Government, and we are trusting to their honour that, when the decision of the Tribunal is arrived at, the money will be paid over if the Irish Free State Government lose; they will keep it if they win. We are trusting to that, and that is the line of argument which I am attempting to follow.
The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs stated that our position would be that we are going to exact payment. Let us see what that means. It does not merely mean that for one twelvemonth we shall settle what we claim is the amount of money owing to us. I have to assume that we shall have to try to work it out, so much on bacon, or eggs, or whatever it may be, in order to make up the £5,000,000. For a period of twelve months we shall try to get that money, and, when we have got it and the annuities fall due once more next July, we shall again proceed to put the machinery into operation, and so we shall try to recover the £5,000,000 every year. Does anyone think that that line of action will continue, or that it will be allowed to continue? No, it will break down before we arrive at that stage. We think that we are right, and they think that they are right. Some tribunal must operate. That will eventually be the position which the House of Commons will have to take up. I think I know what the English people will say. It is: "What is the use of driving these people down to the very lowest depths? Let us have some tribunal. Let us settle this matter."
The Government think that they have an exceptionally good case. If that is so, why should they be afraid to go to any tribunal or to submit their case to anyone? It is merely pique. We think that because Mr. de Valera has said certain things he has to be taught a lesson. The greatest lesson that you could teach Mr. de Valera would be by saying to him: "We will accept your position and the 736 tribunal that you want. We believe that our case is an unanswerable one, and that wherever we go we shall win. We will let it go wherever you desire." That would be the best answer we could give to Mr. de Valera, and it would show to the Irish people that we were ready to do our utmost, because we believed in the fairness of our case. This Amendment gives us an excellent chance to recover the position and not to cause the bitterness that will be caused if we proceed.
The duties will not only hit the Irish people, they will hit our people also. We shall wish before long that we had accepted the position that we now have the chance of securing. Hon. Members will recall the striking speech made by the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone (Mr. Devlin). He told us from a long experience what had happened, that he had sat on these benches advocating certain courses in Irish matters, and that, every time, his suggestions were cast on one side and were not accepted. When John Redmond put certain suggestions before the House, it was: "No, we cannot accept them." Later on we were glad to accept them. Now we have an excellent chalice of saying to the Irish people: "We will accept what your leaders ask for. All that we ask is that the money should be kept in a fund." I trust that this Amendment will be accepted in that spirit, because that is the way of getting out of our difficulty with credit to both parties.
§ Major MILNER
In rising to support my hon. Friend, and the other hon. Members associating with me in this Amendment, there are three grounds which I would like to indicate to the Committee very briefly upon which I hope the Amendment may be accepted by the Government. The first one is that it is now clear, beyond all possibility of doubt, that the statements which have been made by various hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to repudiation of agreements and breaches of faith, and so forth, are not accurate statements of fact, the fact being that the Free State Government have of their own volition—it may be because of some statutory enactment, as was suggested by the Dominions Secretary, or it may not be for that reason—taken upon themselves to put the moneys which are in dispute into a separate suspense banking account. That indicates beyond any possibility of 737 doubt their bona fides in this matter. I see the learned Attorney-General. I would like to ask him in how many cases, where there has been a dispute, he has known the defendants, either voluntarily pay money into court, or themselves put that money on one side into a private suspense account. [interruption.] It is perfectly true that this matter may not be in court, but this is a disputed claim. It is a matter in which the British Government say that certain sums are due and the Free State Government deny that those sums are due. I think I am right in saying that they have said this in one letter, dated 5th April: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 its Government.They follow that up by paying the moneys in dispute into a separate banking account. I suggest to the learned Attorney-General and to other legal gentlemen, whom I see present, that most of us who are lawyers would be very glad if defendants in legal cases would take it upon themselves to put moneys on one side when, nevertheless, they claim to have a perfectly good case. Such action would at any rate ensure payment if and when judgment is obtained. I suggest to the Committee that that action, a purely voluntary action on the part of the Free State Government—with the exception of a portion of the money which, I gather from the Diminions Secretary, has by law to be paid into an account—indicates their bona fides and their willingness to abide by the decision of a court of arbitration.
The second reason why I submit to the Committee that this Amendment should be passed is that the Bill which we are now discussing is to impose certain duties. Clause 1 says that on certain conditions or in certain events an Order shall be made. This Amendment, if passed, would provide that that Order imposing duties should not be made so long as these moneys remain on one side in that separate banking or suspense account. I suggest, in rather different words from those used by my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), that this Amendment gives the British Government, who have put themselves into very considerable difficulties by the action that they have taken, an 738 opportunity of staying their hand and making a gesture, before carrying this matter to its conclusion, as they have so often threatened they would do. As long as the Free State Government keep these moneys on one side, there is an opportunity yet for a fair settlement to be arrived at on the one point which is outstanding, namely, as to who shall be the arbitrators or the chairman, as the case may be, of the court of arbitration. I think the right hon. Gentleman might take advantage of that opportunity to get out of the difficulty into which he must be aware he has placed the Government since Monday.
The third reason is that when he received this information as to the payment of the money into a suspense account the right hon. Gentleman went out of his way on more than one occasion to say to the House that that information was vital, and simplified the issue and so on. If that communication to the effect that those moneys had been paid into a separate account was so vital, what action has the right hon. Gentleman taken upon it? He told us yesterday that he had written a letter, but he did not go into the full details of that letter nor has the Committee had a copy of it. If this matter is such a vital one and the payment of the money into a suspense account so important and it so narrowed the issue, what action does the right hon. Gentleman propose to take upon it? I should have thought if it so changed the situation, he would have either withdrawn the Bill or taken some steps to alter it in some form or another. Instead of that, he has apparently taken no action at all. The matter was vital, and it obviously put an entirely different complexion on all that had been said by the right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members as to repudiation and so on. It indicated clearly that the Free State would recognise their obligations when those obligations were proved before a competent court, namely, a court of arbitration with a chairman who could be agreed upon by all parties. It seems to me that, according to the right hon. Gentleman, there was a change in the situation by reason of this information coming, and, if that is so, I submit that this Amendment is amply justified and that the Committee would do well by passing it to postpone putting into force the powers which they are 739 presumably about to confer on the Government of taxing various imports from the Irish Free State, as long as the moneys in dispute are paid into a suspense account.
§ 9.30 p.m.
The first observation I will make is that which I made on three previous Amendments, because in the course of the discussion each speaker has indicated that if this particular Amendment were carried it would kill the Bill. That having been stated, there was no need to repeat it, but, throughout the whole of this Debate, I have endeavoured to try and simplify the issue as between what I would call any legal quibble and something that the ordinary man in the street could understand. The last speech, delivered by a very distinguished legal representative, confirms me in my view that, if I had been consulting him as a, lawyer, he would not have given the opinion that he publicly gives as a Member of the British House of Commons. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] Hon. Members who shout "Order" know perfectly well that I am in order.
The hon. Gentleman I am referring to did not find it necessary to rise on a point of Order on the point I am making.
Yes, but that is because you are not a lawyer. The lawyer was much more clever than the hon. Member, and he did not raise it, and I still put to the Committee this simple proposition. The Mover of the Amendment and the supporter said quite clearly that if it were accepted it would destroy the purpose of the Bill.
§ Major MILNER
I am within the recollection of the House that I said no such thing. What I did say was that the acceptance of the Amendment would postpone the operation of the Bill in view of the fact that no Order could be made under the Bill as long as this money was in a suspense account—quite a different thing from putting an end to the Bill.
I will apply myself to those on that side of the House who are not lawyers and not connected with the law but who are used to dealing with what we call trade union negotiations. Suppose that an employer gives an intimation that, notwithstanding a trade union agreement between the employer and employés, and regardless of the views of the trade union leaders, he is going to reduce the wages of the employés, and whatever the difference may be, he is going to put the money into an employers' suspense account. I do not want the lawyers on that side of the House to answer me. I want the trade union leaders to get up and say what they would do in those circumstances. There is none of them, outside the law, who has received a democratic vote of his members, and who can claim to be a trade union leader, who would not give the legal gentlemen a very short answer on that particular point. Therefore, the answer that the ordinary trade unionist would give to the lawyer on that point, I give at this particular moment.
As a trade union leader, I say that the right hon. Gentleman is suggesting a case where a trade union leader would not be confronted with such an argument. The right hon. Gentleman has already agreed himself that there is a case for arbitration, and the question he puts to us, as trade unionists, is what we would do where there was no dispute. If we admit that there was a case for arbitration—which the right hon. Gentleman has already admitted in this case—then we should take the view that arbitration ought to take place.
I do not want to be unfair. I do not mind dealing with the lawyers, but I am now dealing with trade union leaders, and I put to them this situation. I will apply to this question the ordinary trade union method. There was in existence, between a particular trade union and their employers, an agreement—[HON. MEMBERS: "Disputed!"] Perhaps hon. Members will allow trade unionists, who know trade union practice, to correct me. [Interruption.] That is my point; they would want to go to a lawyer. I am dealing now with my hon. Friends who have been connected with trade union practice for 40 years. There is an agreement. Certain members of the union do not think 741 that the general secretary made a good agreement, but, at all events, he was the general secretary of the union, he had the consent of his executive, and he made an agreement. For the purpose of my argument, I agree that it suits you to say that it was a bad agreement, but the head of the union and the executive committee endorsed it. Then there was an election for a new president and general secretary of the union, and a new president and general secretary were elected. Does my hon. Friend, again on the basis of trade union practice alone, assume that, because there is a, change by the democratic membership of the union, the successor can go to the employer and say, "I repudiate that agreement"? My hon. Friend knows, and no one knows better, that to attempt to do that would destroy the fundamental basis of all collective bargaining.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman this? We are speaking about an agreement. He puts the case as though the agreement were definite, but he himself has admitted during the whole of the Debate that we have agreed to arbitration. He has admitted that there is something in the agreement that means arbitration, and the Amendment under discussion simply asks that we go forward with arbitration and suspend this Bill.
