Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Standing Order 21 (Order in Debate), as amended [11th February]:—
And which Amendment was, in line 17 (in the second paragraph), to leave out the words "shall continue for one week, on the second occasion for a fortnight, and on the third or any subsequent occasion for a month," and insert the words "in any session shall continue until the expiration of the next twenty days on which the House sits, on the second occasion until the expiration of the next forty days on which the House sits, and on the third or any subsequent occasion until the expiration of the next eighty days on which the House sits, and the number of days of suspension shall be reckoned irrespectively of any prorogation or adjournment.
If a Member is suspended under this Order, his suspension shall, notwithstanding the expiration of the days of suspension aforesaid, continue until he has written a letter to the Speaker, expressing his sincere regret to the House for the offence for which he has been suspended.—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ Questions again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Standing Order."
§ (7.15.) Mr. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
On Tuesday night the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House appealed to me to shorten the discussion upon this Rule—
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
I listened to the appeal with no little astonishment, for of all the alterations in the Rules which have been proposed by the Government in their scheme, this one is by far the most important and far-reaching. The other Rules deal with matters concerning the shortening of debate, the order in which business shall be taken, and the general convenience of Members; 1314 but this Rule deals with a great constitutional question of the utmost gravity. The Rule I refer to deals with the right of duly elected Members of Parliament to fulfil their duty to their constituencies in this House; it deals with the right of the House to disfranchise constituencies; and, indeed, if we are to judge by some of the declarations made from the Government Bench, the right of this House to decide who is and who is not fit to sit in this House as the representative of a constituency. These questions and others of a similar character are raised by this proposal, and it seems to me astonishing that the House of Commons should be asked to debate a proposal of this kind without the most careful and the most searching debate. I may remind the House that in 1882, when the Closure Rule was proposed, the debate on that one Resolution alone lasted for 19 nights; and in 1887, when the late Mr. W. H. Smith proposed a new Closure Rule—and this was after the principle of the Closure had been accepted by Parliament—the debate on that new Rule lasted 14 nights. I know that the right hon. Gentleman said the other night that, in his opinion, the Closure Rule was the most revolutionary change that had ever been made in the Procedure of the House. I do not take that view. The Closure was a most important and far-reaching change, but after all the Closure Rule only dealt with an arrangement made by the House itself for the management of debate, and for the limitation of the right of free speech—a most important change, no doubt, but still a change that did not raise, in my opinion, in any sense the grave constitutional question with which this Rule we are now considering is concerned. My view is that the Closure was not half as serious a Rule for the future of this House as the Rule we are now discussing, and if 19 days on the first occasion were not too long to take in discussing the Closure Rule, and if 14 days were not too long for the new Closure Rule in 1887, it seems to me little short of ridiculous for the right hon. Gentleman to suggest that the general discussion of this Rule ought to be limited to one, two, three, or for that matter four nights.
It seems to me that when the House bears in mind the character of this new Rule it 1315 will be well for it to act slowly, cautiously and deliberately. This new Rule as it stands at present contemplates the possibility of the expulsion for the whole of a Parliament—for the whole of the remainder of Parliament—of any number of Members. It contemplates the possibility of the arbitrary disfranchisement for the whole of Parliament of an unlimited number of constituencies. It contemplates the possibility of the revival of those contests between this House and the constituencies in the country which are not unknown in the history of the House of Commons, and which have always resulted in the past in the injuring of the dignity, reputation, and power of Parliament; and it seems to me that in dealing with such a proposal as that, the House ought to proceed with the utmost caution. Now, the far-reaching effect of this Rule, its high constitutional import, its certain risks and its uncertain benefits, are all practically admitted by every speaker who has taken part in the debate, by the representatives of the Government as well as by everyone else. The first question which I think naturally occurs to the mind of any man who comes to the consideration of this Rule is, Why is this proposal made? In view of the serious character of this proposal, I say that to justify its production here at all by the Government, a case of absolute necessity should be put forward. It should be shown, for example, that the existing Rules for the maintenance of order were absolutely inefficient, it should be shown that the existing rules had completely broken down, it should be shown that disorder and disregard and defiance of the authority of the Chair were of frequent occurrence, and that there was practically in the existing Rules no means of checking and punishment. In point of fact, it should have been shown by the Government that a crisis had arisen, and that the evil was of so desperate a character that they were justified in proposing a desperate remedy. Nothing less, in my mind, can justify a proposal so serious and far-reaching and unconstitutional as this rule—a rule which has today absolutely no parallel in any legislative chamber in any civilised nation in the whole world.
Now let me ask, has such a case been 1316 made out? The hon. Member for South Longford dealt powerfully with this point, and he asked what case had been made by the Government in support of this Rule, and in the debate which followed he was not answered. The Leader of the Opposition in his speech made the same demand. He said—The House of Commons, if it is necessary to do this strong thing, to pass this unconstitutional Rule—if it is necessary, I believe the House of Commons will be willing to do it; but show us the necessity.He asked Ministers to make out and to show in what the present Rules were inefficient to copy with disorder. It is not only that the Government have not made a good case; they have made no case at all. The First Lord of the Treasury, in the interesting speech with which he introduced these Rules, dealt minutely with the many changes he proposed in the procedure of the House. He dwelt at length upon the changes you are asked to make with reference to our dinner, with reference to the time at which we are to take Questions, and other matters, and he gave what, possibly, no doubt seemed to him a strong case, from the point of view of convenience, for some of the alterations, at any rate, which he proposed. But the one serious alteration affecting the constitutional rights of the Members of this House, affecting the rights of constituencies outside, the one serious revolutionary change which he proposes, he did not support by one single word of argument. I confess I listened with amazement as his speech went on, to find that he had nothing to say in support of this Rule. It is not, I believe, that he has made a bad case in support of the Rule; he has made no case at all. He absolutely treated with contempt, apparently, the demand that he should offer any argument in support of the Rule at all.
So much for the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in introducing the Rule. What attitude has been taken by those who followed on that Bench? The Colonial Secretary made a long and able speech in support of the new Rules, but again he deliberately abstained from any attempt to show that the existing Rules had broken down, and that it was necessary to strengthen them in order to put down a state of disorder. The Government have made no case in support of the Rule, because they had no 1317 case they could make. Let me, in one or two brief moments, consider how matters stand. I will not deal with the special case that arose, last March, a case exceptional in its nature and character, a case which was legislated for on the spot, a case which is not practically touched by these Rules at all, because the legislation passed for it was passed for an emergency. Let me deal with any other case of disorder that arose, and I make the assertion that for many years past there have been so few cases of even a technical disregard for the authority of the Chair, and so few cases of anything that could be called disorder on the floor of the House, that it is an absurdity to pretend that the present rules for dealing with disorder have broken down. What happened last session? There were three Members suspended, on three different occasions. Each one of the cases, the House will remember, arose out of some ebullitions of temper. They were dealt with on the spot. They caused no disorder in the House, no disorder whatever. There was an exhibition of temper on the part of the Member, and the Member was suspended without disorder. These were the only cases, and is it pretended for a moment that the rules which operated that way last year and for other years in the past, did not deal sufficiently with the case? Why, Sir, it is absurd. It is to be borne in mind that for the last 15 years there has been only one case of a member being suspended twice, and I believe, not to limit myself to 15 years at all, but to take a period of, say, the last 25 years there are not more than two cases. Now, I say this in order to make that an argument that the existing rules effectually prevent disorder. When breaches of order have taken place and a Member in the heat of the moment has disregarded the authority of the Chair, they have been dealt with under the existing rules. These cases have been infrequent, and there is no need to strengthen the rules as they stand at this moment. Then I ask, if this be so, why is it that the Government are proposing this Rule? Why in the absence of any case of necessity, when the existing Rules are working smoothly and efficiently, do they propose this extraordinary and unconstitutional and revolutionary change, affecting, as I have said, the constitutional rights of 1318 Members and of the constituencies of the country?
Now, Sir, this is a serious question. Why is it that this Rule is proposed? Nobody has pretended it is because there is any necessity for it. Why is it proposed? We heard the answer given with perfect candour by the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh. He had the courage and the manliness to say what was in the mind of the Government, but which they had not the courage to declare to the House. This Rule is a declaration of war against the Irish Members and the Irish Party. We on these benches are a united and a disciplined body of men. We know our own minds, and we pursue our own policy quite regardless of the mere party interests of any English political party, and the power of such, a body in this House is felt, and it would seem to me is feared. We have this new Rule proposed, not because the old rules have broken down, but because, as the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh said it is desirable to inaugurate a system of reprisals against the Irish Party for the disagreeable action they have taken, not in breaches of order, but in the way in which they have conducted their business in this House. I hope I will not be considered as offensive if I say that in my opinion there was something little short of a contemptible want of candour on the part of the Leader of the House and the Colonial Secretary in this matter. They, forsooth, said that this has no particular application to the Irish Members, that it is not intended for the Irish Members more than anybody else. The Colonial Secretary came down here the other day, and, in the mildest and most conciliatory manner, smilingly assured us across the House that it was not intended for us and that nobody said it was except we ourselves. My mind went back when he was speaking to some declarations which he and other members of the Government made during the recess on this matter. The first hint we got about the new Rules being brought in to deal with the Irish Members was in the famous Blenheim speech of the First Lord of the Treasury. The First Lord of the Treasury, at Blenheim, spoke of the action of the Irish Members as being of a nature intended to degrade 1319 the Imperial Parliament. But the Colonial Secretary went one better in his speech. He said—It is my conviction that the nation is taking note of these proceedings. I think that they expect that the Mother of Parliaments will know how to defend herself against these attacks, attacks by men who, by our liberality, come to us in numbers disproportionate to the wealth, intelligence, and population they represent.And to show to the House that this was a deliberate policy on the part of the Government to apply these restrictions to the Irish Members in particular, allow me to quote two or three words from a speech made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has never been immoderate in his attacks on the Irish Party at all, and who has certainly never been a source of irritation to us by his speeches. I quote him to show that this was the deliberate policy which tonight was overthrown by the right hon. Gentleman and by the Colonial Secretary. On the 10th October he said—The Irish Party must be dealt with; some alteration in the procedure of the House of Commons must be passed which will enable it to cope with this difficulty; and I hope and believe that these suggested alterations will be so framed as to have particular regard to the methods and aims of the Gentleman whose action has brought upon us the necessity of altering our old Rules.And the Colonial Secretary in Edinburgh, on 25th October, after denouncing the Irish Party in terms which were most extreme and insulting, and which I will not read out, said—I do not expect any assistance from the Opposition in dealing with Irish rowdiness and Irish obstruction. We shall have to do that ourselves. We shall be left to vindicate the honour of Parliament as best we may. We propose next session to bring forward Rules which will give the House of Commons a greater control over the men who insult and outrage it.Now, I want to know what becomes of this pretence which is solemnly put forward by the First Lord of the Treasury and the Colonial Secretary that, forsooth, these Rules are not intended for the Irish Members at all; that the Irish Members probably would never come under their operation; that they were not in their mind at all, but that they proposed this revolution in the Rules affecting the rights of Members and constituencies, simply as a part of a benevolent scheme for promoting the domestic felicity of Members of this House. It is an absurdity. 1320 Every honest man in this House, and, of course, we are all honest as well as honourable, knows in his heart, whatever he may say or not say, that these Rules are framed with the special intention of applying to the Irish Members. And I repeat that, in my opinion, it is a somewhat contemptible want of candour on the part of the Leader of the House and of the Colonial Secretary to pretend that they are not intended against Irish Members. Now, if these Rules are directed against a particular section of this House, then, I beg the House to consider whether that does not throw an enormous responsibility upon them in carefully scrutinising the character of the new Rules. If this House is going to legislate in order to hurt or limit the power of special sections of this House, we certainly ought not to hear appeals on the part of the First Lord for shortening debate. We ought to have the fullest and most searching discussion which it is possible to have, before a Rule, introduced with such a motive, is passed into law.
