Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [27th July] proposed to be made to the Amendment made by The Lords to the West Indies Bill; and which Amendment was,
To leave out the words "as such coadjutor, continue to act in the same manner as at present as Archdeacon of Middlesex," in order to insert the words "and exercises episcopal functions therein, continue to receive out of the Consolidated Fund the annual payment of two thousand pounds which has been hitherto made to him in part by the Bishop of Jamaica out of the stipend of three thousand pounds paid to the said Bishop from the Consolidated Fund under the before recited Acts, and in part out of the stipend appropriated to his Archdeaconry of Middlesex out of the Consolidated Fund, under the said Acts: Provided, That during his receipt of such annual payment no payment shall be made to him out of the Consolidated Fund in respect of the Archdeaconry of Middlesex,"—(Mr. Russell Gurney,)
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of The Lords' Amendment."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he hoped the Secretary of the Treasury would support him in objecting to a proposal which, if adopted, would form a very bad precedent. The House was asked to make a new grant out of the Consolidated Fund by way of Amendment to an Amendment of the other House without any Resolution having been come to on the subject by the House in Committee. The clause, if amended as proposed, would give to the Bishop of Kingston £800 as his own salary and £1,200 from the Consolidated Fund as agent of the Bishop of Jamaica, so that the proposal actually suggested the appropriation of £1,200 out of the Consolidated Fund. The Act under which the payments were to be made was the 5 & 6 Vict., which empowered Her Majesty to devote such sums from the Consolidated Fund as she deemed necessary to carry out any arrangement which might 1919 be come to for the spiritual welfare of the people of Jamaica. It appeared to be a new charge upon the Consolidated Fund for the benefit of a particular individual, and such a charge ought not to be created except in Committee. The proposition ought not, he believed, now to be made, and he trusted, therefore, that the Lords' Amendment, which was a very harmless one, would be agreed to. It was harmless because it could never come into operation, and he hoped, therefore, that the House, out of compliment to the other branch of the Legislature, would agree to the Amendment as sent down.
said, he hoped the time would soon come, and he should see it, when the question of Bishops' salaries would occupy as little time in that House as the payment of salaries to Dissenting ministers and of funds for the erection of chapels. With regard to the question now before the House, he should vote against the proposed alteration of the Lords' Amendment, for the reason that if it did not actually create a new charge upon the Consolidated Fund, it would create a charge for an additional life.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that by the patent under which his appointment was made the Bishop of Kingston was not merely appointed coadjutor to the Bishop of Jamaica. For his duties as coadjutor to the Bishop of Jamaica he received £1,200 a year out of the salary of the Bishop of Jamaica, in addition to the sum of £400, formerly £800, which he received as the Archdeacon of Middlesex. But he was also empowered on the death of the Bishop of Jamaica to perform the episcopal duties of that See until a successor had been appointed, consecrated, and had arrived in the diocese. The whole object of the Amendment now proposed was that the Bishop of Kingston should, in such an event, receive the same emoluments as were now given to the Archdeacon of Middlesex. He could see no objection to this proposal, and should therefore support it.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Russell Gurney) proposed to strike out part of the Lords' Amendment by which a pecuniary saving would be effected. The right hon. and learned Gentleman purposed to strike out that part of the Amendment which conveyed the intention of the other House, and to put in something entirely different in its nature, and not 1920 in any way connected with the subject of the Lords' Amendment; and he desired to know, whether it was in accordance with the rules of the House to take advantage of the technical fact that an Amendment had been made by the other House to insert a fresh provision which could by no possibility have any connection with that Amendment?
§ MR. AYTOUN
submitted that they had no power to do what was proposed by the Amendment. Power was given to grant a salary out of the Consolidated Fund to some person holding a particular office and provided for under the Act of Parliament; but was it competent to them to transfer the salary to some totally different office?
§ MR. SPEAKER
A Question was put to me on this point last night, and I made answer to it that it appears to me, so far as the privileges of the House are concerned, the question turns upon whether there is any new charge upon the Consolidated Fund, and while the Bill proposes to relieve the Consolidated Fund of £20,000 this Amendment would relieve it of £ 18,000 only. The question of the merits of the Bill is a matter for the consideration of the House. The hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) has asked me whether in point of form this Amendment can be put? The question is whether it is relevant, and it appears to me that it is relevant to the Amendment of the Lords. I do not mean to say it is not a somewhat complicated question. I adhere to the substance of the opinion I gave last night that, as there is no new charge upon the Consolidated Fund, therefore I think it is a matter more to be decided by the House on its merits than by any opinion from the Chair.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 30; Noes 29: Majority 1.
§ Lords' Amendment agreed to.
§ House adjourned at half after Five o'clock.