I will deal with my hon. Friend's question, because he is an old trade unionist and it is so much more convenient in trade union language. I am sure he will appreciate that he has missed one or two points. In the first place, again using trade union language, there was an agreement. To use the lawyers' expression, that agreement was disputed, but it was an agreement by a Prime Minister, who had been returned as Prime Minister for the Irish Free State. It may be that we had no right to treat him as a Prime Minister—
If hon. Members will keep cool, I will deal with all these points, but do not let us get confused; the hon. Member is not in the same category as a trade union leader, and I am dealing with my hon. Friend who intervened. I will put the matter again. A Prime Minister, having been returned as a Prime Minister, signed an agreement 742 with the British Government. Then he went back to his people, and, in accordance with—
That shows how excited the hon. Member can get on a wrong issue. Mr. Cosgrave, having signed an agreement, and having gone back, in accordance with Parliamentary procedure in Ireland, and risked being challenged, then goes to an election, and, following the election, is returned again as Prime Minister. I ask the hon. Gentleman who intervened—I am putting it purely on trade union practice—how would he feel if, the executive committee and general secretary of a union having made an agreement, and. having gone to a vote of the membership, in which the membership endorsed their action, subsequently, because there were changes, someone else comes along and says, "That is not legal"? [Interruption.] I am sure that my hon. Friend only intervened with a genuine desire to do the right thing. I have given shortly the facts of the case. The Amendment says, "As long as the Irish Free State keeps this money in a suspense account, do not do anything." Again using trade union methods and language, which the Opposition will understand, I would ask them what they would say to the employer who intimates that he is breaking an agreement with his workmen, regardless of any consequences, without even discussion with them, but who says: "As to the one or two shillings a week by which I am reducing your wages, please observe that I am placing it to an employer's suspense account." The trade union movement would deal with an employer who dealt with it in that way.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
That has happened. May I cite an example? During the War, an increase of 12½ per cent. was granted to the men. The employers in certain industries paid it, and, after paying it, stopped paying it to some but continued to pay it to others. What then happened was that that 12½ per cent. which was not paid to the men was paid into the bank by the employers, the case went to 743 arbitration, the arbitrator decided that the men were entitled to it, and the employers lifted the money from the bank and paid it to the men.
I am glad that my hon. Friend has reminded me of that incident; I had forgotten it. I know it all too well. He knows, however, that the men went on strike to get it—
The draftsmen for whom my hon. Friend speaks did not, but he knows perfectly well that his colleague the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) will not agree with him, because he led the strike.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The right hon. Gentleman, when be is a Cabinet Minister, ought to try to know facts. The facts are as follow: The strike that my hon. Friend led was a strike for a definite 2d. a day. The strike for the 121 per cent. happened 12 months later. The two were unconnected.
The hon. and learned Gentleman knows nothing of the circumstances that we are talking about.
I do not want to go into the history of the 12½ per cent. There is someone on that bench who led a revolt on it long before the hon. and learned Gentleman heard of our movement. We have never agreed, and will not agree, that the breaking of agreements is accepted as a trade union principle. The allocation of this money does not affect the principle and for that reason we are not accepting the Amendment.
§ Mr. LOGAN
What the discussion in the last 20 minutes has been about I am at a loss to understand. I understood that what was before the Committee was an Amendment to insert the words:Provided that so long as the Treasury are satisfied that the Government of the Irish Free State are paying into a suspense account or suspense accounts to abide a final decision by negotiation or arbitration sums sufficient to implement their obligations as aforesaid, no such order as aforesaid shall be made.744 I am not interested whether only two Members of the Committee know anything about what has happened in the trade union world and, as no one except the two hon. Members can corroborate the story, it has to be accepted on its merits. Therefore, that discussion can be dismissed. I should like to recall the right hon. Gentleman's opening speech to-day. I can understand one in an irresponsible position not knowing the value of words, but, when one comes to occupy a responsible position, speaking in the British House of Commons on a matter that is arousing world-wide attention, one expects to find a responsible Minister. I have always been taught that, when matters are serious, frivolity must go. Every attention must be paid to the utterances of those in a responsible position. The right hon. Gentleman to-day made this remarkable statement to the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). He said: "I am not going to accept any Amendment." [Interruption.] I am not concerned with you. I will deal with you afterwards if you are going to speak. I am dealing with someone who is responsible and not irresponsible. I should not like it to be thought by the outside world that we are irresponsible on so great an issue. [Interruption.] I have been longer in the world than the boy across the road, and my children generally keep quiet when their father is speaking. If they do not, I spank them. They are better conducted than some Members of this House.
The right hon. Gentleman said the door to negotiation is open. Even at the eleventh hour we are prepared to make almost any concession that is possible in order to put an end to this difficulty. You cannot adopt the bludgeon and you cannot drive by force a nation which has never believed that it could be conquered by anyone. We are living in a world when representatives of European States are meeting in conference to decide how to settle matters. We are dealing with a nation which shed its blood in the cause of the English people. We are going to close the door in the face of negotiations. We are not going to give an opportunity to those people to take a rightful stand. Let it be understood by Members of the House that Irishmen are sitting at the table with equal rights to have the things of life, and they demand that we shall deal with this problem in 745 equity and justice. Having succeeded one who held another position in the House, I have a right to speak the views of the people whom I represent and who, when times were critical for the English nation, went out to shed their blood. I demand that you should listen to the voice of reason and not close the door when the opportunity is given to do justice to people who well deserve it. I am not going to enter into the merits of de Valera or Cosgrave—both honourable men—but surely it is not going to be said by the British House of Commons that, when a nation changes its Government, free expression is not to be given to their views and that there is to be no redress for what has happened in the past.
What is the use of the right hon. Gentleman talking about what they do in trade unions? I am not concerned about what they do in trade unions. I belong to no trade union, I am independent of trade unions. I am here to represent my people, and I am not concerned with the petty disputes that go on in trade unions. Why lower the dignity of the House of Commons by talking about what trade unionists do? [Interruption.] What is there to laugh about? Is not the dignity of the House of Commons above trade unionism? Is not this the place where laws are made Is not this the place where we expect men of honour, no matter what their political differences may be, to do the just, right and proper thing? Surely, if it be right to conciliate, to do trade with Russia and to make agreements in order to end the diffiulties with regard to Germany, how much more justification have we to confer with our neighbours across the Channel to try, if possible, to get rid once and for all of all our difficulties? I do not want to go back over 700 years; I desire to recognise that to-day there ought to be a better and brighter understanding between the British race and men of my blood.
I want to do the right and proper thing. This is the forum in which the members of the British race have a right to speak, and therefore I wish to point out that there is a difference of opinion. Mr. de Valera repudiates some of the liabilities, and says that it is not right to pay them. He says that it has not been contradicted. It is stated that the moneys belong to the Irish nation. Whether that be true or not, I do not wish to enter into the 746 merits of the ease. There has not been an hon. Gentleman on the Government Benches who has dared to say that the legal claims of Ireland in this position are incorrect. The Dominions Secretary has said, "I am prepared to enter into negotiations." Is this his method of doing so? Is this the right and proper way when the question at issue is only whether the suggested tribunal is to be found within the Empire or outside the Empire? One would think that we were living in an 'age when reason had gone wild and that there was no system, in this enlightened year 1932, in the British House of Commons. We have been told, and it is not denied, that Mr. de Valera has a suspense account into which the money has been paid. No hon. Member in this House dare say for one moment that Mr. de Valera is not an honourable man. He may not be a trained politician, but there is no one here who can say that, in view of the love and respect shown to them by their own countrymen, both he and the Irishman who preceded him are not honourable men.
There is a difference of opinion, and the British House of Commons is asked, in justice, to consider the position. The debts of the Irish nation are not the debts of to-day. Any statesman who knows anything of Irish history knows that during the long travail of Ireland the question of its debts and the liability of England to Ireland has been one of the tremendous things which has menaced the Irish situation. I thought that we were getting out of our difficulties and into calmer waters. I remember the days when these benches were filled with Irish Members fighting, for a different type of man. This is not a problem which can be settled by the Dominions Secretary saying, "I am not going to accept any Amendment." You cannot do what you like in the British House of Commons. You have to consider, not merely the question of £3,000,000 or £5,000,000 due from Ireland, but the greater possibility of trouble, and, what is more, the honest, equitable manner in which you ought to deal with those debts. That there may be debts and that you may have a right to recover them it is not my purpose to dispute, but the question at issue is, Cannot a way be found without putting into operation such a drastic Measure? [Interruption.] One would not think 747 that this is a House of Commons with so many chattering. I have a parrot at home which is silent when one speaks.
The House of Commons must face the seriousness of the position, and if hon. Members realise the gravity of the situation they will not be influenced by the Dominions Secretary. England is at stake in this great matter. I ask the Dominions Secretary at this late hour, not as an old negotiator of friendly societies, but as an ordinary Member of the House of Commons, and as one coming from the Scotland Division of Liverpool, to get rid of the flippant trade union way of dealing with these matters, and to get down to the seriousness of the position. I consider that his method to-night was flippant. He did not do, himself justice. I think that he did an injustice to the trade unions by mentioning that he was associated with them. I hope that he will get down to the fact that we are dealing with an Amendment asking that the Committee should agree that no Order shall be made as long as there is a suspense account, and that it will take no action until a tribunal has met. Mr. de Valera wants a tribunal to be appointed, and says that he is not going to have it inside the Empire. What does it matter in the settlement of disputes whether a tribunal is in the Empire or out of it? What does it matter on a great issue? Who settled the Great War? Who won the War? You are now deciding who is the guilty one. I suppose that the one who pays the most money will be considered the guilty one. Get down to reason. Let the Dominions Secretary admit that if he had his way he would not be afraid to allow any tribunal in the world to settle the matter. Let him admit honestly to this House that a diehard National Government. anti-Irish in its methods, is determined to dragoon him. Let them go on with their dragooning policy. I say last, but not least, that if they intend to do what they propose they are making a fatal mistake. No living Irishman would like to see the sores of the past opened again. The National Government have an opportunity to solve this riddle, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. MANDER
If one who is not a trade union leader may be permitted to intervene, I would like to offer a few 748 remarks on the Amendment. I think the Government are perfectly right not to accept the Amendment. I believe that it would have the effect of indefinitely postponing the operation of the Bill. I cannot see from the arguments we have had that there is any alternative to the Measure the Government have brought forward, but I hope that when they have got their Act, as I believe they will, they will show great restraint in the use of it and will not put any part of it into operation until they are absolutely convinced, after exercising all the possibilities, and waiting as long as they can, that there is no alternative. I believe that would be the wish of the whole House, and it is consistent with the Amendment. When we come to consider the question of any alternative, no one has really put forward any. It might be said we could go to war. No one wants to do that. It might be said that we could seize the Customs. That has been done in other parts of the world, but no one wants to do that. We could prohibit all imports of Irish goods. That would bring the matter to a head within 24 hours.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The hon. Member says that there is no alternative. There is an alternative, and it is a reasonable alternative. Deal with the matter as the German debt has been dealt with. Wipe it off.
§ Mr. MANDER
I was referring to what seemed to me to be a reasonable alternative. The issue is not one simply of annuities alone. It is a question of the position of the whole Anglo-Irish Treaty, and there is a great deal behind it. If we were to allow this default to take place without taking any action of any kind we should be acting disloyally, not to those who have shown themselves to be the friends of England, but to those who have shown themselves loyal to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which they signed on their side and which we signed on our side. From the point of view of decency and loyalty to those who stood by their bond, not our bond, but their bond, some action of the kind proposed is necessary.
