§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
Before the hon. Member proceeds with his protest, I beg to ask you, Sir, whether it is in order, seeing that it now appears for the first time on the Paper in the hon. Member's name, it having stood before in the name of the hon. Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. S. T. Evans)?
§ MR. SPEAKER
It would be hyper-criticism on my part if I were to take any objection, seeing that it is precisely the same Motion as on a previous occasion was deferred.
§ *(3.10.) MR. D. THOMAS
I rise, Sir, to move the Motion which stands in my name, and which, until a few moments ago, I had hoped the right hon. Gentleman would agree to. It will be remembered that the Bill was referred to a Hybrid Committee at the instance of my hon. Friend the Member for Merionethshire (Mr. T. Ellis), and, so far as I understand, it was the intention of the House in so referring it that on the Committee the interests of all the localities concerned should be represented. But, so far as Wales is concerned, that intention has not been carried out. The interests of Birmingham are well represented by an hon. Member whose name is on the back of the Bill (Mr. Powell Williams), and by the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. P. Stanhope), whose constituents are more or less directly concerned, while there is on the Committee a representative of the interests of London. But there is not a single Member who can be regarded as in any way representing the interests of the Radnor district or of Wales. I know that the House is jealous of interference with the work of Committees upstairs, but I would point out that we raise no question upon 537 the subject-matter of the Bill; the Motion has reference only to the constitution of the Committee, and, so far as I can gather, opposition to our Motion comes solely and entirely from those who are promoting the passage of the Bill. The Motion would, I believe, meet with general acceptance on both sides of the House but for the opposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain). Now from what I understand, the intention is in the appointment of these Committees that the Committee of Selection shall appoint Members who are beyond all question impartial, and that the other Members should be appointed by the House as representing the different interests and localities with which the Bill deals, men who are more or less specialists in regard to the particular Bill. By way of illustration, I may perhaps be allowed to mention that a short time ago a Hybrid Committee was appointed to consider the Belfast Corporation Bill, and upon that Committee opposing interests were amply represented in the persons of Mr. Sexton and Mr. Knox, Mr. T. W. Russell and Sir Edward Harland. Now, I do not know on what the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for West Birmingham bases his objection. Possibly he may say the Committee has been sitting for some days and has taken evidence. But that is not our fault. But for his objection the two Members would have been added long ago. A Hybrid Committee in its rules of procedure differs materially from an ordinary Select Committee to which Private Bills are submitted. On an ordinary Committee hon. Members have to be present from the outset and to sit the whole time, but in the case of a Committee such as this, Members come and go as they please. More than this, I may say the evidence given so far has been to show the need of Birmingham for a better water supply, with which point we do not wish to deal, while we do wish to have on the Committee some Member who knows something about this area of 70 square miles affected by the Bill, and the interests of the people within that area.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the number of Members on the Select Committee be increased from nine to eleven, and that Mr. Thomas Ellis and one Member to be nominated by the Committee of Selection be added to the Committee."—(Mr. D. Thomas.)
§ (3.15.) MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I think the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down does not understand my position in this matter. He seems to think I am opposed to the representation of Wales on the Committee; but I can assure him that is an entire mistake as I think I could show if I were to mention what has passed in private between myself and Welsh Members on this subject. But I do object very much to the Resolution, both the manner in which it is proposed, and the time at which it is moved. Will the House allow me to quote very briefly the facts of the case? This Bill is promoted by the Birmingham Corporation, and in an ordinary way would have been referred to the usual Select Committee. The Welsh Members desired a special Hybrid Committee, and the Corporation willingly consented to the demand. Accordingly, at the instigation of the Welsh Members, in order to satisfy the Welsh Members, a Hybrid Committee was appointed and constituted, according to the Resolution moved, of five Members nominated by the House, and four by the Committee of Selection. Now with the selection made of the Committee I, of course, have nothing to do, but as regards the nominations by the House, I say it was the business of the Welsh Members if they wanted the appointment of a particular Member, to make the representation usual in such cases to secure his nomination. If the hon. Member for Merionethshire (Mr. T. Ellis) had been nominated, though he may be regarded as a strong partisan, he having moved the rejection of the Bill, still I would not have thought it my duty to make the slightest objection, and, indeed, I should be glad if he