Let me very briefly examine this new Rule. In the first place I desire, most emphatically, on behalf of the Irish Members of this House, to repudiate the absurd idea that we have any interest in disorder in this House. It is absurd. We have no such interest, and, for my part, I always regret disorder in this House, although I am open to the taunt that I have more than once been the cause of it. I may say more than that. We admit that the authority of the Chair must be maintained. Why, we are engaged in an effort to obtain once more, for our country, a legislature. Do hon. Members imagine that we desire to degrade and destroy the whole theory and practice of constitutional representative Government, or to see it destroyed in this House? Nothing of the kind! We recognise, of course, that every Legislative Assembly must maintain order, must uphold the authority of the Chain Aye, I go the full length of the First Lord, who said it must uphold the authority of the Chair in a decision, whether that decision is right or wrong. I go the full length in saying that it must be respected, and further, that the Chair must be invested with the authority to punish any act of disobeying or defying the authority of the Chair. 1321 But this Rule is, in the first place, as I have endeavoured to show, unnecessary, because the authority of the Chair—taking human nature as it is, year in and year out—is very fairly, and, I think, efficiently respected and carried out, and every disobedience to the authority of the Chair is sufficiently punished. Next, it is most vindictive in its application to the Members who will come under it. It is directed against one particular section of the House, and it is in itself an unconstitutional violation of the rights of constituencies outside. There is one question I would like to ask, if I am not transgressing any rule of order; and that is, have the authorities of this House been consulted about this Rule? The Leader of the Opposition proposed an Amendment the other night, that a Committee of the House should be appointed to consider these Rules before they were proposed here. Now, here is a Rule affecting the maintenance of order upon which it would be of the most enormous value to have the evidence of the Speaker, the Chairman of Committees, and the officials of the House. When a change of so serious a character as will be made by this Rule is proposed, I say it is scarcely decent to the House of Commons to propose it without having obtained the opinion of the officers of the House upon it. I do not think the House ought to be asked to accept this Rule until it has had the advice of those who will have to administer the Rule when it is passed.
Now, Sir, I shall deal very shortly with the question of punishment. In addition to punishment for disobedience the House is to exact an expression of sincere regret. There is no precedent or analogy to justify such a proposal. Contempt of Court is not analogous. I could imagine cases in which the House might be justified in demanding an apology; but this Rule left no discretion to the House. It has been said that the man who would not apologize was not fit to sit in the House. But that raised the question whether the House was to arrogate to itself the right, as if it were a club, to say who is and is not fit to sit in the House. I would ask the House to pause before it attempts to assert this right. It has 1322 attempted to assert such a right before, but in every case it has met with humiliation and disaster. It did it in the case of Wilkes, and again and again he was expelled because you thought that for his writings on speeches he was unfitted to sit in this House. Well, in the end the House had to give way, and in my own recollection a most signal instance of this took place when Mr. Bradlaugh was refused admission to the House because of the opinions he held, and because of books that he had written. The House took up a position as though they had the right to say to the constituency, "We consider the man you have sent in unfit to sit amongst us." Well, the contest went on and just as in every other case the House of Commons was beaten, and Mr. Bradlaugh in the end came back to this House and sat here for years and was a highly respected Member, and the House will perhaps recollect one very dramatic and touching incident connected with Mr. Bradlaugh's career. When he was lying on his death bed, about one or two days before he died, this House of Commons, by a unanimous vote, which did honour to it, resolved to expunge from their records the Resolution expelling him from amongst them, and almost the last intelligence that reached him before death stole upon him was the intelligence of this act of reparation by this House.
What is the position? Every time the House has attempted in the past to decide who is fit and who is not fit to sit here they have had to give way. The constitutional right is in the constituency to send to this House whom they please to represent them. Let us see what will happen under this Rule. Suppose the case of a man who refuses to give this apology as it is called. What will you do suppose he applies for the Chiltern Hundreds. Are you going to refuse him the Chiltern Hundreds? There is no precedent for the refusal of the Chiltern Hundreds except where the person applying has been guilty of dishonourable or criminal acts; there are some instances of the kind, but very few. There are some recent instances where, in such a case, the Chiltern Hundreds have been refused, but in no other case was it ever refused. Are you going to refuse it? Because, Mr. Speaker, if you 1323 intend to refuse it that will mean the permanent disfranchisement of the constituency of the man, and you should not argue this upon the case of one man because it may happen in the case of a number of men, and you must not judge of this Rule in its best aspect but in its worst. If you refuse a man the Chiltern Hundreds you disfranchise permanently the constituency, but if you do not refuse him the Chiltern Hundreds you will enter into one of those contests through which you cannot hope to come with either credit or success. The Leader of the House alluded to what he called a threat which he said that I uttered. I had no intention of uttering a threat. I was endeavouring then to do what I am endeavouring to do now. I was endeavouring to see how this Rule would operate, and I said then, and I repeat it now, that under the operation of this Rule the time might come—I did not say that it would, and I hope that it may not—whenthe whole Irish representation would be compulsorily excluded from this House during the whole of the Parliament. Would that be an advantageous thing for the connection between Ireland and the rest of the Empire? We are often accused of being extremists, but after all everyone knows very well that there are many men who are more extreme than we. Everybody knows that there are men in Ireland who have no faith whatever in constitutional movements in Ireland; men who preach the doctrine that we waste time in coming to this House; men who preach the doctrine of constitutional agitation for the redress of Irish grievances is of no use, and that the only means of redressing them is by physical force directed in some way or other against England, and it is possible that you might, by the total exclusion of the entire Irish representation from this House, destroy once and for all the possibility of conducting constitutional and Parliamentary movements in Ireland. I ask you, in all seriousness—and do not let the First Lord of the Treasury say I am uttering a threat; I am not doing anything of the kind; I approach this question with some sense of responsibility—I ask you, in all seriousness, is that a contingency to which you can look forward with any complacency whatever? Every man connected with Ireland 1324 and the Empire would be forced to look on such a contingency with alarm, and such a contingency is possible if this Rule is passed.
Sir, I am anxious to be moderate and reasonable, and I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman for these reasons which seem to me to be overwhelming and grave and serious reasons, and I ask him to pause and ponder before he goes further with this Rule. There is no enthusiasm in support of this Rule on the part of anyone, either in the House or out of it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire was perfectly right when he said the other night that the whole feeling of the House was against it. We have heard a few speeches from the other side of the House, but almost all had deprecated this Rule up to the present. There is no one among the supporters of the Government who supports it in his heart, and none of the newspapers outside this House support it. I read in one of the strongest partisan journals an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to moderate this Rule. If he carries this Rule it will simply be by the enforced Party obedience which drives a man into it against his will in response to the Party whip. If we could decide this question by ballot, I have no hesitation in saying that this Rule would be very seriously modified or withdrawn altogether. In proposing this Rule the Government, as I have said, are doing an unnecessary thing; they are adopting a rash and hazardous course; they are taking an unconstitutional step; and they are committing the House to a vindictive, and therefore a weak policy. For my part I make no appeal ad misericordiam. I make on behalf of the Irish Members no appeal in this matter, but I say with the House of Commons that on the broadest grounds of consideration for their own interest as a legislative Chamber; on the broadest grounds of the constitutional rights of the constituencies on the ground of manliness and fair-play and justice, that the House of Commons will do well to ponder well and hesitate before they pass a Rule which is capable of working in the way I describe and which, in the long run, may do more to injure Parliament and impair this House than the 1325 acts of those who are supposed to be its bitterest enemies.
§ *(8.0.) Mr. LOYD (Berkshire, Abingdon)
hoped that the Government would not withdraw the very reasonable and temperate proposal that a Member who has been guilty of such deliberate and sustained defiance of the authority of the Chair as to call for his suspension should not resume his place without an expression of sincere regret for the offence for which he was suspended. The right hon. and learned Member for South Longford closed his speech the other day with the statement that the existing Rules were quite sufficient, that the proposal was made by the Government with the object not of maintaining order in the House but of excluding the Irish Members who had shown themselves skilled in the technical rules of debate and so had become troublesome to the Government. That was a reason which might be good enough for the purpose of hostile Party attack against the Government, but even if any one could be found to believe it, it would be quite inadequate to explain the feeling in the constituencies that the Rules for maintaining the authority of the Chair required strengthening, and that some recognition of the supremacy of this House ought to be made the condition of returning to take part in its debates after such flagrant discourtesy and defiance of the Chair as could alone cause a Member's suspension.
This question of the expression of regret had hitherto chiefly been considered as a matter of taste and fancy and sentiment among the Members themselves, and some hon. Members had taken credit to themselves for great magnanimity and declared that they could quite imagine themselves being betrayed in a time of excitement into a defiance of the Chair, and therefore they were prepared to forego the requirement of any apology. He doubted if any Member of the House would feel the slightest satisfaction in the fact that a brother Member had had occasion to express regret for his insults to the Chair. He did not think they would be guided to a proper decision in this matter, by looking at their own feelings 1326 exclusively, and leaving out of view the feelings of outrage, humiliation, and disgust with which their constituents were afflicted when they read of this assembly, which after all was their assembly, being degraded and humiliated in the eyes of the world. And if their feelings were repeatedly outraged in this way there would come to be super-added to the sense of shame and humiliation a feeling of distrust in the competence of this House to protect itself and its proceedings from insult. And the contempt which they at first felt for the aggressors would be transferred, and justly transferred, to the Assembly which submitted to those deliberate insults, or at all events, showed itself unable or unwilling to protect itself against them. He approached this question with no animosity towards any Member or section of the House, and asked himself this question, "What is the very least which my constituents, and, therefore, the constituencies generally, are entitled to, as a protection against the humiliation, and disappointment, and loss of confidence in their representative assembly, which are produced in their minds by these repeated and successful attacks upon the authority of the Chair?" And he felt convinced that nothing short of a formal recognition by the offending party, that his misconduct was a matter for regret, before he came back to share in the proceedings of their National Assembly, could relieve them of the humiliation which they suffered at the hands of the offender. Many things had been said in this debate about the childishness, or the cruelty, or the vindictiveness of wishing to receive an apology as if the acceptance of an expression of regret were not in all civilised countries and in all ages a well-known method of reinstating the injured party in his own self-respect, and in the estimation of his neighbours, and at the same time rendering the aggressor less willing to offend again.
The healing and soothing effect of an expression of regret upon the feelings of the injured party was based upon the best and most generous instincts of our nature, and its deterrent effect on the offender operated upon just those springs of conduct which needed control, his impulsiveness, his hasty temper in the least heinous cases, his vanity, his love 1327 of display, his desire for notoriety in the more deliberate instances.
For these reasons he considered the constituencies were the injured parties, and were looking to the House to protect them from the recurrence of these insults. In the second place, he regarded the expression of regret as a well recognised expedient for soothing the outraged feelings of the injured constituencies and making the aggressor less likely to offend again.
Now, how was it sought to frighten them off making this very reasonable requirement? First, they were told that they were depriving a graceful act of all attraction by making it compulsory. But there was nothing to prevent a Member, who wished to reinstate himself promptly in the good opinion of the House and the country, taking the earliest opportunity of conveying his good, and generous, and kindly frame of mind to the Speaker as the representative of the collective authority and dignity of the House.
Secondly, they were told that they were calling upon a Member not to do an act only, but to get into a frame of mind called "repentance." But they did nothing of the kind; all they said was that unless the House had before it evidence that the offender was in that frame of mind, it would not be desirable for him to have the opportunity of repeating his offence, and that if he stated that he was in that frame of mind they would accept his word for it. The House did not force him to tell a lie; if he was not sincerely regretful, if he was unprincipled enough to do so, he, no doubt, had the opportunity, but they no more forced him to tell a lie by requiring from him a statement of regret than they were responsible for perjury in tendering the oath of allegiance as a condition precedent to entering upon the confidential and responsible position of Membership in the first instance. Then it was said, "Oh, but then Members will get themselves suspended, and remain intentionally suspended, after they might otherwise return, or they may be unable honestly to say they are sorry for disregarding the authority of the Chair. But the man who remained out intentionally in order to create a grievance, or who really approved of his own conduct in resisting the Chair, would not be a fit person to come and take part 1328 in the proceedings of this House, and the sympathy of the public would not be with him, and his chances of martyrdom would be nil.
Fourthly, it was said, granted that the offender would not be entitled to pose as a martyr, his constituents would be, for the time, disfranchised. So they ought to be if they chose to elect a man who was not prepared to abide by the elementary rules of order without which a business meeting could not be conducted. But if they disapproved, what greater, what more legitimate leverage could be brought to bear on a Member misbehaving himself than the disapprobation of his constituents?