There is a reference in the Amendment to what I think would lead to a considerable amount of difficulty. Reference is made to arbitration. If the Government accepted the Amendment and we waited until an arbitration court could be set 749 up there might be delay for a considerable length of time. I hope the dispute will go to arbitration as soon as possible, but what is the arbitration to be and on what basis is it to be? Is it to be as a justiciable dispute on the basis of the law as it is at the present time, is it to be an arbitration over the whole of the equities, and a decision ex aequo et bono?
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
What does the hon. Member mean when he refers to the law of the matter I There can be no law between Great Britain and Ireland unless there is a court to enforce it. There can be an agreement.
§ Mr. MANDER
I am not proposing to enter into a legal argument. There is a dispute as to whether or not certain things are legally binding, and I am suggesting that we ought to be quite clear whether it is to be arbitration on the basis of law as it is at the present time or whether it is to be simply an arbitration on what is right and fair regardless of the actual state of the law. I am in doubt whether the matter has been thoroughly thought out from that point of view. The question of the tribunal has been causing a certain amount of difficulty. There can be no doubt that we are governed by the Agreement of the Imperial Conference of 1930, that there should be an Empire Tribunal, which was agreed to by all the Dominions. That is a perfectly reasonable proposal. I understand that it is the boundary dispute that is the cause of the difficulties and the suspicion. If Mr. de Valera and his friends would only think the matter over they would not have much difficulty in finding inside the British Empire people who are, I will not put it any higher than this, not prejudiced in favour of Great Britain. They could find people who would not go out of their way to take the British point of view. Really, there is no substance in their fear. It is a psychological fear, and if it were taken into consideration and looked at calmly it could be overcome.
There is something in the history prior to 1930 which perhaps explains the reason for the proposal that has been brought forward. When the Optional Clause was signed at the League of Nations in 1929 three members of the British Empire said that they thought that the World Court was perfectly competent to try disputes between members of the British Common- 750 wealth. Those three countries were Canada, South Africa and Ireland. In the case of Canada and South Africa they said that while they thought that it was perfectly competent to go outside the Empire, they preferred, on the whole, to make use of an Imperial court for this purpose, and that is what they have acted upon. The Irish Free State ratified without any reservations of any kind, as the other Dominions did, and they claimed that they were entitled to go to the World Court, and they thought that they could take this country there too. But they abandoned that position by the agreement of 1930. If they had not abandoned that position there would have been a certain amount of substance in their coming forward now and claiming that there should be consideration of the question of taking the dispute to the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague, although no doubt we should not have agreed to it. That point has gone because of what was agreed to at the Imperial Conference of 1930.
In this Debate, turning very largely on difficult legal matters, it would have been useful if from time to time we had had an intervention from the Law Officers of the Crown. The Secretary of State for the Dominions has many eminent qualities. He argues his case always with skill, but I do not think that law is his strongest point. If the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General had been able to get up and put the matter from the legal point of view, it would have been helpful in the Debate. I do hope that the Government when they get their Act will show the greatest restraint and patience in putting it into operation and that they will do all they can, by persuasion and sweet reasonableness, in trying to get the other side to accept an Empire court, perfectly fair and perfectly just. If time is allowed it may well be that we shall get agreement on those lines. If the matter is not settled on the lines I have mentioned then I hope that the Government will take the opportunity of laying it before the Ottawa Conference, because if there is any question of one member of the British Empire leaving it, it is a. matter for the whole commonwealth of nations. They have a right to consider it, and it might be that their influence at a critical time might restore that harmoney and good will which we all want to see.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I have said something about the attitude of the Liberal party on a previous occasion, but they seem to go from one humiliation to another. Here we have a perfectly reasonable Amendment, providing that the Bill shall not operate pending the time a decision is arrived at by a court of arbitration mutually agreed upon. A more reasonable request on the part of public representatives, in a great deliberate assembly, dealing with a serious and vital matter, I have never heard; yet the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, East (Mr. Mander) gets up and delivers a speech of the most violent hostility to it.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The hon. Member's peroration was the Amendment in flowery language. I am not dealing with his peroration, but with his proposals and his opinions. I have heard a great deal about contracts and the sanctity of observing obligations and the importance of keeping your word. Surely no Liberal Member is in a position to take up that attitude. There were no written contracts, no obligations except obligations of honour, between the Liberal party and the Irish Nationalist party by which the Liberal party were secured in office for 20 years by Irish votes. That was on the basis of Mr. Gladstone's concession of Home Rule for all Ireland, and when we had paid the price of retaining the Liberal party in power you betrayed the Irish party—
§ Mr. MICHAEL BEAUMONT
On a point of Order. What relation has the history of the Home Rule dispute to the Amendment before the House?
§ Mr. DEVLIN
We have, of course, strange scenes in this House, like the hon. Member as the defender of the Liberal party.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I thought that the hon. Member for Tyrone and Fermanagh (Mr. Devlin) was making a somewhat far-fetched illustration, but I did not take it as anything further.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
This is a far-fetched discussion. We are dealing with contracts, 752 with honour, personal honour, and political honour with national obligations, and I object altogether to unctuous Liberalism, which is not Liberalism at all, coming here and telling the Tory party and Tory leaders how strong they ought to be in dealing with Ireland. What is the proposal that they are supporting? They have made the welkin ring, at least some of them who are now Protectionists have, with the horrors that await us if we have food taxes in these islands. Yet this is a food tax Bill, because the only way in which the British Government can get the £3,000,000 or £5,000,000, or whatever the amount may be, is by taxation of the products of Ireland, which are mainly agricultural.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is now getting right away from the Amendment, which deals with arbitration and not with the way in which the money shall be raised.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I am replying to the speeches that have been made. But I pass from that and leave the Liberal party where it was or where it is. God knows where it may be—the once great party of honour, of moral, of prestige, the party that lived on great names and honourably-maintained bonds, now merely bondsmen of the Tory party in this House. I come to the speech of the Dominions Secretary. He has told us of his great experience as a negotiator. He has had a much more successful experience as a diplomat or negotiator in trade union affairs than he will secure in dealing with the question that we are now discussing. Does he lay down the principle, as a trade union leader, that if an arrangement or a contract is entered into between employers and employed, that contract is to stand for ever? Do not circumstances change it? I do not know any worse analogy that could be brought forward than that brought forward by the Dominions Secretary.
I am glad of the opportunity to intervene, because I have known the hon. Member so many years. No, that is not the analogy I laid down. I raised the trade union side only because it was challenged from the other side of the House. The analogy that I drew was that I did not believe an agreement should remain for ever, but I did agree that before an agreement, solemnly made, 753 could be altered, it must be by agreement between both sides, and it should not be repudiated by one.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The right hon. Gentleman himself raised the question of the trade unions. In this case precisely the same changes of circumstances have arisen as would arise in relation to an adjustment of differences between employers and employed in industry. What the right hon. Gentleman has done, I do not think wittingly, has been to misrepresent the whole situation. What is the situation? I challenge him to confess this. The British Government agreed in 1925 that neither Northern Ireland nor Southern Ireland was to bear any portion of the National Debt. They also agreed, and we all agreed, and no one can contest it, that the Land Annuities were part of the National Debt. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] If those in power at the time did not choose to raise that question it was perfectly within the honourable ambit of the purposes of a subsequent Prime Minister or President to raise that question and to contest it. Therefore, I do not think that upon that basis you have any case it all.
You are not satisfied yourselves that you have a ease which you are prepared to submit to arbitration. [Interruption.] Yes, that is so because we are told from the Liberal benches that it is a case of using the big stick and we all know how that has been used against Ireland. You are not willing to submit your case to arbitration. I watched the atmosphere which was created here the other day when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) announced that it was Mr. de Valera's intention to pass these annuities into a suspense account and retain them, pending the decision of the arbitration tribunal. The right hon. Gentleman the Dominions Secretary became excited. He was more than excited he was joyfully hysterical. Not only did he become joyfully hysterical, but an atmosphere of joy permeated this Chamber and everyone said, "Now, we have found a way out of the difficulty." [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Hon. Members say "No" but did not the Secretary of State on that occasion express the wish that he had known of that fact before? Why did he wish he had known it before? Because in that case his attitude—at least, I gathered so much— 754 would have been different from the attitude which be had taken up to that point.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The hon. Member, I presume, is secretary to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I must point out to hon. Members that the hon. Member for Tyrone and Fermanagh (Mr. Devlin) has not given way.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I will give way if the hon. Member likes. I only say that it is most disrespectful to his leader. It is questioning the right hon. Gentleman's capacity to reply to me.
§ Captain STRICKLAND
I would like to ask the hon. Member the question which I ventured to put to him across the Floor. Why was this proposition about the suspense account communicated to the Opposition and not to the appropriate authority upon this side?
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I do not think that a matter of procedure of that sort should have created Ministerial hysteria. That was simply a question of the method of communication and I do not see why the fact that it was conveyed to the Opposition instead of to the Government, should have created elation not to say hysteria in this Chamber. I suggest to the hon. Member that he would do better to leave to the skilful negotiator who occupies the position of Dominions Secretary the duty of defending the Government on these matters.
I come to another aspect of the question. What is the meaning of an honourable contract. The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and his Leader and several other Members of the present Government were once heads of a Labour Government. They got into their position as a Labour Government by the votes of the people on precise promises made to the people. They remained a Labour Government for years, upon Labour principles which were admitted and accepted by that vast body of the electorate who sent them here. Did they break their contract to those people when they smashed the Labour Government and went over to a Tory Government? Does 755 it lie in their mouths to talk about contracts, in view of circumstances of that character? Would they ever have assumed position of responsibility, power and honour, and, to some extent, of glory, in the Socialist and Labour movement, if the people who returned them had known that some day or other they would become leaders and chief propagandists for the policy of Protection and all that Conservatism stands for No.
I have no objection to having this question determined by arbitration, but I object to the glibness of the apostolate. Instead of these high-sounding phrases, which fall so clippingly from the mouths of those who sit on those benches, why do you not get down to the facts of the situation? The facts of the situation are that you are going to embroil this country and the Empire in a dirty little war about £3,500,000, a dirty little economic war, in which you will suffer as well as the Irish people, because this, as I have said, is to be a food tax, which will have to be borne by the common people of England, by the working classes in the industrial centres of this island. And you will not get any advantage financially in the slightest extent.
What I foresee—I may be wrong[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] You say I am wrong, and that shows I am right. I never would have thought I was right until you told me I was wrong, but at all events it does not require great prescience, or wisdom, or the power of prophecy to see what will happen. You will get the amount, whatever it may be—£3,000,000, or £4,000,000, or £5,000,000—when this Bill operates, no doubt, but there will be reprisals. That is a nasty and unholy expression to use in the relationship between the two islands. We know what physical reprisals brought—hatred and loathing of the name of this country in Ireland, and that it shamed and dishonoured you throughout the world.
