HC Deb 29 April 1903 vol 121 cc799-873

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [28th April], "That the Bill be now a read a second time."

Which Amendment was— To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. Sydney Buxton.)

Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the question."

Debate resumed.

MR. BURDETT-COUTTS (Westminster)

I should like to call the attention of the House to a matter referred to by the hon. Member for North Camberwell in his speech yesterday, viz., the Resolution passed by the London County Council in regard to this Bill. It contained two alternatives to the Bill, and indicated a preference for either the maintenance of the present system, which, of course, is ad hoc, or the creation of one directly elected educational authority, which would have complete control over all grades of education. The hon. Member argued that the second alternative meant an ad hoc authority, which would make both alternatives mean the same thing. I think he will admit now that he was in error in arguing that, because if that alternative had meant an ad hoc authority it would have said so distinctly. My contention is proved by the fact that when the Resolution was before the County Council, in order to make the second alternative mean an ad hoc authority and not as at first intended the County Council as the education authority, they were compelled to accept an Amendment with these words, "specially elected for that purpose." The hon. Member was, therefore, hardly justified yesterday afternoon in showering upon me that declamatory scorn which I always listen to with pleasure, and which I do not mind when applied to myself on such un substantial grounds as in this case. Now it has been alleged against this Bill that it has been brought forward by the Government for political and party motives. That allegation was expressed by the hon. Member for West Nottingham, who evolved from his imagination a history of the genesis of the Bill which he described with a fluency that I greatly envy him. He stated that the Government had at one time determined upon a plan involving the creation of an ad hoc authority, but that they had abandoned it for "political reasons, political prepossessions, and party jealousy." This is a very strange charge to emanate from a member of a Party over which there has recently come a most extraordinary transformation scene in their views with regard to the education authority for London, and I think it is worth while for the House to listen for a moment while I examine the history of that change in the views of the Party opposite. On the 12th of June last year the London School Board, a body which I think is permeated by the opinions of the Party opposite in their strongest colour, passed a resolution by a majority of twenty-six to eighteen, to the effect that the London County Council should be the education authority for London.

DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)

Will the hon. Member read the resolution?


I have not a copy of it.


I have no knowledge of it.


If it is not the case as I have stated, then, of course, this initiatory incident in my argument falls to the ground, but not the argument itself. I think it will be within the recollection of hon. Members that from that time and throughout the autumn it was the cry of the Party opposite that the London County Council should be the education authority—the London County Council as opposed to the Water Board. There may have been other expressions of opinion, but I am in the recollection of hon. Members who read the public Press in stating that the main contention was between the London County Council a d the Water Board, which it was supposed was going to be proposed by the Government. That went on until the month of February in this year, when there appeared in the Daily News a letter from Dr. Clifford asking what on earth they meant by advocating the London County Council as the education authority, and why they did not advocate an ad hoc authority. Upon that followed the meeting at Queen's Hall, organised by the National Union of Teachers, which passed a unanimous resolution in favour of an ad hoc authority. Then the Party opposite immediately discarded the London County Council as the education authority, and threw themselves and their support into the proposition of the National Union. By various means it was attempted to convert the London County Council, but the proposal did not come forward until yesterday, and then, I admit, the County Council was captured by it. What is the reason of all this? It is not far to seek. It is that hon. Members opposite recognise the enormous power possessed by the Union at elections. May I give the House an instance of that power? Some years ago there was a schoolmaster in the North of England, who was elected, no doubt deservedly, for his ability, President of the National Union. He had a quarrel with the managers of his school, and was brought to London by the National Union. Nine months after he came to London he stood for a populous constituency for the London School Board, under the auspices of the National Union, and was successful, securing no fewer than 18,951 votes. Shortly after, he had a dispute with the National Union, and they deserted him. He ceased to be their President, and at the next election, when he stood again for the same constituency, instead of receiving 18,000 votes he only obtained 405, That is an instance of what the hon. Member for Camberwell calls eloquence in numbers. The hon. Member for North Birmingham said yesterday that the real influence of the teacher was in the schoolroom, but this incident constitutes a strange commentary upon that observation, because it shows that their main influence lies not in the school-room but in the polling booth. I hope that after this description of the process of change in the views of hon. Members opposite, we shall not again hear party politics attributed to the Government in this matter. We know where party politics come in. They come in with the ad hoc body. With regard to such bodies there are certain grave cardinal objections. They produce faddists and doctrinaires, and the biggest faddists always rise to the highest positions. What we want is a body of sound common-sense men, assisted by expert advice, An ad hoc body is habitually extravagant, and it must be contrary to sound principles of administration, because it divorces the spending of money from the levying of money. It is contrary to the principles on which this House itself is constituted, this House, which will survive the attacks made on it from this point of view by the hon. Member for South Shields yesterday, and will still remain the best representative assembly in the world. It is an absolute reversal of our whole scheme of municipalising education, and it would be a lasting blot on that wise, liberal, and democratic policy. These are the essential objections to an ad hoc body. I frankly own that there is an incidental objection which is of more importance to my mind than that to which I have referred in the history I have given of the National Union's connection with elections. That objection is that it would place elections in the hands of an organisation which would control them with a grip of iron, an organisation outside of this House and outside of the electorate, and whose influence would, I believe, be diametrically opposed to the free and independent use of the franchise. I think that we may dismiss an ad hoc body from our consideration, and we may come to the real question at issue in this discussion—the question of the representation of the Borough Councils upon the consultative Committee.

Admitting that the London County Council is to be the education authority, the arguments that have been used by the Members of this House with regard to overloading the work, not only of the School Board but of the London County Council, are arguments in favour of a large and drastic scheme of delegation. The question was to what body that delegation was to take place, and the Government selected, as an element of that consultative body, a certain number of borough councillors. I may say at once I heartily support the Government in that proposal, and I hope they will stick to it. I sympathise with the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Education in the position in which he finds himself. Cannon to right of him, cannon to left of him, cannon in front of him, and cannon, alas, behind him from those faithful Benches. I alone, with one or two others, stand in the deadly breach upholding the banner of the Borough Councils, which he has so boldly run up to the masthead, and which I earnestly hope he will not as quickly pull down. If I may venture to give any counsel to the hon. Gentleman, and even to the Government, in this matter, I would, speaking from personal experence, advise them to disregard the chilly silence of some of their supporters, and the open antagonism of others, and to pursue their course, relying on the strength of their own conscience and the goodness of their cause, and that in the end will secure a satisfactory measure of reform. I support the borough councillors as an element in this Bill because not only is it consistent with the whole policy of the Government in regard to local government in London, but because I believe it will secure a body of men eminently fitted for the functions to be performed. Largeness in the area of selection invariably means better quality in the selected; and it must be remembered that these thirty-one members of the Borough Councils will be selected for their fitness for the special duty from nearly 1,800 men who are engaged in the functions of local government in the Metropolis, whereas the thirty-six county councillors will only be selected from a body of 137. I do not want to draw a comparison of fitness between the two, but as the question as between the London County Council and the Borough Councils has become a most prominent one in this discussion, I wish to say a few words about it. The hon. Member for Battersea and his friends are always complaining of what they call the process of "baiting the County Council" which is carried on in this House. There is no baiting of the County Council here. There are many of us on this side of the House opposed to what we consider the illegitimate ambition of certain members of the County Council—an ambition born, we believe, in its early absorption in party politics—to make itself an imperium in imperio in our system of government, by extending what we think the unhealthy principle of municipal trading, by getting the control of a vast number of employees whose votes would follow those who advocate such a policy, and, as we saw on a recent occasion, by claiming that the decision of the London County Council should be superior to, or at least slavishly followed by, this House in a matter which the theory and practice of our legislation has left to the final arbitrament of Parliament. That is the policy that is pursued by some Members on behalf of the London County Council, and one to which some on this side of the House are directly opposed. If we descend to talk about "baiting" I say anything of that sort done in this House is not comparable to the persistent campaign of contempt and belittling which many hon. Members opposite and their leaders have pursued towards the members of the Borough Councils and the Borough Councils themselves. These expressions never found more unmistakable form than in the discussions on this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said sneeringly of the borough councillors "in this connection they are elected for the cleansing and lighting of streets, and the provision of baths and wash-houses."

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

Why not?


That presumably is all their work.


It is their chief work.


And the right hon. Gentleman went on to say, speaking of the management of schools being entrusted to them, "it would be in the hands of bodies who had no pretence of fitness to discharge those duties."


Hear, hear!


Exactly. And the right hon. Member for Tower Hamlets pursued the same line, stating "they are elected for sanitation," i.e., for sanitation only, while the hon. Member for Battersea stated—

MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

I did not make any remark.


Perhaps the hon. Member will wait until I have finished the sentence. He stated that "the borough councillor, by virtue of his position, is incapable of doing educational work."


Hear, hear!


I greatly resent these imputations, and I venture to call the attention of those who are really interested in democratic principles to this contemptuous attitude towards the elected representatives of the people in that phase of local government where the real representative principle assumes its truest form, and where the responsibility of the elected to the electors is more direct, because it is closer at hand than in any other body. Why all this contempt for the Borough Councils? The reason is not far to seek. Hon. Members opposite have captured the London County Council, but they have not succeeded yet in capturing the Borough Councils, and although, for the reasons I have stated, I believe the Borough Councils are really more democratic in their constitution than the County Council, when they are given an important share in local government like representation on the Water Board or the Port of London, or, as in this Bill, on the Education Committee, it is called de-democratising our local government institutions because the particular form of democracy which hon. Gentlemen opposite prefer, because they can manipulate it, does not exist in these bodies. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said the Borough Councils had no mandate on education. What mandate has the London County Council on education? It is quite true it is the rating authority for education, but does anyone suppose, when a man goes to the poll in support of a particular candidate for the London County Council, he votes for him on education? When the London County Council becomes the educational authority the mandate will come, and when the Borough Councils participate in this work the mandate will come to them also.

MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)

The London County Council is now an education authority under the Technical Education Acts.


And has been for these twelve years.


I am not talking about Technical Education. I know about that, and the admirable way in which the County Council has conducted it. But I am speaking of primary education. The suggestion of the hon. Member who interrupted me, was that an appreciable portion of the electors when they go to the poll vote for the London County Council as an education authority. I am afraid I cannot accept that suggestion. Of course, as I have said, when the Borough Councils become the education authority they will have their mandate, and therefore the argument which suggests they have no mandate now is worthless. I advocate strongly the inclusion of the Borough Councils on this Education Board, because we must have a large measure of delegation, and we must have a body composed of practical, sensible, and business men to whom that delegation must go. I advocate the Borough Councils because I do not believe in all this talk about friction; or that when these Borough Councils are on this Committee it will become a Committee which the London County Council will not trust. I believe when these men get to work they will do that work practically, conscientiously, and well. I do not believe there will be a large amount of Party politics introduced into the body, or that there will be any opportunity for them, but if there are Party politics on the Board, then I say it is healthy and consistent with our institutions that there should be more than one Party. If, on the other hand, there are no Party politics, then there is little in all this talk about friction. I advocate their inclusion because I do not agree with the idea that it will interfere with the London County Council being the education authority. As has been pointed out, it has on this Committee thirty-six members of its own and thirty-one other members which it appoints, making sixty seven members in all out of ninety-two, but I do not think so much of that. I ask the House to consider what are the relations between the London County Council and the Consultative Committee set up under this Bill. The London County Council retains all power of the purse. I believe it must delegate to the Committee educational matters, except in case of urgency. In case of urgency the County Council, the education authority, can proceed without referring matters to the Committee. When it has referred matters to the Committee, the Committee reports to the London County Council, who can tear up the report and take no heed of it. With those powers and, in addition, the power of the purse, it is absurd to say that the London County Council is not virtually and practically the education authority under this Bill. I urge the inclusion of the Borough Councils, because, while I admit the difference between the functions of the London County Council and the Borough Councils, those functions are co-ordinate. The County Council takes matters common to the whole Metropolis, and the Borough Councils take matters which are local. What can be more local than education? The only point of view from which it must be regarded as common is with regard to uniformity, and that is secured by the provisions of the Bill. All I claim is that these Borough Councils should have their share in establishing that uniformity of the general system. Lastly, I claim that the Borough Councils should be included because it is eminently consistent with the whole policy which His Majesty's Ministers have pursued with regard to local government in London. I remember in the discussion on the Local Government Act of 1899 calling attention to the fact that a stranger coming to England, the country which has given to the world the form and spirit of the Parliamentary method, its responsibility, and its representative principle, when he examined the conditions in London, found that the representative principle was almost nonexistent in the groundwork of local government. No one voted at the vestry elections. It was to remove that reproach and to revitalise the representative principle at the base of the system, that the Government policy was directed. The only way they could do it was by enlarging or consolidating the area of the unit, but still more by raising the dignity and adding to the importance of these local authorities. They have pursued that policy consistently, as instanced by the Water Board and the Port of London authority. But here, in a matter much nearer to them, the education of the children within their area, it is proposed to give these authorities a blow in the face and deprive them, of any share in the central governing authority in this matter. If that is done I think it will arrest the flow of that new and larger life which it has been our policy to give to the popular aspirations for self-government in this great city.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

The hon. Member who has just sat down has argued this question as if it were a political quarrel between the party which has the majority in the London County Council and the party which is in the majority on the Borough Councils. That is an extraordinary point of view for a London Member to take, a Member who is supposed to be watching, and to understand, the enormous and vital issues involved in this Bill.


The right hon. Gentleman must remember I founded that argument upon expressions used on his own side.


Those expressions have been inaccurately stated, and as strongly misapprehended as the inferences the hon. Gentleman himself has drawn.


I quoted. He has not understood what has been said by my hon. friend the Member for Camberwell, and he certainly misunderstood the attitude which has been taken up by most of us with regard to this question. I personally, and so far as I know, the enormous majority of those who belong to the Liberal Party, have always desired the continuous maintenance of a directly elected educational authority, and neither the National Union, nor Dr. Clifford, nor anybody else has had anything to do with our forming that opinion. This Bill presents itself in two aspects; it is a Bill which incorporates by its first clause the provisions, subject to modifications which are extremely difficult to follow, and which will cause the greatest possible trouble in future, of the Act of last year. I It also creates a new authority for London. It creates that authority on the lines laid down in the Act of last year, but makes important variations which, so far as I can see, make the Bill far worse.

