§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ THE CIVIL LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. ARTHUR LEE, Hampshire, Fareham)
said that in moving the Second Reading of this Naval Works Bill he thought; it would be convenient to both sides of the House if he made a somewhat full statement explanatory of the Bill and of the works provided by it. In the Committee of Ways and Means, on the preliminary money Resolution, he referred very briefly to the financial proposals of the Bill, and, for the sake of continuity of argument, he would briefly recapitulate them now. The salient feature of the Bill was that it provided for an increase in the total Estimates provided under previous Bills of £566,000. It required that a sum of £7,700,000 on account of works previously sanctioned by the House should be spent during the 788 next two years, and as there was a sum of £1,869,000 sanctioned under the 1903 Bill, which had not yet been expended, the net amount required to be voted by the House was £5,835,000. He ventured to say that the proposals in the Bill were of an extremely moderate Character— unexpectedly so indeed. He called attention to the fact that the total increase of about £500,000 was by far the smallest I increase that had ever been put into one of these Bills since the system of Naval Works Loans Bills was introduced. This Bill was only a continuation measure; it introduced no new items; the schedule merely provided for a two years instalment for works that had already been sanctioned by the House. It had been suggested on previous occasions by the hon. Member for Islington that they ought to stop this expenditure altogether—[OPPOSITION cries of "Hear, hear!"]— but how could that be done when they had entered into large contracts which had been sanctioned by the House? It was absolutely impossible to suddenly stop that expenditure.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (: Staffordshire, Lichfield)
Put it on the Estimates. That was promised last year.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said that that was a complete misunderstanding, though perhaps a very natural one. There was an unusually large sum unexpended from the provision voted by the House in 1903, an amount which appeared on the face of it to be £1,869,000. The true figure, however, was not £1,869,000, but £1,589,000 because £280,000 was money actually saved upon the superintendence item. They, therefore, deducted that amount from the total sum to be expended.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said of course it was available; it was money actually saved, because it had not been expended; and that had entered into the calculation. There had also been a considerably short expenditure at Malta and Bermuda on account of various delays for which the 789 Admiralty were not to blame. Many works had had to be hung up owing to the pending changes in the redistribution of the Fleet and the strategic needs of the Navy. They were compelled to ask the House in voting money two years ahead to make ample provision, because they could not be certain when the next Loan Bill would be passed. For example, at the present time they were still living upon money voted in 1903; and it was necessary to make full provision for two years in advance. That did not affect the finances of the country; because the money was not borrowed until it was to be spent. The numerous changes in the "dates for completion" were due in many cases to the delay in the execution of the works, or to additional works necessitated by a particular scheme under consideration; and still more often due to the fact that the works could not be considered to be finished until all the accounts had been closed up. A very striking illustration of that was that Portland Harbour was completed as a harbour, in regard to protection from the sea and against torpedo attack, in 1899; but the work was still unfinished as far as a number of subsidiary services were concerned.
As to the chief items in the schedule to the Bill, it would be observed that there were several increases in the total estimates and several decreases. The decreases would doubtless be considered thoroughly satisfactory, but, on the other hand, he ventured to claim that the increases were absolutely necessary. The chief items of increase were the Keyham extension and the Hong-Kong Dockyard extension. The large increase in Keyham was due to two causes. In the first place, to unexpected and altogether unforeseen engineering difficulties in the prosecution of the works; and, in the second place, to additional works which were found to be necessary to complete this scheme. Owing to the irregularities of the rook surface below the mud, there had been an immense increase in the cost of dredging and in building the outer walls of the dockyard. It was a scheduled contract, and those items accounted for 7pound; 150,000 of additional expenditure. At Keyham it had also been necessary to provide a long pier in the dock basin, owing to the greatly increased 790 length of modern ships, and, what was originally contemplated in the first scheme of the dockyard, to the lengthening of No. 4 dock. That lengthening they proposed to carry out, and it would be a great improvement. In the case of Hong-Kong, there had been engineering difficulties very similar to those encountered at Keyham. The irregularities of the rock surface below the mud had resulted in an unforeseen expenditure for dredging amounting to £150,000. The need for the additional dredging works could not have been foreseen by the engineers, but they would not be a recurring expense. This dredging was required to enable the dockyards to be built, and the charge for subsequent maintenance for dredging would come on the Votes. There was also an increase for electric light and power amounting to £54,000 at Hong-Kong.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said that at every port the maintenance of dredging was always charged to Votes and not to loans. As to the item for deepening harbours and the approaches thereto, that was required under a scheme for rendering these ports available for ships of deep draught; and next year that expense also would be charged to Votes. The two most interesting items, perhaps, were the Chatham Dockyard extension and the Rosyth item. The broad result of the Admiralty's deliberations in connection with these two services had been to push on the large expenditure foreshadowed at Rosyth, and not to proceed with the Chatham Dockyard extension. This would, perhaps, be a surprise to some Members of the House— [An HON. MEMBER: It is a surprise.]— in view of the. scheme outlined in 1903 for an expenditure of £1,500,000 on the Chatham extension in addition to the large expenditure foreshadowed at Rosyth. The Admiralty, however, had considered that that expenditure at Chatham could be dispensed with, at any rate for the present; and this, he hoped, would be regarded as a great relief to the taxpayer. He wished to say at this point 791 that this decision was not the result of a mere change of mind; it was the result of a change of circumstances and conditions. The original need for the Chatham extension was based on the Report of the Berthing and Docking Committee, which showed that the then existing accommodation for the Fleet for berthing and docking was insufficient, and that its extension was imperatively necessary. That decision was altered as one of the results of the new policy of casting ineffective ships from the Navy. These ships required considerable berthing aid docking facilities because of the constant and ever-increasing repairs which they needed; and their removal from the effective list had set free so much berthing and docking accommodation as to render unnecessary the proposed extension at Chatham. It was probable that, in future, warships would be fewer in number, but of greater individual power, and consequently less berthing and decking space would he required; but that berthing and docking space must be of a larger size and suitable for the accommodation of the larger ships. There was a shortage of such accommodation on the East Coast, and therefore it was necessary to provide it either at Rosyth or at Chatham, but not at both.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said that the Admiralty had arrived at the conclusion, on the unanimous recommendation of its naval advisers, that Rosyth possessed greater strategical, economic, and industrial advantages than Chatham. He did not wish to enlarge on the strategic advantages, which were patent to all, but there was greater accessibility at all times of the tide for the largest ships at Rosyth than at Chatham, and that was an enormous advantage.
He would now give the Committee the information so earnestly desired, by Scotch Members at any rate, as to the extent and the nature of the works at Rosyth. The general scope and the project had been very clearly explained at the time of the introduction of the Naval 792 Works and Loans Bill of 1903. As a first-step the site at Rosyth was very carefully studied and examined. Plans were ordered to be prepared on the most comprehensive scale for the provision of a first-class naval port. The Government had found from experience that hitherto dockyards had originally been laid out on too cramped a scale, and that it was extremely difficult and costly to extend them afterwards. It was therefore determined that Rosyth should be so laid out, and the works so constructed, as not to prejudice any extension of the base that might become necessary in the future, so that future generations should not be able to accuse them of want of foresight. The plans that had been prepared were for a dockyard of the most complete description. But it was not the intention of the Admiralty at once to construct the dockyard on so large a scale. Only the immediate needs of the Navy were to be considered. Still the works that were proposed in the present scheme would, in themselves, form a complete naval base. They included a closed basin of the largest size,1,200 by 1,500 feet, with an entrance lock which could be used as a dock itself in case of necessity; a large graving dock; the necessary equipments of a repairing yard; railway connection with most of the railway systems of the country; and a considerable amount of foreshore dredging and reclamation in order to make the place accessible at all stages of the tide. The total cost was £2,500,000, which included the £200,000 that had already been voted for the preliminary works.
The £70,000 in the Bill for Chatham was in the process of expenditure on the new river wall to the Medway, which was necessary in any case, whether the extension was decided upon or not, for the safety of the West Basin, because the existing wall showed signs of falling in. The new river wall would provide a large amount of additional berthing accommodation along the side of the dockyard, and it was in every way a most necessary work.