But this is a meaner sort of reprisals. It is to make not only the Irish people suffer, but the great masses of the English people to suffer as well. That is what it means, and Mr. de Valera will proceed to put taxes upon English articles, and he will get back the £5,000,000 that you obtain from him through the process of this Measure. I 756 cannot understand this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Nobody can understand it, unless unintelligent, and that is why it is understood on the benches opposite. But my point is this: This Amendment asks you to suspend the operation of the Bill pending the time when an award will have been given by the arbitrator, if arbitration should take place. That is the most natural thing in the world. But supposing you do not, and that the arbitration subsequently goes on, and in the meantime you have raked in this amount, how are you going to pay it back again? A portion of it will have been paid by the English consuming classes in this country.
The Bill is absurd and grotesque and will not carry out the purposes which the right bon. Gentleman has in his mind, and I once again appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to take the wretched thing out of the public gaze, to bury this Bill where many other hateful Measures should have been buried, in obscurity and contempt and oblivion, in the past, because assuredly you are doing no good to this country, and you are doing mischief to the Empire. You are presenting yourselves as appalling creatures who are going to appeal to other nations for financial mercy, and this is the sort of feeling that you show to a little peasant race of 3,500,000, in order to deal, not with the economic question at all, or the question of finance, but to teach them a lesson. I have been talking to responsible men in this House, and I have heard them say, and I agree, "It is not a question of £3,500,000. Other motives move us. We must teach them a lesson." You have tried for 700 years to teach them a lesson. They have survived the lesson, and it is you who have been taught. You have failed to break that spirit, indomitable and indestructible, which has lived and burned in Irish hearts for centuries, when they were prepared to make bigger sacrifices than the miserable sacrifice of £3,000,000 in land annuities. Do not believe that the men who failed to crush the spirit of this people with torture and the sword are going to kill the courage and spirit of the people with a miserable Bill of this character.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 40; Noes, 271.757
|Division No. 297.]||AYES.||[10.37 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 George||Price, Gabriel|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hirst, George Henry||Thorne, William James|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Slivertown)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Kirkwood, David||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Daggar, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Leonard, William|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lunn, William||Mr. Groves and Mr. Gordon|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.||Macdonald.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Davison, Sir William Henry||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Albery, Irving James||Donner, P. W.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Leckie, J. A.|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Dunglass, Lord||Lues-Jones, John|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Eastwood, John Francis||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Levy, Thomas|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Liddell, Walter S.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Elmley, Viscount||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Little, Graham., Sir Ernest|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G.(Wd.Gr'n)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Penick)|
|Bernays, Robert||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||McConnell, Sir Joseph|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Fox, Sir Gilford||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Birchali, Major Sir John Dearman||Fraser, Captain Ian||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Blindell, James||Ganzonl, Sir John||McLean, Major Alan|
|Bouiton, W. W.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Maitland, Adam|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Goff, Sir Park||Winder, Geoffrey le M.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Goldie, Noel B.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Silent, Frank||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Greene, William P. C.||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Grimston, R. V.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Burnett, John George||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Monsen, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hanley, Dennis A.||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Munro, Patrick|
|Cassels, James Dale||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H 'ncastle)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Nunn, William|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Cayzer, Mal. Sir H. R. (P'rtsm'th, S.)||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||O' Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Camlet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Hornby, Frank||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Clarke, Frank||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Howard, Tom Forrest||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Penny, Sir George|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Colville, John||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Petherick, M.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Copeland, Ida||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Ramsden, E.|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Janner, Barnett||Rankin, Robert|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ray, Sir William|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Curry, A. C.||Ker, J. Campbell||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Remer, John R.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Smith, Louts W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Somerset, Thomas||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Robinson, John Roland||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Rosbotham, S. T.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Ross, Ronald D.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Stones, James||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Storey, Samuel||White, Henry Graham|
|Salmon, Major Isidore||Strauss, Edward A.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Salt, Edward W.||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Summersby, Charles H.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Savery, Samuel Servington||Sutcliffe, Harold||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Selley, Harry R.||Tate, Mavis Constance||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Templeton, William P.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Major George Davies and Lord|
|Skelton, Archibald Noel||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Erskine.|
|Slater, John||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I beg to move, in page 2, line 17, after the word "to," to insert the words "livestock or."
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided; Ayes, 38; Noes, 273.761
|Division NO. 298.]||AYES||[10.47 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Healy, Cahir||Milner, Major James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hicks, Ernest George||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Hirst, George Henry||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lawson, John James|
|Edwards, Charles||Leonard, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Logan, David Gilbert||Mr. Gordon Macdonald and Mr.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||Groves.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Craven-Ellis, William|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Crooke, J. Smedley|
|Albery, Irving James||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)|
|Alien, Sir J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.)||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Crossley, A. C.|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Burnett, John George||Curry, A. C.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Butler, Richard Austen||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Butt, Sir Alfred||Davison, Sir William Henry|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Carver, Major William H.||Donner, P. W.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cassels, James Dale||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Castlereagh, Viscount||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Castle Stewart, Earl||Dunglass, Lord|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Eastwood, John Francis|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Bernays, Robert||Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofrie||Elliston, Captain George Sampson|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Clarke, Frank||Elmley, Viscount|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Clarry, Reginald George||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard|
|Blindell, James||Celfox, Major William Philip||Erskine-Boast, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Colville, John||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Conant, R. J. E.||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cook, Thomas A.||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Cooke, Douglas||Ford, Sir Patrick J.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Copeland, Ida||Fox, Sir Gifford|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Briant, Frank||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Magnay, Thomas||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Goff, Sir Park||Maitland, Adam||Sandereon, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Mender, Geoffrey le M.||Savory, Samuel Servington|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Greene, William P. C.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Grafton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Martin, Thomas B.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Grimston, R. V.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Slater, John|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Mitcheson, G. G.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Somerset, Thomas|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Moss, Captain H. J.||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'castle)||Munro, Patrick||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Nail, Sir Joseph||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Heligers, Captain F. F. A.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Nunn, William||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||O'Connor, Terence James||Stones, James|
|Hornby, Frank||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Storey, Samuel|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Palmer, Francis Noel||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Patrick, Colin M.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Penny, Sir George||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Percy, Lord Eustace||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Templeton, William P.|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Petherick, M.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Pickering, Ernest H.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Janner, Barnett||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Jerson, Major Thomas E.||Pike, Cecil F.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barneto||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Ramsden, E.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Rankin, Robert||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Kimball, Lawrence||Ray, Sir William||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Rea, Walter Russell||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Leckie, J. A.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Lees-Jones, John||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Remer, John R.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scryrngeour|
|Levy, Thomas||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Robinson, John Roland||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Rosbotham, S. T.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Ross, Ronald D||Womersley, Walter James|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd.Gr'n)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Pertick)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|McConnell, Sir Joseph||Runge,, Norah Cecil||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Major George Davies and Lord|
|McLean, Major Alan||Salmon, Major Isidore||Erskine.|
§ "(5) A separate account shall be kept by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise of all receipts in respect of duties of customs payable hereunder and particulars of such account shall be furnished to the Treasury each month.
§ (6) If and as soon as it shall appear to the Treasury from the accounts so furnished that a sufficient sum has been raised by means of the aforesaid duties of customs, the Treasury shall forthwith by order direct that no further duties of customs Shall be paid under this Act."762
§ I think that these words require very little by way of commendation to the House, in face of the repeated assertions of the Dominions Secretary that it is his desire, in submitting this Bill to the House, merely to safeguard for the Treasury a certain definite sum of money. He has told us over and over again that he desires to secure, through the medium of this Bill, nothing more than is just sufficient to compensate the Government for the loss involved by the retention of the moneys with which we are concerned, and the purpose of the Amendment is to give effect to that 763 assertion, which has been made on behalf of the Government so often during these Debates. It may well be that the form of words which I submit to the Committee are not acceptable to the Government. As to that I am largely indifferent. The only thing that I and my hon. friends want to safeguard is that the sense of the Amendment shall be accepted by the Government. If they desire to submit to us some better words that will effect the same object, we shall be quite willing to consider them on Report. What we desire is that a separate account shall be set up by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, and also that, when the appropriate sum which the Government desires has been achieved, no further moneys shall be collected by means of this Measure.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Major Elliot)
I hope to be able to satisfy my hon. Friend on this point. He says that all that he desires is that the sense of these words should be accepted by the Government. I am happy to give him the assurance that a separate record will be kept of the Irish Free State Special Duties, and that particulars will be furnished to the Treasury, not merely once a month, but four times as often, that is to say, four times a month. As for the powers of the Bill to raise Customs duties, we do not wish to raise them in excess of the amount that is necessary, or likely to be necessary, to make good the amount in default, and I give my hon. Friend the further assurance that, if it should appear, from the accounts of the duties collected, that their yield is greater than that which is necessary, or even that which is likely to be necessary, to raise the amount required, the Treasury will amend the Order with a view to providing as nearly as possible the amount required and not more. Of course, however, it would be impossible to put these words as such in a Bill. These are assurances given by me on behalf of the Government. The administrative difficulties of putting this into the Bill would be very great, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will accept my assurance.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed,
§ "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."764
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
I know the hour is rather late and the Debate has been sufficiently protracted to render it unnecessary for me to make anything like an exhaustive review of what the Clause contains. I have been present at many Debates where the relationship between different nations has been under discussion, and it has always been the practice to speak with great restraint because the complications that might follow between nations are very great indeed. But this evening I have heard taunts thrown across the Floor and I have heard jeers and gibes and laughter concerning our relations with Ireland which I have never heard when discussing our relations with any other Power. Not even the abhorred Russia has given occasion for such ribaldry as I have heard this evening. I have never before seen a Committee stage handled in such a frivolous manner. The co-operation of the Liberal supporters of the Government with the Conservatives has rendered the Dominions Secretary so contemptuous of what might happen that at the beginning he intimated that he was going to accept no Amendment on the Paper. I have never before heard a Minister make such a statement. It is an affront to the dignity of the House of Commons, and it does not deal with this great question in the way it deserves to be dealt with. The Secretary of State has got up on Amendment after Amendment and said, "It has already been admitted that every Amendment is designed to kill the Bill and, consequently, I do not propose to answer the discussion."