attended the meetings of the Committee, that he might see how groundless are some of the points of opposition he took. But hon. Members did not take that course. Not only did they fix the number of the Committee by Resolution, but when 539 the nominations were moved in the House they moved no Amendment—they made no objection to any of the names, or expressed any desire to substitute a name as we might have supposed they would have done if they had cared for the matter. This is an entire afterthought. I think the hon. Members are entirely out of court; the time for their action was when the Committee was being appointed, and is not now after the Committee has been appointed, has sat some days, and has taken evidence. Although I think that is really a sufficient ground for objection, and although I think this Motion now is extremely unusual, if not unprecedented, still if there is any strong feeling on the part of Welsh Members that they are not represented on the Committee as they desire to be, I make now the same offer in public I have already made in private, if they consider there should be an addition to the Committee, and if the Chairman of the Committee takes no exception—for really I think he is the person who ought to be consulted—if he makes no objection to the addition, I will not object provided I am allowed to nominate a Member to equalise the votes. That I think is perfectly fair. It is a monstrous proposition that Welsh Members should be allowed to pack this Committee by adding two gentlemen pledged and known beforehand to be hostile to the principle of the Bill. It is an extremely unfair and unreasonable proposition—
§ * MR. D. THOMAS
May I explain that we have no desire to pack the Committee? We propose that only one Member shall be nominated by us, and the other by the Committee of Selection.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
That is all very well, but what is the meaning of the second proposal of the hon. Gentleman?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am very sorry there should be any misunderstanding as to my wishes, but the hon. Gentleman does not flatter me very much in supposing that I should accept these as impartial nominations. He gives me credit for little intelligence if 540 he thinks I could accept such a proposition. But we have now only to discuss the question of the nomination of the hon. Member for Merionethshire, and a nomination by the Committee of Selection. That is a Motion for the appointment of a gentleman who undoubtedly is a partisan. I do not use the word in any invidious sense; he has pledged himself against the Bill. Then another gentleman is to be appointed by the Committee of Selection who is to be a thoroughly impartial person. Well, I say that is not a fair proposition. If hon. Gentleman desire to appoint a partisan then at least there should be another appointed from the other side. Welsh Members have really a small interest in the Bill, and I am sure their constituents will be very dissatisfied if the Bill is lost in consequence of the action of their Representatives. One other objection I have and that is on the point of time when this Motion is made. The hon. Member says the delay is due to me, but that is not so at all. It is due in the first place to Welsh Members not making up their minds until some time after the Committee had been appointed, until it had actually met and received evidence. The first proposition was not made until the Committee had held two meetings, and the proposition had to stand over because it was out of order, and as you, Sir, ruled, it was a question not as between Welsh Members and myself, but as between Welsh Members and the House. Three of the Corporation witnesses have been examined and under the circumstances I think it would be extremely inconvenient to have new Members now added to the Committee. At all events unless the Members for Wales are willing to accept the suggestion I have made with a view to balance and harmony in the composition of the Committee that I should be allowed to select another Member after their nomination, I shall certainly oppose this Motion.
§ *(3.24.) MR. OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire, E.)
The right hon. Gentleman says the interest of Welsh Members in the Bill is small, but I should have thought that if there was one part of the United Kingdom which ought to be represented on such a Committee it would be the locality from 541 which the water is proposed to be taken. The right hon. Gentleman has raised two objections. First, he says this Motion comes too late, but surely there he is hypercritical. His objection is a merely technical one. Besides, the right hon. Gentleman says that it is a partisan who is now nominated, but that is an objection that may be urged against any appointment to a Hybrid Committee of this kind. Birmingham is represented on the Committee by two partisan Members.
§ * MR. OSBORNE MORGAN
Well, all that is asked is that the Member representing Birmingham (Mr. Powell Williams) should be balanced by a Member representing the district in Wales from which the water is proposed to be taken, the hon. Member for Merionethshire with another Member not necessarily a partisan. The hon. Member for Denbigh (Mr. Kenyon), whose name is mentioned in the second Motion, has no interest in the matter any more than I have. It seems to me the objection taken by the right hon. Gentleman is quite unworthy of him, and if he has any desire to cultivate the goodwill of Welshmen, in whom he has lately taken a special interest, he should be the last man to take objection to this nomination. If my hon. Friend goes to a Division I shall certainly support him.
