§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2 (Transference of powers and duties of Secretary of State).
§ On the Motion of The LORD ADVOCATE, the following Amendment made:—In page 1, line 19, leave out "passing," and insert "commencement."
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh. E.)
I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name—namely, to insert after "Scotland," in line 26—Provided always that no person shall he capable of holding the said office of Secretary for Scotland who is not a Member of the House of Commons, and that the appointment of any Member of the said House to such office should not have the effect of vacating his seat.Now, I have a variety of reasons for proposing this Amendment. The first one is one of a general character. I think that the possibility of the Secretary for Scotland being a Member of the Peerage should be excluded. I hold that view upon the grounds of general political principles, because I am one of those who are of opinion that the aristocratic principle should be discouraged and diminished in the government of the country. If possible a Commoner should be preferred in all the functions of government. In saying this I believe I am giving expression to the opinion of the great mass of the people of Scotland. I do not deny that there is a small proportion of the people there who believe in the aristocratic principle; that is shown in normal years of political feeling by the small number of Conservatives sent up to Parliament from that country. The number of Conservatives returned is a tolerably correct arithmetical measure of the amount of aristocratic faith in Scotland. The vast majority of the Scottish people are purely and strongly democratic. Scotland has for a long period been subjected to influences the tendency of which has been to produce an extension and development of democratic ideas. The people are more and more feeling a difficulty in understanding why they should give reverence and honour and obedience to 1744 any man simply because he is his father's son. There is a growing discontent with the fact that a handful of persons, possessing, no doubt, that qualification, should be empowered by law to raise themselves to claims for honour and obedience above the rest of their fellows. But I do not desire to dwell upon this general consideration; I thought it only honest and frank to avow this as one of my reasons for proposing this Amendment. Now, I desire this Amendment to be adopted for another, and, for the time being, more practical consideration. I desire the Scottish Secretary to be in the House of Commons, because he ought to be easily accessible to the Scottish nation as personified in its Representatives, in order that he may be amenable to their questionings, and that the largest possible legislative advantage may be taken by them of his position, and it is in the House of Commons really that we have the Scottish nation represented. Practically speaking, the Scottish nation is in the House of Commons, and nowhere else. No doubt there are some 87 persons connected with the Scottish Peerage who are necessarily not represented in this House. But even of these there are 51 who are Peers of Great Britain by special creation, or Peers of the United Kingdom; and these noble Lords I look upon rather as Englishmen who have a Scottish connection than properly Scotchmen in any practical sense. They are exotic to Scotland; their positions and their education and their feeling render them, to a large extent, foreigners in Scotland. They are not so much Scottish as shareholders in Scotland; so that really there are only 36 persons, properly speaking, who are identifiable as Scotsmen who are not in the House of Commons. I say, therefore, that the whole nation is here, and that in a largo reckoning of this kind we cannot count these three dozen of gentlemen. In large countings we always leave out the odd half-pence and deal with round numbers; and therefore, following this safe accountant's rule, we may say that this is the place where the Scottish nation is to be found. This, then, is the place where the Scottish Secretary ought to be found, that he may be in touch with the people whose fortunes he is to a large extent expected to influence. Then, I desire the Secretary for Scotland to be in this House in 1745 order that He may, if possible, aid us in getting a full—at all events a better— attention paid to Scottish Business. I venture to say that Scottish Business, and the satisfaction of the claims of Scottish Business in this House, is in an outrageous and intolerable condition at present. Scottish Business is pushed away into a corner; and all that is given to it are a few scraps time at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, and two miserable Wednesday afternoons. That is the whole amount of time that has been devoted this Session to the legislative wants of a nation that numbers close on 4,000,000 of people, and that is possessed of a special and very highly organized civilization, embracing complicated, delicate, diversified, and minutely ramified interests—legal, educational, commercial, agricultural, and industrial. Now, I think I am not indulging in exaggeration when I say this is a wrong state of matters. This House gives, I need not say, far more time to Ireland than to Scotland; it gives far more time to Egypt, and even to the pay, clothing, and vagaries of the London police, than it gives to the wants of a nation that is one of your partners in the great Legislative Union. There does not seem to me much chance of improving under the present system so far as Scotland is concerned. It has been practically the same, I understand, since the Union; and I fear that, unless the system is changed, there is very little hope of amendment. Whatever the reason may be I am not prepared to say. This neglect and contempt of the interests of Scotland may be owing to the overshadowing influence of the mere physical bulk of England—500 Representatives can, of course, whenever they choose, outweigh 72. It may, perhaps, be the fault of the Scottish Members themselves. What is everybody's business is nobody's business, and nobody attends to it. It may be that we are too independent of one another—I will not say jealous of one another—or it may be that our appetite for humble pie is more keen than is consistent with our public prosperity. Whatever may be the reason, the fact is undeniable that in British legislation Scotland is, at the present time, practically nowhere. I have some hope and expectation that if the Secretary for Scotland is always vigilantly present in this House, and if powerfully 1746 present in the Cabinet, he will have the influence and the power, to some extent, to mend this state of matters. At all events, he cannot make them worse; and the experiment is worth trying whether he cannot make them better. Ireland has her Secretary in this House, and in the Cabinet; and we see what an immense amount of time and attention Ireland has gained for the consideration of her affairs by that arrangement. Perhaps, if we had a Secretary for Scotland with some force of character, we might possibly get something like our own share of attention. What, let me ask, is our fair share? I venture to say, making a calculation on the basis of population, that in a Session like the present Scotland ought to have had very nearly a clear month all to herself. That is a very moderate calculation. Instead of this we have only got the two wretched Wednesday afternoons, and the morsels of legislative offal which have been flung to us at 3 o'clock in the morning. If we make a calculation on the basis of comparative wealth, it will be found we are entitled to a much larger share of the time of the House than we get. Now, let me remind the Committee that the arrangement which I propose would be in accordance with the old Parliamentary traditions of Scotland, which do not merely live in history books, but in the minds of the people. In the days of the Scotch Parliament the Secretary for Scotland was of necessity continually in touch with the Commons, for the simple reason that the old Scotch Parliament was a single Chamber Parliament. They did not know anything about "another place," because for them there was no other place; and the signs and proofs are pretty clear that they did not merely vote by order. Practically, the Scottish Parliament was an Assembly in-which public officials and Secretaries of State amongst the rest were continually present and amenable to the questionings and criticisms of Members. I now come to the second part of my Amendment, which I admit is, perhaps, the most disputable part of my proposal. At all events, I am led to believe it is open to dispute; and that is that on the appointment of any Member of the House of Commons as Secretary for Scotland he shall not ipso facto vacate his seat. I would gladly have omitted that part of the Amendment if I had 1747 seen it possible to do so, consistently with maintaining the main proposition. I have tried it in all ways and I am utterly unable to see how I can reconcile the two propositions—namely, to make the Scottish Secretary exclusively a Member of this House, and at the same time provide that when appointed he shall vacate his