It has been a first-class disaster that the Dominions Secretary should be an ex-Labour leader. It would have been far better for our relationship with Ireland if we had had the most diehard Conservative in the House as Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. The right hon. Gentleman has been so anxious to get Tory cheers that he has been incapable of dealing with this grave issue in the way it should be dealt with. He has outheroded Herod, and he seems anxious to go down to history as the English Bismarck. There is nothing at all in the recent history of the dispute to warrant the high feeling which liras been created. Every time the word "repudiation" is hurled across the Floor of the Rouse, the word "robbery" is hurled across the Floor of the Irish Parliament. We do not get a 765 proper perspective of the dispute by talking as though our interpretation of the dispute is the only one which can possibly be held. Nations have gone to war in moods of that kind. It has been said that there are certain honourable relationships between nations to which they should abide. Eminent jurists have spoken about international obligations. It must be known to hon. and right hon. Members that national jurisprudence is only very slowly coming into being. An endeavour is being made to build it up at The Hague and also between the nations of the world, but it does not follow that one nation can be capable of an illegal act against another. It may be guilty of a dishonourable act and of unfairness, but it cannot be said that one nation can violate a legal act. As long as States have sovereign powers and none of their sovereign powers has been broken off and attached to an overriding authority, there can be no violation of international law.
Much that has been said about this dispute is quite irrelevant and befogs the whole question. The Irish people take a certain view of the obligations into which it is alleged they have entered with this country. We take another view. Three or four months ago it looked as though the relations between the two countries were so strained that no amicable settlement could be arrived at. Mr. de Valera in Ireland said: "We are going to withhold this money; we are not going to pay it over." And then the hard-and-fast adamantine resistance on both sides gave way to negotiations. The negotiations occurred, and they resulted in a further narrowing of the gulf. The two sides said that they were prepared to settle the matter by arbitration and a further substantial narrowing of the gulf took place. Feeling had been excited in Great Britain and the House of Commons by the statement that Mr. de Valera was collecting money from the Irish farmers which was due to the land stockholders and would use it to relieve Irish taxation. That has not occurred. The money is now being held separately, and, although it is held in the custody of the Irish Free State, the substantial fact remains that the money is not being held up in order to relieve the Irish taxpayer.
Therefore, it is a falsification of the position to say that Ireland has trans- 766 ferred the burden from the shoulders of the Irish farmers to the shoulders of the British taxpayer. That was true before, but it is no longer true. The money is simply being held in suspense, and because we have accepted obligations to stockholders we are paying out the money in the meantime and have not got access to the pool in Irelana. I submit, not to the historical functions of the House, not to the national mood of the Committee, but to the dispassionate sense of the Committee, that there is no justification at all for the language which has been used this evening, and for the charges that have been flung across the Floor of the House.
There is a very simple matter in dispute. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite may take a certain view of what Ireland has done and may use the word "repudiation" but I beg of them to realise, whatever may happen, with respect to this dispute, that the Irish Sea is very narrow, and that we have to live with this nation for many generations to come. The people of my generation have already suffered sufficiently from the bitterness, the prejudice and the myopia of the past generations, not to want that sort of thing to happen again. I do not find, among the new Members of the House, the bitterness and prejudice that I find among the older Members; those who can remember the black-and-tans and things of that description, are unable to bring a dispassionate mind to bear upon this problem. I would ask the Committee to strip itself of those old bitter memories and to look upon the situation as it exists at the moment. The Dominions Secretary may win the applause of the House of Commons at the moment but he will win the contempt of generations to come by his failure to be a bigger man, to be prepared to do the unpopular thing and tell the Conservatives in the House of Commons that the mutual relationship and harmony between the common people of Ireland and Great Britain is more important than sticking to the very letter of the bond. This dispute started with bitter hostility and a wide gulf between the two nations which has narrowed down to the point that the two countries are prepared to submit the difference to arbitration. The only point of disagreement is how the tribunal shall be constituted. The common man outside the House of Commons a few weeks 767 ago was taking the commonsense point of view and saying that the Irish Government had no right to collect money from the Irish farmers and to throw a burden on the back of the British taxpayer. That was a perfectly commonsense view to take. That ground of complaint has disappeared. The hon. Member opposite shakes his head. Is it or is it is not a fact that the Irish Free State at the moment is not using this -money for the relief of her own taxation?
§ Mr. M. BEAUMONT
That does not stop the burden going from their backs and being put on the backs of the English taxpayers?
§ Mr. BEVAN
I have endeavoured to show that here is no case of money being taken by one nation and used to relieve the obligations of that nation, while putting the burden on the shoulders of the other nation. That is not the situation at the moment. It may subsequently become the situation, but at this moment it is not the situation.
§ Mr. BEVAN
It is not necessary to have any historical résumé. The English Government has honoured the obligation to the stockholders and pays the money to them, but in honouring our obligation to the land stockholders, we have no right to dishonour the contract into which we entered with the British consumer. It was said that we would hand over the money from the Irish farmer to the stockholder, but what we are saying is that the English consumer of Irish butter—the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont) may call that an engaging smile, but I call it an empty grin.
§ Mr. M. BEAUMONT
I have no desire to be discourteous. I thought that the hon. Member was being funny, and I laughed.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The hon. Member says I have succeeded in being funny. He will note that I have not accused him of succeeding at anything. In the course of the Debates on the Finance Bill and in every tariff Debate it has been admitted that a revenue duty may be partly a revenue-producing duty and partly a protective duty. There is no means of determining what amount of the £3,000,000 or £5,000,000 the consumer in this country will have to pay or the producer in Ireland will have to pay. Free Traders and tariffists alike have agreed that in most cases the burden is distributed over both, but it is perfectly true that we are transferring the burden of meeting our obligations to the stockholders to some extent to the consumers of Irish goods. If the present prices of foodstuffs represent the tug of war in a competitive market, any easing of the burden in one market must result in a raising of prices. If it is not so then the prices at the moment are not competitive but artificial. They are either the result of a tug of war or an artificial conspiracy, and if you ease the burden in one part you must give a competitive advantage to another. The matter having been narrowed down in the way it has, what is the right hon. Gentleman now proposing to do? He is proposing not to levy duties to extract £3,000,000 or £5,000,000 from the Irish people, but in order to impose an Imperial tribunal on the Irish nation.
On the contrary. The question of a tribunal of any sort was never mentioned by the Irish Free State. It was first offered by the British Government, and as far as levying any taxation is concerned, if the Irish Free State accept the Imperial tribunal at this moment, the Bill will cease to operate, but it will not cease to operate unless they accept it.
§ Mr. BEVAN
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention. It proves conclusively my statement. If these duties are imposed and in the course of a week or two Mr. de Valera comes forward and says that he is prepared to accept an Imperial tribunal, will these duties continue, nevertheless? I want an answer. It is a very important matter. It is a matter which is bound to arise as a first-class issue at Ottawa.
My answer is that if Mr. de Valera, on behalf of the Irish Free State, accepts the last offer that I made on behalf of the British Government for an Imperial tribunal, this Bill will not operate, but if he does not accept it this Bill with all its consequences will operate.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The right hon. Gentleman really ought to regard those cheers as most unfortunate. I am not striving to make a party point at all. [Interruption.] This party has not, since the beginning, taken the stand that the point of view of Mr. de Valera is right. No authoritative speech made from these benches on behalf of the Labour party has taken sides upon this matter. We say that there is one State, a sovereign Power, taking a certain view of its obligations, and there is another State, a sovereign Power, taking another view of its obligations. We say that, if it is important to settle such disputes between foreign nations by arbitration, it is all the more important so to settle such disputes when they arise within the British Empire. That is the view to which we adhere. All along we have striven to introduce into the discussions an atmosphere of dispassionate restraint, which has been absent from the other side.
I repeat my question: We understand that if this Bill is passed and Mr. de Valera refuses to accept arbitration, the Bill operates. If these duties are imposed and in the meantime Mr. de Valera comes forward and accepts a tribunal drawn from within the Empire, will the duties be withdrawn?
Yes; not from the standpoint of the House of Commons, but from the standpoint of the people in Ireland. If Mr. de Valera accepts the offer of arbitration made on behalf of the Government by me yesterday, this Bill 770 will not operate, but if Mr. de Valera does not accept arbitration within the Empire, this Bill operates immediately.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Those cheers will not survive the discussion of this question in other parts of the Empire. It must be remembered that South Africa and Canada do not take the same view of Imperial power as the House of Commons takes. What the right hon. Gentleman has said is this and he has confirmed in each particular the statement that I made: The purpose of these duties is now to impose upon a part of the Dominions a tribunal that the Imperial Conference would not impose upon itself. If two parties to a negotiation have narrowed the negotiation down to a certain point, and if punitive action is taken by either, it will be taken on the last point in dispute, and the last point in dispute here it not whether these Annuities are legally due or not, but as to how the tribunal which is to settle the matter shall be constituted.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MAYHEW
Does not the hon. Member consider that the right and proper thing for Ireland to have done was to have met the claim and raised the question afterwards in the proper constitutional manner?
§ Mr. BEVAN
If we were considering the matter as between two subjects within the same realm it would he different, but the Statute of Westminster makes Ireland, apart from certain reservations, a sovereign power, and there does not exist an agreed constitutional way of settling this matter. That is what is forgotten, and that is the central point. At the expense of labouring the matter, I would ask the Committee to think over that point carefully. The next question which we have to consider is this. Is Ireland reasonable in refusing an Empire tribunal? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The Imperial Conference discussed the matter and failed to arrive at an agreement. South Africa and Ireland said, "We will not.accept a permanent tribunal as a way of settling inter-Dominions differences." Is Ireland less reasonable than South Africa? [Interruption.] I would ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite to give me his attention. His attitude is consistent with his 771 behaviour during the whole of the evening on this matter, and it is not only a discourtesy to the Committee, but it reveals a complete incapacity to realise the seriousness of what he is doing. What you are now saying is that Ireland is no more reasonable than South Africa. So you have two difficulties—Ireland and South Africa—and you are widening the area of dispute.
Is it so important a departure from constitutional precedent that Ireland should want to go outside the Empire for this purpose? Canada has led the Dominions in demands for infinitely more substantial matters than this. In the history of the last 50 years, the Imperial Constitution has been modified in an infinitely more substantial degree—in other respects. Fiscal autonomy, separate ambassadorial representation, a demand for treaties to be considered, separate representation at Geneva—in all these matters Canada and South Africa have asked from the British House of Commons infinitely more important modifications than that which Ireland is demanding now. There is no justification for regarding this question as so supreme an issue that we must engage in a fiscal war with Ireland and embitter relations between the two peoples. We plead with the Dominions Secretary to allow the matter to stand over until it can be discussed in the friendly atmosphere of Ottawa.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The hon. Member must remember that we are not in the Oxford Union, but in the House of Commons, and he should not put cheap points of that description. I am asking that if you want success to come from the Ottawa Conference, you will assemble in as friendly an atmosphere as possible. Remember that there are Irishmen all over the British Empire, and my experience is that the greatest patriot lives outside his own country. There is more love of Wales among the milkmen of London than among the colliers of South Wales, and I believe there is infinitely more love of Ireland in Australia. Canada and South Africa than maybe in Ireland itself. Therefore, assemble at Ottawa in the most friendly set of circumstances possible. Take no step at all 772 that might make things more difficult for infinitely more important plans to be fructified. Do not allow the Dominions to get the impression that you are using your power here to impose on the Dominions a method of arbitration to which they have taken exception.
