HC Deb 14 February 1905 vol 141 cc71-9

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs) rose to draw attention to what he regarded as a question of Privilege, and to move: That Lord Alington, a Peer of Parliament, has, by his action in connection with the recent election in North Dorset, been guilty of a breach of the Privileges of this House. The House had by an overwhelming majority declared its opinion that for a Peer to interfere, in a Parliamentary election was a breach of its Privileges, and he thought that when he produced the evidence on which he based his Motion, it would be obvious that there had been committed a breach of Privilege. During a recent election in North Dorset, Lord Alington, after the issue of the Writ, sent the following letter to his tenants— Though I am unable to take any active part in the coming election in North Dorset, I should wish the very good feeling which has always existed between my family and yourself to be further maintained by the support of Sir Randolf Baker, who,"—[he presumed "whom" was meant]—"I hope to see successful. Now that was not a latter written without due knowledge that it was a breach of Privilege, for subsequently to sending it out, Lord Alington made a speech in which he declared that he had done nothing unconstitutional, nothing to be ashamed of, but something to glory in, and every time an election came he would Issue a similar letter. Clearly the Rule had been broken in this particular case, and if no notice were taken of this proceeding the adoption of the Resolution which the House had just passed would be a sham and a farce. This was a broad question of principle, and Lord Alington, who formerly was one of the, most popular Members of the House of Commons, by his own action in voting for the Sessional Order, showed that he attached importance to it. Now what was the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House going to do in reference to this matter? For him to decide, to do nothing after the decision just come to was to take up an untenable position. Lord Alington had been using his powers as a Peer and as a landlord to induce his tenants to support a certain candidate, and they were bound to take notice of that fact. If they did not they would simply be inviting Peers to come on every platform and take part in every election. They ought emphatically to condemn the action of Lord Alington. He did not suggest that the noble Lord should be, brought to the Bar of the House, although he would like to point out that if some unfortunate journalist had written a paragraph reflecting on the honour of any hon. Member, he would have been promptly summoned to the Bar and threatened with imprisonment in the Clock Tower for having been guilty of a breach of the Privileges of the House. Why should they make a difference in the case of a Peer who openly violated an Order of the House? In view of the fact that there would probably be a general election in the near future—he was glad to see that the Member for West Birmingham nodded his head in favour of that proposition—

MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)

I should like to know what I nodded my head at.


I understood the right hon. Gentleman to assent to what I was saying—that he was desirous of a general election.


I do not admit that I assented to that.


I am sorry I misinterpreted the right hon. Gentleman. I can only repeat that if we take no notice of Lord Alington's conduct, the Order becomes a sham and a farce, and it is ridiculous for the Leader of the House, session after session, to ask us to pass it.



Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Lord Alington, a Peer of Parliament, has, by his action in connection with the recent Election in North Dorset, been guilty of a breach of the Privileges of this House."—(Mr. Dalziel.)


I do not think the House would gain anything by pursuing this matter further. I remember that some years ago Lord Rosebery was attacked, after making a speech when an election was proceeding, and Sir William Harcourt, who was then leading the House, moved the previous Question. That, I think, is the course the House ought now to adopt. If the House adopts the Motion of the hon. Gentleman we can take no further action. We announce publicly that our Privileges have been violated, but we can do nothing more; we call public attention to the evil, but we do nothing to redress the injury which we have publicly advertised. We cannot summon a Member of the other House to attend at the Bar, and we cannot give him into custody. I therefore object to the House passing this Resolution. I regard the Standing Order as being, in practice, merely an indication of the view of the House that Peers ought not to act as commoners in the ordinary political contests of the country. It suggests that they should not so act after a Writ has been issued. But surely the hon. Member opposite does not wish to press the Order to its logical conclusion and to say that no Peer shall have any part at any time in dealing with affairs of the county or electoral division in which he resides, or in which his property is situated? All that is desired is to maintain the contention—it is nothing more than that—that it is desirable overt action shall not be taken by any Peer while an election is actually in progress. It would not be a dignified proceeding for this House to

announce publicly that an injury has been done it, and that it can do nothing to redress it. Under these circumstances, and bearing in mind that the Standing Order does practically attain the object for which it was framed, I beg to move the previous Question.