seat. I invite hon. Gentlemen to work the problem out in their own minds to see whether they can succeed. I have an open mind on this question, and I am willing that my Amendment should be amended. I have no desire to raise unnecessary antagonism with the main proposal. Suppose that a Member of the House is appointed Secretary for Scotland and that upon the plea that the Office is one of profit under the Crown he vacates his seat. Suppose that he is re-elected and he is again appointed Secretary for Scotland he vacates his seat. The same thing will go on again and again in the attempt to appoint a Secretary for Scotland. I have been unable to devise any way of providing that the Secretary for Scotland shall of necessity be a Member of the House of Commons except that contained in my Amendment. In order to secure my main object I am ready to sacrifice the principle that when the Secretary for Scotland is appointed to his Office he shall not be held to have vacated his seat in the House. I do not see any reason for the proposition as a general proposition, and I see still less reason for it as applied to the case of Scotland. The original cause of the rule that when a man was appointed to an Office of profit under the Crown he should vacate his seat was the un-Constitutional attempt on the part of the Crown, or, at all events, on the part of the party who advised the Crown, to secure an improper ascendancy in this House. That cause has now vanished. How can it exist when the Minister of the day is practically a creature of the popular vote, and when all Crown appointments are really indirect popular appointments, and there are many appointments connected with Membership of this House not directly under the Crown which are still indirectly under the Crown, and all these are excepted by law from the operation of the rule that applies to direct appointments. For my part, I have never been able to see any practical ground for distin- 1748 guishing between the direct and indirect patronage of the Crown in the matter of appointments. At all events, whatever may be the value of the general argument as applied to the Kingdom at large, there can be no doubt that as far as regards Scotland and Scottish Parliamentary traditions there really is no defence whatever for perpetuating the rule with respect to Offices of profit under the Crown, because the causes which led to the rule in England never existed in Scotland. There was never any danger in the Scottish Parliament of the Crown obtaining too much influence. The danger was all the other way. The danger which the Kings in Scotland felt most keenly was what they considered the undue depreciation of the influence of the Crown; and, consequently, there was never in Scotland any such rule as I have referred to. The rule is really and entirely an English rule, springing out of English circumstances and out of English history. It was enacted a few months after the Scottish Members first took their seat in this House under the Act of Union; but Scottish history, traditions, and ideas had no connection whatever with the enactment of this law. I do not know whether there is much more that I can or ought to say upon this question. Before sitting down, however, I must notice one objection of a practical character that may be brought against my proposal. It may be said that to exclude Peers would be to run the risk of a very substantial loss of administrative capacity, and consequent loss to the country. I have considered the point as carefully as I can, and I must say that the risk is infinitesimal—more particularly is it so in connection with the purely Scottish Peerage. I do not speak of the English nobility, but of the purely Scottish Peerage, and I venture to say with respect to them that scarcely without any exception I do not know that a more insignificant aggregate of humanity is at the present moment existing on the face of the earth; and, therefore, I do not see that as far as they are concerned there will be much practical loss to the country if they are debarred from holding the Office of Secretary for Scotland. In any case it is simply a question of the balance of advantage, and I am one of those who are of opinion, taking all material calculations into account, there 1749 will be an amount of advantage derived from observing a rule such as that which I propose should regulate this matter. The advantage will far more than compensate for any loss that can possibly accrue. For this reason, and for the other reasons I have endeavoured to explain to the Committee, I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
In page 1, line 26, after the word "Scotland," to insert the words—"Provided always that no person shall be capable of holding the said Office of Secretary for Scotland who is not a Member of the House of Commons, and that the appointment of any Member of the said House to such Office shall not have the effect of vacating his seat."—(Mr. Wallace.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. A. R. D. ELLIOT (Roxburgh)
I do not know that the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Wallace) ought to be taken seriously and in good faith. A good deal of his arguments were entirely at war with the principles he professes to hold, and it must have occurred to the supporters of my hon. Friend that he was doing violence to some of his own best feelings when he contended that it is not desirable to get the best man we can to put into the Office of Secretary for Scotland. Surely hon. Members must see that if this Office is to be made of use to Scotland, we must, in some degree, exalt the Office, and get the very best man we can find; and if we are to put any limitation as to the class of men from which we are to choose a Scottish Secretary, we shall be inevitably diminishing the weight and the credit which that official will have in this House and in the country. My hon. Friend made most strange remarks in referring to Scottish Peers. He said that a large number of the Scottish Peers were not Scotsmen, and he seemed to contrast their position and character, as Scotsmen, with the position occupied by Scottish Members in this House. I do not complain of that. I am a strong advocate of the Union; but I confess I have seen, as years have gone on, that it has become more and more the practice at every General Election, and even at bye-elections, for the Scottish constituencies to return Englishmen to represent them. I see several hon. Gentlemen sitting here as the Representa- 1750 tives of Scotch constituencies; they are very valuable Representatives, but still they have no connection whatever with, Scotland. My hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh is very often closely associated with the hon. and learned Member for Elgin and Nairn (Mr. Anderson), who is often associated with the hon. and learned Member for East Fife (Mr. Asquith); and to talk of these Gentlemen as being in some degree Scotsmen, and, on the other hand, to talk of the Duke of Argyll and Lord Rosebery as not being Scotch at all, is really an insult to the Committee, because it is the putting forward of what is nothing but actual nonsense. The hon. Member has given us some information about the old Scottish Parliament. No doubt, it was a very interesting specimen of the single House system; but it was not the case that there existed anything in the nature of exclusion of particular persons from particular positions or offices. This Amendment is not an Amendment to put Peers and Commoners upon the same footing; but it is an Amendment to prevent Peers — though otherwise well qualified—from taking a position which they may usefully fill. I wonder if the hon. Member has considered what may take place. I suppose that from time to time a Conservative Government will be in Office; and if ever again Parties in Scotland are divided as they used to be, not between Unionists and Separatists, but between Liberals and Conservatives, it is very probable that Liberal Members of this House will, as before, be largely in excess of Conservative Members. There might be some difficulty in selecting, from the limited number of Conservatives returned from Scotland, a Gentleman of influence and ability to fill the Office of Secretary for Scotland. I believe that all Scottish Members wish that the Secretary for Scotland shall be a Cabinet Minister. After the Election of 1880, it used to be a common joke in Scotland that all the Conservative Members from Scotland could travel to Loudon in one first-class carriage. By this Amendment one of those six or seven Gentlemen would necessarily be a Cabinet Minister. The hon. Member said that Scotch Peers are not Scotsmen in a sense in which he is a Scotsman, whatever that may mean. He concluded that they are unfit to take part 1751 in the representation of Scotland in this House, because they have not that intimate connection with Scotland which it is necessary Scotch Representatives should have. All I can say is, that if there happen to be only six Conservative Members from Scotland, one of whom must be a Cabinet Minister, we open the door much more easily than ever before for entry into that highly respectable body. But, seriously, the people of Scotland are looking to Parliament to make something of this Bill, and they