Fifthly and lastly, it was said, "Take care; you are provoking a conflict with the constituency, and the House of Commons is sure to be beaten in the end. As to this argument, he believed it was based on precedents where free thought or free press or other prejudices had been aroused in the people, and he did not believe that where it was a question of the disregard of the elementary rules of good order in the Popular Assembly, the sympathy of the country would be on the side of the offender. But even if the offender were able, by taking the Chiltern Hundreds, to put this House in a difficulty, was the country reduced to such a point of indifference and imbecility that it would not support Parliament in any legislation necessary to make such an offender an ineligible candidate, where the constituency sought to force him back into the House, in evasion of rules made from no other motive than to ensure the orderly and proper discharge by Parliament of its duties? By the proposed new Rule the disorderly Member was not called upon to express regret for any of his political opinions, but merely for his defiance of the Chair. The offender in this case for whom sympathy would be claimed would be a man who had so undue an opinion of his own importance that, while ready to insult and humiliate the rest of the House and the constituents throughout the Kingdom, he was yet unwilling or unable to make any honourable reparation for his insults to others, for fear of being lowered thereby in his own precious vanity and self-esteem. He did not believe the time 1329 had come, or was likely to come, when the country would be against the House of Commons in insisting upon such a moderate proposal as this in the interest of Parliamentary decorum. But if there were any risk of misunderstanding outside the House he would advise the Government to run that risk and deal with the threatened difficulties when they arose. They were not likely to be worse; they could not be worse than the reduction of the House of Commons to the position of impotence and ridicule and contempt into which it had now been driven by repeated undisguised and hitherto unrepelled attacks from within. He should certainly vote for the Resolution. (8.15.)
§ * (8.50.) Mr. EMMOTT (Oldham)
said he took part in the debate with a good deal of diffidence, and it was only because he felt very strongly on this particular question that he ventured to speak at all. He would speak with entire freedom from any party bias with regard to the matter. He approached the consideration of the rules with an earnest desire to make the House of Commons a better legislative machine and also a more useful check on the administration of the Government. He thought the penalties attached to suspension too long. He understood that there had only been one case of a second suspension of an hon. Member in one session during the last 25 years. The Rule now proposed was entirely beyond anything for which there was any precedent in the rules of representative Assemblies in foreign countries. He concurred with the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury in deprecating comparison with the rules of foreign Assemblies, but if order was less often broken in this legislative assembly than in any other in the world, it could not be argued that our punishments should go beyond those of which foreign nations made use in their legislative Assemblies. He passed from the question of punishment to deal with what was the real objection to the new Rule they were discussing, namely, the apology to follow the punishment. That was either a mere triviality not worth their attention, or there lay behind it a great constitutional question, which might easily bring the 1330 House into conflict with the constituencies. He would not dwell on the distinction, which had occupied a good deal of time in the debate, between an apology and an expression of sincere regret. The First Lord of the Treasury, who had no mean reputation as a philosopher, said that the distinction between the two expressions was too subtle for his comprehension, and the Colonial Secretary, who did not pose as a philosopher, but as a practical man—so practical, in fact, that on one occasion he said he did not care two pence for the laws with which he was dealing at the moment—said that "there is some distinction between an expression of regret and an apology." He would not venture to decide who of these two great authorities was correct. For his purpose, he did not care in the least who was correct. The apology was for an offence. The offence according to the Rule was, first, disregarding the authority of the Chair; second, persistently and wilfully obstructing the business of the House; and third, abusing the rules of the House otherwise than by obstruction. The Colonial Secretary, with his usual ability and force, said that all these offences were equivalent to disregarding the authority of the Chair, whether in the person of Mr. Speaker or the Chairman of Committees. He submitted with all respect that that was not the case. They must, in regard to this matter, look ahead. If the present line of increased stringency were carried further—instead of adopting what was the real remedy for the evil, a system of devolution—many new offences might appear, the nature of which they could hardly prophesy at the present time. He might mention an incident which had just been discovered, namely, that an hon. Member had signed his own name and 24 others in the ballot book. That might be described as an abuse of the rules of the House, and it would be perfectly possible for Mr. Speaker, if he chose, to bring the name of the Member who did so before the House. He ventured to say that the more they tightened the rules of debate the more ingenuity would be exercised to evade the rules.
The First Lord of the Treasury and the Colonial Secretary had exhausted all their ingenuity 'to show that an expression of sincere regret, which was now to be asked 1331 from any Member who was suspended from the service of the House, was a mere formal matter. They described it as similar to the withdrawal by an hon. Member when called to order for using an un-Parliamentary expression in the heat of debate. In regard to this matter, the expression of "sincere regret" was to be given in respect of "the offence for which he has been suspended." Now, the withdrawal of an un-Parliamentary expression, used in heat of debate, was often a technical matter; but when an hon. Member was suspended from the service of the House, it had often been because of the action of that Member taken, as he believed, in the defence of a great principle. He did not separate the technical breach of the rules of the House from the principle on which he acted; and the more earnest and sincere he was, the less likely was it that he would separate these two things. One of the earliest cases of obstruction of which he had any knowledge was carried on more than 100 years ago, when Mr. Burke and several other Members forced the House to sit all night discussing the question of a restriction of the liberty of the Press. On that occasion Mr. Burke said, "Posterity will bless the pertinacity of this day," and when an hon. Member was suspended he generally believed that posterity would bless his pertinacity. What they wanted to do was to give a Member time to think over his action, and, if he had that time, he might be able to say that he was frankly sorry for what he had done, and that the action he took was entirely unworthy. If so, no apology was needed from him, and he would be the last man to commit the offence again. On the other hand, an hon. Member might regret his collision with the Chair, but rejoice in the protest which he had made. If he were an honest and sincere man he might be able in such a case to make a technical apology; but another man, equally honest and sincere, might be entirely unable to disconnect the technical breach and the cause of the offence against the rules of the House. There was a third case in which an hon. Member might rejoice in a breach of 1332 the rules of the House, and in the cause of it. In that event they put a premium on hypocrisy by demanding a "sincere apology"; or they would disfranchise the constituency for an indefinite period, which he maintained the House had no right to do. He confessed he was never so much surprised as when the First Lord of the Treasury said that he did not understand why there should be any sympathy with a constituency the Member for which refused to apologise to the Chair. The whole point of the representative system was that they must give due weight to the opinion of the entire country, and if they cut off one, two, fifty or eighty Members from the House, they crippled the Parliamentary system, which was the foundation of our representative system. It would be like the futile proclamation to the Boers in August last. The opinion of Ministers seemed to be that if a Member apologised they were no worse, but if he did not, then the House was well rid of a knave. Something had been said about the treatment of persons who had committed contempt of Court, but he maintained that the analogy did not hold at all. The Judiciary was composed, for the most part, of distinguished gentlemen who were not only men of the world, but men who had a good deal of human nature in their composition. In the case of contempt of Court, the Judge or Judges fixed the punishment, and it was practically never of a long-continuing, or permanent character; but above all, the Judge could alter the punishment at any time. But in this case they were asked to pass a rigid rule, that a Member guilty of disorder must have a certain fixed punishment, and at the end of that punishment he must express "sincere regret" for his offence. The system of punishment for contempt of Court was elastic and variable, and proportioned to the offence; while the system which the House was asked to adopt was rigid, and without elasticity.
It seemed to him that the very painful incident which occurred last year had affected the minds of His Majesty's Ministers; but he maintained that that incident would never have occurred if they had had the power of suspending 1333 the sitting for a short time, or if the leaders of the Irish Party had been present at the time. He saw no reason why anything that had occurred since that event should induce them to legislate in haste. In conclusion, he wished to say that he entirely agreed with the very powerful argument of the hon. Member for Waterford, and with the statement of the Leader of the Opposition that no cause had been shown why this Rule should be passed. For whom was it to be passed? The Government denied that it was meant for the Irish Members; they said it was meant for a hypothetical offence which had not yet occurred; but he could not believe that the present House of Commons would consent to pass a Rule like this unless some cause had been shown for it. He hoped he might be allowed to speak a little more strongly in regard to the forced apology which was to be made at the end of a greatly enhanced period of punishment. That was an un-English and unfair method of dealing with the case, and was entirely opposed to human nature. Precedents were against it. Did the right hon. Gentlemen apologise for foolish expressions or their own mistakes? They apologised for the mistakes of others, but not for their own. What they had said, they had said. There was one instance in which an apology was made by a statesman. The late Mr. Gladstone did apologise for words which he had used in regard to a foreign country; but he was a great man, and could afford to apologise. A forced apology was a poor weapon even against children in the nursery or boys at school; and if a schoolmaster was unable to control his boys without constantly demanding an apology he was unfit for his work. He maintained that it was totally repugnant to all their ideas of fair play to ask a man to suffer punishment and then to apologise. If they were to have new rules, these should be for a modification of punishment, and not for its prolongation. By Article 39 of the Belgian Parliamentary Code, an end was put to temporary exclusion from the Chamber by the Member declaring in writing "that he regrets he disregarded the decision of the Chamber." He would make the serious and practical suggestion that, if they increased the length of the punishment in connection with this 1334 matter, they should make it possible for an hon. Member to purge the remainder of the offence by making an apology, and then to allow him to take his seat once more. He ventured to appeal to the Government—although he was afraid it would not do much good—to reject this policy of unconditional surrender after punishment. He did not ask His Majesty's Ministers to humiliate themselves, and to express their sincere regret for the proposals they had made on this subject, but to take into consideration the feeling of the great majority in this House against the proposed Rule. Whoever invented this policy, it was framed in a spirit of narrow and tyrannical martinet. He believed that if the Rule were eventually passed, it would either have to be rescinded or it would be ignored. He entirely opposed the suggestion that there should be an apology as well as punishment.
§ *(9.16.) Mr. LAW) Glasgow, Blackfriars
said a great point had been made of the fact that no case whatever had been made out by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House for this change in the rules of the House, but the only way in which it could be justified by the right hon. Gentleman was by calling attention to a scene of disorder which he more than anyone else desired to forget. The rules which existed now did not admit of punishment adequate to that scene, and although it might be said that rules had already been made to deal with that particular case, it was distinctly stated at the time those rules were passed that they were only temporary in their character, and that the whole question would be dealt with in a broader spirit. The rules before the House were the result. It had been said by the hon. Member for Waterford that the statements of the right hon. Gentleman that these rules were not directed against the Irish Party were disingenuous, but a distinction must be drawn here. Everyone who made rules of this kind had of necessity before his mind the difficulties with which the House would have to deal, and he would not be doing his duty if he did not frame rules in such a way as to deal with that form of disorder which was likely to occur. The form of disorder 1335 which had to be dealt with was organised disorder, and the only quarter from which organised disorder came was the Irish Benches. The rules, therefore, are not directed against the Irish Members as Irish Members, but they are directed against that section of the House from which organised disorder is to be feared. Although the hon. and learned Member for Waterford spoke of his love of order and dislike for disorder in the strong speech which he had delivered, he had also told the House that he and those who supported him came here in an interest unconnected with any Party in the House of Commons, whilst in a previous speech he had said that while England, Scotland, and Wales reverenced the traditions of the House of Commons, he and his followers looked upon it as an instrument of tyranny and oppression. If that were the hon. and learned Gentleman's opinion, it was obvious that in an interest which he thought greater than the interests of order, he would not hesitate to humiliate the House. He agreed in the main with what had been said with regard to the apology. It seemed to him that an apology was not required. He thought the punishment fitted the offence, besides which an apology was, he thought, a mistake from another point of view. He did not believe it would have any effect upon organised disorder. If there were any body of Members of this House who wished for their own purposes to organise disorder, they would contrive some means by which they could fulfil the conditions of the Standing Order, and at the same time preserve their influence with those outside the House to please whom they had organised the disorder. He thought the insistence on an apology almost approached the verge of unfairness. There might be something in the precedent of contempt of Court, but it seemed to him that the universal opinion was that if the offence that was committed was one for which an apology was accepted, the apology ended the matter, and the House could not, without unfairness, inflict the utmost penalty and then demand an apology.
§ (9.28.) MR. ATHERLEY-JONES (Durham, N.W.)
said the conclusion to which he was inevitably drawn in this debate was that if hon. Members opposite had attended with assiduity to the discussion of the Rule, there were very few of them who would support the Government in this matter. He opposed these Rules generally, and this Rule in particular, firstly, because no case had been made out by the Government in support of it, and secondly, that the multiplication of the penalties was not calculated to serve the purpose which the Government had in view, but to defeat it. It was not today that obstruction and disorder in the House of Commons had arisen for the first time; if they looked back, they would find that scenes of disorder and violence, exceeding by a hundredfold anything which had taken place of late years, were, perpetrated in the House without any interference by the Speaker, and what was more, without detriment to the lasting dignity and efficiency of the House itself; because hon. Members then had, as they had now, the honour and dignity of the House at heart. He had been in the House for 17 years, and he could safely say, allowing for a little more breeziness in debate on the Irish Benches, and allowing for a little stronger language arising possibly from stronger convictions, there had been no disorder on the part of Irish Members which called for exceptional legislation. He was not a Party man, and he had been astonished by the amount of self-restraint and loyal deference to the Standing Orders of this House that had been displayed by the Irish Members. The one scene in the House at which he was present was one in which Irish Members were not concerned, and from Mr. Parnell downwards Irish Members had always used their influence on the side of law and order and to maintain a proper deference to the Chair. He could not recall a single case where Irish Members had availed themselves of the legitimate, though discreditable, method of delaying the business of the House by lurking in the lobbies in place of recording their votes. Was this Rule necessary? What had been done by the Irish 1337 Members to warrant the introduction of this exceedingly drastic remedy? Those who sat in the House were not perturbed or shocked by these scenes to the same extent as the smug-faced citizen who read the exaggerated reports of them in the daily papers. If it was the abominable and disreputable exaggeration of the Press which, to his mind, caused the Government to take up the attitude they had on this question, they might rely on the faith and goodwill of the House, If it was a matter of principle as was explained by the hon. Member for Oldham on the previous night, then no amount of penalty would prevent the man doing what he thought was his duty to his constituency. No one wished to see disorder, and everybody desired to see business conducted in an orderly manner, but when, on a matter of conscience, a man stood up as did Mr. Plimsoll and defied the rules of the House, all he could say was he would far rather be like him, a wrongdoer, than an observer of the rules and regulations of the House in the way that the Leader of the House would desire them to be.