§ *(3.25.) MR. STUART RENDEL (Montgomeryshire)
I regret that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. Chamberlain) should have laid stress on the partisan argument. It is difficult not to feel that the right hon. Gentleman himself occupies a partisan position, and he has enormous power and advantage therein. The partisanship of the Welsh Members simply goes so far as the desire that the locality which is undoubtedly greatly affected by the Bill should have representation on the Committee, and that claim is, I think, founded on fairness and justice. The charge of packing the Committee does not apply to the present Motion; it would be more reasonably applied to the right hon. Gentleman himself, who desires that the House should place in his hands the right to nominate a Mem- 542 ber. If the expression can be applied at all fairly it applies to such a proposition as that. I can assure the House that we have no intention of packing the Committee, nor do we desire to introduce the Welsh question more than is necessary. We rest our case on the fact that a large district in the Principality is affected by the Bill, and that local interest should have direct representation on the Committee. The actual Member for the constituency in which the district is included is precluded from taking any active part in the proceedings because he is the son of a petitioner. The right hon. Gentleman says we should have made our proposal before the Committee met, and that we ought to have made our objection to the nominations by the Committee of Selection.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
No; I said the proper course would have been to have made a representation in the usual way, and then the proper course would have been to have proposed an Amendment when the names were moved in the House.
§ * MR. STUART RENDEL
I do not know whether it would be in Order to refer to the course Welsh Members did take privately. In the sense indicated they did take steps they thought were right.
§ * MR. STUART RENDEL
It is for us now to consider how the Committee is constituted. That is the question raised by my hon. Friend's Motion. Birmingham is directly represented twice over. Wednesbury is interested in the Bill. That town comes within the scope and purpose of the Bill, and thus two Members directly represent the interest of the promoters of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman says he does not know what the opinion of the Chairman of the Committee is; but I have authority for saying that his personal opinion—I do not say the opinion of the Committee, which has not been ascertained or expressed—has all along been that it would be much better if a Welsh Member or two were appointed, and the Committee would be strengthened in its inquiry thereby. I hope we may come to an agreement with the right hon. Gentleman. I did my 543 utmost to discountenance the cry of Welsh water for Wales when started in opposition to the Bill, and I asserted that any attempt to create a prejudice in the Principality against the withdrawal of water from Wales to meet the necessities of large populations in England would not find support from responsible Representatives of Wales. We are not here in a partisan position, but if it should happen that so large and important a scheme should be sanctioned by a Committee, upon which no representation of the area concerned had a place, there would be an unfortunate disposition to cavil at the decision of the Committee, which it is most undesirable to create.
§ (3.34.) THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS (Mr. COURTNEY,) Cornwall, Bodmin
I confess I regretted to find that no Welsh Member was appointed to this Committee, but I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham that hon. Members who desired that representation should have taken action when they saw the names upon the Paper, they should have proposed the substitution of a name for one of those agreed to. It is now proposed to add two more Members, but that, I think, is a most undesirable course to take. The more Members you add to a Committee the less responsibility there is on each individual Member. A Hybrid Committee has some advantages, but it has also this disadvantage—that there is not upon each Member that sense of responsibility in forming a judgment that there is on each Member of a Committee of four. I think it is extremely undesirable to add more Members and to alter the balance of the nominations by the Committee of Selection. But is it too late now to adopt the course which should have been taken in the first place? Is it possible to secure the services of the hon. Member for Merionethshire in substitution of some other Member? It has been said that the interest of the promoters is represented by two Members, the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Powell Williams) and the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. P. Stanhope).
§ MR. COURTNEY
Well, it is not quite clear. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Wednesbury clings to the honour of appointment to the Committee. If he could be induced to retire then the difficulty would be at an end.
§ MR. P. STANHOPE (Wednesbury)
I do not represent Birmingham. There are other interests than those of Birmingham it is desirable to have represented on the Committee. I am not aware that any argument has been brought forward why those other interests should not be represented. I feel bound to say, having regard to my colleagues on the Committee upstairs, that every possible interest of the Welsh people in the district affected by the scheme will be carefully considered and safeguarded by the existing Committee.
§ MR. COURTNEY
Well, then, I fear that my efforts at an arrangement will be unavailing. I do, however, strongly object to an addition to the number of Members on the Committee, and think there are serious reasons against it.
