§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 2:—
In page 1 line 9, after the word 'shall,' to insert the words 'consist of such number of members as the local education authority shall determine, of whom a majority shall be persons who are members of the local education authority, appointed by that authority, and twelve shall be persons who are members of Councils of Metropolitan Boroughs appointed in manner provided in the First Schedule to this Act, and twenty-five shall be appointed by the local education authority in accordance with a scheme under this Act made by that authority and approved by the Board of Education.
'(2) The local education authority may, if they think fit, appoint not more than live persons from among the members of the London School Board to be supernumerary members of the first Education Committee; but those supernumerary members shall cease to hold office on the expiration of a period of five years from the date of the constitution of the first Education Committee, and any vacancy in their number occurring by death, resignation, or otherwise shall not be filled up.'"—(Sir William Anson.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words, as amended, be there inserted."
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
said he found on page 26 of the Amendments one in the name of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education to omit Clause 2. He thought it would be to the convenience of the House if the Government made a statement of their intentions in this greatly altered position of affairs.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I think that the request of the right hon. Gentleman 1652 is eminently reasonable; and I can explain in a few words both the intentions of the Government as regards this clause and the precise effect of leaving it out. The House will remember the general principles which I ventured to lay down as being those which ought to govern us in dealing with this complicated and difficult problem of London education and of London government generally. Those two propositions were certainly as regards education that it would be impossible, for many reasons which I need not recapitulate, to have other than a central single authority for dealing with London. That, I think, was accepted by all sections of the House. But we had a Second Reading debate, and a very important division as to whether that central authority should be elected ad hoc or whether we should avail ourselves of the existing municipal institutions of the Metropolis for carrying out this great policy. The Government were always of opinion that the existing institutions should be utilised. That was the first proposition which I think the House after debate affirmed. The general proposition that it ought to be a single authority was held unanimously or almost unanimously; and we on this side of the House thought that this single authority should be the County Council. Then the second proposition I laid down as being that which ought to guide us in determining this matter was, also for a variety of reasons, the cogency of which is not denied in any quarter, that the London boroughs should have their share in working the educational machinery of the metropolitan area. I do not think that any one dissents from that broad proposition. Even those who have, perhaps, less regard and less parental affection than I should naturally be supposed to have towards the Borough Councils of the Metropolis were strongly of opinion that there should be no temptation on the part of the County Council to fall into that over-centralisation into which even the greatest friends of the School Board admit that distinguished body has fallen. Over-centralisation becomes a very great danger when you are dealing with so vast a population and an enormous number of schools as the education authority of London must necessarily deal with. We were, therefore, of opinion that the metropolitan boroughs should 1653 have some share in the general work; but, as I stated on the Second Reading, the exact character of the apportionment of these duties must be one for discussion in Committee, and it is impossible to say beforehand, as a matter of absolute principle, one way or the other, which scheme is to be adopted until the views of the House in general, and those of the London Members in particular, are known.
The plan which we hoped to see adopted was in the nature of a com promise. We felt the argument addressed to us on the First Reading of the Bill, that it was quite impossible to give such a representation to the boroughs on the Education Committee as would practically make the boroughs, if they acted together, almost supreme, or at all events practically supreme, by giving them the overwhelming voice on the Committee. We felt again, for reasons which I need not recapitulate, that that might lead to friction between the County Council and its own Committee; and if there was jealousy between these two bodies it would greatly hamper the successful working of the Act, would produce a great deal of unnecessary heat, and would not tend either to smooth administration or to the true interests of education. We therefore endeavoured to find a compromise which should leave the boroughs some representation on the Education Committee without giving them that very great authority on the Committee which a representative of each borough would necessarily do. All compromises are open to the objection that they do not carry into effect some logical principle, and they do not carry the extremest consequences of some view which is or may be held. That is a defect common to all compromises. But there is an advantage which some compromises possess when the two sides are willing to give up something—to diminish the full and logical effect of their views in order to produce harmony, and to come to some common agreement with those with whom in many respects they are probably at one. Unfortunately the compromise of the Government has turned out as possessing not even this advantage, without 1654 which a compromise is quite worthless. The compromise, unfortunately, pleases nobody, or fully satisfies nobody. And if anyone will study the division lists as I have studied the list in the division which took place on Wednesday, he will see that we had the misfortune of finding against us in the lobby, or deliberately abstaining from voting, hon. Gentlemen who thought that we were giving too much representation to the boroughs on the Central Committee, and hon. Gentlemen who thought that we were giving too little. Those Gentlemen, though holding very different and opposite views, joined together in order to condemn to the best of their ability the course taken by the Government. I do not know whether that would have been necessarily a matter which we could have avoided in any circumstances, but it is especially important when we remember the result if this compromise is to be carried out. It will involve on the first schedule of the Bill an elaborate discussion of the kind of question which in my experience produces great heat and difficulty, above almost any other class of questions with which the House is concerned—namely, the local question, in which the local likings and dislikings come to the front, and in which there is no real strong principle to guide the House, or to enable it to decide between the opposing views. I do not think it would be possible to work through that schedule except the House is convinced, as far as its majority is concerned, that it is worth a struggle to carry out a principle which the great majority desire to see carried out. It is evident that we have no such support behind us. I never refuse to accept the facts of a situation when they are presented to me clearly; and it is quite evident, not only that the great body of the House, unconnected directly with London, look with considerable suspicion and dislike on this plan, but the majority of London Members themselves, for one reason or another, very often for different reasons, do not approve it. In these circumstances it was not possible to carry out the compromise that we had hoped, but hoped in vain, would bring peace to the two parties; and we thought therefore that the best plan was to put the London County Council, as far as regards the constitution 1655 of this Committee, precisely in the position of the other County Councils in the country. That will be the effect, and it will be the only effect, of carrying the Amendment of my hon. friend in charge of the Bill. In the Press there has been, I believe, a great misunderstanding as to what the result of this Amendment will be. The whole result of omitting Clause 2 is that the London County Council will be in precisely the position of other Councils under the Act of last year as far as the constitution of its own Committee. In other words, they will have to produce a scheme which will have a majority of members of the County Council, unless the County Council shall otherwise determine; and which will provide for the appointment of experts, the inclusion of women, and the appointment of some members of the London School Board, if it is thought desirable, on the first Committee. These are the provisions in the present Bill, and they will be transferred, without amendment, diminution, or modification of any kind, to the London County Council. Undoubtedly the result will be a great simplification of the Bill; and although it is perfectly vain to hope that we can carry the whole body of London opinion with us, yet I believe it is on the whole the course which the Committee will be best advised to adopt in the circumstances.
My hon. friend in charge of this Bill has received some very undeserved criticism for not having adequately consulted London opinion on this subject. Any one who levels that criticism at my hon. friend can only do so in total ignorance of the facts. I am certain that all London Members, and all who have any special title to speak on metropolitan education, will agree that my hon. friend has been unwearied in his efforts, both to collect views and opinions, and to adopt suggestions which would be as far as possible in harmony with their views, in a matter which is more or less a question of details. If my hon. friend has not been successful, it is not his fault, nor that of the London Members. It is the fault of that division of opinion which exists over the whole Metropolis. I am sure that the House will acquit my hon. friend of having failed either in desire or in effort to settle this matter without prolonged controversy. I have been quite frank with the House. I have 1656 told the House exactly by what stages we have arrived at the present position; and I hope the House will accept the plan which we now propose, and that even those who would prefer an ad hoc authority will now bring themselves to give the present scheme its best shape, and will not endeavour either wholly to exclude the Borough Councils or hamper the County Council. Perhaps we may make more harmonious progress in regard to this measure of local government than we have made recently in the hours we have spent on this thorny topic. I hope I have answered the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman, and that my explanations of the Government's position may be satisfactory to both sides of the House.
§ MR. BRYCE
said that the House was much indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for his statement. On Wednesday last they had a sort of Second Reading debate, and the result was seen in the action which the Government had now taken. After the complete change which had been made by the Government, and after such a transformation in the character of the Bill, it was impossible to proceed with the discussion of the Bill at once. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh!" and OPPOSITION cheers.] The Committee required an interval before resuming its discussions.
§ MR. BRYCE
The Government had done very wisely in altering their Bill. They had listened to the voice of reason, as it was so largely expressed by their own supporters; and he hoped that they had not been wholly unaffected by voices which had made themselves heard elsewhere than in the House of Commons. For the changes whcih they had made the Government deserved all possible credit. [Cries of "No."] They had completely altered the whole character of the Bill in one vital point.
§ MR. BRYCE
But that was not by any means the only point in controversy. There remained a clause which would make just as much difference to smooth working 1657 of the Bill as the clause which has disappeared. They had heard frequently from the right hon. Gentleman that London required different and special treatment, and that it was unlike other bodies. Was the right hon. Gentleman justified in giving the Committee no opportunity of discussing any alterations in the conditions which should be attached to the London Education Committee, as distinguished from other Education Committees? That question could have been discussed if Clause 2 had remained, but now the opportunity of moving Amendments would be gone. There ought to be such an interval of time as would allow Members to consider the altered circumstances, and their effect on Clause 3, which would hand over management, in a sense very different from that of last year's Bill, to the Borough Councils. But, although the Borough Councils were driven out in one direction, they came back in another. The Committee did not know where they were. They wanted to consider what difference the omission of Clause 2 would make, and how far it would effect the question of management. Whenever a vital and far-reaching change of this kind was proposed by a Government, it was customary to adjourn consideration for a time, to allow of Amendments being put down. There were two bodies of great weight and influence which had a right to address representations to the House on the subject. The London County Council and the London School Board ought to have an opportunity of considering the Bill in its new aspect, and of addressing communications to the House upon it; and with a view of securing an interval which would ultimately conduce to the smooth conduct of the proceedings, he begged to move that progress be reported.
§ Motion made and Question proposed. "That the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Bryce.)