This Bill applies the Act of 1902 to a population of 4,500,000—one-seventh of the people of England, and half what our entire population was a century ago. London is a city, but in administration and in resource it is a nation, and this is really a Bill to apply the Education Act of last year, with all its far-reaching principles, to a nation of 4,500,000 of people, a population rapidly increasing, and more than the whole people of England two or three centuries ago. Therefore, the application of these principles must be a matter of grave concern. What was it the Act of last year did? It destroyed, or at any rate postponed, the prospect of having a really organic and harmonious system of national education. It roused and strengthened sectarianism. It established, for the first time, tests in public elementary schools, because the schools had not beforehand been public elementary schools in the same sense as when supported by the rates. Lastly, it refused the people the right of managing schools which, as ratepayers, they are called upon to support. All this is entirely opposed to the principles of free, popular government and religious equality. I am not going to repeat the arguments used last year, but it is necessary to reiterate the statement. All that we said last year about the pernicious principles embodied in that Act we adhere to now, and we intend to maintain the contest on the lines on which it was then begun. We cannot see these principles, which we believe to be both novel and dangerous, applied to London without renewing our protest against them. The question raised last year was not settled; it still awaits the decision of the country, and the country will have to express its opinion upon it at the next General Election. The feeling then evoked in the country is now being evoked in London, and, if there were nothing else in the Bill to which we could take objection, we should feel bound to vote against it on Clause I, which applies to London the principles of the Act of 1902.

I come now to the parts of the Bill which are special and peculiar to London. The Secretary to the Board of Education commented last night on the extreme quietude of the debate. That was not owing to any want of strong feeling; it was largely due to a singular feature of the debate, viz., the remarkable unanimity on both sides. To that unanimity the only exception was the Front Bench opposite. From all the rest of the House, without exception—


The hon. Member for Hampstead.


I did not hear the speech of the hon. Member, but from what I hear he was no exception to what I was about to say. Every speech I heard contained grave reservations, and expressed strong disapproval of some provisions of the Bill, particularly with regard to the Borough Councils. Even such staunch members of the old guard as the hon. Members for Limehouse and Peckham condemned the part of the Bill relating to Borough Councils.


The right hon. Gentleman is mistaken. The hon. Member for Limehouse and the hon. Member for Hampstead both supported, in the most express terms, the proposals with regard to the Metropolitan Boroughs, and supported them by argument.


I certainly understood the hon. Member for Limehouse to disapprove of the large proportion on the Education Committee given to the Borough Councils.

MR. HARRY SAMUEL (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)

I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman entirely misunderstood me. I pleaded most strongly for the retention of the representation of the Borough Councils, but I said I had no objection to more county councillors being added.


That at once clears up the matter, because that certainly is not the Bill; therefore the hon. Member for Limehouse joins in the disapproval of the measure?


I said I had no objection.


I understood the hon. Member to imply that he thought the Bill would be a better Bill if the County Council had a larger representation.


No. Personally I would give the Borough Councils an absolute majority.


Well, I will give the Government the benefit of the hon. Member as an adherent. The House will at any rate agree that there has been a remarkable demonstration of disapproval of one of the most important provisions of the Bill from the Government's own side. Adding to that fact the language of the Prime Minister, it appears to me that the House is now debating, not the Bill before us, but a possible Bill which has yet to emerge from the Committee. The Prime Minister, in a vague and guarded speech, endeavoured to minimise the Bill, to confine it to certain leading principles, and to express those principles in such a way as to make it possible in Committee to say that the present provisions for the constitution of the Education Committee, and the arrangement of the management, are not essential parts of the Bill, thereby enabling his followers to vote for the Bill, while retaining the objections which they had so candidly expressed. But he did not tell us what was proposed to be substituted; consequently I am obliged to deal with the Bill as it stands, and to ask how it would work if passed into law. I cannot be surprised at the reception of the Bill when I look at the authority the Government propose to set up. It is absolutely bewildering. What are the facts of the case? You have a system which has been working well, and improving as time went on, for thirty-three years. The friction and controversy which marked its earlier years have almost entirely disappeared. No charge is now brought against it. The excellence of its work is admitted, and the excellence of that part of its work which might be supposed to be open to criticism—the conduct of religious education—has been praised by Prelates of the Church of England itself. Since this question was raised no charge has been brought against the efficiency, zeal, or wisdom with which the School Board has done its work. It has enlisted very capable men; it has grappled with the enormous problem of covering London with schools: it has worked up the quality of education; in the case of evening schools, in its zeal, it has even exceeded the limits of the law; and it has organised a system which has obtained the approval of the people. Reference has been made to the small number who vote at the School Board elections. One obvious explanation of that circumstance is the size of the School Board areas. A man takes comparatively little interest in a matter which does not come directly home to him, and in regard to which he is only one of 50,000 or 60,000 electors. I believe you would get far heavier polls with smaller School Board areas. But, apart from that, I believe another explanation of the smallness of the School Board polls is that there has been on the part of the ratepayers a general acquiescence in the policy of the Board. When no large issues are before the electors they have not the same inducement to record their votes. The policy of the School Board has been established on such firm and beneficent lines that public opinion in London has been well content with it, and hence the small polls at the elections.

This body, which for thirty-three years has worked so well, is to be overthrown. Nobody can deny that that is the object of the Bill. Instead of the present simple and efficient system we are to have one so confused that it is hard to discern even its outlines. It seem to be an inextricable mixture of County Council, Education Committees, Borough Councils, Borough Council Committees, voluntary managers, and the Board of Education—of authorities which cross and recross one another, and which are so interlaced that it is hard to comprehend how the system can work at all. It combines the maximum of complexity with the minimum of cohesion. What motives can have induced the Government to destroy a system which was working so well, in order to substitute for it a system so complex and unknown? Presumably the Government are desirous of improving the education of London; therefore I have tried to find some explanation of the singular policy they have adopted. The object of the Bill last year was to give voluntary schools support out of the rates, but that could have been done in this Bill without abolishing the School Board. There was nothing to prevent the Government throwing upon the School Board for London the duty of supporting the voluntary schools exactly in the same way as the Board schools. There has never been wanting on the School Boards men quite capable of standing up for the denominational interest, and it would have been easy to lay statutory obligations upon the School Board in this respect. Even the Progressive members of the School Board would have been willing to carry out whatever the Legislature laid upon them with regard to supporting voluntary schools. What is the other point? Consistency would seem to suggest that the precedent of last year should be followed, and that the body created should be the County Council or a Committee created upon the same lines as the County or Borough Council Education Committees of last year. But the Government have another pet aversion besides the School Board, namely, the London County Council. The County Council has been placed in a minority upon this Committee and its hands have been tied, partly through its relation to the managers, and partly through the magnitude of the work that will devolve upon it. I cannot see how it is possible for the County Council to fulfil these duties. This crude, clumsy, and chaotic scheme has all the faults of the Bill of 1902 in addition to new faults of its own. Those faults seem to me to be that the Bill does not recognise the unity of London, does not recognise popular control, and it does nothing for efficiency and economy. The prominent feature which distinguishes this Bill from the Bill of last year is the bringing in of the Borough Councils. I have not a word to say against the Borough Councils in their own proper scope and sphere, and I entirely deny that there is any prejudice against the Borough Councils in our mind. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh! oh!"] At any rate I am not aware of any such sentiment. I will say nothing about the Borough Councils except that they are an artificial creation, and not living entities like the other Boroughs, and they are not the kind of thing we understand by the term "Boroughs," when we think of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, or Sheffield. Those places are living municipal organs, but these London boroughs are not. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] Because they are so different in their conditions, and the boundaries which divide them are not natural boundaries.


That does not apply to Manchester and Salford.


I think it would be a great deal better for Manchester and Salford if they were united, for they went to very large expense in founding two enormous technical institutions, and the money would have been infinitely better spent in establishing one institution. Consequently, the very instance which the right hon. Gentleman suggests is an instance against his argument. Take Marylebone and Paddington. You can tell the limits of these places, but how can you get any local patriotism there? [An HON. MEMBER: "We do."] You might as well throb with local patriotism in the Edgware Road. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] Because these boroughs are artificial creations, and I am surprised that there is any difference of opinion upon this subject. I thought the sentiment of every Londoner was that he would like to know more about his borough, but he has no opportunity of doing so. When a voting paper for a London borough is brought round, there are probably not more than one or two names upon the list which are known to us. This is not owing to want of interest on our part, but it is due to the fact that there is very little known about what are called London boroughs, which are artificial divisions and not boroughs in the sense in which the great boroughs of England are municipal boroughs. That is the reason why I think they are not suitable to have educational functions delegated to them, and why they are not suitable to be brought in here as bodies which are intended to make up the central education authority for London. It was never intended when they were created that they should perform educational functions, and they are not fitted by their membership to undertake them. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Why?"] Because it was never thought of when the Borough Councils were elected. I will tell hon. Members why I do not think they can be chosen for educational purposes. One reason is that in the Government scheme only thirty-one out of 1,500 borough councillors can go upon the education authority. Under these circumstances how can it be present to the mind of the elector when he votes that he is choosing a proportion of 1,500 divided by thirty-one. It is an absurd suggestion, where only thirty-one out of 1,500 are to be put on the education authority, and where the interest in education will be so small, to contend that education can play any part in a Borough Council election. The thing is impossible on the face of it, and I fail to see how it can be alleged that the Borough Councils are in any way suitable bodies to be brought into the work of education at all as a part of the education authority or as managers. The precedent of the Water Board has been mentioned, but in that case it may be said that it was necessary to bring in external authorities, and it was a new thing. Therefore there might be a case for bringing in the Borough Councils, but where you have an authority working well, and where you have an existing authority in the County Council, discharging educational functions already in regard to technical education, the case that can be made out in the instance of the Water Board falls altogether. The Prime Minister in bringing in his Borough Councils Bill in 1899 said— The change which took place when the County Council of London was created was so much in consonance with the traditions of English municipal Government that it is likely to be permanent, and whether it works ill or well, it is likely for all time to represent the central body dealing with those matters in which all the parts of the Metropolis are alike interested, and which cannot be dealt with piecemeal by the various subordinated local authorities which rule over the smaller areas. These words appear to find a direct and practical application to the subject of education. Education seems to me to be one of the things which fall within the terms laid down by the right hon. Gentleman. This concerns the whole of London and all parts of London alike and similarly, and it cannot be dealt with piecemeal by the various subordinated local authorities. This is a matter which belongs to the central authority, and you will gain nothing whatever by bringing in borough councillors either as committeemen or managers and you are bound to injure the general education of London.

Now I come to my second point, which is popular control. Allow me to make it perfectly plain that I do not want to deal with this question in any doctrinaire or democratic spirit. I do not care whether it is democratic or not, or whether it conforms to any particular form. I desire only to look at the essence of the thing we have to consider, namely, how best we can secure the interest, the co-operation and the help of the people of London in the work of education. We want to secure sympathy with the teacher and the worker alike, we want to enlist their thoughts and wishes, and their practical co-operation. We want them to move education forward and secure a means of bringing the defects of system before the responsible authority, of having improvements introduced and we want to fix the responsibility. We want to have a body to whom praise or blame can be awarded according as the management works well or ill. We want a body which can be voted into office, or out of office, just as they meet the desires of the electors. Those principles are the very foundation of British self-government. I ask the House to bear those principles in mind, and to consider why they should be applied to education in London. Why should they not? Education needs popular interest and sympathy at least quite as much as any other part of our administration. I am not sure that it does not need it more than any other, because the results of education are less palpable to the ordinary citizen than those things which concern the rest of his external life. The ordinary man does not so fully realise what the benefit of the education of his child is, as he realises the paving of streets or the draining of houses. At the same time the benefits education can confer are even greater than those conferred by the other work of the local authority. Therefore you have the strongest possible case for applying the principles which are to secure popular co-operation, and to enforce responsibility in the work of education I look to this Bill to see for what it proposes as a means of securing co-operation, and for enforcing responsibility. Where do I find it? I do not find the means in the County Council, because the County Council cannot possibly be responsible for all the details, for a tenth or hundredth part of the details, of educational work which has to be done in London. It must go to the Committee, and it is impossible for the County Council adequately to supervise the work which has to be done by its Educational Committee. Neither can I find this responsibility in the Committee, because in the Committee the elected members of the County Council, the only body in which the responsibility can be vested—are in a minority, and therefore there is no responsibility. Still less do I find it in the borough councillors, numbering thirty-one and drawn from 1,500 members scattered over London. Least of all can I find it in the co-opted members. In no part of the Bill can you find that anyone can be made responsible or amenable to the public interest. The body will be far from the people, and will not be in touch with the people at all. If there be questions of educational policy to be determined, there will be no means of submitting these questions to the people. You cannot have an election of Borough Councils on educational questions. Even at the election of the County Council there are hundreds of other matters, and it is impossible to segregate educational questions and take the opinion of the people on them. Therefore, I am obliged to come to the conclusion that, as far as London is concerned this principle of popular control is entirely ignored.

I come now to the question of efficiency. What prospect have you of efficient and, above all, of economical administration? Here is an enormous mass of work, which has occupied hitherto a body which has had nothing else to do, and which has been obliged to do the work through a number of Committees appointed for particular parts of the School Board functions. Now you propose to throw it on a new body which is already as fully occupied as it can be in the discharge of it's functions. I heard the answer made to that by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. He said that Parliament has a great many functions—that Parliament has much more multifarious work to discharge than the County Council, and yet Parliament discharges that work. I think I have heard the right hon. Gentleman say something to the effect that Parliament did not discharge the work, but I think we are all agreed that Parliament has become less and less equal to the work it has to discharge. The right hon. Gentleman asked if Parliament is able to discharge work so various why should not the County Council? Well, the fundamental difference is this. Parliament is not an administrative body. Parliament does not and cannot undertake——


I mentioned Parliament, but perhaps even a stronger and more pertinent case is that of every Borough Council in the Kingdom. They are not elected ad hoc.