really do want the best man who can be found, whether he is the Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Rosebery, or anybody else, for the Office. We must remember that the holder of the Office will not be merely a Departmental Chief; but, as a Cabinet Minister, he will be much more than that, and will have to take his fair share and have his duo weight in the general administration of Imperial affairs. When once we get a man in the Cabinet, we must not regard his position merely with reference to the Department of which he is the head; because he is one of the Government, the Body who have to decide the great Imperial questions of the day. To limit the number of persons from whom that individual is to be drawn would be a fatal mistake. I do not wish to maintain that it will not generally be very desirable to have the Scottish Minister in the House of Commons; but that is a matter which should be left in the hands of the Ministry of the day to decide. The Home Secretary, who is at present Home Secretary for Scotland as well as England, is almost always in this House; but there is no Act of Parliament which makes it compulsory that he should be a Member of this House. I think the Office of Secretary for Scotland should be left in the same position as that of Home Secretary. I have made a longer speech than I intended; I have been tempted to do so because of the exclusive and narrowing character of the Amendment.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Roxburgh (Mr. A. R. D. Elliot) has entirely omitted to call the attention of the Committee to the merits of the case. Formerly, when we had only the Lord Advocate representing Scottish interests in the House of Commons there 1752 was one great guarantee for attention to Scottish affairs, and that was that the Lord Advocate was necessarily a Member of the House of Commons. The drawbacks to the position of the Lord Advocate were twofold. In the first place, he being a lawyer, there were a great many administrative functions with which he was not particularly well qualified to deal. We certainly had the advantage of always being able to communicate with the Gentleman who was responsible for the conduct of the affairs of Scotland. A Secretary for Scotland was appointed. Now, I maintain that by appointing as Secretary for Scotland a Member of the other House the Government have destroyed the whole advantage which we expected to derive from the appointment. The hon. and learned Member for Roxburgh says we ought to get the best man. I agree with him in that; but whatever qualifications a Peer may have, he has this vital disqualification—that he is not in this House; and is totally inaccessible, absolutely unknown to many, and perfectly useless for the purposes of his Office. I have desired on many occasions to gain access to the noble Marquess the Secretary for Scotland (the Marquess of Lothian), but have not been able to find him. I cannot afford the time to kick my heels in the purlieus of the other House. There may be gentlemen with great leisure who can succeed in disinterring the Secretary for Scotland; but I have never seen him. I submit it is impossible that the Business of Scotland can be attended to with any degree of justice and fulness unless Members of this House have constant access, and daily access if necessary, to the Secretary for Scotland. Whatever qualifications a Peer may have he is subjected to a fatal disqualification, and that is that he cannot transact the Business of the Office properly. I dare say the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate (Mr. J. H. A. Macdonald) will reply; but I cannot recognize him as an impartial critic. He occupies a somewhat invidious position. He has his own proper duties to attend to, and, in addition, he is the conduit pipe by which are communicated to this House the opinions of the Scottish Secretary. From my experience while Lord Dalhousie was Secretary for Scotland, I 1753 have determined—in season and out of season, whether under Liberal or Conservative Governments—to oppose the appointment as Secretary for Scotland of a Gentleman sitting in the other House. It is said that we cave in to the Government; but that is exactly what we do not do, as there are many motives which influence Governments, such as the desire to find a suitable place for Members of their own Party. We cannot go far wrong if we appoint a Member of this House. In my opinion, unless this Amendment is accepted, all the other provisions are illusory; and, in fact, Scottish Members are now in a worse position than they were before a Secretary for Scotland was appointed.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
We have had a very important but nevertheless rather academic discussion, because there is no Officer of State who is compelled by law to be a Member of this House. I am afraid that if we continue the discussion very long we may crowd out other and more practical Amendments, [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Well, I do not think the Amendment can be carried, and I hope my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Wallace) will not press it to a Division. While saying this, I entirely disclaim the sentiments of the hon. and learned Member for Roxburgh (Mr. A. P. D. Elliot), because upon the principle of the matter I entirely agree with the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter). The real question is—What is best for the convenience of the Public Service? The Secretary for Scotland is the Home Secretary, and I put it to the Committee whether it is not now an established practice that the Home Secretary must be in this House? I, therefore, press upon the Government the propriety of the Secretary for Scotland being also a Member of this House.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
In the very clever speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Roxburgh (Mr. A. R. D. Elliot) there was one great defect, and that was that he seemed to totally misconceive the nature and object aimed at by the Amendment, because the main objection of the hon. and learned Gentleman was that this was a limiting Amendment, and it prevented us getting the very best man for the Office, inasmuch as when the Conservative Government 1754 may be in power we should be limited in choice to half-a-dozen Member, which is, on the average, the number of the Scotch Conservative contingent in this House. I do not suppose for a moment my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Wallace) means anything of that sort. He does not mean that the appointment to the Office of Scotch Secretary should be confined to Scotch Members of Parliament. All the limitation that we desire to see is that the Office should be confined to persons who are either Members of this House or eligible to become Members of this House. The present holder of the Office, for instance, is not eligible to be a Member of this House, and it is against that state of things we desire to guard. I think my hon. Friend (Mr. Wallace) might have done better if he had omitted the controversial matter which is contained in the latter part of the Amendment—namely, that if a Member of this House is appointed Secretary for Scotland he shall not be compelled to seek re-election. If he had omitted that, and confined himself to proposing that the person who is selected by the Government to be the Secretary for Scotland shall be a man who can have a seat in this House, his Amendment would have excluded the Peerage, and would have had the indirect effect of requiring the Scotch Secretary to be a Member of this House. I was rather surprised to notice the attitude assumed upon this question by my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell). My hon. Friend said that in no other case is the holder of a great Office of State limited by law to Members of the House of Commons. I admit the fact, but I deny the argument.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
I did not deny the expediency of the Secretary for Scotland being a Member of this House.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I understood my hon. Friend made a point of the fact. Now, I think that the principle embodied in the Amendment ought to be applied to all other Members of the Ministry—that is to say, that in all cases where there is only one Representative of an Office he should be seated in this House. If there are two Representatives of any great State Office, then the principal of the two should be 1755 seated in this House, relegating the inferior Representative to the House of Lords. If anybody proposes to carry out that principle, either directly, as my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Wallace) does by his Amendment, or indirectly, by refusing Supplies in all cases in which the rule is transgressed, I shall be ready to vote with him. I have consulted already with my hon. Friend as to the form of his Amendment, and I think it would be in some respects less objectionable to many if he will leave out that portion which raises the question of re-election on appointment, and will simply confine himself to the assertion that the Secretary for Scotland shall always be a person having a seat in this House, or who is eligible for a seat in this House.