§ (3.38.) SIR H. HUSSEY VIVIAN (Swansea, District)
I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham should appear to think that Wales has a very small interest in this matter. I took occasion to address a few words to the House when this question was first considered, and I pointed out that this is a matter of vast importance to Wales, having in view the vast populations springing up who will look to the watershed of the Bristol Channel as their source of supply. I look forward with great dread to this abstraction of water from the watershed of the Bristol Channel. If the Birmingham Corporation wants another source of water supply, let them seek it where they will not infringe on the natural claims of another large population. I altogether take exception to the statement that Wales has a small interest in this matter. We have a very large and increasing interest in this water supply, and hereafter it will be of vast importance to our population. It cannot be denied that Wales has a right to representation on this Committee. I am sure the House desires to do justice in a matter of this kind 545 and will not be bound by what I must say is a technical objection on the part of the Chairman of Ways and Means. It may not be, in the ordinary course of business, quite regular to make the addition to the Committee now, but I cannot doubt that the House will recognise the justice of the demand that Wales should have representation on the Committee. This is not what the right hon. Member for Birmingham calls it—a monstrous proposition—it is simply a claim founded on justice. Whether the proposition should have been made earlier or not is a purely technical point I will not discuss. If there has been some lapse, some fault committed, I do not think we should therefore do an injustice when there is means open to avoid it. When we are to have 70,000 acres of watershed taken from Wales, can it be said that Wales, is not interested in the matter? No; I am quite sure that cannot be said. The wants of Welsh populations must be safeguarded, and in the most earnest manner I ask the House to grant our request that a Welsh Member may be added to this Committee. I do not know that I should be saying too much if I characterised the suggestion of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham as a monstrous proposition that he should be allowed to nominate another Member of the Committee to balance the Member we desire the House to add. I do not know that in all my Parliamentary experience I ever heard an individual Member make such a claim, and I must protest against such an altogether new departure in our practice. This Hybrid Committee was resolved upon in order that all interests might be fairly represented. We have on the Committee a direct Representative of Birmingham, and another Member representing a constituency jointly interested with Birmingham in obtaining the water supply, and we have London represented. Why? Because London also sets up a claim to abstract water from Wales, a claim which I do most strongly protest against. Let them go where they will for their water supply, but not to the Bristol Channel watershed, which we want for our own population. We shall have in the 546 future all we can do to meet the needs of the rapidly increasing population of Glamorganshire, and I say "Hands off the Bristol Channel watershed." Indeed it will become a very serious matter. We may not live to meet the difficulty, but those who come after us will be astonished to think that we deliberately sacrificed the water supply we had at hand.
§ (3.45.) SIR J. PULESTON (Devonport)
I supported the Motion for a Hybrid Committee because I thought that every interest ought to be represented on that Committee; but this cannot be said to be done when a large interest in the Principality is not directly represented on the Committee. I think it is hardly fair for the right hon. Gentleman to object to the nomination of the hon. Member for Merionethshire because he is a partisan, seeing that the hon. Member's Motion had support from both sides of the House. I quite supposed that the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. A. Morley) would have included the name of the hon. Member for Merionethshire or that of some other Welsh Member in the nominations for the Committee, and it was with considerable surprise I found the hon. Member's name was not included. I have received some seven or eight letters from the Principality commenting on the fact, and I thought it a little strange that the name of the hon. Member was not moved in the House. I hope the proposal to add two Members now will be accepted, and I do not think there ought to be great objection to that as a compromise. In the interest of a full inquiry I think there ought to be this representation on the Committee.
§ (3.47.) MR. A. J. WILLIAMS (Glamorgan, S.)
