HC Deb 07 May 1900 vol 82 cc977-83

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Mr. J. W. LOWTHER [Cumberland, Penrith] in the Chair.

Clause 1:—

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

I desire to move an Amendment upon this clause of which I have given the Attorney General notice. We had a discussion on this point upon the Second Beading, but I am not going back upon what the House then decided. Before this Bill passes into law I want to amend it in order to make it carry out more effectively the object which the Government have in view. If the First Lord of the Admiralty will look at his Bill, and then look at the Amendment, he will find that under this Bill the object is that Her Majesty may call out the Reserves to the number of 30,000, or she may call out any portion of those Reserves. What is asked for now by the Admiralty is that it shall not be necessary to call the whole of the men mentioned in the Royal Proclamation out at one time. Sometimes it is expedient to call out the whole number, and at other times it might be expedient not to call them out all at once, and the object of this Bill is to confer upon the Admiralty the right to call out a portion only of the Reserves mentioned in the Royal Proclamation. The First Lord of the Admiralty will remember that he has framed this proposal upon the principle of the Army Reserve Bill, and the Amendment which I have put down is simply to make this Bill word for word with the Army Reserves Act. I may say that according to the Army Act it is not necessary to call out all the forces mentioned in the Royal Proclamation, because power is given under Section 12 of the Act of 1882 to call out only a portion of them at once. Power is given to the Secretary of State for War to call out only a portion of the forces mentioned in the Royal Proclamation, and in calling out that portion he has also power from time to time to vary the method of the calling out. My Amendment would make this clause word for word the same as the corresponding clause in the Army Act. As the Bill stands the Admiralty have no power after they have called out the men by virtue of the Royal Proclamation to vary their order. If the Solicitor General refers to Section 5 of the Act of 1859 you will find that the manner is laid down very clearly there in which the Admiralty are to call out the men mentioned in the Royal Proclamation. At the present moment Her Majesty in Council may call out the whole of the Naval Volunteers or any portion of them. The object of this Bill is to give power to the Admiralty not to have to call out the whole of the number at once, but to be able to call out, for instance, 5,000 to-day, and another 5,000 in a week or a fortnight. But when they have called the men out their functions are at an end, and they cannot vary or revoke the order when once given. If the Solicitor General will refer to the corresponding act of 1882, he will find that Section 12 empowers the Secretary of State for War to call out the men from time to time, and also gives him power to revoke or vary the order as may seem necessary. Why should not a similar power be given under this Bill? I am not bringing forward my Amendment in any hostile spirit to the intention of the Government. I suppose that the Government think it is very unusual that a benevolent suggestion should come from this side of the House, but I can assure the First Lord of the Admiralty that I have nothing but a benevolent intention in this matter. I wish to see

the power given under the Army Act included in this Bill also. I hope, therefore, that the Solicitor General will see that I am not putting forward my Amendment in any hostility to the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 8, after the word 'Admiralty,' to insert the words 'from time to time.'" —(Mr. Caldwell.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


I am sure we all recognise the spirit in which the hon. Gentleman has moved this Amendment, but I think he will see that the Amendment is not required. The Act he refers to is the Act of 1882, but in 1889 an Interpretation Act was passed which provides that where Her Majesty confers a power, or imposes a duty, unless the contrary intention appears, the power if to be exercised and the duty discharged from time to time as the occasion requires.


The Interpretation Act refers to where the context is plain on the face of it.


I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. The Act says "unless the contrary appears," and it is perfectly obvious that the contrary intention does not appear in this Bill.


This is not a Bill in itself. If it were, there might be something in the contention of the Solicitor General. The Bill refers to the Act of 1859 and to what may take place under Section 5 of that Act. In the case of the Army Act we have the words quite clear and distinct. No doubt under the present Bill the men may be called out from time to time, but the Admiralty have no power to vary or revoke the order.

Question put.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 43; Noes, 126.(Division List No. 113.)