The House would observe that there was a very short expenditure on gunnery schools. The reason of that was 793 that there had been a modification of- the original scheme. It was originally intended that gunnery schools were to be constructed entirely separate from naval barracks; but it was now proposed to incorporate the schools with the bar racks; and this modification had led to considerable saving of expense. There was also a considerable saving under the head of superintendence charges. It had been decided, owing to the advanced state of the naval works now in progress, to amalgamate the Works Department and the Works Loan Department, which meant a saving in the cost of the staff while securing the advantage of unity of control. The retiring civil engineer- in-chief, Sir Henry Pilkington, deserved the greatest credit for the unbroken success of his designs and operations during the time he had presided over these works. He had carried out some of the argest engineering works of any period in the world's history without a single failure of any sort or description. He asked those who criticised the increases on certain of the estimates to consider what immense miscalculations had been made by the greatest civil engineers in outside practice. If hen. Members would consider the case of the widening of Kew Bridge, for instance, where the estimated cost was & pound 118,000 and the lowest tender received £169,000, or the case of Manchester Ship Canal, where the estimate for works was £6,000,000, and two of the greatest con tractors tendered for less than that sum, whereas the actual cost was over 7pound; 10,000,000—
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N. E.)
suggested that the circumstances of that case were peculiar owing to the fact that for many miles of the cutting springs breaking out everywhere necessitated a total change in the work.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said the interruption only proved his point, the frequent impossibility of foreseeing what the expense would be. That was exactly what the Government were meeting with at Malta and other places at the present time. Those were matters they were naturally unable to foresee. He merely referred to these matters to show how unfair were the attacks which had been 794 made on the officers administering those great works, and because it was the last public opportunity of referring to the services of the civil engineer-in-chief, before he left his office, and he could not allow Sir Henry Pilkington and his staff to retire from their duties without paying a public tribute to the extraordinary and unbroken success of their labours during the past ten or fifteen years.
Passing to other items, he said Gibraltar Harbour was now practically complete. The moles were finished the harbour itself was in use, and the dockyard was already in partial operation. No. 3 dock had already been opened and the two remaining docks would be opened early next year. This base for a great fleet would soon be in full use and would prove of the greatest assistance to the Navy as it would become the headquarters and chief base of the Atlantic Fleet.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Does the hon. Gentleman anticipate that Gibraltar, with the very restricted area, will suffice for the wants of a large fleet?
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE:
Yes, Sir, the dock accommodation and the shops in connection with them are on the largest scale, and they are quite sufficient for the needs of the Fleet for a long time ahead.
On the question of the principle of these Bills, on which the Government had been somewhat ungraciously attacked, he proceeded to point out that the system of Loan Bills had been consistently sanctioned by the House, and there was no reason why the Government should abruptly depart from it in order to satisfy a strained view of national economy. However, the arrears of work were now nearing completion, and, therefore, the need for these Loan Bills was also coming to an end. He had 795 never concealed his own desire that they should be brought to an end as soon as that could conveniently be done, but it had not been practicable before now. This Bill marked a great step in that direction. The transference, however, of certain of this expenditure to the Votes, would, he warned the House, involve an increase of £340,000 or £350,000 in next year's Naval Estimates. After the conclusion of this Bill there would still remain £4,000,000 to be provided for works already sanctioned, and that would have to be found by a succeeding Loan Bill. It had been objected that the total expenditure under this series of Bills was enormous, £32,000,000 in fact. He admitted that it was a large sum, and yet it was less than the total for the effective portion of only one year's Naval Estimates. It had further been suggested by some critics that this expenditure was unnecessary and extravagant, but he asked the House to consider what the nation were getting for it in assets of permanent value. There were the great national harbours at Dover, Gibraltar, Malta, and Portland, the great dockyards at Gibraltar, Malta, the Cape of Good Hope, Bermuda, Keyham, Rosyth, and Hong-Kong. Then there I were barracks, hospitals, and various naval extensions throughout the world, all tending to the comfort and efficiency of the Fleet, coaling facilities, which were so much needed, and other magnificent I equipment not surpa sed anywhere in the world. These were great assets which the nation had obtained, and it was because he believed that this expenditure had been of the greatest possible value to the country, and directly contributory to the fighting efficiency of the Fleet and its readiness for war, that he confidently appealed to the House to pass this Bill.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Perthshire, E.)
said that on questions of naval policy he did not profess to be qualified to express an opinion, but there were points of policy connected with this measure he could not pass by unnoticed. The chief 796 was the question of the Chatham extension and of the proposed dockyard at Rosyth. Two years since, when the Chatham extension was under discussion in this House, the Admiralty authorities, under pressure, stated that, although a token sum of £50,000 alone was asked for, the total estimated cost of the undertaking was £4,500,000. The Admiralty considered themselves at liberty during those two years to make contracts representing a larger sum than the preliminary expenditure authorised, but the Treasury declined to give their assent to the expenditure, and the result was that the hon. Gentle man now came down with a Bill including an item of £50,000 for the fulfilment of contracts entered into beyond the scope of the previous Bill. Now, as a matter of fact, the Admiraltv had abandoned their large scheme for the extension of Chatham Dockyard and had put forward a tentative scheme for starting a dockyard at Rosyth. It struck him very forcibly they could not under these circumstances have any very great confidence in the stability of the policy of the Admiralty. Only two years since both these large new works were advocated as desirable and even essential for the future of our Navy, but in the short space of two years the Admiralty had apparently changed their plans. He did not think, therefore, the House should allow itself at the present moment to be committed to this expenditure of £2,500,000 on the Rosyth scheme. All they were asked to vote to-day was £200,000, and they had been told that that was to be spent on preliminary works.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
understood that the remainder of the £200,000 would be spent on preliminary works. He thought the House ought not to commit itself and its successors to this Rosyth scheme without further consideration, and certainly not in the dying days of a Parliament and Ministry. He hoped the House would, at any rate, make it clear that it by no means considered that by passing this Bill it committed itself or 797 its successor to going on with this work. Reference had been made to the increases in total estimated cost of works in the present Bill as compared to their estimated cost in the Bill of 1903. Keyham was an old sinner in this respect. In 1897 the total cost was at £3,175,000; in 1903 it had increased up to £4,175,000; and now it had gone up to £4,500,000, and there was no security whatever that the final estimate had yet been reached. The same criticism held good with regard to Hong-Kong, where the estimated cost had increased from £575,000 in 1897 to £1,250,000 in the present Bill. The electric lighting item showed an increase from £1,250,000 to £1,500,000 as compared with last year, but he understood that the increase was really more than £250,000, because the cost of the electric plant at Hong-Hong had been taken out of this item. That being so, he would ask whether any other such transfers had been made. In any case, he wished to reiterate his protest against the inclusion of this item in the Bill at all. It was absurd that electric lighting plant should be paid for in the manner proposed.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said that electric lighting plant represented a comparatively small portion of the Estimate, the main part being for electric power.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
contended that whether for power or light any large commercial undertaking would pay for it from year to year.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
instanced the case of nearly all the municipal bodies; which did exactly the opposite.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said he was dealing with national finance, and he strongly objected to the borrowing of money for this purpose. It was true there were certain decreases in the present Bill, but the only one of any magnitude was in connection with Bermuda, where the Estimate of the total cost was down by £100,000 in consequence of a change in naval policy, the remaining decreases being very small compared with the total cost.
798 On the financial side, he had steadfastly opposed these Naval and Military Works Bills from the beginning, believing that they were unsound in principle and almost certain to lead to extravagance. They were unsound in principle because instead of meeting current expenses out of current revenue, they threw upon our successors burdens which we ought to bear. It was only necessary to look at the increase in Naval and Military Estimates during the list ten years to see what extravagance the system had caused both directly and indirectly. There had been created a large naval debt, a large military debt, and large debts for other purposes, which for twenty or thirty years the country would be laboriously engaged in paying off. What the opponents of the system had contended for was now largely acknowledged by the Government. The tu quoque argument had been used. It was true the system was begun in 1895. He was not concerned to defend the principle of the Act of that year, but the Acts of both 1895 and 1896 contained limitations and mitigations of the system which had since completely disappeared. They were annual Acts, stress being laid on the importance of the House of Commons having an annual opportunity of considering the progress of the works, and deciding whether or not they should go on with them. They also proposed to carry out a definite scheme which Members could understand. He did not, however, contend that under no circumstances whatever should money be borrowed for large works of a permanent character. The right principle was, he thought, laid down in the Report of the Public Accounts Committee last year, where the limitations under which such a course might be justifiable were set forth, and a strong desire expressed that the system as a system should be brought to a conclusion at the earliest possible moment.