Every Borough Council in the Kingdom has enormous work to do, and one of the objections we take to the Bill is that the borough councillors are elected to do municipal work—having lighting, draining, police, and work of that kind—and now technical education has been added. But strictly speaking, with the exception of technical education, municipal work is all work ejusdem generis, and the very objection we took to the Bill of last year was that you were proposing to give to these borough councillors an immense amount of additional work which I do not believe they will be able properly to discharge. We said that last year, and we adhere to that opinion now. I entirely deny that the right hon. Gentleman has answered my argument. As regards Parliament I must repeat that it is not an administrative body. Its duty is to look after administration, whereas the County Council and the Borough Council have to themselves administer. Why does not the Local Government Board try to throw the Poor-Law work on the municipalities? That work is a great deal more nearly connected with the municipal work they have to do, than the work of education. The right hon. Gentleman knows very well that they would not have the time and capacity to undertake that work in addition to that they already discharge. But we have the most conclusive proof of the argument I am endeavouring to advance in the action of the County Council itself. I suppose if there ever was a body which, even in the estimation of its enemies, is not wanting in activity, energy, and self-confidence, and in the desire to increase its own jurisdiction, that body is the London County Council. Therefore it might fairly be supposed that the London County Council would welcome the great addition to its powers which the Government proposes to give it. But what happened yesterday? The County Council had a debate on this subject, and by a majority of four to one it expressed its opinion that it was not able, had not time, and had not the capacity to undertake the additional work of London education. By a further vote of four to one—sixty-four to sixteen—it expressed its opinion that London education ought to be given to a body directly elected for the purpose. Well, I think the County Council may fairly be admitted to know its own strength and weakness, and if we find an ambitious body like that, declining work because it believes it has not the time, the capacity, and the special knowledge to undertake it, I should have thought that the House would hesitate before throwing this enormous additional burden on the County Council. That argument which I have used with regard to the County Council itself applies with almost equal force to the Committee of the County Council, because members of the County Council will be placed on the Committee, while they have the ordinary County Council work to discharge. It is not proposed to absolve them from that work. They are still, like other County Councillors, responsible for the general policy of the County Council. They cannot wash their hands of it. They, as members of the Education Committee, will not be able to undertake this work.

Here is another point. You have had for the last thirty-three years an extremely valuable element upon the School Board in the presence of women. They have had very often more time than most men can give to the work. They have had that power of patiently investigating a case which specially belongs to women. They have been among the most assiduous and useful members of the School Board, and I believe every member of the Board will bear witness that they have been particularly valuable in dealing with school mistresses, who form so large a part of the educational staff. Therefore the loss of the services of women is a serious loss in regard to educational affairs. I have been told that they may come in as co-opted members, but that power is a very different thing from coming in with the authority of popular election behind them. There are, after all, only twenty-five co-opted members on the Education Committee, and out of these provision is to be made of various kinds, and few indeed will be the places that can possibly be left to be filled by women. It seems to me one of the greatest drawbacks of the scheme is that it is impossible to elect women, or to make provision for their proper representation.

The question of efficiency suggests another point. What are the relations which are to be established between the education authority and the school managers? The term managers is used here with regard to the borough councillors, but what is meant by managers? Managers, as hitherto understood with regard to elementary schools, are people who are on the spot, people who are attached to one or two particular schools, who know the needs and wants of those schools, are able to give frequent visits to the schools and to associate themselves directly with the work. The borough councillors are not a suitable body to be managers of schools. Therefore I do not feel that those who framed this Bill have had in their minds a vivid picture of what actual managerial work is when they allotted the work of managers to the borough councillors. There are at present about 1,750 school managers in London, and about one-third of them are women, and, speaking broadly, the knowledge and experience of those women will be lost. It is possible, of course, that some of them may be appointed to the managing committees, but there is not the slightest certainty or guarantee for this, and the chances are that the great majority of them will be lost to the work. It has been a feature of the present School Board system—probably it is not known to many Members of the House—that every member of the School Board is bound to be a manager of some particular school. As a manager of that Board school he acquires a direct and immediate knowledge of the working of the school. He knows the relations between the managers and the Board, and the managers and the teachers, in a way which nothing but experience can enable them to do. You cannot do that under this system. You cannot ask members of the Education Committee, and particularly those who are members of the County Council, to add to all their other work the work of managers of Board schools. You cannot do that with the provided schools, because they are already taken out of their control and put under the control of the Borough Councils. In that way you lose what has been an extremely valuable element in the work of the present School Board, namely, the direct knowledge that they have of the working of particular schools. That is one of the incidental results—I have no doubt it is intended by the Government—of the proposal to bring in members of the Borough Council as managers of schools.

When I think of the reality of these questions, when I think of what the actual management of schools is, and what work has to be done, I am inclined to ask myself whether the First Lord of the Treasury is not living in a world of abstractions. He is a metaphysician. There was a great school of philosophers who bore the name of Nominalists. The light hon. Gentleman may, I think, be described as a Nominalist. He lives in a world of names. He talks of de-centralisation and delegation of management as if these phrases represent real things, whereas they are only so many names, only mere abstracts that blow hither and thither across the horizon of his mind, but which do not correspond with the actual and concrete facts of the case. If the right hon. Gentleman had realised as a manager or as a member of a School Board what the actual and concrete facts of the case were, I do not think he would have proposed to make the Borough Councils managers of the schools. Recollect that they will not be members in the sense of the Act of last year. Under that Act the managers in the provided schools were entirely under the control of the local education authority. Under this Bill that is not the case. In regard to the provided schools, the management is taken out of the hands of the education authority. As a point of fact, the local education authority has less control over the provided schools than over the non-provided schools. That is an extraordinary anomaly for which no argument has been advanced. The power to appoint and dismiss teachers should be left to the central authority. The results of vesting that power in the London School Board had been admirable. It enabled the Board to give a stimulus to educational work all through the London staff. Masters and mistresses had done excellent work with the prospect of promotion; and they got promotion from one school or district to another. That cannot be done under the system proposed by the Government, because the patronage is taken out of the hands of the central authority and given to the Borough Councils. The provision which gives the Borough Councils the power to select sites for schools is also open to objection. The question of sites is, above all, a question which should be considered by the central authority, not in the interests of a particular locality, but of the whole area which the school will serve. I gather, however, that the control and management of the buildings, and probably the freehold, will be with the Borough Councils.




In that case I hope the matter will be explained, for the Bill is obscure, at any rate ambiguous. Nothing is said to imply that the ownership is to be in the central authority. The School Board of London has cultivated for many years past what is called a management code. That code has been by degrees hammered by different Committees into a very useful and workable document. Now there is no certainty that that management code will be adopted by the Borough Councils. The Borough Councils are at liberty to put it aside altogether, or only to adopt certain sections of it.


There are the general directions.


I do not think that general directions will cover the matter, but I am glad to hear from the hon. Gentleman that they do. I am, however, sure that that is not clear on the face of the Bill, and that in that respect the Bill is capable of amendment. The one solitary practical argument which has been used in favour of the municipalisation of education has been the argument that you ought to have one rating authority. I agree with the force of that argument but I do not see in this Bill any guarantee of economy. The transfer of anything from one body to another has always been attended by an increased expenditure, and here you get the impossibility of the London County Council, which is to be the rating authority, adequately controlling these Committees, and the impossibility of the Committees adequately controlling the spending managers. With this difficulty of imposing financial control there will be the temptation which will naturally, humanly speaking, lie upon the boroughs to spend lavishly out of a fund which will not fall directly on them but on the general rate of London. In the absence of any motive for economy I expect a greatly increased expenditure. I find nothing in the powers of the London County Council to enable them to properly control and curtail expenditure. Therefore, apart altogether from the expenditure which will be involved in respect of the voluntary schools, I am afraid that these and other changes in the Bill will increase the rates of London and make education more costly than hitherto. I confess I was not able to follow my hon. friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education when he Spoke of all the advantages that would flow from what he called delegation to the Borough Councils. The only tangible point I could catch was that the boroughs would be disposed to require, or exact, less from the teachers and therefore lower the standard of efficiency of education. My hon. friend did not use these words, but I am afraid that if you exact less from the teachers you will lower the standard of efficiency.


What I said was that they would have more independence in the regulation of the teaching.


If that is so I cannot possibly see how that is to be secured by the change made. I cannot see how that is to be so under the Borough Councils, who at present have no experience at all of the elementary schools in London. I confess that from whatever point I regard this Bill, and I really do not want to regard it from any but an educational point of view, I am not able to find that it secures either popular co-operation, popular control, or responsibility, economy, efficiency or progress in education. The longer I think of this scheme, and the more I hear about it from all quarters of the House, I am convinced that, whatever your wishes may be, whatever the plans with which you set out, you will be driven in the long run to have a special authority for education in London. That authority may be elected at the same time as the London County Council, or the London County Council may be provided with additional members elected for the particular purpose. That was a plan which was in my mind last year. But one way or another you will not be able to acquiesce in this scheme, but will be driven to find a body which has the time, the knowledge, and the ability to cope with this question properly. I would really appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury, who has shown on occasion that he appreciates how entirely different the problem in London is from that in other communities—although he sometimes brings that difference on one side of his argument and sometimes on the other—and say to him: Is it not wilful blindness, is it not perverseness to ignore the patent facts which make London so entirely different from, other cases, and which makes a blind following of consistency the very worst policy that can be adopted in a matter of this kind? I confess that I was perfectly astonished to find, when this Bill was brought in, a nominally Conservative Government proposing to abolish one institution in order to substitute for it another of far less promise. That is not the course usually followed by that Party. It shows how much the Conservative Party has changed since the days of Sir Robert Peel when it attempts to make it its business to destroy institutions which have worked so well. I have endeavoured to keep clear of passion. Certainly we have the advantage that the element of religious controversy in regard to the educational problems of London has been entirely eliminated from our view. I have looked at the needs of London, and the facts of the case as a citizen of London ought to know them. I do recognise one great benefit in the Bill. It gives wider powers of rating for the purposes of higher education. I desire to acknowledge that in the amplest way, and I earnestly hope that these powers will be used for higher and technical education. I believe it will be for the real benefit of all classes—for the London poor as well as for the well-to-do—that higher and even University education should be made available within its borders, and I believe that the rates might be properly used for such a purpose, although whether these powers will be liberally used I have some little apprehension. But apart from that benefit, which I do discover in the Bill, but which might have been introduced into a Bill of other features than those to which I object, I am sorry to say that I object to the phrases "decentralisation" and "delegation," to which there is nothing to correspond, and which confer no solid benefit. I should be disappointed indeed in regard to the future of education in London if I did not feel assured that the essential and fundamental defects of the scheme which is now before us—a scheme which already in some of its vital features has been condemned by public opinion, and which I believe will be more and more exposed if it ever comes to be applied in practice—if I did not feel sure that these defects are such that the Measure cannot possibly stand, and that we shall soon be called upon to make, in a very different spirit from that which the Ministry have shown in the Bill, a serious and earnest effort to make the education of the children of London, both higher and elementary, worthy of the population and resources of the capital of the British Empire.

MR. PEEL (Manchester, S.)

The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken attacked the Borough Councils on the ground that they are really artificial bodies. In certain cases that is true; but in certain other cases it is not true. Some of the Borough Councils have a distinct vitality and energy of their own. The argument is, however, a rather unfortunate one for the right hon. Gentleman to have used. He did not seem to be aware of the fact that the London County Council itself is an absolutely artificial body. There is the Metropolitan Police Area, Water London, and the Administrative County of London; and there is no earthly reason why Woolwich, on the south side of the river, should be included in London while West Ham on the north side is excluded. I regret very much that the Opposition have thought fit to take their stand purely on the negative in this matter, and should have adopted the principle of an ad hoc authority for London. I should have thought that, as the ad hoc principle had been given up with reference to the rest of England, hon. Gentlemen opposite would not have thought it necessary to introduce it in connection with London. I hope that when this Bill is passed we shall be able to do away with the necessity of having special bodies dealing with special work If we really wish to have separate bodies to deal with special work in connection with local government, there are many subjects, such as asylums, which might be made the subject of special bodies, in preference to education in which a general knowledge of affairs comes so largely into play. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North Camberwell, in a very interesting speech, which I suppose is his swan song, as he is about to be destroyed as a member of the School Board, gave us a long account of the labours in which the School Board were engaged. In fact the hon. Gentleman drew such a tremendous picture of the labours of the School Board, that he almost overdid the case. He compared the Boards in Scotland and Wales with the one Board dealing with education in London, the population being about equal; but his argument cuts both ways. It would be as impossible for any special body in London to deal with the whole of the education of London as it would be for the County Council itself, without adding a certain number of members to that body. The question has assumed a very different aspect since the speech of the Prime Minister, because many of the objections which many of us felt to the Bill as it was introduced, have been to a great extent removed by that speech. The Prime Minister indicated that on such important details as the representation of the Borough Councils on the central board, and the proportion of representation to be given to the County Council he had an open mind; and it is not too much to assume that if he has an open mind on these matters, the Secretary for the Board of Education has also an open mind regarding them. We have several types of bodies in London. We have the Water Board, on which the London County Council has a certain representation; but the Water Board raises its own rate and spends it. The School Board spends the money although it does not raise the rate, but it can command another body to raise it. In this case, we are going to have a body to manage education which cannot itself raise the rate, and which cannot demand that another body shall raise it. It will have to consult with a small section of its own number as to whether or not a proposed rate will prove acceptable to the rating body—the London County Council. The Secretary to the Board of Education, when he was speaking of the proportion of representation which the London County Council would have on this Board, said he considered that the thirty-six members of the Council would have great influence, because the remaining sixty-one members would be consulting them as to the kind of educational course that would be pleasing to the parent body. They would be regarded as beings from a superior sphere, charged with a knowledge of what the parent body wished, and all the other members on the Board would be in the nature of a consultative body.