So much for the general question. With regard to the particular character of the Rule, the House was asked to say a Member should undergo a cumulative penalty. Sometimes an offence might be so serious that the full penalty of 80 days ought to be inflicted, and sometimes so serious that the offender ought to be expelled from the House altogether, and if a man so misconducted himself, by all means let the ancient law and customs of the House be enforced and let him be expelled. But 80 days for such an offence, as speaking with undue irrelevance, was against all common sense. Yet, if a man filled with public ardour was guilty of this offence and had been twice previously named, he had to submit to that penalty. Supposing a Member were named under those circumstances and was to be awarded the penalty of 80 days, the House might consider the penalty to be excessive, and the Motion of the First Lord of the Treasury might be defeated, and there would be an undoubted injury inflicted on the prestige of the Chair. It would be far better to make the Rule as elastic 1338 as possible. Let the House apply the Rule and make it as heavy as necessary, but let them not make it accumulative. There were degrees of offences; an offence might be committed by a Member, for which 20 days suspension might be a wholly insufficient penalty; yet, because a trivial offence had been committed for the third time, the Member who committed it was to be ostracised for the whole of one session and possibly a part of another. Such a thing might happen to even a Minister of the Crown, who was sometimes guilty of un-Parliamentary expressions, and what inconvenience would not arise if he were not in his place to answer questions, if he were suspended for even 20 days by a Speaker who happened to have lost his temper for a moment? The House ought not to make this change upon the instigation of a comparatively young Parliamentarian; the rules were made not for the Government, but for the House of Commons, and hon. Members who sat in the House were the stewards and the trustees of the House of Commons.
With regard to the expression of sincere regret, he submitted that no ground had been shown for any such innovation. Something had been said about the precedent of contempt of Court, but after a man had served his six weeks imprisonment, or whatever his term was, nothing further was required of him. The thing was conclusive in itself, and any idea of an apology after punishment was foreign to all conception of the administration of the law. Why should not the First Lord propose that a Member be excluded from the service of the House until he apologised? In cases where great principles were concerned or men's consciences involved, as would often be the case in the suspension of Irish representatives, Members might then be kept out of the House for ever. Members, under such circumstances, would prefer to remain out of the House for an indefinite period, and they would be supported by their constituents in so doing. He would make an appeal—but not to the Treasury Bench; the matter did not concern them alone, and it wag monstrous that such proposals should be enforced by the crack of the Party whip. The matter concerned 1339 the House of Commons, and when the present Government had passed away, the conduct of the House in dealing with these Rules would be arrainged, and it would be praised or condemned by future generations who occupied the Benches on either side. He therefore appealed, not to the Treasury Benches, but to hon. Gentlemen on the other side, who, like those for whom he spoke, were instinct with the best and noblest traditions of the House. Speaking to a large extent as a non-Party man, as one who would never sacrifice his convictions at the call of a Party, he appealed to hon. Members carefully to examine these Rules, to see if they could honestly satisfy themselves that they would tend to the more efficient maintenance of order, to freedom of debate, to the enabling of men honestly and openly to express their conscientious convictions without fear or favour, to free from the suggestion of oppression a body of men who had honestly, before their country, endeavoured to discharge the highest duties of citizens, and if the Rules were so examined, he had little doubt that they would meet with the fate they deserved, and they would not be passed by the House of Commons.
§ (9.48.) Sir JOHN KENNAWAY (Devonshire, Honiton)
said that on the present occasion the House were not discussing a subject under ordinary circumstances. The Rules before the House were of a very far-reaching character, and they affected so vitally the position of the House of Commons in the country, the relations between the Chair and the House, the maintenance of that good feeling which had generally hitherto existed between the two sides of the House, and all that went to make the House of Commons what it is, that he could not feel that the time spent in discussing their general principles had been wasted. It was only right that those principles should be fully discussed before the House descended to the consideration of details. All would agree with the hon. Member for Waterford that the Rules, and the principles underlying them, should be carefully scrutinised for the reasons just mentioned. The hon. Gentleman was perfectly justified in asking why they 1340 had been brought in at all, but Members could not conceal from themselves the fact that threats had been made of determined attempts to degrade the House of Commons, and to bring its proceedings and its very existence into disrepute, and those threats justified the bringing forward of the proposals. The hon. Gentleman had on former occasions spoken in very clear terms very different from those he had used in the present debate. The House welcomed him as the upholder of the authority of the Chair, as being desirous of suppressing disorder and of making the House of Commons a pattern to all other assemblies. If he and those who followed him maintained that attitude, why should they fear the application of these Rules? The introduction of the proposals before the House was undoubtedly a very serious step, but the Government had brought them in under their sense of responsibility to the country. They had been forewarned that attempts would be made to conduct the House of Commons on lines different from those which had hitherto prevailed, and they would not have been doing their duty had they not attempted to strengthen their position. The House might rest assured that the Government had not taken this step lightly. By the course they had adopted they were probably sacrificing some of the measures on which they set their hearts. There were measures mentioned in the King's Speech, such as the Water Bill, the Education Bill, the Licensing Bill, and others which the Government were very anxious to see passed into law, and they would certainly not have brought forward the present proposals except under a very strong sense of duty towards the House and the country. He believed they were expressing the feelings of the country when they announced their determination to make the Rules more effective for the maintenance of the authority of the Chair, and for ensuring that the punishment instead of being a mere farce should be sufficient for the purpose for which it was inflicted. It was also necessary to make the machinery of the House more perfect, so that the great sacrifices made by Members should not be thrown away, and that useful measures should not session after session share in 1341 the massacre of the innocents, or be relegated to the chances of another session. These objects were all worthy of consideration, but, at the same time, if the efficiency of the House was to be maintained unimpaired, if by the alteration of the Rules the high character of the House, of which all were so proud, and which they desired to hand down to those who came after them, was to be upheld, it could not be done by the efforts of one Party only, or by mere Party divisions and measures. The alterations would have to be on lines commanding the assent and consent of the greater number of Members of the House, who were loyal to its traditions, and desired to see those traditions maintained.
His principal reason for rising was the fear that Members were drifting into a spirit of antagonism on this question. He appealed to all parties not to look at the matter from a Party standpoint; to seek not Party advantage, but the general advantage of the House, and to endeavour to frame such rules as should command general assent and be carried with general approval. He ventured to appeal to the First Lord and the Government in that sense, and especially on the Question of the apology. The matter should not be treated as a Party question; the House, as a whole, should be allowed to express its opinion and to record its conscientious conviction. If that were not done, the Rule would be worth very little. He would not enter into the general Question of punishment and apology, but the demand for an apology after punishment did seem to revolt the sense of justice and fair play. The Rule would have a tendency to make martyrs of those who refused to render the apology, and, instead of the punishment being effective, the men would be regarded as heroes in their constituencies and encouraged in their refusal to obey. Beyond that, there was the great danger of landing the House into contests with constituencies, and they all knew what had been and always would be the outcome of such contests. He entirely disagreed with the suggestion that it would be desirable by such a Rule to exclude Irish Members from the House. He welcomed their appearance in the House, as he believed it was a means of keeping a united Empire and a united Kingdom. As to the apology, men who were loyal to the traditions of the House would always be ready, as gentlemen, to apologise where necessary, while those 1342 who described themselves as aliens and unwilling, Members would find themselves turned into heroes, and he doubted whether, in the present temper of their constituencies, they would ever dare to make an apology even if they wished. The questions to be considered were simply those of the increased severity of penalties, and that of the apology. Those were questions, not of principle, but of degree. Milder measures might very well be tried first, and then, if those measures were insufficient, more extreme steps might be afterwards taken. Having done well hitherto, they could afford to wait and see the effect of what they had done. In view of the anxious position of the country, and in view of the serious attitude taken by hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, he appealed to all who were loyal to the traditions of the House, and desired to see its efficiency maintained, to close their ranks and unite on moderate measures to serve the purposes of the Government, and then, if necessary, they could go further afterwards.
§ (10.2.) Mr. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
rejoiced that there were so many gentlemen of light and leading on the Government side of the House joining in the protest against the apology. All would admit that with regard to rules for regulating the procedure of the House, it was desirable that there should be general agreement as to their fairness and equity. He should have thought that before bringing in any such rules as these, the First Lord of the Treasury would have consulted the Leader of the Opposition, but apparently he had done nothing of the kind. It was very evident that he had not consulted the old and experienced Members on his own side, because the only gentlemen who had supported the Government were two or three Members of no great weight or experience. The Colonial Secretary had very truly said that the objection of such rules should not be vindictive, but to prevent a repetition of certain events. But if an apology was sufficient, of what use was punishment? Or, if punishment was sufficient, of what use was an apology? There was no case in which an apology 1343 was demanded, and punishment inflicted as well. [An Hon. Member: Contempt of Court.] Had the hon. Member ever been committed for contempt of Court? ("No.") Well, he had, half a dozen times, and therefore he spoke not as a lawyer, but as a victim. Only a little while ago he was fined £50 for contempt of Court; he paid the £50, and nobody asked him for an apology. Could any single case be cited in which an apology was demanded if punishment was inflicted?
§ MR. BULL (Hammersmith)
pointed out that in cases of contempt of Court very often a man was sent to prison and was not liberated until he apologised.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
contended that under the general law of the country there was no offence for which a man was sent to prison and had to apologise when he came out. That being the general law of the land, the right hon. Gentleman had no right to make offensive experiments on the House of Commons. If it was laid down as a general principle of law, that would be one thing; but, if it was not so laid down, he objected to it being applied to Members of Parliament and not to other persons in the country. If the First Lord were left alone he believed he would go on heaping punishments and apologies one upon the other until Members would positively be told that if they violated the Rules of the House not only would they be sent to prison, but they would afterwards have to go to a reformatory or some other such place for two or three years. He did not consider himself to be either a convict or a "ticket-of-leaver," and he objected to be treated as such.
There were two modes in which the Rules of the House might be violated. A man might have a bad temper; some people had. He might, being of an e-x citable disposition, say something which would have been better left unsaid, and, when called upon to withdraw, his temper continuing, decline to do so. In such a case, any gentleman would be perfectly ready to apologise as soon as he recovered his temper. But there were cases of a different character. Some hon. Gentlemen spoke as though the Irish were the only Members concerned, but the whole 1344 Church Party had declared that they might object to certain measures on conscientious grounds. The Member for St. Albans had said that if a law were brought in for allowing polygamy he would oppose it in violation of all the Rules of the House. Considering the Bills that were brought in by the present Government, such as those for giving doles and so on, he did not know but what a Bill might be brought in before long for permitting polygamy; ft was impossible to say what would happen. In any case, the Church Party had declared that there were proposals which they might conscientiously consider it their duty to resist by violating the Rules of the House, and that in such cases they would not apologise. Doubtless the Irish Members considered that Ireland was just as immorally governed as England would be considered to be if polygamy were permitted; they had their conscientious objections, and if he himself were an Irish Member and consciously violated a Rule of the House, he would not dream of apologising; he would rather remain out of the House for any number of days or years—though it would be a great deprivation—than express regret for an action which he believed to be justified. It would surprise the House to hear that he himself was once suspended. In the course of a debate he expressed an opinion of a noble Lord which perhaps was not couched in the Parliamentary language required by the House of Commons when one Member spoke of another. Mr. Courtney, for whom personally he had the greatest respect, was in the Chair, and called upon him to withdraw the expression. He replied that it would be impossible for him to do so, because, by so doing, he would be violating the rights of the House of Commons, and never should those rights be violated in his person. The matter was reported to Mr. Speaker, who declared that unless the hon. Member withdrew the words he would have to be suspended. The usual Motion was put to the House, and the Conservative majority voted for, while the Liberals voted against, his suspension. What occurred then? Mr. Gladstone sent for him and said that, without entering into the question whether the words were in good or bad taste, he considered he was perfectly in the right, and that a Member of the House 1345 of Commons was entitled to say what he liked of any Member of the House of Lords. Mr. Gladstone was a man who stood by his followers, and he offered to bring the matter before the House, to put down a Resolution and ask for a day. For that he (the hon. Member) expressed his obligations, but said that the Conservatives would vote as on the previous occasion, and a precedent would be established in favour of that against which he had protested. Mr. Gladstone agreed, but said he considered it his duty to make the offer, because he thought the hon. Member had been unfairly treated. That was a case in point. Suppose an hon. Member on the opposite side of the House did something against the Rules, and was suspended. If the First Lord of the Treasury were to make an offer similar to that of Mr. Gladstone's, would the hon. Member give away the whole thing by expressing his sincere regret at having violated the Rules of the House?