Since 1897 these Bills had become a regular established financial practice. In that year the first Military Works Bill was introduced, and from that time onwards every two years fresh Bills had been brought forward, each for a larger 799 amount and with, a longer schedule than its predecessor. In the schedule of the Finance Accounts these sums were euphemistically described as "other capital liabilities," and in 1898 they stood at £3,750,000. From that moment they had been advancing, the amounts being, in 1900, £10,000,000; in 1902, £20,000,000; in 1903, £27,500,000; in 1904, £32,000,000; in 1905, £41,500,000; and in 1906, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer's estimate was realised, the amount would be £50,000,000. That included borrowing for other purposes than navaland military works, but naval and military works were the principal offenders. That was the system which had been developed in the last ten years by the Government. This financial poison had entered into most other Departments. In the year 1897 the charges under "other capital liabilities" were £5,000,000, but in 1905 these liabilities had gone up to £12,000,000. This showed that if once they lost the reins of financial control in one Department it spread very rapidly in other Departments.
This Bill proposed to increase the total estimated cost of works by £500,000, and to expend in the next two years £7,700,000; or rather to construct works to cost that sum, borrow the money, and leave the successors of the Government to pay the bill. What he complained of most was that this Bill represented no finality as regarded works. The Civil Lord had stated that the Government had concluded that this system should be brought to an end at the earliest possible moment, but what were the Government doing? They had been assured that this policy would be followed in regard to certain items in the new Bill, but what had happened? The item for dredging was to be put upon the Estimates on April 1st,1906, because the total amount of money in hand would then be exhausted. So far that was an advance. With regard to coaling facilities there was a note which stated that that item would be put upon the Estimates but it, did not say when, and for two years more, if not longer, money was to be borrowed for this purpose. Then there was the new dockyard at Rosyth which was to be put on the Estimates when the House of Commons 800 consented to undertake this work. If the Government had really meant business they could have taken a substantial step in the direction of putting an end to this loan system. There was an unexpended balance of £1,869,000, on 31st March last which might have been used for the purposes of this Bill, and the additional sum that would be necessary to carry on the works during the current year could have been placed on the Navy Estimates. That would have been a substantial practical step. The Civil Lord opposite did not deny that he could have done that; in fact, that was what was being done in regard to the Army at the present moment.
They were told that £7,00. 0,000 was the amount in hand under the Military Works Bill, and this was being spent this year and next year without any fresh authorisation from Parliament at all. That was a grave irregularity which ought to be stopped. The Admiralty had not availed themselves of the opportunity which had occurred of introducing the better practice, and the result was that the obligation of working out what the Civil Lord himself recognised to be the sound financial policy which should govern the administration of the Admiralty, and any unpopularity that would ensue, would fall, not upon him, but upon his successors. The House and the country ought to take particular notice now of the fact that any increase that might take place hereafter upon Vote 10 of the Navy or Vote 8 of the Army was one of the consequences entailed by the extravagant and unsound methods of finance which had been pursued during the last ten years by the present Government both in regard to the Army and the Navy. It was not the Admiralty but the Chancellor of the Exchequer who now and in past years was really responsible for this mischievous system, and, of all the Chancellors of the Exchequer, the man who was really respensible and who was the greatest sinner of all was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol.
The serious effect of this system of borrowing upon our national credit was reflected in the state of Consols and of other first-class securities. He did not 801 intend to suggest that the system was responsible for the whole of the heavy fall in the value of these securities which had taken place since the war; but he did mean to assert that it was a large contributory cause to the continued depreciation, and a continuous impediment in the way of a revival of the national credit. He said that so long as the Sinking Fund for the redemption of public debt was made ineffective by fresh borrowing it was hardly likely that the national credit would resume the position which they all desired, and to which it was entitled. He could quote many financial authorities in support of this statement.
In the past two years many hon. Members had urged on the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his predecessor the obligation, when the war was over, of endeavouring to lay before the country some clear and consistent scheme for the reduction of the great additional debt which had thereby been put on its shoulders. The right hon. Gentleman had never made any such proposal. He believed the people of the country would have borne with patience a large amount of war taxation if it had been made clear to them that the heavy taxation would be used to abate the burden of increased debt consequent upon the war. The Sinking Fund, had been re-established, but there was no good in doing that unless the Sinking Fund was to be operative in the way of really paying off debt. What had taken place? While on the face of the accounts we appeared to be paying off six, seven, or eight millions with the one hand, the Chancellor of the Exchequer ha i with the other hand been borrowing money to an equal, or even a greater, extent. The special debt had already increased since the war ended from £20,000,000 to £41,000,000, and it would amount to something like £50,000,000 at the expiry of the present year. When the Sinking Fund was in active operation they would find Consols rising and the national credit improving. That was obvious to anyone who gave the most elementary consideration to the subject, and that was clearly one of the many reasons why this system of loan expenditure should be brought to an end at 802 the earliest possible date. Only in that way should we be able to get a revival of the national credit. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Department he represented had been exercising pressure on the Government to bring this system to an end at a reasonable date. While the Chancellor of the Exchequer had expressed his agreement with the substance of their contention he was really doing nothing practical, except preventing the further extension of the scheme by not allowing new items to be inserted in it. He would urge the right hon. Gentleman to take further and immediate steps. He begged to move.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that what he objected to was the position of the Government in regard to this most important matter. He thought the Prime Minister adopted the attitude towards this very grave subject which the hon. Member opposite had adopted that day. The Government wanted to take credit for abandoning this system of borrowing. They were not abandoning it at all, and this was as bad a Bill as he had ever seen. This was the sort of unintelligible attitude the Government were assuming at present in regard to these grave matters. He thought the description of it as a death-bed repentance was one that was perfectly justified. The Government had for the last ten years steadily pursued the policy which his hon. friend had so ably described, and now they were trying to get credit for abandoning it at a time when they had not the courage to abandon it. Since 1895 he had constantly opposed this policy on the occasion of the introduction of the Naval Works Bills. They had been informed that the Liberals were in power when the first Bill was brought in, and I that therefore the Liberals were to blame for introducing a bad policy. The policy had now been abandoned in principle though not in practice. When the Bill was introduced in 1895 he joined his hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn in opposing it, and he voted against his own Government on the Bill in the only division that was taken upon it. During the last eleven years they had carried on this dreary campaign against the policy of these Loan'Bills. The Government 803 said they had taken steps to bring this policy to an end though not in the Estimates this year. But the life of the Government was hanging on a thread and it might be cut short any week. The hon. Gentleman ought to remember his mortality, and instead of making good resolutions as to what was to be done twelve months hence it would be better to do something now. It appeared from what the hon. Member opposite said that it would be four years hence before any change was made in the direction of adopting the sounder principle which they had taken in hand. When the hon. Member claimed credit for adopting a principle which could not come into operation for four years he was claiming far too much virtue.
The expenditure estimated in this Bill was not complete, because the whole of the expenditure on Rosyth had not been included. The right hon. Gentleman had no right to tell the Liberal Government or any Government which would succeed the present one to provide for the Rosyth expenditure on their Estimates. They had already borrowed under this policy £27,000,000, and after the passing of this Bill £8,000,000 more would require to be borrowed before the nation could adopt the sounder system. The hon. Gentleman spoke as if it were quite easy to turn over this new leaf, but it would be increasingly difficult to do so. There appeared in the Estimates no less than £1,000,000 for paying interest on the loans already incurred, and next year it would be increased by £400,003. In two or three years the total amount which would have to be provided in Vote 10 would be £2,000,000 for running off these loans. He asked the House to consider the difficulty which future Boards of Admiralty would be placed in. They would be asked to provide for current works out of the expenditure of the year, and at the same time would have to provide £2,001,000 in connection with these loans. It would therefore be exceedingly difficult for the successors of the present Government to turn over a new leaf. The Government thought they were relieving the country by borrowing, but as a matter of fact the country received 804 an even greater blow in this way than if the money were paid out of taxes. It would have been a far less evil to the country if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had had the courage to put on a tax to pay his way as he went rather than borrow. Of course he would not have been able to produce such a good Budget if he had done that, but taxes should not be taken off unless the finances of the country warranted that being done.