I think this matter ought to be considered not only from the point of view of the members of the Board, but also from the point of view of the London County Council itself. As the Secretary to the Board of Education has stated, it is of the utmost importance that we should establish absolute sympathy between the Board and the London County Council. It is difficult to see how that sympathy can be established as the Bill stands, because, in order to make this Bill thoroughly workable, we have got to persuade the County Council to give the fullest confidence to this Board, and to delegate to it as many of its duties, consultative and executive, as they possibly can. You surely cannot do that if the London County Council feels that it is represented on the Board only by a small minority. The hon. Member for North Camberwell, speaking of the President of the Technical Education Committee of the London County Council, mentioned the fact that in several committees there was a majority of non-elected members. That is perfectly true; but these committees are sub-committees; and they know perfectly well that they must report to the Technical Education Committee before their report is submitted to the London County Council. Therefore the Technical Education Committee in that case perform duties which might otherwise be thrown on the London County Council. The Prime Minister indicated that he would be quite ready to increase the representation of the London County Council, and if the number representing the London County Council is increased, I hope the Prime Minister will see fit to remove the representation of the Borough Councils. It has been suggested that it would perhaps have been better to have allowed the London County Council to itself formulate the scheme, rather than that it should be fixed in the Schedule. I cannot help thinking that that would be the better way, because it would secure thorough sympathy between the London County Council and the body which it had itself created; but the Secretary for the Board of Education told us that in that case the representation of the Borough Councils might not perhaps be included. Apparently that was the reason why the formulation of the scheme was not left to the London County Council itself. I should like to say very briefly why I think that it is not necessary that the Borough Councils should have representation on this Board. They are represented on the Water Board; but the argument given for that was that they were the sanitary authority, and, as such, had a certain right to sit on the Water Board. No such argument can be used in this case. We are not taking away from them any kind of authority which they now possess. Up to the present, they have not had anything to do with education in London, and I cannot help thinking that they would value more the power they would get as managers of the provided schools in their own area, rather than the importance they would obtain by sending a single representative to the Education Board. The inclusion of the representatives of the Borough Councils seems to me to strike at the general principle of London government, which lays down, strongly and firmly, that the London County Council is to deal with all matters which affect London generally, and that the Borough Councils are to deal with matters within the purview of their own area.

Again we are told that the London County Council would not be equal to the task. The hon. Member for North Camberwell suggested a way out of that—namely, by increasing the number of county councillors. I do not myself like that way of dealing with the matter; but we have to recognise that London is exceptional, in this sense—that the interests we have to deal with are enormous, and that therefore it may be necessary to have an abnormal number of county councillors to deal with them. My own view is that it will not be necessary at first to increase the number, and that we could economise very largely in the existing number. I express only my own feeling when I say that a Committee of seven or eight members is better than a Committee of fourteen or fifteen members. I say that with all deference to the Cabinet. By reducing the size of the Committee a large number of members would be set free and would be able to devote themselves to the business of London education. I believe also that the London County Council would economise a great deal of its labour by not doing many things it now does by direct labour, and that, in other ways, I believe the Council would be able to set free a large number of members to undertake the work of London education. With reference to the appointment of teachers, all I would say is that the central body ought to have some control over that, as it has over the appointment of head-teachers in non-provided schools. All I wish to secure is that there should be an absolutely free system of promotion for the whole of London, and that the best teachers should be equally diffused. As to the relation of the Borough Councils to the central Board, I should like to make this suggestion—anything that would improve the status of the Borough Councils and improve their interests in local affairs, without militating against the general administration of London, would be of the utmost value. I think it possible that certain difficulties may arise in connection with the sub-committees of the Education Board. If committees of the Borough Councils are to manage groups of schools in their different districts, it will not be to the Borough Council itself, but to its Committee, that the County Council will have the right of nominating a certain number of members. If changes of this kind are made in the Bill, I am convinced it will make for the good of London. The hon. Member for Camberwell, in an eloquent passage, told us of the men and women who had done great service for the education of London on the London School Board, but I feel that the educational resources of London are not confined within the walls of the School Board, and that we shall find persons under the new scheme with no less zeal and no less enthusiasm, and we shall gain many who through the channels of local government can touch education at more numerous points, and I think will be able to bring wider and larger experience to the work of education. That being the case I am very glad that the Party with which I am associated will be itself associated with so broad and vigorous and revivifying a reform.

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

Before I go into the details of the Bill, I wish to say that if I stand between the House and hon. Members intimately connected with this matter, I must ask the indulgence of the House, because I have been asked to speak for a class whose voice can only be heard through those who sit on these benches. I speak on behalf of the Irish people of this country. Further, I would say that in as much as this country assumes to govern Ireland according to her ideas, if at times Irish Members intervene in matters relating to this country Parliament cannot complain. There was a very expressive passage in the speech delivered by the Secretary to the Board of Education last night. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the position of the children of the poor in our public schools. He pictured in a few words how these children often came to the schools hungry, already tired by work they had done, and from squalid homes. I wish I could bring home to the House as clearly as it is in my own mind the position of the Irish people as it is in this country, because the vice of the system from their point of view is this—From circumstances which would be avoidable at home, Irishmen in this country are to a large extent the drudges of the country, doing the hardest and the worst work; they are the poorest of the poor. And this extraordinary thing existed under the Education Acts of this country until modified last year, and it exists in London now, and will till modified by this Bill, that the poorest of the poor are most heavily taxed for education. That is to say, the Irish parent, who is the typical poor parent in this country, has to pay the school rate of the school he is opposed to religiously, and pays the voluntary tax to the school of his own Church. I must say I was surprised that the action of these Irish Catholics in refusing to allow their children to go to the richly-endowed and well-equipped schools of the nation, rather preferring them to go to the tumbledown and badly-equipped schools of their own faith for conscience sake, did not appeal to the reformers of this country. We have 30,000 Irish Roman Catholic children in the schools of London, and 106 elementary schools.

This Bill, like all others, consists of two things, the principle, and the machinery by which the principle is to be carried out. The principle of the Bill is the application of the principle of the Act of last year to London. That principle means that the voluntary schools shall have a right to rate aid, and that being so this Bill contains a principle which neither I nor any man of the Party to which I belong are prepared to give a hostile vote. But when I come to the machinery I must speak with considerable hesitation. It abolishes the School Board, and with it the cumulative vote, and the cumulative vote has been in the past the best protection to the minority of this country, especially the religious minority. It must be remembered that in any observation I make on this matter I represent those who by this Bill are compelled to give up what has been the best method of safeguarding their religious rights. I deplore the fact that the case of the voluntary schools has been brought into collision with the School Board system, and I say that if it had not been for the zealots and extremists on both sides it would have been possible to have made an eirenicon under which the rights of the School Board would have been maintained as well as the rights of the minority. My hon. friend the Member for East Mayo and myself, more than once pointed out in the debates on the Act of last year what an enormous danger to the voluntary school system there was in the Bill of last year, and our fears have been more than realised. The rights of the Roman Catholics will be extirpated under this Bill, as they have been in many parts of the country by the Act of 1902. The effect of this Bill will be to make the last stage of the Roman Catholics worse than ever. Take the position of the large Roman Catholic districts in Lancashire. In Nelson we have three Roman Catholic schools out of a total of thirteen, and we have no representation, though we always had a Roman Catholic on the School Board. At Heywood we have in the schools one-eighth of the children, but there we have no representation. In Bacup representation was refused us, and in Rochdale, although the scheme is not finally approved, there is no provision for Roman Catholic representation, although we know that there is a large Roman Catholic population there. But take the case of Kidderminster, where there was a Roman Catholic on the School Board, there we have no direct representation on the Committee, and a memorial has been sent to the Board of Education on the subject. There has been something said as to intolerance in this matter, but I would remind my hon. friends that all the intolerance is not on one side.

The Board of Education forwarded to the Kidderminster Council a copy of a protest which they had received from Roman Catholics to the Borough Education Scheme, and while not feeling that the nature of the objection was such as to make it necessary to withhold their approval of the Kidderminster scheme, yet hoped the Council would bear in mind the views embodied in the protest. The Mayor was proceeding to read the protest, when Alderman Parry interposed to say that he did not think it was necessary that the letter should be read, as it was out of date, and there was no use reviving a matter now settled. Alderman Pensotti, in agreement, said it seemed as if the authorities were having a bit of fun at the expense of the Council. The letter was not read and no action was taken in the matter. That is the way the remonstrance of the Roman Catholic population of Kidderminster was treated. In Liverpool we have only one Roman Catholic on the Education Committee, and there was a time when we had no fewer than seven members on the School Board. Now we have no more than one on the Committee, thus showing that the abolition of the cumulative vote, instead of being a protection, has really been a disaster, and in Liverpool the Roman Catholic population is one-third of that of the whole of the city. Therefore the experience of the Act of last year, which is now to be applied to London, is full of warning to Catholics as to the danger of any scheme which destroys the protection of the cumulative vote, and it is in the light of that experience I must consider the proposals of this Bill.

What I have always desired to see is a combination of the School Board system—that is, popular control—with the system of rate aid to voluntary schools. We actually have that system in London already in the case of the Jewish community. In the East End there are several Jewish schools, one of which is the largest voluntary school in the world, and there are also Jewish Board schools, the buildings of which have been erected at the cost of the rates, the teachers in which are paid out of the rates, and the teaching in which is thoroughly Jewish and as denominational as the teaching in any Catholic school. The School Board gets over the difficulty of giving rate aid to sectarian schools in this way. The Jewish schools teach only the Old Testament, therefore they do not teach any Christian formula or definite Christian doctrine; and the Jewish teacher is appointed, not because he is a Jew—that would be sectarianism—but because he knows Yiddish, and can teach Yiddish to the children. By this subtlety the School Board, swearing it will never give a penny to denominationalism, grants money for the teaching of the Jewish religion by Jewish teachers to Jewish children. I do not blame them for it, but what I do contend is, that if you endow the maximum of Jewish dogma, you have no right to refuse to endow a minimum of Christian doctrine. If zealots on both sides had kept out of the way that is how the question might have been dealt with. If, on the one hand, Catholics had declared, as they were ready to do, that they invited every form of control and investigation by public authority, and, on the other hand, the public authority had been willing to deal only with the secular education for which they paid, leaving to the schools the question of the particular religious doctrine they should teach, we should not now be face to face with the religious war which I believe is seriously threatening, the voluntary school system. What is the position with regard to our schools? We are face to face with the abolition of the School Board and the cumulative vote, and I must say that, seeing we have always had representatives on the School Board, and that at present two excellent Catholic priests are members, I view with some alarm and considerable regret the disappearance of the School Board. I do that the more because of recent proceedings at the School Board. The hon. Member for North Camberwell moved this Resolution— That, having regard to the large population of London, and to the very great extent of the work which has to be performed in connection with primary education, and, further, to the large amount of work which will be entailed in developing and organising technical and higher education, it is the opinion of the School Board for London that this work cannot be adequately discharged by any body attached to, or subordinate to, any local authority elected for London and charged with other and onerous duties. That resolution, which I interpret as a strong condemnation of the machinery of this Bill, was seconded by the late leader of the Moderate Party, supported by several Moderates, and carried by thirty-one to seventeen, the two Catholic members of the Board voting in the majority. Therefore, in taking up a position of hesitation—I will not develop it into hostility at present—with regard to the machinery of the Bill, I am acting in accord with the Catholic members, who are most competent to speak on the matter, and who have definitely declared their opinion in the manner have stated. I must, however, express my thorough approval of the recognition of the principle of co-option. I do not lay down the doctrine that electioneering is one of the highest of political arts, though, certainly, it leads to the highest political positions, nor am I disposed to lay it down as the sole means of proving the qualifications of an education authority. There is something to be said for educationalists who do not care for the tumultuous and tempestuous proceedings of electioneering, having an opportunity of placing their services at the disposal of the public through another channel. With the extinction of the cumulative vote, co-option is the only protection we have for the representation of our religion. The feeling of my friends is that the Borough Councils are not bodies to which our destinies can safely be entrusted. On the question as between a large central body representing the entire community, and a small local body representing often local prejudices and narrowness, I agree with the position of Lord Salisbury in 1885, when he said that if he had to make his choice between County Councils all over Ireland and a Home Rule Parliament in Dublin, he would choose the Home Rule Parliament as being more likely to safeguard the rights of minorities. I should be in favour of the central authority at Spring Gardens as a safer guardian of the rights of minorities than the scattered local bodies throughout the Metropolis. I hope the Government will take up a broad and open attitude on this Bill. Nobody can expect them to abandon the principle of rate aid to voluntary schools, but I hope they will see that the education of this great city is entrusted to a body that is equal to the demands of the work. As far as I am able to form an opinion, I would be inclined to support an ad hoc body, or, if that be impossible, to support an increase of the County Council which would make it adequate to the dignity and difficulties of the task imposed upon it.


I have listened with attention to speeches, many of which have been most interesting, and while I can quite understand that there must be divergence of opinion upon a subject presenting so many aspects as does that of the education of London, yet I confers I am surprised at the action taken by some—though I hope but a few—of the hon. Members representing metropolitan constituencies. Only a short time ago the Government were urged to create Borough Councils, to invest them with large powers, and ultimately to enable them to become self-governing entities. This question of education is one of the first important matters, so far as the Metropolis is concerned, which has come before the House since the creation of the Borough Councils, and we find some of their members seizing upon this opportunity to belittle their position or capacity for undertaking their share of the work and responsibility. I should like to know why representatives of the Borough Councils are less able to carry out with ability and integrity the work of education than the members of the London County Council. They are elected by the same body, and they, to a large extent, recruit the London County Council; and I fail to see why, if they are intelligent enough to sit at Spring Gardens, their ability is questioned, and why they are unable and unfit to represent their borough on the Education Board. I do not wish to minimise the work done by the Technical Education Board, upon which I had the honour of sitting for some years. I know the excellent work it has done, but I attribute the happy results attendant upon that work to obvious reasons. The first is that it is helped and assisted by outside aid, and secondly, that it never permits either party politics or religious controversies to come within the purview of its objects, its ends, or its debates. Let us assume for a moment that the London County Council had a clear majority on this Board—are we sure that this excellent rule of not permitting politics and eschewing religious controversies will be adhered to in the future? The answer is clear from what took place at the meeting of the London County Council yesterday. In presenting the Report of the Parliamentary Committee of the London County Council on the London Education Bill the Committee use these words— The indifference thus shown by the Government to the views of the Council in a matter which vitally affects its interests and position might perhaps have been anticipated. The want of ordinary courtesy and consideration for this House is almost amusing, but I will leave that matter to the judgment of the House. Our first duty is not to look after the interests of either the London County Council or any other body, but to look after the interests of the children of this country, upon whom the greatness of this Empire depends in the future, and I am sure no question of expediency will allow His Majesty's Government to overlook such an important consideration. But the subsequent action of the London County Council upon the receipt of this Report still more discloses how an assured majority would use its dower. By a large majority the following Resolution was carried by the Council— And this Council earnestly protests against being required by law to make rates to be applied in the maintenance of denominational schools not under public control, and in the payment of salaries to teachers who, while paid wholly out of public money, are subject to religious tests. Why, Sir, if this means anything it means that those schools which are under denominational influence, and which educate an enormous percentage of our children, would have the greatest difficulty in obtaining the requisite funds to carry on their work. I would be the last to use the slightest influence over the religious opinions of anyone, but to eliminate our voluntary schools would be, to my mind, a national calamity, for I think education based upon religion—not necessarily of a sectarian character—is the bedrock of the greatness and stability of our country. The right hon. and learned Member for Haddington, in his admirable speech yesterday, referred to the necessity for continuity. This would not be attained by the elimination of the Borough Councils and by the sole retention of the London County Council. Both bodies are periodically elected, and as soon as next March the London County Council may have an entirely changed membership.