I do hope the House will deal with this question in a spirit of fairness and common sense, uninfluenced by any technical objection. What does it matter that through some inadvertence Wales has not had a Representative appointed on this Hybrid Committee? Here we have a remedy at hand for this inadvertence. Two important admissions have been made which go to support the Motion. My hon. Friend (Mr. Stuart Rendel) has told us that the Chairman of the Committee has expressly stated that it is 547 desirable that a Welsh Member should be upon this Committee; and I think it must be obvious, upon a question like this, affecting a large area and future water supply for Wales, that a Welshman should be there not as a partisan. I repudiate the idea that a Member who is appointed to a Committee goes to his duties as merely a servile partisan, and I am perfectly sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Merionethshire would render the greatest assistance to the inquiry as a local expert. We have had also the admission from the Chairman of Committees (Mr. Courtney) that he thinks it is desirable that Wales should have representation on the Committee; but he is trammelled by the technical objection that it is undesirable, after the Committee has been struck, that we should make additions to it. But I cannot see how the convenience of the Committee can be detrimentally affected. Even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham has no valid objection outside his special pleading and technical ground. I hope the House will not for a moment entertain the idea that the right hon. Gentleman should nominate another Member. I appeal to the House to deal with this matter as a question of common sense and fairness, to disregard the special pleading of the right hon. Gentleman, and to rectify an error which at the outset was committed in the nominations.
§ (3.50.) MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
I can appreciate the reasons which induce the desire to have Wales represented on the Committee, but I cannot understand why this proposal was not made earlier. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham has had no answer to that. Now, two propositions have been made to my hon. Friends, both fair ones; one that a Welsh Member should be substituted for a sitting Member, and the other that in addition to the hon. Member for Merionethshire, the Birmingham Corporation should have another nomination to preserve the balance. Now, although it has been said that my hon. Friend would not enter upon his duties on the Committee as a partisan, we are 548 perfectly well aware, and I am not blaming him for taking the course he thought right, that my hon. Friend has expressed an opinion against the Bill in the strongest possible way, by moving the rejection of the Bill when it was before the House. In that sense, therefore, he must be considered a partisan, and it is only right that if he becomes a Member of the Committee another Member in the interest of the promoters should be added. Why the proper opportunity was not taken to add a Welsh Member to the Committee I do not understand, but I am bound to say the proposal being made now cuts at the whole system of appointment of Hybrid Committees, and I must vote against the Motion.
§ (3.53.) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
As I understand, the reason why hon. Members for Wales did not move the appointment in the first instance was because they were under the impression that the Committee of Selection would secure the representation of all interests, and so they did not occupy the time of the House with any Motion on the subject. It has been urged that if a partisan Member is added from the one side then a partisan should be added from the other side. But is it not the fact that there are at this moment two Birmingham partisans on the Committee? In the first place there is the hon. Member who represents South Birmingham (Mr. Powell Williams), whose name is on the back of the Bill. That he is a partisan must be admitted. Then there is my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. P. Stanhope). My hon. Friend claims that he is not a partisan for Birmingham; but let me explain what is the position of Wednesbury in regard to this Bill. By this Bill Wednesbury will have an option to take or not to take from this water which is to be brought from Wales to Birmingham. Of course, any community would be in favour of getting such an option for nothing, and my hon. Friend's constituents will naturally expect my hon. Friend to vote in favour of this scheme. I confess I was surprised at the conclusion of the speech of the Chairman of Committees. It seemed to me he began by being strongly in 549 favour of Welsh representation on the Committee, but he is going to vote against a Welsh Member being appointed because he says it is too late to make the addition.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Then I hope the right hon. Gentleman will vote in favour of this proposition, for he will observe there are two partisan Members in the interest of the promoters of the Bill on the Committee. All that is demanded is that a Member representing Welsh interests shall be appointed—a gentleman competent to look after the interests of the people in the district from which the water is to be taken. After all, though my hon. Friend from his knowledge of the subject may have an advantage over other Members on the Committee, he will only have one vote, and there will be always two against him. I really think that in this matter we should not allow technicalities to hinder us from what seems to me an act of justice to this Welsh district.