It had been said that debates on the Estimates never promoted economy. He thought it was the debates which had taken place in that House that had promoted any economy that there had been during the last ten years. Where had the subject of the Loans Bill been discussed except in that House, and in one or two speeches outside the House? The Treasury did nothing to get rid of this capital expenditure. They wanted to have something practical done. He contended that the agitation in that House, which had extended out of doors, had compelled fie Government to make a promise or treaty in regard to these Works Loans Bills. He would quote from a remarkable speech made on this subject on June 7th by Mr. E. Speyer, at a meeting of the Institute of Bankers. That gentleman said—In recent years, the ordinary Budget has been supplemented by an extraordinary Budget, that is, a Budget containing expenditures which are provided for out of capital. In the past year these expenditures have amounted to £8,114,000, and to complete the works an additional sum of over £25,000,000 has yet to be borrowed. This capital expenditure means nothing less than that the sinking funds provided for the redemption of debt have not been used for that purpose at all, but have in reality, in recent years, been used for providing expenditure upon naval and military works, etc. The continuance of these capital outlays, if they are financed by fresh borrowings, will prevent any reduction of the debt of the country for several years.And Mr. Speyer concluded by saying that—The practice is altogether indefensible, and no well-managed commercial house would consider itself justified in creating an account of this character. Why should a State act differently from any commercial concern that is conducted on sound lines? If these extra expenditures for unproductive purposes are absolutely necessary, the country should be told, and the Government of the day should come forward boldly and raise taxation accordingly.
§ MR. MURPHY
(Kerry, E.) drew attention to the fact that there were not forty Members present,
Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House for the luncheon hour.
§ MR. LOUGH,
continuing his speech, said the quotation from Mr. Speyer which he read just before the House adjourned was very extraordinary independent testimony from a man who had no place in the political arena, in favour of the principle which they were now advocating. In his opinion it was a monstrous thing on the part of the Admiralty to compare the expenditure on naval and military works with municipal expenditure, because those works were not of a remunerative character, as were those for which borrowings were made by local authorities. He thought it would be much safer if the Government adopted the principle of providing for this expenditure on the Votes as it came along. The hon. Member representing the Admiralty spoke of Sir William Harcourt, and quoted Sir William's reasons for introducing the Naval Works Bill, which were that many of the works were of a permanent character and that therefore the Government was entitled to borrow for them. But many of these works were not of a permanent character. Encroachments of the sea entailed considerable expense of maintenance of such works, and there was no proof that these works would be always useful. The whole history of these works had been the abandonment of them, and the hon. Gentleman would not deny that even now the Government were withdrawing troops and naval forces from many harbours in the Empire. Therefore these works could not be described as permanent. They now understood that this system of Naval Works Bills was to be brought to an end; that within a certain period all this series of building operations would be brought to a conclusion. This death-bed repentance on the part of the Government was in order that the Government might get some credit for at last adopting the principle which the Opposition had so long advocated. But what he wished to know was 806 was this repentance an honest and sincere repentance?
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said it was net repentance at all, and the Government wished to take no credit whatever.
§ MR. LOUGH
contended that the argument that it was necessary to borrow for the last ten years but that it would not be necessary to do so in the coming ten years, ought not to be accepted. The works at Rosyth were quite as large and would be just as costly as any works that had been undertaken under this Bill. The hon. Gentleman contemplated that £2,500,000 would be spent at Rosyth, and if what the hon. Gentleman had said was correct and the Government had arranged for this huge expenditure at Rosyth to come upon the Estimates, why was not the same course adopted in the case of Gibraltar, Dover, and all the other places mentioned in the Bill? The Government borrowed for the works at Dover Harbour, but they were throwing on their successors the burden of providing for the expenditure at Rosyth, which was to come upon Vote 10. It was for these reasons that he contended that the conversion of the Government at. the eleventh hour to this sound principle of providing for the expenditure as they went along was not an honest conversion. They had still their eyes on the flesh-pots. If they had had a new lease of power nothing would have been heard of this proposal, and it was only because the Government had come to the end of their tether, and had become aware of the outcry that was being made upon this matter, that they pretended now to adopt a more sound system of finance. He hoped that those who had fought against this Bill all along would continue the struggle.
The Civil Lord had stated that the present Government were not responsible for the adoption of this principle. He quite agreed that a Liberal Government brought in the first Naval Works Bill in 1895. Liberal Governments did not always succeed in adopting the wisest course, and though they were far in front of Conservatives in this respect they might occasionally slip into the mistake of adopting an unsound 807 policy. The difference in the two Parties lay in the fact that while the rank and file of the Radical Party would soon see that the policy was unsound and would correct it in a very short time, the followers of the Government would never correct it at all. The Liberals introduced a Bill for £8,000,000 in 1895. What did the Conservatives do? They did not, when they came into power, reduce it, they continued the policy and made it first £16,000,000, then £24,000,000, and now it was £32,000,000. In this matter he stood independent of both Parties. He was the preacher of pure principle. He voted against this Bill in 1895, and if the Liberals intended to continue these borrowings in the future he should oppose them as firmly as he had done in the past. His course had been consistent. He had opposed the Bill of 1895, moved the rejection of the Bills of 1897 and 1899, and had supported the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill of 1903, and he would not in future give a vote in favour of these Naval Works Bills. Although he had suffered in the past at the hands of his friends for the course he pursued, and particularly at the hands of his right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean, who always supported the Government, even that right hon. Gentleman had now come to his opinion and was now opposing this Bill himself. The right hon. Baronet admitted that he had now got at the root of this matter and had become a convert, and on the Motion that this Bill should go into Committee he told against it. He himself did not believe that because a considerable expenditure was required to be made at a particular time they were justified in putting the burden of payment on posterity, and he thought the new tone which was now adopted outside with regard to this policy was entirely due to those who had fought against it on both sides of the House. A steady resistance had to be offered to this policy because it was not yet concluded. He did not wish hon. Gentlemen on the Liberal side of the House to suppose that they could again resort to this principle of expenditure which had been disastrous to national finance and had resulted in great extravagance. Every Government should have forced upon them the 808 principle that whatever was wanted for expenditure should be taken out of the provision made for the year.
Amendment proposed—To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, 'this House declines to agree to the Second Reading of a. Bill which, by continuing for a further period the system of loan expenditure for Naval Works, renders the Sinking Fund ineffective, and injures the credit of the country'"—(Mr. Buchanan) instead thereof.Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
said he congratulated the Civil Lord upon the manner in which he had discharged a task of unusual difficulty. The hon. Gentleman must have realised that circumstances had changed in regard to these matters, and that what used to be an easy thing had become to-day an extremely difficult one— and it was a very difficult thing to-day to pass this Bill through the House. It was no longer the details of the schedules of these Naval Works Bills that were important. It was the financial principle of the measure that was at stake. It was on the Second Reading and not upon the Committee stage that the important discussions took place. He now desired to ask for some information upon three items as to which only token Votes had been taken. The hon. Gentleman had said very little about the coastguards except to give the additional expenditure, were they to look at that item as the result of a change of policy, because he was rather surprised to find this item rather more swollen than any in the Bill. The other two items to which he wished to refer were Rosyth and the Chatham extension. As to Rosyth, he was unable to understand the position of the Admiralty. At this moment the Vote for Rosyth, which was a token Vote of £200,000 in 1903, was now a substantive Vote of the same amount. They were now told that the sum was to be employed in preliminary expenditure. The sum which was to be spent on the works of Rosyth was £2,300,000 in addition to this £200,000, and that amount was to be thrown on the Estimates. He took it, 809 therefore, that substantive expenditure on Rosyth was not to begin until the preliminary expenditure had come to an end.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
said that this Bill provided for preliminary expenditure only. Therefore, substantive expenditure on Rosyth could not begin till after the money had been voted next year. But the scheme was so vague that, having regard to what had occurred in the case of Chatham, he could not look with any confidence to the future of Rosyth. The great Chatham extension scheme was the principal item of the Loan Bill of 1903. Now the House learned that that scheme had been abandoned. This vast change of policy must affect the other schemes, and, therefore, he could not believe in the future of Rosyth. What confidence could the House of Commons have in an Admiralty that came to the House with vast projects in fulfilment of a certain naval policy and then two years afterwards discarded the projects in obedience to another policy?
It was not for those who, ten years ago, either as members of the Government or of the predominant Party in the House at that time brought in and supported the first Naval Works Bill, to denounce the principle of borrowing for such works as intolerable. He certainly was not going to make any such recantation, but he held himself no more responsible for borrowing established by the Naval Works Act of 1895 than he now held the Secretary to the Admiralty and the Civil Lord opposite responsible for the financial policy of the present Bill. It was not the Admiralty, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being who was responsible for the way in which the money for naval works was to be raised. The Admiralty knew little and cared less about the matter. What the Admiralty had to do was to advise what works would be necessary. It was then for the Cabinet to decide, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say whether the money should be directly under the Estimates 810 or by Bill, but he thought there was a good deal of force in the argument as to the change of circumstances. Sir William Harcourt based the Bill of 1895 broadly on the ground that the works proposed were not only necessary, but urgently necessary, and that, as the resources of taxation were practically exhausted, the first steps of these works must be aided by the borrowing powers of the Government. Since then, however, the scale of naval works had increased enormously, and they had now two parallel Budgets placed before the House, one dependent on the Estimates, and the other the irregular Budget created by the various Loan Acts. The result was that there was no real paying off of borrowed money, but a gradual increase of debt. The extension of the system, not on naval works alone, but in other directions and on other services, had been so great that he thought the time had come to call a halt.
