HC Deb 30 March 1871 vol 205 cc976-9

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Preamble agreed to.

On Question, "That the Bill, as amended, be reported to the House."


asked for an explanation why, as the Bill was divided into two, the first part of the Bill was to be reported before the second part had been considered. Both parts were referred to the same Committee, and the general understanding was that the House was not to go out of Committee until both parts had passed through Committee.


said, the House would still remain in Committee to complete the Bill.


said, he thought it would be better to report the first part of the Bill.


said, the course was, after a Bill was divided into two parts, to agree to the Preamble of the first part, and then to decide to report that Bill, as amended, to the House. When that was agreed to the Committee would begin the second part.


said, that whatever might be the rule or conduct of the House they might fall somewhat into a trap—not intentionally—by allowing the Preamble to pass, because if the Bill was reported that night he apprehended it would be competent for the Government, or any hon. Member, to go on with the report to-morrow, and the first part of the Bill be read, a third time, and practically passed before the House had time to go through Committee on the second part.


said, he would undertake, on the part of the Government, not to proceed with the Report of the first part until the second part had passed through Committee.

Motion agreed to.

Clause 3 (Penalties for threats, molestations, and obstructions).


complained that the clause, as worded, would apply to others than masters and workmen, such as secretaries to the societies. He suggested that the offences should be confined to the masters and workmen alone, and not to other parties.


observed that there was nothing more common than to pass Acts of Parliament creating offences with reference to the particular subjects with which the Act dealt. He moved the insertion of words, of which he had not given notice, for the purpose of mitigating the effect of the clause.


, and Mr. M'LAREN objected to the insertion of any Amendment which did not appear on the Paper, and suggested that the Chairman should report Progress.

MR. BRUCE moved the omission of the 6th sub-section of the clause, which rendered it penal to use violence, threats, or intimidation, or to molest or obstruct any person with a view to coerce— Any master or workmen to do, or abstain from doing, any other lawful thing in connection with his business or employment. The hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) had pointed out that that subsection was too vague and general in its character, and, agreeing in that view, he (Mr. Bruce) moved its omission.


again protested that it was too late to go on with the Bill, and moved that the Chairman report Progress.


pointed out that it would be a waste of valuable time, considering the state of Public Business, to report Progress now, especially as the Home Secretary had undertaken to reprint the Bill with all the alterations, so that they might be re-considered on the Report.

Motion negatived

MR. ANDERSON moved to leave out Sub-section 1, which provided that a person should be deemed, to molest or obstruct another if he persistently followed him about from place to place.

Amendment proposed, In page 2, lines 9 and 10, to leave out the words "If he persistently follow such person about from place to place."—(Mr. Anderson.)


pointed out that the "persistently following" referred to must be done with the view to coerce, and in that case it should be prevented.


said, he thought an act to be punished must be objectionable in itself, and persistently following was not improper; while picketing had been declared to be not illegal in some instances.


admitted that peaceful persuasion ought not to be punished; but explained that the sub-section had reference to proceedings of a very different kind.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 152; Noes 21: Majority 131.

MR. E. POTTER moved an Amendment to render one person acting alone amenable to punishment for picketing, as well as one or more persons, holding that the offence could be committed by an individual as well as by two, three, or more.

Amendment proposed, In page 2, line 13, to leave out the words "with two or more other persons he," and insert "he alone or together with one or more other person or persons."—(Mr. Edmund Potter.)


said, he could not accept the Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 104; Noes 57: Majority 47.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.


said, he proposed to make the sheriffs in Scotland the tribunal to administer the Bill.


said, he hoped the Home Secretary would make the County Court Judges try the cases under the Bill in England.


pointed out that the County Court Judges had jurisdiction only in civil cases.

Report, That the Committee had divided the Bill into two Bills.