Question put, "That the Question be not now put."

The House divided:—Ayes 257; Noes, 191. (Division List No. 2.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Haslam, Sir Alfred S.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hay, Hon. Claude George
Aird, Sir John Craig, Charles C. (Antrim, S.) Heath, A. Howard (Hanley)
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Heath, Sir James (Staffords. NW
Allsopp, Hon. George Dalkeith, Earl of Heaton, John Henniker
Anson, Sir William Reynell Dalrymple, Sir Charles Helder, Augustus
Arkwright, John Stanhope Davenport, William Bromley- Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hon. H. O. Denny, Colonel Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.
Arrol, Sir William Dickson, Charles Scott Hoare, Sir Samuel
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C. Hobhouse, Rt Hn H. (Somers't E
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn Sir H. Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Hogg, Lindsay
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Bright side
Bain, Colonel James Robert Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E. Hornby, Sir William Henry
Balcarres, Lord Doughty, Sir George Horner, Frederick William
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Hoult, Joseph
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds) Doxford, Sir William Theodore Houston, Robert Paterson
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Duke, Henry Edward Howard, J. (Midd. Tottenham
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.
Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor) Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Hudson, George Bickersteth
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Fardell, Sir T. George Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse
Bigwood, James Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton
Bond, Edward Finlay, Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ss B'ghs Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W.
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas Kerr, John
Boulnois, Edmund Fisher, William Hayes Keswick, William
Bousfield, William Robert Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon Kimber, Sir Henry
Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F. (Middles'x Flannery, Sir Fortescue King, Sir Henry Seymour
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Flower, Sir Ernest Knowles Sir Lees
Brassey, Albert Forster, Henry William Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.) Laurie, Lieut.-General
Brotherton, Edward Allen Galloway, William Johnson Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)
Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.) Gardner, Ernest Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th)
Brymer, William Ernest Garfit, William Lawson, Hn. H. L. W. (Mile End)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks., N. R.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J A. (Glasgow) Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn) Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareham
Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ. Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Carlile, William Walter Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Llewellyn, Evan Henry
Cautley, Henry Strother Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Goulding, Edward Alfred Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire) Graham, Henry Robert Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Greene, Sir EW (B'rySEdm'nds) Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A. (Worc. Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Lowe, Francis William
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hain, Edward Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Chapman, Edward Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)
Coates, Edward Feetham Hambro, Charles Eric Lucas, R. J. (Portsmouth)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'y) Macdona, John Cumming
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford) MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R. Hare, Thomas Leigh M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Compton, Lord Alwyne Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th M'Iver,Sir Lewis (Edinburgh,W
Majendie, James A. H. Ratcliff, R. F. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Malcolm, Ian Reid, James (Greenock) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Marks, Harry Hananel Remnant, James Farquharson Thornton, Percy M.
Martin, Richard Biddulph Renwick, George Tollemache, Henry James
Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Ridley, S. Forde Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriesshire Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Tuff, Charles
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Milvain, Thomas Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter Tuke, Sir John Batty
Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Round, Rt. Hon. James Turnour, Viscount
Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Royds, Clement Molyneux Valentia, Viscount
Moore, William Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Vincent, Col. Sir C. EH (Sheffield)
Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool) Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Morpeth, Viscount Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford- Walrond, Rt, Hn. Sir W. H.
Morrison, James Archibald Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Wanklyn, James Leslie
Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunton
Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln) Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)
Muntz, Sir Philip A. Seton-Karr, Sir Henry Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Sharpe, William Edward T. Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne
Nicholson, William Graham Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Palmer, Sir W. (Salisbury) Skewes-Cox, Thomas Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Parker, Sir Gilbert Sloan, Thomas Henry Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Parkes, Ebenezer Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington) Smith, H. C (North'mb.Tynesde Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)
Pemberton, John, S. G. Smith, Rt Hn J Parker (Lanarks) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Percy, Earl Spear, John Ward. Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Pierpoint, Robert Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Pilkington, Colonel Richard Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs. Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Platt-Higgins, Frederick Stewart, Sir Mark J. M 'Taggart Wylie, Alexander
Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M. Wyndham, Rt, Hon. George
Purvis, Robert Stock, James Henry
Pym, C. Guy Stone, Sir Benjamin TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Randles, John S. Stroyan, John Alexander Acland-Hood
Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Crombie, John William Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Harrington, Timothy
Ainsworth, John Stirling Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Hayden, John Patrick
Allen, Charles P. Delany, William Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.
Ambrose, Robert Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway Helme, Norval Watson
Asher, Alexander Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) Hemphill, Rt, Hon. Charles H.
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Atherley-Jones, L. Dillon, John Higham, John Sharpe
Barlow, John Emmott Donelan, Captain A. Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)
Barran, Rowland Hirst Doogan, P. C. Holland, Sir William Henry
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Duncan, J. Hastings Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.
Bell, Richard Dunn, Sir William Isaacs, Rufus Daniel
Black, Alexander William Ellice, Capt EC (S Andrw's Bghs Jacoby, James Alfred
Blake, Edward Ellis, John Edward (Notts.) Jones, David B. (Swansea)
Boland, John Emmott, Alfred Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)
Brigg, John Esmonde, Sir Thomas Kearley, Hudson, E.
Bright, Allan Heywood Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone Kennedy, V. P. (Cavan, W.)
Broadhurst, Henry Eve, Harry Trelawney Kilbride, Denis
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Fenwiek, Charles Kitson, Sir James
Bryce, Rt, Hon. James Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Labouchere, Henry
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Field, William Lambert, George
Butcher, John George Findlay, Alex. (Lanark, N. E.) Langley, Batty
Caldwell, James Flynn, James Christopher Layland-Barratt, Francis
Cameron, Robert Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Leese, Sir Joseph F (Accrington)
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Levy, Maurice
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Freeman-Thomas, Captain F. Lewis, John Herbert
Causton, Richard Knight Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John Lloyd-George, David
Cawley, Frederick Goddard, Daniel Ford Lough, Thomas
Channing, Francis Allston Grant, Corrie Lundon, W.
Cheetham, John Frederick Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick) Lyell, Charles Henry
Churchill, Winston Spencer Griffith, Ellis J. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Cremer, William Randal Harcourt, Lewis Vernon M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)
M'Crae, George Reckitt, Harold James Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
M'Hugh, Patrick A. Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Toulmin, George
M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Richards, T. (W. Monmouth) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Mooney, John J. Rickett, J. Compton Waldron, Laurence Ambrose
Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Wallace, Robert
Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose) Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Moulton, John Fletcher Robson, William Snowdon Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Murnaghan, George Roche, John Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Nannetti, Joseph P. Rose, Charles Day Wason, John C. (Orkney)
Newnes, Sir George Runciman, Walter Weir, James Galloway
Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.) Russell, T. W. White, George (Norfolk)
Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Samuel, H. L. (Cleveland) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Norman, Henry Schwann, Charles E. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)
Nussey, Thomas Willans Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Slack, John Bamford Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Smith, Samuel (Flint) Wills, Arthur W. (N. Dorset
O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.) Soames, Arthur Wellesley Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.)
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northants Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.
O'Dowd, John Stanhope, Hon. Philip James Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
O'Malley, William Stevenson, Francis S. Wilson, John (Falkirk)
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Strachey, Sir Edward Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.)
Parrott, William Sullivan, Donal Wood, James
Partington, Oswald Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe) Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf' d)
Paulton, James Mellor Tennant, Harold John Yoxall, James Henry
Perks, Robert William Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)
Price, Duncan V. Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.
Price, Robert John Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr) Dalziel and Sir Wilfrid Law-
Rea, Russell Thomas, J. A. (Glamorgan, Gow'r son.

Motion made, and Question, "That this House do now adjourn"—(Sir A. Acland-Hood)—put, and agreed to.

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