In conclusion, I realise that what I have said will perhaps have made no impression upon the British House of Commons, but I am satisfied that when this matter comes to be arbitrated before a tribunal much more important than we are, they will take the view that the Tories, as always, have their faces turned towards the past and are blind to contemporaneous realities.
§ Mr. DIXON
I enter into this debate with considerable reluctance, because I have found, in the many years during which I have been in this House, how useless speeches are, and that fact was never more impressed upon me than this afternoon. But when the honesty, the decency, and the commercial honour of a great people such as I belong to, the Ulster people, are condemned in this House by an Ulsterman, who is always only too ready to condemn his own people when sitting here in a Parliament which he has called a foreign Parliament, when I find an Ulsterman such as the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone (Mr. Devlin) coming here and making charges such as the charges that I am going to read out to the Committee, I think this Committee will forgive me for once in a way, for saying a word or two upon this matter. The hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone made the following statement:This is loyal Ulster. When it was decided that she was to have a Parliament and a Constitution of her own, it was agreed that she should pay £7,000,000 as a contribution to the British Exchequer. She is paying nothing at all.That is absolutely not true.She is getting contributions from the British Exchequer, although millions have been paid by Southern Ireland in the Free State, to the British Exchequer."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th July, 1932; col, 377, Vol. 268.]That was the statement of the hon. Member in this House, and let me tell the Committee that again and again I have heard him make the very opposite statement in our House of Parliament in Ulster. I have heard him say to the Prime Minister across the floor of the 773 House there, "Here you are, giving millions of Ulster's money to this great, rich Empire of Great Britain—£7,000,000 that you have taken out of the mouths of the starving and unemployed women and children of Ulster—and you have handed it over to a foreign Parliament." That is this Parliament, and yet he comes here and challenges us in Ulster with barely meeting all the charges which have been made upon us by the British Parliament.
I would like to say how much I appreciated, on the part of the Ulster people, the attitude taken up by hon. and right hon. Members on the Front Bench here and of the Labour party when they were a Government, because they dealt fearlessly and honourably with us, and I beg the Leader of the Opposition to get up and say that we Ulstermen met every demand which the Labour party, when they were in office, made upon us, honestly and honourably. I believe he is good enough to get up and say that here. Let me tell the Committee what we are doing. The Ulster people never agreed to the setting up of the Free State and the partition of Ireland. The partition was brought about by the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone and his friends. We always wanted Ireland to be united here in the freest of all Parliaments and in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. That was what we always fought for, and to say, as he said, that we Ulstermen agree to this or any other charge being made is as true as anything else that the hon. Gentleman has said during these debates. What were the actual facts with reference to the 1920 Act?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must not enter too much into matters conected with the position of Ireland which has nothing to do with the question of these charges.
§ The CHAIRMAN
We are now more confined in what is permitted to be discussed than we were on Second Reading. We are talking now of one particular Clause.
§ Mr. DIXON
I was only answering the charge that the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone made that the Ulster people agreed to pay £7,000,000 annually 774 to the British Government and that they had run away from that promise. The case I was making was that no such agreement was ever made. The actual working arrangements under the 1920 Act was that the Exchequer Board decided the taxable capacity of the Ulster people, and I am bound to tell the Committee that every demand that was made upon them by the Exchequer Board, demands which had Arisen from a Committee consisting of Englishmen with a Scottish Chairman, has been met by the Ulster people. Therefore, the charge of bad faith that has been laid against the Ulster people by the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone is absolutely untrue and should never have been made.
A paper has been issued to Members with reference to the sums of money which were supposed to have been paid by Ulster on the one hand and the Free State on the other in their contributions to Great Britain. If hon. Members read that paper, they will find that all the receipts which came back to Ulster are put down, but none of the receipts which came back from the Free State are put down. My only comment is that Mr. Hatry is doing time for bringing out a balance-sheet of a similar character. Another point which was raised by the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone is extraordinarily important and should have been given more attention by the Committee. That is the question of the committee of arbitration. I hope that if the British Government set up a committee of arbitration, they will take great care to see that the committee are well compensated for sitting, because they will need it before they are finished. No matter what committee is set up, if those who are represented in this House by the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone do not have representation, it will be wrong, it will be corrupt, and it will be followed to the last day of its life by every Irishman who is a follower of his.
Take what he said about the Boundary Commission. In all the years I have been in this House I have never heard any hon. Member make statements such as were made by the hon. Member for Tyrone and Fermanagh without being pulled up in some way or other. He said that a judge of the High Court of one of our Dominions was a corrupt, incompetent and get-at-able person. That is what he said. As the question 775 has been raised here, let me show how the Boundary Commission was composed. I do so to show what chance there would be for any tribunal such as we have been asked to set up to deal with this question. The Boundary Commission consisted of three gentlemen. One was Mr. McNeill; he and Mr. Arthur Griffiths were practically the founders of the Free State as it exists to-day. At the time of the 1916 rebellion, Mr. McNeill was the actual leader and he would have remained leader, only when he found that there would be so much bloodshed he advised at the last moment that no rebellion should take place, and he lost the leadership. I do not think anyone in Ireland or out of it will challenge the devotion of Mr. McNeill to the Irish cause, as he saw it. Another member of the Commission was Mr. Fisher, a well known London journalist. The third member and the Chairman of the Commission was a South African judge, Mr. Justice Feetham. He was a gentleman, who was certainly not liked in Ulster, and there was no reason why he should be liked, for during all his political life he had gone in for a watery form of Home Rule. He was one of the Round Table Conference. His appointment was hailed with joy by certain people in this House, who thought, "now we have them."
The Commission sat and took evidence, and then it suddenly dawned on them that the evidence was going entirely contrary to what had been expected, and that if the Commission was to continue Ulster would get a good bit of Donegal and Monaghan and Cavan. Then what happened? The Free State withdrew from the Commission and said "We will agree to anything so long as the report of the Commissioner is not issued"; and it has been never issued. If it had been, some of the good boys of Donegal would be in the Ulster Parliament now. I am giving these facts to show the dangers and the realities of what we are up against. Further, for years afterwards those Commissioners had to walk about with detectives behind them. Mr. Justice Feetham had to sit in his Court with two detectives behind him. Let me tell the Committee this: that if I were asked to set up a Committee I would put on it one or two members 776 from the other side, because that would finish them.
I apologise for taking so much time. It is a very wrong atmosphere in which to go into this question. The atmosphere that the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone wanted to bring into this Committee was that my right hon. Friend, the Dominions Secretary, and those who are going to vote for this, are against the Free State and want to down the Free State commercially, and in every other way. A greater fallacy was never put forward. I say to him here and now that for 10 years, when Mr. Cosgrave was President of the Free State, we worked with him amicably, commercially, and in every possible way that we could. I say again, on behalf of the Ulster Government, that we would far rather see the Free State happy than see it miserable. There has been too much trouble, and I would rather go racing.
I will vote for this, but I am voting against the interests of many of my friends in Ulster and, as many of my Clydeside friends will know, against the interests of the men who put the cattle on the boat and bring them over. This is going to hit them and to hit many of my friends in the Free State. The worst of it is that it is going to hit myself. I want the Committee to understand that I love Ireland just as much as the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone. I have a real and honest sympathy for the Dominions Secretary, although he took a different view of the Irish question than I did. He spent the best years of his life for what he thought was Home Rule I always knew that Home Rule would bring misery and unhappiness. I am more of a Unionist here to-night than I have ever been. You must not believe that because a man is an Ulsterman he cannot be a decent and loyal Irishman.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down opened his speech by declaring that he did not know what good speeches did in this House. I confess that after listening to him speak after a silence of 10 years as a Member of this House, I am afraid he has not created a better atmosphere for the appreciation of speeches than hitherto existed. For the life of me I could not understand what his purpose was in making that speech.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
"Around this circle, my compliments will go." The hon. Gentleman has selected a very evil moment for a speech. He talks about the "decent people" that he represents; only within the last fortnight we read the story, the most disgraceful story recorded in modern history, of how his followers wrecked trains, beat women—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. DEVLIN
You would like to leave it out. You select your own case and you select mine as well. The hon. Member has the impudence to come down to this House to make a personal attack on me. I do not object in the least. I enter into this conflict and every other conflict in the full determination that I am prepared to get what I give. When the hon. Member starts to talk with that disgusting unctuousness of Ulster loyalty and how he represents the decent people, I am going to tell the Committee here and now the character of the people he represents. One of the things the hon. Member did not tell the Committee was that after the Feetham Commission he and his friends so gerry-mandered the constituencies in Ireland that it takes 20,000 more voters to return me to the Northern Parliament than it does to return him. I know my own limitations, but at all events, electorally, I am worth more than half of him. But the hon. Gentleman should not be too hard on a humble politician like myself because politics with him is merely a well-paid, dissipation. Like men of his class, he serves the State at a very high price, but he has one advantage over many people in commerce, that he determines his own price and states his own value. I am a very poor 778 man and he is a very rich man. He is one of the best-paid patriots in Ireland. When he tells me I am an enemy of Ulster, let me tell him this. I could have gone into the Free State and occupied a very prominent position. I could have gone into this party, I think, and have occupied a very big position in it, but I remained in Belfast, the last thing that any selfish person would do, where I have devoted my whole life—not to horse-racing which the hon. Member, on his own admission, has.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The only time I remember that I 'have gone to see greyhound racing was at the request of the hon. Member's leader, the Prime Minister, to assist a charitable purpose in the interests of hospitals. That is a mean and unworthy sugestion from this sporting and racing politician who, after being inarticulate for ten years, delivers the elocutionary performance which he has given the Committee to-night. Who are these decent people with whom I have remained in Belfast and fought for and defended against every interest I have? They are the people who in pursuance of their regilious duties on a solemn occasion were beaten and the trains that carried them wrecked—women and children beaten, mobs attacking their houses—a disgraceful orgy, abuse and attack that aroused the indignation and resentment of every decent person throughout. Europe.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Though occasionally when an hon. Member is led into a somewhat personal attack on another hon. Member one must allow that to be answered, I hope the hon. Member will confine himself to replying to those personal attacks and not drag in other bodies in Ireland which have nothing to do with the matter.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I will leave it at that; he will probably not make a speech for the next 10 years; but I will come to some of the statements he has made. It is true—I do not deny it—that I have repeatedly said in the Ulster Parliament, and I say here now, that when you set up two Parliaments in Ireland you ought to have let them manage their own affairs and keep their own money. In the South 779 of Ireland you are wanting to take their money, and you are snaking money contributions to them. I am an Irishman as well as an Ulsterman, and I want fair play for the South as well as the North. The right hon. Member told us about his loyalty. Let me tell him that, in reply to a question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone (Mr. Healy), the Financial Secretary to the Treasury informed the House that in the last six years Ulster paid £4,000,000 to the Imperial Exchequer, and got £6,000,000 in return. It is no wonder that he calls you Hatry.