§ MR. DONALD CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E.)
I think it important that the vote which many hon. Members on this side of the House will be compelled to give, in the event of the Division, should not be misunderstood. I am as strongly of opinion as my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Wallace) that the Secretary for Scotland should have a seat in this House. I was not always so strongly of that opinion; but, notwithstanding the admirable manner in which the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate performs his duties in this House, his position is a peculiar one. He is not, and does not profess to be, the Representative or alter ego of the Secretary for Scotland; and I must say that great inconvenience arises, and must arise, so long as the Secretary for Scotland himself has not a seat in the House of Commons. Four-fifths, perhaps nine-tenths, of the duties of the Secretary for Scotland correspond with the duties of the Home Secretary, who always has a seat in this House; and that, I think, is an argument in favour of our contention which it is very difficult to get over. I wish to point out, however, that in order to attain the desirable and practical object which ought to be brought about in every case by the force of public opinion in Scotland and in this House my hon. Friend proposes to make two most extreme Constitutional changes in this Bill. One is to disqualify Members of the House of Lords from holding the particular high Office of State such as this is. It is a very serious question whether for 1756 the practical convenience of Scotland, by a side wind, in an Amending Bill such as this, we are entitled to make such a change. I think not. We may all have our ideas about the functions of the House of Lords, and we may have many reforms in our heads; but I do not think this is the way to carry them out. The second Constitutional change is that for the practical convenience of Scotland it is proposed that a Constitutional rule should be departed from, and that a man who receives an Office of profit under the Crown is no longer to go hack to his constituents for re-election. This rule may require modification; but I maintain that it would be highly improper for us, in this casual, incidental, way to alter it. I do not think it is a claim that Scottish Members are entitled to make on the House of Commons. Therefore, while I think it is desirable—and I hope the Government will take note that that is the opinion of the Scottish Members—that the Secretary for Scotland should sit in this House, I am unable to vote for the Amendment.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I support the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Wallace), and I hope that on practical grounds He will press it to a Division. I support it also because, if it is carried, other Constitutional changes will be required. Possibly the first result will be to enfranchise the Scottish Peers, and place them in the same position as Irish Peers, who are eligible to sit in either House. The present disqualification of Scottish Peers ought not to exist. At present the Liberal Scottish Peer has no chance of being elected to the other House, and he could not be elected to the House of Commons. Then we will require to bring about some reforms in the other House, which are so much desired. If we cannot have the Scottish Secretary in this House, we ought to have an arrangement by which Secretaries of State shall have a right to take part in the Business in both Houses. I trust we shall have a Division on this question, and that the principle will be established that the Secretary for Scotland shall be a Member of the House of Commons.
§ MR. FINLAY (Inverness, &c.)
I quite agree with hon. Members as to the desirableness of having the Secretary 1757 for Scotland in this House. I think the very same reasons that render it desirable that the Home Secretary should be in this House render it desirable that the Scotch Secretary should be in this House; but I am unable to vote for the Amendment. I am not prevented from voting for the Amendment merely by the fact that, so far as I believe, there is no precedent for an enactment fettering the discretion of the Crown in this way, as to the class of persons upon whom a particular appointment shall be conferred. But that reason does weigh with me very much. Although it is, no doubt, most desirable that the Secretary for Scotland should be a Member of this House, accessible to Members of this House—as only a Member of this House can be—yet there may be Peers with qualifications so exceptional as to render it desirable that in their case that which should be a general rule should be departed from; and that consideration has all the more weight if, as we all hope, the Secretary for Scotland is to be in the future a Member of the Cabinet. I think it would be very undesirable, if the Secretary for Scotland is to be a Member of the Cabinet, that we should fetter the discretion of the Crown as to the class of person from whom the Secretary for Scotland is to be selected. While maintaining these views, I hope my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Wallace) will not press his Amendment to a Division, and for this very practical reason—that he will get a Division which will convey an altogether erroneous impression as to the feeling amongst Scottish Members. A great many Members who, like myself, think it desirable that the Scottish Secretary should be in this House, will feel constrained to vote against the Amendment; and if my hon. Friend presses it to a Division he will be weakening the cause he has at heart.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER (Lord JOHN MANNERS) (Leicestershire, E.)
It is not correct to say that there is no precedent for statutory limitation as to the House in which a particular high Officer of State shall sit. There is a certain precedent, and I think it is well the Committee should have its attention called to the fact. When I first came into Parliament the Postmaster General was, by Statute, obliged to be a Peer of the Realm, and, of course, 1758 could not sit in this House. That was felt to be an unwise and inexpedient regulation, and some years ago that statutory disqualification of a Member of the House of Commons was repealed, with considerable advantage to the Public Service. Are we now, in the year 1887, to adopt that bad precedent of a former generation, and enact a statutory disqualification of all persons who do not happen to belong to one Estate of the Realm? I cannot imagine so undemocratic a proceeding as that suggested by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Wallace). Surely the democratic principle on all these subjects is to give the widest possible choice in the selection of the fittest person to fill an office. The hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) suggested that the Amendment ought to be supported, because there are various disqualifications now affecting the Scottish Peerage, which he wishes to see abolished. But that is the oddest reason I ever heard for imposing a fresh disqualification on Peers of the Realm. There is one other suggestion which the Committee should take into consideration, and that is that if the Amendment is carried Scottish Peers will be prevented from filling the most important Scottish Office, while it will be open to any Irish Peer, who is not an elected Peer, to fill that particular Office. This seems to me a very extraordinary proposal to be suggested to us from what is called the democratic aspect of the question. I sincerely hope the Committee will not accept the Amendment.
