HC Deb 06 July 1906 vol 160 cc414-23

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [18th May], " That the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Law, etc." — (Mr. McKillop.)


moved to substitute the Standing Committee on Trade for the Standing Committee on Law. He pointed out that the Standing Committee on Law had a long list of Bills before it, whilst the Standing Committee on Trade was free.

Amendment— To leave out the word 'Law,' and insert the word ' Trade,'— (Mr. John Redmond)— instead thereof "—

Put, and agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, proposed.

MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford)

said he desired to raise a question of procedure with regard to Grand Committees. The session had now gone so far that private Bills had no chance of being passed into law without the assistance of the Government. This particular Bill had been before the Grand Committee in the previous session for a considerable time, and therefore if the Motion now before the House received the sanction of the Government, the House ought to be made aware as to whether the Committee was to continue its labours—it was a matter that affected the whole question of business—during the autumn. If the Motion was put forward in order that a private Bill might be got on with, in view of further proceedings, he thought there ought to be a statement from the Government as to the form those further proceedings were to take. It was most undesirable that a Grand Committee should be called upon to consider Bills which, without the assistance of the Government, could not proceed further.


said that when the Second Reading was discussed in this House, he understood the Chief Secretary to say that there were portions of the Bill which he viewed with favour, whilst there were others which he did not, and that if the Bill had been introduced in something like the form in which it came before the House in the previous year, the Government would have been prepared to support it. The present Bill, however, was totally different from the Bill presented in previous years. The first four clauses of this Bill practically constituted the Bill of last year. There were a number of Members representing the north of Ireland who felt that the section dealing with compensation for improvements ought with certain restrictions to be passed into law; but there were one or two other matters of vital importance which had been introduced. The question of compensation for disturbance was a point with which the Chief Secretary dealt at considerable length on the Second Reading. Under all the circumstances he thought before they decided this question they should have a full statement from the Chief Secretary or the Attorney-General for Ireland as to what exactly the position of the Government was. If the Bill was cut down so as to include only the question of compensation for improvements, he had no doubt it would go through its remaining stages with little trouble, especially if they removed the clause which dealt with the retrospective action of the Bill. He raised this question in order to ascertain what the Government's intentions were with regard to the Bill. He maintained it was not a Bill which should emanate from a private Member, but that the question was one which should be dealt with by a Government measure.


expressed the opinion that this Motion raised important points of interest which the House should have before its mind in assenting or dissenting to it. The Bill at present was a private Bill. If the Government intended to keep it a private Bill it seemed to him that the House was asked to send a Bill before the Grand Committee which could not result in useful legislation, because private business at this stage of the session had no chance whatever in passing into law. Although his hon. friend professed himself satisfied with the Bill with some modification, he still thought it was a Bill which dealt with issues so great as to make it absolutely impossible that it should be taken without discussion. There were, it was true, peculiarities in Ireland with regard to agricultural holdings which had led to turmoil and to legislation. But the position with regard to town tenants was quite distinct from that of the agricultural tenants. The position of town tenants in Ireland and England was, broadly speaking, the same, and if the Bill were passed it might be taken as the model for future legislation in this country. That being so, this Bill must be controversial and would require a great deal of discussion. If it was a private Bill it could not get that discussion, and it was therefore a mere waste of the labour of the Grand Committee to send it up. It was not as if the Grand Committees had nothing to do, because only the other day they had to transfer a Scottish Bill from one of these Committees to the other because the work was so congested. He took the other possible hypothesis that the Government at this stage intended to make this measure their own, and he was not at all satisfied with that explanation. A Bill which was a Government Bill from its initiation to its close was brought in under certain limitations which insured discussion and prevented hasty legislation. He was not a Member, he believed, of the House when this Bill passed its Second Reading, but he assumed that it passed its Second Reading after a few hours discussion on a Friday afternoon, never having been discussed at its First Reading stage, and it was absurd to say that a Bill dealing with all town property in Ireland should be passed after a few hours debate. Did the Government mean to make the measure their own? If the Government intended to take the Bill out of the category of a private Member's Bill and make it a public Bill, they were bound to give facilities for its satisfactory consideration in the House.