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman is amazingly unreasonable. He talks of some vital and fundamental alteration of the Bill in deference to debate in this House, and I think he said in deference to some body outside. I do not quite know what he means. I am not aware that either of the two bodies he has mentioned have dealt with this 1658 question since Wednesday last. Whom he takes his inspiration from he is avowedly reluctant to say himself. Whatever body it was, it must of course have sat on Thursday or Friday, because the Amendment was put down for Friday. I do not know whether subsequent to Friday the right hon. Gentleman has received inspiration from any other quarter; if so, that other quarter must have received its own inspiration from the Government. In truth I think the right hon. Gentleman is, if I may venture to say so, not acting a very reasonable part. He says he wants to make a lot of other changes in the Committee. I think the Amendment put down in the name of my hon. friend was also put down in the name of several hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, and when a concession is made to the Opposition, I do not know that it is usual for them at once to get up and say, "This is an outrage on the House of Commons," and that the adjournment must at once be moved so that the House may have time to go into retreat to consider the novelty of the situation thus presented. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is far too ardent a worker not to have considered the effect of an Amendment so long on the Paper. The right hon. Gentleman wants a long time now to consider Clause 3 because the modifications in Clause 2 find an echo in Clause 3 and because it is perfectly impossible to consider now what Clause 3 is to be. I do not believe it will be possible for the hon. Gentleman to frame an Amendment to Clause 3 which would have been in order if Clause 2 had remained and which would be out of order now that Clause 2 has been removed. The truth is that Clause 3 does not depend on Clause 2. It belongs to a wholly different branch of the subject. It has no intimate or logical relation with Clause 2, and to say that this House is so slow of comprehension and dull of apprehension as to be incapable of continuing the discussion on this Bill because it is stunned, astonished, and befogged by the change the Government announced forty-eight hours ago, is really to trespass on our common sense, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman is absolutely incapable of suggesting any course for the sole purpose of delaying this Bill. But had the right hon. Gentleman been of less 1659 weight and character in this House I should really almost have been betrayed into the supposition that there was some obstructive intention behind his action. I am happy to think that he has gradually built up a character which makes such a suspicion quite absurd. But I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that even the best of characters may be shattered by evil communication, and that it would conduce to his dignity and influence, as well as the dignity of the House at large, if we were now to proceed to discuss the Bill, with every detail and bearing of which I am certain all the Members of the House are familiar.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he had not much character to lose, and he confessed he was not afraid of what the Prime Minister had said. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the Motion as amazing and unreasonable. Let him say with all respect that he considered the conduct of this Bill by the Government as amazingly grotesque. He considered that the Government had played with the House of Commons. He had sat through these debates, and the thought that had constantly occurred to him was that this sort of thing would have been better if it had been acted at the Savoy Theatre than in the House of Commons. He would recommend the conduct of this Bill to Mr. Gilbert as affording the materials for a screaming farce. What was their position with regard to the conduct of the Bill? The Second Reading was taken four Parliamentary days after the First Reading, and the Committee stage was rushed before either the School Board or the London County Council had an opportunity of examining its details, in distinct defiance of the Prime Minister's own pledge.
This has nothing to do with the Motion before the Committee. I must remind the hon. Member that a Motion having been made to 1660 report progress, the debate must be strictly confined to that matter.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he was in a difficulty now. He had stated a fact which, by the ruling of the Chairman, he could not prove.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he would confine himself strictly to the question before the Committee, namely, Clause 2. The Government got Clause 1 through Committee on the understanding that the Act of last year was to apply to London. But there was one vital exception to that. The constitution of the Education Committee for London was to be left over for consideration until Clause 2 was reached. Therefore, now that Clause 2 was to be struck out, the Committee were thrown back on Clause 1, which was to give them an authority for London. But the Government had got Clause 1 under false pretences, because if it had not been for the existence of Clause 2, providing for the constitution of an Education Committee, hon. Members would have had something to say about the constitution of the Committee as set up under last year's Act. Now, Clause 2 was to be withdrawn, and Clause 1 was widened. That, he considered, was a dishonest mode of procedure. [Laughter.] He did not use the word in a bad sense, he hoped. [Laughter.] Very well, he would use it in any way they liked. He felt very strongly on this matter. London was not being properly treated in this matter. He asked the Committee to consider the kaleidoscopic changes it had undergone. The original form of the clause was as follows—The Education Committee of the local education authority shall be constituted in manner provided by the First Schedule to this Act.The First Schedule originally provided that there should be thirty-six persons who were members of the local education authority; thirty-one who were members of the Councils of the Metropolitan boroughs; and twenty-five appointed by the local education authority. That was how the schedule stood when the Committee passed Clause 1. Last Tuesday 1661 night, after nine o'clock, he was astonished beyond description by hearing the hon. Baronet say, on behalf of the Government, that Clause 2 of the Bill and the First Schedule were both to be dropped. The second edition of the clause would, the Parliamentary Secretary announced, make the Committee consist of seventy-nine members. The Government proposed to ask the London County Council to contribute forty-two members; there were to be twelve representatives of the boroughs and twenty-five outsiders The proposed constitution of the Committee stood in that condition until six o'clock last Wednesday, and when they resumed the discussion of Clause 2, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University got up and moved the third edition of the clause. In view of these facts, which must be in the memory of the Committee, he maintained that he was justified in saying that the House was being played with in this matter. They were entitled, on Clause 1, to discuss the constitution of the Committee, but that clause was passed under false pretences. They understood that they could discuss the constitution of the Committee on Clause 2, and that clause, having undergone a series of changes, now disappeared altogether. He would ask the Government why they did not bring their courage up to the sticking point and drop the thing altogether. He would suggest respect fully that they should try again, and take longer time over it, and then they would have something definite to discuss. They would then be thrown back on Section 17 of last year's Act, and the constitution of the Education Committee for London would be carried out by that Act. He ventured to say that this was the feeling of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister had just said that what was now proposed would give the County Council complete control over the appointment of the Committee. It would do a lot of other things which he ventured to say the Committee had not realised. He protested against the dropping of the clause now, because they could not constitute a Committee in London in the same way as in the counties. Clause 2 did give them a chance of getting a special Education Committee for London. They ought to have had an opportunity 1662 of discussing that when they determined to apply last year's Act to London. It was grossly unfair to the people of London that the House had been driven into the position of passing Clause 1 under false pretences. It meant a serious breach of faith. He, for one, would protest as long as he could against this after-thought of adapting Section 17 of last year's Act to London. He thought that the conduct of the Bill had been grotesque and unworthy of the Government or the House. If it were not a fact that London sent to this House a large majority of Tories, this would not have been proposed, but in the circumstances the Government did what they liked.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD (Hackney, N.)
rose to a point of order, and asked whether, if the Committee agreed to strike out Clause 2, it would be in order to bring up a new clause. He submitted that any Member could bring up a new clause dealing in a different manner with the constitution of the Committee.
I think if the Committee strikes out Clause 2, it intends thereby to say that the Act of last year is to be applicable. That is the view I held last Wednesday, as the hon. Member will recollect if he was here.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD
said that those who desired an alternative to Clause 2 would have to vote in the same lobby with those who desired to introduce the previsions of last year's Act. He submitted that the Committee would be stultified unless they could make their views heard in reference to some alternative.
said he was afraid that the working out of Parliamentary procedure often resulted in hon. Members of totally different views voting for the same Motion.
§ SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
said that of course it was not unnatural that there should be irritation caused by these changes made on the part of the Government. He had been long enough in Parliament to know that a similar thing had happened before and would happen again. So far 1663 as he was concerned he was thankful to feel that they had at length moved some of these miserable barbed wire entanglements which had raised one or two heated debates, and that they found themselves in smooth water at last. He was perfectly content with the situation as it now stood. The hon. Member opposite had made a very excited speech; in fact this Bill seemed almost too much for his brain. But, after all, he would remind the hon. Member that when he had been longer in Parliament he would find that great and even serious changes were very often made in Bills in Committee. It was as easy as possible for any partisan, in attacking the Government, to find any amount of cases of breach of faith and all those other terrible accusations that he had been bringing against the Government. After all they were dealing with a very tangled and difficult question, and they should take credit to themselves, on whichever side of the House they sat, that their object was to secure what would be best for the State and the purpose in view; and they ought to dismiss those very serious charges in which the hon. Member had indulged—especially the charge of breach of faith against the Prime Minister. He believed that the hon. Gentleman and himself were both anxious to deal with educational matters on very nearly the same lines, but there was one point on which he was at issue with the hon. Member. The hon. Gentleman indicated that he thought it was very hard indeed that under the new state of affairs the Committee would not have an opportunity of discussing the constitution of the Education Committee. Now, he felt most strongly that the more the formation of that Committee was left to the central authority, that the less it was left to the discussion of this Committee, the better the Committee would be and the more efficient and beneficial work it would do for education. He had all along struggled for the London County Council being made the one authority for education in the Metropolis. He had lately been attending many meetings of the Education Committee in his own county of Kent, and had been very keenly anxious to see how the Act was likely to work 1664 out. In Kent they divided the work into sub-divisions, and he had been astonished at the extreme facility with which the work had been performed. They had formed small sub-committees of 6, 7, and 8.
said he must remind the right hon. Gentleman that the merits of the Question were not now under discussion. The only Question before the Committee was whether they should report progress or not.
§ SIR W. HART DYKE
said he was sorry he had been led away by the remarks of the hon. Member for Camberwell in regard to the danger of not allowing the Committee to discuss the formation of the Education Committee. Under the circumstances, he did not think it would be advantageous to report progress, and for this reason, that he did not think that there was a single Member who was not clearly and positively aware of what the new position was. Clause 2 had been criticised and condemned again and again on both sides of the House. But what about his right hon. friend who moved to report progress? Did he not understand the new state of things? And, if not, why did he put down an Amendment on the Order Paper to leave out Clause 2 and insert Section 17 of the principal Act? That was the very proposal of the Government. Therefore, his right hon. friend was placed in this dilemma—either that in making his Motion to report progress he was obstructive in his tactics, or that he had put on the Order Paper an Amendment the effect of which he had not studied.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
said that the object of the Motion was to know distinctly where the Government was at the present moment. In his first explanation the right hon. the Prime Minister said that the compromise was nowhere; but he thought the compromise was where the Government was. They did not know exactly where they were. The Bill had been under discussion for three days, and they had had three different proposals. They started with the Borough Councils each being represented by one member; these were 1665 cut down to twelve by the grouping process, which nobody understood—not even His Majesty's Government—and there was nobody even to defend it. Now the final representation of the Government's views on the subject—as he understood the Prime Minister—was practically to put the London County Council in the same position as the County Councils in the country.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
Then it was not proposed that the London County Council should have the same powers even now as the County Councils in the country?
