HC Deb 07 August 1900 vol 87 cc954-9

Lords Amendments considered.

Lords Amendment— In page 1, line 18, to leave out 'the twenty-fifth day of0 and insert 'in' —agreed to.

Lords Amendment— In page 2, line 3, at end, to insert 'Provided that where a person receiving and paying rent in respect of the same holding would not, if the principal Act or this Act had not passed, have been entitled to deduct more-than half the poor rate from the rent paid by him, the reduction or deduction which may be made under the said sub-section (4), either as extended or not, shall be calculated on the-assumption that the occupier was entitled to deduct half the standard amount for poor rate in the standard financial year' —read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed,. "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


. submitted that this Amendment constituted a breach of the privileges of the House of Commons. It was a well understood and established practice that the House of Lords could not alter in the slightest degree any matter dealing with public moneys. This Amendment altered the variation of the poor rate which the tenant was liable to pay, and therefore could not be entertained by the House. It would tax the patience and ability of any man of ordinary intelligence to under-stand the general effect of the proviso in question, encased as it was with limitations and references to sections and subsections in three or four different Acts of Parliament. This much, however, was clear, that a variation of the payment of the poor rate was designed and must be carried out by the Amendment here made, and therefore it came within the strict rule in reference to the Lords dealing with public moneys.


The hon. Member asks me, without being able to state exactly what the proviso means, to say that it is a breach of privilege. I cannot say that the proviso is a breach of privilege. I have great difficulty, certainly, in understanding what its effect on the rest of the Bill is, but, as far as I can gather, the section does not propose directly to alter the incidence of taxation. What it does propose to do is to deal with the case of a middleman who has to pay rents and receive rents, and with certain difficulties that arise under the principal Act or may arise under Section 3 as to the distribution of the rate in such a case. It may be that some jot or tittle of alteration of the incidence of taxation may be involved, but there is nothing which I can describe as a breach of privilege after such consideration as I have been able to give to the matter. The hon. Member puts it too high in supposing that the House of Lords cannot in any way whatever touch a question of rating. In dealing with Bills relating to local government, in which rating is involved, this House has never considered that the House of Lords cannot make any amendment. I cannot see that there is any breach of privilege involved in the proviso, and therefore I cannot withdraw it from the House.

MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)

suggested that the Attorney General for Ireland should explain the proviso.


said the proviso dealt with a very small and unimportant point. It did not affect any question of rating, at any rate directly, but simply referred to the temporary adjustment of deductions as between middlemen and head landlords. The law up to the present had been that the middleman might deduct from the head landlord in proportion to the deduction made by the occupying tenant from the middleman. There appeared to have been a certain number of cases in which the occupying tenant was entitled, under contract, to deduct the entire of the poor rate, while the middleman, under his contract with the head landlord, was limited to a deduction of one-half, and it was in order to preserve the advantage given to the head landlord by such special contracts that this Amendment had been inserted. Such cases, however, were extremely few, but as far as the Amendment went it seemed to be correct in principle.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment, in page 2, line 23 (leave out Clause 4), read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


considered that the elimination of Clause 4 amounted to a breach of privilege, and that it should be restored to the Bill. The Lords were constitutionally wrong in taking away the clause, as a matter of public rating was dealt with. He could not push this so far as to say that it was a breach of privilege so clear that Mr. Speaker would deal with it, but he thought it was a case well within the purview of the House to deal with, because it altered the financial arrangement of the Bill.


As I understand it the matter stands thus: There are certain charges called exclusive charges, which, under the Act of 1898, must be provided for by a special rate. That rate should only raise sufficient money exactly to cover the charge. But sometimes it would be covered by a rate, say, of 2⅛d., but, for convenience sake, those who assess the rate raise a rate of 2¼d. When they have done that, there is a surplus, but there is no power to dispose of that surplus, which has to be carried to a suspense account. What this Section 4 does, as I understand, is this. It is not a rating clause at all. It is a clause merely for the convenience of collection, and, for the convenience of collection, it proposes that those who levy the rate of, say, 2⅛d. may levy a legal rate of 2¼d., and they may legally dispose of the surplus to a particular fund. That is the whole object of the section that has been struck out by the House of Lords. It is not a rating clause. Incidentally I agree with the hon. Member that it may make some trivial difference, but I hardly think that constitutes a breach of the privileges of this House. It is a very slight, insignificant and incidental difference that may arise in carrying out what this House thinks is a convenient method of collection, and I cannot see that this Amendment is out of order, on the ground that it is a breach of privilege.


appealed to the Government after the statement of Mr. Speaker to reinsert the clause in the Bill. The Government did not in the first instance make this proposal until having duly considered it. It was not his business to speak for the Government, but it seemed to him that the suggestion of his hon. friend was quite a reasonable one. Under the circumstances he thought the Government ought to restore the clause.