He alluded to that case simply because it was one in which it had been made possible for a Member to save himself from suspension by expressing sincere regret. By the presence of the word "sincere" in the Rule the right hon. Gentleman had shown how loosely the proposals had been drawn up. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Armagh had expressed his objection to the word, but, since it was in, he would not have it taken out. That apparently was the feeling of the Government. The First Lord did not think the word was necessary, because "sincere regret" was the same as "regret," but, it once having been inserted, if it were withdrawn it would give a charter to insincerity, and, therefore, owing to the looseness with which the proposals had been framed, the word "sincere," which to a large extent was the crux of the whole question, was to be retained. The Colonial Secretary had said that sincere regret was not an apology. The Colonial Secretary was a very able man, but he was not an expert in the matter of apologies. He rather admired him for that. He was perfectly certain that nothing the right hon. Gentleman could do in the way of mistake would ever induce him to come to this House and express "sincere regret" for it. It was said that because the Leader of the Opposition had expressed his approval of certain Amendments the right hon. 1346 Gentleman ought to vote in favour of the words which were proposed. That was the greatest mistake possible. They knew what happened again and again on the Second Reading of a Bill. A Member got up and said that he could not vote for the Bill, but if certain concessions were made he would vote for it. When the Bill was passing through Committee the Amendments which were desired were moved. He really thought the First Lord of the Treasury would do well to show himself more conciliatory upon the matter than he at present seemed disposed to be. If the demand for an apology were removed, the right hon. Gentleman would ease the passage of rules very much, but if he was under the impression that he was to carry them through verbatim, as though they were the laws of the Medes and Persians, he would find that not days, but weeks, would be required for their discussion. There were some of the rules to which they had no sort of objection, but if the system, of imposing the whole of them, exactly as they stood, upon the House was persisted in, the right hon. Gentleman must expect them to resist them to the utmost. The First Lord of the Treasury had said that this was not a Party question, but he was making it one. Surely the right hon. Gentleman must have perceived that the majority even of his own Party would be glad if this demand for an apology were withdrawn. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to get up, say to his followers that this was not a Party question, and that each gentleman was free to vote according as he conscientiously thought. If he did so there was not the slightest doubt that the rule would be thrown out.
§ (10.18.) COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
said he had listened as well as he could to almost all that had been said, and amongst the questions they were bound to answer was that asked by the Leader of the Opposition and others, as to what was the cause of the proposed alteration. To his mind there were two very sufficient answers. With the permission of the House, he would try to give them as shortly as possible. The first answer was that what the constituencies of Great Britain were most interested in at present was that some such changes in the rules as those proposed by the Government 1347 should certainly be affected. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was too democratic to know anything of the wishes of the people; it was reserved for Tory Members to be in close touch with the needs of the constituencies. Those who, like himself, had taken recent steps to make themselves acquainted with the ardent wishes of the rank and file among constituents apart from Party, level-headed men interested in having good government and administration, knew that two things were necessary if the House of Commons was to maintain the respect of the country—the repression of continued obstruction and the purging of the House from all suspicion of disorderly behaviour. Much had been said from many quarters as to the possibility of a conflict between the constituencies and the House of Commons. Much had been said on that matter from a most fallacious point of view. Members who came to the House of Commons did not exist by any virtue of their own. They were useful to the country because they obeyed orders and carried out broadly the mandate the country gave. That was a conclusive answer to the question asked on the other side. The fundamental principle of the constitution was that the majority should rule. They could not get away from that. The very essence of the franchise was that the people entitled to it should elect men who would be bound by the rules of the House of Commons. Every Member must subordinate himself to the majority of the assembly. [A Nationalist Member: Why did you not pass Home Rule then?] They did not pass Home Rule because there never was a majority of Parliament in favour of it. It was pre-supposed when a Member of the House of Commons was elected that he would obey the rules of the Assembly, and with the recognition of this principle three-fourths of the arguments against the proposal were disposed of.
He was sorry to have to submit the second branch of his argument, but the House would not think he was candid or courageous if he flinched from the argument he was now going to adduce. It was no pleasure to him to come in conflict with hon. gentlemen from Ireland. He was not inclined to speak unduly in the way of blaming them. He 1348 could only regret that the abilities of the hon. Member for Waterford were confined to one section of the House. He wished the whole nation had a greater share of them. The hon. Member for Waterford was angry with the suspicion that these new Rules were levelled at Irish Members. He would like to repudiate this if he could, but naturally the Rules were framed upon past experience, though they would have general application. He must remind the hon. Member for Waterford of what he himself had said. It was natural, if threats were made in regard to the arrangement of affairs in the House, that those responsible should take precautions to preserve order. He found that the hon. Member for Waterford made a speech in 1896, in which he said—So long as self-government is denied to Ireland, of course the presence of the Irish Members tends towards the block of business and the disarrangement of Government plans, and is a constant source of trouble, difficulty, and danger.[Nationalist cheers.] He did not wonder at the cheers. He was not questioning the consistency of the hon. Members. He was only questioning whether gentlemen in the position of the hon. Member for Waterford could wonder that steps should be taken to protect the House. The hon. Member also said—If the House suffers in reputation and efficiency, it is not in human nature that the Irish Members should grieve very much over it.[Nationalist cheers.] He hoped English and Scotch Members would take notice of the cheers with which these remarks were received. He noticed that the gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite, who might form a future Liberal Government, were not cheering them very much. But he went a little further. There was another speech made by the hon. Gentleman at Newcastle-on-Tyne on the 3rd March, 1901, in which he said—They would make the English Parliament and English people understand that the Irish representatives in this country were a foreign element, and that so long as they were forcibly kept in the English Parliament, the very existence of Parliamentary institutions in this country would be menaced.He passed on to another speech delivered by the hon. Gentleman at Sligo on 2nd January, 1902, in which he said that— 1349These months (the 12 months of 1901) showed the Irish people that they had once more in the House of Commons a band of thoroughly reliable Irish Nationalists as their representatives, men who were independent of all English political parties, men who had but one single thought—He waited for the repeated cheers of the Welsh Members—To forward the cause of Ireland and to injure and attack England in every way open to them.The hon. Welsh Members were discreetly dumb. Let him go on a little further. Here was an extract from a speech delivered by the hon. Member for Waterford at the Hotel Cecil on March 19th, 1901—Of course we know not when, we know not how, or from what quarter the settlement of this National question will come; but what we do know is that we have it in our power to make the Government of Ireland by the present methods impossible in Ireland, and in the House of Commons, but when we once reach that point, we are very near indeed to the terms of settlement.But that was not nearly all. He had a quotation from a speech made by the hon. Gentleman in America in November, 1901—Our policy," he said, "is to make the Government of Ireland by England in every department of Government in Parliament and out of Parliament, difficult, dangerous, and please God, impossible." [Cheers from the Irish Benches.]Were not those cheers rather unfortunate in connection with his argument? Was it not very significant of the argument he was now using that the hon. gentleman was almost sorry that those words could be quoted? [Cries from the Irish Benches "No, no."] At all events they were in strong contradiction to the constitutional attitude which the hon. Gentleman had taken up that night. Then in the course of the same speech in America the hon. Gentleman went on to say—We take up the position, therefore, of saying that we are making the Government of Ireland by England difficult, dangerous, and impossible by the agency of the United Irish League in Ireland, and by the agency of the united and independent Parliamentary party in the House of Commons. That, briefly speaking, is our position and our policy.That was a grave announcement of the policy of the constitutional Leader of the Irish Party. It was a strong, he might say a courageous, announcement of the policy which the hon. Gentleman in- 1350 tended to pursue, and the end at which he meant to arrive. But as custodians of the honour and repute of the House of Commons they were bound to take steps to meet the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member for Waterford made another speech at Belfast on 2nd October, 1901, in which he declared—I say that so long as there is a body of men in the English Parliament of that character, no rules that the wit of man can devise can prevent their presence from being a source of irritation and of difficulty, of trouble and of danger.It was no pleasant part of his duty to quote further from the speeches of the hon. Gentleman. He would infinitely rather have taken the line that these proposals had no connection with the Irish Members, and that these latter were absolutely free from any likelihood of breaking the Rules. That was the wish and hope and intention in framing these Rules. [Cries from the Irish Benches of "Oh, oh."] At all events, he could speak for himself. He was one of the few Members in this House who had absolutely no policy, and he could honestly say that he wished the Irish Party could have seen their way not to be so eager to fit this cap to their own heads, but would have rather disavowed the idea that the Rule would apply especially to them. But if it did apply to them as the result of their adhesion to the declarations he had quoted, any taunt of unfairness, or want of generosity was met by the quotations themselves. He came to another aspect of the question which interested him deeply, and which he ventured to impress on the attention of the House. This debate had arranged partly over the question of punishment and suspension of hon. Members for disregarding the ruling of the Chair, and partly over the expression of regret demanded for that action. On that point he had strong personal views. It seemed to him that the offence of any Member of the House who broke the ordinary laws of order was two-fold. In the first place he offended against the wishes of the people, whose representatives sat there, and who had been elected by a large majority to support the policy of the Government. It had been said that the offence would be purged by a 1351 period of suspension, and withdrawal from the House. But there was another aspect of the offence which had not been sufficiently dealt with during the debate. It was, that if the offence was coupled with anything like a refusal to obey the order of the Chair, it meant that there had been a direct personal affront to that personality which represented in this House dignity, law, and order. He was not a metaphysician, and perhaps must fail to make his case logically clear. But hon. Members regarded the Chair as a sort of incarnation of their own self-respect, and if the Chair was flouted, or treated with any disrespect, it was not only an offence against the business of the House, but also against the sentiment, the dignity, and the self-respect of the House; and that aspect of the offence required that there should be a quiet, decent, and moderate expression of regret. He therefore begged the Government to stand firm. Unless they could save the House of Commons from a repetition of what had happened in the past, and from the occurrence of that which had been foreshadowed in the speeches he had quoted, the House of Commons would gradually lose the respect and confidence of the people of this country. Speaking for himself, therefore, he hoped the Government would stand firm. In despite, and in defiance of all ideas that there might be backsliders among them, the Government might depend on a sufficient majority, and might confidently depend on the confidence and respect of the nation at large.
