HC Deb 14 December 1900 vol 88 cc868-9

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1: —


I desire to renew the protest I made in March last in regard to the amount asked for to provide for the purposes of this war. I do not believe that £16,000,000 is an adequate sum, and I believe that the Government, as I said last March, are unconsciously-deceiving themselves and misleading the taxpayers. We cannot expect Gentlemen in the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to do more in their personal capacity than he has clone, for naturally he wishes to minimise the cost, and shrinks from facing realities. When the right hon. Gentleman stated in March last that he would only have to make provision up till September he must have been acting on information from the War Department, and the House went to a dissolution on that. I do not say that the political consequence of this miscalculation now is as grave as it was then or that the results can be so serious, because there will not be a dissolution between this and 31st March next, but the three Kingdoms have been misled by previous estimates, and the Government have been voted consequence. I think disasters occurring as are told it is mere guerilla warfare, it is not £16,000,000, but £60,000,000, that will be needed. These small amounts that are being asked for, lest you should frighten your own supporters, must prove of the greatest encouragement to the Boors. You say you want to put an end to the war, but you cannot do it on the cheap, and it would be far better to take your courage in both hands and confess the truth to the nation. To pretend the war is over, and that the Republics are conquered, is to foster a delusion. Having divided the House upon the Vote in former stages, I do not propose to divide the House now, because having by voice and vote made my protest against this unjust and ruinous war, I do not consider I am called upon to do more, but I seriously invite the attention of I he taxpayers to the fact that this, £16,000,000 is just as inadequate for the job which you have in hand as the amount you asked for in March last. I do not attach the least blame to the Chancellor of the Exchequer personally, because he has, I believe, never been in favour of the policy which provoked this train of misfortunes.

Clause 1 and remaining clauses agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; to be read the third time To-morrow.