His hon. friend who had moved the Amendment that day was met half-way by the Government, but met in such a way that he had been left in some embarrassment as to what their policy really was. He understood from the Answer given to him a few days ago by the Civil Lord that it was the intention of the Government that this should be the last Naval Works Bill. Now, however, he was told that that was not so, and he did not know where they stood. The Prime Minister had taunted them with being ungracious because they offered opposition to the earlier stages of that Bill, which he suggested was conceding for the first time the principle asserted by hon. Members on the Opposition benches. The Civil Lord had repeated that phrase but now it transpired that it was not conceded and that there, were to be more Loan Bills at some future day. What was the financial situation? The amount of the expenditure authorised by the whole series of Bills, including this Bill, and the substantive expenditure at Rosyth, was £34,500,000. The borrowing power already in existence was £21,800,000, leaving at this minute, before this Bill passed, at least £12,700,000 to be provided for. In round figures, 811 £5,800,000 was to be authorised by this Bill, and that left a further balance of £6,900,000, including Rosyth. He had understood it was to be the policy of the Government that the balance outstanding at the end of the two years provided for by this Bill was to be thereafter thrown entirely on the Naval Estimates. But now they were told that that was not so.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said he had stated that certain portions of this money would be thrown on the Naval Estimates; but they could not bind their successors beyond the two years of the Act. There would be a certain sum remaining to be found after the two years, and it would remain for their successors to determine how it should be raised.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
said he had thought this was to be the last of the borrowings; he now found it was only the last of the present Government's borrowings. That indeed reduced the scheme of the Government to very small dimensions.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
said he had been completely misled. The Government were simply peeking to pass their obligations on to their successors. He complained of the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He thought they ought to have some estimate of the growing burden that was being created by these loans. He argued that all the circumstances that would justify the stopping of borrowing two years hence would justify it now, and it was obligatory on the Government to make out the case for their failure to stop it now. Now that he saw the Chancellor of the Exchequer present he hoped the House would hear from the lion. Gentleman why it was that the contemplated change of policy with regard to borrowings had not been announced at the time of the Budget No hint was given them at that time that so important a change was to be proposed. Why were they now only seeking to carry it out piecemeal? No great harm would be done if this Bill were rejected, for the Admiralty already had nearly £2,000,000 in 812 hand and before anything further was done they ought to learn from the Chancellor of the Exchequer if this policy was to be applied also to military and other works.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he had listened with unexampled patience and, he hoped, with some profit to the long speech of the hon. Member. But he confessed that it left him sad. He had taken the hon. Gentleman to be one of those able Scotsmen who came South in order to teach an ignorant people how to pay their way without getting into debt. Instead of that, the hon. Gentleman had avowed himself one of the inventors and patentees of this very vicious system of borrowing, and led the House to understand that when he came into office he would continue it. Personally he had always voted against this system.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he thought he did. He certainly had voted against the last Government on questions of that sort, and he was not sure he was not one of the tellers. He had not altered his opinions. The hon. Gentleman had led the House to expect that when he came into office he would continue this system?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he supposed they were to take it. then, that the hon. Gentleman was not going to borrow and his only fear was that when ignorant people saw the Navy Votes going up they would turn him out of office. The hon. Gentleman also complained, he thought, a little unfairly of the absence of Ministers. In the stress and strain of modern life and the consequent waste of tissue, the week-end holiday had become absolutely necessary to statesmen of eminence, and he for one recognised it was the inevitable for them to give Friday to motoring, Saturday to golf, and Sunday to bridge. He therefore would not complain that he had no audience of Ministers in fact he would be content to make his speech 813 to the hon. Gentleman alone. No doubt this was a most important question; it involved a matter which was the very marrow of finance. When they passed this Bill, the expenditure of this £5,800,000 would escape for ever from them, they would never have an opportunity of revising it, and, to adopt Kipling's words, they would only have to "Pay, pay, pay."
He would for a few moments, with the permission of the House, wander into- the region of strategy. He was an humble student of strategy, which he had always understood to be merely the application of common sense to the problems of naval and military warfare. Never was a country so well placed for naval strategy as this. It divided Europe into two parts, which it prevented from joining forces against us. Yet its own sea approaches were so numerous that they could never be closed by an enemy. In Plymouth it had the finest port for action in southern Europe. Chatham was equally well fitted for naval action in northern Europe; and it possessed most special advantages as a naval port. It was completely defended by the sands and shoals at the mouth of the Thames from anything like torpedo attack. It was I close to our other great naval arsenals, Portsmouth and Plymouth. As com pared with Rosyth it had the incomparably best situation. It would be suggested that the enormous and extravagant expenditure on Dover was intended to make that port replace Chatham. It never could do so, for Dover could be bombarded from halfway across the Channel by movable vessels. Moreover, Dover had no dockyard and could not have any. Then let them compare the value of Chatham and Rosyth as strategical stations. Undoubtedly for the purpose of operations against all the northern coast of Europe, from Calais to the Baltic, Chatham was the better situated. The two were equidistant from the Baltic, but Chatham was a hundred miles nearer the mouth of the Elbe, and 200 nearer the mouth of the Scheldt, either of which we might have to blockade, and therefore nearer the intervening area where naval actions were probable, and it was infinitely 814 better situated in the event of action being necessary in the South of Europe. The merits of Chatham were recognised a year or two since, and the Government proposed to spend £4,500,000 there, but that policy had now been abandoned, and £2,500,000 was instead to be spent at Rosyth. The change was immense. It was capital. It was sudden. But if our official strategists thus quickly varied strategy must indeed be an uncertain science, and the strategist a man who could not be relied on to hold the same opinion for sixmonths.
It was proposed to spend £2,500,000 on Rosyth, but he felt certain that if the vast works that were contemplated were carried out the expenditure would certainly be £5,000,000 and possibly £7,500,000. They had the example of Gibraltar before them. The works there were originallv to cost only £1,500,000. As a "fact they had cost nearly £5,000,000. He had another objection to the attempt to bind the House to an expenditure of £2,500,000 on Rosyth. The demand at present for Rosyth was a modest one, but his hon. friend knew very well that the great outlay that was incurred at Gibraltar was for the purpose of completing much less costly works which had been authorised. When more money was required for Rosyth it would be argued that works which had been commenced must be finished. The hon. Gentleman had said that the Rosyth scheme was complete as it stood. Every scheme was complete as it stood. The Gibraltar scheme was complete as it first stood, and as it first stood he himself had approved of it. But afterwards it was trebled by other schemes complete as they stood, which he held to be not only unnecessary but dangerous, and in the end they had been called upon to spend other £3,500,000 on that scheme.
Let him call attention to the extreme vice of this method of committing the House to large expenditure by means of a token Vote. The Public Accounts Committee in their Report last year said they were of opinion that Parliament should not be asked on a token Vote of a few thousand pounds to commit itself to the construction of new works, the total cost 815 of which might run into millions, and of which not even an approximate estimate was submitted. That was exactly what they were asked to do now. They were asked to Vote £200,000 for Rosyth, as a token Vote, and thereby to commit the House to a large expenditure of which no final or ultimate estimate had been given. Part of the hon. Gentleman's speech dealt with the impossibility of giving final and ultimate estimates for works of this sort.
The defence of the system of proceeding by loan was that the expenditure represented permanent works. There was nothing in this world that; was permanent unless it was the retention of office by the occupants of the Front Bench, but, of all things, the least permanent were naval works of every description. He did not shrink from using these words. His hon. friend had had the assurance to try to persuade the House that dredging was a permanent work. Nothing was less permanent, not a backetful of mud could be dredged without another bucketful immediately beginning to fill its place. An example of that might be seen in the Thames opposite that House. The river was always occupied by dredgers trying to deepen the channel. An enormous sum had been spent upon Chatham, which was now to be practically abandoned. Where then was the permanence? Might not that happen to any of these works? Chatham was to be abandoned, and in its place was to be put this Scottish upstart of Rosyth. Fortifications, and docks, and repairing shops were all non-permanent. His firm conviction, derived from the experience of Japan, was that the future would not be for the permanent repairing shops in the arsenal nor for the dock to receive the ships. The future would, he believed, belong to the repairing ships to accompany the Navy, and, as far as docks were concerned, the future would belong to the floating dock. Japan had been warring with their navy for two years, and during the whole of that time all the repairs had been carried on either on board the ships or on board repairing ships, 816 and if they had gone into dock it had been to clean their bottoms.