§ (10.46.) Mr. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
said he thought that the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, to any one who had heard the debate, would be regarded as a most unfortunate one. No one could have listened to the debate without having been struck by the marvellous unanimity which had been expressed with regard to one point of the Resolution—namely, the proposed expression of regret—and it was, therefore, unfortunate that the hon. and gallant Gentleman should have at that moment made a strong appeal to Party passion, and should have raked up out of the dustbin forgotten speeches of the Irish Members.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said he did not want the dates, because whether the speeches were delivered a fortnight or a month ago did not affect his argument. His point was that the House was about to take a decision on a matter of grave Parliamentary and national importance. It was a matter which above all things affected the House of Commons for all time, and it was not right in discussing a non-Party matter such as that to introduce racial passion as the hon. and gallant Gentleman had done. They had one consolation with regard to that portion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech, because he frankly admitted that he had not got a single follower; and it was hoped that the Government would take due note of that admission and give it the significance it deserved. The hon. and gallant Gentleman at the conclusion of his speech made an appeal for respect for the dignity of the Chair. That was a false issue. It was not the question before the House. The Chair was made by a House, and it was the House that was insulted if the Chair was insulted. The issue now was whether they ought by a mere majority place in the hands of a majority in the future, which might be a narrow majority, the power to take an unknown Member from the back benches and put him without a minute's notice into the Chair. As the Rule stood the Government would be able, at the beginning of a session, or at any time during a session, to make any Member Deputy Chairman for the time being who would have the power of naming Members. That was a big authority indeed to place in the hands of any man, who might be a mere partisan and who might not have traditional Parliamentary instincts. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that the country at the last General Election had declared in favour of the proposals of the Government, and had given a mandate for them. He wondered whether the hon. and gallant Gentleman in one of the many speeches he delivered at the last election had ever even mentioned the question of procedure in the House of Commons, and further whether he had thought of the ingenious proposal of expressing sincere regret. He did not think so. He thought the proposal was made in Birmingham much 1353 later than the last election. He had always imagined that hon. Gentlemen opposite were too busy, at the last election, taking praise for the glory of a completed war, to think of anything else. The hon. and gallant Gentleman was, however, right to the extent that the country wished its business to be carried on in a businesslike fashion, but did not care what method was adopted. The Government had received no mandate for punishing hon. Members, or for obtaining an expression of sincere regret. He had listened to nearly every speech during the Debate, and one thing stood clearly out and that was the point of the hon. Member for Waterford, that no case had arisen for increasing the punishments. If they were to introduce Amendments to their procedure they should introduce them with reference to rules which had failed. At present they were dealing with an imaginary situation. It had never been known that an individual member had offended three times in the course of a session, and, therefore, they were dealing with a situation which they had no reason to suppose would arise. Too much importance was attached to the individual member, and to what he might do. The gentlemen really responsible were the right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench. Speaking generally, no scene had ever occurred in the House except as a result of strong, and as many thought inadvisable, action on the part of the Government of the day. All the scenes were the result of action taken by the majority, which the minority thought was taken in order to burke proper discussion, and where the Government of the day tried to closure, after a few hours discussion, Estimates amounting to 25 or 30 millions. If the Government of the day gave so little heed to the opinion of the minority, they were bound in future to have unfortunate scenes, and it was only by a spirit of fair play on the part of the Government that the House of Commons could uphold its authority and dignity in the future as in the past. The hon. and gallant Gentleman talked about majority rule. Would he bow to a Liberal Government with the majority of perhaps 20 or 30? Would he say that he respected the authority of, the country and bowed regretfully to the majority? Would he move Amendments?
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY
asked if it was an obstructive or un-Parliamentary proceeding to move Amendments.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said it entirely depended on what the Amendments were. If a Liberal Government were returned with a clear majority to pass a certain measure would the hon. and gallant Gentleman vote for it? He was inclined to think that, in such circumstances, the hon. and gallant Gentleman would not respect the majority. The danger was that the Government of the day were often tempted, sometimes justly, in order to carry their measures, to resort to extreme proposals. He feared that the present proposals would not be effective. One proposal stated that the hon. Member asking a question, and he alone, could ask a supplementary question. That in itself could be used as a vehicle for great injustice. It would be some time before the House became accustomed to it, and he could conceive an hon. Member, perhaps a new Member, with the greatest respect to the Chair, disregarding the ruling of the Chair quite unintentionally in asking supplementary Questions. Then with regard to repetition in debate, they all knew that very often a new Member used an argument several times, though he had no intention of offending against the Chair. But under the Rule if he were called to order and disregarded the ruling of the Chair, he would be named. It seemed to him that one of the first things the Government would have to introduce into the House, if the rules were passed, would be a black book in which convictions of hon. Members would be recorded. The whole point of the proposed expression of regret was that it would be merely lip service. A suspended Member would be told "Give us an apology and we do not care what kind it is." He thought the Government were trying to humiliate members unnecessarily. They ought to trust to the respect which hon. Members felt for the House and for themselves, and not to any new rules which the Government could devise.
§ (10.58.) THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Robert Finlay,) Inverness Burghs
1355 I confess, before the speech of the hon. Gentleman, I should have thought it impossible that the admirable speech of my hon. and gallant friend could have been so entirely misunderstood. To represent my hon. and gallant friend as having made an appeal to racial passion is so absolutely wide of the mark that I think the hon. Gentleman must have immediately felt that he did not carry the general sense of the House with him. At an earlier period of the evening, a very interesting speech was made by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, in which he said that he had himself no sympathy whatever with disorder. I accept that statement and I welcome it. But I ask the House to observe what follows from it. If the feelings of the hon. and learned Member on the subject are shared by the Party which he leads, and leads in so distinguished a manner, what becomes of the allegation that this rule is any special grievance on Irish Members in this House? If they have no sympathy with disorder, if they repudiate it, if they have no desire to practise it, how can these new Rules affect them? They will be unharmed by them. I would call the attention of the hon. Member for Waterford to the absolute inconsistency between that passage in his speech, in which, as representing the Irish Party, he repudiates all sympathy with disorder, and that other passage in which he said that these Rules obviously contemplated the disfranchisement of an unlimited, number of constituencies. Where are you to get an unlimited number of constituencies which will be disfranchised unless there is not merely sympathy with disorder, but the actual practice of disorder in this House.
The hon Member for Waterford made an attack on the First Lord of the Treasury and the Colonial Secretary. He was very severe on them for having said that these rules were not really aimed at the Irish Party. If any justification were wanted for the statements of my right hon. friends, that these Rules are aimed at disorder generally in the House, by whatever Party it may be practised, it would be found in the statement of the hon. and learned Member himself that he, as the representative of his Party, repudiated disorder and had no sympathy 1356 whatever with it. If that be the case the rules are not only aimed at he Irish Party, but will not hit the Irish Party; and if the admirable maxim of the hon. and learned Member is carried out in practise, hon. Members from Ireland will not suffer under them. The speech of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford had at least one merit, which has been wanting from a good many speeches delivered in the course of this debate. It was that he set before the House very clearly indeed what is the precise issue on which we are going to divide. We are not going to divide on any question of detail in connection with the rules of procedure. The question is whether or not the terms of the old rule are to remain, and the motion is that they be left out; and no hon. Member can oppose that unless he is prepared to assert that no strengthening of the penalties for disorder is required. That is the question, and the only question, upon which we shall proceed to a division. All consideration of the details of the Rules must necessarily stand over until another occasion. On the broad point, I think the House generally will be in thorough agreement with my hon. and gallant friend when he said that the feeling of the country was overwhelmingly in favour of strengthening the procedure of the House, so far as it is intended to cope with disorder, and that the authority of the Chair must at all risks be maintained. I do not believe myself that there is any business assembly in any part of the country that would for one week submit to some of the scenes which we have been compelled to witness in this House. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford asks what justification is there for the change. Things are going smoothly enough as it is, he says, and you do not want any change. If there is no defiance of the authority of the Chair, the change will do no harm to anyone. I think, however, experience has shown that some measure, we hope not a measure of punishment, and certainly not a vindictive measure, but a measure which will have the effect of prevention, is very badly wanted indeed. This Rule has not been conceived in any spirit of making reprisals on the Irish members. That is an oratorical phrase.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
The object of this Rule is not to make reprisals on any class of Members in this House.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
If hon. Members would read the Rule they will see that its object is to provide an adequate penalty to prevent these offences being committed. That is the object, and the only object, and those who were concerned in the framing of these rules would indeed rejoice if the effect was such that we were spared the recurrence of these scenes. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford was, I think, very severe on the Colonial Secretary, because he referred to the party the hon. and learned Member leads as a party that had expressed their intention to injure and degrade the House of Commons. I understood the hon. and learned Member to quote that from the Colonial Secretary.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
My complaint against the Colonial Secretary was that he stated the night before last that these rules were not directed against the Irish Members, whereas at Blenheim and at Edinburgh he stated distinctly that the rules to be introduced were directed against the Irish Members.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I do not think the hon. Member is quite following the point I am making. I heard him quote as a grievance a passage from the speech of the Colonial Secretary, to the effect that there was a Party in this House who had declared their intention to injure and degrade Parliament. I would remind the hon. and learned Member, as his memory seems to want a little jogging, of what he said not quite a year ago in this House. He referred to the Party which he leads as "a foreign element" in this House. [Several hon. Members: Hear, hear.] I do not know whether hon. Members will cheer what follows. The hon. and learned Member then said:—In dealing with such an element I assert that no rules which the wit of man can devise can possibly save your Parliament from being injured and degraded in the eyes of the world.Yet the hon. and learned Member complains of my right hon. friend for having quoted his own words. The hon. and 1358 learned Member does not stand alone, because there are, unfortunately, in the Party which he leads with so much ability, some other Members who have used language which was calculated to create the impression that they regarded language of that kind as suitable language to be used by Members of this Assembly. The hon. Member for North Leitrim—I am quoting from the Irish News on the 20th of March, 1901—said at Ennis Killen, refering to the fact that he and others had been dragged out of the House of Commons, that the, reason was that they had protested against alien rule and the plunder of the country. I myself would have given another reason. Then the hon. Member went on to say that "They would degrade the House of Commons and continue to degrade it until they got their own Parliament again." In face of language of that kind used by the Leader of the Nationalist Party and by one of his followers—I could multiply quotations to the same effect almost indefinitely—can it be said that some precautions are not wanted by way of preventing the possibility of such threats being carried into effect? What the hon. and learned Member for Waterford said tonight about himself is, I trust, shared by the whole of his followers, and I hope earnestly that there will be no attempt to carry such threats into effect, and that we shall be spared all those painful scenes which have been conjured up by the imaginations of some hon. Members who have taken part in this debate.
This is not the occasion to consider the detailed terms of this Rule. I shall not argue as to what the precise length of suspension should be for defying the authority of the Chair. I will only say that I think there is hardly an hon. Member in this House who does not agree that the present time of suspension is altogether inadequate. Then we come to the burning question of apology, on which so much eloquence has been expended. I desire to make an appeal to the common sense of the House. If a man defies the authority of the Chair, he is punished with a certain term of suspension, and if he apologises then the term of suspension comes to an end. [Hon. Members: No, no!] If he apologises, 1359 a term of suspension may be regarded as complete punishment. [An Hon. Member: That is not the rule.] Hon. Members who interrupt must not have read the Rule. So many days suspension are given, and that exhausts the punishment if an apology is made. Now what I desire to put before the House is this. There are two offences of very different gravity indeed. A man may defy the Chair in a moment of heat; he expresses his regret, and after so many days suspension he returns; but suppose a man persists in his defiance of the Chair, declines to express regret, assumes an attitude of defiance to the Chair, and comes back to this Assembly persisting in the insult and refusing to withdraw it, is not that an offence of an entirely different character? What we have to consider at present is whether these two classes of persons are to be dealt with in the same way, and I very respectfully submit to the House that these two offences are widely different. One is the case of a man who, in a moment of heat, offends against the Rules of the House and apologises, and the other, that of a man who, on set purpose, has defied the Chair, and comes back and tells the House he declines to apologise, that he refuses to withdraw, and by that very act offering insult, not only to you, Sir, but to the House, and continuing that insult. It is said that it is very hard that a man should have to apologise if he thinks he has not been really guilty. All I will say on that point is that every man in a matter of this kind must bow to the ruling of the Chair, and I cannot understand how the business of a deliberative Assembly can be carried on unless the authority of the Chair be respected; and if the Chair pronounces an hon. Member out of order, he should bow to that ruling, whatever his own opinion may be. We are not now on the question of the precise wording of the terms of the apology. We are on the broad question whether a man who has defied the Chair, and persists in that defiance, is to be put on the same footing as the man who has offended and apologised.
The hon. Member for Northampton referred to the case of Mr. Wilkes, who was expelled by the House, and, as it was ultimately held, without the effect of disqualifying Mr. Wilkes, because this House could not 1360 alter the qualifications for membership. But what has that case to do with the present? The House claimed to treat Mr. Wilkes as a person who could not be sent back to the House, and he was disqualified. In the present case it is at the option of the hon. Member to make an apology and qualify himself for sitting in the House. What possible analogy is there between the case of Mr. Wilkes in the last century but one and the present case, when by doing what a proper feeling ought to prompt the hon. Member to do, he might qualify himself for his duties? Mr. Bradlaugh's case had been referred to. I think a more unlucky comparison could not have been made. Mr. Bradlaugh's quarrel with the House was as to the terms upon which he should be admitted upon a question of theology. [Opposition cries of "Oh, oh!"] The question was as to whether Mr. Bradlaugh should be allowed to take the oath after having expressed his belief that no such oath would be binding upon his conscience. I would remind the House, however, that when Mr. Bradlaugh was admitted to the House, no man was more scrupulous in his observance of the Rules of this House. He was a man with whose views I had hardly any sympathy, but, however much we may have differed from him, everyone would recognise that no man ever had more genuine respect for the Chair, and no man more scrupulously took pains to see that order was preserved in the House.