§ (3.57) MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
I think rather poor excuses have been offered for Welsh Members not making this Motion earlier. There was the opportunity when the Motion for nomination was before the House, and the substitution of one name for another could have been moved as an Amendment. The hon. Member for Wednesbury cannot be considered a partisan in favour of the Bill. The interests of Wednesbury are to a large extent distinct from and opposed to the interests of Birmingham; there is the interest of a large Water Company established. The partisanship unexpressed of the hon. Member for Wednesbury would not be a counterbalance to the hon. Member for Merionethshire, who throughout expressed his opposition to the Bill. It seems to me this proposal should have been made at the right time when the Committee was being formed. To make such an addition now will be to intro- 550 duce a most undesirable innovation in connection with the formation of Hybrid Committees. Moreover, the Committee has been sitting three days, and most important evidence has been given on behalf of the Corporation. It would be scarcely fair that an avowed opponent of the Bill should have a voice in the decision, he not having heard the strongest evidence in support of the Bill. Two fair proposals have been made to Welsh Members; one fails through the unwillingness of the hon. Member for Wednesbury to withdraw from the Committee; but the other still remains open—the proposal that with the nomination of the hon. Member for Merionethshire my right hon. Friend should have a nomination on behalf of the Corporation. The hon. Member for Glamorganshire admitted frankly that if a Welsh Member were put on the Committee he should be what the hon. Member called "balanced" in some way. This question is being argued as if Wales had a predominant interest in this matter. On precisely the same grounds all the counties from which the water supply comes should also be represented on the Committee. The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. P. Stanhope) has declared that ample provision was made when the Hybrid Committee was appointed. We thought that provision would satisfy everyone; it satisfied the hon. Member opposite so that he withdrew all opposition. That provision was that all interests—Welsh as well as every other—should be fully represented before the Committee, and it was thought at that time that the promoters had given every advantage to the opponents of the Bill. But after evidence has been taken for three or four days before the Committee this extraordinary proposal is made. Wales, instead of being a sufferer by the works contemplated in the Bill, will be the greatest possible gainer, and the Welsh people all round the neighbourhood know that. I hope the House will remember that there is the interest of half a million of people to be considered who are threatened, at no very distant future, with a water famine, to prevent which this Bill has been brought forward. Every possible concession has been made to the 551 opponents of the Bill, every concession which we thought would conciliate them, and now we have this innovation, unprecedented in relation to Parliamentary Committees.
§ MR. STOREY (Sunderland)
I think it cannot be denied that this is an innovation, as my hon. Friend says. What are the facts? There is a conflict of advantage between Birmingham and Wales, or apparently so, and it is contended that Birmingham has one or two Members on the Committee who are likely to put the case as strongly as possible for Birmingham, and bring out all the facts in its favour. My hon. Friend below me asks that there should also be on the Committee one gentleman who will be so keenly interested that he will take special trouble to bring out the special facts advantageous to the district of Wales specially concerned. That seems a very reasonable suggestion, and one which the House might accept. I think there will be no objection to that, though some objection has been taken to naming a Member on the other side. I should be willing for any Member of the House—the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain), or another—to nominate a Member whom they think would be a desirable Member of the Committee. If that would meet the objection that has been taken, and prevent the House further considering this matter, I may say, I think it would be satisfactory to the hon. Members concerned.
§ MR. STUART RENDEL (Montgomeryshire)
I understand that the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. James) is willing to allow his name to be withdrawn from the Committee for the purpose of allowing that of the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. T. E. Ellis) to be added. I move that the hon. Member for Gateshead be discharged from the Committee, and that the hon. Member for Merioneth—
§ MR. W. JAMES (Gateshead)
I should be glad to be relieved from my 552 duties on the Committee, as I have many other engagements; but I accepted nomination, as I understood that the Chairman desired that I should serve.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I should make no objection to that arrangement if it meets the approval of the House.
§ DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)
The hon. Member for Gateshead was nominated by the Committee of Selection, and can only be displaced by the Committee of Selection. The principle which regulates the action of the Committee of Selection is that while the House puts on partisans, the Committee of Selection puts on impartial and judicial men. It would be utterly impossible for a compact of the House to bind the Committee of Selection. If anything of that kind is to be done it would be necessary that the nomination should be by the House direct, and the Committee of Selection should be relieved from the necessity of filling up the place vacated by the hon. Member for Gateshead.
§ * MR. D. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
If I could have any guarantee that the Committee would nominate the hon. Member for Merioneth in the place of the hon. Member for Gateshead, I would have no objection to withdrawing my Motion; but as there is no such guarantee forthcoming I must press the Motion to a Division.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 120; Noes 150—(Div. List No. 65.)
§ * MR. D. THOMAS
I beg to give notice that I shall to-morrow move that the hon. Member for Gateshead be discharged from serving on the Committee, and that the hon. Member for South Glamorgan be nominated in his stead.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I look with extreme jealousy on the House interfering with the Committee of Selection by discharging a Member who has been appointed by that Committee. That Committee is specially deputed by the House to make choice of Members to serve; but perhaps an amicable arrangement can be come to between the House and the Committee of Selection.