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said that the Prime Minister had given a most important explanation, but if that was all that he intended his explanation was incomplete. The London County Council was not in the position which the County Councils in the country were in, for although the nomination of the Committee was in the hands of the London County Council, that Committee was deprived of all its powers by Clause 3. He did not despair, after what had happened, of the Government altering their mind again, for they did not seem to have the power of sticking to anything except office. He was not complaining. It was military tactics according to the latest development. It was Boer tactics to stick to your kopje; and one kopje was just as another. The Prime Minister said that one principle was just as good as another. One kopje was just as another so long as they had got cover and forage. He was, therefore, very glad of that explanation from the Prime Minister. With these principles there was no real necessity why they should not get something in the shape of a Bill after all. The Prime Minister said there was no principle involved—he would quote the hon. Gentleman's exact words—It was not a matter of principle one way or the other.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
What is the principle? It seemed to him that the principle was just as elusive as De Wet, because on Clause 1, they thought that was the principle of the Bill; but the Prime Minister said, "No, we go further and chase the principle into Clause 2."
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not like to interrupt the hon. Gentleman especially as he is affording the Committee so much entertainment, but let him have his entertainment upon somebody else than upon me. When the hon. Gentleman wants to invent a speech and put it into somebody's mouth, do not let him choose me, that is all. I never said anything like that.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said he simply quoted the exact words of the Prime Minister. It was perfectly clear that, after a good deal of scouting, the principle of Clause 2 was chased into the illimitable veldt of the schedule. They all thought they had surrounded it with the barbed wire entanglements spoken of by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and had captured it. He supposed they would get it at some time or another; but at the present moment, after the Prime Minister's speech, there was really no particular principle in the Bill at all. He rather agreed with the Prime Minister. There was a very extraordinary statement as to why the right hon. Gentleman was abandoning his position on this particular kopje. The right hon. Gentleman said he had no support; his reserves had retired, and therefore he felt that he had been outflanked by the hon. Member for Limehouse and others, and that he did not consider he had sufficient support to face the attack. What was desirable to be known was, what was the Prime Minister's idea of support? No support! The right hon. Gentleman had the support of the majority of the London Members. Did the right hon. Gentleman consider that the majority of the London Members represented the views of London? Evidently he did not, because the majority of the London Members supported him on this particular clause. The Prime Minister had come to the conclusion that they did not represent London and that was exactly the conclusion to which his friends had come. 1667 He asked the right hon. Gentleman to carry the position a little further. He was still on Clause 2.
If the hon. Gentleman desires to discuss the substance of the clause, the Motion to report progress had better be withdrawn, otherwise the debate would be very limited. It is obviously difficult for the hon. Member to confine himself to the Motion before the Committee.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said he did not think the Committee was in a position to discuss anything, and therefore he was supporting the Motion to report progress. The Government had escaped from the battlefield and they did not know where their Army was. He was discussing the question of progress from the point of view of the Government supporters. The Government had come to the conclusion that, for one reason or another, learned Gentlemen sitting behind them did not represent London, so they abandoned this clause. If they did not represent London whom did they represent at all on this Bill?
Not by the widest stretch of the imagination can the hon. Member's observations be held relevant to the Motion before the Committee. I ask the hon. Gentleman to confine himself strictly to the question of adjournment.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said he would submit that the Government ought to accept the Motion in order that they might reconsider the whole position. It was perfectly clear that the Government were not sure of their own position. They ought not only to reconsider Clause 2, but the whole position. The Bill had been changed three times in Committee on one clause. Wednesday last was devoted to one Amendment to the clause, and they were to be asked to devote that day to the abandonment of the entire clause. It was perfectly clear that the Bill had not the support of London. He did not believe that even the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich would support it. Therefore, he submitted that there was a good case 1668 for adjourning the discussion in order to afford the Government an opportunity of reconsidering their position.
§ MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)
said he thought the hon. Member for North Camberwell would regret some of the epithets he had used in his speech, which was totally incomprehensible. The present proposal of the Government would go far towards meeting the objections which had been urged from the other side of the House, by no one more repeatedly than by the hon. Member himself. The hon. Member said that last week's proceedings partook of the nature of comic opera; but the hon. Member had a very considerable part in those comic proceedings. He hoped the Committee would proceed to the discussion of the Bill without unreasonable delay; and try and amend it in any manner which they might deem conducive to the object in view.
§ MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
said the ruling which had been given from the Chair would deprive the Committee of any opportunity of carrying out modifications of Section 17 of the Act of last year. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dartford, in his interesting contribution to the debate, dwelt on the fact that Clause 17 was amply discussed last session; but it was discussed in connection with education in the country, not in London. Clause 1 of the present Bill was passed on the definite understanding that they should have an opportunity of discussing, at a later stage of the Bill, modifications of Section 17 of the Act of last year. He would put it to the First Lord of the Treasury, whose fairness of mind on such matters was never at fault, whether the Committee was now in the position which the right hon. Gentleman contemplated when he asked the Committee to accept Clause 1. By the withdrawal of Clause 2 the Committee would be deprived of any opportunity of discussing the particular application of Section 17 of last year's Act to the circumstances of London, which the right hon. Gentleman distinctly wished the House to have a chance of dealing with. No consideration pointed more clearly to the claim of the Committee to have the question adjourned than the necessity for modifying Section 1669 17. The Chairman had ruled most distinctly, and of course the Committee would accept that ruling, that the Committee would be precluded by the elimination of Clause 2 from discussing any modifications of Section 17 in its application to London. That was a peculiar position which was almost unconstitutional in the conduct of Bills through Parliament. He would challenge the Prime Minister to this issue—if Clause 2 were eliminated the Committee would be deprived of an opportunity which the right hon. Gentleman distinctly said it should have. The right hon. Gentleman would, therefore, be obtaining an entirely new set of principles under false pretences; and in such a situation it was the duty of the right hon. Gentleman to frankly withdraw the Bill, and present the Committee with a clear and logical set of proposals to be discussed ab initio. He thought that a Motion for the adjournment of the debate was never more justly made than on the present occasion.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said said that hon. Gentlemen opposite appeared to him to be not only unreasonable, but ill-advised. What would happen if the Motion were carried? Supply would be taken, and the entire Front Opposition Bench would leave the House, and Supply would be discussed by two or three hon. Members. As one of those who voted in the minority in the division on Clause 2 the other night, he welcomed the openness to conviction which the Government had now shown. He was extremely pleased that the Government had now followed the views of the minority; although that might be a little hard on the majority who supported them. He had heard Members of that majority, with, he thought, reasonable irritation, saying they liked a Minister who knew his own mind. He would ask the Secretary to the Board of Education where he had left those sheep in the wilderness. They supported the clause; were they now to be expected to support its abandonment. He confessed he did not know what had occurred; but it was quite clear that they were applying the Act of last year to London with modifications; and he took it that it was perfectly open to introduce such modifications either by new clauses or by Amendments to Amendments. 1670 He would remind the Committee that they could not consider the question of postponing Clause 2 until they had disposed of the Amendments. A fragment of Clause 2 was before the Committee; and the entire clause should be before the Committee before it could be either postponed or abandoned. He thought the Committee were prepared to proceed with the discussion of the Bill. Surely the hon. Member for North Camberwell, who was full of the details of the measure, would not feel himself incompetent to deal with what would follow if Clause 2 were abandoned.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington W.)
said that the Chairman had stated that if the present Motion were disposed of, it would be possible to substitute a broader Motion, on which the merits of the question might be discussed. He would strongly press that course on the Government. The Committee were really in the greatest difficulty in proceeding at the present moment. Assuming that Clause 2 was disposed of, they would commence Clause 3; but Clause 3 was constructed with a view to Clause 2, and was the complement of it. Clause 3 absolutely depended on Clause 2; and the Committee would be in a great difficulty in considering Clause 3 without Clause 2. He would, therefore, ask the Prime Minister, if this Motion were withdrawn, would he submit a broader Motion in order to enable them to discuss the position that would be established by the withdrawal of Clause 2. The position into which the Government had brought the Committee rendered their previous debates ridiculous; and he thought the Government ought to do something to put the debate in order.
§ SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)
said he would appeal to the Committee not to waste any more time. It was quite clear that the Motion was premature, because Clause 2 was still before the Committee. There were a number of Amendments to Clause 2, which, he supposed, could be moved. After they had been disposed of, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education would move that Clause 2 be omitted, and the whole conduct of the Government could then be discussed. After that the Committee could proceed with Clause 3, which did not in any way 1671 depend on Clause 2. A great many hon. Members had urged the Government to drop Clause 2; and that course had now been adopted.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said he looked at the facts before the House. A few days ago they were discussing Clause 2, and the Government were exceedingly anxious that Clause 2 should be passed. Now they asked that Clause 2 should be withdrawn. He, however, understood that that could not be done. The Government would move that Clause 2 should be withdrawn and hon. Gentlemen who were opposed to the Clause would oppose that, and the hon. Member for Camberwell would come
§ down and make one of the many valuable speeches he had made in this debate against it. Was that the way in which an afternoon ought to be spent? When the Government made a declaration that they ought to withdraw Clause 2, the hon. Member for Camberwell should have sufficient time to consider what his attitude should be. There was other business on the Paper to which the House might go, and therefore he applied to the Government to accede to the Motion of the right hon. Member to report progress.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 111; Noes, 234. (Division List No. 98.)1673
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Rose, Charles Day|
|Black, Alexander William||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Runciman, Walter|
|Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Russell, T. W.|
|Bryce, Right Hon. James||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Burt, Thomas||Kearley, Hudson E.||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Labouchere, Henry||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Caldwell, James||Lambert, George||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Cameron, Robert||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cremer, William Randal||Leng, Sir John||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Crombie, John William||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardign||Lough, Thomas||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Kenna, Reginald||Toulmin, George|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Edwards, Frank||Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe||Wallace, Robert|
|Elibank, Master of||Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Ellis, John Edward||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Emmott, Alfred||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose||Wason, E. (Clackmannan)|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Norman, Henry||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Weir, James Galloway|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nussey, Thomas Willans||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Whiteley, G. (York, W. R.)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Palmer, G. Wm. (Reading)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Partington, Oswald||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Paulton, James Mellor||Williams, O. (Merioneth)|
|Grant, Corrie||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick||Perks, Robert William||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Priestley, Arthur|
|Harwood, George||Rea, Russell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Reckitt, Harold James||Mr. Herbert Gladstone|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)||and Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Rigg, Richard|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Baird, John George Alexander|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Baldwin, Alfred|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Austin, Sir John||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bailey, James (Walworth)||Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Graham, Henry Robert||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Bigwood, James||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley|
|Bill, Charles||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Bond, Edward||Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Grenfell, William Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bowles, Col. H. F. (Middx.)||Gunter, Sir Robert||Pryce Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis||Hain, Edward||Purvis, Robert|
|Brassey, Albert||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Pym, C. Guy|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashfd||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Brown, Sir Alx. H. (Shropsh.)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Rankin, Sir James|
|Bull, William James||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Healy, Timothy Michael||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Butcher, John George||Heaton, John Henniker||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Helder, Augustus||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Renwick, George|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Hobhouse, Rt. Hn. H. (Som'rs't E.||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas Thomson|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Robertson, H. (Hackney)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Chapman, Edward||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Charrington, Spencer||Johnstone, Heywood||Rutherford, John (Lancashire|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Coddington, Sir William||Kerr, John||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Keswick, William||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Kimber, Henry||Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)||Knowles, Lees||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks)|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. N. R.||Spear, John Ward|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.|
|Denny, Colonel||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Stock, James Henry|
|Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tr. Haml'ts||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Dickson-Poynder Sir John P.||Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Macdona, John Cumming||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Maconochie, A. W.||Tomlinson, Sir Win. Edw. M.|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Malcolm, Ian||Valentia, Viscount|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Welby, Lt,-Col A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Wellby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Flower, Ernest||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Williams, Rt. Hn. J. Powel (Birm.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mount, William Arthur||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Forster, Henry William||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Fyler, John Arthur||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wolff, Gustay William|
|Garfit, William||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond.||Myers, William Henry||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans||Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Gordon, Maj Evans (Tr. H'ml'ts||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Sir Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
§ Question again proposed, "That those words, as amended, he there inserted."