§ 12 m.
Mr. D EVLIN
These gentlemen think that they can, in their rare interventions in these Debates, make any sort of attacks and charges that they like, and which the right hon. Gentleman, when he is face to face with me in the Ulster Parliament, dare not make there. He comes here because he thinks he has his friends around him. I have spoken in hostile assemblies before, and I am not afraid of them here and now. Let the right hon. Gentleman not deal with my figures when he comes here to talk about loyal Ulster; let him deal with the figures recited by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. [Interruption.] If the figures I have quoted are not correct, the Financial Secretary can contradict me. They are not my figures; they are his. If there is to be a row about this business, it is not between them and me, but between you and them, because they are your figures. I should not pay any attention to these people but for the fact that they are always parading their loyalty to the Empire and to this country, and their contribution to the Treasury takes the form of getting £6,000,000 and paying £4,000,000. They are the rich Province. and they tell us we are not loyal, but we take up the attitude that I take up of demanding freedom. Even when you have divided the nation into two you ought to give their Parliaments the most vital of all rights, and that is the right to control their own finance. That is my position. I am sorry I have had to intervene in this Debate again, but I understand the right hon. Gentleman 780 who is a racing man and a sport, has waited until he believed I had left the House.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The right hon. Gentleman should have given me notice. This is not a Parliamentary or political contribution to the Debate. I have no doubt spoken strongly in the House. I may have spoken violently and passionately, but I have made no personal attacks upon anyone. I regret that these altercations should take place in the House—[Interruption.]— If the hon. and learned Gentleman, who has a high regard for the glory of the Imperial Parliament and some appreciation of the diffisulties that exist here, will come over from his occupation of a London barrister and meet me on an Ulster platform we can discuss the question there. I object to him parading his loyalty. What are the facts of the situation? The first rebellion that took place in this Empire since the revolt of Canada against the interference of this country took place in Ulster. They were the architects of that rebellion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman left horses and took to guns. He brought shiploads of guns into Lame. They taught the people to rebel.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Very well. If they keep their tempers I will keep to the Clause. I have said enough. Anything further I will say in the home sacrosanct to him and to me, where we come from and where we ought to stay, in my opinion. If I had anything to do with the concerns of this country I would say to North and South alike, "Go home and live in your own country. Do not come here to interfere in our affairs. You have Parliaments of your own. Stay there. If you did, the Irish people, North and South, uninfluenced by peregrinating politicians, racing and otherwise, would settle down and adjust their own differences. If you had passed a Measure to give Ireland one Parliament, no doubt we should have had unhappy controversies such as we have here to-night, but we would have settled them there and then. These gentlemen know that they have you behind them with all your power and 781 wealth, and in the incidents which have occurred in the House in the last few days there has been a rich and powerful party behind these paraders of loyalty. Therefore, I say that I regret to have had to intervene again in this Debate and to give this as my answer to the right honourable, gallant and racing Member for East Belfast.
§ Mr. MANDER
I will sit down if the Chairman says "sit down." I rise in order to put a question to the Government of which I have given notice to the Attorney-General. It is very important that we should be as clear in our minds as possible as to what we are doing in this most difficult and deplorable situation. I want to put a question in order to clarify a certain point. Will the Attorney-General be good enough to state whether, with regard to the arbitration proceedings which are being discussed, it is the proposal of the Government—and also what is the view perhaps of the other side—that the matter has to be decided as a justiciable dispute on the basis—
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
On a point of Order. I want to ask for your ruling, Sir Dennis. I understand that, apart from the little disputes we have had, we are now discussing Clause 1. I ask whether in this Clause there is any reference to arbitration or to arbitration courts. If it is not mentioned, are we entitled to debate on Clause 1 a subject which is not contained in that Clause?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think that the matter should be elaborated, but, after a Debate such as we have had, I think that the hon. Member may be justified in asking a question on arbitration. Of course, the matter cannot be discussed at length.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Further to that point of Order. Admittedly, the question is of interest and importance to the House. There is the Third Reading stage tomorrow. I and my hon. Friends have observed very closely the Rules of Debate on this matter, and we are going to see to it, as far as the Rules of the House support us, that the Attorney-General is not allowed to make statements which are 782 not in keeping with the Rules of Order of the House. I put it to you, Sir, that there is no place for a speech by the Attorney-General on the question of arbitration in what we are doing, namely, discussing the Question, "That the Clause stand part."
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think that the hon. Member can rely upon me, as far as possible, to keep the learned Attorney-General in order as much as I would any other Member.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
If, as may very well be, the Attorney-General makes a statement which nay hon. and learned Friend may desire to controvert, I do not think that it is fair to lay it down that only the question and answer are to be allowed on so important a subject. It is not as if there will not be full opportunity tomorrow, when the Third Reading is taken, for the question to be put and answered. I respectfully suggest that we ought not to embark on a discussion at this hour of the morning upon something which is not really relevant. We had, I beg to point out, an Amendment on the Paper which you did not call and which therefore we were not allowed to debate. It seems to us at least rather extraordinary that a question should be answered on so controversial a subject.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the right hon. Gentleman had listened to me he would have heard me say, that I did not intend to allow discussion.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Gentleman's next point is a purely hypothetical one, such as I have often complained of his raising before. [Interruption.] If in using the word "Complained" I have uttered words which have hurt the right hon. Gentleman's feelings in any way, I am sorry.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I will put it another way. The right hon. Gentleman is raising a hypothetical question, as he has done before, and I have been obliged to tell him that I cannot be called upon to give a Ruling as to whether, if somebody takes a certain line in a speech, it will or will not be in order. I must wait until I hear it.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I make this Motion to put myself in order and to get this matter cleared up.
The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) desires to put a question to the Attorney-General on a highly controversial question which has no relation to the motion before the Committee. We feel that in this matter there cannot be merely question and answer, and that if the Attorney-General gives a reply which we consider is not a correct one we have a right to debate it. You have laid it down that there shall be no Debate on the subject. Therefore you have, I say very respectfully, dealt with the question beforehand and ruled that there is to be no discussion. I very respectfully suggest that if the Attorney-General is allowed to give an answer we must be allowed to discuss that answer. Seeing that it deals with a question which has nothing whatever to do with the Clause before the Committee. Moreover, the hon. Member who wishes to put the question will have ample opportunity to do so on the Third Reading.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot accept that Motion from the right hon. Gentleman, because it would be with the nature of a Motion to report Progress in order to discuss a Ruling which I have given from the Chair. I would ask the Committee to bear in mind that I was not here for some three hours, and am not quite certain what Debate has taken place on this point of arbitration. I am also at present under this further difficulty that the hon. Member who was addressing the Committee had not completed his question. I do not yet know what his question was, but so far as he had gone when he was interrupted on the point of Order it did seem to me that it had reference to a matter which was frequently referred to in speeches in the earlier part of the Debate when I was in the Chair. I did my best, on such information as I could gather, to understand the purport of the question, and I thought that it was one which might be rightly asked and rightly answered, but I did not think it was a matter which was open to discussion. If the hon. Member is allowed to complete his question, when I have heard it, I can consider whether I will allow it to be answered.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
You have given your Ruling, and we have to accept your Ruling, on the understanding that at least you were aware of what the hon. Gentleman was going to ask; or we cannot understand your Ruling, I am sorry to say.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Gentleman will forgive me. I gave, to the best of my ability, an answer to the question of Order which was raised. I did not raise the question myself. This is the difficulty in which I often find myself. I am asked whether a certain question which is threatened, or may I say proposed, to be asked, will be in Order. I made the best guess I could as to what the question was to be, and I gave my opinion. That is the whole matter. I cannot say definitely till the question is asked whether it is in Order or not. The right hon. Gentleman, I know, whether he agrees with my Ruling or not, and whichever way I rule when I have heard the question, will accept my Ruling.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Obviously, both myself and I hope, all my colleagues, will in the last resort accept your Ruling, whatever it is, but I beg to ask you to remember that you have already given a Ruling, and the Ruling was that you would allow the question and you would allow the answer, but no discussion on the answer, and it was on that that the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and myself rose. You ruled, first, that the question should be asked, and, second, that there should be no discussion, and it is about that that we are protesting. As I understand that we may get out of the difficulty another way—
§ Mr. MANDER
I think I may be able to make a suggestion which will perhaps dispose of the matter to the satisfaction of the Committee. I have no desire to put forward anything which will place any hon. Members in a difficulty. What I suggest is that, in accordance with your Ruling, I may be permitted to put the question now. I do not propose that an 785 answer should be given to-day. Unfortunately, I shall not be able to be here to-morrow but perhaps the Government will be good enough to give an answer.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I thank the hon. Member. I understand that he wishes to ask the Government a question. Hon. Members who think they know definitely what that question is going to be think that it is a question which should not be asked nor answered in this Debate. The hon. Member will ask his question, and I am prepared to give my Ruling, as to whether I think it should be dealt with in this Debate. If I rule that it cannot be dealt with in this Debate, the hon. Member's question must not be taken as one which is asked with a view to an answer being given on another occasion.
§ Mr. MANDER
My question is this: whether the proposed arbitration proceedings in the dispute between this country and the Irish Free State must be on the basis of a justiciable dispute, in the existing state of the law, between the two countries, or whether it is proposed to deal with the matter on the basis of equity, giving a decision, as it is called ex aequo et bono.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is a different Question to any which was raised in any part of the Debate this afternoon. The question of arbitration generally was a matter which has been argued, as to whether this Clause should be passed, or whether, on the other hand, some method of arbitration should be adopted. If the hon. Member asks a question of detail of this kind, it depends entirely upon whether there will be any arbitration at all. I must rule that, in any event it would he entirely outside the limits of this Clause, as a matter of detail which could not be raised, on an assumption that something is agreed upon which is not contemplated by the Clause or the Bill.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I was associated for many years with the right hon. Gentleman who now occupies the position of spokesman for the Conservative Government in this Debate. I was associated with him sufficiently closely, and for a 786 sufficient length of time, to know that during all that period he deplored the action of the Government of the day, and that he also lent his aid in negotiations that were then taking place to bring about a spirit of arbitration and of conciliation that he now apparently has forgotten. May I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman? I have listened to the speeches which have been made during the time that I have been in the Chamber. I am making a plea, as one who was associated with him for many years and who admired his desire for conciliation and arbitration in the days when he was representing a different party and a different point of view from that which he holds to-day.