Before sitting down I cannot refrain from referring to the immense debt the country owes to the voluntary schools, which have really been the pioneers of education in London, and which have been and still are carried on, in many cases without being subsidised by the State. It was stated during the debate yesterday that the initiation of anything like technical education came from the London County Council. That, Sir, is absolutely inaccurate. Technical education had its inception in the City of London, and was doing good and solid work many years before the London County Council, as its understudy, developed it with the rates of London at its back. Among the many imperishable monuments to the honour of London, some of the most lasting and greatest will be such schools as Charterhouse, Christ's Hospital, St. Paul's, the City of London Schools, the Grocers, the Mercers, the Drapers, the Skinners, the Leather Sellers, the Goldsmiths, the Cloth-workers, and many more, which in days gone by were, with others, practically the only pivots around which education revolved. Nor is the City of London backward at paying its quota in educating the masses of to-day. It is reasonable, I think, to say that the children educated within the confines of the City do not exceed 1,200, many of whom come from outside the City boundaries, and yet the sums paid by the City for education during the last ten years amounted to the large sum of£2,342,175, or equal to an average rate of 1s. 1d. in the£. I do not say we have done more than we should have done. Now it is proposed to give the City of London a representation of two members, and this certainly does not err upon the side of liberality, and I am bound to say I am disappointed in that particular. Knowing the difficulties of the large question of education, and realising that the Government have done their utmost for the welfare of London as a whole, I cordially support the Second Reading. I hope that when this Bill goes to Committee it will be judiciously dealt with, and I hope we shall come at last to a scheme which will be worthy of this House, and which will do undoubted good to thousands and tens of thousands of children in this vast Metropolis.

SIR MICHAEL FOSTER (London University)

My right hon. and learned friend the Member for Haddington in the speech he delivered yesterday made reference to the University of London, which I have the honour to represent. In view of that, and in view more especially of the intimate relations which must obtain between the University and the new education authority, and of the great importance that both of them should work together for the education of this great city, I crave the indulgence of the House to say a few words on that topic. It was by the House that a few years ago the University of London was entrusted with the higher teaching of this great city. Since that time a number of able and energetic men have been building, and have made progress in building, a University of which I venture to say the like does not exist elsewhere. While not giving up the older functions of a University, it has opened its doors to everyone, irrespective of creed or race, in all parts of the Empire, and it has set itself to be the active working University of this great city. While the old Universities are centripetal in their action, while they draw to themselves students from various parts of the country, this University has set itself the centrifugal task to carry University teaching to the homes of persons in the city, and persons of all classes. The University recognises that the higher and fuller knowledge given by University training is good for all conditions of life, for commerce, for industry, for business, for trade as well as for law, medicine, and the Church. It has done this, and it has also determined that it should not while doing this renounce the higher task of a University, to help and train those who belong to it in furthering, extending the bounds of knowledge, and in the higher interests of science, letters and art. Now I ask myself the question, what should be the connection between this University with these special functions and the new education authority? The right hon. Member for Haddington suggested that the University might be represented by statute upon that educational authority. For myself, I am not quite sure whether it would not be best to leave the two perfectly free to work by mutual consent for that which they think to be for the best good of the city, but if there is to be representation I would venture to suggest that the word "expert" does not exactly state what would be the intervention of the University. A true expert—for there are false experts—is in the nature of leaven. A little goes a long way. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." But it is not that kind of action which the University of London would ask for. It would rather seek to be accepted as a partner working for the common good of the city. That is a matter rather for Committee than for to-day, but I would venture to make one or two further observations, and in doing so I am following no mandate but simply speaking my own views.

I would ask what are the features in the new authority which would render it most effective for working in common with the University of London? What are the features which the University of London, I believe, would desire to see upon this educational authority. I think I may say, in the first place, that it must be one authority for the whole of London To the University of London, London is one and indivisible. It is not a collection of houses or parishes, but a flow of persons to and fro through a large area The authority must also be homogeneous, so that it may make up its mind swiftly and effectively and it must have the power of the purse. Then, in the second place, I venture to say that the authority must deal with all kinds of education, from the beginning to the end. We hear of the division of education into three categories—primary, secondary, and technical—and of each clamouring to have home rule. The University of London does not recognise these distinctions. It welds them all together, and it will look to the new authority to have the same view, recognising that even the higher learning is ineffective unless it is based upon a sound beginning, recognising also that the very beginning is only effective when it sets its face towards the heights to which it may reach. In the third place, this University is very largely composed of women. Women take part in its governing body by right and not by permission. And I take it that, if the new authority is to work hand in hand with the University of London there must be women on that authority—not one or two women picked out by favour, but women sitting there not by permission but by right. Now I ask myself, can I recognise the acceptance of these features in the Bill? I cannot tell, for I must confess that, although I have listened to the debate with care for two days I do not understand the Measure, and my feeble eyes will not permit me to pierce through the fleshy clauses of the Bill and see that intangible soul which was called its principle. I would like specially to know this because the University of London is a real democratic University in the true sense of that much used word. I would like to know whether the soul of the Bill entails, as was stated by the Secretary to the Board of Education, the abolition of the School Board, or whether, as was stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, it simply means its absorption, because these are two very different things. It seems to me that, according to the latter suggestion of the hon. Member for Camberwell, there might be an election of a third real councillor, with all the functions of a councillor, who would by the force of circumstances become in all probability the representative of the old School Board. That enormous break of continuity between the old and the new, which every educationalist must regret, would thus be avoided. I trust that His Majesty's Government will give most serious consideration to that suggestion of the hon. Member for Camberwell. I thought when the Prime Minister rose I should see clearly what the principle of the Bill was. The right hon. Gentleman said there were two principles. One was that the County Councils should be the authority. The other was that there was to be first of all a delegation of powers, and afterwards he said there was to be a decentralisation. Now, a delegation of powers there must be, and it seems to me that the School Board has not used the opportunities which were given it by the Act for the full delegation of its powers, but delegation, large and complete, is one thing, and decentralisation may be one thing and it may be another. It may be a mere delegation. It may spell in co-ordination. If the principle of the Bill is in this decentralisation, what is the principle of that decentralisation which is to be the principle of the Bill? But from all I can hear I am still in the dark as to what will be the effect of this Second Reading, and what will happen if we listen to the voice of the charmer who says "Once in Committee all will be well." As a humble man of science I am enamoured of the unknown, but today I hesitate to plunge into the unknown abyss which is open before me.


I have listened with very great interest indeed to the speech of my hon. friend. I have taken very great interest in education for a long time, having been twenty years connected with the Education Department. The point with which I wish to deal is the authority. It seems to me that the authority is the essential part of the Bill. We are all agreed with the general principles of last year's Act. I must candidly say that I do not approve of the authority proposed to be created by this Bill. I cannot think that it is the wisest, and, as one who has had to do with education, I cannot myself see how the work of education in London can be efficiently done by this scheme. My hon. friend who has just spoken has taken a very high line on University work and how that is to be part and parcel of the scheme. I prefer to go to the other end of the educational ladder. I cannot see how the work of individual schools can be properly superintended by a body with the County Council at one end and the Borough Councils at the other. It seems to me to be an altogether mistaken policy. In my judgment these enormous boroughs are big enough to have bodies of their own. I know that this is not a very popular line, but I do say that a great district like Islington, which is as populous as Birmingham, could bring forward people capable of undertaking the management of education. Those who are Londoners, who know the special character of the work of London, must acknowledge that the attempt to treat London as one whole is practically impossible. I am convinced that the chance of a successful scheme of education, higher and elementary, is exciting local interest in every part of London. That has not been done in the past in regard to the great boroughs like Paddington, Islington, St. Pancras, Westminster and the rest. We endeavoured to develop the local spirit by creating these municipal bodies, and to a certain extent we have been successful. But if we wish to have efficient superintendence of the schools and local interest in education, which would inspire the best results, we are running away from it by not making the municipal authorities the educational authorities. It is unreasonable to suppose that there are not in every one of these boroughs, plenty of men who would come forward and devote themselves to this work; and in ignoring that the Government are making a great mistake. I do not think the system proposed by the Bill is satisfactory. It contemplates a certain number of borough representatives on the Education Committee, but the representation is very indirect, and there would not be that feeling of responsibility in the method of selection proposed which we desire. I would very much prefer that each borough should have some definite education authority of its own, and that there should be a connecting link with University and higher education as distinct from elementary, I am convinced that by the scheme of the Bill proper individual attention would not be given to the schools unless there was further delegation to some body elected in each borough by the people. In some of the boroughs there are thirty or forty schools, and it is simply impossible that they can be looked after efficiently by a central authority.

There is another point; it seems a mistake and a grave danger to place such enormous responsibility and patronage in the hands of the London County Council. That body would soon riva the power of the central Government itself. In my opinion I would rather have an ad hoc body, although there are great objections to it, than that proposed to be created by the Bill. We have been told that education is to be carried on as part and parcel of municipal work, but we have departed from the principle, and some boroughs of from 10,000 to 20,000 of population in the provinces are exempted from the control of County Councils. But in London it is not proposed to exempt these enormous boroughs recently formed, and all are to be merged educationally into a body of such gigantic proportions as to make it impossible for it to look after education efficiently. I protest against the idea that the Borough Councils could not do the work; and I am sure that more interest would be roused in regard to education if the prestige and power of the local authorities were increased, and that it would be better for the children if they were looked after by those in the district. I cannot be accused of being a reactionary in educational matters. I had something to do with the Education Act of 1870, and I am not opposed in any way to School Boards; but I say that it is a mistake to treat London as one whole educationally. I want to see the system of last year's Act carried out in connection with the London boroughs and that these great boroughs should be given not indirect representation but a real substantial part in the management of their schools. If that were done it would be a benefit to the people and to education.

MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)

I will occupy the time of the House for only a short time, but I want to state my opinion of this Bill, not from the point of view of machinery, but rather from the Nonconformist position The hon. Member who has just sat down said that in his judgment the essential part of the Bill was the authority, and that it provided an authority which he did not approve of. Is it a fair question to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will vote for the Second Reading of the Bill?


I did not vote for the First Reading.


He cannot vote for the Second Reading of a Bill the essential part of which he disapproves. I do not think I have heard more than two or three speeches from the other side of the House, or even from the hon. Gentleman who represents the Irish party, which approved of the authority set up by the Bill; and even these hon. Gentlemen have made suggestions for the improvement of the Bill. There has, in fact, not been a frank approval of the Board. I make an exception in favour of the hon, Member for Westminster, but his position is peculiar. I point out that although hon. Members criticise the machinery which is professedly regarded as the crux of the Bill, they are going to vote for the Second Reading. The machinery is simply subsidiary to another object, and that is the object of the Bill of last year, viz., the subsidising of a sectarian system of education in this country. That is regarded as the essence of the Bill. Personally, I have not been a great supporter of the ad hoc system. I think our system in Wales of the County Councils managing higher education has worked well. But when the hon. Member for Scotland Division puts the case on the ground of subsidising Jewish schools, I would point out that there are essential differences between subsidising the Jewish schools in the East End of London, and subsidising sectarianism. In the first place, the Jews have set up schools for their own children; but take the Anglican schools throughout the country: one-third of the children attending them belong to other religious persuasions. Another difference is that the Jews never claim that the fact that they have got a school in the district is a reason for preventing the education authority from setting up a free school in the same district. There was the London case in which the responsible School Board, representing the ratepayers, proposed to set up a school which, in their judgment, was necessary; but it was objected to by the representatives of the sectarian school because there was an Anglican school close by. That is being constantly done by the Anglicans, but it is never done by the Jews. The Anglicans'claim is that they must have a monopoly of education in particular districts for all classes of children. There is a third distinction of very great importance. If the Jews were split up into a number of sects, and asked us to set up a school for each sect, I think the London School Board would decline to recognise that. My hon. friend says that you set up schools for Christians; but that is not the Anglican position. They say, "set up a school for the Anglicans, for the Wesleyans, for the Catholics, or for any other sect." But we say that that cannot possibly be done on account of the number of sects, and that the the education would become inefficient. That, however, is the contention of the Bill of last year, and that is why I object to this London Bill.