said it would be within the recollection of the House that on the Second Reading of this Bill he and the Chief Secretary addressed the House at considerate length and that he went somewhat into detail with regard to the Bill. He stated that he was strongly in favour of some portions of the Bill and that to other portions of it the Government very strongly objected. Since the Second Reading he had had an opportunity of communicating with the promoters of the Bill; he had had a long conference with them, and the result of that conference was that they had agreed to drop the portions of the Bill to which the Government objected and to modify other portions of the Bill in such a manner that he believed it would be practically non-contentious when it came before the Grand Committee. He thought that the Junior Member for the University of Dublin agreed with his criticisms of the Bill on the Second Reading, and he did not go much further than he (Mr. Cherry) did in stating objections to it. And certainly hon. Members from Ulster took the same view. They were rather more strongly in favour of the Bill, and therefore he did not see why objection should be taken to it now. He might say that the whole of the third portion of the Bill dealing with the enfranchisement of tenancies—which was the most difficult and contentious matter dealt with—the promoters had agreed to drop altogether. As to another portion of the Bill, relating to the setting aside of leases, it had been agreed to abandon that portion. The portion relating to compensation for disturbance it had been agreed to confine to cases where a landlord unreasonably had exercised his right to determine a tenancy. He did not think there would be much opposition to that. [" Oh."] There might possibly be, but at all events that was the only part so far as he knew upon which there would be much controversy in Committee. But the bulk of the Bill related to one single matter and could not take more than an hour or two to discuss. The portion of the Bill dealing with compensation for improvements was one upon which they were all agreed, [" Oh no."] Well, he could not go into small details. He thought the House would agree that if a tenant who had made large improvements to his holding was turned out by his landlord, he ought to get compensation for them. He did not think it would be said that there was no difference as regarded town holdings between English and Scottish practice. They knew that in Ireland a large portion of the improvements were made by the tenants themselves, and in many cases the houses had been built by the tenants. That was not the common practice in England. [" Yes, it is."] As far as he was aware of the facts, it was not the common practice in England for the tenant to erect the house or improve it in any substantial respect. As to the intention of the Government with regard to the Bill, all he could say was that they had the strongest sympathy for the portions of the Bill of which they had said they approved. What their action would be in regard to it after it had passed through Committee must depend upon the state in which it came before the House again. At present, however, they desired that the Bill should proceed.

MR. JAMES CAMPBELL (Dublin University)

said that, as he understood, what the Government proposed to do was to endorse with their approval the portions of the Bill dealing with compensation for improvements, and also to a limited extent those making provision for compensation for disturbance. He desired to know from the Chief Secretary whether the provision with regard to compensation for improvements was or was not to be retrospective.

MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)

Those are questions for the Committee.


Those are questions that will arise in Committee.


quite agreed, but his point was this. Before they determined whether it was proper or not to vote for sending this Bill upstairs the House ought to know what portion of the Bill would remain for discussion. If the Bill went up in an attenuated form and was reduced within very narrow dimensions the House might think that the Grand Committee was the proper place to discuss it. On the other hand, if there were retained within it very large and objectionable provisions the House might think it fair and right that it should be discussed before a Committee of the whole House. With regard to the statement of the hon. and learned Attorney-General, he could not conceive any proposition that would be more contentious than the proposition for any cause or reason to allow tenants of town holdings to obtain compensation for disturbance in addition to compensation for improvements. It was quite fair and just that under certain conditions a tenant who was evicted from his holding in a town should obtain compensation for improvements which had added to the letting value of the holding. As he understood, the proposition was that in addition to that he should be entitled to get compensation for disturbance, and that that was to be confined to cases in which the disturbance had been unreasonable. That opened, of course, a vista of litigation, because there must be a Court in every case to determine whether the disturbance had or had not been reasonable. For the first time it would introduce into the tenancy of houses in towns this principle of compensation for disturbance. The other matter which he regarded as of very great importance was the question whether compensation for improvements was or was not to be made retrospective in its operation. If the Bill

was confined to a measure to enable tenants on leaving their holdings to obtain compensation in the future for improvements to be made hereafter which had bona fide added to the value of the holdings, he for one would gladly support it. But if they could not get an assurance that the Bill would be so confined so far as the Government could effect that object, he would be opposed to having an important principle of that kind discussed in Grand Committee instead of the usual course being followed of having the Bill discussed before a Committee of the entire House.