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir WILLIAM ANSON () Oxford University
I wish, after what has occurred, to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
said there was one point which he hoped his hon. friend would insist on discussing, viz., the representation of women on the new authority. By the withdrawal of Clause 2 the London County Council would be put in the same position as other County Councils, whereas there were unquestionably certain respects in which differences should be made. Unless the Committee discussed this question before the withdrawal of the clause there would be no opportunity of raising it; he therefore hoped the matter would be now debated, in order that the views of the Government might be ascertained.
§ MR. LOUGH
moved to insert after "Act" in the proposed Amendment the following "with such number not exceeding one-third of the whole Committee of whom not less than six shall be women and who." By the proposals of the Government the London County Council were to be left to constitute its Committee as all other County Councils had done. But most County Councils had appointed only one woman on their Committees, or, at most, two, so that there was no surety that women would be adequately represented on the new authority unless the Bill specially provided for it. On the present School Board there were eight or nine women members, and ever since 1870 there had been a distinguished band of women who had rendered most excellent service to the cause of education in London. Section 17 of the Act of 1902 would not ensure continuity in that respect, as one woman would satisfy the requirements of the clause. The Committee had been rushed into a most unsatisfactory position in this matter. By a consequential Amendment he proposed to omit the words "and twenty-five," leaving it to the County Council to fix the number 1676 of outsiders to be appointed, subject only to the condition that the number should not exceed one-third of the Committee.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, as amended—
After the first word 'Act,' to insert the words 'with such number not exceeding one-third of the whole Committee of whom not less than six shall be women and who.'"—(Mr. Lough.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I hope the hon. Member and others will not persist in discussing this question. I do not think it is sound procedure or one which it is to the dignity of the Committee to debate. I am not going into the details of the question, but I would remind the Committee that the London County Council will be in the same position as all other County Councils as regards fixing the number of women that should be appointed, and I have no reason to believe that they will fail in their duty to the cause of education or deprive themselves of the services of an adequate number of the accomplished ladies, of whom the hon. Member has spoken in terms not the least too strong. But we are only wasting time by discussing a clause which is not to be proceeded with. I would ask the hon. Member to withdraw his Amendment, and the Committee either to allow my hon. friend to withdraw his, or to come to a decision on the Amendment as a whole. Do not let us go on discussing Amendments to Amendments in endless debate which cannot possibly bear any fruit to the benefit of the Bill. I hope the hon. Member will see the reasonableness of my request and withdraw.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
thought that in the interests of London some form of Clause 2 would be preferable to Section 17 of last year's Act, and if the Government would look into the matter they would come to the same conclusion.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said that that, at any rate, was his opinion, because Section 17 of the Act of 1902 would have to be accepted with all its faults; 1677 they could not amend a single comma. He desired to discuss Clause 2, not from any wish to obstruct, but simply with a view to making it a good clause. The Prime Minister was probably correct in thinking that the London County Council would appoint a sufficient number of women. The present Council certainly would, but that body would not last for ever, and this was not a matter which should be left to the chances of an election. The second part of the Amendment—the omission of the "twenty-five"—was even more important, because the County Council would probably do the right thing with regard to women. The Government insisted, so far as the clause had gone, that on the Education Committee there should be twelve borough councillors, and that the County Council should have a majority. If there were to be twenty-five outsiders and five members of the School Board, it would mean that the County Council would have to appoint at least forty-three of their own members. He held that the Council could not spare so many for the work; therefore, it was necessary that they should be given a discretion as to the number of outsiders to be appointed.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD
pointed out that the first clause was subject to modifications made in the schedule. The second schedule set out modifications of the principal Act. He suggested that the matters left to be dealt with in reference to Clause 1 would be in order on the second schedule where modifications might be introduced. This course would very much shorten the discussions on Clause 2. There was one modification which he wished to suggest, viz., that the County Council should appoint the whole of the Committee, but should appoint twenty-nine of them from the boroughs. That was a modification which he should like the Committee to discuss. He wished to know whether that course would be in order when they reached the schedule which dealt with modifications of the principal Act.
There is some difficulty in construing what the word "modification" means. If the modification is an entire reversal of the Act of 1678 1902 it cannot come under "modification." The modifications of Schedule 2 depend upon Clause 4. I am not prepared now to decide whether a matter which I have not yet seen is a modification; if it is a complete reversal of the spirit of the Act of 1902 it cannot be a modification. I should, however, imagine that there are some slight changes which might be made.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD
asked if the present Amendment could be discussed as a modification to the principal Act.
The question resolves itself into whether six is a modification of one. Under the Act they are bound to put one on, but is it a modification to say that they shall put six? That is a matter I shall have to take a little more time to consider.
§ MR. BRYCE
called attention to the provision with regard to the supernumerary members, to which they attached great importance, because they thought such members would very much aid the new Committee. He wished to know if it would be in order to make a proposal to put on supernumerary members in addition to the ordinary members of the Committee.
§ MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W.R., Elland)
said this was an extremely serious question, and he could not help thinking that if the Government would accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Islington it would be the easiest way out of the dilemma. This was the only place where they could raise this question, and it would permit the Government to bring forward modifications which would provide for more women representatives.
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said ample provision was made by the Act of 1902, and there was no reason to suppose that the London County Council would be less attentive to the importance of placing women on the Committee than other County Councils. Already there were Councils which had elected five, four, three, and two women, the cases in which one woman only had been appointed were very 1679 few in counties. The needs of London would be very much greater than in the Councils which had already come before the Board of Education. He could not believe that the London County Council would fail to place an adequate number of women upon the Committee.
§ MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
said that in order to prevent a narrow interpretation being placed upon the term "women" the House should modify the term by adopting a number like six. He thought it would be a proper addition to the schedule.
§ MR. MIDDLEMORE (Birmingham, N.)
said he was glad to find himself in agreement with the Government upon this point. He had been opposing the Government in regard to certain proposals because he had been fighting for the absolute freedom of the County Council. Now the hon. Member for Islington, as soon as they had secured what they had all been longing for, wished to impose fresh conditions. He regretted this Amendment, for they were now fighting for a very fair principle which everybody could understand, viz., the freedom of the local education authority, and for that principle he was prepared to vote.
§ MR. HUMPHREYS-OWEN (Montgomeryshire)
thought that when the County Council came to form their Committee their choice would fall upon the more conspicuous men on their Council, whose names would be more favourably received, and in that way the claims of the women would be gradually overpowered. He thought it would be well to declare that the Council must appoint six women, and then they might exercise their full choice among the men.
§ MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N.)
hoped the hon. Member for Islington would not press this question to a division, because by so doing he would only do injury to his own cause. He was quite as keen as the hon. Member opposite about seeing women represented on the Education Committee, and he appealed to the Government to leave this question in a 1680 satisfactory condition. The questions he wished to see dealt with were the supernumerary members, the women, and the list of organisations from whom persons might be selected. When upon the Bill of last year he voted in favour of women finding a place, he never anticipated that the selection of one woman would satisfy that Act. When he found that a scheme with one woman representative was accepted by the Board of Education he could not understand it. He was not prepared to have the question of the representation of women in that condition for London, and he was not willing either to leave it to chance or to the interpretation of the Board of Education. He hoped the Prime Minister would be able to suggest some means by which this question could be fairly dealt with. He appealed to the Prime Minister to lend a hand in that work. It was true that under the parent Act they would have the power of co-opting a certain number of the members of the School Board, but that was not satisfactory, for many of the County Councils had only co-opted the chairman of the Board. That would not be sufficient in London. An obligation should be imposed on the County Council to include in the membership a large proportion. It would be futile to spend the afternoon debating a clause which was subsequently to be withdrawn. He asked whether the Government could by a modification of the schedule or by a new clause moved in Committee, or on he Report stage, give the House an opportunity of dealing with this matter.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am certainly not in a position to give the hon. Gentlemen the pledge they desire, for I do not know what opportunities there may or may not be legitimately at later stages of the discussion. I venture to tell the Committee very respectfully that they are going on the wrong track. The 1681 original idea of the Government, no doubt, was that the Committee should be more or less a statutory Committee, and that it should in that respect differ from other Education Committees throughout the country. If it was a statutory Committee I confess that it might be right to fix the number of women, and I think it would also be right to fix the number of representatives of Borough Councils on the Committee. I believe the London County Council would probably select some gentlemen qualified to represent the opinions of the Borough Councils, but we have decided that we shall not force them. The plan that we are now going on is that the County Council is competent to appoint its own Committee, with the aid and advice of the Education Department, and I feel that if the House is again going to start an elaborate description of what it is to be, it will get into the difficulty which we were in on Tuesday and Wednesday last. Hon. Gentlemen perhaps thought that the discussion then resulted from the fact that the Government's plan was bad. I do not wish to enter into controversy now on the matter, but I may be allowed to say that was not the reason. The reason is that if you are going in this House to determine the numbers of a Committee of this kind, opinion is not organised; there are an enormous number of gentlemen each with his own scheme, and the House is apt to get adrift in one scheme after another. We have found after prolonged experience the futility of the attempt to lay down in this Bill precisely what the constitution of the Committee of the London County Council is to be. The House had better take the other course which, I am convinced, in practice would not have the effect of depriving education in London either of the services of women, the representatives of the Borough Councils, or any other interest that ought to be represented. That is a clear-cut and perfectly logical position, and I think it would be a mistake if we now travelled again into the wilderness of difficult detail. I would, therefore, beg the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his Amendment, and let us proceed to the discussion of the remainder of the Bill.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
agreed with the general principle laid down by the 1682 Leader of the House, but he thought, in this case, there was a special reason for dealing with the question of the inclusion of women now. He desired to point out that, on the London School Board, there had always been a considerable number of women who had done most admirable work. There were 100,000 girls and infants in the London Board schools, and it seemed to him that it was absolutely essential that there should be women on the central body. This was a matter of much greater importance than borough representation, and he thought they ought to fix the minimum number of women to be placed on the central authority. He trusted his hon. friend would take a division on this, in order to give the Committee an opportunity of expressing an opinion regarding it.
said that the question could be raised on the schedule if the present Amendment were not pressed.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment, as amended, by leave, withdrawn.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
asked whether the Government would, on the schedule, accept an Amendment, altering the provisions of Section 17 of the principal Act, so as to make the meetings of the Education Committee public meetings.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I want to be quite honest with the House in this matter. It is not for me to decide what modifications to the schedule may be in order. But, frankly, I wish to discourage, as much as I can, any modifications of the parent Act in dealing with the application of that Act to London. That being my general view, we will get into an illimitable deep if we attempt to discuss the whole Act on the schedule, and we will spend an intolerable amount of time.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he understood the Prime Minister would be prepared to receive suggestions on this question. He hoped the Committee 1683 would have an opportunity, when discussing one of the schedules, of making some recommendations as to the conduct of the meetings of the Committee. He asked whether it would be in order to move an Amendment on Schedule 2.