THK CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBEKLAIN, Worcestershire, E.)
was understood to dissent.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to doubt the assertion. Would the right hon. Gentleman get up and contradict it? He believed his statement would be found entirely accurate. It was undoubted that enormous service had been rendered to the Japanese Navy by their repairing ships, and it was in the direction of providing repairing ships; and not docks, that he should like to see either the Estimates or the Naval Works Bill go. But supposing that these naval arsenals were permanent, why should they be paid for by the system of loans? Formerly such works were paid for out of revenue. These were not the first naval arsenals we had had. One of the items for which it was proposed to borrow was electric plant. No gentleman would borrow to have gas fittings put in his house. But really the most humorous touch of all was that the House was asked to borrow over £1,000,000 for the salaries of those who were to conduct the works, superintendents, and so forth. Whoever heard of borrowing to pay the salaries of your employees? The Public Accounts Committee in one of their Reports for the year 1904 said—Your Committee entertain serious doubts as to the financial method by which naval works are provided for by means of loans. The same remark applies, of course, to military works, and other similar loan services. For special works of permanent character and large cost it may, as an exceptional measure, be desirable to provide by loan repayable within a limited number of years. But the resort to such procedure should be the exception, not the rule, fn recent years, annual or biennial Military and Naval Works Acts have become a regular part of military and naval finance. Your Committee would deprecate the continuance of this practice. They believe it would be more in accordance with sound rules of finance and would tend to simplify the national accounts and maintain an efficient control over expenditure if the bulk of these services were included, as formerly, in the annual Estimates.That really represented the arguments he had endeavoured to place before the House. The Government indeed, did 817 not dispute that part of the argument. They admitted the system of borrowing to he bad, but, like St. Augustine, "they cried," Oh, Lord, convert me, but not yet. In fact they bettered St. Augustine, because he prayed to be converted during his life, but His Majesty's Government only intended to be converted after their death. They said, "We have been as extravagant and as wicked as we could be; we have wallowed in debt. We have added during our ten years term of office £235,000,000 to the whole liabilities of the country. But when we change ides you shall see what economical persons we are. You shall find us always voting with the Member for King's Lynn and against the Naval Works Bill." He said that all these charges for naval works ought to come on the Estimates, and further, that if they were not going to put them on the Estimates it would be better even to add them to the Funded Debt of the country than to make them out of a special debt of this sort, although it had a sinking fund of its own— a debt which was not subject to the ordinary Tides of the Funded Debt.
This Bill was to authorise the borrowing of £5,800,000, but the liability to which the House was asked to commit the nation amounted to a great deal more. In the first place, there was the £2,300,000 to which the House would commit the country for Rosyth; then there had to be added— he was not talking now of the Sinking Fund— the interest which would accrue on this loan during thirty years amounting to over £3,000,000. Consequently, what they were asked to charge on the country now was not only £5,800,000 but a total liability of something over £11,000,000. That was what was at stake in this Bill. It would be better and cheaper to put the £5,800,000 on the Estimates. There was an extreme and special laxity in the finance of this Department. They thought nothing of spending half a million before they had the contracts before them, and it was particularly a Department that ought not to be trusted with the expenditure of large sums of money to be raised in this way. He was. strongly opposed to the Bill. He had 818 voted against the Resolution in Committee, and he would vote against the Bill now as a matter of duty. They were told by the Prime Minister the other day that the opinion of Parliament was sometimes worth nothing at all, but when that opinion was expressed on the Second Reading of a measure of this kind he thought that it must be considered that here at least the opinion was of some value. Mr. Mantalini was once served with a writ for £100 14s, 0½ d., and on looking at it he said, "Oh, the ha penny be dem'd." The Government might "dem" the £100, of the Land Commission on which they treated their defeat with contempt, but even they could hardly "dem" such a sum as £5,800,000. It was because the sum to be ultimately raised was so much greater than appeared from the Bill, because of the method in which it was proposed to raise the money, because the Admiralty ought not to be trusted, uncontrolled by the review of that House, with the expenditure of such large sums of money, and because of the accumulated vices of this Bill, that he would deem it his duty to vote against the Second Reading.
§ MR. MCKENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
said he did not propose to follow the hon. Gentleman on the subject of strategy, which he appeared to put in a most convincing manner. The Admiralty had such weight with the Government, with this House, and with the public at large, that it was perfectly clear any proposals they made were sure to be accepted, and he did not propose to criticise the works in themselves. He proposed te address himself to the question: How should the money be provided? Was it right that the money should be provided by loan or out of the Estimates of the year? He did not think that in the course of the debate it had been mentioned that out of the sum of £5,800,000 to be raised by this Bill only £1,000,000 was needed for spending in the course of the current financial year. In the Navy Estimates for this year there was a reduction of about £3,000,000. It would, therefore, have been perfectly possible for the Government, had they been content to make a reduction of only £2,000,000, to put all the year's expenditure on the 819 Estimates instead of including it in this Bill. He asserted that the advantage of paying our way as we went along was overwhelming. Consols at present stood at 90. He admitted the importance of having naval bases for our Empire, but the best naval base it could have was Consols at 100. If we could borrow cheaply we had a better defence than anything that could be put forward at any given moment. We could not carry on war successfully for any length of time unless we could raise money cheaply, and it was of greater importance to restore oar credit to 2½ per cent, than to go on borrowing for the purpose of erecting naval bases.
At the end of this year the Government would have raised, and still have unpaid off, no less a sum than £49,000,000 in respect of what was called borrowing on capital account. These total borrowings this year, amounting to £9,000,000, would nullify altogether the operation of the Sinking Fund. In this system of borrowing the Navy had been the worst offender, and he blamed the Treasury for permitting the practice to continue. In a speech which he delivered on July 25th,1904, in the debate on the Finance Bill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said—He gathered that hon. Gentlemen were rather anxious that the growth of small borrowings should be closely watched, and that they should not be made a permanent annual part of our financial system. In that hope and wish he was very much in accord with the Members opposite, but he was bound to point out that the works already sanctioned by Parliament, and which had been begun, were coming to an end. They had overtaken the arrears out of which they arose, and it would not be necessary to ask Parliament to make provision for them again.The only construction he could put on that language was that in 1904 it was the intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to introduce if he were in office this year another Naval Works Bill. He had been subsequently told that the right hon. Gentleman's language did not bear that construction. He was told in the first place that the right hon. Gentleman was referring there to new works which had not been sanctioned, but that he did not pledge himself not to sanction payment in this way for works already undertaken. He did not 820 think that the words as they stood would admit of that explanation, but, even if the words were incorrect, he still thought that the right hon: Gentleman's action with regard to Rosyth showed that he had at any rate some intention of not continuing by the Naval Works Bill payment for works already begun. When he raised this question he was told that Rosyth was merely a small affair— £200,000 out of a total Estimate of £2,500,000. But there were exactly parallel cases in regard to the Votes for coastguard stations, and for dock extension at Simon's Bay, and it did appear to him that there was a doubt in the minds of the Government at one time whether there should be another Naval Works Bill introduced this year. These two illustrations showed that there had been some doubt as to what would be the Government's policy in future. He would give the Chancellor of the Exchequer an illustration of what he meant. The right hon. Gentleman, speaking this year on the coal tax, said that he deprecated it, that there were many arguments against it, that he thought it was a tax which should be inquired into, and that, if circumstances warranted next year, it should not be continued.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said he was unwilling to allow words to pass which might be quoted against him afterwards. These words did not quite correctly represent what he said. What he said was that it was a tax of an exceptional character, the effect of which should be watched, but as far as it had gone at present he saw no reason for withdrawing it. If circumstances changed he said that the position should be considered.
§ MR. MCKENNA
said it appeared to him that the summary he gave was very similar to what the right hon. Gentleman now said. The language used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1905 would leave him free to oppose the coal tax next year tooth and nail. In the same way the language used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year in regard to these borrowings left him free to oppose any other Bill introduced on the same principle. When 821 the right hon. Gentleman uttered that language he expected an early election and that he would be confronted on the Treasury Bench with hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who were now on this side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman -wished to be able to say that he made speeches in which he deprecated these borrowings, but it happened that he still found himself on the Treasury Bench, and lie allowed a Naval Works Bill to be introduced with the best grace he could. He thought the Government should make up their minds regardless of a dissolution. The House was entitled to know whether the Government intended to continue this principle of borrowing, even if they were on that bench. He begged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to state, no matter when the dissolution might be, what was the financial policy of the Government.
Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBEKLAIN
said, that he had taken a perfectly consistent attitude in regard to these borrowings for capital expenditure ever since he had held office. In his Budget statement -this year he said—I have more than once expressed my own view to the Committee that, however necessary it was to have recourse to this method to make good the arrears of past years or to meet circumstances of an exceptional and extra-ordinary kind, it ought not to form part of our permanent financial system. We have, of course, still to complete the works which Parliament has already sanctioned, and to take whatever steps are necessary in order to fulfil the obligations which Parliament has already incurred; but I hope that it will not be necessary to extend the programme which has I already been approved. I hold that this procedure should be reserved for exceptional occasions.That was his considered conclusion, and ever since he had been Chancellor of the Exchequer he had striven to conduct financial policy on those lines. Even as Financial Secretary to the Treasury he placed similar opinions on record in regard to the Naval Works Bill.
These Bills had their origin in two circumstances. In the first place, with the great expansion of the maté riel and personnel of the Navy which went on during the ten years previous to 1895 there had been ho corresponding expansion in the Works Vote, and therefore great arrears had accumulated in the items charged to 822 that Vote. At the same time, there had been a great change in the maté riel and the conditions of maritime warfare. The development of torpedo warfare had wholly altered the conditions attaching to the security of certain naval anchorages. One of our great historic anchorages was the Downs. Now it would no longer be possible for a fleet to lie there, and consequently the proposal with respect to Dover Harbour was made. Simultaneously there was a great expansion in the personal of the Fleet. It was not possible provide for all those men in the hulks in the basins as had, been done previously; and, if it had been possible, it would not have been good for discipline or health; and so it was necessary to embark on a considerable programme of barrack extension. It was also imperative, in the interests of decency, that a large sum should be spent in improving the nava hospitals. All these needs came at one time, and it was not possible to meet them out of current revenue without disturbing the whole financial system and placing on the taxpayers an intolerable burden. At the initiation of these works it was extremely difficult to estimate the rate of expenditure. In the first years the Admiralty, having had no previous experience of such works, greatly over-estimated the progress, and if the whole of the cost had been charged on the Votes at that time enormous sums which were not required would have been raised in those earlier years, and they would have had to be paid back into the old Sinking Fund. That would have rendered impossible one of the great securities for sound finance— namely, the principle that unexpended balances should be surrendered to the Exchequer at the. end on the year. In the interests of practical convenience and of necessity it was decided that the cost of a great programme of works of permanent or long-lasting advantages should be defrayed by loan instead of being charged on the annual Votes of the year.
It had never been the intention of the Government that these works loans should be a permanent part of our financial system. When he assumed his present office he thought 823 that the time had come to take steps to bring these Loan Works Bills to an end. The other Loan Bills were framed on principles different from those of the Naval Works Bill. The Military Works Bill included an inclusive total sum which was not to be exceeded. As the House knew, they had not come to the House for any Military Works Bill this year. The case of the Naval Works Bill was different. There, although the total estimated cost of these works was shown, it had been customary to take provision in the Bill for only two years, so that the whole subject might come before the House for revision every two years. His object in regard to the Naval Works Bill— an object in which he had been supported by the Board of AdmiraIty— had been, in the first place, to exclude any new items, and, in the second place, to take certain items already in the schedule which were of a continuing or elastic character and to say that, after a given time, or when a given sum had been expended, no more money should be borrowed on that account, and that, if further expenditure were necessary for the same purpose, that expenditure should appear on the Votes and be voted in the ordinary way.
The hon. Gentleman quoted a passage from Hansard in a speech of his on the Finance Hill of last year which, he thought, went further, and pointed to the fact that if he were responsible as Chancellor of the Exchequer in future he would not be a party to asking the House to pass another Naval Works Bill. He thought the passage in Hansard might reasonably give rise to that interpretation, but he was unable to reconcile that with what was his intention at the time or with his then knowledge of the possibilities of the situation. The report was not a verbatim one. It was a third-person summary, and he was confident that in the concluding sentence the report did not accurately represent his meaning or the sense of his observations.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said he was sure the hon. Gentleman would, 824 and he was obliged to him. But let him say that, though the hon. Gentleman accepted that at once on his assurance, he thought it was confirmed by other evidence which he could bring. In the-first place, in his Budget speech of that year, he said, in reference to a suggestion; which had been made that he should meet the deficit by the suspension of the-Sinking Fund—I think it would be doubly bail policy at the present time, with the principal Government securities at the figure at which they now stand, and with the knowledge that, for several years to come, the Government mast he-borrowers in pursuit of their statutory obligations under the Naval and Military Works and Irish Land Purchase Acts and for other purposes.It was, therefore, clearly in his contemplation at that time that they had not finished with such Act? as this and that they would have to come for further borrowing powers. And in order to make assurance doubly sure he had looked at The Times report of the passage the hon. Gentleman had quoted. Though that report was, he was bound to confess, also misleading, and made hint appear to have used words which were capable of the same misunderstanding, it differed from the Hansard report it the particular passage that had been; quoted, and showed, he thought, that the Hansard report did not actually represent what he said. The passage in The Times report was—With the works which had been sanctioned by Parliament, and which had been begun, he-hoped they should come to an end with borrowing.That was exactly what his hope was, and that sentence, which appeared in The Times and did not appear in Hansard, showed that what he was arguing for was what he thought he was securing as far as one could secure by this Bill, namely, that there should not be inserted in the present Naval Works Bill or in future Naval Works Bills any items for new work.
What had been done in regard to this matter under the present Bill? What they had arrived at was that, as regarded the continuing service of dredging, they were to provide as much money as was necessary for the employment of the plant and the carrying out of the work in the present year, but 825 that, as from April 1st next, any further works in dredging would be charged on the Votes; that as regarded the coastguard, where there was also a token sum, they would provide for the purchase or erection of houses which were already in progress or in regard to which negotiations had either been completed or had reached an advanced stage, but would go no further; and that, as soon as this sum of money was exhausted, if the policy of making themselves owners of coastguard stations instead of hiring houses were pursued, it should be pursued on the Navy Votes from time to time. Then there came before him the question as to how Rosyth was to be dealt with. In the Act of two years ago sufficient money was taken for preliminary expenses for works at Chatham and Rosyth. The Board of Admiralty came to the conclusion that, in consequence of the changes which his hon. friend the Civil Lord had already explained, it was unnecessary to proceed with both of these schemes, and they elected to proceed with Rosyth. There was certain preliminary work which must still be done before the contract for the larger works could be executed or any further expenditure than the £200,000 included in the present Bill incurred.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
asked if they were to understand that Parliament would not be bound to any substantive proposals, and that no contracts would be given out, in connection with Rosyth, until the proposals were submitted on the Estimates of next year.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said he was informed by his hon. friend the Civil Lord that that was so, and that tin contract for the large scheme he had adumbrated would not be made 826 until after the Vote was passed by the House. Except in very exceptional circumstances, when Treasury sanction was obtained for special reasons, no new work would be begun until Vote 10 was passed by the House.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
replied in the affirmative. He was absolutely convinced by the reasons given to him by the Board of Admiralty that it was necessary to carry out the works at Rosyth. But he was unwilling to give the extension of time and money which would have bean involved by including the works in the present Bill; and he arranged that while the preliminary work contemplated by the £200,000 should be paid for under this Act, as was always intended, the subsequent work to be done should revert as a charge on the Votes. He thought no Chancellor of the Exchequer would undertake to pledge himself two years in advance as to the exact course of procedure which he would adopt; and, if he were Chancellor of the Exchequer two years hence, the hon. Gentleman must not quote this as a pledge, though he would be entitled to quote it as evidence of his present intention, and if he departed from it, to ask him what circumstances there were that justified him in changing his view. His present intention was that two years hence there should be introduced another Naval Works Act containing no new item by way of loan, but providing the balance of the money, or as much of it as was required under this Act, as could be expended in a further period of two year. That was to say, that the 827 programme as nowarranged— which it was intended to charge to loan until it was completed— would continue to be paid for by way of loan, but any new works not connected with those now in progress should be paid for by Vote. He loped and believed that the total estimates in the first column of the schedule were sufficient now in each case for the works opposite which the sums appeared. There might be savings on some unforeseen items that would compensate for any unforeseen excesses: but though that was the belief of the Admiralty neither the Department nor he could undertake to say that in no circumstances would any of these estimates need revision
§ MR. AINSWORTH (Argyllshire)
said he thought the statement that the Government intended to go on with their scheme at Rosyth would come as a great surprise to a good many people in Scotland. The universal feeling in Scotland was that Rosyth, like Wei-hai-wei, was acquired in a moment of rather sudden determination, and that the question ought to be put on one side for further consideration. They were pleased to hear that any further plans for Rosyth would come before the House next year and that the whole of the charges for this purpose in the future were to be placed upon the Estimates. Two years ago the officials of the Admiralty thought the preliminary expenditure upon Rosyth would amount to £200,000 and it had only cost £150,000, and he wished to know why were they bound to spend the £50,000 balance, and charge it to the National Debt, when they were going to place the cost of the complete scheme upon the Estimates.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