§ MR. WALLACE
I only wish to say a word in reply to the observations which have been made upon my Amendment. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson) has suggested another way of putting the Amendment I have proposed. His suggestion is to the effect that the Amendment shall be confined to persons who are eligible as Members for the House of Commons. That is one of the forms I myself discarded, as being irreconcilable with the main proposition which I desire should be adopted. I do not merely want that the Secretary for Scotland should not be in the House of Lords, but I want him to be positively in the House of Commons. Supposing he gets re-elected by some constituency and comes to the House of Commons, my Amendment will operate. At pre- 1759 sent he has to vacate his seat, because he holds an appointment of profit. I want to prevent the whole thing running round, as it were, in a circle. I want to prevent the Secretary for Scotland being obliged to be continually vacating his seat, as I am afraid he will have to do unless some such Amendment as I propose is adopted. I gather from the fact that my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. E. Robertson) has not proposed a formal Amendment to my Amendment that he does not mean to desert me in the event of my pressing this Amendment to a Division. I am not insensible of the importance of some of the criticisms which have been passed upon the Amendment; but, taking all the criticisms together, I am perfectly prepared to go before the general public, particularly of Scotland, with an Amendment of this kind, because I know that it will be viewed in a very different light from that in which it is seen from many points of the compass in this House.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I certainly do not intend to desert my hon. Friend (Mr. Wallace) if he goes to a Division; indeed, I may remind him of the fact that the form in which he has submitted his Amendment to the House is the form suggested by me to him. I think the other form I have sketched is preferable; but I shall certainly support him if he goes to a Division.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided: — Ayes 46; Noes 105: Majority 59.—(Div. List, No. 419.) [4.35 P.M.]
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I beg to propose to insert, at the end of line 26—Who shall henceforth have the state and position of one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State with the title of Secretary of State for Scotland.As I am very anxious to see this Bill passed through Committee, I shall detain the House but a very few moments. I think we are all agreed upon this—that whilst there is not to be any limitation to the effect that the Secretary for Scotland should necessarily be a Member of the House of Commons, the Secretary for Scotland ought to be of Cabinet rank. The subjects with which he will have to deal and the importance of the Office are such that necessarily require that he shall be of Cabinet rank. Now, if we 1760 confer upon him the position of Secretary of State for Scotland, we necessarily, according to usage, confer upon him the state of Cabinet rank. It seems rather strange that the Secretary for Scotland should be called simply the Secretary for Scotland, and there is no reason why he should not be given the title of Secretary of State for Scotland, to prevent anything in the nature of confusion. It has been objected in some quarters that the giving of that title would necessitate the raising of the salary; but I do not think that is at all involved. The Scotch Members, as a rule, do not go in for extravagance in salaries; and whatever the office may be—even when it is only a medical officer in a prison—you will find that the salaries paid in Scotland are greatly inferior to those paid in England. That is admitted without question by us, and I cannot suppose for a moment that, supposing it were the case that the Secretary for Scotland should occupy the position of a Secretary of State for Scotland, the Scotch Members would necessarily think that he should have a salary equivalent to that given to the other principal Secretaries of State. Without detaining the House further, I beg to move my Amendment.
§ Amendment proposed,
§ In page 1, line 26, at end, to insert the words, "who shall henceforth have the status and position of one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State with the title of Secretary of State for Scotland."—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I fully appreciate the motive and desire of the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the Committee, and who has moved this Amendment to the Bill. But, Sir, I would just point out to him that it is not a usual course to take to introduce into a Bill of this kind an Amendment to create a principal Secretary of State to Her Majesty. It would, be exceedingly undesirable that this Amendment should be made. I do not wish in the slightest degree to undervalue the very great importance of the duties to be discharged by the Secretary for Scotland. It may be—and I have no doubt it will be—the case, almost uniformly, that the Secretary for Scotland will be a Member of the Cabinet; 1761 but to lay down by Act of Parliament that he must be a Secretary of State is to lay down a proposition which is at least unusual, and, I venture to think, undesirable. I desire, Sir, again to say that we regard this Office as an Office of great importance and of great value; but it is more desirable that the Office should grow by its own usefulness and by its own influence and power, than that it should be at once created, as the hon. Gentleman wishes to create it, one of the six principal Offices of State. There are, I think, constitutional objections to the course proposed, and therefore I trust the hon. Gentleman will not think it necessary to persevere with this Motion, and that the Committee will not accept it. The Government are quite convinced of the importance of the Office, and we do look forward to the prospect that in all probability, as a rule, the Secretary for Scotland will have a high position in the Councils of Her Majesty.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
I am exceedingly glad to hear the declaration which has just been made by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, that, as a rule—almost invariably, I suppose—the Secretary for Scotland will be a Member of the Cabinet. I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that generally, at all events, that will be the case. Now, that is a very satisfactory declaration, and certainly gets rid of a great deal of the difficulty. At the same time, I do not think it is a complete answer to the suggestion that the Secretary for Scotland should be a Secretary of State, When there was a Secretary for Scotland in the last century he was a Secretary of State. But I am not going to press this matter; because I am afraid that, by asking too much, we might end by not getting anything at all. If I thought the Amendment of the hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division of Glasgow (Mr. Caldwell) would carry out the object we have in view, and that there was any chance of its being passed, I should certainly vote for it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers), who is a great authority on such matters, has expressed himself on a previous occasion very strongly in favour of making the Secretary for Scotland a Secretary of State, and I know he was very anxious 1762 to put an Amendment into shape which would have that object. As I see him present in the House now, and, as he is a Scotch Member, I hope He will let us know whether he thinks this Amendment possible or practicable, or whether he can suggest anything better himself.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
If the Government are not going to give way on this question, I do not think the Bill is worth having at all. You may be able by your majority to overwhelm Scotch opinion, for all the Scotch Members— Liberal Unionists and all others—are at one on this question—you may be able, I say, by a small majority, to reject this Amendment; but it means practically the rejection of the Bill altogether; for, in that case, the Bill would not be worth having, and we had better go back at once to the old conditions under which we had a Scotch Lord of the Treasury and a Lord Advocate to carry out Scotch Business. At the present time we hardly know where we are, or what we are doing. The noble Marquess the present Secretary for Scotland (the Marquess of Lothian), through the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate, asked the Scotch Members, not long ago, to meet in order to consider a certain question. We accordingly met for that purpose, and after our meeting was over, the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, in reply to a Question put to him in the House, gave a decision on the very point which the Secretary for Scotland had asked the Scotch Members to consider at the meeting. As a matter of fact, we had only met to discuss a question, which, without our knowing it, had been previously decided by the Cabinet. It is evident, therefore, that the Secretary for Scotland does not know what is taking place inside the Cabinet. We were called together to show what was Scotch opinion on a particular point, and the Cabinet, at another meeting, had decided that very question before we met that day. I do not know whether the Government meant on that question to disregard Scotch opinion. Some hon. Gentlemen have urged us not to press this Amendment; but if we are not to have any Amendments at all in this direction, the sooner we make an end to the Bill the better.
§ MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
I spoke at great length on this subject on the second reading of the Bill, and endeavoured to explain what were the difficulties of the arrangements as proposed by the Government, and especially what were the difficulties with respect to the particular powers of a Secretary of State which it was intended to retain, and with respect to those which it was intended to dispense with. I pointed out how absolutely impossible it was, with any prospect of completeness, to follow the exact provisions of the present Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Matthews) followed me on that occasion, and he practically assisted my case, but he said it would be a matter for the future consideration of the Government; and I am bound to say, after well considering what he said, that it would be much better if no such Motion as this were brought forward now. It would be much better if the Home Secretary, and the Lord Advocate, and the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the House were to well consider the extreme difficulties of the devolution of Business under this Bill, and that we should not adopt an Amendment to the measure which would require a certain number of consequential Amendments, many of which I pointed out the other day. On this ground, I would ask the hon. Gentleman the Member for the St. Rollox Division of Glasgow (Mr. Caldwell) not to press this Amendment, but to leave the matter to the Government, relying on the promise made by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, the other day, to consider what the difficulties are, and leave it to be dealt with in another Session. We do not wish to add to the difficulties of the Government upon that question.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I think, after what has been stated, that this matter can be re-considered on Report, and, therefore, I will withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
On the Motion of The LORD ADVOCATE, the following Amendment made: —In page 2, at end, add—
All the powers and duties vested in or imposed on the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury under 'The Valuation of Laud (Scotland) Act, 1854,' shall he transferred to, vested in, and imposed on the Secretary for Scotland.
All the powers and duties vested in or imposed upon the Board of Trade relating to Provisional Orders dealing with any of the subjects transferred to the Fishery Board, Scotland, by section eleven of ' The Sea Fisheries (Scotland) Amendment Act, 1885,' shall be transferred to, vested in, 'and imposed upon the Secretary for Scotland.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR (Kincardine)
, in moving the insertion of the following Amendment:—In page 2, at end, to add these words—All duties appertaining to the preparation of Bills, as well as those of the Crown Agent and of the Legal Secretary, together with all expenses connected with the said duties, as well as other financial arrangements and establishments, shall be carried on under the Secretary for Scotland,was understood to say that some of the duties provided for by the Amendment were at present performed by the Lord Advocate; but the Lord Advocate had far more important duties to perform; and it would be far more dignified if he were relieved from those of which the Amendment would relieve him.
§ Amendment proposed,
§ In page 2, at end, add —" All duties appertaining to the preparation of Bills, as well as those of the Crown Agent and of the Legal Secretary, together with all expenses connected with the said duties as well as other financial arrangements and establishments, shall be carried on under the Secretary for Scotland."—(General Sir George Balfour.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
I am afraid I cannot assent to this Amendment. My hon. and gallant Friend says he moves this Amendment in order to add to the dignity of my Office, and he thereby reminds me of the old and well known lines—It is all very well to dissemble your love,But why did you kick me downstairs?It is proposed to turn the Lord Advocate out of this House and send him down to Scotland a mere legal officer. I cannot assent to that; I prefer to remain here a little longer. Although the Lord Advocate sometimes does make mistakes in regard to Bills, I think he is a very suitable officer to attend to the drafting of Bills for Scotland. If this Amendment were passed it would be necessary to have a new official for the purpose of drafting Scotch Bills, 1765 and I do not see how the change would make the Lord Advocate's Office more efficient. It would be highly inconvenient to make the change proposed by the Amendment, and therefore I hope it will not be pressed.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
was understood to say that He had only brought forward the Amendment from a conviction that it would be useful. As to the drafting of Bills, it was not clone in Ireland under the Attorney General for Ireland, but was entirely under the Treasury; and he did not see why in Scotland it should be done by the Lord Advocate. The Crown Agent, too, had nothing whatever to do with the Lord Advocate, and ought not to be under him. As to drafting, no less than £800 had been paid by the country for the purpose; but he did not believe that two-thirds of it was expended in that way—it was applied to a different purpose from that for which Parliament voted it. If he were Lord Advocate he would certainly not desire to be made into a mere mouthpiece for other people. As to the honour of sitting here in Parliament, he thought the Lord Advocate might be better occupied in attending to his important duties elsewhere. However, he (Sir George Balfour) begged to be allowed to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 2, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
Before the 2nd clause is disposed of I wish to ask a question as to its effect. My point is this—that under the present state of things a register is kept at the Home Office of all commissions and appointments made in Scotland, which the Queen, in point of form, is advised to make by the Home Secretary. Now, that is a very important part of the Secretary of State's business. In the same way, all appointments and commissions in connection with the Army are recorded and registered in the War Office, and the Queen's pleasure is taken on them by the Secretary for War. The same thing is done in regard to Colonial commissions and appointments by the Colonial Secretary. This recording of all these appointments, and taking the Queen's pleasure about them, is a very 1766 important branch of the Secretary of State's duties. What I want to understand is whether the Queen's pleasure will be taken in future as to Scotch appointments, and the record kept, not at the Home Office, but at the Scotch Office. It is a question on which, in past times, I am aware, there has been some friction, and therefore it is very important that there should be no mistake about it now. I want to know whether, by this 2nd clause, this business will be turned over from the Home Secretary to the Secretary for Scotland? It is not one of the exceptional businesses in the 3rd clause, and therefore it looks as though it wore intended to be transferred to the Secretary for Scotland. I should be glad to know whether that is the intention of the Government? If not, some words should be introduced in the next clause.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)
The subject I wish to refer to relates particularly to the 2nd paragraph of the clause. We are now imposing very much larger duties on the Secretary for Scotland, especially in regard to the preparation of Reports and Returns. Under the original Act, a sufficient clerical staff has not been provided for the performance of these extra duties. In the Bill creating the Local Government Board there was a clause providing for the employment of an adequate staff; but nothing of the kind was introduced into the Scotch Act, and I trust the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate and the Government will see to it, that as these large extra duties are to be transferred, an adequate staff shall also be transferred to the Scotch Office for the preparation of these Reports from time to time.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
In answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers), I may say that I should myself conceive that, inasmuch as the functions he speaks of are not excepted, the whole of that system of registration would be transferred. Whether all these commissions and appointments would be registered in the Scotch Office is more than I am able to say off-hand. But the Secretary for Scotland will, I conceive, make the appointments and they will be registered, and he will 1767 notify them to Her Majesty, or, rather, submit them to Her Majesty for approval. But I feel unable to answer the question completely off-hand, and I can only say that I will make inquiries and find out how the matter stands. But these are matters which hardly require mentioning in the Statute. The business is transferred by the Statute; but I should have thought the form was a matter of arrangement between the two Departments. There is another point which I am not quite able to solve— namely, whether the exception of the Prerogative of mercy will leave it still with the Home Secretary to grant all licences or tickets-of-leave to prisoners undergoing sentences of penal servitude. The ordinary licences are given under certain rules which depend upon the number of good marks obtained and so forth, for convicts are invariably let out before the actual lapse of the whole number of years to which they have been sentenced.