Under the original Act, I take it, the Education Committee would have the power to decide for themselves whether their proceedings should be in public or in secret. When the hon. Member proceeds, by his Amendment, to deprive them of that power, that is a modification clearly; and if it be a modification, I suppose it can be brought up in the consideration of the Schedule.
§ Proposed Amendment, as amended, by leave, withdrawn.
§ There being no response—
§ MR. YOXALL
said that for several days past he had had an Amendment on the Order Paper to leave out Clause 2. He did not know whether that notice on the Paper took precedence of the Motion of the Minister in charge of the Bill, but if so he begged now to move it. Prom the outset of these debates he had said that Clause 2 was a great mistake. The Clause was now dead; the Government had killed it; and he had now very much pleasure in moving that it be deleted from the Bill.
§ MR. STUART SAMUEL (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)
said he had listened with the greatest attention to all the arguments adduced by hon. Members opposite, by his own colleagues in the representation of London, and his other hon. friends on that side of the House, but he did not feel in the slightest degree weakened in his opinion as to the absolute justice of the claim of the Borough Councils to have representation on the central Education Committee. However, he did not see how they could reasonably ask the 1684 Government to take any other attitude in regard to this clause than they had done that day. The Government had shown their belief in the true principles of local government, and had recognised in the Bill, as originally introduced, that there were two authorities having jurisdiction in the same area; but he acknowledged that a house divided against itself was sure to fall, and that the Government were justified in the course they had taken. While the overwhelming majority of the London Members were in favour of the inclusion in the Education Committee of representatives of the Borough Councils, the responsibility for that not being carried out rested not with the Government but with other Gentlemen on the Government side of the House more than with Gentlemen on the Opposition side, and he was absolutely confident that they would regret their action in the days to come. Hon. Members from the provinces had, in fact, not taken the trouble to thoroughly understand the enormous difficulties of the educational problem in London.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he had received a communication from the Conservative Association of Camberwell and Peckham, stating that that Association had passed a resolution expressing regret that the Government intended to reduce the representation of the Borough Councils on the Education Committee, objecting altogether to the proposed system of grouping, and urging the Government to restore the original representation given to the Borough Councils. He supposed it would be the last time he would be ever called upon to read such a resolution to the House. As to Clause 2, he objected to its being dropped, because that would drive the Committee back upon Section 17 of last year's Act. He wanted Clause 2 to stand and be converted into a good clause. He was profoundly convinced that Section 17 of last year's Act was not applicable to London, and it would raise administrative difficulties. By that section, County Councils had to prepare a scheme to provide for the appointment by the County Council of a Committee, the majority of which should be members of the Council, unless, in the case of 1685 agricultural counties, the Councils should otherwise determine. That was to meet the geographical difficulty of rural areas; but the essence of the section was that in every town, at any rate, the majority of the Education Committee must be members of the Council. He dared say that the present County Council would always agree to a majority of the Committee being composed of its own members, but, conceivably, another Council might arise to whom there would be a temptation to appoint a majority of outsiders on the Committee. That, he insisted, would be disastrous to London, for London education would then be managed by people who were not responsible to the ratepayers. The scheme, according to last year's Act, must provide for the appointment by the Council on the nomination or recommendation, where it appeared to be desirable, of representatives of other bodies, including associations of voluntary schools, of persons of experience in education, and acquainted with the needs and the various kinds of schools required in the area. He wished to know from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether, under Sub-section 3 (b) of Section 17, the London County Council would be compelled to select "persons experienced in education, and acquainted with the needs and the various kinds of schools required in the area" to serve on the Committee from the ranks of the outsiders, or whether they could choose them from their own members, if such persons were on the Councils?
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said it was perfectly easy in a properly constructed scheme to meet the difficulty. He rather thought that at first the Councils would appoint on the Committee such of their own members as possessed the necessary experience. But Councils might not always possess persons qualified under the Act, and the Board of Education had endeavoured to meet the difficulty by suggesting to the County Councils that certain sorts of experience and acquaintance with the schools should always be represented on the Committee, whether by members of the Councils or by outsiders.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said there was another difficulty in regard to Section 17 of last year's Act. Schemes were to be prepared by the County Council to be afterwards approved by the Board of Education. Would it be competent for the London County Council to prepare a scheme under which fifty-nine persons, directly elected, one from each of the County Council divisions, should form the Committee? If not, why not? Would not the County Council be in a position to say that they would allow the Technical Education Board to continue for the control of the higher education, but that for elementary education they would permit a scheme under which one person would be elected from each of the County Council divisions, specifically for the purpose of controlling elementary education. There was another matter which would constitute a real administrative difficulty. Sub-section 7 of Section 17 provided that if a scheme had not been made within twelve months after the passing of the Act and approved by the Board of Education, that the Board might make a provisional order for the purposes for which such a scheme might be made. The Act was passed on 19th December, 1902, and he should be glad to know if the Board of Education would be in a position to say to the County Council on the 19th of December, 1903, "You have not got your scheme ready; you must accept this scheme." That would be the result of adopting, as it stood, Section 17 of the Act which they were told did not require to be modified in its application to London. Could the Board of Education thrust down the throats of Londoners a scheme in the manner he suggested?
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said the right hon. Gentleman did not appreciate the effect of certain proposals in that schedule, which would keep alive the date to which he referred. Again, under the parent Act any urban district or municipal borough in one case of over 10,000 inhabitants, and in the other of 1687 over 20,000, could have a separate Committee for elementary education. If the Act was to be applied to London, he wished to know whether every urban district with a population of over 20,000 would be entitled to assist on a Committee for elementary education appointed by itself. It was very desirable in the interest of wise administration that they should know exactly where they where; and he thought he was entitled to an answer to the question he had put to the Government.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said that answering the last question first, he thought the fears which the hon. Member had expressed were entirely groundless. With regard to the question whether it would be competent for the London County Council to appoint a Committee dealing with elementary education selected from the boroughs [Dr. MACNAMARA: Elected ad hoc] and a Committee dealing with secondary and higher education which should be practically equivalent to the existing Technical Education Committee, that he had to say would be impossible; because the Board of Education were bound to see that the Committee could co-ordinate the various forms of education. With regard to the question whether the Board of Education could force upon the London County Council in the course of seven months a scheme of its own if the London County Council had not framed a scheme, he said he would have to look into the Act before he could give an answer. He ventured, however, to deprecate a form of argument which always went on the hypothesis that every authority which had duties under the Act was going to make as great a fool of itself as possible. Could anyone conceive the Board of Education, which had certainly not shown any excessive desire to impose its own views on reluctant authorities, entering upon a conflict with the London County Council, with the London Members, and with the House of Commons, in order to force a scheme on the Council hurriedly in anticipation of the decision at which that body would be likely to arrive? Neither the Board of Education nor the London County Council were composed of lunatics at large. These great bodies 1688 ought no doubt to be guarded against the mistakes into which they were likely to fall, but surely it need not be supposed that they were going to fall into every kind of error in the discharge of the public duties which this House had imposed upon them; or would not be likely to fulfil their obligations to those who elected them. He thought the fears of the hon. Gentleman were groundless; and he was convinced that if they allowed Section 17 to work in its own way, a very good scheme would result. No doubt they were anxious at one time to give a fixed statutory position to the Borough Councils, because the boroughs themselves might have been of opinion that their interests could not be otherwise safeguarded. They had abandoned that; and he hoped hon. Members would not strain their ingenuity in suggesting possible follies which the London County Council, or the Board of Education, or both, might commit. He ventured to suggest that the Committee might allow that branch of the discussion to now close.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said he did not think the right hon. Gentleman quite appreciated the position of his hon. friend. It was not a question whether the London County Council would commit this or that folly; but he was afraid a very great difficulty would arise in the administration of the Act, and that the County Council would find itself in a very difficult position indeed. He sympathised very much with the remarks which fell from the hon. Member for Limehouse. He thought the hon. Member and other hon. Members who agreed with him had been very badly treated by the Government, and he could only say that the hon. Member showed great Christian forbearance. The First Lord of the Treasury said, with regard to the choppings and changes in the Bill, that the Government had consulted those specially interested in the question. As far, however, as he was able to ascertain, the Government only consulted a limited number of London Members, and did not consult the County Council or the School Board before they brought in the Bill. He, therefore, did not wonder that they came to grief in the matter. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that the Government were now out of the 1689 breakers and in smooth water; but he wished to assure the right hon. Gentleman that they, on that side, had just as much objection to the grotesque proposals which remained in the Bill as they had to Clause 2, and they would still continue to give it their most strenuous opposition. The right hon. Gentleman said that Clause 2 and Clause 3 were not in any way interdependable. So far as he could see, they were absolutely interdependable. The original scheme of the Government was that the Borough Councils and the County Council should be linked together on the Statutory Committee. That link had now disappeared. He was heartily glad that the Government had seen their way clear to drop Clause 2, but they ought to propose something in the nature of a workable clause, so as to avoid difficulty and friction in administration.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD
said he was one of those who viewed with very great regret the disappearance of Clause 2. He was convinced that the Government were right in the beginning; and that his hon. friends who agreed with him were right now, though doubtless they would be in a small minority. Nothing he had heard had shaken that conviction. It seemed so reasonable that he should not be surprised if the County Council did approve of the scheme provided that there should be twenty-nine people on the Education Committee, each of whom should be selected by one of the boroughs. That seemed to be essential to the Bill. The essential principle of the Bill was that London was to have a central authority, the County Council, and that round that central authority there should be local authorities who were to have the local management. It seemed absolutely essential to the smooth working of the Bill that these boroughs should have a man who could speak with the voice of the local authority in the central authority, and who in the borough could speak with the voice of the central authority.
