§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
objected to the composition of the Committee because, while the question was one of very great importance to all classes who were interested in property which sprang from land values, there was an over-whelming majority of the Committee absolutely committed to one view of the question. Further, he objected that, while nominally a Scottish Bill—;the precedent would apply both to England and Ireland—;the Committee was almost exclusively composed of Scotsmen.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
A brief statement is permissible, as the matter comes within the so-called Ten Minutes Rule.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said he would be very brief. But his opinion was that it was very important to have other than purely Scottish representatives on the Committee. Why had the hon. Member for the Elland Division been put on—;in view of his known advocacy of the Bill—;while the Member for Spen Valley—;who had shown his impartiality by speaking against and voting for the Bill—;had been ignored. Then the Lord-Advocate had promised to use his influence to ensure that the inquiry should be very brief.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said that at any rate in view of some remarks by the Lord-Advocate, he asked for an assurance that no undue pressure would be placed on the Committee to rush the Bill through. Finally, he wanted it made clear that the Bill should not be retrospective in its action.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY (Mr. GEORGE WHITELEY,) Yorkshire, W.R., Pudsey
stated that the Bill was supported almost unanimously by hon. Members on the Ministerial side. The usual course as between Parties in the House was followed in the composition of the Committee. The practice was for the Government to select eight Members, the Opposition four, the Irish Party two, and the Labour Party one (each branch of the Labour Party alternating in making the selection). It was impossible for the Government to appoint amongst their eight Members any Member who was not a supporter of the Bill. They looked to the other parties to supply opponents. No attempt would be made to rush the action of the Committee or its Report, and the House would have due time for consideration of the Report of the Committee.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
rose to a point of order. As he understood it, there was to be a short speech on each side on each question which was put from the chair, and as there were fifteen Members it was obvious that there might be several short speeches upon all the Members of which the Committee was to be composed. He would ask whether that was not the fact, and he wished to know from the Government whether it was usual or convenient that a controversy of this kind should be started on an allotted day and whether it ought not to be taken on a day when Government business was put down.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
This Motion comes within the ordinary so-called Ten Minutes Rule. The right hon. Gentleman is quite right in thinking that if opposition is raised to the name of each hon. Member a short discussion can take place in regard to the name of each Member. It is also open to me to put the Question that the debate should be adjourned, as the rule says that the Speaker, after admitting a brief explanatory statement from the Member who moves and the Member who opposes such a Motion, may without further Amendment put the Motion on the Motion that the debate be adjourned.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
inquired whether it was not the ordinary 747 course that if a name was objected to the debate should be confined to the substitution of another name.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I do not think that that is so. It is really almost necessary to enter into a general statement to explain the position of the Member named, because possibly no objection will be taken to the individual, but only to him as representing a particular section of opinion.
§ MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, Clitheroe)
hoped they would not be taken to have pledged themselves to the particular manner in which the name of the Labour Member of the Committee was decided upon. If they were they would vote against him; therefore he hoped they were not pledging themselves to the particular method of selection.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
said that the point the hon. Member took was exactly what he had indicated to the House. The Motion had been down on the Paper for three days, and he put it down three times in order that there should be opportunity for considering opposition to the Committee. He did not see any reason why the appointment of the Committee should be any longer delayed.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. Hugh Barrie, Mr. Arthur Dewar, Mr. Findlay, Mr. John Henderson, Mr. McKillop, Mr. Mitchell-Thomson, Mr. O'Hare, Mr. Remnant, Mr. Thomas Frederick Richards, Mr. Sutherland, Mr. Trevelyan, Mr. Dundas White, Mr. Wood, and Mr. Younger nominated other Members of the Select Committee.
§ Ordered, "That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records."
§ Ordered, "That five be the quorum." (Mr. Whiteley.)