The Question upon which the House will divide is a very short one indeed. It is simply whether the House regards the present machinery for dealing with defiance of the Chair as adequate, and no man can vote against the Government without having made up his mind that no improvement is wanted in our machinery for dealing with this matter.
§ (11.18.) Mr. M'KENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
said the hon. Gentleman the Attorney General wished to confine the argument to the question whether the present Rules were inadequate. He should have thought that he would have shown them in what respect the existing Rules had failed to preserve order in the House. He had been making some extracts from the journals of the House, and he had prepared a list of the whole of the suspensions which had taken place since the year 1882, 1361 and if the House would bear with him for two or three minutes, he would like to read the most conclusive proof they could possibly have that the existing Rule had proved adequate to preserve order. In 1882, when the Rule passed, there were no suspensions; in 1883 and 1884 there were none, in 1885 one, in 1886 none, and in 1887 three—and this was the single case when a Member was suspended twice. In the year 1888 there was one suspension, in 1889 none, 1890 one, 1891 none, in 1892 one, in 1893 and 1894 none, in 1895 one, 1890 five, 1897 none, 1898 one, 1899 none, and 1900 none; until we got to last year, when we find from actual experience of the existing Rule that no one, or at the most only one hon. Member, was suspended. It had been said that they had to take precautions against threats, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite read as one of these threats an extract from one of the speeches made by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in 1896. In the year 1897 there was no disorder, in 1898 one hon. Member was suspended, and in 1899 and 1900 none. They found that as a direct consequence of the threats which were alleged to be so dangerous, one hon. Member was suspended in four years. He thought the good sense of the House would agree with him that on such an experience as that, and with the experience of last year, it would be admitted that the Rule since 1882 has worked admirably.
He now came to the year 1901. There was only one year when there were numerous suspensions, and that was in 1896, when five Members were suspended at a single sitting. It was the year after a general election and a new Parliament, and there was, as there always was after a general election, a considerable amount of excitement and party feeling and passion, which occasionally found an outlet in disorder. The same thing was true of 1901, which was a Parliament which met after a general election when passion had been very much excited. He admitted that both in 1896, when five Members were suspended, and in 1901, when there were 10 or 12 suspensions, there was serious disorder. But even in these years there was no case of a second suspension, and it was proved that the operation of this Rule was fully sufficient to maintain order. But what was the real reason why this Amendment was proposed now? It 1362 was because the change was popular. Why was it popular? It was alleged that the conduct of hon. Members seriously obstructed the business of the House. It was not that side of the question which was popular with the public, and it was said that changes should be made in order to expedite business. This proposal was popular because it appealed to the lowest section of the British Press. That was the sole ground of its popularity, and he appealed to the fair play of hon. Gentlemen opposite not to pander to that passion, but to be guided by the evidence which they had got of the actual working of the existing Rule, and be satisfied with the Rule which had maintained order in the past, and which they might reasonably anticipate would be sufficient to maintain order in the future. This was a question amongst themselves, and should be decided as a question between one Member and another, and they were entitled to ask that hon. Members from Ireland should be treated with the respect which they deserved. What was the use of quoting in this House speeches which had been made outside, for he had no doubt that even hon. Gentlemen opposite would say more in speeches outside than they would be prepared to justify in speeches made in this House. Those threats which had been quoted had been made ever since the Irish Party had been in existence, but in spite of those threats they found that order had been maintained in the House. It was idle to come down to this House and ask for an Amendment of this Rule without giving any single solid ground why such an Amendment should be made.
He had only one word more to say and that was on the question of expressing "sincere regret." Every one of them knew that there were times when a Member would think he was in the right, although he might be against the ruling of the Chair. He was aware that he was treading on very delicate ground, and he frankly assorted that on some occasions he thought he was in the right when he had been told that his remarks were irrelevant, but he had always bowed to the ruling of the Chair, and he hoped he always should do so, because he had always been inspired by the view that, right or wrong, the Chair intended to be fair. But supposing he did not believe that. He 1363 would speak with no possible disrespect to Mr. Speaker, or to the Chairman of Committees, because he felt no possible disrespect; but the Deputy Chairman was not yet appointed, and he did not know who he might be, and perhaps he might be inclined to speak of him all the disrespect in the world. Supposing he had occasion to believe that he was "named" by the Deputy Chairman on grounds of personal malice against himself. Of course he was speaking in the abstract only, and he knew he was putting a hypothetical case which was not likely to arise. Supposing he believed that he was "named" as the result of personal malice against himself, or as a result of a strong partisan bias, he could assure the House that nothing in this world would make him sincerely regret an offence which he did not himself believe he had committed. That was his frame of mind. Upon the principles laid down by the First Lord of the Treasury, and the Colonial Secretary in the illustration he had given, he would not be considered a person fit to be a Member of this House. But they did not turn him out. Other hon. Members had stated that this was their frame of mind, and why did they not turn them out of the House? He was told that it was not the frame of mind when it was converted into acts. But when the frame of mind was converted into acts, they punished hon. Members by suspension, and after finishing his term of punishment they went on punishing him because his frame of mind did not make him a fit person to be a Member of this House. He was not as the Attorney General said repeating his offence. He would repeat his offence if the occasion arose again, but if he said nothing, withdrew nothing, and repeated nothing, he was making no now offence, and under these circumstances he felt very strongly that this House would be committing a great blunder from which they might in future have great difficulty in withdrawing when they had a man whom everyone thought was wrongly exiled from this House for the sole reason that he refused to add hypocrisy to his offence.
§ *(11.28.) Mr. DISRAELI (Cheshire, Altrincham)
said he felt that if the hon. 1364 Member who had just spoken had let himself go a little further he would have given them a good example of a suspended Member, and would, perhaps, have saved the situation and the Government. He only wanted to detain the House five minutes to give an explanation of the way he should vote, because there were differences of opinion upon this side in regard to this Amendment. They might divide this proposal into two parts, one dealing with suspension with which he agreed, and the other providing for an apology with which he thoroughly disagreed. They had had a lesson in deportment during this debate, and they had had several Mr. Turvey drops on the Front Benches who had educated thorn to the point that a gentleman would always apologise. He supposed they were all gentlemen, but he should like to know if any gentleman there would apologise if he thought himself right. They had to face in a House like this hon. Members of very different temperaments. There was the man who would never confess himself wrong, and he felt that this Rule would fall very hardly upon him. He thought in this brand new set of rules the Government had introduced something out of date, because he believed apologies to be obsolete. Apologies went out with duelling, and to introduce the formal apology into a question like this seemed to him to be putting in something so ancient that it must in itself damage the rules. There were two kinds of men who would apologise. There would be the man who would come with his tongue in his check, and make his apology to the House, and at the same time tell his constituency that he did not mean it. Then there was the gentleman who would not make his apology, and would continue to defy the House to the delight of the half-penny Press and those who admired his conduct in his constituency. He did not think that would lend dignity or honour to this assembly, and he could not help thinking that the great example on which these rules were founded was the occasion upon which the new Rule was based last session. It was the Irish Party who gave them that illustration, and the Irish Party had been the only case which hon. Members could quote. He had wished that the Church Party would, perhaps, run amuck, but they had not done so, and they had 1365 to illustrate their debates by the case of hon. Gentlemen from the sister Isle. He had always voted against the rule to closure votes of Supply, and hon. Members would remember that Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule closure produced quite as much exasperation on the Conservative side of the House as this Rule was producing amongst the Opposition.
There was another very important question which would arise if this apology was passed, and it was, what was a suitable apology in such a case? What was the apology which would be accepted by the House? He did not know whether it would be left in the hands of Mr. Speaker to judge what the apology should be. He thought it was a very difficult and ungrateful task to decide. He could not help thinking that there would be long debates and many questions asked as to whether the hon. Member for so-and-so had apologised, what were the terms of his apology, and whether they were adequate and satisfactory to the House. He thought this proposal would leave the House in a position of great ridicule. At the same time he believed that the right hon. Gentleman had framed these rules with the intention of bringing more honour and dignity to this House, but he believed the introduction of this question of apology would produce ridicule and contempt. He re-echoed the words of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Honiton Division of Devonshire, that the Government should leave this point an open question, and let every hon. Member vote as he liked. If this were done then they would get the true opinion of the House.
§ (11.35.) Mr. CHARLES HOBHOUSE (Bristol, E.)
said he was not going to take up the time of the House for more than a moment or two, but he did think it was a very curious thing that the speeches from the front Bench opposite had been so directly opposed to the remarks of some hon. Members opposite. They had been told that these rules were not directed against hon. Members from Ireland. There was, however, one circumstance in connection with the Paper circulated showing the result of communications with foreign Parliaments which did bear out entirely the speech made by the hon. and gallant Member for Newport. The speeches made at Blenheim were made 1366 on the 10th of August. Now, the communications made by the Foreign Office to their representatives abroad asking for information as to the proceedings of foreign Parliaments bore almost exactly the identical date to the speeches made at Blenheim, when it was stated that these rules were directed against the Irish Party. It did seem to him that whether these rules were directed against the Irish Party or not they applied equally to all sections of hon. Members in this House, and they had been taken exception to not only by hon. Members on this side but also by hon. Members on the opposite side. These Rules have been condemned by hon. Gentlemen opposite who were usually amongst the staunchest supporters of the present Government. The hon. and gallant Member for Newport told them that it was a necessity of Parliamentary Government that the majority should rule. If the precept was put into force then they would have a sea-saw arrangement between the two sides of this House, one side introducing legislation which the other side would immediately proceed to repeal, and the system would break down altogether. His only desire was just to say that it seemed to have escaped observation that the most wilful, deliberate, and premeditated breach of these rules was visited by exactly the same penalty as a person who committed an unpremeditated breach of the rules. An unpremeditated breach of the rules was to be treated in exactly the same way as wilful and deliberate obstruction of the business of the House. If one might quote the precedent of the Law Courts, he believed that unpremeditated offences against the law were almost always regarded with much more leniency by the person who sat in judgment than when a criminal showed deliberate intent to do personal injury or damage to property. Although there was no hope that the Government would not press this Amendment or carry the proposal now before the House, yet when the time came to deal with the Amendments he hoped that it would be found possible that the Government would do what they now asked private Members to do when they committed mistakes, and that was to express their regret that they had not consulted all sections of their followers, and admit that they were equally as capable of making mistakes as 1367 private individuals were capable of breaking the Rules of this House. He hoped when the time for the reconsideration of these proposals arrived the Government would acknowledge frankly the mistake they had made, and after consultation with hon. Members on the Ministerial side he trusted they would decide to modify this proposal.
§ (11.40.) Mr. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
said the case made out by the Leader of the Irish Party was that no grounds had been shown for the passing of this rule. Not one hon. Member who had supported this clause had brought forward a single instance or a tittle of proof that the present state of public business or anything that had occurred dining the last three or four years justified this rule. Hon. Member after Member on the opposite side of the House had got up and denounced the latter part of this clause, and yet the Government expected not by argument but by a brute mechanical majority to force this proposal through the House. What reply had been made by the Attorney General to speeches like that made by the hon. Baronet the Member for the Honiton Division and the hon. Member for St. Albans. The Attorney General had made no reply whatever. The Government simply sat tight and would not budge one tittle or jot, and trusted that their brute machanical majority would carry them through Speaking generally, Irish Members were but slightly concerned with the latter portion of the clause which referred to the apology. Speaking of himself, if in discharging his duty conscientiously and honourably in defence of the rights of his country he happened to come into conflict with the Chair, no punitive measures and punishments from this splendid assembly would ever induce him to offer an apology. He had often been called to order, and whenever he recognised he was in the wrong and had done something against the rules he was always ready to apologise at once; but where a question of principle was involved no clause of this kind would ever induce him to apologise.
He would leave that matter and pass on to another portion of the clause. They had to remember that by this proposal the period of suspension was doubled, trebled, and quadrupled. What 1368 power resided in a Ministry, and what power was inherent in this House to deny to a constituency the right of its Member to take his seat? There resided no power of this kind in the Ministry or in the House except the power which resided in a tyrannical majority; and what might be the case of Irishmen tomorrow would, in all probability, be the case of Conservative Members in days to come. All hon. Members of this House, whether they came from Ireland, England, or Scotland, or whether they sat on the front Benches or the back Benches, came to this House in a representative capacity.