said the old custom was that no Bill should be sent to a Standing Committee if it was in any way a controversial measure. The object of appointing Standing Committees was that they should deal with the details of Bills upon which there was a general consensus of opinion that they ought to be passed. With regard to this Bill, they did not know whether it remained in the controversial state in which it was introduced into the House or whether it had been modified.


rose in his place, and claimed to move, " That the Question be now put."

Question put, " That the Question be now put."

The House divided:—Ayes, 255; Noes, 66. (Division List, No. 192).

Abraham, Wm (Cork, N.E.) Benn, W. (T'wr Hamlets,S.Geo Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas.
Acland, Francis Dyke Berridge, T. H. D. Byles, William Pollard
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Caldwell, James
Ambrose, Robert Billson, Alfred Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard K.
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert H. Blake, Edward Cheetham, John Frederick
Astbury, John Meir Branch, James Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Brigg, John Churchill, Winston Spencer
Baker, J. A. (Finsbury, E.) Bright, J. A. Clarke, C. Goddard
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs.,Leigh Cleland, J. W.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Brunner, Sir John T. (Cheshire} Clough, W.
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Bryce,Rt. Hon. Jas.(Aberdeen) Clynes, J. R.
Barran, Rowland Hirst Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs) Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)
Beale, W. P. Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Collins.Sir Wm.J.Pancras,W.S.
Beauchamp, E. Burke, E. Haviland- Condon, Thomas Joseph
Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham) Burns, Rt. Hon. John Cooper, G. J.
Beck, A. Cecil Burnyeat, J. D. W. Corbett,C.H.(Sussex,E.Grinst'd
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Kekewich, Sir George Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Crean, Eugene Kennedy, Vincent Paul Power, Patrick Joseph
Cremer, William Randal Kilbride, Denis Radford, G. H.
Crombie, John William King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Rainy, A. Rolland
Crooks, William Laidlaw, Robert Raphael, Herbert H.
Crosfield, A. H. Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Rea, Russell (Gloucester)
Crossley, William J. Lambert, George Reddy, M.
Cullinan, J. Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Redmond, John E.(Waterford)
Dalziel, James Henry Layland-Barratt, Francis Redmond, William (Clare)
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Lea, Hugh Cecil (St.Pancras,E Rees, J. D.
Delany, William Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington) Rickett, J. Compton
Devlin,Chas, Ramsay (Galway) Lehmann, R. C. Roberts, Chas. H. (Lincoln)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Lever, A. Levy (Essex,Harwich Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh. Levy, Maurice Roe, Sir Thomas
Dillon, John Lewis, John Herbert Rogers, F. E, Newman
Dodd, W. H. Lough, Thomas Rowlands, J.
Dolan, Charles Joseph Lund on, W. Runciman, Walter
Donelan, Captain A Lupton, Arnold Russell, T. W.
Duffy, William J. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Lynch, H. B. Samuel, H. L. (Cleveland)
Elibank, Master of Macdonald.J. M. (FalkirkB'ghs Schwann,Sir C. E.(Manchester)
Erskine, David C. Maclean, Donald Sears, J. E.
Essex, R. W. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Seaverns, J. H.
Evans, Samuel T. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Seely, Major J. B.
Everett, R. Lacey MacVeagh,Jeremiah (Down, S.) Shaw, Chas. Edw. (Stafford)
Flavin, Michael Joseph M'Arthur, William Shaw,Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Flynn, James Christopher M'Callum, John M. Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Fullerton, Hugh M'Kean, John Shipman, Dr. John G.
Gibb, James (Harrow) M'Kenna, Reginald Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Gilhooly, James M'Laren, SirC. B. (Leicester) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Ginnell, L. Maddison, Frederick Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J. Mallet, Charles E. Snowden, P.
Glendinning, R. G. Manfield, Harry (Northants) Soares, Ernest J.
Goddard, Daniel Ford Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston Spicer, Albert
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Marnham, F. J. Stanley,Hn.A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Greenwood, Hamar (York) Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Steadman, W. C.
Griffith, Ellis J. Massie, J. Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Grove, Archibald Meagher, Michael Strachey, Sir Edward