Supposing it was possible to meet the views of every hon. Member who has criticised the machinery of this Bill, still the Bill would be as bad as the Bill of last year. The objection that was entertained to the Bill of last year was not an objection to its machinery, but an objection to its principle. What is the Government doing at the present moment? Last year's Bill has been practically repudiated, or, at any rate, has not been accepted by the bulk of the nation. Every test to which the nation has been put Shows that in the most overwhelming manner. Why, even the friends of the Government disapprove of it. High Churchmen criticise it, and several of them condemn it. They say they regard the Government as having betrayed them, and that they regard the Kenyon-Slaney Amendment as treachery. The Nonconformists protest against it; and it is perfectly well known that it is influencing the judgment of the country. Here is a Bill to which the country has given every possible expression of disapproval, but which the Prime Minister now ventures to extend to London. That is a very serious state of things. The Prime Minister is practically provoking religious civil war in this country. It is a much more serious matter than hon. Gentlemen seem to imagine. Things are going on in this country—I express no judgment upon them, though I have my own opinion—which I venture to say would not be tolerated in Ireland. Why? Because the Prime Minister knows perfectly well he has not the sanction of public opinion in carrying out the law. Here are organisations openly organised for the purpose of declining to carry out an Act of Parliament. If there were such organisations in Ireland for the purpose of refusing to pay rent, they would have been suppressed long ago. Why this distinction? There is only one reason, and that is because it is a law which is not based on popular judgment, which the Government had no mandate to pass, and, therefore, no mandate to carry out. Why does the Prime Minister proceed, after the expressions of opinion to which I have referred, to extend it to London? If there were any great principle involved I could understand it. But what is the principle? Is it for the sake of religious instruction, is it because he believes in giving the children a thoroughly religious and moral training? The right hon. Baronet who represents the City of London says that is the reason; but that, as far as he is concerned, he does not mean by religious instruction, sectarian instruction. I should like to ask whether bon. Members are watching what is going on in Wales. It is really a very good test of the whole object and principle of this Bill. We were told that the object of the Bill of last year was to subsidise religious instruction and definite Christian teaching. What happened in Wales? The County Councils approached the Diocesan Associations and said, "If it is religious instruction you want, we are prepared to meet you." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University smiles, but I would rather have the interpretation of Churchmen in Wales as to the best way of instructing their children, than that of the right hon. Gentleman. The County Council said, "If you want to protect your own property in the schools we are prepared to do that." The Diocesan Associations made two or three specific demands with regard to religious instruction. The County Councils in their reply said that they advocated the complete and unqualified acceptance of the proposals in the St. Asaph memorandum as to the provision to be made for religious instruction in all schools, for securing that such religious instruction should be regular and effective, and for special facilities for Church children. Let the House realise that. All the conditions laid down by the Church representatives in the Diocese of St. Asaph for religious instruction, not merely in their own schools but in Board schools, were accepted in the most unqualified manner by the County Councils; and yet the Church representatives refused to proceed. How, after that, can hon. Gentlemen say that it is for religious instruction they are fighting?

MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)

I think I am correct in saying that the religious instruction referred to was religions instruction out of school hours, and was in no way a part of the school curriculum.


The right hon. Gentleman's smile was premature; he has not mastered the circumstances. What ever the conditions were, the County Councils gave a most complete and unqualified acceptance to them They did not alter a comma in the demands made in regard to religious instruction. They said that they would accept them in their entirety, if it was religious instruction that was wanted. After that how can you say you are fighting for the great principle of teaching religion and morality to the children of the land, when we are prepared to accept your own terms? More than that, the Church representatives in Wales would have the additional advantage of not only getting religious instruction in their own schools, which are attended by only one-third of the children, but it would be extended, for the first time, to the Board schools also, which are attended by two-thirds of the children. Yet they refused the whole of the terms. Why? Purely on the ground of patronage. That is what they were fighting for. I am glad that these negotiations have proceeded. I had hoped that something would come of them, because I candidly confess I would rather not fight the Church in Wales over the question of instruction in the elementary schools. In higher education and secondary education we proceeded without any sectarian wrangles, and we succeeded because we kept out sectarianism. I hoped that we might have come to an arrangement with the Church, and have kept sectarianism out of the primary schools also, and that we should work hand in hand for the instruction of the youth of Wales. The best men of the Church were willing to meet us. Some of the most distinguished laymen, and some of the most distinguished of the clergy were prepared to meet us; but the majority of the clergy would not surrender patronage; and they were willing to perpetuate all this anger and agitation over the religion of peace and concord, in Wales as elsewhere. This is an exposure of what this Bill means. It is not a fight about authority, or about religious instruction; it is simply a fight to get additional funds in order to enable the Church to obtain more patronage in London. Hon. Gentlemen opposite would have accepted the terms we offered; but they allowed their judgment to be overridden by the clergy, but not by the best of the clergy. What was the condition asked for by the clergy themselves? It was religious instruction on the basis of the syllabus of the London School Board. The clergy in the diocese of St. Asaph selected the syllabus of the London School Board as their model. We oftered them no end of syllabi, but they said they would accept nothing but the syllabus of the London School Board. Yet here you are proposing to destroy the School Board which formulated that magnificent syllabus. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London said that our first business was to look after the interests of the children, and not the interests of the County Council or the Borough Councils. He forgot Diocesan Associations. Our interests also are to the children first; but are the interests of the children involved in perpetuating these sectarian wrangles? Are you proposing a system that will enable us to work together for the purpose of putting instruction in this country on the footing which obtains in America, Germany, and other countries, which is our only aim and object?

SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dart-ford)

I claim the indulgence of the House for a few minutes only, as I know many of my hon. friends wish to speak on this subject. A very difficult task lies before us, and we wish to approach the scheme of the Government with all fairness. But if we wish to suggest Amendments later, now is the time to speak, because it is most valuable to those in charge of the Bill to know the opinion of their supporters in regard to it. I am not going to follow the hon. Gentleman into the religious wrangle which we have just heard. The matter before us is too important; and I regret that this bone of discord should have been thrown into the debate. So far as the broad allegation of the hon. Member with regard to the general working of the I Act of last year is concerned, I can assure him, with a political experience nearly double his own, and with some knowledge of this question, that whatever unfortunate differences may have been stirred up in the Principality, in my own county and many other counties, before the Act has been three years in operation, it will have proved false all the calumnies uttered in regard to it. As to the main allegation of the hon. Gentleman, we had a conspicuous instance this afternoon which I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without mentioning. During the last two days I have been inundated with letters and postcards from Nonconformist friends in my constituency, asking me to vote against this Bill on the ground that last year's Bill was a measure to Romanise education in this country. I have stated over and over again that last year's Act was a measure which would rather have the contrary effect than otherwise. This very afternoon, last year's Act was denounced, hip and thigh, by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division, because, as he said, its primary effect was to very seriously injure his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen in Lancashire and other parts of the country. So much for the contention of the hon. Member. I follow it no further. Of course the Government have had huge difficulty in approaching this vexed problem, and whatever Measure they might have produced must naturally have met with the strongest opposition of hon. Gentlemen opposite. For that we were prepared. I have before now sympathised with those who object to the destruction of the London School Board, and I have had sympathy with their labours, and appreciated the work they have done, but I feel that the School Board must be sacrificed ab initio on the altar of consistency as regards this Bill.

We are told that the principle of the Bill is the establishment of one authority plus delegation to deal with education in London. Much has been said with regard to the proposed authority, and before I deal with what I think are the scarcely direct powers vested in that authority, I must thank the Government for having fixed on the London County Council as the main authority for the guidance of education in the Metropolis. It is obvious that the hon. Member for Camberwell must have had the strongest reason for opposing that authority, but any argument that he has urged against this Bill with regard to the difficulties from which this authority will suffer, and their inability to undertake the education of the great Metropolis, are, I think, fallacious, in the face of the immense energy they have shown in every direction, and in the face of the splendid work they have done for technical and secondary education. There is no other municipal authority which can show so splendid a record as the London County Council, which is, we are told, unable to add to their work the labour by delegation, of the education of the Metropolis. Why should we ignore a body like this which holds the strings in its hands, which is even now in telephonic communication probably with some of the greatest technical and scientific institutions throughout their district. I think it is not only able but competent to deal with this great problem, and that is shown by its past educational zeal and success. I think this scheme of delegation the best that could be devised under the circumstances. I must say I was rather terrified when I first heard the scheme, as introduced by my hon. friend, but I now find that I was mistaken. From my hon. friend's speech the other night I feared that not only were the Borough Councils to be managers of private elementary schools but I understood that they were to have the exclusive right of management as against the central authority, because I understood they were to have the power of choosing sites for schools, which would have given them a very strong lien on the finances of the central authority. But my hon. friend has got rid of this objection, so far as I am concerned, because he said most definitely last night that this choice of sites was subject ultimately to the local authority. I understand that to mean that representations would only be made to the authority for information as to which they considered the best site for the school. My hon. friend said also that the power of the central authority through its Committee was to be absolute, not only with regard to the salaries of teachers, but also as to accommodation, and they would also be the attendance authority, and would I regulate the staff of teachers, so that, so far as the proposed work of these authorities goes, it seems to be more satisfactory than I at first imagined.

The chief objection I have to the Bill as it stands is the formation of this Committee. Those who look at the enormous problem with which we have to deal, and the peculiar circumstances of the Metropolis, will see that it is all-important that if this scheme is to be a success, the powers of the central authority must be absolute and supreme. As the Bill stands it is neither one nor the other, and if the Bill is to emerge from the Committee a satisfactory measure, the power of the central authority must be once and for all absolute and supreme, and must be secured by an adequate majority. If there is any danger of interference with it, the result will be that in framing its Committee the central authority will be tempted to secure that the co-opted members shall be supporters of their own policy in order to secure a majority. Nothing would be more lamentable than to put such a temptation in their way. I believe, after the speech of the Prime Minister, that the Government will be reasonable with regard to Amendments. I supported the Bill of last year because it took the only sensible step with regard to the education of the children of this country—namely, that of placing it under one authority—and because I believe that this Bill must come out of Committee with the London County Council as the real education authority I shall support the Second Reading.

SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

My right hon. friend has made a very frank confession. He said he was going to vote for the Second Reading of the Bill because he believed it would come out of Committee a totally different Measure. The right hon. Gentleman's Parliamentary experience is long enough to remember another Bill introduced by a Government of which he was a supporter, in 1867, of which Lord Salisbury said that when it finally emerged from the legislative ordeal and was presented for the Royal Assent, only one word of the original Bill remained, and that was the word "whereas." I do not know whether my right hon. friend anticipates such a transformation as that in the case of the present Bill. Before I deal with the points upon which I object to the Bill, and on which I believe nine tenths of the Members of this House object to it, I should like to point out one or two things on which I believe there is a general consensus of opinion. But there is one thing on which we differ, which is worth noting as a side point on this question. After the speech of the Prime Minister, no one would contradict his declaration that special treatment must be given to London. There is no parallel or analogy to London to be found anywhere. The hon. Member for the University of London, in eloquent language, has pointed that out to the House. He took the higher ground; we may take the lower ground of the real magnitude of London. The wide area, the enormous population, and the necessity of all being combined in something like one municipal corporation—using the word corporation not technically, but as representing an aggregation of authorities—puts London on a totally different footing from any other district. Just remember that if we unite the two great counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire we then get something only approaching two-thirds of the populaiton and educational necessities of London! The Member for Islington said it was a mistake to treat London as a great whole. I say it would be a great mistake to treat London on any other footing, and for the reason given by the Prime Minister himself—that you must have but one rating authority in London on this question. The idea of twenty-nine or thirty London School Boards, each providing the education and raising the rate for its own borough and affording the contrast of the wealthiest borough in London with a local rate little more than half that in the poorest borough, may, I think, be dismissed at once. The education taxation of the whole of London must go to the education of the whole of London, and that can be done only by the control of one authority which governs and rates. Applying that principle, I must enter my individual dissent from the view that it is absolutely essential that the one authority—the one controlling and rating authority—should be the County Council. Not that I have any distrust of the competency of the London County Council, or that I wish in any way to disparage the enormous educational work they have done, but I entertain very grave doubts as to whether a body of 137 members, already charged with the municipal government of this wide area, with an enormous amount of administrative work which has increased, is increasing, and must increase, has either the physical or mental power to discharge, in addition to its present duties, the duty of controlling the education of London. But as the opinion of the House seems to be that this power should be given to the County Council, and, having expressed my dissent, I will not press the matter further.

If it is admitted that the authority should be given to the County Council, we have then two questions to settle: first, the extent of the jurisdiction and power given to the County Council, and secondly, the constitution of the educational Committee through which the Council must act. What is the principle of the measure of last year? We are to carry this Bill in order to adhere to the principle of the Act of 1902. From the first day the question was raised until the last occasion on which it was discussed, the Prime Minister never shrank from maintaining to the utmost extent that the local education authority was to be supreme in finance—that whatever Committees were appointed, whatever delegation was made, whatever administrative powers were vested in other hands, the power of the purse must rest in the County Council or the Borough Council as the case might be. What are the authorities with which the House dealt last year? Before the Government consider whether they will curtail or weaken the authority of the great municipality of the City of London, let me ask what did they give, not only to County Councils and County Borough Councils, but also to small municipal boroughs of 10,000 inhabitants, and urban districts with 20,000 inhabitants? They gave absolute control over every educational function in their respective districts—except in the one point of religious teaching in voluntary schools, which does not arise in connection with my present argument. They gave all these authorities the absolute power of the purse. What else did they do? After providing that the Councils should work through an education authority, they proceeded to prescribe how that authority should be formed, and the first provision was— Every such scheme— —this is a matter in which neither the local authority nor the Board of Education was to have any choice— Every such scheme shall provide for the appointment by the Council of at least a majority of the Committee, and the persons so appointed shall be persons who are members of the Council, unless, in the case of a county, the Council should otherwise determine. The cardinal principle which the House accepted, and which is now being put into force, is in entire accord with the general sentiment of the country. County Councils and County Boroughsare not adhering to a bare majority, but are appointing large and effective majorities for the purposes of the Act. But in the case of London, the Council is not to have a majority in the constitution of the Committee. Out of ninety two members, only thirty-six are members of the County Council. If you are to have continuity in the carrying out of your system, what powers you gave last year you are bound to give this year to the chief municipality in the kingdom—an anthority which has already proved itself capable of educational work to a greater extent than any other, and which has discharged this duty to the uniform satisfaction, not only of the public which it represents, but of the educational authorities and experts who are most competent to form a judgment on the matter.

I now come to the proposal to introduce into the Education Committee a body of representatives of the Borough Councils. What are they to be there for? It cannot be to strengthen the authority of the County Council. Is it to complete the representation of the County Council? The representative character of the County Council is complete at present: it represents London. I am sorry not to see in his place the hon. and learned Member for the Stretford Division, who is a great authority on rating, and who also is by no means indisposed to make every allowance for the peculiar views of the Government which he so steadily supports. What did the hon. and learned Member, speaking at Manchester a few days ago, say? It was of the essence of the Education Bill of last session that effective control should be exercised by the county authority, who were responsible to the county ratepayers for the expenditure of the county rate for the purposes of education. This control was assured not only by making the County Council the education authority, but by giving them power to constitute an Education Committee of which a majority should be county councillors. This was an adequate guarantee that taxation should go with representation—a constitutional principle not to be tampered with. In the London Education Bill the Education Committee was to be representative in the various Borough Councils, although the education rate was a county rate and not a borough rate. The result was to place the County Council in a minority on the Education Committee, and to introduce the borough councillors who, so far as the county rate was concerned, had no representative capacity. These are the words of one of the greatest authorities on rating in this country, and he confessed that— He had not yet heard any adequate explanation of this anomalous and unsound principle. If I were to talk for half an hour I could not put the case more powerfully than the hon. and learned Member for Stretford did in the words I have quoted.