What inherent right was there in this House to disfranchise a constituency whose representative had committed a breach of decorum or a breach of order? There was no such power. If a Member refused to give an apology alter being suspended and was perpetually banished from the House, the constituency would be disfranchised during all that Parliament, and questions of enormous importance to the constituency might arise. The Government appeared to be determined to adhere to every syllable of the Rule and to carry it through by their majority. This was the antithesis of freedom of debate. The majority of the Government supporters had not the courage or the manliness to uphold the traditions of the Assembly. They would vote blindly and submissively for one of the greatest outrages ever attempted on a free Assembly.
§ (11.55.) Mr. ARTHUR STANLEY (Lancashire, Ormskirk)
said he understood that they were engaged in a Second Reading debate, and he should reserve to himself the liberty of voting in regard to the details of the proposal. While wishing to agree with the Government and to do all they could to preserve order, he and other hon. Members did not intend to vote for measures which they thought would not conduce to that end.
§ MR. PIRIE
said the most remarkable feature of the evening's debate was the great discrepancy of opinion that had been disclosed in the speech of the Attorney General as compared with the speeches of the First 1369 Lord of the Treasury and the Colonial Secretary. The First Lord and the Colonial Secretary had not the courage to declare in the House as they declared in the country the true reason for the proposal of the new Rules. They stated that these Rules were not applicable to any particular section of the House, but the Attorney General was more candid and more truthful in disclosing the real reason. He said that they were distinctly aimed at one section of the House. The hon. Member was glad that the House now realised the real reason for their introduction. The outcome of this was an emphatic proof that there was one law for the majority and another for the minority. In this, as on many other occasions, the Government spirit of
§ vindictiveness was to be traced. They were introducing a thumbscrew and an instrument of moral torture for Members of the House The hon. Member was continuing his remarks amid cries of "Divide" from the Ministerial side, when
§ It being midnight, Mr. Speaker proceeded to interrupt the Business.
§ Whereupon Mr. Balfour rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes 270, Noes 157 (Division List No. 25).1373
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Gordon, Maj. Evans-(T'rH'ml's|
|Agnew, sir Andrew Noel||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gore, Hn G R C Ormsby-(Salop|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cranborne, Viscount||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Crossley, Sir Saville||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'y|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Greene, Sir E W (B'yS. Edm'nds|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cust, Henry John C.||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dalkeith, Earl of||Grenfell, William Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gretton, John|
|Balfour, Rt Hn. Gerald W. (Le'ds||Davenport, William Bromley-||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christc.)||Denny, Colonel||Groves, James Grimble|
|Banbury Frederick George||Dickson, Charles Scott||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Halsey, Thomas Frederick|
|Beach, Rt. Hn Sir Michael Hicks||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Hambro, Charles Eric|
|Bignold, Arthur||Disraeli, Coning by Ralph||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Mid'x|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'r'y|
|Bond, Edward||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Doughty, George||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bowles, Cap t. H. F. (Middlesex)||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanl'y|
|Bull, William James||Dyke, Rt Hon Sir William Hart||Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Helder, Augustus|
|Butcher, John George||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Henderson, Alexander|
|Carlile, William Walter||Emmott, Alfred||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edwd. H.||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hoare, Sir Samuel|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brig'ts'de|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh'e||Finch, George H.||Hoult, Joseph|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Howard, John (Kent, Fav'rsh'm|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (W'rc'r||Fisher, William Hayes||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Charrington, Spencer||Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Forster, Henry William||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, SW||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Galloway, William Johnson||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gardner, Ernest||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Keswick, William|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Knowles, Lees|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Nicholson, William Graham||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Law, Andrew Bonar||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Stock, James Henry|
|Lawrence, Joseph (Monmonth||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Stroyan, John|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Parker, Gilbert||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Lawson, John Grant||Parkes, Ebenezer||Sturt, Hon. Humphrey Napier|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareh'm||Paulton, James Mellor||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Talbot, Rt. Hn J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Pemberton, John S. G.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Percy, Earl||Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastin's|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N S||Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Plummer, Walter R.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesh'm||Pretyman, Ernest George||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter, (Bristol, S||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Purvis, Robert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Randles, John S.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Lucas, Col Francis (Lowestoft)||Rankin, Sir James||Vincent, Col. Sir CEH (Sheffield|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmo'th||Ratcliff, R. F.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Reid, James (Greenock)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|M'Calmont, Col. HLB (Cambs.||Renwick, George||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Manners, Lord Cecil||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE (Taunton|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Robinson, Brooke||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Martin, Richard Biddalph||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Massey-Mainwaring Hn W. F.||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir HE (Wigt'n||Round, James||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Maxwell, WJH (Dumfriesshire||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Russell, T. W.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Rutherford, John||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Milvain, Thomas||Saunderson, Rt Hn Col. Edw. J.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Mitchell, William||Seely, (Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Seely, Capt. J. E. B. (I. of Wight||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Seton-Karr, Henry||Wood, James|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Woodhouse, Sir JT (Huddersf'd|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Morgan, David J. (Walth'stow||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wylie, Alexander|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Smith, H. C. (North'mb. Tyn's'e||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Morton, Arthur H. A, (Deptford||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Spear, John Ward||Sir William Walrond Mr. Anstruther|
|Muntz, Philip A.||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Newnes, Sir George||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Burke, E. Haviland-||Delany, William|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Dewar, John A. (Invernesssh.)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Caine, William Sproston||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Ambrose, Robert||Caldwell, James||Dillon, John|
|Asher, Alexander||Cameron, Robert||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair.||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H||Doogan, P. C|
|Atherley-Jones, L||Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Duncan, J. Hastings|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Causton, Richard Knight||Dunn, Sir William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Cawley, Frederick||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Channing, Francis Allston||Evans, Sir Franc. H (Maidstone|
|Bell, Richard||Cogan, Denis J.||Farquharson, Dr. Robert|
|Blake, Edward||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Boland, John||Craig, Robert Hunter||Fenwick, Charles|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Crean, Eugene||Ffrench, Peter|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Cremer, William Randal||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Boyle, James||Crombie, John William||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)|
|Brigg, John||Cullinan, J.||Fuller, J. M. F.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Dalziel, James Henry||Gilhooly, James|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herb. John|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mooney, John J.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Grant, Corrie||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Hammond, John||Moss, Samuel||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Moulton, John Fletcher||Shaw, Chas. Edwd. (Stafford)|
|Harrington, Timothy||Murphy, John||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Nolan, Col. Jno. P. (Galway, N.)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Norman, Henry||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (North'nts|
|Holland, William Henry||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Sullivan, Donal|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E..|
|Hutton, Alfred, E. (Morley)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tip'er'ry Mid.||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Thomas, J. A. (Glam'rg'n, G'w'r|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Thompson, Dr. E C (M'nagh'n, N|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Connor. T. P. (Liverpool)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Doherty, William||Tomkinson, James|
|Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||O'Dowd, John||Wallace, Robert|
|Labouchere, Henry||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Lambert, George||O'Malley, William||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Layland Barratt, Francis||O'Mara, James||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||O'Shee, James John||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Lough, Thomas||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, Fred W. (Norf'lk,Mid.)|
|Lundon, W.||Price, Robert John||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Reddy, M.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Young, Samuel|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Rickett, J. Compton||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|M'Fadden, Edward||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Mr. Broad hurst and Mr. Pirie.|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Roche, John|
|Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Runciman, Walter|
§ (12.12.) Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Standing Order."1374
§ The House divided: Ayes 168, Noes 261 (Division List No. 26).1375
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Evans, Sir Franc. H (Maidstone|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Farquharson, Dr. Robert|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Causton, Richard Knight||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cawley, Frederick||Fenwick, Charles|
|Asher, Alexander||Channing, Francis Allston||Ffrench, Peter|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Cogan, Denis J.||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Craig, Robert Hunter||Fuller, J. M. F.|
|Bayley, Thos. (Derbyshire)||Crean, Eugene||Gilhooly, James|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Cremer, William Randal||Goddar'd, Daniel Ford|
|Bell, Richard||Crombie, John William||Grant, Corrie|
|Blake, Edward||Cullinan, J.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Boland, John||Dalziel, James Henry||Hammond, John|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Delany, William||Harms-worth, R. Leicester|
|Boyle, James||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Harrington, Timothy|
|Brigg, John||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Harwood, George|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Dillon, John||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Donelan, Captain A.||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Doogan, P. C.||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Duncan, J. Hastings||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)|
|Caine, William Sproston||Dunn, Sir William||Holland, William Henry|
|Caldwell, James||Emmott, Alfred||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.|
|Cameron, Robert||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (North'nts|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Brien, Kendal (Ti'perary Mid||Sullivan, Donal|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
|Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||O'Doherty, William||Thomas, J. A (Glam'rgan, G'wer|
|Labouchere, Henry||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Thompson, Dr EC (Monagh'n, N|
|Lambert, George||O'Dowd, John||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Tomkinson, James|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F (Accrington||O'Malley, William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||O'Mara, James||Ure, Alexander|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wallace, Robert|
|Lough, Thomas||O'Shee, James John||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.|
|Lundon, W.||Paulton, James Mellor||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wason, Eugene (Clackman'an)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Pirie, Duncan V.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|M'Fadden, Edward||Power, Patrick Joseph||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Price, Robert John||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Reddy, M.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid|
|Mooney, John J.||Rickett, J. Compton||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Morley, Chas. (Breconshire)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Morley, Rt. Hn. Jno.(Montrose||Robson, William Snowdon||Woodhouse, Sir JT (Huddersf'd|
|Moss, Samuel||Roche, John||Young, Samuel|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Runciman, Walter|
|Murphy, John||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Schwann, Charles E.||Mr. Herbert Gladstone Mr. M'Arthur|
|Newnes, Sir George||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Shaw, Chas. Edwd. (Stafford)|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Norman, Henry||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex F.||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.||Doughty, George|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore.||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart|
|Arnold-Forster. Hugh O.||Charrington, Spencer||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Finch, George H.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (L'ds||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Firbank, Joseph Thomas|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christc.||Colston, Chas. Edwd. H. Athole||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Beach, Rt Hn Sir Michael Hicks||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Forster Henry William|
|Bignold, Arthur||Cranborne, Viscount||Foster, Philip S.(Warwick, S W|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Bond, Edward||Crossley, Sir Savile||Gardner, Ernest|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Cust, Henry John C.||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin& Nairn|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'm'ts|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Davenport, William Bromley-||Gore, Hn G R Crosby-(Salop|
|Bull, William James||Denny, Colonel||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Dickson, Charles Scott||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Butcher, John George||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Carlile, William Walter||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edwd. H.||Disraeli, Coning by Ralph||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'y|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Greene, Sir E W (B'yS. Edm'nds|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Majendie, James A. H.||Seely, Capt. J E B (Isle of Wight|
|Gretton, John||Manners, Lord Cecil||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Groves, James Grimble||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn W. F.||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H E (Wigt'n||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Mid'x||Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire||Smith, H C (North'mb, Tyn'side|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'derry||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Spear, John Ward|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Milvain, Thomas||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Mitchell, William||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanl'y||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Stirling Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.||More, Robt. J. (Shropshire)||Stock, James Henry|
|Helder, Augustus||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Stroyan, John|
|Henderson, Alexander||Morrell, George Herbert||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Morrison, James Archibald||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Talbot, Rt Hn J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brights'e||Muntz Philip A.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merth'r|
|Hoult, Joseph||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Murray, Charles J. (Conventry)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Howard, John (Kent Faversh.)||Nicholson, William Graham||Tellemache, Henry James|
|Hozier, Hn. Jame Henry Cecil||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Parker, Gilbert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Parkes, Ebenezer||Vincent, Col. Sir C E H (Sheffield|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Peel, Hn. W. Robert Wellesley||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Kenyon, Hn. G. T. (Denbigh)||Pemberton, John S. G.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Percy, Earl||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Keswick, William||Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Knowles, Lees||Platt-Higgings, Frederick||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Lambton, Hn. Frederick W.||Plummer, Walter R.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Law, Andrew Bonar||Pretyman, Ernest Geroge||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)||Pryce Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton|
|Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Purvis, Robert||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Lawson, John Grant||Randles, John S.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)||Rankin, Sir James||Willoughby, de Eresby, Lord|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Ratcliff, R. F.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Leigh-Bennett Henry Currie||Remmant, James Farquharson||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Leveson-Gower, Fred, N. S.||Remshaw, Charles Bine||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Renwick, Geroge||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R (Bath)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T||Wood, James|
|Lowther C. (Cumb, Eskdale)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Robinson, Brooke||Wylie, Alexander|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsm'uth||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Round, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Sir William Walrond And Mr. Anstruther.|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Russell, T. W.|
|M'Calmont, Col. H L B (Cambs.||Rutherford, John|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ Debate rising; And, it being after midnight, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.