I can hardly agree with the views of the hon. Member who has just sat down upon this question. I agree that the original proposal was eminently reasonable and desirable from the point of view of convenience, but considering the late period of the session which we have reached, I am afraid that if we insist upon this clause being re-inserted there may be a very great danger of losing the Bill altogether. The question to be considered is whether, for the sake of this clause, it is worth while undergoing that serious risk. The clause is in no way connected with the other clauses of the Bill, and the omission of it will not affect the material clauses of the Bill. It will cause a certain amount of inconvenience and will necessitate the establishment of a certain number of suspense accounts in the different areas of taxation in Ireland, but I do not think that that inconvenience is so very serious as to require that we should enter into a conflict with the Lords at this period of the session. Sooner or later we shall have to deal with the matter. I think we may submit to this inconvenience, in the hope that it may be removed another year, rather than run the risk of losing the Bill.


said the Members of the House of Lords were overwhelmingly in favour of the Bill, and surely the right hon. Gentleman ought to put his foot down and have the courage to put in this section, which was supported in another place by two Cabinet Ministers, one of whom had declared that it was an infringement of the privileges of this House. The right hon. Gentleman was wrong in saying that the Lords were against this clause. One Lord, and one Lord only, objected to the clause, and that noble Lord was the last person in. the world to take the responsibility of wrecking the Bill. He appealed to the First Lord of the Treasury, who had said he never read the papers——


I said nothing of the kind.


Well, you read them only when they contain something sensational. If the right hon. Gentleman will read the column in The Times, headed "Imperial Parliament," he will find a report of the proceedings of the Lords yesterday with regard to this Bill, and he will sec something, as they say in the agony column, to his advantage.

MR. BIREELL (Fifeshire W.)

asked why should these suspense accounts be opened all over Ireland because of the factious behaviour of some irresponsible person elsewhere. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had admitted that this change had frustrated the usefulness of the measure, and why should a reasonable proposal be made impossible simply because it was feared that somebody would be kept a few hours longer? Under these circumstances the House would make itself ridiculous if it did not insist upon restoring the clause.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 100; Noes, 59. (Division List No. 290.)

Aird, John Bond, Edward Colomb, Sir John Charles R.
Arrol, Sir William Bowles, T. Gibson(King'sLynn) Curzon, Viscount
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Denny, Colonel
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Burdett-Coutts, W. Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart
Baillie, JamesE.B.(Inverness) Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton
Balfour Rt. Hon. A.J. (Manch'r Cavendish, V. C.W. (Derbysh) Faber, George Denison
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G.W.(Leeds) Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East) Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edwd.
Banbury, Frederick George Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Fergusson, Bt. Hn Sir J. (Manc'r
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc. Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)
Bartley, George C. T. Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol) Cohen, Benjamin Louis Firbank, Joseph Thomas
Blundell, Colonel Henry Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Fisher, William Hayes
Fison, Frederick William Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lonsdale, John Brownlee Ritchie, Rt. hon. Chas Thomson
Flower, Ernest Lowles, John Royds, Clement Molyneux
Garfit, William Lowther; Rt Hn. J.W (Cumb'l'nd Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Gedge, Sydney Lucas-Shadwell, William Sharpe, William Edward T.
Giles, Charles Tyrrell Macartney, W. G. Ellison Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.
Gordon, Hon. John Edward Maclure, Sir John William Spencer, Ernest
Goschen, Rt. Hn. G.J (St.Geo.'s M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk
Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Maple, Sir John Blundell Stephens, Henry Charles
Goulding, Edward Alfred Melville, Beresford Valentine Strauss, Arthur
Greene, Henry D.(Sbrewsb'y) Milward, Colonel Victor Thornton, Percy M.
Halsey, Thomas Frederick Morrison, James A. (Wilts., S.) Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Hamilton, Rt Hon. LordGeorge Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford Tritton, Charles Ernest
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute Welby, Lt.-Cl. A.C.E.(Taunt'n)
Heath, James Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)
Howard, Joseph Newdigate, Francis Alexander Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Hozier, Hon. James H. C. Nicholson, William Graham Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Hudson, George Bickersteth Penn, John Wyndham, George
Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Kimber, Henry Pierpoint, Robert TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Lafone, Alfred Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Laurie, Lieut.-General Purvis, Robert
Lawrence, SirEDurning-(Corn Pym, C. Guy
Abraham, William(Cork, N.E. Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H. Gourley, Sir Edw. Temperley O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Griffith, Ellis J. Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Bainbridge, Emerson Haldane, Richard Burdon Provand, Andrew Dry burgh
Baker, Sir John Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Jacoby, James Alfred Robson, William Snowdon
Birrell, Augustine, Jameson, Major J. Eustace Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Blake, Edward Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Brigg, John Kitson, Sir James Steadman, William Charles
Broadhurst, Henry Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland) Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Burt, Thomas Lloyd-George, David Ure, Alexander
Caldwell, James MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn'sC.) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Channing, Francis Allston M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)
Crilly, Daniel M'Kenna, Reginald Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal) M'Leod, John Woods, Samuel
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Maddison, Fred. Yoxall, James Henry
Dalziel, James Henry Mather, William
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Molloy, Bernard Charles TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Doogan, P. C. Moulton, John Fletcher Mr. MacNeill and Mr. T. P. O'Connor.
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)

Question put, and agreed to.

A consequential Amendment made to the Bill.


asked if the Chief Secretary would promise to take the earliest opportunity of remedying the defect caused in the Bill by the Lords Amendment.


In all probability we shall introduce a Bill next year to restore the clause which the Lords have thrown out.