Another point to which I wish to call the attention of the House is the position of the Borough Councils with reference to administration. In the Act of last year the managers, upon whom, of course, will devolve the real work of Education in London, were to be six in number, and to be appointed, as to four of them, by the central authority, and as to the remaining two, by the minor local authority. This Bill defines the Borough Councils as the minor local authorities. I am strongly in favour of enlisting the sympathy and work of permanent bodies in the different districts of London similar to the present local managers, always subject to the qualification which has been made by several members, and particularly by the hon. Member for the University of London, that the School Board have not carried out as fully as they might have done the principle of devolution, and I think that is a reform which might have followed the passing of this Bill. Why should you not increase the number of local managers to be appointed by the central authority so as to maintain the controlling power, at the same time leaving a smaller number to be appointed by the Borough Councils to secure the local representation which you are anxious to have? We are all agreed that there must be a large measure of decentralisation, and this can only be obtained by getting in each district competent representatives for the central authority. I am sure it would be worthy of the consideration of the Government whether it would not be desirable to have some transitory position which would perpetuate and continue in office the present managers of the schools in various parts of London. You must also have some mode of dealing with women representatives on the Board. The first lesson I learned as Chairman of a School Board was, that our duties were absolutely futile and fruitless unless we had women representatives on the Board. This question of women representatives should not be left to any option, or any choice or prejudice; it should not be left, as the Member for the London University said, to private patronage under which women would be permitted to be present, instead of being authorised by Act of Parliament. I promised to speak very briefly upon this question. I understand that the great bulk of the party opposite support the Second Reading of this Bill upon the understanding that it is the intention of the Government to materially alter this measure in Committee. I understood from the speech of the Prime Minister and from the speech of the Secretary to the Board of Education that it was the intention of the Government not only to make Amendments in the Bill of their own motion, but also to listen to the representations made to them by hon. Members on both sides of the House. With such a statement before us, until we know exactly what the Government intend to do, and how far they will go, until we know whether they are going to accept the principle put forward by the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House, "that the power of the central authority should be absolute and supreme and secured by an absolute majority"—for when that is done the Bill will be a very different measure from what it is now—it is the duty of the Opposition to oppose this Bill.


In the speeches we have listened to from hon. Gentlemen opposite there has frequently occurred the opinion that upon this side of the House this Bill is supported in so half-hearted a manner that hon. Gentlemen opposite profess to be astonished that those who have criticised us would be ready to vote for the Second Reading. I have had very considerable experience of Second Reading debates, and until to day I thought it was usual in discussing the Second Reading to accept general principles, and I have very seldom listened to the consideration of an important question on the Second Reading when from all quarters there have not come numerous suggestions and reservations as to what the action of the Committee ought to be. If the Second Reading is not for the object of obtaining suggestions for amendment I fail to see what use the stage is. Some hon. Members opposite have said that the policy of the Liberal Party has always been to support an ad hoc authority, but I venture to say that the great majority of the speeches made upon the opposite side of the House would have been as suitable to the Second Reading of a Bill which they proposed to amend in Committee, as they are to the position they had laid down of deliberate hostility to this measure. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has immediately preceded me is one in which almost every sentence indicates Amendments, which, without committing the Government at this moment, I have no hesitation in saying could be adopted without materially altering the principle of this Measure; and when hon. Gentlemen opposite say that the attitude of my hon. friends on this side of the House is an inconsistent one, and that they are going to vote for a Bill in which they do not believe, I must say they are straining the position almost as much as it was strained by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Aberdeen. I was astounded to hear the right hon. Gentleman declare that without exception the speakers from the Ministerial side of the House had condemned the proposal of the Bill in regard to the Borough Councils. My hon. friend beside me endeavoured to convince the right hon. Gentleman that he had misunderstood him, but without effect. My hon. friend the Member for Westminster made a strong speech in favour of the Bill, but apparently his remarks had been ignored by the right hon. Gentleman.


I especially excepted him.


If the hon. Member for Limehouse criticised this proposal I am sure his criticisms were in a totally contrary direction to that in which the right hon. Gentleman has endeavoured to suggest. His criticism was that the representation given to the Borough Councils was not sufficient. What is the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the debate of yesterday and to-day? It is, in the first place, that the difficulties surrounding the settlement of the education problem in London are greater, and of a more complicated character, than those which surround the settlement of this problem in the provinces. The second conclusion is that in almost every quarter of the House, if you will put aside the ad hoc proposal, you will find that each speaker has had a view, or plan, or suggestion of his own, which does not accord, either in principle or in detail, with the views and suggestions of his own friends. Surely we need not be astonished at this, because there is no doubt that this question is as difficult as it is important, and as hon. Gentlemen know who have had to study it, it has been found almost impossible to secure unanimity of opinion upon it even amongst men who generally act together and hold the same views. I think, therefore, it is a little bit hard to attack the Government because they have made a. proposal which is criticised on their own side, as well as on the Benches opposite. I venture to say that my hon. friends behind me who are going to vote for the Second Reading are following a course which has on numerous occasions been adopted in this House, and on both sides of the House, in fact it is the general and common course in regard to a Bill dealing with a complicated question like this. By taking this course hon. Members are supporting the principles of the Measure on the Second Reading, and reserving to themselves the right to make such Amendment as may seem desirable in Committee. I confess that I heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen make his sweeping assertion as to the position of the Radical Party with regard to education, with some astonishment. The right hon. Gentleman himself was a party to the recommendations of a Royal Commission which suggested a governing body for education for the Metropolis consisting of eighteen County Council members, seven from the School Board, eight appointed by the Universities and City Guilds, and nine to be co-opted.


The Report of the Royal Commission dealt with secondary education, and that was an entirely different matter.


I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that the proposal before the House is a Bill dealing with elementary, secondary, and technical education. The right hon. Gentleman did not confine himself in his criticisms of the new authority to its dealings with elementary education. There commendation made by the Royal Commission was in regard to secondary and technical education. I am glad the debate has been conducted in a calmer spirit than marked the consideration of the Bill of last year. I earnestly hope that the controversies of last year will not be revived, and that the House will continue to deal with the Bill from a business like and educational point of view. Whether for good or for evil, the Government has decided that they can no longer support the ad hoc principle. Arguments of the most eloquent kind are to be found in the Report to which the right hon. Gentleman is a consenting party, in favour of our policy, and the grounds which are given must commend themselves to anybody who is anxious to see good local government, whether educational or of any other character. They do not rest only upon the view that it is undesirable to add to your number of elections, and add to the obligations of those who have to elect, but they rest upon the more solid grounds that education is, and ought to form, one of the most important features of local government, and ought to form a part of the duty of those who are entrusted with the general administration of the local affairs of their own area. I venture to say that if you deprive the localities of this duty, and have ad hoc bodies elected, you will fail to attain that particular object to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen referred, when he said, that he wanted to secure the interest of the people in this work, to arouse their best energies and command their best efforts in this direction. If you are going to deprive the municipal authorities of this work and this particular form of local government which is so attractive, you will make public men unwilling to become members of your local body, because they will feel that you do not trust them with any work which is really important. So much for the ad hoc principle which, as I have already said, is not one to which we are prepared to give our assent. We believe that the lessons of experience are against that principle, and in the best interests of local government, it would be unwise to adopt it. Last year we committed ourselves to the municipal principle in education, and that is the principle which is embodied in this Bill.

Passing from the ad hoc argument, I think all the rest of the criticisms we have heard have been criticisms of detail and not of principle. The two most important of these criticisms have been in regard to the inclusion of representatives of the Metropolitan Boroughs on the Education Committee and the absence of women from the governing body. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke last called attention to what he called a discrepancy between the proposals of this Bill and the proposals of last year in reference to the first of these two points. I would remind the right hon. Gentleman in the first place that there is this essential difference, as I think he will admit it to be. In last year's Act the majority to be appointed on the Education Committee is a majority of popularly elected members, as compared with the co-opted members, but in the Committee set up by this Bill there are two sets of popularly elected members, the County Council and the Borough Council members. They are elected by the same franchise, and therefore in this respect the Committee proposed by this. Bill differs from the Committee of last year, because, taking the representatives of the County Councils and the Borough Councils, you have a clear majority of popularly elected members over the co-opted members. I only say that in explanation of what I think otherwise might be misunderstood. We have admitted from the beginning, and have intended, that the supreme power should be in the hands of the central authority, which is the County Council. We have been blamed for associating the representatives of the Borough Councils with those of the County Council on this Committee, and some hon. Gentlemen opposite have done me too much honour in crediting me not only with the authorship of the proposal, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Haddington and others have stated that I was prepared to die on the floor of t e House before I would surrender the position of the boroughs I do not deserve the honour of being the author of the proposal, nor am I so bloodthirsty in its defence as to be ready to take the course which has been suggested, but so long as I am connected with the Local Government Board I shall do my best to discharge my duty. I am responsible that everything that can properly be done, will be done to give powers whereby the usefulness of our various municipal institutions may be improved, and I venture to say that it was not only unjust, but in the highest sense unwise, to lay down in this House, when we are dealing with municipal development, that these Borough Councils in London are not fit to be entrusted with work which I am sure they will do admirably. I am perfectly willing to admit that there is great force in the argument of the right hon. Member for Haddington, that the supremacy of the central authority must not be imperilled by placing in the way of the Borough Councils temptations, which they might find irresistible, of using the power of co-optation for the purpose of obtaining a majority which they would not other wise have. It is clear that the power of the central authority must be made supreme and unquestionable, but I submit that can be done perfectly well without refusing to recognise the position of the metropolitan boroughs. There have been various proposals made, such as that of increasing the numbers of the County Council, and each one of which is well worthy of consideration, and the best of them can be engrafted on to the Bill without abandonment of the main principle of the Measure. The Prime Minister has made it perfectly clear that the underlying principle of the Bill is the supremacy of the central authority, the London County Council, accompanied by the delegation of such educational work as can be properly delegated to them, to the borough authorities, so that there shall no longer be that extreme centralisation which, we believe, has caused a great deal of the mischief which has undoubtedly occurred in the Metropolis. My hon. friend the Member for Islington has argued that the metropolitan boroughs should be given more control than the Bill gives to them and should be set up as central authorities. That proposal is not one which can be seriously entertained. I think the right hon. Gentleman who preceded me made it perfectly clear that to allow a small borough to spend what it liked without any outside control would be an impossible and untenable proposition.

There is one other objection to which repeated references have been made, and that is the way in which the change proposed by the Bill would affect the position of women. To say, as has been said, that if the Bill passes the advantage now enjoyed on the School Board of the services of women will be lost, is not quite a fair presentment of the case. In the first place, we thought that opportunity would be afforded under the Bill as it stands for at least five of the co-opted members to be women, and further, that by delegating large powers as to the management of the local schools to the Borough Councils, and giving them power to act through committees on which women can sit, we were securing that an even larger number of women should take part in the administration of education than has been the case under the existing law. It is argued, however, that the power to co-opt women being optional, is one which might be disregarded; and if the Government thought there was any ground for criticism of that kind they would be quite willing to make it obligatory on the Councils to co-opt women for these purposes, so that that is an objection to which there is really not much foundation. I believe that every criticism that has been advanced, except that which has been directed in favour of the creation or the retention of an ad hoc authority, can be dealt with in Committee, and cannot be regarded as vital to the Bill on the Second Beading. I should think myself false to my trust as the Minister responsible for Local Government if I did not do my best to secure the development of the powers of all our municipal authorities, but I am not guilty of the hostility to the London County Council of which hon. Gentlemen opposite have so often accused me. On the other hand, I am quite willing to absolve them of the hostility to the Borough Councils of which they have sometimes been accused; and I think we might cry "quits" on these matters, and each and all of us do our best to secure that both the County Council and the Borough Councils shall be given a fair and prudent share of the administration of London affairs. We regard the Bill as a genuine and prudent development of local government, and we believe that when amended it will do the work which we have in view. On these grounds we commend it, and ask the House to give it a Second Reading.

MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)

I shall not detain the House more than a moment or two, but I want to clear away a misapprehension which might arise from the speech of the hon. Member for Westminster. The right hon. Gentleman has said that it was a very strong speech in support of the Bill. I am not going to deal with a Bill which is not before the House, but I will deal with the facts by which the hon. Gentleman supported this Bill. He complained of the influence of the teachers in London elections, and he gave as an illustration the case of a teacher who, he said, came to London from the country and was elected President of the National Union of Teachers, was put up by the teachers as a candidate for the School Board, and was elected by 18,000. The hon. Member stated that he quarrelled with the teachers afterwards, and that at the next election he only secured 400 votes. The hon. Member did not give the name of the candidate nor the constituency for which he stood. I happen to know all the facts of the case, because I was Chairman of the Committee which made the arrangements for those elections, and I think when I tell the House what the actual facts were, it will be seen that the hon. Member has not put before the House the actual facts. It was the election in the Fins-bury Division in 1897. The candidates were chosen by the Council of Progressive Representatives. A number of names of candidates was put before that Council. The three candidates chosen to contest the Division by the Progressives were Miss Eve, Mr. Bowden, and Lord Beauchamp. These three were elected. Mr. Bowden was second on the poll. The hon. Member stated that during the next three years he quarrelled with the National Union of Teachers. He did nothing of the kind. He was expelled from that Union for a breach of confidence. He sued the National Union of Teachers for libel, and judgment was given in favour of the defendants. Mr. Bowden, in consequence of this, was not recommended to the Progressive Council by the Committee; three other persons were chosen to stand for the constituency and they were all elected. Mr. Bowden, notwithstanding his record in that libel action, also stood but he only received 405 votes. I venture to submit to the House that that is not a case which supports the hon. Member for Westminster's statement that the National Union of Teachers ruled the School Board of London with a grip of iron.