§ MR. ALBAN GIBBS (London)
expressed his regret at the fact that the right hon. Gentleman had not seen his way to accept the proposal submitted 1690 to him. He did not think there had ever been a case in which the City had not been given exceptional representation. And having regard to the great amount they contributed to the rates, and the interest they took in education, they were entitled to exceptional representation. He had intended to move that the City be the central authority for its own district, but the forms of the House had prevented his doing so; therefore, he hoped the Government would consider this matter and introduce some clause to that effect. The City did not desire to get rid of the responsibility for education or the rates they paid in respect of it, but they thought their interest entitled them to some exceptional representation, and he hoped their wishes might be met in some degree.
§ MR. LOUGH
thought the Government were entitled to be congratulated on the way in which they had treated this clause. He was quite sure if the authority were built up in accordance with the new plan rather than the old it would be a good thing. The Prime Minister had said he would discourage anything which disparaged the Act of 1902, but there would have to be adjustments to make it suit London. When they came to Clause 3 that would easily be seen. He applied to the Prime Minister not to drop the work he had commenced, and that having adopted the principle he would be guided a little by public opinion in London. But the right hon. Gentleman should be careful if he followed the policy which recommended him to drop this clause because he would have to follow it out in many other ways. The County Council of London was not like any other body in the country, and there were no Councils in the country like the Borough Councils, yet this Act of 1902 was to be applied to London.
§ MR. BURDETT-COUTTS (Westminster)
said he desired to enter a strong protest against the way in which the Government had dealt with the Borough Councils in this matter. The Government, he complained, had not shown sufficient courage. He had been in the House of Commons for eighteen years, and had 1691 never witnessed so humiliating a surrender on the part of a Government of a policy put forward to the House. Those who supported the Government on the Second Reading of this Bill were placed in a very unpleasant position by the action of the Government, and he thought the Government had no right to place even a section of their supporters in such a position. He had supported the Borough Council element in the Second Reading not only because that policy commended itself to him, but also because he was delighted to render what assistance he could to his Party, but he never dreamt that the Government were going to leave him in the ditch. His complaint was that the Government had by their action enormously strengthened and encouraged the Members of the County Council to become something in the nature of political inspectors. To him there always appeared to be a great danger of that; they had belittled—almost insulted—Borough Councils; and, lastly, they had left the question of London education largely in the hands of the National Union of Teachers, at a word from whom the London County Council in the early part of the year abandoned its claims to municipal dignity in regard to education and consented to be placed in a position inferior to that of every other County Council in the country. Was it to be supposed that the body which could so lead the County Council by the nose would not practically control the appointment of the Education Committee? That the National Union of Teachers worked for political ends was obvious from the speeches at the so-called education, but really political, demonstration on Saturday, and it was in obedience to such political clamour the Government had surrendered their policy. By their action the Government had given the impression of weakness and vacillation, but that impression might yet be removed if they would adhere to the remnant of their attenuated Bill, and yield no further in the matter of the Borough Councils.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
My hon. friend seems to be distressed by attacks on the Government which were made by gentlemen who took part in the demonstration in Hyde Park. I am quite sure that those gentlemen made able and eloquent speeches against their political opponents, 1692 as they were entitled to do. But, if I may speak my mind quite frankly, it is not the speeches of political opponents to which I object; I sometimes find more to complain of in speeches made by political friends. My hon. friend has politely accused the Government of extreme vacillation and of extreme weakness. He has also declared that we have abandoned our friends in London municipal life and surrendered ourselves to our municipal enemies. What are the facts of the case? In the first place, let me point out to my hon. friend that no change has been made in the Bill which in any way contravenes the fundamental principles of policy which I laid down in my speech on the Second Reading. The change proposed this afternoon is certainly an important change—I do not in the least wish to minimise it—but it is a change in detail, and that is not a new view of detail; it is a view which I publicly expressed on the Second Reading. The complaint of my hon. friend is that we did not retain the original proposal of thirty-one representatives of the Borough Councils on the new central authority. If he has listened to the debates, he must know perfectly well that that was impossible. It was a policy which I believe we could not have carried even if the Opposition abstained altogether from speaking and voting on the question. I do not think it was our fault that we were not aware of the feeling that that policy excited. But, anyway, it is the fact that it really met with no favour except from some political friends of mine for whom I have the greatest regard, and that it was not only not supported by representatives from other parts of the country, but was unsupported by a vast section of Unionist and Conservative London opinion. It was impossible to carry that proposal.
Then, was it possible to carry the compromise of twelve representatives of the Borough Councils, which we debated last Wednesday? I think it possible that if everybody who liked the original proposal of thirty-one Members had combined with everybody who was reconciled to the substitution of twelve Members, and had backed up the Government in that compromise, we might have carried it. But did they do that? What did my hon. friend do? 1693 He walked out. He did not vote for the Government, whom he now accuses of vacillation. We hear a great deal about the strongest Government of modern times with a majority of 120 behind it. But if the 120 walk out, like my hon. friend, I venture to say it would be absolutely impossible for the Government to maintain the details of their measures against the Opposition. I hope, therefore, it will be thoroughly understood by those outside the House, as I am sure it is thoroughly understood by those inside, that, however much the Government may be to blame for not having known by intuition of that London opinion which has since become known, we are not to be blamed for the course we have adopted as regards the modifications in the details of the scheme. I frankly admit that I was largely moved by the arguments used against the proposal to give the Borough Councils thirty-one representatives; it was extremely difficult to sustain it in argument. As regards the compromise of twelve representatives I think a good deal too much was made of it by those who were opposed to it. But that compromise was not supported by the friends of the Borough Councils; and, that being so, how was it possible for the Government to carry it in a House of Commons in which not merely the Opposition, with their natural desire to embarrass the Government, but hon. friends behind me were arrayed against it? Therefore, I think my hon. friend should not accuse us of vacillation because we modified the details of our measure. My Parliamentary experience goes further back than that of my hon. friend, to the times of Governments which were not less strong from the point of view of numerical support than the present Government; and I have never known a House of Commons in which great Bills have been carried with less modification than they have been in this. If my hon. friend will contrast the Education Act of 1902 with the Education Act of 1870 he will abandon these charges of vacillation. At all events, no hon. Gentleman should bring such charges against the Government unless he can show by his record that he is one of their stalwart supporters—that through thick and thin, through 1694 foul weather and fair, he has been found supporting his leaders.
§ MR. BURDETT-COUTTS
pointed out that the Bill in its original form was supported by a majority of London Members, and that the right hon. Gentleman had not put the support of the Party to the test over the question. There was no ground for supposing that they would have turned the Government out rather than admit this very reasonable demand of the Borough Councils.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid.)
said it was curious the Prime Minister should chide his faithful follower for having walked out, because on that particular occasion the hon. Member was consistent, while the Government were not. The Government themselves ought to have walked out. The natural and necessary result would have been that they would have walked out in another sense, and people who took an enlightened view in educational matters would have been able to occupy the Treasury Bench. In all seriousness, however, he congratulated the Government on their courage. So far from displaying a lack of courage, he thought the Government had shown the best courage, for they had shown that they were strong enough to say that they had made a mistake. There was another sort of courage which was best described as obstinate tenacity, and whenever there was a general difference of opinion, it would be far better in the future if the Government would let the matter be freely discussed. If they had not had the discussion last Wednesday they would not have had the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Somerset and the Member for Cambridge University. He ventured to congratulate the Government upon having come to the right decision. He valued very much the advice of the National Union of Teachers, who were represented by three very enlightened hon. Members. Therefore he listened with surprise to the attack made by the hon. Member opposite who said that that Union was composed mainly of Radicals, forgetting the hon. Member for West Ham. He hoped the Government would do their best to make this a good scheme for London.
§ Clause 2, as amended, negatived.
§ Clause 3:—
§ MR. YOXALL
moved the postponement of Clause 3. He had said upon a former occasion that the construction of this Bill should have been totally reversed; the commencement should have been put at the end and the end should have been placed at the commencement. This clause proposed to empower the Metropolitan Borough Councils with certain rights, duties, and privileges, and therefore it ought to receive the most careful consideration. What had happened that afternoon reinforced his original contention that they should not discuss this question of the Metropolitan Borough Councils until they had discussed what were to be the principal modifications of the Act. Until they had discussed Clause 4 and the schedule, and concluded the agreement with regard to the constitution and power of the Education Committee, and until they had clearly arrived at an exact knowledge of what the Education Committee was to be and what modifications were to be made, they ought not to consider what should be the powers of the Metropolitan Borough Councils in the management of elementary education. He heard nothing in the speech of the Prime Minister which would lead the Committee to suppose that he recognised the connection between Clauses 2 and 3, or that he felt, having abandoned the representation of the Borough Councils, the Committee ought to modify very seriously indeed the powers proposed to be given to the Borough Councils under Clause 3. He regretted very much that the Committee had refused to report Progress, for that would have given the Prime Minister and his colleagues time to consider the natural result of the withdrawal of Clause 2. He thought he was justified in his present Motion because he thought it would give the Government an opportunity to consider how Clause 3 might be modified. The postponement of this clause would enable the Borough Councils to express an opinion upon the change. When the Bill was first printed expressions of opinion upon it were given by some of the Borough Councils, some of which disapproved of it and others criticised certain parts of the Bill. The Borough 1696 Councils of Bethnal Green, Battersea, Camberwell, Southwark, Stepney, Poplar, Shoreditch, Fulham, Lambeth, and Woolwich had passed resolutions condemning the Bill, and other Borough Councils which had not expressed an opinion were about to consider the matter. If, as was now proposed, the Borough Councils would not be represented on the Committee, and would not have a spokesman to voice their views, then those Borough Councils might reasonably come to the conclusion that they could not undertake the responsibility of managing the elementary schools. The expression of opinion on the part of several metropolitan boroughs was already pending, and in several instances meetings were being arranged, and therefore they ought to postpone this clause.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 3 be postponed."—(Mr. Yoxall.)