§ MR. CHILDERS
That was one of the points to which I called attention on the second reading of the Bill. I was quite satisfied that the whole question would be carefully considered before the Report is taken. The keeping of these registers to which I have referred has always hitherto been considered a function of the Secretary of State.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c)
It makes all the difference whether the Secretary for Scotland is a great Officer of State, or subordinate to the Home Secretary.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause 3 (Exceptions).
§ MR. DONALD CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E.) moved the omission of Sub-section (1)—"In advising Her Majesty as to the exercise of the prerogative of mercy."
§ Amendment proposed, "To leave out Sub-section (1)."—(Mr. Donald Crawford.)
§ Question, "That the words proposed be there left out," put, and agreed to.
§ MR. DONALD CRAWFORD
I wish now to move the omission of the second sub-section of the clause, which gives the Home Secretary power to administer in Scotland the Factory and Workshops Act, the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1768 the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act, the Explosives Act, the Cruelty to Animals Act, and the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Acts. This is au Amendment which I hope the Government will agree to. I am sure that the Government and hon. Members on this side of the House are at one in the spirit in which they approach this measure. They desire, in the first place, to avoid the friction which, by the admission of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews), is going on in the transaction of the business between the Scotch Office and the Home Office, and I believe that the Government also desire—together with the Scotch Members on this side of the House—that the importance of the Office of the Secretary for Scotland shall be enhanced. I believe their desire is that this Minister shall have some considerable weight in Council with the Queen, and some satisfaction given to him. Now, Sir, in order to attain that object it is really very desirable that as few subjects as possible shall be excepted from those general powers of the Home Office which are handed over to the Secretary for Scotland, and I think, without making a speech, that I shall be able to show very briefly that there is really no substantial justification for not handing over to the Secretary for Scotland the Factory Acts, the Coal Mines and Explosives Acts, and the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Acts. I would remind the Committee that the principal Act of 1885 transferred to the Secretary for Scotland the administration of a large number of Acts of Parliament by Schedule. Among them were such subjects as prisons and lunacy. I could enumerate a great many more; but I confine myself for the moment to those two. Now, Sir, I think a very plausible argument might have been urged to show that the administration of prisons in a country should be uniform, and should be centralized under one head and one Minister. But the contrary principle has been followed—namely, that it was desirable, as far as possible, to leave the Minister for Scotland to manage the prisons of Scotland. That was the principle which prevailed when the Act of 1885 was passed, and, accordingly, we Scotch do manage our own prisons, and administer our own Lunacy Acts. There is much that might be said for 1769 the administration of lunatics under one head; yet the principle was not applied in 1885. There are many other Acts to which the same remark would apply. Take, for example, the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Acts. That is partly a criminal matter and a matter of prison discipline, and partly a matter of education; yet the two Departments have been, to a certain extent, separately treated, especially in Scotland. Now, we have a different Criminal Law —an entirely different system, differently administered; and we also, at this moment, have our prisons and education under separate management. Can any reason be assigned—I doubt whether any statable reason can be assigned—why the reformatory and industrial schools of Scotland should be placed under the Home Secretary? I would say just as much for the Factory and Workshops Act of 1878, and for the Mines Acts. It is, no doubt, very desirable that mines and factories should be conducted upon settled principles; but I ask again, if we are able, without any inconvenience, to manage our prisons upon our own principles, and our lunatics upon our own principles, and our elementary schools, upon which so much money is spent, all upon our own principles, can we not manage our factories and our mines? I submit to the Committee that there has been no substantial reason shown why these subjects should be transferred. We should not lose sight of the important fact that if you do away with the exceptions contained in this clause, you, by one stroke, make the Minister for Scotland a different person altogether. You remove the stigma, so to speak, of subordination, which makes him only a delegate, as it were, of the Home Secretary on certain subjects, the root of those subjects still remaining with the Home Secretary. If you make a clean sweep, and transfer all the duties of the Home Secretary in Scotland to the Secretary for Scotland, you will attain, to a very large extent, the object we have all at heart. I do submit earnestly that there is no reason why these exceptions should be made. If there were, I would gladly give way; but I defy anyone to point out why these subjects should be treated in a different manner. I hope my Amendment will be accepted by the Committee. 1770 Amendment proposed, "That Subsection (2) be omitted from the Clause." —(Mr. Donald Crawford.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H.A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
I must confess I am a little surprised at the view which is taken by my hon. and learned Friend. If I thought that the exceptions we have made amounted only to what he has stated, I should certainly agree with him that they ought to be struck out. But I do not hold that view. As to prisons and lunatics in Scotland and education, we have already established Departments for dealing with those individual matters in Scotland. There is a Lunacy Board in Edinburgh and a Prison Board in Edinburgh, and the prisons are administered by one Commission, and the lunatics by another. As to Scotch education, there is a separate Scotch Education Department, with a separate staff. But there are two reasons why these particular subjects mentioned in the clause are not analogous. In the first place, they relate to the preservation of life and limb, and it is absolutely indispensable that the administration and control of such matters should be in one hand, in order that all the work for saving life and limb may be effectually carried out, and that there may be no conflict in the matter between different authorities. If you had a separate Department in Scotland for dealing with mines, and another for dealing with factories, with no Central Board, you would have most dangerous results. All the rules and regulations of one country might be contrary to the rules and regulations of the other, and the most disastrous results might follow. Miners passing from the one country to the other might carry with them habits perfectly safe according to the pit arrangements in their own country, but most dangerous in the other. Another strong objection is the financial one. There is a particular Department in the Home Office, and a very important Department, for the working of the law in connection with these particular subjects. That Department would have to be broken up to some extent, for it would be quite impossible for the Secretary 1771 for Scotland to carry out the work of mines and explosives; and so on, in Scotland without having his own staff under him. That would lead to friction and difficulty, and would cause a considerable amount of additional expense. It would be impossible to work it under present circumstances. At all events, it would not be advisable that these matters should be placed under two separate individuals and separate management. I must therefore oppose this Amendment.