HC Deb 19 July 1893 vol 15 cc55-7

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he would appeal to the House, in view of the critical condition of the relations between capital and labour, to agree to the Second Reading of the Bill, and thus enable some immediate steps to be taken to put a stop to trade disputes. He proposed, if the Motion were agreed to, that the Bill should be referred to the Grand Committee, where its provisions could be adequately considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Mundella.)

SIR J. GORST (Cambridge University)

said, he had a notice of objection to the Bill on the Paper, and he could not yield to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman. The question was far too important to be disposed of in the manner proposed by the right hon. Member. The subject would have to be dealt with by the House at some time or other. The present Bill was not likely to do much in the way of stopping trade disputes.

MR. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)

said, he had read the Bill, but did not think that it would have the effect of settling disputes. It contained little more than a provision to the effect that the Board of Trade should be enabled to appoint Boards of Arbitration. There was nothing in it to compel disputants to submit to it, or to provide for the examination of witnesses on oath; besides, no Bill of this kind should be passed without having been thoroughly discussed in the House. He did not think that a Bill like this, moved after half-past 5 o'clock on a Wednesday, could meet with the consideration that the subject deserved.

SIR A. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)

said, he would join in the appeal of the President of the Board of Trade that the Bill might be proceeded with. The hon. Member for East Belfast (Mr. Wolff) overlooked one important circumstance—namely, the concession made by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade that other measures on the subject should be considered simultaneously with his own. The fact that there were four Bills before the House dealing with the subject showed that the matter was one in which the House took great interest. In one Bill it would be provided that witnesses should be summoned and examined on oath. In view of what was happening in the country and of the proved value of measures of conciliation, both in this country and elsewhere, the Bill should be allowed to proceed.

MR. J. HAVELOCK WILSON (Middlesbrough)

said that, on behalf of the working men of the country, he would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Sir J. Gorst) to allow the Bill to pass. He (Mr. Havelock Wilson) had had as much to do with labour disputes as any man in the country, and he did not object to arbitration that was not compulsory. He did not believe that compulsory arbitration would be accepted by the working men of the country, any more than by employers of labour. He had much pleasure in supporting the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill.

MR. W. FIELD (, St. Patrick's) Dublin

said that, as an Irish Member connected with the Labour Movement, he desired to add his appeal to hon. Members not to oppose the Bill. In the interests of trade and commerce in all parts of the United Kingdom they ought, at least, to give a measure of this kind a trial. In opposition to the hon. Member for East Belfast—[Cries of "Agreed!"] —he thought that to alter the character of the Bill would be to deprive it of its utility.

SIR H. JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)

said, he had had to see a great deal of arbitration, and he thought it most important that Parliament should legislate promptly on this subject. The details of the Bill could be settled in Committee.


said, he thought the Government, should afford time for the discussion of a measure of so great and pressing importance.


I object.

Second Reading deferred till Friday, at Two of the clock.