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said it was important that they should decide the position of the Committee and the local education authority before they went into the details of management of these public elementary schools. They had discussed the position of the Committee and they had decided that it should be precisely the same as that of the other Committees constituted under the Act of last year. He really did not know why they should consider Clause 4 before they discussed what was the only serious modification proposed to be made in the Act of 1902, namely, the relation of the managers and the Borough Councils to the schools under the local education authority. It seemed to him that this proposal was really nothing more than a Motion to report Progress.
§ MR. EMMOTT (Oldham)
thought that on this occasion a strong case had been made out by his hon. friend, and it did seem to him that the Government would be wise to postpone the clause for the same reason that they would have been wise to postpone Clause 2. He fancied that when they came to the discussion of the clause nearly the whole of it would have to be dropped. 1697 He believed that if the County Council was to be the education authority they must make it a real authority. He believed this clause would cause as much friction as Clause 2 would have done if passed. They were going to hand over the management to the Borough Councils, on which there were no women at all. He would support the postponement of the clause because he considered the Government ought to give themselves more time to think over the question. It seemed to him that they had to have days of discussion before the Government could grasp the elementary objections to the Bill. Fortunately there were men who had seen the objections to Clause 2 and the Government gave way. He hoped that they would also give way on Clause 3.
§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
said there was only one sound argument in support of the clause, and that was that the Government should be spared more than one change per diem. If the Government imagined that by dropping Clause 2 they had met the objections to the Bill they were perfectly mistaken; the objections to Clause 3 were tenfold stronger than those to Clause 2. The possibility of the education authority working for more real progress was far more hampered by the proposal in Clause 3 than it could have been by Clause 2. Clause 3 really went to the root of the question whether they were to have any chance of an efficient education authority in London, and the reason why this clause should be postponed was that the Government might continue the process shown to-day of endeavouring to understand the pressure, not only from the Opposition side, but from their own side of the House, in favour of putting the education authority in London on all fours with the authorities in other parts of the country. He felt that if they persisted with this clause to-day, after giving way on Clause 2, they might stiffen their back and refuse to make any further concessions. He urged the Government, if they really meant to make this Bill as nearly a good one as it could be made—he did not admit that any copy of last year's Act could be a good one—to take the 1698 opinion of their own supporters, whose vote last Wednesday had been to them a matter of such great moment. It really would be better for the progress of the Bill if they would take the next twenty-four hours for the purpose of considering the whole question of the direct authority of the London County Council. There was no use persevering with this half-and-half proposal, which gave the management to the Borough Councils and incomplete control to the County Council.
§ MR. ROBSON (South Shields)
said it was not respectful to the House to go on with the Bill without ascertaining what was the feeling in regard to this particular clause on the part of those who supported the Government. It was important that the hon. Baronet the Secretary to the Board of Education should ascertain what the followers of the Government themselves thought about this management clause. He ventured to say that instead of rushing the Bill in the way that it was now being rushed, the hon. Baronet ought to postpone it for a day or two in order to ascertain their feeling. He would find the objections which the Government supporters had to the proposal in regard to borough councillors on the Committee, applied equally to borough councillors in connection with the management. If the hon. Baronet found that state of feeling prevailing among his own supporters he would remodel the clause. Surely it was better to ascertain the feeling of his own supporters by postponing the clause for a short time than to ascertain it by debates in the House which, under the circumstances, were a sheer waste of time. It would be better to discover what the state of their feeling was by private inquiries than by means of debate.
§ MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)
said he wished to state plainly, frankly, and emphatically that he approved of the principle of Clause 3, and he hoped with all his heart that the Government would not dream of departing from it. He hoped, however, that the clause would be amended in Committee. He wished to make it perfectly clear to hon. 1699 Members on both sides of the House that he believed that the Borough Councils should have the responsibility of the local management of the schools.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
asked the hon. Member for Chelsea what he meant by the essential principle of the clause.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said he agreed with that ruling, but he thought he might be allowed to make the observation without following the matter further. What he desired to impress upon the Government was that in desiring the postponement of this clause, they were not desiring to place any undue obstacle whatever in the way of the progress of the measure. What would be the result if this clause was postponed? They should then immediately pass to the consideration of the fourth and fifth Clauses and the Schedules. They had already heard, in the course of to-day's debate, of the Amendments which were adumbrated as likely to be demanded, and which were likely to be conceded by the Government in regard to certain points which could be dealt with on the schedules. These points were fresh in the mind of the Committee, and surely it would be far better, while these arguments and facts were before them, that they should proceed in that way, and then the Government would be able to ascertain what were the real views of their own friends, both inside and outside the House, in regard to the proposal in Clause 3. He thought he was really justified in holding that view all the more when he looked at the Amendments on the Paper, because it was quite clear that if they did not dispose of this clause they would be brought face to face with the Amendments to be moved from the other side of the House by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Somerset, and the Amendment which stood in the name of the hon. Member for the Chippenham division. He could not help hoping that the Committee would not be met 1700 with what he would call a policy of melancholy silence from the Treasury Bench, and that the Government would really explain why they should be forced to enter on a discussion with every conceivable disadvantage, whether on this or the other side of the House. Bearing in mind, as they did, that they were met the other evening with the same non possumus and that they then wasted two whole days in discussing Clause 2 which was now withdrawn, they might be forced by superior numbers to proceed to the discussion of Clause 3 but he believed it was not a rash prophecy to say that, as in the case of Clause 2, their arguments would prevail, and that the Government would come and propose to strike it out of the Bill altogether.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea District)
said that the question now before the Committee was simply the convenience of discussion. He was in favour of postponing the Clause, for if they were to have a rational discussion of the remaining clauses they ought to deal with Clause 4 before Clause 3. Clause 4 said—The modifications of the principal Act set out in the second schedule of this Act shall have effect for the purposes of this Act.Now, what was the position of the Bill at the present moment? The Government had got Clause 1—the clause which made the Education Act of 1902,so far as applicable, and subject to modifications made by this Act,apply to London. He understood the general effect of Clause 3 was—
The hon. Member has no right to go back upon and discuss Clause 1 which has already been passed. I must ask him to give his mind to the Motion before the Committee and also not to repeat arguments already used.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
said that in the changed circumstances the Committee ought to discuss the modifications of the Act of 1902 which would determine the relations between the London County Council and the Education Committee before they came to discuss Clause 3.
That argument has been used two or three times already, and I therefore warn the hon. Member 1701 not to fall into the error of violating the Standing Order against repetition.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
said that he was not using the same form of words. Hon. Members come and go, and he ventured respectfully to say that he had a right, on behalf of his constituents, to state his reasons for postponing the consideration of Clause 3.
If every hon. Member claimed the same right there would be no termination to the debate at all. That was why the Standing Order was passed.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
said he thought that Standing Order was to be restrictively construed; that it should only apply when an hon. Member was repeating his own arguments.
The Standing Order refers to any hon. Member repeating his own arguments or those of others.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 121; Noes, 243. (Division List No., 99)1705
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud)||Helme, Norval Watson||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Asher, Alexander||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rigg, Richard|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Black, Alexander William||Jacoby, James Alfred||Rose, Charles Day|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Runciman, Walter|
|Bryce, Right Hon. James||Kearley, Hudson E.||Russell, T. W.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Kitson, Sir James||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Burns, John||Lambert, George||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Burt, Thomas||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Layland Barratt, Francis||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Caldwell, James||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Shipman, D. John G.|
|Cameron, Robert||Leng, Sir John||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Levy, Maurice||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lewis, John Herbert||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lloyd-George, David||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Crombie, John William||Lough, Thomas||Tennant, Harold John|
|Crooks, William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardign||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||M'Kenna, Reginald||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Toulmin, George|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Edwards, Frank||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Ure, Alexander|
|Elibank, Master of||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Wallace, Robert|
|Ellis, John Edward||Moulton, John Fletcher||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Norman, Henry||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wason, E. (Clackmannan)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Palmer, G. Wm. (Reading)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Partington, Oswald||Whiteley, G. (York, W. R.)|
|Foster, Sir Michl. (Lond. Univ||Paulton, James Mellor||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Perks, Robert William||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick||Pickard, Benjamin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Price, Robert John||Mr. Yoxall and Mr.|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Priestley, Arthur||Corrie Grant.|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Rea, Russell|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Allsopp, Hon. George||Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Anson, Sir William Reynell||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Arkwright, John Stanhope||Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.|
|Austin, Sir John||Gardner, Ernest||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Garfit, William||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.|
|Bain Colonel, James Robert||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Muntz, Sir Philip A.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Gordon, Maj Evans- (Tr. Hmlts||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Myers, William Henry|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Graham, Henry Robert||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Bigwood, James||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs||O'Malley, William|
|Bill, Charles||Greville, Hon. Ronald||O'Shee, James John|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gunter, Sir Robert||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Bond, Edward||Hain, Edward||Parker, Sir Gilbert|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Hall, Edward Marshall||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F. (Midd'x||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G. (Midd'x||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Bowles, T. G. (Lynn Regis)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashfd||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Brassey, Albert||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Brown, Sir Alx. H. (Shropsh.)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Bull, William James||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Carew, James Laurence||Healy, Timothy Michael||Purvis, Robert|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Helder, Augustus||Pym, C. Guy|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Henderson, Sir Alexander||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hn. H. (Somerset, E.||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Hogg, Lindsay||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Renwick, George|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)|
|Chapman, Edward||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Charrington, Spencer||Johnstone, Heywood||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kerr, John||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Coddington, Sir William||Kimber, Henry||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Knowles, Lees||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N. R.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Leamy, Edmund||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants. Fareham||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Spear John Ward|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hatr||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Macdona, John Cumming||Stock, James Henry|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Maconochie, A. W.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Ferguson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas||Malcolm, Ian||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Manners, Lord Cecil||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Fison, Frederick William||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Flower, Ernest||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Valentia, Viscount|
|Forster, Henry William||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Fyler, John Arthur||Milvain, Thomas||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Galloway, William Johnson||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm||Sir Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Wilson John (Glasgow)||Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson||and Mr. Anstruther.|
§ MR. MANSFIELD (Lincolnshire, Spalding)
said he desired to move the Amendment standing in his name to insert at the beginning of Clause 3 the words, "Unless the local education authority otherwise determines." The object of the Amendment was to make the County Council the real authority. The atmosphere of the House had been very much changed in regard to the London County Council during the last few days. At one time the Borough Councils were regarded as the pets of the Government, but now the First Lord of the Treasury said it was necessary to make the London County Council the real authority. His idea was that the London County Council should be masters of the situation. He should be prepared to agree to the proposal in the clause if the Borough Councils knew anything about education; but they were not educational authorities; and his Amendment would give the London County Council the right to say whether any particular Borough Council should be acknowledged as the authority to carry out the work. A great point in connection with the Bill was that co-ordination was wanted. The clause as it stood, however, put the management in one set of hands and the authority in another; and it was quite impossible to see where co-ordination came in. The main reason given for extinguishing the London School Board was that there might be co-ordination; but the clause would not co-ordinate education. It would create a rivalry between the Borough Councils and the London County Council; and under it the Borough Councils would have the right to appeal to the Board of Education, which would help them in their rivalry of the London County Council. The object of the Amendment was to make the London County Council independent of the Borough Councils, and give them power to choose their own Committee. Unless that were done, it would put a premium on disputes between the 1706 London County Council and the Borough Councils; and, instead of co-ordination, it would be like tying the tails of two Kilkenny cats together and letting them fight the matter out. The Amendment proposed to restore, as far as possible, the old order under which the London School Board appointed its own managers, regarding whom they had ample evidence as to their ability and earnestness in educational work. What they wanted was that a system which was admittedly successful in the past should, as far as possible, be grafted on to this Bill. He would not object to the Borough Councils being the managers if they knew anything about education; but he objected to the Borough Councils being placed in such a position, for while the London County Council would have to provide the money the Borough Councils would be able to practically dictate the situation. He hoped the Government would adopt such a very reasonable Amendment.