I want to remind the Committee of the consequences of the action that was taken by the Government in those days, and to remind Conservatives, particularly, that they were just as blatant and as cocksure as they are to-day that all that they have to do is to issue their commands and the people over in Ireland will obey. In those days, I held their point of view, I was associated with their party. I was a member of an Orange institution. Because of the associations of my childhood and early manhood, I was led to believe that peace in Ireland lay along that road.
I was in Ireland a few weeks ago. I was in Belfast and I would like to pay a tribute to the courtesy and generosity of the people of Belfast on the occasion of my visit. I went there to Dublin, and I must pay the same tribute to the people there. In Belfast one thing struck me as a visitor who had not been there for many years. There were arms everywhere. The policemen carried arms as they walked about the streets in every part of Northern Ireland. In Southern Ireland there were no arms. The policemen did not carry them; the soldiers did not carry them—they were prohibited. Coming back from that very short trip—it had something to do with this case—travelling from Belfast, I heard the beating of the drums, the "war drums" as they call them there. Our friends opposite who represent that section of opinion in Belfast, will know what I mean. The drummers were practising for next week—the Twelfth of July. I wish it were possible for every Member of this Committee to visit Belfast next week and to have visited Southern Ireland a week or two 787 ago. Speaking as a Southern Irish Protestant, who lived among Catholics for the greater part of my early years and who received nothing but courtesy and consideration from them although associated politically with those in the North of Ireland holding an entirely different point of view, I want to say that I left my own country because of what I saw in Northern Ireland. It compelled me to think and I joined another party. But I can say this. I have never been an Irish Nationalist. I have never devoted one moment of my time to Irish Nationalism. I have never been an admirer of Mr. de Valera. [An HON. MEMBER: "Splen-did!"] The hon. Lady who interrupts might keep her interruptions to herself.
When Mr. de Valera made his first statement in regard to retaining the money now in dispute I wrote a letter to a brother of mine. [Laughter.] Some of the hon. Members who laugh may not laugh five years from now. I am mentioning the matter for this reason. I then held the view which is now apparently held on the Front Bench opposite, that Mr. de Valera was entirely wrong and had no justification for his action. I expressed that view in the letter to which I refer, and I do not see that there is much to laugh at in that. The reply which I received made me examine the facts and I would say to the right hon. Gentleman, who probably has not examined the facts in the spirit in which I did so, that there is a case on the other side. The right hon. Gentleman's position in this matter is "my country—right or wrong," but that will not carry him very far. It will not settle the dispute. The sword never settled anything, whether it be the physical sword or that sword proposed to be used by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs now. Very much greater power was exercised by this country in an endeavour to compel people in Ireland to accept the view of a front bench of Tories in past days than the right hon. Gentleman has now. It failed, and a Conservative Government was compelled by sheer force of circumstances to take action that it declined to take for a great number of years. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman that, although he may be quite sure in his own mind that the imposition of a tariff may settle this 788 matter, it will not settle it for Ireland or for this country, but will create a feeling of bitterness here and in Ireland and in many other parts of the world. I regret the wordy warfare that has taken place between two hon. Members who are Irishmen, one from the North of Ireland and one from the South. It may be laughed at here, but it will not be laughed at in Ireland. I left Ireland nine years ago, and I represent a constituency which the Dominions Secretary knows well. I have to ask myself what the people in that constituency expect me to do in the circumstances which we are now discussing, and the answer I will give is that, when it is a question of possible bloodshed and of certain hardship, they would expect me to be conciliatory. I learned my conciliatory attitude to life as much from the Secretary of State for Dominions Affairs, who has lost his ideals, as I did from any other man living. He taught me that there is no possibility of settling anything by force. I put it to him now—I am trying to put it to him, I ought to say, because he is not listening He pays no attention. It is of no importance to him. May I say to him: Do you prefer just to hold on to office and forget all your principles? Is it too much to ask you to listen for a moment and not to interrupt when there is somebody earnest and determined and begging of you just to remember those principles for which you stood for so long? I ask you if you will now try a little more conciliation and make a little more effort just to settle that one small point between you and Mr. de Valera. You did not know that money was being held in a separate fund.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I will address the right hon. Gentleman through you. He was inclined to deny that money was being held in a separate fund. When the proof was given to him, he said that it makes all the difference in the world, and I say to him now: "let it make just this other little difference, that you will hold your hand in this action that might have disastrous consequences all over the world." The right hon. Gentleman said that this Bill with all its consequences will operate. I wonder whether he has considered what the consequences may be. In the first place, a few farmers in Ireland will pro- 789 bably be ruined. That is perhaps a very little consequence. We know that farmers in Ireland have been ruined over and over again by the past policies of this House. But there may be other consequences. I wonder who is going to pay this money ultimately. The farmers of Ulster and Southern Ireland may be ruined. The right hon. Member for East Belfast (Mr. Dixon) said it would affect him; that many of his friends in Northern Ireland will possibly be ruined, too, and many of the people in this country who trade with them. This taxation when it is imposed has to be paid by someone, and it cannot be paid until the goods come in here. Does anyone imagine that the importer here will pay it? He will pass it on to someone else, and ultimately it will reach the consumer, so that it is mainly the poor people in our own country who will have to pay. The poor people will be the victims. But if the tax is not recovered and the goods are kept out, how will the Government get the £5,000,000? I have heard a threat in this House that this is a game which the other side can play. They in their turn can also impose a tariff to recover the money you are recovering from them. I wonder where this stupid, ridiculous war will end. [Interruption.] It will not be ended by a few laughs from a. few stupid, ridiculous over-fed people on the other side of this House.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I will withdraw that remark, but I wish people who made those remarks earlier when speeches were made from this side would withdraw. They were not asked to withdraw. I am serious here, and I do not come here to be laughed at by anyone. My experience is that the people who will ultimately suffer in this stupid, ridiculous struggle will be our own people here in this country.
Over 90 per cent. of my constituents are poor people, and they will have to pay in consequence of this Bill. I am making a plea to the right hon. Gentleman
§ to try a little more persuasion and conciliation.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I would not hesitate if he were here, but it takes two people to make a settlement. I resent the attitude of mind of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. We are going to impose our form of tribunal, and he says that, if they do not accept our form of tribunal, then—let me quote the right hon. Gentleman's words—"This Bill with all its consequences will operate." While it may operate, I venture to make this prophecy, the right hon. Gentleman, if he lives for another 10 years, and if I do, we will be able to discuss this matter from a different point of view, and he will regret the action which he has taken to-day. He will regret it because of its consequences and of its operation to which he is so anxious to give effect. He said he would accept nothing. I am not like other people; I am in position; I have power, and I am going to wield it. I say to both of you, you can pass your insulting remarks one to another as long as you like. [Interruption.] The people opposite will judge you and when the opportunity comes some of the insulting remarks you are passing will be remembered.
§ Mr. McENTEE
Of course you are, [Interruption.] I was in the last Parliament. I sat here for hours, literally hours night after night, listening to speeches by some of you who definitely desired to waste time. If you think you can try to shout me down by that kind of thing, you are making the mistake of your lives. The right hon. Gentleman will not listen to reason. He has power, but I would remind him that the people have power, too.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: ayes, 207; Noes, 26.791
|Division No. 299.]||AYES||[12.45 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Albery, Irving James||Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Anstruther-Gray, W. J.|
|Apsley, Lord||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Hornby, Frank||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Robinson, John Roland|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Bernays, Robert||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Blindell, James||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Boulton, W. W.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E W.||Janner, Barnett||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Briant, Frank||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Ken, J. Campbell||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Slater, John|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Kimball, Lawrence||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Knebworth, Viscount||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Burnett, John George||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Leckie, J. A.||Somerset, Thomas|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Carver, Major William H.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Levy, Thomas||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||MacAndrew. Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Stones, James|
|Colville, John||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Cook, Thomas A.||McKie, John Hamilton||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Copeland, Ida||McLean, Major Alan||Sudden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Magnay, Thomas||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Crossley, A. C.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Martin, Thomas B.||Templeton, William P.|
|Curry, A. C.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Mitcheson, G. G.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Donner, P. W.||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Munro, Patrick||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Nunn, William||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Eimley, Viscount||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Palmer, Francis Noel||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Patrick, Colin M.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Penny, Sir George||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Percy, Lord Eustace||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Petherick, M.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bllst'n)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Pike, Cecil F.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Greene, William P. C.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western isles)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Rankin, Robert|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Rathbone, Eleanor||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Rea, Walter Russell||Captain Austin Hudson and Commander Southby.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Healy, Cahir||Milner, Major James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hicks, Ernest George||Price, Gabriel|
|Buchanan, George||Hirst, George Henry||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Dagger, George||Lawson, John James|
|Devlin, Joseph||Logan, David Gilbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||Mr. Edwards and Mr. Duncan|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Graham.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."794
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 203; Noes,26.793
|Division No. 300.]||NOES||[12.55 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Albery, Irving James||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.)||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Heligers, Captain F. F. A.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Apsley, Lord||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Hornby, Frank||Robinson, John Roland|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Howard, Tom Forrest||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Bernays, Robert||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Blinden, James||Janner, Barnett||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Boulton, W. W.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Ker, J. Campbell||Slater, John|
|Briant, Frank||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Kimball, Lawrence||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Knebworth, Viscount||Somerset, Thomas|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Leckie, J. A.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E|
|Burnett, John George||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Levy, Thomas||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Castlereagh. Viscount||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Stones, James|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton|
|Colfax, Major William Philip||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Colville, John||McKie, John Hamilton||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Conant, R. J. E.||McLean, Major Alan||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Magnay, Thomas||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Copeland, Ida||Margeseon, Capt. Henry David R.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Templeton, William P.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Martin, Thomas B.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Curry, A. C.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Layton, E.)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Mitcheson, G. G.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Munro, Patrick||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Donner, P. W.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Nunn, William||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Elliot. Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Waterhouse. Captain Charles|
|Eimley, Viscount||Palmer, Francis Noel||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Emrys-Evans. P. V.||Patrick, Colin M.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Penny, Sir George||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Esserthigh, Reginald Clare||Percy, Lord Eustace||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Petherick, M.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Petri. Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Pike, Cecil F.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Greene. William P. C.||Ramsbotham, Herwald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Rankin, Robert||Captain Austin Hudson and Lord|
|Grimston, R. V.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Erskine.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Healy, Cahir||Milner, Major James|
|Buchanan, George||Hicks, Ernest George||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, George Henry||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Dagger, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lawson, John James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||Tinker.|
§ Clauses 2 (Value of articles for purposes of Act), and 3 (Short title and construction), ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Preamble agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the Third time Tomorrow.