Asher, Alexander Daly, James Gurdon, Sir William Brampton
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Dewar, Arthur Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-
Billson, Alfred Donelan, Captain A. Horniman, Frederick John
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Doogan, P. C. Jones, William (Carnarvarsh.)
Broadhurst, Henry Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Kearley, Hudson E.
Buxton, Sydney Charles Evans, Samuel T.(Glamorgan) Lambert, George
Causton, Richard Knight Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Lough, Thomas
Channing, Francis Allston Goddard, Daniel Ford Macaleese, Daniel
M'Ghee, Richard Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Maddison, Fred. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) Ure, Alexander
Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Sinclair, Capt. Jo. m. (Forfarsh) Wilson, Henry, J. (York, W. R.)
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.) Steadman, William Charles TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Courtenay Warner.
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Price, Robert John Tennant, Harold John
Reckitt, Harold James Thomas, David, Alfred (Merthyr)
Anson, Sir. William Reynell Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Nicol, Donald Ninian
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Godson, Sir Augustus Fred. Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Goldsworthy, Major-General Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Balcarres, Lord Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. George's) Pierpoint, Robert
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r) Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Pilkington, R. (Lancs. Newton)
Banbury, Frederick George Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir. M. H. (Bristol) Green, Walford D. (Wednesbury) Pretyman, Ernest George
Beckett, Ernest William Greville, Hon. Ronald Purvis, Robert
Bethell, Commander Gull, Sir Cameron Rankin, Sir James
Bhownaggree, Sir. M. M. Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm. Remnant, James Farquarhson
Bond, Edward Hanson, Sir Reginald Rentoul, James Alexander
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn) Hardy, Laurence Richards, Henry Charles
Brassey, Albert Heath, James Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)
Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John Henderson, Alexander Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir M. W.
Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbysh.) Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Hornby, Sir William Henry Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Rothschild, Hn. L. Walter
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worces'r) Johnston, William (Belfast) Round, James
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Jones, David Brynmor (Sw'nsea) Royds, Clement Molyneux
Charrington, Spencer Keswick, William Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Lafone, Alfred Rutherford, John
Colomb, Sir. J. Chas. Ready Lawrence, Sir. E. Durning-(Corn) Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Curzon, Viscount Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham) Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Denny, Colonel Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool) Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stewart, Sir. Mark J. M Taggart
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-
Doughty, George Macartney, W. G. Ellison Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macdona, John Cumming Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Faber, George Denison Maclure, Sir John William Willox, Sir John Archibald
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw. M'Arthur, Charles (Liverp'l) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Finch, George H. M'Killop, James Wodehouse, Rt. Hon. E. R. (Bath)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Malcolm, Ian Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Fisher, William Hayes Milner, Sir Frederick George Wrightson, Thomas
Flannery, Sir Fortescue More, R. Jasper (Shropshire) Wylie, Alexander
Flower, Ernest Morrell, George Herbert Wyndham, George
Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk) Morton, Arth, H. A. (Deptford) Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Galloway, William Johnson Muntz, Philip A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Garfit, William Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)
Gedge, Sydney Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)

Question put and agreed to.


My next Amendment is to insert after "give" the words "and when given to revoke or vary." The words "from time to time" are presumed under the Interpretation Act, but by this Amendment power is given to the Admiralty to revoke or vary such directions as may seem necessary or proper for calling out the Naval Volunteers. I quite admit that the Admiralty, when the men are called out, can discharge them, but when once called out and sent home again it would not be possible for the Admiralty to call them out a second time under the Proclamation. The Admiralty claim is that this power of calling out men and sending them back to their homes is exercised by the War Office. That is perfectly true, but there is this difference, that the War Office cannot call out the Reserves except the country is in a state of imminent danger, and the fact of the calling out has to be notified to Parliament, and if Parliament is not sitting it must be convened within ten days for that purpose. The power asked for by the Admiralty would enable them to call out the Volunteers without the country being in imminent danger at all, and without any notification to Parliament. You are asking for power to call what practically is the whole Naval Re- serve of the country, and at a time when the country is not in a state of war or imminent danger. Observe the seriousness of this power. You take power to call out men under the Royal Proclamation, to take them away from their business, to dismiss them for a time and to call them out again. If you have that power you ought to have it directly by Act of Parliament, and you should not exercise it merely on a pretended interpretation of another Act. The Bill as it stands does not give you any power to call out the men a second time, and you cannot have power to revoke or vary the calling out unless you insert these words. I cannot see why the Government should; object.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 8, after the word 'give,' to insert the words 'and when given to revoke or vary.' ''—(Mr. Caldwell.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


I hope the hon. Gentleman will not persist in this Amendment. Sec. 14 of the Act of 1859 gives power to the Admiralty to discharge any of the Volunteers named in the Order. It is quite unnecessary to insert these words.

It being Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report progress; to sit again upon Thursday.