In page 1, line 11, at the beginning to insert the words, 'Unless the local education authority otherwise determines.'"—(Mr. Mansfield.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said he was sorry he could not accept the Amendment on behalf of the Government, for the reason that it would not carry out that policy of decentralisation, which was one of the main principles of the measure. They desired that the new authority should not be encumbered with administrative duties such as the London School Board allowed itself to be encumbered with. It should be borne in mind that the new authority would have work almost infinitely wider in scope and far more serious in character than anything the London School Board had to deal with. They felt that the new authority would not be able to give its attention to the great problem of London education unless it 1707 was substantially relieved of such part of the work of administration as was susceptible to such treatment. That form of decentralisation could best be accomplished in connection with public elementary schools. The work would no doubt be considerably diminished under the new legislation, because the London School Board had introduced into the region of public elementary schools various matters which are not connected with elementary education, and which would cease to form part of it when the Bill became operative. The hon. Member spoke of the London County Council as not being the real authority. He thought the hon. Member had not considered how full and complete the control of the London County Council would be over the managers of the schools. It would have complete financial control. Not a penny could be spent without its sanction; and no money would be received by the managers except what the London County Council gave them. The London County Council could lay down a general code, and make such rules as they pleased, and these directions the managers must accept; and to say that the London County Council would not be a real authority was a misapprehension. All the proposals for constituting boards of management which appeared on the Notice Paper left it optional to the County Council to give such boards from time to time such work as they pleased. What was required was that the Boroughs should have some work to do, should always be ready to receive more if delegated, and that the County Council should be bound to give up a stated amount of its labour to these bodies. That being the principle, the amount of management to be handed over to them and the mode in which it should be exercised were matters of detail, as to which the Government would be fully open to consider Amendments lower down on the Paper. There was, for instance, an Amendment, in the name of the hon. Member for Chelsea, providing that the statutory management should be arranged by a scheme agreed upon by the Borough Council and the County Council, or, if not so agreed upon, subject to arbitration by the Board of Education. That seemed to him a reasonable proposal, because it would give variety to the schemes. He hoped the Committee would not agree to the Amendment.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said that nobody on the side of the House on which he sat would have any objection to Borough Councils having some of the management of the schools, so long as the central authority had full and complete control in any scheme that was proposed, but he did not see his way to accept such a proposal as had been suggested—a proposal by which the Borough Councils and the County Council were to come to some agreement, or in default the Board of Education were to arbitrate. The County Council must be put in the same position as any other County Council throughout the country. They should prepare a scheme into which they could either bring in or leave out the Borough Council. He was glad to see the hon. Gentleman trying to meet the views expressed on both sides of the House. If they were to bring Borough Councils into the scheme without giving the County Council full complete control, it would lead to considerable friction. The most important question of all was that of the appointment and dismissal of the teachers. If that duty were retained in the hands of the central body, he had no great fear of the friction that would otherwise arise. The hon. Baronet had delivered a speech which showed a most friendly and conciliatory spirit; and if the hon. Baronet meant, as he understood him to mean, that the London County Council was to be the supreme authority in the matter of management, as well as in the superior Committee, he did not think it much mattered who might be the subordinate authority.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Morley)
said it appeared to him that the speech of the hon. Baronet opposite, instead of being a conciliatory speech as had been suggested by the hon. Member for Poplar, was the other way about. The hon. Baronet had for once apparently tumbled upon one of the questions of principle upon which the Government were prepared to take their last stand, and that being the case, he saw nothing particularly conciliatory in the speech. The Committee sometimes had an expression of opinion from the hon. Baronet in favour of co-ordination and at other times in favour of variety. In the speech which the hon. 1709 Baronet had just made both opinions had been expressed. The hon. Member for Poplar had taken comfort to himself because the hon. Baronet had expressed himself as desirous of preserving intact the position of the County Council. How was the authority of the County Council to be exercised through a statutory and irremovable body of managers? The argument of the Government last year was that the managers were to be the creatures and servants of the authority. Then how was it possible, under the scheme of this Bill or the suggested amended scheme of the hon. Baronet, to assign that position to the Borough Councils and make them the masters of the elementary schools and not of what were the Cockerton schools—that is to say, the evening schools and the technical schools? There was to be one body of managers for elementary schools and another for evening schools. He was puzzled to think what the question of principle was upon which the hon. Baronet had taken his stand. They had a right to ask for some elucidation of this matter. There might be great difference of opinion between municipal boroughs and the County Council in regard to the appointment of teachers, but the County Council had no means of enforcing its opinion. The Council needed to have the power of taking back the management which it delegated in order to make its authority effective. He should have thought after the Act of 1902 that the hon. Baronet might have had enough on hand without taking on his own shoulders all these matters. Not content with the work he had to do under the Act of 1902 he had hit upon a plan whereby each Borough Council should have a different scheme. The County Council would never know whether it was dealing with a matter in which it had control, or one in which, under some precious scheme, it had merely management and not control. They were really drifting into confusion worse confounded, and it would be a matter much to be deplored if the Borough Councils were given a constitutional power to retain the management in their own hands, without there being 1710 given to the County Council complete control in all eventualities of dispute or discussion.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
said the Bill, in its original form, divided London education between the County Council and the Borough Councils. This clause, to some extent, fitted in with that idea, but it was now difficult to understand how it got into the Bill at all. Taking the measure as it stood, the proposal was not intelligible, and, in the interests of London education, incapable of justification. The Government had adopted the principle of giving the control of London education to the County Council; they had eliminated the share of the authority originally proposed to be given to the Borough Councils, and yet this clause was left in such a form as to put a hard and fast barrier in the way of the County Council carrying out the policy for which it was now completely responsible. If any one principle ought to prevail in the Bill, it was that they who called the tune should pay the piper, but here the Borough Councils would have to carry out matters of which they would not bear the cost, and the responsibility for which would rest with the County Council. The working out of the proposal would result in a condition of things which would be simply intolerable. He looked forward to the day when the relations between the Borough Councils and the County Council would be much better than they now were. Such better relations, however, could be brought about only by putting those authorities into positions which did not naturally breed friction and difficulty, whereas the clause under discussion was cast in a form calculated to provoke the most acute controversy. The Government had met the opposition to a certain extent, but if the Bill was to be a workable Bill, it should be made workable all through. It was impossible to leave Clause 3 as it stood, and put the control of education in London into the hands of the County Council. He hoped, before the Bill passed, the Government would make the new educational machine workable and intelligible. By adopting the principle of the Act of last year, and only by so doing, the Government would provide for the carrying out of these matters, their difficulties would disappear, 1711 they would have no trouble in the future, and they would carry out the wishes of their own supporters. It was because the Government had slipped away from the interests of education, and listened to the voice of the wirepullers, they had got into this difficulty, and he hoped they would yet remodel the clause so as to bring it into accord with the rest of the Bill as it stood.
§ MR. LOUGH
said the object of the Amendment was to make the arrangements between the County Council and the Borough Councils voluntary. His hon. friend did not desire to prevent the local Councils giving any assistance they could in the work of education, but he did object to any statutory rights or powers being given them which the County Council did not willingly confer. The answer of the Secretary to the Board of Education was really appalling. The hon. Baronet had said that the Government were resolved to decentralise and give large powers to the Borough Councils who had the machinery to carry them out. They had not a scrap of machinery for the purpose, as the hon. Baronet would be aware if he knew anything about a single London division.
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said the hon. Member had misunderstood him. What he said was that in the Borough Councils they had the machinery for decentralisation. He did not say that the Borough Councils had the machinery, but that they were the machinery.
§ MR. LOUGH
said the more the hon. Baronet explained his meaning the more intolerable the proposals appeared. The management of these schools was no small business. The task in Islington alone would probably be as great as that in Birmingham or Manchester. Knowing the districts, the work, and the Councils, it really shocked him to hear the hon. Baronet say the Borough Councils were the machinery. He knew the busy men who formed the Borough Councils, and how they patriotically hurried from their shops or employment to give the time necessary for the work of the local authority, but to propose that such bodies, which were striving so hard to discharge their present duties, should be installed as the education authority of 1712 a great city—if that was what it amounted to—was simply monstrous. Whatever delegation there was should be by permission of the County Council. As the clause stood, each Borough Council would be a little School Board, and there would be twenty-nine small and helpless School Boards instead of one great central institution. Where was the machinery? It was in a noble building on the Embankment, managed by the London School Board, and would be taken over by the London County Council. The Borough Councils had not a scrap of machinery, and would be bound to do the work badly. ["Why?"] Because there would be no unified control. London, after all, was one city, but instead of one central idea running through the whole system of education there would be twenty-nine different authorities. According to the hon. Baronet, on April 29th, there was to be "greater elasticity imported into the curriculum of elementary schools." That meant there was to be one curriculum in Islington, another in Southwark, another in Paddington, and so on through the twenty-nine boroughs. The system was really impossible of working. Let there be devolution by all means, but let the County Council select its machinery and do it voluntarily. That was the question on which the Government would be forced to take issue.
§ And, it being half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again this evening.