Gulland, John W. Menzies, Walter Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Micklem, Nathaniel Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Molteno, Percy Alport Sullivan, Donal
Halpin, J. Mond, A. Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Hardie,J.Keir (Merthyr Tydvil Montagu, E. S. Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Mooney, J. J. Thompson.J.W. H.(Somerset E
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Torrance, A. M.
Haworth, Arthur Morse, L. L. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Hayden, John Patrick Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wallace, Robert
Hazel, Dr. A. E. Murphy, John Walton, Sir John L.(Leeds, S.)
Hazleton, Richard Murray, James Warner, Thomas CourtenayT.
Hedges, A. Paget Myer, Horatio Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Nicholls, George Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)
Henderson,J. M.(Aberdeen, W. Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncaster Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Henry, Charles S. Nolan, Joseph White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Nortan, Capt. Cecil William White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Higham, John Sharp Nuttall, Harry Whitehead, Rowland
Hobart, Sir Robert O'Brien, K. (Tipperary Mid.) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Hodge, John O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
Hogan, Michael O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Wees, Thomas
Holden, E. Hopkinson O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Williamson, A.
Holland, Sir William Henry O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wills, Arthur Walters
Horniman, Emslie John O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Wilson, Hon. C.H.W.(Hull. W.)
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey O'Hare, Patrick Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Hudson, Walter O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hyde, Clarendon O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N. Young, Samuel
Illingworth, Percy H. O'Malley, William Yoxall, James Henry
Isaacs, Rufus Daniel O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Jardine, Sir J. Parker, James (Halifax) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Jenkins, J. Paul, Herbert Whiteley and Mr. J. A.
Jones,Sir D.Brynmor(Swansea) Paulton, James Mellor Pease.
Jones, Leif (Appleby) Perks, Robert William
Jones, William (Carnarvonsh. Philipps.Col. Ivor (S'thampton
Acland-Hood,RtHnSir Alex.F. Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Ratcliff, Major R. F.
Arkwright, John Stanhope Faber, George Denison (York) Roberts,S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh Fell Arthur Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Ashley, W. W. Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Saunderson.Rt. Hn. Col. Ed.J.
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt.Hn.Sir H. Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Balcarres, Lord Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Smith, F. E.(Liverpool,Walton
Balfour,Rt.Hn.A.J.(City Lond. Hambro, Charles Eric Talbot,Rt.Hn.J. G.(Oxf'dUniv.
Beach Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford) Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark
Bignold, Sir Arthur Hay, Hon Claude George Thornton, Percy M.
Bowles,G. Stewart Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury) Turnour, Viscount
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hornby, Sir William Henry Valentia, Viscount
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Houston, Robert Paterson Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Carlile, E. Hildred Hunt, Rowland Walker,Col. VV. H. (Lancashire)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Kennaway, Rt. Hn.Sir John H. Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Cave, George King,Sir Henry Seymour(Hull) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Cavendish,Rt. Hon.VictorC. W. Liddell, Henry Wilson,A. Stanley (York, E.R.
Cecil, Lord R.(Marylebone, E.) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Coates,E. Feetham (Lewisham) Lowe, Sir Francis William Younger, George
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Corbett,A. Cameron (Glasgow) Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Courthope, G. Loyd Nield, Herbert Frederick Banbury and and
Craig, Chas. Curtis(Antrim, S.) Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington) William Bull.
Craig, Captain Jas. (Down, E.) Percy, Earl
Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Powell, Sir Francis Sharp

Main Question, as amended, put accordingly, and agreed to. Bill committed to the Standing Committee on Trade, etc.