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I feel that there is some force in what the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate has said about the first of these Acts; but he has not said anything about the others. The case of the Factories and Mines Acts is one thing; but the case of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Acts is quite another. I should have thought it would have been a great advantage to have these latter under the Scotch Education Department, and that it would be more likely to facilitate the beneficial working of the Acts if they were transferred to the Scotch Office. With regard to the Vivisection Act, I should like to ask my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Donald Crawford) whether he does not feel that there is an objection to removing that from the Home Secretary? I should have thought there would be a great advantage in having the Vivisection Act administered by the same Office throughout the United Kingdom, for in an eminent degree it requires uniformity of operation in all three countries. But as to the Industrial Schools Acts, I believe my hon. and learned Friend to be entirely in the right, and I do not understand the Government to make any reply to him.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART-WORTLEY) (Sheffield, Hallam)
The Committee must remember that the local administration of the Industrial Schools Acts may become a race for public money. It is desirable that the conditions under which children are thrown in part on the Public Treasury for support, maintenance, and education, should be based on uniform principles throughout Great Britain. It is true that the reformatory and industrial schools of Ireland are under separate management; but in Scotland where, speaking from experience, I can say that considerable 1772 difference of view as to the working of the Acts prevails among the magisterial authorities, I should be very unwilling myself to surrender the power.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)
The argument adduced by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department against transferring the Industrial Schools Acts is really an argument in favour of transferring them. He first contends that the working of the Acts had better come from one authority than from two, and that is exactly the old argument which was used when we urged the transference of Scotch education under the previous Bill. But the second argument of the hon. Member is that, as a matter of fact, the magisterial discretion is different in Scotland from what it is in England, so that you have a different administration there from what you have here. For that very reason I am in favour of a transference of administration. The subject has to do with prisons and with education, and both those subjects have already been transferred to Scotland. The noble Marquess the present Secretary for Scotland (the Marquess of Lothian) has himself stated in the Lords that he himself was in favour of the transference of these Industrial Schools Acts, and only gave way because of the prospect of further legislation in regard to reformatory and industrial schools.
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
The hon. Member for South Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce) has recommended that the working of the Industrial Schools Acts should be placed under the Secretary for Scotland in connection with the Education Department. But may I remind him that the Commissioners were careful to recommend that they should be kept as far as possible out of the jurisdiction of that Department?
§ MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
I am anxious to assist the House in coming to a conclusion before it is too late, and I would venture to recommend a compromise on these points. I would propose to the Committee that those powers which are exercised by the Home Office in Ireland as well as in England should also be exercised by the Home Office in Scotland, so as to preserve uniformity; but those powers which are administered by the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland should be administered in Scot- 1773 land by the Secretary for Scotland, Under that arrangement, coal mines and factories would continue to be adminis-by the Home Office. I am not sure about the Explosives Act; but, probably, by the Report we should be able to ascertain how that would be. But the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Acts undoubtedly ought to be administered by the Secretary for Scotland. As to the reason which has been advanced by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) —namely, the absence of financial control which must follow, and that there would be an increase of expense, I should be the last man of this House to recommend a diminution of financial control; but I do not think that would occur. Therefore, I am of opinion that, considering that the prisons and education are so intimately connected with the reformatory and industrial schools, those schools should be transferred. I think if that view is accepted by the Committee, it will be a reasonable compromise.
§ MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD
I am not in a position at this moment to accept the suggestion; but I may say that further consideration shall be given to it so as to meet one of the most crucial and important matters that has arisen in connection with the Bill. Perhaps it may come on again upon Report.
§ MR. DONALD CRAWFORD
Looking to the period of the day which has now been reached (5.40), I am quite willing to withdraw my Amendment, and raise the question again on Report, although I am rather unwilling that we should not come to a decision upon it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed, to.
On the Motion of The LORD ADVOCATE, the following New Clause was inserted after Clause 3:—
This Act shall take effect on and after the first day of January one thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight.
MR, E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
moved the insertion of the following Clause: — 1774That section eight of 'The Secretary for Scotland Act, 1885,' shall be amended so as to read as follows: the Secretary shall have the place, trust, and office of Keeper of Her Majesty's Seal, appointed by the Treaty of Union to be kept and made use of in Scotland in place of the Great Seal of Scotland, with all such powers, privileges, and liberties as do by Law and custom belong to the same: and it shall be lawful for the Secretary to affix the said Seal to certificates issued by him, relating to matters within his official cognizance, in any case in which he shall deem it expedient to do so.New Clause (Secretary for Scotland may affix seal in certain cases,)—(Mr. E. Robertson,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
I cannot accept this clause.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I am astonished that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate refuses to accept this clause. He must know that there is considerable difficulty in determining how far the power of the Secretary for Scotland can be used; and the object of my clause is to remove a great deal of inconvenience and trouble under which Scotch companies and Scotch citizens doing business in the United States of America and elsewhere labour. All I want is that the Secretary for Scotland shall be allowed to fix the seal in all cases in which he has power to do so. There are many cases in which he has such power; and it would save a great deal of money and trouble to Scotch citizens and companies if he would exercise it.
§ MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD
It may have been my fault; but my attention was not drawn to the clause until today. I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will withdraw it now.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
Certainly, on the understanding that the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate and the Government will approach it with an open mind.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Preamble agreed to.
§ Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Friday, and to be printed. [Bill 385.]