said they quite accepted what the right hon. Gentleman had said, and they felt grateful to him for having explained that he did not intend exactly what was put into the reports either of The Times or of the Official Debates. They were grateful to him for having explained what his opinions and views were. What they had good cause, however, to complain of was that the Government led them to suppose that this system was coming to an end. They had been led to this conclusion not only by the Chancellor of the Exchequer's words, but by the general statements made by the Government over and over again upon this subject. The House had been repeatedly led to suppose that the Government were doing all they could to bring this system to an end. They now understood that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been doing his best almost alone in the Government to bring the system to an end, and he had managed to curtail it to a small extent, although he thought it could have been done to a greater extent. They did not complain in the least of what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that day, but they did complain that not only had the reporter been misled but the whole House had been misled upon this question by the. by the Front Bench opposite. The whole House had been led to think that fie system was coming to an end. They had now the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the right hon. Gentleman had given a pledge which to a certain extent was satisfactory. It did not go so far as they could have wished, but, at any rite, it was a step in the light direction 829 There were, however, other item; that ought to be struck out. The charge for dredging was one that would go on year after year, and ought therefore to be charged on the annual Estimates. He thought some explanation ought to be given of why when it was known that this Bill would be introduced, the Admiralty chose to reduce their Estimates by nearly £3,000,000. The more correct course from the point of view of finance would have been for the Admiralty to include these regular charges in the ordinary Estimates, instead of which they had reduced the Estimates and claimed to have effected great economies. Then had made what was really a false statement of accounts, and against such i system it was necessary to enter a protest. It was said that the Bill was brought forward because it was inconvenient to make the alteration this year But what better time could there be for transferring the items to the annual Estimates than a year when the Admiralty had a surplus in their accounts 'The representatives of the Admiralty had missed the chance of putting their accounts into proper order, and they had not given the Chancellor of the Exchequer tie opportunity of doing it, because the} did not tell him that they were going to borrow this money until some months after the Estimates were framed.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
thought that is an Irish Member he was entitled to speak on this measure inasmuch as Ireland would have to pay more than her fair share of the bill. Dredging was
§ obviously a work which would be continuous from year to year, and therefore it ought not to appear in the schedule of a Bill of this kind. When these Military and Naval Works Bills were first presented to the House, he and others protested against them on the ground that they had an inevitable tendency to confuse the minds-of Members as to what the actual expenditure on the Army and Navy was. After nearly eleven years that view had been accepted as orthodox, and it was-some consolation to know that even the present reckless and spendthrift Government were beginning to recognise that this system of finance was intrinsically bad. It could not be denied that this House was deprived of its rightful power of supervising the Estimates if under Bills of this kind it was pledged in-advance, not only to capital expenditure, but also to considerable sums which, ought properly to be met out of annual income. The discussion of particular items would come better on the schedule in Committee than on Second Reading but as to the principle it was essentially vicious, since it concealed from the House huge expenditure to which it was-being committed, and simultaneously reduced its power of supervision. It was-true that the Government now admitted that it was a bad system, but the matter had gone so far that he agreed there ought to be a division, and therefore he should support the hon. Member for Perthshire in the lobby.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes,203; Noes,129. (Division List No. 315.)833
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Arkwright, John Stanhops||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John|
|Allhusen, AugustusHenryEden||Arnold-Forster. Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Aubrey-Fletcher-Rt. Hn. Sir H. -|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Arrol, Sir William||Baird, John George Alexander-|
|Balcarres, Lord||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Balfour, RtHn. Gerald W. (Leeds||Gordon, Maj. Evans(T'rH'mlets||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. SirMichaelHicks||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)|
|Benn, John Williams||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)||Percy, Earl|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gretton, John||Pilkington, Colonel Richard|
|Bigwood, James||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Bingham, Lord||Groves, James Grimble||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Guthrie, Walter Murray||pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bond, Edward||Hall, Edward Marshall||Pryce-Jones, Lt. -Col. Edward|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Purvis, Robert|
|Brassey, Albert||Hamilton, Marq. of(L'donderry)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon St. John||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Harris, F. Leverton(Tynem'th)||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (DublinUniv||Heath, Sir James(Staffords. NW||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H||Heaton, John Henniker||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Helder, Sir Augustus||Robinson, Brooke|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hornby, Sir William Hemy||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Howard, John(Kent, F'versham||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Hozier, Hon. James HenryCecil||Sandys, Lt. -Col. Thos. Myles|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw J.|
|Chapman, Edward||Hunt, Rowland||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Jameson. Major J. Eustace||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred||Skewes-Cox, Sir Thomas|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kerr, John||Smith, RtHnJ. Parker (Lanarks|
|Coddington, Sir William||Kimber, Sir Henry||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Spear, John Ward|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Knowles, Sir Lees||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Lawson, Hn. H. L. W. (Mile End)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Stroyan, John|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Liddell, Henry||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph C.||Lockwood, Lieut. -Col. A. R.||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Long. Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Tuff, Charles|
|Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Douglas, Rt, Hn. A. Akers||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Turnour, Viscount|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lowe, Francis William||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir W. H.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Lucas, Reg. J. (Portsmouth)||Welby, Lt. -Col. A. C. E (Taunton|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Fellowes, RtHn. Ailwyn Edward||Macdona, John Cumming||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Mane'r||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Wills, Sir Fredk. (Bristol, N.)|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Maconochie, A. W.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Finlay, RtHnSirR. B. (Inv'rn'ss||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Malcolm, Ian||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|FitzGerald, Sir RobertPenrose-||Marks, Harry Hananel||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B (Stuart-|
|Fitzroy, Hon. EdwardAlgemon||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.|
|Forster, Henry William||Milvain, Thomas|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Sir Alexander Acland Hood and Viscount Valentia|
|Gardner, Ernest||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Abraham, William(Cork, N. E.)||Ambrose, Robert||Barry, E. (Cork, S.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Atherley-Jones, L||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.|
|Allen, Charles P||Baker, Joseph Allen||Black, Alexander William|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.||Perks, Robert William|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Bright, Allan Heywood||Higham, John Sharp||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Holland, Sir William Henry||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Burns, John||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Burt, Thomas||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Reid, Sir R. Threshie(Dumfries|
|Caldwell, James||Jordan, Jeremiah||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Kennedy, V. P. (Cavan, W.)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Kilbride, Denis||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Labouchere, Henry||Rose, Charles Day|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lamont, Norman||Russell, T. W.|
|Crean, Eugene||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (IsleofWight)|
|Crombie, John William||Lough, Thomas||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lundon, W.||Sheehy, David|
|Dolany, William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Slack. John Bamford|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||M'Fadden, Edward||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Dillon, John||M'Hugh, Patrick A||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R(Northants|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Kenna, Reginald||Stanhope, Hon. Philip James|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Mooney, John J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dunn, Sir William||Muldoon, John||Tennant, Harold John|
|Ellice, CaptEC. (S. AndrwsBghs||Murnaghan, Georgs||Thomas, DavidAlfred (Merthyr|
|Emmott, Alfred||Murphy, John||Tully, Jasper|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Nannetti, Joseph P||Wallace, Robert|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nolan, Col. JohnP. (Galway, N.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Norman, Henry||Wason, JohnCathcart (Orkney)|
|Field, William||O'Brien, Kendal(TipperaryMid||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, P. J. (Tivperary, N.||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Fuller, J. M. F||O'Connor, James (Wicklow. W)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Griffith, Ellis J||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Woodhouse, SirJ. T. (Huddersf'd|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Young, Samuel|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Dowd, John||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hammond, John||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Harcourt, Lewis||O'Kelly, James(Roscommon, N||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Warner|
|Hardie, J. Keir(Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Malley, William|
|Harrington, Timothy||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Harwood, George||O'Shee, James John|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Partington, Oswald|
Lords Amendments considered, and agreed to.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to:—Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.