The hon. Member has not justified his assertion that I stated the facts inaccurately. All I said was that this gentleman, when he received the full support of the National Union of Teachers, obtained 18,000 votes, but when he lost that support he only received 400 votes. The hon. Member's statement amounted to the same thing.


I have recited accurately what the hon. Member said when he was addressing the House, but if he thinks that I have misrepresented him, I am glad to be corrected. I have put the facts before the House, and am content to leave the matter to the judgment of the House. Let me come to the next case which the hon. Member put before the House. He asserted that the School Board had been in favour of the London County Council being the authority for controlling elementary education, until the teachers at a meeting at Queen's Hall dictated to the Progressive Party on the London School Board, that they should insist on an ad hoc body.


I never said anything about dictating.


I may have been wrong in using the word "dictated"; what the hon. Gentleman said was that it was in obedience to a resolution of the National Union of Teachers in Queen's Hall.


I said nothing about obedience.


The hon. Gentleman then went on to quote, as he said, a resolution of the London School Board passed last year which stated that the London County Council should be the authority for elementary education. Now here is the resolution, which my hon. friend the Member for Camberwell has copied for me out of The Times. Mr. Bridgeman, a Moderate member of the London School Board, introduced the resolution in April, and it was carried in June. That the London School Board approve of the policy of the Education Bill recently introduced by the Government whereby, while preserving the present rights of voluntary schools to give denominational religious instruction, such schools are in other respects brought under the same authority as the other elementary schools. [Mr. BURDETT-COUTTS: Hear, hear: That is the County Council.] And that they participate in a school rate in the same way as other schools. That was only asking that the same rate aid should be extended to the denominational schools in London as had, been given in the country. Moreover, the hon. Gentleman who moved the resolution said he put his case only on rate aid, that he did not commit himself to any authority, and that he himself was in favour of more popular control than the Act of 1902 gave. These are the facts of the case, and I doubt myself whether they support what the hon. Gentleman opposite called the strong speech which Mr. Bridgeman made in support of the measure. I should like to have had time to say several things about this Bill, but I will sum them up. In the first place I decline altogether to discuss a Bill which is not before the House. We are promised Amendments which are to be made in Committee in the future. Well, I have been in Committee with the Government once on an Education Bill, and I have no desire to go there again to be closured, to be guillotined, and then to have important Amendments introduced into the measure which were never heard of at the Second Reading, and not put on the paper until after the closure and guillotine had been applied. If such a suggestion as has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman opposite had been made in the old days, a Motion for the adjournment of the House would at once have been moved, in order that the Government should put their Amendments on the Paper. To-day we are invited to pass the Second Reading of the Bill with a vague promise of Amendment. That may satisfy the right hon. Member for Kent, but after one experience of the Govern- ment it does not satisfy me. We are told by the right hon. Gentleman that he heard with astonishment that hon. Members on this side of the House supported the ad hoc principle. Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that he himself was one of the tellers for a motion for an ad hoc authority in 1870, and that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University, and the hon. Member for Honiton both voted with him for an ad hoc authority in 1870, while to day they are supporting the municipalisation of education? There is no disputing that a good deal can be said for an ad hoc authority. You may get better administration when you elect men for one purpose than for a number of purposes, and you may get better work out of the men elected for one purpose than for various purposes. That has to be tested by experience, and not by prophecy. As the Bill stands, it proposes an Education Committee on which the London County Council shall be in a minority. Now, in the Act of 1902, it was laid down that the County Councils and the Borough Councils should have a majority on the Education Committee. Again, the Act of 1902 gives the control of both provided and non-provided schools to the local education authority. In this Bill the control of the provided schools is not given to the education authority but taken from them. This Bill is a sinister attempt to take from London what has been given to the country. It kills the School Board, it shuts out women from doing the work which they have so well done in the past, and it creates a system of management which is bound to break down. For these reasons I shall oppose the proposal that the Bill be read a second time.


I only desire to say one or two words as a London Member. Two speeches have been delivered which have very materially contributed to the value of the debate and the solution of the question at issue. The last was by the right hon. Member for East Wolverhampton, with whose criticisms, especially as to the constitution of the education authority and of the Education Committee, I express my hearty concurrence. What we did in the Act of 1902 we cannot depart from now in dealing with the case of London; and I cannot forget the closing words of the light hon. Gentleman when be said that if that were done the Bill would become a very good Bill. That is what some of us on this side of the House have been determined to demand. The other speech which must have given satisfaction to these Benches was the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, that the municipal principle of the Act of 1902 will be adhered to in relation to this measure. Well, whether we approve of the School Board or not, I am bound to say that I ask myself the question—"What would our education have been without the action of the London School Board?" I maintain that we owe to the London School Board the greatest obligation. For all practical purposes this House will have to accept the municipal principle as the basis of education in London and the provinces alike. It is perfectly true, as the right hon. Member for Aberdeen said, that by that principle we not only get the advantage of one authority, but a rating power, in a manner not attainable in any other way. It is because of that, and because I know the need of education, because I appreciate its absolute value, both from an individual and a national point of view, that. I am anxious that the great force of local patriotism should be brought to bear on the problems of education. The Borough Councils have done a

great deal, and the London County Council has performed admirable work in regard to technical education. Lastly, I am extremely glad that the declaration has come from the President of the Local Government Board that amendments will be listened to, and others proposed, because the constitution of the Education Committee, as it at present stands, makes this Bill, from an educational and a local government point of view, absolutely impracticable. You first constitute an authority and then constitute a counter-authority by placing the authority in a minority on the Education Committee. That is an unworkable proposal. Therefore I vote for the Second Reading of this Bill, on the distinct understanding that these Amendments will be made, and that we shall have constituted a working authority for education in London. There are many other points involved—the selection of sites, the number of teachers transferred from post to post, and the recognition of their rights, on which we will work hard to have Amendments carried, and make the Bill a really practicable working measure.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes,300; Noes, 163.(Division List No. 71).

Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.) Beckett, Ernest William Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J A (Worc
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Chapman, Edward
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Charrington, Spencer
Aird, Sir John Bignold, Arthur Churchill, Winston Spencer
Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden Bigwood, James Clive, Captain Percy A.
Ambrose, Robert Blundell, Colonel Henry Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Boulnois, Edmund Coddington, Sir William
Arkwright, John Stanhope Bousfield, William Robert Coghill, Douglas Harry
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Bowles, T. G. (Lynn Regis) Cohen, Benjamin Louis
Arrol, Sir William Brassey, Albert Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole
Aubrey-Fletcher,Rt.Hn.SirH. Brymer, William Ernest Compton, Lord Alwyne
Austin, Sir John Bull, William James Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Burdett-Coutts, W. Cox. Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge
Bailey, James (Walworth) Burke, E. Haviland Crean, Eugene
Bain, Colonel James Robert Butcher, John George Cripps, Charles Alfred
Balcarres, Lord Campbell, Rt Hn J A (Glasg) Crossley. Sir Savile
Baldwin, Alfred Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Cubitt, Hon. Henry
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r Carew, James Laurence Cust, Henry John C.
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Dalrymple, Sir Charles
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds Cautley, Henry Strother Davenport, William Bromley
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Delany, William
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cavendish, V C W (Derbysh.) Denny, Colonel
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway
Barry, Sir Fras T. (Windsor) Cecil,Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Dewar, Sir T. R.(Tr. Haml'ts
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj. Chamberlain, Rt Hon J (Birm Dickson, Charles Scott
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Laurie, Lieut.-General Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Dillon, John Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Reddy, M.
Dimsdale,Rt.Hon.SirJosephC. Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th) Redmond, Jn. E. (Waterford
Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Lawson,JohnGrant(Yorks.N R Redmond, William (Clare)
Donelan, Captain A. Leamy, Edmund Reid, James (Greenock)
Doogan, P. C. Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham) Remnant, Jas. Farquharson
Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E. Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Doughty, George Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Renwick, George
Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Ridley. Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge
Duke, Henry Edward Llewellyn, Evan Henry Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)
Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart Lockie, John Roberts, Samuel (Shefield)
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Robertson, H. (Hackney)
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Roche, John
Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.) Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Faber, George Denison (York) Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S. Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Fardell, Sir T. George Lowe, Francis William Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed. Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale) Rothschild, Hon. L. Walter
Fergusson, Rt Hn.Sir J. (Man'r Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft Round, Rt. Hon. James
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Royds, Clement Molyneux
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Lundon, W. Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Fisher, William Hayes Macdona, John Cumming Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Fison, Frederick William MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose MacIver, David (Liverpool) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Flavin, Michael Joseph Maconochie, A. W. Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Flower, Ernest MacVeagh, Jeremiah Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln.
Forster, Henry William M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Seely,Maj.J.E.B.(Isleof Wight
Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W. M'Iver, Sir Lewis(Edinburgh W Seton-Karr, Sir Henry
Fyler, John Arthur M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Galloway, William Johnson Malcolm, Ian Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Gardner. Ernest Massey-Main waring,Hn. W. F. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Garfit, William Milvain, Thomas Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Gibbs, Hn. A.G.H (CityofLond. Mitchell, William (Burnley) Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Gordon,Hn.J.E.(Elgin&Nairn Molesworth, Sir Lewis Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East
Gordon,MajEvans (TrH'mlets Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Smith,H.C(North'mb.Tyneside
Gore,Hn GRC.Ormsby-(Salop) Montagu,Hon. J.Scott (Hants. Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)
Gore, Hn. S. F.Ormsby-(Linc Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)
Gorst,Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Mooney, John J. Spear, John Ward
Goulding, Edward Alfred More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Graham, Henry Robert Morgan,DavidJ(Walthamstow Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk
Greene,Sir E. W.(Bury St. Ed. Morrell, George Herbert Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury) Morrison, James Archibald Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.
Greville, Hon. Ronald Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Groves, James Grimble Murray, RtHnA.Graham(Bute Sullivan, Donal
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Gunter, Sir Robert Myers, William Henry Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G. (Oxfd Univ.
Guthrie, Walter Murray Nannetti, Joseph P. Thorburn, Sir Walter
Hall, Edward Marshall Nicol, Donald Ninian Thornton, Percy M.
Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Nolan, Col.John'P.(Galway,N. Tollemache, Henry James
Hamilton,RtHnLordG(Midd'x Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.) Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Hardy, Laurence (Kent,AshJ'rd O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Harris, Frederick Leverton O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid) Valentia, Viscount
Haslett, Sir James Horner O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter
Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley) O'Brien, P. J. Tipperary, N.) Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
Heath,James(Staffords.N.W.) O'Brien, William (Cork) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Henderson, Sir Alexander O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Warde, Colonel C. E.
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. O'Dowd, John Welby,Lt.-Col.A.C.E(Taunton
Hickman, Sir Alfred O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.) Whitley, H (Ashton-und.-Lyne
Hoare, Sir Samuel O'Mara, James Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Horner, Frederick William Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Williams,RtHnJPowell-(Birm
Houldsworth. Sir Wm. Henry O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Houston, Robert Paterson Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Wilson,A. Stanley (Yorks,E.R.
Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham Parker, Sir Gilbert Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil Pease, H. Pike (Darlington) Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)
Jebb. Sir Richard Claverhouse Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley Wodehouse,RtHn.E.R.(Bath)
Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred Pemberton, John S. G. Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson
Johnstone. Heywood Percy, Earl Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart
Joyce, Michael Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George Pretyman, Ernest George Wylie, Alexander
Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong
Keswick, William Purvis. Robert Younger, William
Kimber, Henry Pym, C. Guy TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
King, Sir Henry Seymour Quilter, Sir Cuthbert
Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm. Rankin, Sir James
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd Pirie, Duncan V.
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Harmsworth, R. Leicester Price, Robert John
Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud) Harwood, George Priestley, Arthur
Ashton, Thomas Gair Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale Rea, Russell
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy. Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Reckitt, Harold James
Atherey-Jones, L. Helme, Norval Watson Reid, Sir R. Threshie(Dumfries
Barlow, John Emmott. Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Rickett, J. Compton
Barran, Rowland Hirst Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E. Rigg, Richard
Bayley. Thomas (Derbyshire) Holland, Sir William Henry Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Robson, William Snowdon
Bell, Richard Horniman, Frederick John Roe, Sir Thomas
Black, Alexander William Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Runciman, Walter
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk Russell, T. W.
Brigg, John Hutton, Alfred E. (Mortey) Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)
Broadhurst, Henry Jacoby, James Alfred Schwann, Charles E.
Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh) Joicey, Sir James Shackleton, David James
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Bryce, Right Hon. James Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Kearley, Hudson E. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Burns, John Kitson, Sir James Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Burt, Thomas Lambert, George Sloan, Thomas Henry
Buxton, Sydney Charles Langley, Batty Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Caldwell, James Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall Soares, Ernest J.
Cameron, Robert Layland-Barratt, Francis Spencer. RtHnCR.(Northants)
Causton, Richard Knight Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington) Stevenson, Francis S.
Cawley, Frederick Leigh, Sir Joseph Strachey, Sir Edward
Channing, Francis Allston Leng, Sir John Taylor, Theodore C (Radcliffe)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Levy, Maurice Tennant, Harold John
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark Lewis, John Herbert Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)
Cremer, William Randal Lloyd-George, David Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)
Crooks, William Lough, Thomas Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Dalziel, James Henry Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Tomkinson, James
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) M'Kenna, Reginald Toulmin, George
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj. Ure, Alexander
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Mansfield, Horace Rendall Wallace, Robert
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Markham, Arthur Basil Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)
Duncan. J. Hastings Mather, Sir William Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Dunn, Sir William Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Edwards, Frank Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Ellis, John Edward Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Weir, James Galloway
Emmott, Alfred Morley, Charles (Breconshire) White, George (Norfolk)
Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone) Morley,Rt HonJohn(Montrose White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Farquhatrson, Dr. Robert Moulton, John Fletcher Whiteley, G. (York, W. R.)
Fenwick, Charles Newnes, Sir George Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith Norman, Henry Williams, O. (Merioneth)
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk Mid.
Foster, Sir Michl. (Lond. Univ Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co. Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Palmer, G. Wm. (Reading) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Fuller, J. M. F. Partington, Oswald Woodhouse,SirJT(Huddersf'd
Grant, Corrie Paulton, James Mellor Yoxall, James Henry
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Pearson, Sir Weetman D.
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Berwick Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. William M'Arthur.
Griffith, Ellis J. Perks, Robert William
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Philippe, John Wynford
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Pickard, Benjamin

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.